In Western Kentucky’s final season in the Sun Belt Conference, the Hilltoppers clinched the Bubas Cup, the all sports championship for the conference. WKU put the closest competitor, South Alabama, far out of reach over the weekend, and clinched the cup with a score of 79.5 with baseball, softball and both men’s and women’s outdoor track and field left to calculate points for 2013/14. Here is a look at the final standings:
While calculating points are complex, I’ll try my best to explain it -
Points are awarded strictly for regular season finishes in a sport and and is based on the number of schools that participate in the sport. So, if you look at basketball, Georgia State has 10 points because they finished first in the final regular season standings; WKU ended with 9 points (2nd seed), ULL finished with 8 points (3rd seed) so on and so forth. Also, if a school doesn’t field a team in a specific sport, like ULL or UT-Arlington in Women’s Golf, then they simply do not receive points for that sport.
So, in essence, WKU had a good enough overall regular season (Sun Belt regular season champions in volleyball, soccer, runners up in men’s and women’s basketball, etc.) to be named the top Sun Belt athletic program. Pretty neato!
This year’s championship ends a drought that has lasted since 2008, and as WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart told me when I interviewed him last week, “it’s a dry spell we’re not proud of.”
The Bubas Cup is named for the original Commissioner of the Sun Belt, Vic Bubas, and has been issued every year since 1977 when Jacksonville won the inaugural Cup. However, like the top spots in the English Premier League (hopefully at least one of you know what I’m referencing) the Bubas Cup has been won by only seven institutions; South Alabama (10), South Florida (9), Middle Tennessee (9 – gross. Won 5 in a row from 2009-2013), WKU (6), Arkansas State (2) and Old Dominion and Jacksonville with one each. Since the turn of the century, either WKU or MTSU has won the Cup, with the Tops extending the tradition this year. (South Alabama was the last non-90 Miles of Hate school to win.)
The Tops first won the Bubas Cup in 1987 and didn’t win it again until 2002, when they won back to back in ’02 and 2003. The Tops also won it in 2006 and 2008.