History says ‘.500’ rule could be awhile

I have always made the statement that the women’s game is at least 10-15 years behind the men’s game. What does that mean? Well, it means that we can use the men’s game as a measuring stick for when we might see something similar on the women’s side.

When Pepperdine won the national championship in 1997 after starting the championship week ranked 28th by Golfweek, it was probably the first real upset in men’s college golf - at least in modern times. More upsets followed in 2002 when Minnesota shocked the college golf world with its NCAA Championship victory in Columbus, Ohio, and then again in 2004 when California did so. All three of those victories were out of the norm, and certainly what one would call upsets.

We have never seen an upset or an out-of-the-norm champion in women’s golf. If the 10-15 year model is accurate, we are nearing that time when we will witness it in the women’s game, and who could argue after what Florida State did this past weekend at the Bryan National Collegiate? The Seminoles, ranked 25th, defeated six top-20 teams including legitimate title contenders in No. 3 Auburn and No. 4 Duke.

Now, let’s apply the same 10-15 year model to the “.500 Rule” the men put into play recently.

The .500 Rule: This is the third year the men have had the rule in play, which means the women might be ready for it in 2017. While there is a small, back-alley society of coaches who are in favor and yet a little leery of letting the world know they would support the winning percentage rule, I have to say the numbers just don’t support it yet.

Just look at where the losses are coming from. Looking at the top 20 teams in the women’s game, only twice has any team been defeated by any schools outside the top 50 and both of those are credited to No. 20 Texas A&M. On the men’s side, using just the top 20 teams, we see 29 overall head-to-head losses to teams outside the top 50.

If we take it down to the top 40, women’s teams have a total of just 50 head-to-head losses to teams outside the top 50 where the men have 150.

I even looked a little deeper at losses to teams outside the top 100 and used the top 50 teams in the rankings. Top 50 women’s teams lost just seven times to teams outside the top 100 while top 50 men’s teams lost 44 times to teams outside the top 100.

Women’s programs are getting the opportunities to play against the best - they simply are not beating them like we now are seeing on the men’s side. But, the time will come, and my guess is it will be in about 10-15 years.

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