This recent road trip has been anything but kind to the Bulldogs, and most everywhere I look the general opinion seems to be that these are inexcusable losses to very bad teams. I agree that these teams are not great teams and teams that we should beat, but it got me thinking if the WCC is a conference closing the gap. What originally sparked this interest is that USF has beaten us two years in a row and as a supposedly "bad" team. So I want to compare our conference to the other mid majors that hold a higher credibility than us.
Obviously there is the arrival of another big dog in our conference in the BYU Cougars. While next year they will not have potential college player of the year Jimmer Fredette, they continue to reload. The last 5 season records are: 29-5, 25-7, 27-7, 25-8, and 20-8. Looking at their recruits next year there is a kid namd DeMarcus Harrison who has a video posted in the comments section. On the ESPN recruiting scale he has a 92 and is 40th among his position rank.
Since it is pretty common that BYU is a strong team it is time to look at the teams alredy in the WCC conference. There are our Gonzaga Bulldogs, and we all know how good we are. St. Marys has become a team that is beginning to reload instead of rebuild as well. They lost their best player last year in Omar Samhan and are still very competitive and one of the most efficient teams in the country. They are 3rd in the country in field goal percentage and 8th in ppg.
Now it gets to the questionable part of the conference and whether the teams following us and Saint Mary's are legitimately average to above average teams. As of right now San Francisco is second in the conference and have beaten us two years in a row. Their leading scorer, Michael Williams is a sophmore, as is their second leading scorer Perris Blackwell. The freshman Doolin leads in assists and as we saw first hand he has some game. Their schedule this year has a good win in Colorado, and only lost to San Diego State by 4. This is a program on the right track.
Santa Clara is tied with us for third in the conference and they are another team like San Francisco who seem to be on the right track. They have some bad losses, however they took WSU to overtime, and Kevin Foster is a stud as a sophmore. Also looking at their recruiting, they have a center named Robert Garrett who scores a 90 on the grading scale and is the 20th ranked center, as well as two other recruits graded as an 88 and 87.
These top four teams in the WCC are either already established or are on the right track in straightening out their basketball programs. These four teams plus the arrival of BYU next year sets up the WCC to become more competitive than it has been in awhile.