The oldest track & field blog on the internet

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Conference Meets I Want To See

I can't be everywhere at once.  And as much as I try to minimize them, I do have other responsibilities besides going to meets.  So I can't even go to one conference cross country championship this weekend, let alone multiple meets.

If I could be at several places at once, though, where would I go?  Here's my rundown.

5. Mid-American (hosted by Western Michigan on Saturday)
There are no ranked teams in this meet, and only one--Toledo's women--have much chance of getting an NCAA Championships at-large bid.  But it's the conference in which I ran, and this meet always has meaning to me.

4. ACC (hosted by Boston College on Saturday)
#3 Florida State should win the women's title, as no other team is in the national top ten.  The men's side should be closer, as #8 Florida State faces #14 Duke, #16 NC State,  and #19 Virginia.  In terms of number of ranked teams, this is the deepest conference in the country, with 11 between the men and the women.  The Blue Devils are led by a former Toledo-area hero named Bo Waggoner, which is another reason why I want to see this one.

3.  Big XII (hosted by Oklahoma on Saturday)
#2 Oklahoma State is expected to win the men's title fairly easily.  We'll find out if #5 Oklahoma is for real, and if #9 Colorado is going to be a late-season factor or not.  On the women's side, #4 Texas Tech may get a challenge from #7 Colorado.

2.  Pac-10 (hosted by Washington on Saturday)
On the women's side, you have #2 Oregon against #6 Arizona.  It shouldn't be all that close.  On the men's side, however, you have two legitimate NCAA championship contenders in #1 Stanford and #3 Oregon.  It should be a war.  Flotrack will have live coverage beginning at 12:30 PM...which I'll miss because my team will be in transit to a meet.

#1. Big Ten (hosted by Wisconsin on Sunday)
There are a lot of reasons I want to see the Big Ten meet more than any other.  I live in the Rust Belt, so the Big Ten has always been the major local conference for me.  Also, both races should be very close: #16 Michigan State versus #19 Minnesota and #21 Michigan in the women's race, and #7 Indiana versus the home #6 Wisconsin for the men.

Besides that, the Big Ten has decided to make cross country a major sport in a way no other major conference has.  Last year the races were carried on the Big Ten Network (no word yet on this year), making them the only non-national-championship cross country meet available on a widely-avaible cable TV channel.  They hold the meet to Sunday, allowing local high school athletes and coaches who are busy on Saturday to travel and watch the "big boys" run.  And Wisconsin put some coin into a permanent cross-country course like the one at Indiana State--the only such course I know of outside the Missouri Valley Conference.

I'll miss it.  I wish I could go out and see the Badger fans run around in red-and-white overalls.  I doubt there will be a crowd like it at any other D-I championship meet.

No comments: