Cupdate: 16th title, all-time record loom

The good news for Stanford fans? Unlike in previous springs, there will be drama as the Directors' Cup chase heads into the final months of the 2009-‘10 school year. The better news? With a 16th-straight title a virtual certainty, the only remaining question is whether the Cardinal will set an all-time scoring record in the process.

The Bootleg's exclusive projections show the Cardinal finishing with 1,478 points, which would mark its second-highest point total in the Cup's 16-year history. Just as importantly, the all-time record of 1,499 points, set during the 2001-'02 season, is well within reach.

Based upon this fall and winter's results and worst-case projections for the spring, the Cardinal are guaranteed 1,149 points. To put that number in perspective, last year, the top four teams received 1,455 (Stanford), 1,184 (), 1,172 and 1,137 points, respectively, suggesting that this year's Card will place no worse than a tight third. However, even a nightmarish spring may be enough for the victory this year, as four of the five programs closest to the Cardinal in the current standings are from cold-weather schools, and are therefore likely to fade during the spring.

How the numbers work:

Each spring-sport squad is assumed to finish at its current ranking, and points are awarded according to Directors‘ Cup rules. For our worst-case projections, bracket-sport teams are projected to finish two rounds earlier than their seeding would suggest, and other teams are projected to finish with a final ranking twice their current ranking. (No. 3 men's golf's worst-case scenario was further downgraded to No. 10.)

The points awarded for a given place varies by sport, depending upon how many teams compete in the sport, and whether the sport determines its champion by bracket or not. Each first-place finish is worth 100 points, with points gradually decreasing from there. Only ten teams of each gender may score, meaning that for many worst-case projections, the team in question will not count toward the final standings. (Schools may count co-ed fencing in whatever gender category maximizes their scoring, so for Stanford fencing counts with the men.)

Notes of interest
* The maximum possible score is 2,000, meaning that were Stanford to slightly exceed expectations, hit 1,500 and set the all-time record in the process, they will have scored greater than 75 percent of possible points.

* Historical data follow. Yearly winning scores show that, while the first six years' scores were lower, point totals have remained relatively consistent for the past ten years (even though factors such as scoring structure, number of competing teams, number of Stanford teams and number of sports have changed slightly). Therefore, an all-time record performance would suggest that, at least by these criteria, Stanford sports will have enjoyed their best season since 1999-'00.

* With men's football, basketball, golf and volleyball on the upswing, and Stanford typically leaving more points on the table in men's sports than women's, one would expect that, even if the 1,500-point barrier is not cracked this year, the Cardinal will break through that mark in an upcoming season.

Our projections:
Spring sports are listed in italics, along with their current rank or seeding, projected points, and worst-case finish and points.

1. Water polo 100 (worst: 4th, 55)
Basketball 2 (90)
Swimming 2 (90)
Soccer 2 (90)
Gymnastics 4 (80)
8. Tennis 73 (worst: doesn't count)

Volleyball T9 (64)
14. Softball 64 (worst: doesn't count)
6. Rowing* 63 (worst: doesn't count)
17. Golf* 57 (worst: doesn't count)
20. Outdoor track* 54 (worst: 40th, 34)

Cross country 16 (42)
Indoor track 45 (29)
Field hockey T9 (25)
(Seed: 16/17 play-in). Lacrosse 25 (worst: doesn't count)

Projected: 761

Worst-case: 599


(Seed: 1). Volleyball 100 (worst: 4th, 25)
Gymnastics 2 (90)
3. Golf* 85 (worst: 10th, 67.5)

Swimming 4 (80)
8. Tennis 73 (worst: out in 1st round, 25)

Soccer 9 (64)
Fencing 9 (63)
Cross country 10 (60)
22. Outdoor track* 52 (worst: 44th, 30)
22. Baseball 50 (worst: doesn't count)

Wrestling 28 (45.5)
Football 44 (25)
Indoor track 47 (24.5)
Projected: 717

Worst-case: 550

Projected: 1,478
Worst-case: 1,149

2008 Standings:

1. Stanford 1,455
2. North Carolina 1,184
3. Florida 1,172
4. Southern California 1,137

Previous No. 1 finishes (by Stanford, unless noted)
2008-09: 1,455
2007-08: 1,461
2006-07: 1,429
2005-06: 1,197
2004-05: 1,239
2003-04: 1,337
2002-03: 1,421
2001-02: 1,499
2000-01: 1,359
1999-00: 1,360
1998-99: 970
1997-98: 1,010
1996-97: 1,085
1995-96: 962
1994-95: 972
1993-94: 807 (North Carolina; No. 2 Stanford: 787)

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