Without real conference realignment to talk about this year, SB Nation is going to create its own realignment scenarios. This post has the rules and objectives for this exercise, and your feedback is welcome in the comments.
The idea is not to improve existing conferences through minor tweaks. For example, we're not going to just close KU and turn it into a pig farm and leave everything else untouched, even though pretty much everyone outside of Lawrence agrees that would be the best idea. We're also not taking geography and time zones into account, so the conference commissioners could draft North Carolina with one pick and USC with the next.
Read on for a detailed explanation of the game and how it will unfold over the next several weeks. Who knows when, or if, K-State will be picked, so my opportunity for meaningful input may be limited. However, think about these questions in case K-State is drafted by someone: What do you value in an athletics program? In a conference? Who would you draft? Who would you like to see paired with K-State?
Game Objectives. The purposes of the fantasy draft are: (1) to explore the values of individual schools by drafting them sequentially, and (2) 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? We leave that largely open, with a few important guidelines. First, bearing in mind that we are drafting athletics conferences, athletics should be weighted heaviest, if not exclusively.
While obviously athletics must be considered, the following are factors you may, but are not required to consider:
Weather/Desirability of Destination
TV Revenue Potential
Rivalries (two teams)
On the flipside, for purposes of this game there are two factors that are NOT to be considered. First, do not take travel/geographic concerns into consideration. In real life, Washington and Florida are unrealistic conference partners; in our world, that doesn't matter -- neither from a travel nor time zone standpoint. Second, and related, while we may take individual rivalries into consideration (e.g. pairing Michigan and Ohio State), preservation of current conference history/rivalry/alliance is not to be considered. 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.
In sum, there is no single way that schools must be valued and/or grouped together. Some 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 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: BC Interruption (Boston College blog), House of Sparky (Arizona State), Big East Coast Bias (Big East), Black Heart Gold Pants (Iowa), Team Speed Kills (SEC) and Red Cup Rebellion (Ole Miss).
An (incredibly) important note: The six conference commissioners will start with a blank slate. BC Interruption, House of Sparky, Black Heart Gold Pants and Red Cup Rebellion will not be starting with Boston College, Arizona State, Iowa or Ole Miss in their conference already. If they want their own schools, they'll have to draft them.
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, with Red Cup Rebellion receiving the 6th and 7th picks, BC Interruption receiving picks 12 and 13, and so on.
The draft is officially being run by the Oklahoma State Cowboys blog Cowboys Ride For Free, so Samuel will be playing the role of head commissioner.
Schedule. This week, SBN bloggers are introducing the Re-Draft project and want to get the conversation going. We need to start thinking about the following questions:
Who would you, our dear readers, want to draft?
What kind of alliances do we seek?
What sort of values are we looking for in a particular program?
Whenever K-State is picked, who do you hope to see it paired with, and who would you want to join later?
On Monday, June 13, the draft begins and the first round selections are made. The conference commissioners will then consult with their first-round draft choice (if we have a blogger for that school) and the two of them will collectively decide on their draft strategy and make their second round choice. By Friday, each conference will have a commissioner, two schools, and up to two more bloggers to collaborate with on picks. By Sunday, each conference will select the name of its conference.
On Monday, June 20, Cowboys Ride For Free will announce the conference names and recap the first two rounds of the draft. We'll have a post here at BOTC about who was drafted and where we hope to see K-State drafted.
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. 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. Hooray.
Other points of note: When selecting a school, you are bringing on all of its NCAA-sanctioned varsity programs. So if you select Notre Dame for its football program, all of the Irish's other sports come along with it. Same for Duke football, etc.
So if you've gotten this far, terrific. 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. Basically, understand that the goal here is not to re-draft the Big 12, except with KU turned into a pig farm.
Now it's your turn. What do you value in an athletics program? In a conference? Who would you draft? Who would you love to see paired with K-State?
Your thoughts below.