WEEKEND PREVIEW: 2018 NCAA DI Conference Championships

Who is ready for Conference Championship Weekend in NCAA Division I Cross Country?

That was a trick question: EVERYBODY is ready to officially start the postseason.

QUICK LINKS: Conference Championships Central | This Weekend’s Meets

There will be 31 conference championships held between Friday and Sunday. The only conference championship that won’t be held this weekend is the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), which happened earlier this week (Arkansas-Pine Bluff‘s men and Alabama State‘s women earned those titles).

Let’s take a closer look at some of the meets this weekend, starting with those that will have the most combined ranked teams from the most recent National Coaches’ Polls that were released last week.

Big Ten Championships

Date: Sunday, October 28 | Location: Lincoln, Neb. (Mahoney Golf Course)
2017 Champions: Michigan (Men), Michigan (Women)
Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 3 Wisconsin
No. 7 Michigan
No. 18 Purdue
No. 10 Indiana
No. 22 Indiana
No. 11 Wisconsin
No. 27 Michigan
No. 13 Penn State
RV Michigan State
No. 14 Michigan State
No. 21 Minnesota

QUICK HITS: There is no larger collection of ranked teams at a conference championship than what we’ll see Sunday at the Big Ten Championships. There are seven women’s teams in action that were ranked in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll and five men’s teams that found refuge in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll … The women’s race will feature an epic battle of top-15 teams as No. 7 Michigan squares off against No. 10 Indiana, No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 13 Penn State and No. 14 Michigan State … The men’s race features perennial powerhouse Wisconsin against upstart Purdue, a team that made waves with its performance at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational … Michigan is looking to become the first program to sweep the team titles in back-to-back years since Wisconsin did so in 1999 and 2000.

Pac-12 Championships

Date: Friday, October 26 | Location: Stanford, Calif. (Stanford Golf Course)
2017 Champions: Stanford (Men), Colorado (Women)
Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 4 Stanford
No. 1 Colorado
No. 7 Washington
No. 4 Oregon
No. 8 Colorado
No. 6 Stanford
No. 11 Oregon
No. 16 Washington
No. 29 Washington State
RV Oregon State
RV Utah

QUICK HITS: Top-10 battles highlight both races at the Pac-12 Championships as three top-10 teams square off in both the men’s and women’s races. Starting with the men’s race, No. 4 Stanford leads the charge and will look to defend its title against No. 7 Washington and No. 8 Colorado, among others. On the women’s side, we’ll see top-ranked Colorado defend its title against fourth-ranked Oregon and sixth-ranked Stanford, among others … Stanford’s men snapped a lengthy streak by Colorado last year. The Buffs had won each of the previous six Pac-12 crowns before the Grant Fisher-led Cardinal had their say … Colorado’s women have won three Pac-12 titles in a row dating back to 2015. From 2009 to 2013, though, parity reigned as five different programs stood on top of the league (Washington in 2009, Stanford in 2010, Colorado in 2011, Oregon in 2012 and Arizona in 2013).

ACC Championships

Date: Friday, October 26 | Location: Boston, Mass. (Franklin Park)
2017 Champions: Syracuse (Men), NC State (Women)
Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 10 Syracuse
No. 12 NC State
No. 14 Virginia
No. 18 Notre Dame
No. 15 Notre Dame
No. 22 Georgia Tech
RV NC State
No. 25 Syracuse
No. 29 Florida State

QUICK HITS: Five women’s teams in the ACC were ranked in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll, compared to three on the men’s side … The women’s race will feature No. 12 NC State, No. 18 Notre Dame, No. 22 Georgia Tech, No. 25 Syracuse and No. 29 Florida State. The Wolfpack brought home consecutive titles in 2016 and 2017 and will look to three-peat for the first time between 2000 and 2002. NC State has won 22 ACC championships over the years. Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and Syracuse are all looking for their first conference crowns … The men’s race will feature No. 10 Syracuse, No. 14 Virginia and No. 15 Notre Dame as those programs ranked in the most recent National Coaches’ Poll. The Orange has had a stranglehold on the conference since 2013, winning five consecutive titles. If Syracuse wins again, it would be the first program to win six in a row since Maryland did so between 1964 and 1969.

Mountain West Championships

Date: Friday, October 26 | Location: San Diego, Calif. (Morley Field)
2017 Champions: Colorado State (Men), New Mexico (Women)
Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 8 Boise State
No. 2 Boise State
No. 13 Wyoming
No. 3 New Mexico
No. 16 Air Force
No. 27 Utah State
No. 17 Colorado State
RV Air Force
RV Utah State

QUICK HITS: We’ll see seven ranked teams in action between the men’s and women’s races at the Mountain West Championships in San Diego, California … The women’s race is the headliner, even though the men’s race has more ranked teams (four, compared to three in the women’s race). Second-ranked Boise State is hoping to end a lengthy run by third-ranked New Mexico atop the Mountain West. The Lady Lobos have won each of the past 10 conference titles dating back to 2008. Boise State and New Mexico has an equal amount of individual champions the past four years as Ednah Kurgat and Alice Wright brought home individual glory for the latter in 2017 and 2016, while Allie Ostrander and Emma Bates did so for the former in 2015 and 2014 … Parity has been the calling card in the men’s race for the past four years. That’s because four different programs captured the league crown: New Mexico (2014), Air Force (2015), Boise State (2016) and Colorado State (2017). Could there be a fifth this year? It’s quite possible with how 13th-ranked Wyoming has come on as of late.

SEC Championships

Date: Friday, October 26 | Location: Auburn, Ala. (Indian Pines Golf Course)
2017 Champions: Arkansas (Men), Arkansas (Women)
Men’s Teams
Women’s Teams
No. 20 Arkansas
No. 5 Arkansas
No. 21 Ole Miss
No. 24 Georgia
No. 30 Alabama
No. 26 Ole Miss
RV Tennessee
RV Florida

QUICK HITS: It seems as if there is Arkansas – and then everybody else in the SEC when it comes to championships in cross country. For the past five years, the Razorbacks have dominated the scene, sweeping both the men’s and women’s titles. Even before that, Arkansas’ men have won the league title in 25 of the past 27 years (Alabama went back to back in 2008 and 2009). Arkansas’ women have won five in a row and will look to become the first women’s program to win six conference titles in a row … The men’s race might be interesting this year, though, with the Razorbacks needing to fend off No. 21 Ole Miss and No. 30 Alabama. The Rebels have progressed all season long and if the Crimson Tide pull together, watch out … The women’s race could be close if No. 24 Georgia and the 26th-ranked Rebels sharpened their skill sets through rigorous regular-season schedules.

Other Meets Of Interest

West Coast Conference Championships

If BYU and Portland run their “A” squads in the men’s race, it should be an epic clash. The second-ranked Cougars and fifth-ranked Pilots were on a collision course last year, too, but results said otherwise. Portland rested many of its top athletes in favor of a better performance later in the postseason and BYU swept the proceedings. The gamble paid off for the Pilots, as they won the West Region and placed second at NCAAs. San Francisco ran away with the women’s title last year, but BYU and Portland are the teams to watch this year. If the Cougars or Pilots sweep the team titles this year, it would be the first time that happened since Portland did so in 2008.

Big Sky Championships

Two ranked teams face off in both the men’s race and women’s race as No. 1 Northern Arizona and No. 25 Southern Utah meet up in the former, while the ranked roles are reversed in the latter as Southern Utah’s women own the better rank compared to Northern Arizona’s women. The Lumberjacks are looking to sweep the proceedings for the third year in a row, which would be the second time that happened in the past 10 years. The Thunderbirds hope to play spoiler and if they do, not only would it be a massive upset in the men’s race — but it would give the SUU women their first conference title in program history.

Big 12 Championships

It’s always a good battle in the Big 12 and this year should be no different. The men’s race features two ranked teams (No. 6 Iowa State and No. 23 Oklahoma State), while the women’s race has one ranked team (No. 17 Iowa State). We’ll see if the higher-ranked Cyclones can sweep the proceedings for the second year in a row or if the Cowboys and Cowgirls will have their say (Don’t forget about Texas, either).