Conference Championship Update

The four big conferences — the Pac-12, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC — all finish up their championship meets today. I’ve taken a look at how two of the closest meets are likely to shake out.

Pac-12

Meet website | Schedule | Live results
The men’s side of this meet is going to be a tight battle, and it now looks to be more or less a toss-up between Oregon and Arizona State. I used the Eugene Register-Guard’s formcharts, updated them with yesterday’s results, and this is what I get:

Oregon 124
Arizona State 120.5
Arizona 99
UCLA 88
Stanford 86
Southern Cal 75

Basically, the meet is between Oregon and Arizona State, and whichever team has its athletes perform closest to their abilities (and makes the fewest mistakes) will win.

As an aside, after UCLA beat USC in its annual dual meet, I saw a lot of Trojan fans saying “doesn’t matter, we’ll beat them at Pac-12 and nationals”. So far, it doesn’t look likely for the first half of that statement. Note that four of the top five teams all won their annual dual/tri/quad meet, and took it reasonably seriously. It appears that competing to win scored meets, especially duals, makes a team battle-hardened and less likely to flop. You can get it out of national championship meets–Oregon’s women and both Texas A&M teams have become tough as nails this way–but 99.9% of college teams will not be at the top for multiple years in a row. I think there’s a lot of truth to the meme of “learning how to win”.

On the women’s side, Oregon looks safe to defend their title, despite the withdrawal of multi-event star Brianne Theisen. Similarly updating the ERG formcharts, here’s what I get:

Oregon 177
Stanford 145
Southern Cal 106
Arizona 98
Arizona State 92

Big Ten

Meet website | Schedule | Live results
The men’s competition in this conference is usually like Big Ten football always is, in that a wide array of teams have a shot at the title but none are likely to make an impact on the national championship.

The Big Ten men’s indoor championship was tremendously close and ended up with Indiana winning in an upset. Here, it looks like Wisconsin has the upper hand. My projected finish:

Wisconsin 132
Indiana 111
Nebraska 105.5
Ohio State 96

The women’s competition looks much, much closer. Ohio State is the defending outdoor champion, and is in the driver’s seat to repeat, but the Buckeyes have no room for error. My projections:

Ohio State 115
Nebraska 109
Illinois 104
Penn State 95

Remember, you can follow all the action at the USTFCCCA’s Conference Championship Central page.

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