spoiler alert: i linked this
This is a retread of a previous diary...
It appears that geographic divisions into N-S or E-W don't really work, at least for Michigan fans, due to the East being too top-heavy and the N-S thing messing up "the game" so this is an alternative that would spice things up in the off season. Though this system is probably better for 14 teams, it's a reasonable option for 12 teams and adding 2 later is easy once the kinks are ironed out.
Conference name: The Really Big 12
The 11 Big Ten teams are grandfathered in and PITT is added.
Each team would have 2 rivalry games every year and these would be ironed out before the inaugural season taking into account historical and geographic factors in deciding who gets who. So, Michigan's rivals would end up being Ohio St and Mich St and since these teams would probably mutually select each other. As a second example, Pitt would get PSU and have little say in who its other rival would be as a new member. Conference rivalries would be reviewed by the league's brass every 4 years and teams who are looking to change this up would have a reasonable chance of getting this done.
A preseason spring-summer draw would determine 2 divisions (Group A and B) each year ala FIFA's way of organizing the world cup except all members are equal regardless of rankings, history, or geography.
--Once Group A and Group B's members are determined, the schedule would be organized such that each team plays the 5 members of it's group, 3 members of the other group, and 3 non-conference games that would always take place prior to the onset of a team's conference schedule--no exceptions.
--For rivals not placed in the same group, they would automatically be slated to play each other as an "other group" game with home field alternating from the previous year. Games would be set up as randomly as possible while ensuring that each team has equal numbers of home games each year and is basically even head to head within each 4 year span.
--Stage 1: 3 non-conference games of the team's choosing all at the beginning of the season.
--Stage 2: 8 predetermined intraconference games from the draw.
--*Stage 3: The Championship Game and Conference Tournament Finale Games
--The top teams from Group A and B determined only by Stage 2 results then meet at a neutral site with the undisputed conference championship at stake.
--The other 10 teams get a 12th game and 9th conference game based primarily on league play seedings; however, only games that did not occur during Stage 2 would be permitted to avoid rematches (ie., only the championship game could be a rematch). --There would be an off week between Stages 2&3 for obvious logistic reasons. The Championship would be at night and the others earlier in the day and set up at two prearranged neutral sites like Chicago, Indy, Detroit, Cleveland, Cinci, etc.
--The postseason plays out as usual and the overall records and total body of work would determine who the BCS sends where, so that it would be possible for a team other than the conference champ to be the #1 team if non-conference and overall conference records sway voters in favor of another strong team in the conference.
*Note. Stage 3 can be replaced by THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME by adding a 4th non-conference game OR by adding a 4th "other group game" and either way you eliminate the conference finales and play up the championship game.