Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cup Update

By 6:00 this morning, TigerBlog had already received a text message, a voicemail and an email from TigerBlog Jr. and Little Miss TigerBlog's school district saying that today would in fact be a snow day.

Back when TigerBlog was a kid, none of those mechanisms for notification were in place. Instead, TB would have to listen to the radio or see an early version of a crawl on the bottom of the screen on television, hoping to hear that his school was closed.

It was such a hopeful moment, waiting to see if it'd be a free day or, crushingly, if school was in fact still on.

There's nothing like a snow day for a kid. For starters, you can't count on it, so you have to have all of your homework done in advance of knowing that school is off. As a result, it's a day devoted completely to play, and with the bonus of having freshly fallen snow all around you.

When you're little, that means things like snowmen and sledding and very little time outside before you get too cold, so you come inside for hot chocolate and TV. Of course, going from outside to inside requires putting on layers and boots and gloves and hats and scarves, and coming from outside to inside means the reverse, only everything is wet.

And then it's impossible to come inside without getting some of the snow all over the floor, something guaranteed to set any parent off.

As you get older, you graduate to helping shovel and then eventually having to shovel on your own. The trade-off is playing football in the snow, which makes the shoveling worth it.

TigerBlog first heard about this most recent snow from Chuck, the guy at the gas station, who said last week that we were getting snow on Tuesday and that it could be bad. How bad, TB asked? At least 10 inches and, if the worst-case scenario plays out, as much as three feet.

TB was hoping for less, but it appears that about 10 inches of so fell in the Princeton area. This time, though, it was the really light snow, the kind that's easy to shovel.

December, of course, means the holidays and ultimately the end of the year. February can offer a warm day or two here or there, as well as the start of lacrosse season (Feb. 26, Princeton at Hofstra, is a mere 45 days away).

January, though, is nothing but winter. According to the nice lady across the street, the Farmers' Almanac said that this would be a very mild winter, though so far that has hardly been the case. The 10-day forecast for Princeton shows that the temperature will never make it out of the 30s, and on four of the 10 days, it won't make it out of the 20s.

Autumn officially ended nearly a month ago, but not for the Learfield Directors' Cup standings.

Nope, the fall ended today for the people who track the Directors' Cup, and it ended with Princeton in 25th place in Division I.

The Directors' Cup uses NCAA championship placings to determine the best overall athletic program in Division I, II and III for the course of an academic year. Stanford, with 399 points, is in first place after the fall, and if history is any judge, the Cardinal are there to stay, as the school has won 16 of the 17 Cups awarded.

Princeton isn't competing for first place overall but instead to consistently place in the 30s, 40s or 50s. In the 17 years that the Cup has been awarded, Princeton has finished in the top 50 14 times and the top 40 12 times. There have been five Top 30 finishes, with an all-time best of 21st in 2001-02.

Princeton received points for the fall in men's soccer, field hockey and men's and women's cross country.

TigerBlog is always fascinated by the schools that finish directly ahead of and below Princeton, which after the fall looks like this:

21. Louisville
22. Indiana
23. New Mexico
24. UCLA
25. Princeton
26. Michigan State
27. Auburn/Florida
29. Boston College
30. Minnesota

New Mexico, who earned big points in both cross countries and additional points in both soccers and women's volleyball, is the highest non-BCS conference school. Princeton is second, and the next are Tulsa, Central Florida and William & Mary at 34, 35 and 36.

In other words, there are all kinds of schools out there competing for the top spots in this competition.

The fact that Princeton consistently ranks so high - and finished this fall at 25th - is nothing short of remarkable.

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