Power rankings: Top 5 mid-major conferences

Happy Monday everyone and I hope your NCAA men’s basketball brackets are looking good. Mine, well, isn’t. Not only did I have Kansas winning it all, I had the Huskies winning the Callaway Collegiate Match Play. Typical March Madness mania . . . I have already been eliminated from all my pools.

It’s time for the power rankings, and today I’m ranking the best mid-majors for men’s and women’s golf.

Men

1.) Mountain West. Earlier in the year TCU looked like legitimate national contenders, and UNLV recently topped a national championship-caliber field at Southern Highlands. Add in Colorado State and San Diego State and you have a conference with some scary postseason teams.

2.) Atlantic Sun. Normally it has been Fred Warren’s East Tennessee State squad that gets all the headlines. This year, big news continues to come from the Sunshine State as North Florida has been playing well everywhere it goes. Here’s a question: If you take all the Florida schools and rank them, where would UNF be?

3.) WCC. This conference has two teams to thank really: San Diego and Pepperdine. San Diego is creeping in on a top-10 ranking and Pepperdine has a great young nucleus. Last year San Diego was happy to get to nationals, but this year it will be expected.

4.) Southland. This used to be known as Lamar’s conference, but that is no longer the case. UT-Arlington and UT-San Antonio are fighting for supremacy with Lamar for the best Texas team from the conference. I’ll take Arlington, because things just don’t seem to be right in Beaumont (home of Lamar) these days.

5.) Conference USA. I know Rice is on the rise and SMU is playing well, but UAB, Tulsa, and UCF are really struggling this year.

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Women

1.) Mountain West. It’s just like the men. UNLV is coming on strong in the spring and TCU is always at nationals with a strong squad. Will one of the teams from the conference really start to make some noise, though?

2.) Conference USA. Tulane carries the flag right now, but Tulsa, UCF, and ECU are all teams on the rise and ones to continue to monitor over the next few years.

3.) WCC. Pepperdine is a legitimate national contender and gives this conference the chance to say it might have this year’s national champion.

4.) Big West. Plenty of California teams to choose from with several climbing up the rankings. UC Davis, UC Irvine, and Long Beach State are all potential postseason teams that could sneak their way into Wilmington.

5.) Atlantic Sun. I call this conference the Queen of Potential. Campbell is typically strong, Stetson is continuously getting better, Florida Gulf Coast is a few years away and Kennesaw is a great program. In time, I think a few of these teams will be perennial top-50 programs.

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