1,500 & great: 16th Learfield Sports Cup!

With Stanford's baseball, softball and track seasons now over, the Cardinal's 2009-2010 season is in the books. Led by seven top-two finishes (five from women), ten top-four finishes (seven from women) and 17 top-10 finishes, the Cardinal surged through the finish line of their 16th straight Learfield Sports Directors' Cup title to capture an all-time points record in the process.

2,000 points are theoretically possible given the current Learfield Sports Directors' Cup scoring structure. Seeing as that would require 20 national titles in a single season, Stanford can be mighty pleased with its 2009-2010 unofficial total of 1,508.5, easily its 16th straight, and more impressively yet, an all-time record.

Numbers can't talk, but these numbers send a message loud and clear: Stanford Athletics have never been stronger. Every school has its share of alums talking about the halcyon days of yore, and this very recent alum is no stranger to a bellyache or two, but folks, remove the blinders of personal experience: Objectively, these are the halcyon days!

Better yet, there's still room for growth. Note that Stanford's two most popular sports, men's basketball and football, did not count toward this record-setting total, and both sports appear to have their brightest days in the future, with basketball having just signed a top-15 class and football regularly signing top-25 classes.

As far as breaking this record, it's near-impossible to see the women do better than five top-two and seven top-four finishes, so consider their 800 points a high-water mark. (Sure, turning some runner-up finishes into national championships would be sweet – and help reel in UCLA in the national title chase -- but the ten points per sport have only a small effect on the standings.) Should they hope to match 800, the men will need tenth-place sports like tennis, soccer and cross country to take a cue from their respective women's squads and return to their traditional position of top-three sports. It would also be a very healthy sign if basketball and football, the two sports 90 percent of college sports fans care about most, perform well enough to count in the final standings, which would likely require men's basketball to advance to at least the Sweet 16 and football to finish nationally ranked.

Such a scenario creates a Stanford sports Valhalla: the women holding steady at their ridiculous level of excellence, men's sports, led by basketball and football, rising to that standard, and finishing with five firsts and two seconds, instead of the other way around. That Stanford would probably finish in the 1600's in that scenario, not all that far from this year's total (and, indeed, far closer to this year's 1508.5 than Ohio State, this year's likely runner-up) shows just how successful this athletic program is.

So, Stanford sports fans, I know it's not in our DNA, but celebrate. Smile a little. Now more than ever, it truly is all right now on the Farm.

Unofficial totals

Tennis 1 (100)
Water polo 2 (90)
Basketball 2 (90)
Swimming 2 (90)
Soccer 2 (90)
Gymnastics 4 (80)
Rowing 4 (80)
Volleyball T9 (64)
Outdoor track 14 (61.5)
Golf T19 (54)
********CUT LINE********
Cross country 16 (42)
Indoor track 45 (29)
Softball T33 (25)
Field hockey T9 (25)
Lacrosse T9 (25)
Total: 799.5


Volleyball 1 (100)
Gymnastics 2 (90)
Swimming 4 (80)
Golf T5 (72.75)
Outdoor track T8 (69.75)
Tennis T9 (64)
Soccer T9 (64)
Fencing 9 (63)
Cross country 10 (60)
Wrestling 28 (45.5)
*****CUT LINE******
Baseball T33 (25)
Football 44 (25)
Indoor track 47 (24.5)
Total: 709

Total: 1,508.5

(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.)

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