So I was thinking the other day and wondering. People talk about how their program has "fallen behind" and is "not successful." Others around the conference say that their program is the "class of the conference."
This caused me to think a little bit and I began wondering. If you were a senior on a campus of a SoCon school right now, what would your experience with your team be?
The best way to compare schools is in their SoCon record, division titles (claimed by the #1 seed from each division in the conference tournament), tournament championship game appearances, and and tournament championships. Records are through Sunday night.
So here's the chart by division, and then the breakdown follows.
1) Western Carolina 35-23 (1 division title, 1 conference championship game appearance)
2) Appalachian State 32-25 (1 division title, 1 conference championship game appearance)
3) Chattanooga 25-33
4) UNCG 23-34 (1 division title)
5) Elon 22-35
6) Samford 20-38
1) Wofford 42-15 (1 division title, 2 conference championship game appearances, 2 conference titles)
2t) College of Charleston 41-17 (1 division title, 1 conference championship game appearance)
2t) Davidson 41-17(1 division title, 1 conference championship game appearance, 1 conference title)
4) Furman 27-30
5) Georgia Southern 19-38
6) The Citadel 18-40
What does this tell you? Well, for one, three schools in the South have been better than any school from the North. Over the last four years, it is pretty easy to say that Wofford has been the best team to date, but Davidson is behind just 1.5 games in the SoCon standings, and if the Wildcats fulfill their apparent destiny and win the SoCon title this year, they would have more division titles, and just as many conference titles during that stretch, and if the Wilcats gain the game and a half on Wofford in the standings, the Terriers would clearly fall behind Davidson.
College of Charleston, if they are somehow able to beat out Davidson and gain that much ground on Wofford, would also have a claim to the top spot.
But that's it. No other school is really even close, particularly in the South. Furman is pretty well locked in in the South Division to the fourth spot, while Georgia Southern and The Citadel are battling for the honor of being the worst team in the division over the last three plus years. The Eagles appear to be ahead of the Bulldogs right now and appear to be on their way to finishing ahead of them for the year.
In the North, things are murkier, but looking better and better for Western Carolina. They are the current leader in the clubhouse in the North, and are already slightly ahead of Appalachian State. If the Mountaineers keep up their turnaround, there is a chance that they could pass Western Carolina by season's end.
Chattanooga is clinging to a small lead over UNCG in terms of wins and losses, but the Spartans did win a division title, and the Mocs have not won a title (meaning a #1 seed in the tournament- they did tie for one division title). So a case could be made that the Spartans are the better overall program right now than the Mocs. At least for now.
Elon and Samford are not exactly light years behind the Spartans and Mocs either. The Phoenix and Bulldogs could catch the Mocs and Spartans for the third best program by the end of the year if the programs continue to produce.
I will look back at this again as the season progresses, because I think it it is interesting, and provides another layer to what is on the line as the season continues.