Most conference championships are held this weekend, including all of the top four – the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-10.
It’s the weekend when team competition is the most important item on the menu, a rarity for college track but my favorite thing.
One of the reasons I came up with my college team power rankings is for these conference meets. The USTFCCCA computer rankings compare teams solely on their ability to score at the NCAA championships, which isn’t always the same as the ability to score at a conference or dual meet. I wanted rankings where the top-ranked teams in any meet, regardless of what kind, are the favorites to win. And that’s how it’s worked out so far.
So I’ll reference my own power rankings in each preview.
Oregon is the three-time defending champs, but there is no favorite here. My power rankings have eight of the nine conference members in the top 35, led by #8 Stanford and #11 Oregon. TFN’s pre-meet dope sheet calls for six teams within 24 points of each other. This one is totally up for grabs.
If #15 UCLA manages to pull this one out, as TFN predicts they will, head coach Mike Maynard will no doubt credit his dual-heavy schedule for building team cohesiveness and ability to produce under pressure. I, for one, hope the Bruins win.
Events to watch. The deepest and most competitive events are likely to be the long distances, hurdles and the 400. Stanford could pile up enough points in the former to make them contenders for the title. USC is strong in the 400, with Joey Hughes and Josh Mance. But Oregon’s freshman sensation Michael Berry is capable of pulling off an upset, and that would have major team-title implications.
And in a tight team battle, of course, the concluding 4