We'll win the Sears Cup, possibly with more than last year's record of 1,550 points, likely with more than 1,500 points, a number we've only cracked a few times. We won the inaugural women's Capital Cup last year, and, this year, hold a 29.5-point lead over UCLA in what is shaping up to be a two-team race. The men are in tenth, but if national title contender baseball can make a strong showing, we could win the thing. North Carolina, LSU and UCLA are other threats.
Sears Directors' Cup
Through fall of 2010, Stanford had 399 points. Fall 2011, we posted a similar 382 points after scoring in all our sports save for men's soccer and men's water polo. [Women's soccer (first, 100 points), men's cross country (fifth, 75 points), football (seventh, 72 points), women's cross country (10th, 60 points), women's volleyball (17th, 50 points) and field hockey (ninth, 25 points).]
Winter of 2010, Stanford posted 649.5 points, the plurality of a record total of 1550.25. Winter 2011, we're right on pace again. (It's amazing how consistent these scores are year to year, which I suppose is to be expected if your school has won the thing going on 20 times running.) We have 494.75, but men's and women's gymnastics are still to compete in their finals. Current rankings suggest we should net about 150 points between the two finals, a projection that puts this winter's total within a whisker of last year's.
Ohio State (fencing champions, who knew?) and Penn State (wrestling champions) are running No. 2 and No. 3, and those cold-climate schools are not as strong in the spring sports. So it's on No. 4 Florida, No. 5 Florida State or No. 6 Texas to make a run at your Cardinal, and with each of those squads already at least 250 points behind, I wouldn't hold my breath.
Looking ahead: The trophy's ours. We'll need strong performances in the spring (baseball?, women's water polo?), but if so, topping last year's record total of 1,550 is doable. Breaking 1,500, which the Cardinal have only done a few times in the competition's 18 years, is more probable yet. Viewed jointly, the exceptionally strong results of the last two years paint a picture of an athletic department that has never been stronger.
Capital One Cup
Last year, our women took down the Rece Davis Crown and its $200,000 bounty with 121 points, nine ahead of runner-up Texas A&M. Our men, meanwhile, came in fifth with 69 points, well behind champion Florida (93 points). This year, we're a player on both sides of the gender coin, as the scoring structure was changed to our benefit in the offseason. (As I described in greater detail here.)
Our women have opened a healthy lead over UCLA, 101.5-72, and no other school has more than 60 points. (Remember, scores aren't directly comparable to last year's because of the scoring change.) A national title in softball or track counts for 60 though, and UCLA is a force in softball, so this one is far from over. Both Stanford and UCLA should score nicely in the spring, so unless some other school starts winning in a hurry, it is a two-team race.
As for our men, can you say Fiesta Bowl? We have 36.5 points for tenth place, though we would have 18 more if not for the unfortunate ending in Scottsdale, Ariz. Still, a hypothetical total of 54.5 would only be good enough for fifth, as UNC, Kentucky, Alabama and FCS football national champion North Dakota State all have at least 60 points.
We're certainly going to catch some of the nine schools in front of us – hard to see North Dakota State, Louisville or, to a lesser degree, Kentucky and Oklahoma State racking up too many points in the spring. Whether we'll play Pokemon and catch ‘em all probably comes down to baseball though.
A baseball national title is worth 60 points. Eleventh or worse is worth nothing. So if baseball makes the College World Series, I'm liking our chances, especially after you add in the points still out there in gymnastics, tennis and golf. If baseball comes up short, I'm thinking North Carolina (first, 75 points) and track powerhouse LSU (seventh, 42 points) have the best bets, though don't count out UCLA (seventh, 42 points).
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