Ah, yes, the prestige pyramid. I came up with this monstrosity some time in the Spring when I was debating college soccer’s “North Carolina Problem” when it comes to measuring the prestige of the collection of programs. Namely that judging programs based on National Titles (or Hell, even conference titles in the ACC) is hard when one program’s one the vast majority of everything there is to win.
I also came up with this after reading a Spring match report where LSU, after playing Texas, called the Longhorns a national power. I mean, look, we love you guys in Baton Rouge, but really? Under what objective measure is Texas a national power in college soccer?
So I basically tried to come up with some mutant form of objective measurement to measure prestige. I think it turned out well, but there are obviously some flaws, caveats, etc.
-This is based on the last five years mostly and in the last ten on the top few levels. Why? Because besides the hideous kits and bodacious hair, the game’s changed a whole lot over the past decade. Go watch an average game from 2001. A good deal of it is just plain unwatchable beyond the very top level. And times change. George Mason won a national title way back when, but nobody is confusing them with a national power these days. That and the math was time consuming enough for five years. You think I’m going to calculate TEN years of data? Maybe when we get interns or PAs here at AWK World Headquarters.
-I’m going to guess that there may be some outrage among some parts that I’m including Notre Dame on the same level as North Carolina. I’ll be honest, Notre Dame really isn’t on the same level as North Carolina over the past five seasons, but they’re clearly number two over that time span. And I really, really didn’t want to have two levels with just one team on them. So consider North Carolina at the very top of the Pantheon, with Notre Dame just a little below them.
-National titles, as they should, matter. You win one, you’re on that second step (at worse) for five seasons.
-Getting to College Cups matters also, but realistically, if you don’t pull down the big prize you have to get to multiple ones to ascent to that second step in the pyramid. Think of it this way, is Ohio State on the same level as Florida State? Yeah, I don’t think so.
-The North Carolina Problem rears its ugly head beyond level two. The Heels have won just about everything in the ACC, but nobody’s going to argue programs like Virginia aren’t worthy of a spot relatively high up on the pyramid, because they’ve not been able to topple UNC, right? That’s why the other caveats for NCAA Tournament appearances (and progress) and % of points collected in league play are in place.
-Winning things matters at conference level also. Win a major trophy and you’re at the fourth step on the pyramid for five years at least. Winning multiple things matters also. And league titles are more valuable than conference titles, hence them counting more towards your Pyramid status.
-Beyond the top two levels, you can’t really compare prestige of teams between conferences. I mean, nobody’s going to realistically claim an ACC power is comparable with a SWAC power, right?
The Pantheon – National Level I (1 National Title Past Five Years, 2+ Past Ten Years)
National Level II – (National Powers) (1 National Title Past Five Years or Multiple College Cups Past Five Years)