Introducing the SB Nation NCAA Conference Realignment Draft!

Hey, BC Interruption, since you've got the first pick, and were the first to jump on this, I shamelessly lifted your post on this and tweaked it to fit on my end. Thanks for the material and, if you don't like it, deal with it.

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.

Being the incredible shining beacon of SBNation's high quality analysis, coverage, and discussion - or one of the first blogs to respond to an email... your pick - Red Cup Rebellion was selected as one of the six conference commissioners participating in this project over the next few weeks. We're going to have you and Juco sortof guiding the commissionership, principally to make sure that I don't do something stupid or ironic for the sake of it (HEY LET'S DRAFT BAYLOR IN THE FIRST ROUND WOULDN'T THAT BE HILARIOUS?!), and with our combined efforts we will attempt to create something which is interesting, powerful, and slightly bizarre without deliberately recreating the Southeastern Conference.

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? Well as one of the six conference commissioners, we leave that largely up to you, with a few important guidelines. First, bearing in mind that we are drafting athletics conferences, athletics should be weighted heaviest, but certainly not exclusively. Attributes such as academics, wimmins, geography, traditions, revenue potential, ethics (what's that?), or even the maintenance of rivalries should be taken into account.

On the flipside, for purposes of this game there are two factors that are not to be considered. First, do not take travel concerns into consideration. In real life, Washington and Florida are unrealistic conference partners; in our world, that doesn't matter - neither from a travel or time zone standpoint. Just pretend like we have magical teleporters or something. It'll be fun, becuase it's the future. Second, and related, while we may take individual rivalries into consideration (e.g. pairing Michigan and Ohio State), 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 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 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, including RCR. The other five conference commissioners / adversaries include BC Interruption (Boston College), House of Sparky (Arizona State), Big East Coast Bias (Big East), Black Heart Gold Pants (Iowa), and Team Speed Kills (SEC).

 

An (incredibly) important note: The six conference commissioners will start with a blank slate. We don't get to start off by having Ole Miss in our conference. Similarly, House of Sparky, Black Heart Gold Pants and BC Interruption will not be starting with Arizona State, Iowa or Boston College in their conference already. If we want our own schools, we'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 (WAOM)

The draft will be a snake draft, meaning we 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 whoever it is who actually runs the BCS. Thereofre CRFF has the final say in the matter in any and all disputes. I think it was their idea or something that we do this, but I dunno. They, like us, probably just lucked into this.

Schedule: This week, we 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?
What in the hell are we going to call this conference? I like the "Eschew Rules and Get Cash Conference (ERGCC)," personally.
Most importantly, who do we start with? Which college football program should we start building this conference around?

On Monday, June 13, BC Interruption is on the clock. They'll need to submit their 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 their draft strategy and make their second round choice. It sorta builds from there, with every subsequent school's blog having a say in the next program drafted.

That also brings up the consideration of the blogs themselves. If there are blogs you don't like (LIKE AND THE VALLEY SHOOK WE ARE SO ONTO YOU PODKATT AND POSEUR DON'T EVEN TRY IT), be sure to make mention of that below so we can maybe avoid their opinions in the future. I'm serious.

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 site. At that point, the monstrosity we've created will be thoroughly mocked, I'm certain. 

Other points of note: When selecting a school, you are bringing on all of its NCAA-sanctioned varsity programs. So if we select Auburn for its football program (like I said, "Eschew Rules and Get Cash"), we've also got to take their shitty basketball and baseball programs. The same would go for schools like Kentucky or Duke and thier basketball programs. Capiche?

 

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 are you looking for in a college sports program? Who should we take first? Which programs should we be building this conference around? Hell, maybe we should even put together a Mel Kiper-like best available that will help shape not just our first pick but subsequent picks further down the line.

Also, if you've gotten this far and still have questions, leave them in the comments section.

And, yes, in case you were wondering, this is exactly what happens when bored college football bloggers start emailing ideas back and forth. We hope you enjoy this as much as we imagine we should.

Your thoughts?

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