The SBN college bloggers kicked of what should turn out to be an interesting project yesterday in re-drafting schools into conferences, using a fantasy-style snake draft.
The idea behind the exercise was not to improve existing conferences through minor tweaks -- like, say, by adding Arkansas and TCU to the Big 12 and replacing Iowa State. The fact is we're starting clean and compiling six conferences by drafting athletics programs sequentially. We're ignoring geography and time zone considerations, a conference commissioner might well draft Florida with one pick, and UCLA with the next.
After the jump is a detailed explanation of the game and how the project will be unfolding over the next six weeks. Read through the objectives and rules carefully to make sure you understand how it works, then dive in and let's start what should be a really interesting conversation: What do you value in an athletics program? In a conference? Who would you draft? Who would you love to see paired with Kansas?
To give you an idea of the round one draftees here's a rundown. Round 1, Pick 1: Texas Round 1, Pick 2: Florida Round 1, Pick 3: Alabama Round 1, Pick 4: Ohio State Round 1, Pick 5: USC Round 1, Pick 6: LSU.
Read through the drafting rules and remember, the goal is not to improve the status quo. The goal is not to create a conference that will actually play games, so set aside travel and time zone considerations. The goal is to use a draft to value schools and have fun strategically grouping them together.
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?
Who would make an ideal pairing with Kansas?
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 BON about where Texas was drafted and who we helped select in the second round.
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 without Baylor and Iowa State.
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 Kansas?
Your thoughts below, por favor.
Thanks to Peter over at BON for the draft post template.