Cardinal clinch 14th straight Directors' Cup

You could call Stanford the Barack Obama of the Sears Cup chase. Though the race is not technically over, with a few sports yet to finish their playoffs, the Cardinal's status as 2007-08 Sears Cup champion is a mathematical certainty. Read on as TheBootleg.com breaks down the math, predicting Stanford's final total and showing how the Card are safe even in a worst-case scenario.

It might not come as a surprise, but it's now official. TheBootleg.com has done the math and can project that Stanford will win its 14th consecutive Directors' Cup when the 2007-08 standings are announced in late June.

Through the 2007-08 winter, Stanford's lead over second-place Michigan stands at 302 points, 1,082 to 780. That margin is wider than the Cardinal's 236-point lead over then second-place Cal through the 2006-07 winter (997.5 to 761.5).

Three additional factors will protect Stanford's lead. First, the scoring system is gradual, with a first-place finish in a sport worth 100 points, second-place 90, and, for example, men's basketball's Sweet 16 finish 64. Gaining 236 points on an opponent becomes near-impossible in just one season.

The second factor is that spring is traditionally one of Stanford's strongest seasons. Last year, the Cardinal grabbed 347 points in the final quarter by scoring in seven sports (women's golf, men's golf, women's tennis, women's track, men's track and women's water polo). Indeed, Stanford (1,429 2006-07 final points) gained 163 points on Cal and 48 on Michigan last spring.

The final factor is that, this year, Stanford will almost certainly score in all those spring sports except women's golf, and will also place in men's baseball and men's tennis. However, a school can only count its ten top-scoring men's sports and ten top-scoring women's sports. Stanford always fills up its women's quota but has struggled to find scoring men's teams to fill those final few slots in recent years. Thus, the fact that Stanford will be getting points from two additional men's sports will distance them that much more from the field.

All told, it adds up to another cup for Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby and the Stanford Athletic Department. But don't just take us at our word. Here's the math:

Worst-case scenario:

2007-08 Stanford sports
Final worst-case total: 1,358

Women: (Sport Rank Points)
Cross country.....1.......100
Volleyball.............2.......90
Basketball............2......90
Gymnastics.........3.......86
Swimming...........3.......85
Water polo...........3.......85
Indoor track.........5.......75
Softball.................9.......64*
Soccer..................9.......64
Tennis................17.......50
Field hockey........9........0**
Indoor track.......N/A.......*
Worst-case total: 789

Men: (Sport Rank Points)
Gymnastics.......2.......90
Swimming.........3.......85
Indoor track.......7.......72
Fencing..............8.......66***
Basketball.........9.......64
Wrestling..........19......55
Golf....................16......51*
Cross country..19......36
Tennis..............33.......25
Baseball..........33.......25*
Indoor track.....N/A.......*
Worst-case total: 569

Notes:
* These sports are ongoing. Listed is the team's worst-possible finish, so any additional wins in the playoffs will only improve the teams' point totals. Similarly, while men's and women's outdoor track both finished tenth last year, scoring 67 points apiece, they are not yet included is these totals.

** Women's field hockey would count for 25 points, but only the top ten women's sports count.

*** For most schools, fencing counts as a women's sport, because there are fewer NCAA-sanctioned women's sports. However, if a school fills up its ten women's slots, as Stanford will, the sport counts on the men's side if it gives the school more points.



Realistically, add in another 100 points on the men's side: +25 for golf, +70 track, +25 for baseball, -25 for tennis (dropped) and another 20 on the women's side: +70 track, -50 tennis (dropped). That leaves Stanford with 1,478 points, 49 more than last year's 1,429. The 1,478 would mark Stanford's highest total ever -- an achievement made even more incredible given that it might well come without men's or women's tennis, mired in uncharacteristic down years, counting toward the final sum.

Is the lead safe?

But, let's operate with the worst-case total of 1,358. Runners-up the last five years haven't come close, scoring 1,257 (UCLA), 1,071 (UCLA), 1,074 (Texas), 1,226 (Michigan) and 1,094 (Texas) dating back to 2002-03, so that total appears quite safe.

And indeed, we can prove that Stanford's worst-case 1,358 is unassailable.

Runner-up Michigan would need 578 points to get there. Say the Wolverines win national titles in both baseball and softball, for 200 points, and, like last year, gain 140 points in men's and women's track. That would be 340 points.

But Michigan scored just 139 points in women's water polo and men's and women's tennis combined, and did not qualify for the NCAA Championships in men's or women's golf. They'll score no more than 40 points in each of those sports.

All told, Michigan's best-case scenario -- with national titles in softball and baseball -- gives them 559 spring points, which would be 19 points shy of Stanford's worst-case total.

Barring catasrophe, Stanford will score some points in men's and women's track, and not all of the baseball, softball or golf teams will bomb out of their playoffs. Plus, Michigan will likely not win two spring national titles, so expect the final margin of victory to be closer to the 200-point range.

What about another school catching Stanford?

Three schools with spring sports comparable to Stanford's are Cal, Texas and UCLA. But, this year, those schools are simply too far back to threaten, currently mired in fifth, sixth and 18th place.

Luckily for the Card then, through winter, third and fourth-place belong to Penn State and Ohio State, two northern schools that lack for strong spring sports programs. Those Big 10 schools averaged just 211 points last spring, and they would need more than triple that to catch the Cardinal now. Given the results of spring sports to-date, that's mathematically impossible.


The Bootleg Top Stories