You're sitting at a bar with a few buddies, discussing how well your favorite Big Ten school performed in its athletic endeavors this last year. One of you makes the case that your school is one of the top 5 athletic programs in the conference, for sure, and DEFINITELY better than a particular university in the conference. Unbeknownst to you, at that very moment a fan of that university walks by and overhears.
"Now hold up," he says. "We beat you in this one sport, and finished above you in this other sport! How in the world can you say you have a better athletic program than us?"
Maybe he's a Maryland fan, only aware of basketball and lacrosse and ignorant to everything else. Maybe he's a pompous blowhard from Michigan, crowing about Jim Harbaugh and probably their music conservatory or business school ranking or something similarly unrelated. Or maybe he's from Rutgers and he's simply delusional. You need to prove him wrong. But how?
The B1G All-Sport Standings (B1GASS) Cup is how.
Here at OTE, we believe that being a well-rounded, successful Big Ten athletic department is a B1GASS deal. That's why we've immortalized Commissioner Jim "Consider Them Rolled" Delany in the prestigious B1GASS Cup, awarded to the best overall athletic department for the prior academic year.
Numbers/Methodology (big change!)
A quick refresher on the numbers and methodology: as always, the standings shown below are the final REGULAR SEASON standings for each sport--no conference championships are included (unless the conference tournament is the official way to determine standings, like gymnastics or track). Only sports sponsored by the Big Ten are included.
B1GASS Points (Points): This is a new metric. First place in each sport receives 14 points (equal to the number of schools in the conference). Last place (including ties for last place) in each sport receives 1 point. Everyone else receives a proportional number of points, evenly spaced between 1 and 14, according the number of schools that participate in that sport and their final ranking. If a school doesn't participate in a sport, they receive 0 points.
Conference standing percentage (CS%): First place in every sport receives a 1, last place receives a 0, and everyone else is evenly spaced in between based on the number of schools participating in that sport, thus determining the percentile for each individual team. A school's overall CS% is the average of each of these percentiles for each of their sports.
Starting this year, final B1GASS results will be determined using Points. (Previous years' final results have been determined by CS%). Both metrics reward success; the difference between the two is, in a nutshell, that Points rewards a school for participating in more sports, while CS% shows how well an athletic department performed relative to their potential, regardless of the number of sports they participate in.
Based on the 2016-2017 conference standings in all sports, the winner of the 2017 B1GASS Cup is...
The Buckeyes of The Ohio State University!
Final results are below:
The Little 4
Implicit in the name "Big Ten" for a fourteen-team conference is that four of us aren't quite so big. Despite changing scoring metrics, three of last year's Little 4 remain the same, with only two-time Little 4 member Iowa graduating to Big status. That means that the Terrapins and Spartans are back for the second year in a row, while Rutgers (shocker!) is here for the third year in a row. Congratulations to Maryland, Northwestern, Michigan State and Rutgers--you're this year's worst athletic programs in the B1G!
- Ohio State, despite a slight decrease in points from last year, wins its second B1GASS Cup. Ohio State also finished first in CS%.
- Wisconsin rocketed all the way up to 2nd from 7th in CS%, but remains a distant 5th in points, suggesting that their individual programs are performing very well overall but the athletic department will ultimately need to add programs to make up ground.
- Michigan State had continued its slide into the abyss, registering the worst-yet CS% by any school not named Rutgers and finishing 13th in points. Of MSU's 25 programs, 14 finished in the bottom third and 6 finished in last. What's happening in East Lansing? Is Mark Hollis simply funneling money to football and basketball at the expense of everything else, or are there some larger structural problems with that athletic department?
- Maryland continues their pattern of being either very good or very bad with little middle ground in between. Of their 20 programs, 8 finished in the top third of the conference, and 5 of those were first place; on the other end, 9 of those 20 finished in the bottom third of the conference, with 5 in last place.
- Rutgers... oh lordy. The irony here is that the B1GASS Cup sprouted out of an internet pissing match about whether or not Rutgers was actually bad in its first season in the conference, and the numbers have left no doubt ever since. This was by far RU's worst season since joining the conference, finishing with a whopping total of 59 points, or 2.5 points for every sport they play--the equivalent of finishing 12.5 out of 14 across the board. In three years, they have yet to finish in first place in any sport. Out of their 23 sports, only 1 program finished in the top third of the conference, and a full 19 OUT OF 23 finished in the BOTTOM THIRD. Over half (12/23) of their programs finished in DEAD LAST. They finished more than two standard deviations below the mean in Points, and nearly three standard deviations below the mean in CS%. By definition there's really very little room for Rutgers to get worse, so one would think this has to be rock bottom... right?
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:
Maryland (2): Men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse
Ohio State (2): Men's volleyball, synchronized swimming
Penn State (1): Wrestling
Is Rutgers Still Bad?
Let's just say this daring Scarlet Knight entering stage right is a perfect metaphor for Rutgers's first three seasons in the Big Ten.
Bonus: A Look At 2016 Finances
The feds take their time releasing financial data for the previous academic year, but the numbers are finally out and crunched. I took the total athletic expenses reported by the schools, and subtracted expenses for all sports not sponsored by the Big Ten to get B1G Expenses. Bang for the Buck is (Points)/(normalized B1G Expenses).
(Edit: to clarify, this is for LAST YEAR's B1GASS Cup. Match these results with the 2016 Cup data.)
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