How to judge an Athletic Department's success as a whole? By Championships alone? Which team is better, the one who wins one championship and comes in last for 5 years, or the team who never wins a title, but consistently finishes in the top 5?
I looked at every sport recognized by the Big 12 over the last 10 years, to find out which schools had the most consistent success over the whole of their Athletic Department. How did I do this (and, what problems are there in my method)? How did Mizzou do?
1. I took every sport for the last 10 years of the Big 12 and ranked the regular season (or post-season tournaments in the case of sports without a normal regular season), assigning 12 points for 1st place, 11 for 2nd, etc. I used the big12sports.com's record books for the official standings - in most cases, standings included tiebreakers, so I did, too.
2. When a sport with a regular season ALSO had a post-season tournament, I assigned a 10-point bonus for the champion.
3. When a school did not field a team for a season, I assigned them zero points.
4. I totaled the points and ranked teams 1-12 for the decade in each individual points. I also totaled the finishes (without the Championship bonuses) and averaged them to see what each team's average finish was over that time.
5. Taking each sport's rankings, I averaged them and ranked the overall standigns.
1. Should a team that doesn't field a team be penalized more than just not getting a point? That's quite an indictment of the overall health of the department if they can't field a team in a particular sport.
2. What is the value of a post-season tournament championship vs. a regular season tournament? I think it's an appropriate value for a 10-point bonus, but arguments certainly can be made for making them be equal.
3. What about non-conference championships? Should Texas get a bonus for winning the 2005 BCS Championship? Should Missouri get a bonus for making the WCWS the last 2 years? My thought is that when looking at conference comparisons, only conference play should be taken into consideration.
4. Some sports, frankly, are more important than others. A 2nd place finish in Football is a better indicator of your your athletic department's health than a 2nd place finish in Men's Tennis.
5. How should a 3rd place finish in Men's Swimming and Diving compare to a 3rd place finish in Men's Basketball? There are only 3 teams that compete in Men's Swimming and Diving, so, should it be treated as a 12th place finish? Or, is it more important to credit the department with the fact that they fielded a team where most schools don't?
6. The more sports you look at, the more likely you are to have everybody really bunched together and you can't see anything. Except for rare statistical outliers, everyone will be around the same place. Is that a lesson - that most schools bring just as much to the table as all others - or is that a flaw in the method?
Average Regular Season Finish
1. Texas - 4th
2. Nebraska - 5.24
3. Texas A&M - 5.52
4. Oklahoma - 6.33
5. Missouri - 6.38
6. Oklahoma State - 6.95
7. Baylor - 7.43
8. Texas Tech - 7.86
9. Kansas - 8.29
10. Iowa State - 8.48
11. Colorado - 8.57
12. Kansas State - 8.95
Average Rank (including post-season bonus):
1. Texas - 3.38
2. Nebraska - 4.48
3. Texas A&M - 4.67
4. Oklahoma - 6.24
5. Missouri - 6.48
6. Oklahoma State - 6.81
7. Baylor - 7.1
8. Texas Tech - 8.14
9. Iowa State - 8.67
10. Kansas - 8.71
11. Colorado - 8.76
12. Kansas State - 8.81
Thoughts - Wow, Texas has been dominant! Their average placing in 21 sports over the last decade is 4th? A full 1 1/4 place over the 2nd best program. Their worst average finish is 7th in Women's Cross Country, and they don't field 2 sports.
Surprised to see us so close to Oklahoma, they give the impression of being dominant in more sports than they actually are.
Kansas State is really hurt by the fact that they don't field teams in 7 sports. Colorado doesn't field teams in 6 sports. Missouri has only 1 sport (Men's Tennis) that doesn't have a team.