There stands one major racing weekend before this fall starts to get serious. This Friday, the University of Wisconsin will host the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. In the fall of 2009, UW unveiled the well manicured Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course. Since then, their home meet has evolved into one of the most competitive invitationals in the country.

While the meet preview will be posted tomorrow, FloRatings provides a quick look at the quality of the field. Listed below is the available data for the men and women teams that will be in attendance on Friday. Based on the results from October 2nd, these are the individual places and team scores if all of the teams had competed in one meet (which will happen on Friday).

FloRatings allows for this type of comparison because it’s a universal rating tool. It removes the difficulty of the course, the quality of the field, the weather, and any other qualitative factors. Once these elements are removed, the FloRating formula produces a numerical value that is used to compare how well an athlete performed in that race.

That value is calculated based on finishing time, place, and course conversion factor (CCF). The course conversion factor is the key that enables all cross country courses to have an equal difficulty. The CCF is a numerical handicap determined by data analysis from years of results.

The data below is incomplete. The following teams were omitted due to lack of data (ie: did not run on 10/2) or ran with incomplete teams:

Men Women
Arkansas Boston College
Cal Poly Cal Poly
UCLA UCLA
LaSalle Northern Arizona
Michigan Purdue
Northern Arizona Syracuse
Oklahoma Virginia
Portland  
Purdue  
Syracuse  
Texas*  
Virginia  
Wisconsin  

* - Texas is still included despite sitting their top men


In the men’s race, the data predicts that Lawi Lalang from Arizona will win the individual title (shocker). The team title is a bit more interesting as #8 Stanford will beat #5 Iona with a score of 107 to 154. Third place is #13 Notre Dame (154 points) followed by #11 Princeton with 164 points.

It should be noted that Princeton beat Notre Dame 139 to 143 at the Notre Dame Invitational. However, in a race with a higher quality up front such as the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, the scores would be slightly reversed.

The women’s individual race again goes out on a limb and indicates that Abbey D’Agostino from Dartmouth will win. The team title is actually surprising as it lists #16 Notre Dame as the winners with 136 points, #2 Arizona placing second with 147, #3 Washington third with 167, and #16 North Carolina State in fourth with 201.

While the places do not align with the national rankings, the finishing times from the 2012 Notre Dame Invitational were much faster than the finishing times in 2011. Additionally, the results from the Greater Louisville Classic were consistent with the results from last year. If you examine the results and FloRatings from the 2011 Greater Louisville Classic and compare those times to 2012, it's clear that Notre Dame was quicker than Louisville on the women's side.

Therefore, the projected team scores of Notre Dame, NC State, New Mexico, and other teams that were in attendance in South Bend are better than what most people would have predicted...

... or are they? We'll have to wait until Friday to find out.


Individual Projections: Men / Women
Team Projections: Men / Women