"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
|Michigan||Ohio St.||Penn St.||Iowa|
|MSU||Moby Dick||BE 1 (Pitt?)||Wisconsin|
|B12 2 (Mizzou?)||Illinois||BE 2 (RU/Cuse?)||Minnesota|
|Indiana||Northwestern||Purdue||B12 1 (Neb?)|
In here I'm assuming that we will poach at least 2 Big XII and 2 Big East teams. Moby Dick may be ND, Texas, or any other random school.
I attempted to preserve as many rivalries with the divisions as I could, while at the same time balancing geography and football prestige. The Fry/Osborne division is the only one I feel solidly about, the other 3 can flex around a bit to find the best fit.
To go along with the divisions, I decided to include 2 protected games for each team, much like the Big Ten's current format, to preserve up to 2 big rivalries/develop new ones. Without complete knowledge of rivalries of all teams, I tried my best.
Cross Divisional Protected Games
|Michigan||Ohio St||Ohio St||Michigan|
|Michigan||Minnesota||Ohio St||Penn St|
|MSU||Penn St.||Moby Dick||Purdue|
|MSU||Northwestern||Moby Dick||B 12 1|
|B 12 2||Illinois||Illinois||B 12 2|
|B 12 2||B 12 1||Illinois||Indiana|
|Penn St||Ohio St||Iowa||Penn St.|
|BE 1||Minnesota||Wisconsin||BE 2|
|BE 2||B 12 1||Minnesota||BE 1|
|Purdue||Indiana||B12 1||B12 2|
|Purdue||Moby Dick||B12 1||BE 2|
The 3 Divisional games and 2 protected matchups should ideally be played in the first 5 weeks of conference play.* Then we move onto:
Weeks 6-7 are a semi-randomized* draw. Each team will play 1 home and 1 away game. I call this a semi-randomized draw because there are rules. You cannot play
- Anybody you played in weeks 1-5
- Anybody you played in weeks 6-7 of randomized draw from the last year
- Anybody you played in the conference weeks 8-9 last year
At the end of Week 7, we lock into seeding for mini-playoffs in weeks 8-9
The conference splits in 2 for weeks 8 and 9. The top half of the conference is put into 2 divisions, seeded by conference record, H2H matchups, point differentials, and et cetera. These two divisions would play 1v4, 2v3, then winners vs.winners and losers vs. losers. The two winners that would emerge would then play for the Mega Ultra Super Explosion Conference Championship Game (Sponsored by State Farm)
The other bracket, tentatively named I can Has Bowl? Will follow much the same format, only all of these teams will be pretty much battling it out for the last few bowl berths available in conference. If scheduling trends continue with MACrifice type games, most of these teams can get to 6-6 if they win out. They're jostling for position, much like any teams that lose any of the games in the championship bracket. Keep in mind this new conference would probably send at least 2, and as many as 4 teams to the BCS every year.
As a final note, if 2 lower seeded teams have the same record, the conference can decide to flip them to give a better (IE, non divisional or teams that have not played this year) matchup
To illustrate this, I'll provide an example season
After 7 weeks of conference play, the standings are**:
|Michigan (6-1)||Ohio St. (7-0)||Penn St. (5-2)||Iowa (6-1)|
|MSU (3-4)||Moby Dick (4-3)||BE 1 (Pitt?) (4-3)||Wisconsin (6-1)|
|B12 2 (Mizzou?) (5-2)||Illinois (4-3)||BE 2 (RU/Cuse?) (0-7)||Minnesota (0-7)|
|Indiana (0-7)||Northwestern (2-5)||Purdue (2-5)||B12 1 (Neb?) (2-5)|
Which would lead to this type of week 8-9 seeding
|Seeds||Champion 1||Champion 2||I can has bowl?||I can has bowl?|
|1||Ohio St. (7-0)||Iowa (6-1)||Illinois (4-3)||MSU (3-4)|
|2||Wisconsin (6-1)||Michigan (6-1)||Northwestern (2-5)||Purdue (2-5)|
|3||B12 2 (Mizzou?) (5-2)||Penn St. (5-2)||B12 1 (Neb?) (2-5)||Indiana (0-7)|
|4||BE 1 (Pitt?) (4-3)||Illinois (4-3)||Minnesota (0-7)||BE 2 (RU/Cuse?) (0-7)|
Winner of Champion 1 v Champion 2 would compete in the Mega Ultra Super Explosion Conference Championship Game (Sponsored by State Farm)
And to be clear: All lower seeds have home field advantage throughout weeks 8-9. Conference Championship held at neutral site NFL stadium.
So there you have it. Let's lauch into Pro-Con
- Pretty much everybody can keep traditional rivals, either through divisional lineups or protected matchups. The only exception will be if Moby Dick turns out to be Notre Dame. In which case, to hell with Notre Dame, you shouldn't have made us make a 16 team conference. You'll get nothing and like it.
- In the end, you play with your skill level. Even if your Division and rivals all had down years AND your random seeds turned out to be bad, you will still be forced to win 3 games against quality opponents to win the Big Ten.
- You are guaranteed to see at least 2, hopefully 3-4 new teams a year due to the randomization in weeks 6-7. This should see you cycle through the conference every 4 years or so, not ideal, but hopefully it'll all work out.
- It makes my head hurt: Yeah, it makes my head hurt too
- Divisions are fairly static: Yep, I guess we could make a provision that realignment can happen every X amount of years, assuming this conference survives.
- Some teams may be screwed out of position due to the 8/9 cutoff: Yeah, but were we really expecting them to win the championship anyways? They should have won more games in weeks 1-7.
- The losers bracket sucks: You suck. That and 3-6 of those teams are angling for bowls, everybody else gets to play for pride and a chance to screw somebody out of a bowl.
- Some teams will invariably play each other twice in a season. This is not necessarily good or bad. In the championship bracket, it's a shot at redemption! In the losers bracket... it's a shot at redemption.
Feel free to let me know. I don't care about the hyphenations, but I suppose everything else is fair game.
*Truly random schedule generation would lead to weird results like playing Ohio State 3x
**This may or may not make sense with Divisions/rivalry matchups. I don't care. The total wins and losses add up correctly, and that's all I really care about to illustrate an example
Maybe there is no real desire to go to 16 teams. I can't fathom how that would even work. Maybe there is a half-hearted desire to go to 14 teams if the television markets are worth it.
But I tend to think all this talk is just smoke being blown up Jack Swarbrick's ass.
Here's how the meeting goes down: (imagine 1920's gangster voices for this)
JD: This is your last chance, Goldy. Join the big ten or else!
JS: Or else what? We don't need you! WE've got a TV contract with NBC!
JD: Yeah, you got NBC, "nothing but crap". Your little contract mighta looked good back when you signed it, but it's worth nothing more than a bag of fleas now, see.
JS: Whaduya mean? We're the richest school on the block. Kids grow up dreaming about playing for us. We're the stuff of legends.
JD: You know what legends have in common? They're all long dead and buried. Just like you're gonna be, if you turn us down again.
JS: You're bluffing. You got nothing.
JD: Nah, see, that's where you're wrong Goldy. It's you that's got nothing. Whaduya got? You got 25 hours on a network that likes to lose money on sports. They just spent all winter undressing the olympics. ND football, it's just like men's figure skating in their eyes. WE got a WHOLE FRIGGIN network. 24-7-365. WE could buy you out 6 times over. We could dump the stock just to watch you burn. But we happen to want to help you. This is your only option.
JS: IT'S NOT A TUMOR! We could still join the Big East in football, just like the rest of our sports.
JD: Naw, Goldy. You can't. They're ain't gonna be no Big East. Not when we get done with it...
JS: Whaduya gonna do?
JD: We're gonna take half their teams. We already had our accountants work up the papers, see. We're taking Pitt, Syracuse, Uconn, even friggen Rutgers. What's left will be absorbed into the ACC and some small fish will be thrown back into the conf. USA pond. It's over Goldy. You got no place to turn.
JS: We'll stay independent then! Ain't no way we'll be joining your Godless commie conference.
JD: Oh, sure. You could try that. But tell me something, Mr. Smartypants? Who ya gonna play? You won't be playing Pitt anymore. Or Syracuse or Rutgers or even friggen Purdue! You know that 20 year contract you signed with Michigan... ... CONFETTI! And remember that cute little blonde you been seeing out west in the pac10 every year? Well let's just say that she's gonna be busy with other suitors. MWAHAHAHAhaha
JD: You've been backed into a corner. There's no escape. Join us.
JS: NEVER! WE'LL NEVER JOIN YOU! OVER ROCKNE'S DEAD BODY!
JD: Rockne's dead, Goldy. Long dead. And there's something he never told you about us-
JS: He told us enough! He told us you were a giant suckhole!
JD: No, you are the giant suckhole.
JS: NOOOOO!! THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE!!
JD: Search your feelings. You know it to be true. How many bowl games have you won in the last 16 years? One friggen game. How old are your recruits? Exactly. You've been a giant suckhole for their entire lives.
JS: no... ... Lou... why didn't you tell me?
JD: But that can all change. Join us, and together we can rule the BCS as we were meant to.
Kinda shifted towards starwars at the end, but you get the idea.
I think Delaney has always had ND as target #1 but knew that they'd only say yes under DIRE circumstances. And so, he's spent the last year or so creating the impression of dire circumstances.
I'm sure there are real plan B's and C's. But I'm guessing none of them really involve 16 teams.
Anyway,I'm pretty interested to see how this all shakes out.
With the departure of Harris&Sims, UM also loses 52% of its offense. Who will pick up the scoring slack for the Wolverines? The short answer is no one and everyone. At this point, it seems unlikely that anyone on the roster is capable of supplying 16 to 18 points per game. The more likely scenario is for balanced scoring, and not just from the 5 starters, but from as much as 11 deep. It is not as impossible as it may sound. We may have lost our big 1-2 scoring punch, but we also lost 50% of the shot attempts. That means more shots for the other guys next year and less standing around waiting for Manny to shoot the ball.>
What have we gained in 2010-2011? For starters, more height. We can field the 4&5 spots with 2 guys each that are 6’8” or taller.< More length means better D and better D means more offense. It also means better rebounding leading to more offensive opportunities. We gain everyone playing their natural positions (point guards to run the offense, scoring guards to shoot the ball and 6’8”+ guys (instead of 6’4” Novak) to guard the other team’s 4. With 6 new guys we also gain depth. And last but not least we gain chemistry. We all saw what teams with few stars (Butler, Northern Iowa, Cornell, etc.) can accomplish when they play hard and play together. T-E-A-M!
If you look at the scoring potential by position, it is reasonable to expect next years team to produce the same scoring ability. The chart below compares last years output by position with next years potential group of players. (Note: I have made some assumptions as to what positions individuals might play and the number of minutes and potential scoring average. My emphasis is more on the position’s potential considering who we have playing there and not so much on what any individual player might achieve). We will probably lose scoring at the 3 and 5, but could gain at the other 3 spots. No single player even needs to make a big leap in average. The biggest increase in this scenario is Vogrich going from 1.5 ppg to 5 ppg. No player has a higher average than 8 points (Douglass and Smotrycz).
Now, 6 of these guys are new and I have never even seen them play so I am assuming a lot. But, the thing that I like most is our potential depth. We could start a team of Morris, Douglass, Novak, Smotrycz and Morgan and spell them with Hardaway, LLP, Vogrich/Sykes, McLimans and Horford. We have shooters&slashers. We have big guys to pound the boards or to take their man outside and make them defend the 3 point shot. We will be very young and inexperienced, but hopefully they will have great chemistry and hunger. If they work hard together this summer, they could end up playing around .500 next year (and that could be better than the 2009 team did). And then in 2011 we add Brundidge and maybe another big. It’s a start.
|Position total||40||7.8||Position total||40||12||4.2|
|Position total||37||8.2||Position total||40||14||5.8|
|Position total||41.6||19.6||Position total||40||17||-2.6|
|Position total||41.8||8.8||Position total||40||12||3.2|
|Position total||42.1||20.7||Position total||40||10||-10.7|
|Source: michigan.rivals, michigan.scout|
|* Douglass (2009-2010) Min&Points split evenly between Pos. 1&2.|
|Tuesday 6:35pm ET, Ray Fisher Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI|
|Eric Katzman (2-1, 6.00 ERA)||vs||TBA|
|Stats||Audio (MGo)||BTN.com ($)|
|Notes: Michigan is 78-44 all time, Last year: 1-1 in DH @ND (my |
recap from last season).
|Wednesday 6:05pm ET, Frank Eck Stadium, South Bend, IN|
|Matt Miller (0-2, 7.01 ERA)||vs||TBA|
Michigan will host Notre Dame Tuesday to open a home and home series with the Irish, with the road game for Michigan coming Wednesday. The Irish aren't that good of a team this year, and that might be a bit of an understatement. At just 15-19, they are currently sitting around #201 out of 301 in pseudo-RPI. That said, they, and any college team for that matter, can still be a dangerous team during the mid-week.
Preview and thoughts after a jump:
As a follow up to yesterday's Illinois recap, the Big Ten Conference tabbed two Michigan players for POTW honors. Patrick Biondi won Player of the Week and Tyler Burgoon earned Pitcher of the Week.
Press release notes:
Burgoon remained unstoppable out of the bullpen, posting saves against Toledo (April 13) and Bowling Green (April 14) and the victory at Illinois (April 18) to secure the series victory for the Maize and Blue. On the week, Burgoon threw 8.0 innings, allowing just three hits and striking out 11 batters. His biggest performance came in the weekend finale when he came out of the bullpen and scattered three hits over 5.1 innings with seven strikeouts for his team-leading fifth victory.
Biondi had an historic week, beginning with breaking Bruce Fox's 55-year-old rookie record for stolen bases, swiping his 20th bag of the year in the victory over Toledo. Biondi reached base and scored to lead off all five games last week, posting a .526 average with three doubles, a triple and a home run. After becoming the first Wolverine since 2003 to lead off a game with a home run on Saturday (April 17), Biondi went 3-for-3 with two walks, coming up a home run shy of the cycle in the weekend's last game.
Michigan earned both weekly awards for the first time since April 15, 2002, when current MLB catcher Jake Fox (2001-03) and pitcher Rich Hill (2000-02) swept the awards for their performances, which also came in Champaign against the Illini.
Burgoon edged out Alan Oaks and Alex Wimmers of Ohio State who both had very impressive 8 inning starts a piece, and Indiana's Drew Leininger who went 7.2 innings giving up just one unearned run.
Biondi's weekend edged out Zach Hurley's 8/15 weekend with a triple and a homer and Ryan LaMarre's 10/19 week with a homer, a triple, two doubles, 10 runs, and 6 RBI.
On their Senior Night, the Wolverines were merciless against Purdue this Saturday, scoring a pair of goals in the first minute, and despite letting off the gas just a couple minutes into the game, never letting the Boilermakers recover. By the time the second quarter rolled around, Michigan had a 9-0 lead on their way to a 28-2 victory.
Purdue's first goal came on an empty net against a broken ride. A clearing pass for the Boilers missed its intended recipient, but rolled into the empty net. The second came long after Michigan had switched out most starters for backups and (slightly) reduced the intensity of their play.
Josh Ein led Michigan by scoring six goals, and Trevor Yealy put in five of his own. Freshman Thomas Paras scored four for himself, and also notched an assist. Brent Kirshner scored his first goal as a Wolverine. David Reinhard and Edward Ernst (pictured at right) combined to win 93.8% of their faceoffs(!). Junior Andrew Fowler played in net for the first three quarters, and freshman Conor McGee finished the game in the cage.
In all, this was such a breeze for the Wolverines, that there's almost nothing to be gained from watching it, aside from maybe which young guys get the most playing time.
I'll preview the Michigan State game in-depth later this week. The game against the Spartans will be played at East Grand Rapids High School on Saturday at 7PM.