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Checking in with Boise State’s progress in the Learfield Director’s Cup

Northwest v Boise State Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

If you have been paying attention, I have checked in every-so-often regarding the Learfield Sports Director's Cup.

As a bit of a reminder: the Director’s cup aims to “[honor] institutions maintaining a broad-based program, achieving success in many sports, both men’s and women’s."

The Director’s Cup is a pretty decent indicator about how well an institution’s athletes do in post-season competition.

As the spring season of sports comes to a close, the good folks at Learfield Sports released a spring set of numbers to update rankings.

And Boise State is still in the thick of the rankings. In the complete order the Broncos have checked in at no. 70.

The points, so far, for the Broncos

Sport Points
Women's Cross Country 66
Men's Cross Country 58.5
Football 45
Women's Gymnastics 59.25
Men's Indoor Track & Field 27.5
Men's Wrestling 31
Women's Track & Field 16

What’s hurting the Broncos is the available points in the spring sports. Of the possible sports that the Broncos could have scored points in the spring (women’s tennis, men’s tennis, beach volleyball, and women’s golf) none of those teams made it to post-season play. The tennis teams were both victim of conference tournaments, the beach volleyball team didn’t finish with a winning record and no one from women’s golf made it to the NCAAs.

So where does that leave the Broncos?

Surprisingly enough, in ok shape. The top 25 is completely dominated by Power 5 schools. BYU is ranked 27 and Princeton (they definitely have their own money) is 35.

For being a “nerd” school Stanford churns out some quality athletes and teams in the Olympic sports. They are consistent leaders of this cup and of the more obscure sports (yes, women’s water polo and rowing, I am looking at you). I guess it does not hurt to have boatloads of money, donors, and assets at your disposal.

Boise State represents quite well for the limited budget, endowment, and the stigma of a “commuter” school.

How does Boise State compare to the Mountain West Conference?

Good. Pretty good actually. The Broncos are third to Air Force, the highest MWC school, who clocks in at no. 52. They have some really good athletes (I mean, they should be in decent shape, they are in the military) and they also have the benefit of sheer numbers. The Air Force men participate in 17—SEVENTEEN—varsity sports. That's just the men! As a comparison, the Broncos have 18 TOTAL varsity sports between both the men and women. The Air Force women participate in ten sports.

And New Mexico (66) is second in the Mountain West.

The Director's Cup only includes 20 sports in the rankings, but when you are participating in almost every sport available, the pool for points is pretty wide.

The total rankings for the MWC (no Hawaii as Learfield grouped them with the Big West):

  • 52. Air Force
  • 66. New Mexico
  • 70. Boise State
  • 84. San Diego State
  • 112. Colorado State
  • 113. UNLV
  • 141. San Jose State
  • 156. Nevada
  • 189. Wyoming
  • 191. Utah State
  • 196. Fresno State

In terms of post-season production, and success, Boise State does mighty well for itself.

So how does Boise State compare with the rest of the Group of 5?

Again, better than you think. BYU is 27. That can’t be helped. They do have a pretty big resource of their own.

And the rest?

Boise State would be third in the American to no. 58 UCONN and 65 South Florida.

Houston? No. 73. Boise State is squeaking by them.

Memphis is 174.

No one else of note is close.

How about the Power 5 schools?

Boise State would be 14th in the AAC. Last in the Big 12 with Kansas State at 68. 14th in the Big Ten, ahead of Rutgers (80). 11th in the Pac-12. Last in the SEC just behind Vanderbilt at 61.

To be expected really. Money is going to be the impetus to getting higher scores. These schools have a lot of it. Boise State, not as much.


While the Broncos didn’t manage to get points that they had last year (men’s and women’s basketball, men’s tennis, etc). So that hurt the Broncos in a few areas. As a reference for where the Broncos were kind of hurt, you can check the final scores from last year. Which Boise State finished, wait for it, 64th. Seems to be the comfort zone for the Broncos.

Your turn

How do you feel about the year-in-sports for the Broncos? Expecting more? Less? There were some surprising ups (Allie Ostrander, Volleyball was this close to making the NCAAs, Women’s Gymnastics undefeated regular season), and some pretty big downs (men’s basketball, wrestling). As the curtain draws on this year, are we cautiously optimistic for next year? Or should we temper them?