Posted by creilmann on 11/29/2012 3:33:00 PM (view original):
Points taken, I get it.
1. The idea that small schools cannot compete with big schools doesn't always hold true. Yes, you have Ohio State, Texas, Florida with massive enrollments of 30, 40 50 thousand plus undergraduates (I use undergrad enrollment since that is from where the the overwhelming majority of NCAA athletes are in their studies). Then you have Stanford with 6800, Notre Dame with 8300, Duke with 6400, TCU with 8200 and Wake Forest with a mere 4700. There are many others that fall in that 10-15000 range, yet they compete with big schools. So with a school like Gonzaga, I look to Wake Forest and Duke with similar enrollments and wonder why Gonzaga couldn't field a football team and be a competitive full-time member of a conference like this. Would the fall in the middle to bottom of the pack most seasons? Probably. But they bring a very competitive basketball program and could always pull off the occasional bowl/tournament game.
Seattle is very similar. A small school with a rich basketball tradition, albeit a historical one. It has a metro area of 3.5 million to draw support from. And local football infrastructure at two stadiums. Could it not build a football program that could be at least as competitive as Duke and Wake are in the ACC?
Yes, Central and Western would not likely be able to compete in this conference. They're small schools in small towns with small programs that don't even offer a any real academic credibility to a conference. There really isn't any aspect about those schools to get excited about which is why I have them listed as long shots. However, the spirit of this exercise is to create regionally focused conferences and that is not easy in an area like the PAC NW. Maybe I'll drop CWU and replace it with Montana State, which I had in a different conference.
2. Would this kind of system dilute conferences by spreading out the powerhouses? Yes, by today's standards, but I don't think it would be severe enough to hurt the game and I do believe it would elevate a lot of smaller or lesser known schools. If I want to watch pro caliber teams, I'll watch the NFL. The whole idea here is to dilute the power and decentralize the powerhouses. Maybe 22 conferences would be too much and I probably have some thinning to do, but this is a fantasy website so I'll stretch the imagination somewhat.
3. The idea of super-conferences ruining college athletics is part of a larger philosophical conversation which I'm willing to have, but I've gone on to long for now. I like the idea of reducing the power that football has over universities. Yet I still believe you can have a very exciting DI college football program at the same time.
You can do regionally focused but still keep the history, size, and scope of the schools relatively the same. And yes it is harder out west because the states are so big and there just aren't that many schools, but it isn't impossible.
These 12, for example, would make a solid conference and would recognize a lot of what you would need (and again if I was doing it I wouldn't have this conference configuration, I just think it is more what you are looking for and makes for a better mix)
Oregon, Oregon St., Washington, Washington St., Boise State, Idaho, Stanford, California, Fresno St., San Jose St., Nevada, and Wyoming (a bit out of place, but no one else really without breaking up the Utah schools or bringing up a Montana school).