Super-conferences: Is 16 teams per conference too few?
I was thinking about this the other day: Everyone seems to be assuming the super-conference model in major college athletics is inevitably going to happen, while also agreeing for the most part that each of these new super-conferences would be made up of 16 teams/schools. The math works out ok as 16 is easily divided by 2, by 4, or by 8 for any type of divisional set-up or playoff scenario with-in each conference. Also, it seems to be assumed that there will be 4 conferences within a newly formed "premier" or elite division of college athletics (whether that is with the NCAA or not) for easy splits amongst the conferences with regards to sports tournaments, etc.
The point that keeps sticking out to me is that with 4 conferences at 16 each you're left with only 64 teams in this new division, where several quality schools, like a Kansas, Baylor, or BYU will likely be kicked to the curb. It seems like the 4 super-conference split is ideal. It really does simplify post-season qualifications and splits, which is the biggest hurdle facing college football today. However, I'm not sure 16 schools per super-conference is enough. 20 or 24 per super-conference really wouldn't change the structure of the conferences as a whole other than being more inclusive. With 20 schools per conference you could have 4 divisions of 5 schools, instead of 4 schools. Or 24 with divisions of 6.
With this method there could be up to 96 teams involved instead of just 64. While still weeding out schools that really don't belong at the table, like a Northern Illinois or Troy, it also makes the continuation of a 64 team basketball tournament more feasible. A football playoff would need only include 4 teams: the 4 super-conference champions. Each super-conference could determine their own champion however they see fit, but a conference football playoff would still be possible and probably more likely with more teams involved.
I understand that TV dollars drive the alignment, but this is just an idea with fairness in mind.
9-tm conferences were perfect. Then "educational institutions" got greedy running their pro sports leagues.
agreed on 9 team leagues, which is why if there is an 'end game', which i doubt there really is any magic number like people want to believe, i would want that end game magic number to be 18. it would basically be a 9 team league from a competition standpoint, but 18 teams by name and for TV rights.
say the ACC added 4 more by adding Notre Dame, UConn, Rutgers and, i dunno, Temple or Villanova? i'm going out on a limb there, but let's assume one of them becomes attractive someday...
BC, 'Cuse, UConn, Rutgers, Team from Philly, Pitt, Notre Dame, Maryland and Miami would be a 9 team league with uva, VT, NCx4, Clemson, GT and FSU would be the other.
Miami seems out of place, but splitting the VA schools wouldn't go over well and as long as Miami can play FSU as a fixed crossover in a 9 game league schedule, they might prefer to play the northern schools (this 9 school format would only be for football, all other sports would simply play a single table 18 team schedule, so Miami's swim and baseball teams could still play a primarily southern schedule in the league).
with Miami and Notre Dame anchoring the northern division with Pitt and BC as a solid B tier to go with FSU and VT anchoring the south with Clemson and GT as a solid B tier, i think they would be more balanced than they may initially appear on the surface. remember, the south would also have dook and wake (and unc once the NCAA hammers them) to beat up on every year...
completely meaningless post since it will never happen, but i thought i would share...
I have also struggled with the 16 teams instead of 20. That would allow the current BCS schools in plus a hand full of others that deserve to be in. I don't know where the 16 number came from and why people think that is the magic number to stop at for the mega conferences, but 20 would include enough to help with the politics of getting this done.
I doubt that the major conferences will have the same number of members. 4x16=64 sounds great, but who is going to tell the conferences to grow to that size? Too many questions out there:
Will the B1G and ACC take schools below their academic standards?
How far east will the PAC ## go?
Who will pay off the Cincinnati and Iowa State types who are left out?
Will new BCS AQ rules change schools' motivation on what conference they want to be in?
Are there really 15 schools that want to be in a conference with the Longhorn Network?
Until college football has a Pete Rozelle who can tell the conferences what members they will have, no way realignment comes out clean at 4x16=64.
20? you're kidding if that could work. Assuming even mild interest rumored so far, this is what it would take...
ACC needs to add 6 schools to get there... ND, UConn, SUNJ (3 reasonables), Cincy, USF, and UCF (3 no chance in hecky-poo)
B10 needs 8 to get there... KU... uh... Ok, they pick up MD, SUNJ, Syr leaving 4 slots and ACC to pick up 3 more
P10... their last expansion saw them grabbing CU+Utah. Do you think there are 8 more schools out there for them to get to 20? Utah St, CSU, TT, tu, OU, Ok St, KSU and ISU. 2 more midmajors, 2 unattractive B12 north teams, stepsisters (TT+OkSt) and 2 good ones.
SEC... they grab 8 southern ACC teams. ACC is left at 8 teams so they need 12 to get to 20...
You simply can't get close to 20 without cannibalizing 2 current BCS conferences and making a 3rd accept some awful midmajors to fill out half their roster.
A ten team conference is the max. I liked the Pac 10 when they had 10 teams. They played a round-robin 9 game conference football schedule and they played home-and-home series in an 18 game conference basketball schedule. A ten team conference allows for 3 OOC football games and 10-12 OOC basketball games.
The B10 and P12 have pretty much decided a merge was better than individual expansion. The ACC would do well to try to negotiate something similar with the SEC. Take it a few steps further even.
So the B10 and P12 now effectively have a 24 team football conference where you play 10 conference games where 1 of them is just an exhibition. They hold a championship for each division and meet in the Rose Bowl for their overall conf championship. Now they are just waiting for an auto birth from the Rose into the national championship game.
They are using their two networks in cooperation with each other. The next step will be when they start hosting joint championships for Olympic sports.
So I'd prefer if the SEC and ACC merged gradually like the PAC and B10 are. Start with an interconference game for every team and have the two conference champions tied to the same bowl. The two conferences would work on hosting some of the Olympic sports jointly like men's soccer where USC and Kentucky now have to play in CUSA. Then you could do a joint basketball tournament where you have two separate tournaments then the top two from each conference meet in a final four or something like that. The ratings for joint tournaments with Kentucky basketball playing Duke for the mega conference title and in baseball where UVA might play USC for the title should rival what the NCAA gets now.
Those are just a few ideas about it. I just think that mergers are more enticing and lucrative than going further down the list to the USF's and Cincy type schools to expand.
i think you want more diverse markets to pull your approach off... ACC+B12. Then again, I thought an ACC-B12-P10 alliance would have made for the best network/cooperation out there --- top games in each time zone, top games in every sport (rev+nonrev).
The ACC schools like to tout their academic superiority as a conference so I ran a few numbers on the US News rankings to see where we rank and where we might rank in super conference scenarios.
The numbers as they stand with future additions factored in are:
If the PAC and B10 merged outright, they'd average 67.46 and if the ACC and SEC merged they'd average 73.14.
If the PAC had gotten their 16 teams (OU, OSU, Texas, and TT) it'd pull their average down to 86.93. If those 16 merged with the B10 their average would be 73.78.
So in the academic arguments, Oklahoma really shouldn't be looking down on the SEC the way they are given that they'd lower the average there. The B12 is solidly in last place among the major conferences and adding Lville would only make it worse. The ACC could join with the SEC and come in at number two ahead of the PAC in academic ratings.