Have you ever wanted to completely break away from college football's established conferences and completely start over? Yes, I'm talking about an EA Sports style custom conference here, with whoever you'd like competing against whomever you'd like, regardless of history, geography, or reason - is that something that would interest you? Well we are going to do just that with the SB Nation conference realignment project.
We lucked out over here at House Of Sparky. I happened to be sitting on my email while the conference realignment was proposed, and I was also one of the first six to agree to take part. With that said, I am one of the six conference commissioners across the entire SB Nation network.
Before you get too worried, don't fret: we're going to rely heavily on blog participation, so make sure you voice your thoughts about our draft process and how we go about our business. The idea is not to re-create the Pac-12, but rather to come up with an entirely new league that's not bound by geography.
We're allowed to name the conference anything we want, including "The Kegs & Eggs Conference," where party schools and quality breakfast-producing towns are drafted (example: Penn State, classic party school, and Boise State, world-renowned for their potato farming).
Intrigued? Read on for the project's rules, objectives and schedule.
Objectives: The purposes of the fantasy draft are first to explore the values of individual schools by drafting them sequentially, and secondly to have fun strategically building a conference of schools.
There will be six conferences, and such conferences are not meant to be new versions of current conferences. That is, the objective of the game is not to create tweaked versions of what we already have. The goal is to draft schools based on their overall value, and to compile a conference of teams strategically and coherently.
What makes a school valuable? That's up to cocknfire to decide, and we'll lay out the philosophy once we've agreed on it. First, bearing in mind that we are drafting athletics conferences, athletics will be weighted heaviest, but certainly not exclusively. Attributes such as academics, geography, traditions, revenue potential, ethics, or even the maintenance of rivalries are on the table too.
On the flipside, for purposes of this game there are two factors that are not to be considered. The first is travvel. In real life, Oregon and Georgia are unrealistic conference partners; in our world, that doesn't matter - neither from a travel or time zone standpoint. Second, and related, while we may take individual rivalries into consideration (e.g. pairing Arizona State and Arizona), preservation of current conference history and tradition is not to be considered and hopefully for obvious reasons.
Finally, the goal is not to improve the status quo. The goal is not to create a conference that will actually play games. The goal is to use a draft to value schools and have fun strategically grouping them together because, hey, it's the college football offseason, and we don't have much else to write about anyway, right?
In sum, there is no single way that schools must be valued and/or grouped together. Some commissioners may wish to create the best conference of all-around athletics-academics combination. Others may want to create a revenue superpower. There are any number of valid ways to do this. The only limitation is not creating a group that is based simply on regional and historical ties. Time to wipe the slate clean and start over.
Conference Commissioners: As mentioned above, there will be six conference commissioners. The other five conference commissioners are BC Interruption (Boston College), House of Sparky (Arizona State), Big East Coast Bias (Big East), Black Heart Gold Pants (Iowa), and Red Cup Rebellion (Ole Miss).
An (incredibly) important note: The six conference commissioners will start with a blank slate. If the other blogs want their own schools, they'll have to draft them. If we want to have ASU in our sweet power conference, we'll have to pick them before someone else wants an underachieving, incredibly sexy school.
By luck of a random number generator, BC Interruption gets first pick in the draft. The complete draft order is as follows:
1. BC Interruption
2. Black Heart Gold Pants
3. Team Speed Kills
4. Big East Coast Bias
5. House of Sparky
6. Red Cup Rebellion
The draft will be a snake draft, meaning RCR will receive the 6th and 7th picks (last pick in the first, first pick in the second). The draft is officially being run by the Oklahoma State Cowboys blog Cowboys Ride For Free, so Samuel Bryant of CRFF will be playing the role of supervising overlord. CRFF has the final say in the matter in any and all disputes.
Schedule: This week, we are introducing the Re-Draft project and want to get the conversation going.
On Monday, June 13, BC Interruption is on the clock. They'll need to submit our first overall pick of the draft then. Upon making their first round selection, their conference commissioner (so, them) will then consult with their draft choice (assuming SBN has a participating blogger for that school) and the two of them will collectively decide on our draft strategy and make our second round choice. It sorta builds from there, with every subsequent school's blog having a say in the next program drafted.
By Friday of next week, each conference will have a commissioner, two schools and up to two more bloggers and SBN communities to collaborate with on picks. By Sunday, June 19, with a conference commissioner and two schools solidifying the conference's identity, we'll select the name of the conference.
On Monday, June 20, Cowboys Ride For Free will announce the conference names and recap the first two rounds of the draft. Over here at RCR, the first two members of the conference will be announced, discussed and dissected.
After the big reveal of conference names and founding members, the draft will continue in much the same manner, with two draft picks a week for the next several weeks. Once a conference drafts 12 members, a conference can be capped. If we want, the draft will continue for conferences who wish to add more members (i.e. Big East Coast Bias will likely keep going until they hit 20 programs, but most of them will be basketball programs only).
If in any subsequent round only one conference remains, it may select the remaining members of its conference up to a maximum of 16 schools.
Finally, on Monday July 25, the full and complete conference rosters will be announced and discussed across the SB Nation community of NCAA sites.
So if you've gotten this far, great. We want to make sure that everyone clearly understands the objectives and rules as this sort of thing only works if we're all operating in the same universe.
Now it's your turn. What advice do you have for the two of us as we try to do this?