Posted by The__Kid on 12/15/2012 11:12:00 AM (view original):
I'm looking at my PSU team in Iba. What are some thoughts on putting together a strong non-conference schedule vs moving to a full conference of great/good/mediocre teams? I'm looking for that challenge to game plan for every game. I know that recruiting is 75% of the game and the other half is in-season planning. It's easy to build a cupcake non-conf schedule and coast through the conference games with only two or three tough games (as I did this season) - Playing in a tough conference (there are a few in Iba) that will battle test my squad and make recruiting tougher VS playing in a weaker conference while scheduling a tough non-conf (as I did for next season)? Of course, I could play in a tough, full conference AND schedule a tough non-conf schedule. My HD skills just are not at the level, yet......
I'd vote for a full conference.
I've played in Heartland - Iba when it was about one-third full, and now with 12 coaches. It's far better with a full house.
Recruiting isn't necessarily hurt in a full conference. You get extra recruiting $$ for your conference's post-season games which in a full conference can easily exceed $5k per team. That's a huge difference. If the conference has some geographic compression, you might be battling your conference mates more than you like.
In Iba, I'm partial to any openings in the Heartland or CVAC, as we have a good conference rivalry. After that, you could look at the Cal CAA, but almost their entire conference is in the state of California. I'd think that might be a tough road against the established quality programs in that league. If I'd were you, I'd look at the next best conferences by prestiege (Central Atlantic or GLV), focusing on a school in a large metro area. There are some good candidates in those leagues.