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How Does FIU Compare to Its Conference USA Peers? (Part 2)

Not well, actually.

In the previous post, I laid out and ranked the records/accomplishments of Conference USA's schools since FIU entered in 2013 in football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and a wild card sport which has to be a sport in which FIU also fields a team.

It's an imperfect system, not as good as other imperfect systems (democracy, the jury system) and better than others (South Florida mass transit, Disney XD programming). Stronger athletic programs don't get complete credit for their depth while schools with teams failing to make conference tournaments don't get penalized enough.

But, this system provides a serviceable frame of reference. Much like those who use analytics in scouting, I provided a points system for totaling up the results in the previous post. I went simple, NASCAR-style -- 14 points for first, 13 for second and so on. To put greater emphasis on conference play, how you fare against your equals on roughly the same schedule, I gave 1.5 points per position instead of 1.0 -- 21 points for first, 19.5 for second, 18 for third, etc. Past general columns of mine criticized NASCAR's points system for not making wins worth more in relation to second. Here, as explained in the previous post, conference champions shoot to the top of the list, so that's where you get extra points for winning big.

  1. Western Kentucky -- 119 points. In Western's one and a half seasons since following the Great Sun Belt Migration of 2013 a year later, the Hilltoppers overwhelmed their new conference mates for titles in football, women's basketball and volleyball.
  2. Middle Tennessee State -- 113. In baseball and football, Middle's conference success exceeded its non-conference record (indicating its non-conference cupcake diet is light).
  3. Old Dominion -- 102. Nobody spends more money in Conference USA. It shows in the facilities. And, apparently, the results.
  4. UAB -- 91.5. This list looks very different with a 2015 UAB football season.
  5. Rice -- 88. That conference title football season and baseball's annual excellence lifted an athletic program that otherwise looks like that of an expensive private school with overcrowded high school's enrollment.
  6. Lousiana Tech -- 84.5. All the athletes in that state, all the resources devoted to sports and only football and men's basketball roll strongly. If you get only two sports going, those are the two, but this surprised me...
  7. UTEP -- 84. The sports in which the school made national history -- men's basketball and track/cross country -- propelled it here even without one standard engine (baseball).
  8. Southern Mississippi -- 81. Would've been third with 98.5 points without being put at the bottom of men's basketball for two years of self-imposed postseason bans for significant NCAA violations. Low APR, which dinged FIU, is one thing. This isn't even doing work for student-athletes, something some Power Five schools deploy armies of "academic tutors" to do. This was doing work for recruits.
  9. UTSA -- 80. Without non-conference baseball and men's track, the Roadrunners wouldn't be going "beep beep" but "beeeep...beeeep...beeep" like a Wide Load backing up in the standings.
  10. Marshall -- 75. You thought they'd be higher, right? They can get football players to come to Huntington, especially from areas that make Huntington seem like Hawaii. Can't seem to pull that with anybody else, however.
  11. FIU -- 65. Football and women's basketball buried FIU. The baseball program's 2015 conference tournament championship spared World's Ahead's athletic department from a butt view of everybody except North Texas -- which doesn't have baseball, thus got no points in either baseball category.
  12. Charlotte -- 59.5. Futbol succeeded, football doomed in the 49ers return to Conference USA. 
  13. Florida Atlantic -- 58.5. Like its South Florida counterpart, FAU's baseball couldn't undo the damage done by talented messes that are the football and men's basketball programs.
  14. North Texas -- 45. Other that one bowl season and a women's soccer conference title, this is The Denton Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (unless it's to hit their own feet).

 

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