B1GASS Cup 2016

Some of the Big Ten's best athletic departments don't get the recognition they deserve if they don't happen to be good at football or basketball in a given year, and some of our worst athletic departments give off the impression of success with nothing but football and basketball victories. But here at OTE we believe being a well-rounded, successful Big Ten athletic department is a B1GASS deal. That's why we've immortalized our Fearless Leader Jim "Consider Them Rolled" Delany in the prestigious Big Ten All-Sport Standings Cup (otherwise known as the B1GASS Cup), which is awarded to the best overall athletic department for the prior academic year.


(h/t LincolnParkWildcat)

A refresher on the numbers: Based on the final conference standings in each sport, each individual program's performance percentile is determined (first place receives a 1, last place receives a 0, everyone else is evenly spaced in between based on number of schools participating in that sport). A school's CS% is the average of each of these percentiles for each of their sports.

Conference standing percentage (CS%) measures how well each athletic department performed overall against their conference peers, but does not take into account how many or how few different sports a school sponsors. I prefer this as the scoring standard, and thus this is how final B1GASS rankings are determined. However, some people prefer to see some sort of a penalty for schools that sponsor fewer sports, or a reward for schools that sponsor more. Weighted conference standing percentage (WCS%) takes that into account by multiplying the final CS% by the number of sports a school sponsors.

Final Results


Based on the 2015-2016 conference results in all sports, the winner of the 2016 B1GASS Cup is...


"Jim, please at least put a shirt on for the trophy presentation. ...Jim? JIM, FERCHRISSAKES." (h/t LincolnParkWildcat)

...not what anyone wanted to see: the University of Michigan Wolverines.

Final standings are below:


Again this year, four tiers emerge from this data:

Tier 4: The Untouchable (#14)

14. Rutgers


Not Kevin Costner/Sean Connery Untouchable. Don't-go-near-them untouchable.

Tier 3: Really Not Good

13. Michigan State
12. Iowa
11. Maryland
10. Illinois

Tier 2: The Solid Middle (#4-9)

9. Nebraska
8. Purdue
7. Wisconsin
6. Indiana
5. Northwestern
4. Penn State

Tier 1: The B1G Boys (#1-3)

3. Minnesota
2. Ohio State
1. Michigan

Year-to-year Trends

For ease of comparison, this year's final rankings, CS%, and WCS% are shown below compared to last year.




The Little 4

Implicit in the name "Big Ten" for a fourteen-team conference is that four of us aren't quite so big. There's a few new faces in the Little 4 this year, as Indiana and Purdue have claimed a spot at the Adults' Table, thereby relegating Maryland and Michigan State down to the bottom of the group along with Iowa and Rutgers, who decided they were quite comfortable staying at the kids table for another year eating hot dogs and juiceboxes instead of steak and beer. Congratulations to the Terrapins, Hawkeyes, Spartans and Knights, you're this year's worst athletic programs in the B1G!

B1GASS Notes

  • Michigan set a new record for best CS% at .692, beating the previous record of .660 set last year by Ohio State. We don't have enough historical data to know yet, but I expect that .692 will be a very difficult mark to beat.
  • Ohio State actually improved significantly on their Cup-winning .660 CS% from last year, yet still fell to 2nd place due to a large year-to-year jump by the Wolverines.
  • Minnesota is the only school even close to keeping up with OSU and Michigan, and though they're definitely a step down from those two, it's a small step.
  • The good news for Rutgers fans: there was significant improvement from last season! The bad news: Rutgers remains more than 2 whole standard deviations below 13th place, has yet to finish in 1st place in any sport, had the fewest top-1/3 finishes of any school, and finished more frequently in dead last than they did in the top 2/3 of the conference.
  • State of Indiana Uprising: Indiana and Purdue showed such drastic improvement this year that they both improved from being Rutgers's closest competitors (okay, it wasn't that close, but still) to firmly in the conference's second tier. Indiana was the biggest climber this year with a 7-spot jump from #13 to #6, while Purdue had a respectable climb of their own from #12 to #8.
  • Purdue's athletic department performed better than Nebraska's. That's.... shocking.
  • Illinois had the largest fall from last year, dropping 6 spots from #4 to #10, and just barely avoiding Little 4 status by .004 points. We can't declare trends or anomalies from only two data points, but I'm very interested to see whether Illinois will be closer to last year or this year over the long run.
  • What in the world is going on with Michigan State? Maybe this is a blip, but for all the growth that has happened in MSU's high-profile sports over the last decade, I never would have expected to see them be the second worst team in the conference.
  • Look at feisty little Northwestern, who's sitting all the way up at 5th!
  • Maryland hit the B1G sophomore slump. After finishing solidly (if unspectacularly) in the middle of the pack in their debut Big Ten season, they fell back to Tier 3 at #11 this season. The Terrapins are another school I'll be very interested in seeing how they trend over time.
  • Ohio State, Minnesota and Northwestern all finished the season without a single team finishing in last place. On the other hand, Purdue, Michigan State and Rutgers all finished the season without a single team finishing in first. This means that although it has been 71 years since the University of Chicago Maroons left the conference, they still have more conference titles than Purdue.

B1G National Champions

National championships do not factor into the B1GASS Cup in any way, but while we're here recognizing the performance of every program for every school in the conference, lets' give credit where credit is due. B1GASS Bonus Points (worth nothing) are awarded to the following title-winning programs:

Minnesota: W ice hockey

Nebraska: W volleyball

Ohio State: pistol, M volleyball

Penn State: wrestling, W soccer

Is Rutgers Bad?


[One final note: I waited a while to post this because I wanted to include financial numbers in this post, but the feds haven't put data for 2015-2016 on the website yet and I got tired of waiting. Whenever that data becomes available, I'll crunch some numbers and put up a new post.]

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