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SB Nation conference redraft and where IU stands.

For those of you who need an offseason college sports fix, the SB Nation college sites are coming to the rescue.  Over the next few weeks, the editors will be building reconstituted major conference.  See below for the details, which I have shamelessly copied from Corn Nation, because I'm pretty sure he copied them from somewhere else.


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? 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, if not exclusively.

While obviously we must consider athletics, the following are factors you may, but are not required to consider:



Weather/Desirability of Destination

Historic Success


TV Revenue Potential


Rivalries (two teams)

This is John.  At this point, I will interrupt the rundown of the rules to explore IU's merit.  It will be interesting to see how things play out for IU.  In my experience, the SB Nation blogging corps is very football-oriented, and that will work against IU.  How do we measure up?

Academics.  IU alumni often lament IU's slide, over the last couple of decades, from the middle of the pack in the Big Ten to near the bottom in the US News rankings.  Still, to the extent USN is worth anything, a debatable point, IU still measures up reasonably well.  Including all football playing members of the six major conferences plus Notre Dame, there are 67 major college football programs.  Of those, 34 are ranked ahead of IU and 32 are ranked behind, with a good dozen in the same ballpark.  In other words, IU is nearly the median selection academically among the competition. 

Coeds.  This is sort of the flip side of the academics question.  IU generally is known for being at or near the top of the Big Ten in this category.  On the other hand, the presence of the Pac-12, SEC, and ACC in this equation probably moves IU to the middle of the pack. 

Weather/desirability of destination.  South Central Indiana is not necessarily a destination of choice nationally, but anyone who has been there knows that IU's campus and town are first rate.  As for weather, as I have pointed out before, IU is the southernmost Big Ten campus and has better school-year weather than any other Big Ten campus, but somone from the south or the west coast probably wouldn't make much of a distinction.

Historic success.  This one is pretty plain.  Of the 67 major contenders, IU has an obviously top 10 tradition in basketball and an obviously bottom 10 tradition in football.  I believe that basketball is on a major upswing, but the football-centric nature of this draft and the recent troubles of the basketball program may be a red flag to commissioners. 

Traditions.  I'm not sure how this differs all that much from historic success.  Certainly, on the basketball side, IU fans' devotion to the basketball program during the recent downturn and the retro ambiance of Assembly Hall and the little-change warmups and uniforms are solid in terms of tradition.  On the football side, we're getting there. 

TV revenue potential.  I think this is a category in which IU has an angle.  Certainly, football drives the revenue bus these days.  On the other hand, a conference will be looking to sell its entire athletic program to the networks, not just football.  While football schools such as Ohio State, Texas, and Florida have been very successful at hoops in the last few years, we and they know that their hearts aren't in it.  I'll never forget when in 2010, OSU had to offer a two for one sale to fill Value City Arena for a game with Purdue when both teams were ranked in the top 10.  IU is a TV ratings dynamo and even for a football-centric conference would be a nice way to diversify the portfolio. 

Ethics.  I guess this is where I'm supposed to beat myself up over Kelvin Sampson.  The Sampson affair was indeed an embarrassing and misguided spectacle.  On the other hand, that was IU's only major infractions case since the late 1950s and its first ever in basketball, the flagship sport.  IU turned itself in and voluntarily blew up its best season in years.  True, the Sampson affair was not "just about phone calls," but the underlying offenses were, indeed, phone calls.  Just off the top of my head, in the last 25 years, Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Purdue, have been hit with major violations for either academic fraud or improper benefits.  I make no excuses for the boneheaded decision to hire Sampson, but I still think IU's overall compliance record over the last half century is well above average. 

Rivalries.  IU's rivalry with Purdue is certainly a big deal to both schools, but doesn't really rate nationally as a football rivalry.  The basketball rivalry is one of the best historically, but over the last two decades, each school has had its moments, but rarely at the same time.   Still, it is an excellent rivalry and would corner the Indy media market, for what that's worth.  Also, IU's rivalry with Kentucky, still alive only in basketball, has been lopsided in recent years, but can you imagine IU and UK playing twice a year every year?  That would have some appeal on the TV revenue side. 

Well, that is it for my take.  Add yours below.  And now, back to the general instructions.

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 or 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.

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. The six conference commissioners include BC Interruption (Boston College), 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. The conference commissioners don't start off with their schools already chosen. If they want them, they'll have to draft them.

The 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. So while BC Interruption receives the first overall pick, we won't pick again until picks 12 and 13, and so on.

The draft is officially being run by the Oklahoma State Cowboys blog Cowboys Ride For Free. Cowboys RFF has the final say in the matter in any and all disputes.


On Monday, June 13, BC Interruption is on the clock. They'll need to submit their first overall pick of the draft next Monday. Upon making the first round selection, the conference commissioner will then consult with their draft choice (if SBN has a blogger for that school) and the two of us will collectively decide on our draft strategy and make our second round choice. 

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 BC Interruption, 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).

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. 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..