Directors' Cupdate: Chase for the record

Three weeks ago, The Bootleg's projections had Stanford finishing with 1,478 points, just shy of the all-time Directors' Cup record of 1,499 points, set by yours truly in the 2001-'02 season. Since, men's and women's tennis, women's softball, men's and women's golf, women's lacrosse, men's volleyball and women's water polo have played in the postseason. Is the all-time record still within reach?

With the Directors' Cup mathematically clinched, our attention turns now to hitting 1,500 points and thus breaking the NCAA record of 1,499. Can Stanford get there? We projected the Card would finish with 1,478 three weeks ago. We've updated with a slew of results in sports which have finished and the most current results and polls in other sports, and below is where we stand.

Our projections:
Ongoing sports are underlined, along with their current rank or status and projected points.

Women's:
Water polo 2 (90)
Basketball 2 (90)
Swimming 2 (90)
Soccer 2 (90)
Tennis (Plays in Final Four on Monday, 83)

Gymnastics 4 (80)
Volleyball T9 (64)
6. Rowing (63)
19. Outdoor track (55)

Golf T19 (54)
********CUT LINE********
Cross country 16 (42)
Indoor track 45 (29)
Softball T33 (25)
Field hockey T9 (25)
Lacrosse T9 (25)
Projected: 759


Men's:

Volleyball 1 (100)
Gymnastics 2 (90)
3. Golf (85)

Swimming 4 (80)
Tennis T9 (64)
Soccer T9 (64)
Fencing 9 (63)
14. Outdoor track (61.5)

Cross country 10 (60)
30. Baseball (50)

*****CUT LINE******
Wrestling 28 (45.5)
Football 44 (25)
Indoor track 47 (24.5)
Projected: 717.5


Projected Total: 1,476.5

(The top-ten sports count for each gender, with fencing counting wherever it maximizes a team's points. Stanford will have more than ten scoring sports in each gender, hence the cut lines you see. For more details, see the official website.)

Since our last update, Stanford's projected total has barely budged: from 1,478 to 1,476.5. On the downside, then-No. 1 women's water polo finished second and thus received 90 points instead of 100, while men's tennis also underperformed its ranking by only reaching the Round of 16. However, those disappointments were largely offset by men's and women's outdoor track climbing in the polls (and thus our projected finish), and No. 8 women's tennis making the Final Four, in which they'll play Monday.

All told though, Stanford is simply treading water in terms of its projected total, which obviously won't be good enough if they're to reach 1,500 points. The Cardinal had opportunities to pick up extra points were either men's tennis or softball to make a deep postseason run, and that neither team did hurts: softball left 50 points on the table and men's tennis left 36. Both numbers are obviously greater than the 23 points the Card currently need.

So what now? Well, first of all, 1476.5 would be the second-best total of all-time, our best since the 2001-'02 record. Nothing to scoff at, and with men's volleyball coming through to move our national title streak to 34 and counting, it's a darn solid season across Stanford Athletics.

That answer is only half-satisfying at best, however, for the Stanford fan far too used to coming up second in a year of missed opportunities. Women's water polo, women's swimming, women's basketball, women's soccer, men's gymnastics… and now we have to take second all-time too?

Well, maybe not. We now need to outperform expectations by 23 points, which would put us at 1499.5, for the record. How do we get there?

Sears Cup scoring is graduated: the difference between first and sixth is greater than the difference between sixth and 11th. The relevance for Stanford fans, unfortunately, is that our outdoor track teams, both men's and women's, simply don't have the sprinters to realistically compete for a top-ten finish. So maybe they'll slightly outperform their current rankings of No. 14 and No. 19 and pick up a few points, but with the graduated scoring system, that's it.

There are four other remaining sports: women's tennis, men's golf, baseball and women's rowing. Men's golf is projected to take 85 points with a third-place finish, so they could cut the deficit to eight by winning outright. Similarly, women's tennis has already gone a round further than predicted, and will receive 83 points for their Final Four trip. The additional 17 points they could gain by winning outright (which certainly looks doable after the women solidly handled No. 1 Baylor) would put this year's Cardinal within six points of the all-time record. Women's tennis and men's golf don't have the upside to set a Directors' Cup scoring record by themselves, but if both teams keep winning, Stanford will be mighty close to 1,500 points.

Meanwhile, women's rowing is currently projected to finish sixth, which is 37 points worse than first, and baseball current projected out in the Round of 32 (i.e. the last team eliminated in the four-team, first-round Regional), which is worth 50 of 100 possible points. Were the other outstanding sports to perform to seed, rowing repeating last year's first-place finish would pick up 37 points for an overall finish of 1,514. Baseball making the Super Regional would pick up 25 points, just barely enough were everything else to go exactly to plan, while winning the Super Regional to make the College World Series would be a 33-point pickup, with any wins in Omaha only adding to the point total.

The bottom line? Stanford has clinched its 16th straight Directors' Cup, and is currently on pace to finish with the second-highest point total of all time – 1,476.5 points as of Sunday, May 23. The last few weeks, softball, men's tennis and women's water polo each underperformed compared to their seeding, hurting the Cardinal cause. Still, the Card have plenty of ways to get to 1,500. Most directly, a surprisingly strong finish from either baseball or rowing could be enough to put Stanford over the top. Alternatively, women's tennis and men's golf don't have the upside by themselves to pick up the necessary 23 more points than our expectations, but both sports closing strong could be enough to shatter the 1,500-point ceiling.


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