The world is ending, sports are cancelled, and Larry is bored so what does he do? He puts his tinfoil hat on and talks about sports of course. It’s about this time every year that conference realignment conspiracies start flying, so I may as well try my hand at it.
As many of you know, I live for rivalries. Nothing gets me going like some good old fashioned smack talk. You know what would be cool? More rivalries. You know how we could make that happen? By building conferences and schedules that actually make sense geographically, and also intentionally guarantee teams that hate each other play every year. That’s exactly what I’m about to do, and hell, I may even fix the postseason while I’m at it.
Now this may sound crazy at first, but what if I told you the perfect amount of teams for a conference is 18? I mean yeah, maybe I am a little crazy, and maybe I could be wrong, but I’ll explain later why I think I’m right. First, let’s meet the conferences.
Despite the voices in my head telling me to call this conference the “Big 15,” I finally overcame them and decided to give it a name that actually makes sense. The “Big 18” is horrendous on the tongue and “Two” is the only other number that makes sense, so that’s what I went with.
I want these conferences to have reasonable road trips as well. The median distance between each school in the West is 346 miles, and in the East it’s only 238 miles. I’m a big fan of going to away games, and making that easier is something I think we all can get behind.
As you can see I finally forced Notre Dame to join a conference. You’re also probably wondering why Cincinnati is in a Power Five realignment article. Well to get 4 conferences of 18 we need 72 teams, so congratulations to Cincinnati, Memphis, UCF, BYU, SMU, Houston, Boise State, and Rutgers.
Our next conference is everyone’s least favorite. As if the SEC needed more hate, I somehow removed every team that is tolerable and replaced them with Texas. A byproduct of this is Oklahoma and Texas would finally get the chance to regularly abuse Texas A&M and we wouldn’t have to listen to them any longer.
This conference is obviously going to be the biggest football power. It has 7 different schools that have won a national championship in the last 20 years (8 if you count UCF), and owns 15 of the last 20 trophies.
The “PAC Two” is without a doubt the weakest. It has 3 teams from the current Group of Five, BYU, and some of the weaker Power Five programs. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Baylor and Utah have proven they’re capable of being powerhouses, and there are plenty of strong teams in the West to carry the division.
This is also the most spread out conference. Luckily though the PAC 12 schools in it are already used to long trips to games, and the Texas schools added have plenty of instate rivals to keep them satisfied.
Our final conference is the ACC. This is mainly a football article, but it’s hard not to get excited about the basketball match ups here. Cal vs. K twice a year? Sign me up for those battles. I’m not gonna bore you adding more fluff here for you to read. You get the point. The conferences have lots of teams that hate each other. Now let’s move on to the scheduling and playoff format.
This may seem a bit confusing, so first I’ll give you a sample schedule for your 2020 Big Two West Champions, the Iowa State Cyclones, and the last place team, the Iowa Hawkeyes.
A few notes about scheduling:
- 1st place teams host the 2nd place teams from across the conference. This means if one division has 2 teams that deserve to go to the playoffs, the 2nd place team can go into the other team’s house and earn it.
- The cross division games do not count towards division standings. This means that everyone plays the same schedule to determine division standings.
- 13 regular season games. Who doesn’t want more football? If this is a huge deal I guess we could drop a non conference game but that’s lame.
The conference championship games are played the third weekend of December. These are essentially part of the playoffs with the winners advancing, but the losers still go to a NY6 bowl. Here is a sample of conference championship games and the playoffs.
In this scenario, Alabama, Penn State, Washington, and Ohio State would all be in NY6 bowls. The rest of the bowl games would be selected as usual. This playoff system is closer to the structure every other league uses. There are no committees or debates. Just win football games and you’re in.
These are the three options for basketball scheduling I came up with. If you have other ideas feel free to share.
1. Play 16 conference games; round-robin vs. your division.
2. Play 17 conference games; play both divisions once.
3. Drop Fall tournaments and play 25 conference games; round-robin vs. your division and each team from the other division once.