Introducing The SBNation Conference Re-Draft Project

The Big East used to be hot.

Seriously, when she won prom queen back in senior year of high school, she was smoking hot.  Like Christine Brinkley in a Ferrari hot.  With a nucleus of tight Miami, toned Virginia Tech, flowing West Virginia, soft Pitt, and a sweet, sweet Syracuse (back in the day Syracuse, which you know was looking fine), the Big East was built for speed and comfort.  The Big East was the kind of girl you didn't want to let go of, which is why you hitched your wagon to her.  Things were looking good.

It's funny how times works sometimes.  The Big East's star, now just a little bit older, began to fade.  Her Syracuse was sagging, her Miami had started to wrinkle and even the Virginia Tech wasn't what it was just a few years ago.  But still, you loved her, and thought you would always be with her.

Things changed, though, back about eight years ago.  She started to stray.  Rich suitors dangled cash in front of her eyes and, because your middle-management job wasn't going anywhere, she started to listen.  Times were rough.  You thought about ending it yourself, but just couldn't imagine a life without her.  It took a lot of pleading, but you convinced her to stick it out.  You thought things would go back to just like they had been.

But as she came back into your life, committed once again, your eyes were opened to changes she had been through.  The stress of those few years wore on her.  That Miami that you loved so much?  Gone.  The Virginia Tech that used to constantly run through your head?  Non-existent.  Even that Boston College that you had barely tolerated for years?  You suddenly missed it.  Things were different.

Still, she was back in your life, and you were happy to have her.  The next few years were pleasant.  Not great, but not bad.  The kids, which you named Louisville, USF, and Cincinnati (which was a family name), started to grow up.   You even took in your sister's kid, UConn, who wanted to play football in your school district. Sure, they had some success, but it was tough to recreate the life you had before the turmoil.

As you started to get older, you wonder what could have been.  What if I had gone on to law school like I had originally planned?  What if I had toured Europe?  What if I had really tried to strive for bigger and better things?  I could have been great, but the Big East was weighing me down.  I need something new!

So, after a bottle of Beam, a deep breath, and a hastily written note to your once sweetheart, you set out into a new world, ready to take on new adventures wherever they present themselves.

You, sir, are ready for the SBNation Conference Re-Draft Project.

GAME OBJECTIVES

(...as told by Cowboys Ride For Free, the draft czar)

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:

Academics
Co-eds
Weather/Desirability of Destination
Historic Success
Traditions
TV Revenue Potential
Ethics
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 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. 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: House of Sparky (Arizona State), Big East Coast Bias (Big East), Black Heart Gold Pants (Iowa), Team Speed Kills (SEC), Red Cup Rebellion (Ole Miss), and BC Interruption (Boston College).

An (incredibly) important note: The six conference commissioners will start with a blank slate. House of Sparky, Black Heart Gold Pants and Red Cup Rebellion will not be starting with Arizona State, Iowa or Ole Miss in their conference already. If we want our own schools, we'll have to draft them. 

The draft order was determined by a random generator thingy and 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

For now the conferences will be referred to as Conference #1, #2, #3, and you can probably figure out the rest.  As they develop, the commissioners and selected schools may decide to give their conference a name.

The draft will be a snake draft, with Red Cup Rebellion receiving the 6th and 7th picks.

The draft is officially being run on Cowboys Ride For Free, so they will have the final say in the matter in any and all disputes (ensuing power trip montage).

One quick note: When a school is drafted, all athletic programs from that school go to the conference.  So enjoy that Duke football program whoever gets them

THE DRAFT SCHEDULE

The draft will proceed along the following schedule:

Monday, June 13 - Sunday, June 19: The first two rounds of the draft will be held behind the scenes with the commissioners making the picks utilizing their own judgment, and hopefully input from their readers.

Monday, June 20: The first official posts go live. At Cowboys Ride For Free, I will announce the conference names and recap the first two rounds of the draft.

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.

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