Yay! We B1G NOW!
Even More College Football Relegation
In honor of SB Nation’s Relegation Week, I thought I would take a deep dive into the world of potential scenarios. Jason Kirk did an outstanding job, but if you are going to blow the whole system up, blow it up all the way. I tossed conference affiliations out the window and created a consistent structure throughout all of college football. 733 teams, five conferences and twelve levels.
Each conference within each level has 14 teams. Two divisions of seven teams each. The season consists of the following:
- 1 Non-counting pre-season game
- 3 Non-conference games with a maximum of one game from a team of a lower level
- 6 Games against division opponents
- 3 Games against teams from the opposite division
- 1 Conference Championship Game, with home site determined by inter-conference record, team from the best division hosts, even if their record is worse
Playoff: An eight team playoff (at the Rose Bowl homesites, of course) featuring the five Conference Champs and three at-large selections with at most one from each league, with no priority seeding for Conference Champs.
Relegation: Teams finishing seventh in their division play a Thursday night game prior to the Conference Championship with the loser relegated and the winner is safe for another week. If an at-large team is selected for the playoffs from the same conference in one division lower, the worst sixth place team plays the winner from the seventh place game on Thursday before the playoffs. Winner is firmly safe for another year and the loser spends the next season in the lower division.
The five surviving conferences are the same as Jason’s, the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC. Each conference has a footprint that is consistent across all of the levels.
Current conference footprint minus Nebraska, Iowa and Pennsylvania. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio.
Current conference footprint minus Louisiana and Arkansas. Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina. For the lower levels, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia are included.
Start at Texas and Louisiana and take everything north from there, except Minnesota. Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota.
Everything including and west of the Rockies. New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.
Everything else. East of Ohio and from North Carolina up the coast. North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia are only in for current FBS teams.
Conference championship games
Big Ten: Wisconsin vs Michigan St in East Lansing
SEC: Georgia vs Alabama in Tuscaloosa
Big 12: Oklahoma St vs LSU in Baton Rouge
Pac 12: Stanford vs Oregon in Eugene
ACC: Penn St vs Virginia Tech in Blacksburg
Hypothetical playoff bracket
1. Alabama-SEC Champs
2. LSU-Big 12 Champs
3. Oklahoma St-At large #1
4. Oregon-Pac-12 Champs
5. Wisconsin-Big Ten Champs
6. Stanford-At large #2
7. Georgia-At large #3
8. Virginia Tech-ACC Champs
Big Ten: Ohio enters as Level 2 champs, Minnesota and Indiana play for the right to stay in level 1.
SEC: UCF and Southern Miss both earn Level 2 playoff berths so Georgia Tech and Louisville play for the spot out, and the winner plays Auburn for the second relegation position.
Big 12: Houston is in from Level 2 along with Tulsa while Iowa St and Texas Tech battle for the first spot and the winner will take on Iowa for the second.
Pac-12: Oregon St and Colorado are first on the block, with the winner facing Washington St for the right to stay in Level 1 while Nevada and Air Force are in the Level 2 playoffs.
ACC: Temple is in for the next season while Maryland and Duke play for the right to stay in the top level of the ACC.
The relegation system is a bit messy but I wanted to give each team a chance to play their way out of it, ensuring maximum drama. Even the worst team can survive a relegation by winning one or two relegation games. All playoff teams from the lower levels get promoted and only the three worst teams from a League at each level can be demoted, but everyone one of them has an opportunity to survive on the end.
The Pros and Cons
Obviously this is never happening, but the drama of weeknight relegation games leading into conference championship and playoff games would be great. There is a consistent footprint, a consistent league structure, and consistent rules all through the depths of college football. New programs adding football can earn their way up the ladder if they want to invest like the big boys. Traditionally terrible football schools like Duke have to earn their place at the big boys table instead of getting to coast on other programs, all while staying under their conference umbrella. I could see level-specific scholarship levels disappearing. If you want to compete like the big schools go ahead and offer 85 and see how far you can get. If you want to be cheap and control costs you can forgo scholarships and see how well you fare. Ultimately each team is playing against teams that are historically similar producers. Travel, especially at the lower levels, shouldn’t be a significant issue and for some teams might be less than today. Because of the footprint restrictions and the division structure, travel should be manageable.
Rivalries could certainly be impacted but non-conference scheduling would allow series to continue, even if teams were in opposing levels. Divisions would likely be based on geography at the lower levels and competitive balance at the top. If one team really diverged from its historic level it would be difficult to maintain rivalries but the option is always there for at least the main rival.
[After the jump: conference breakdowns in the new world.]
The Big Board
Here are the teams that comprise each Conference and each level. For now current levels are protected, so the top teams from FCS are still behind the bottom teams from FBS and so on for each level. D3 and NAIA are considered equivalent and I used these ratings to rank everything below FBS. BCS conference schools were protected wherever possible. There obviously isn’t perfect balance but I think it’s pretty close considering the complexity quantity of teams and need to balance both the top and the bottom. The Pac-12 doesn’t have enough teams to fill out their entire 12 divisions. Based on historical trends, Pac-12 Level 4 would compete with the other Level 6s, Level 5 with the 7s, and level 6 with the 10s. The other four Conferences all have between 158 and 173 teams while maintaining a consistent footprint.
|Level||Big Ten||SEC||Big 12||Pac-12||ACC|
|1||Michigan||Florida||Iowa St||BYU||N Carolina|
|1||Michigan St||Florida St||Kansas St||Cal||NC St|
|1||N Illinois||Georgia Tech||Missouri||Oregon||Pittsburgh|
|1||Notre Dame||Miami (FL)||Oklahoma||Stanford||Syracuse|
|1||Ohio St||Mississippi St||Oklahoma St||UCLA||UConn|
|1||Toledo||S Florida||Texas||Utah||Virginia Tech|
|1||W Michigan||Tennessee||Texas A&M||Washington||W Virginia|
|1||Wisconsin||Vanderbilt||Texas Tech||Washington St||Wake Forest|
|2||Akron||Chattanooga||Arkansas St||Air Force||Army|
|2||Ball St||Florida Atl||Houston||Colorado St||Buffalo|
|2||Bowling Green||Florida Int||Kansas||Fresno St||Delaware|
|2||C Michigan||Georgia Southern||Louisiana Laf||Hawaii||E Carolina|
|2||E Illinois||Kentucky||Louisiana Mon||Idaho||Harvard|
|2||E Michigan||M Tennessee||Louisiana Tech||Montana||Lehigh|
|2||Illinois St||Memphis||N Texas||Nevada||Maine|
|2||Indiana St||Mississippi||Rice||New Mexico||Marshall|
|2||Kent St||S Alabama||SMU||New Mexico St||Massachusetts|
|2||Miami (OH)||Southern Miss||Texas St||San Diego St||Navy|
|2||Ohio||Troy||Tulane||San Jose St||New Hampshire|
|2||S Illinois||UAB||Tulsa||UNLV||Stony Brook|
|2||W Illinois||UCF||UTEP||Utah St||Temple|
|2||Youngstown St||W Kentucky||UTSA||Wyoming||Towson|
|3||Ashland||Appalachian St||C Arkansas||Cal Poly||Albany|
|3||Dayton||Citadel||Grambling St||E Washington||Bucknell|
|3||Grand Valley||E Kentucky||McNeese St||Humboldt St||Colgate|
|3||Hillsdale||Furman||Missouri St||Idaho St||Cornell|
|3||Indianapolis||Jacksonville St||N Dakota||Montana St||Dartmouth|
|3||Michigan Tech||James Madison||N Dakota St||N Arizona||Duquesne|
|3||Minnesota Duluth||Liberty||N Iowa||N Colorado||Georgetown|
|3||Minnesota St||Murray St||Northwestern St||Portland St||Holy Cross|
|3||Saginaw Valley||Old Dominion||S Dakota||S Utah||Lafayette|
|3||St Cloud||Samford||S Dakota St||Sacramento St||Pennsylvania|
|3||Valparaiso||Tennessee Tech||Sam Houston St||San Diego||Rhode Island|
|3||Wayne St (MI)||Tennessee-Martin||SE Louisiana||UC Davis||Villanova|
|3||Winona St||Wofford||Stephen F Austin||Weber St||Yale|
|4||Bemidji St||Alabama St||Arkansas-Pine Bluff||Adams St||Bryant|
|4||Concordia-St Paul||Coastal Carolina||Lamar||Azusa Pacific||C Connecticut St|
|4||Ferris St||Elon||Midwestern St||C Washington||Columbia|
|4||Findlay||Florida A&M||Missouri Western||Carroll (MT)||Delaware St|
|4||Lake Erie||Georgia St||Nebraska-Kearney||Colorado Mesa||Fordham|
|4||McKendree||Hampton||Nicholls St||Colorado Mines||Howard|
|4||MSU Moorhead||Jackson St||NW Missouri||Dixie St||Marist|
|4||N Michigan||Jacksonville||Pittsburg St||E New Mexico||Monmouth (NJ)|
|4||Northwood||Norfolk St||Prairie View A&M||Ft Lewis||Morgan St|
|4||Notre Dame College||Presbyterian||SE Missouri St||NM Highlands||Princeton|
|4||Ohio Dominican||Richmond||Southern||Simon Fraser||Robert Morris (PA)|
|4||SW Minnesota||South Carolina St||Texas Southern||W New Mexico||Sacred Heart|
|4||Urbana||Tennessee St||W Texas A&M||W Oregon||St Francis (PA)|
|4||Walsh||William & Mary||Washburn||Western St||Wagner|
|5||Alma||Alabama A&M||Abilene Christian||Cal Lutheran||Bentley|
|5||Central St||Alcorn St||Angelo St||E Oregon||Bloomsburg|
|5||Malone||Austin Peay||Augustana (SD)||Lewis and Clark||California|
|5||Minnesota-Crookston||Charleston Southern||Chadron St||Menlo||IUP|
|5||Mt Union||Davidson||Emporia St||Montana St-Northern||Kutztown|
|5||N Central||Gardner-Webb||Lindenwood||Montana Tech||LIU Post|
|5||Quincy||Mississippi Valley St||Mary||Montana Western||Mercyhurst|
|5||St Joseph's||Morehead St||Missouri Southern||Pacific Lutheran||Merrimack|
|5||St Thomas||North Carolina A&T||Northeastern St||Redlands||New Haven|
|5||St Xavier||North Carolina Central||Sioux Falls||Rocky Mountain||S Connecticut|
|5||Tiffin||Savannah St||Tarleton St||S Oregon||Shippensburg|
|5||UW-Oshkosh||Virginia Military Institute||Texas A&M-Kingsville||Whitworth||Slippery Rock|
|5||UW-Whitewater||W Carolina||Wayne St (NE)||Willamette||W Chester|
|6||Baldwin-Wallace||Carson-Newman||Arkansas Tech||Chapman||American Intl|
|6||Bethel (MN)||Delta St||Arkansas-Monticello||Claremont-Mudd-Scripps||Assumption|
|6||Elmhurst||Elizabeth City||C Oklahoma||La Verne||Bowie St|
|6||Illinois Wesleyan||Mars Hill||Ft Hays||Pacific||Clarion|
|6||Monmouth (IL)||Morehouse||Harding||Pomona-Pitzer||E Stroudsburg|
|6||St Francis (IL)||N Alabama||Henderson St||Puget Sound||Gannon|
|6||St Francis (IN)||N Greenville||Missouri A&T||Whittier||Lincoln (PA)|
|6||UW-Eau Claire||Shepherd||Northern St||Lock Haven|
|6||UW-La Crosse||UNC Pembroke||Ouachita Baptist||Millersville|
|6||UW-Platteville||Valdosta St||SE Oklahoma||Pace|
|6||UW-Stevens Point||W Alabama||SW Baptist||Seton Hill|
|6||Wabash||Winston-Salem||Texas A&M-Commerce||St Anselm|
|6||Wheaton||WV Wesleyan||Truman St||Stonehill|
|7||Adrian||Albany St||Black Hills||Amherst|
|7||Carthage||Fairmont St||Mary Hardin-Baylor||Colby|
|7||Concordia-Moorhead||Ft Valley||McMurry||Cortland St|
|7||Heidelberg||Glenville St||Minot St||Delaware Valley|
|7||Millikin||Miles||Missouri Valley||Johns Hopkins|
|7||St Norbert||Shaw||Panhandle St||Salisbury|
|7||St Olaf||St Augustine's||S Dakota Mines||Trinity (CT)|
|7||UW-River Falls||Tuskegee||SW Oklahoma||Wesleyan|
|7||UW-Stout||W Georgia||Upper Iowa||Widener|
|8||Carroll (WI)||Catawba||Central||Buffalo St|
|8||Case Western Reserve||Charleston||Dakota Wesleyan||Hamilton|
|8||Gustavus Adolphus||Clark Atlanta||Dubuque||Kean|
|8||Hanover||Fayetteville St||Grand View||Lebanon Valley|
|8||Hope||Johnson C Smith||Hardin-Simmons||Lycoming|
|8||Illinois College||Kentucky St||Louisiana College||Montclair St|
|8||John Carroll||Lane||Mid America Nazarene||Rowan|
|8||Muskingum||Stillman||Northwestern (IA)||St John Fisher|
|8||Ohio Northern||Virginia St||Ottawa||TCNJ|
|8||Olivet Nazarene||Virginia Union||St Ambrose||Tufts|
|8||Ripon||W Liberty||Trinity (TX)||Washington and Jefferson|
|8||Trine||WV St||William Penn||Waynesburg|
|9||Chicago||Centre||C Methodist||Carnegie Mellon|
|9||Denison||Cumberlands||Dickinson St||Frostburg St|
|9||DePauw||Georgetown (KY)||E Texas Baptist||Ithaca|
|9||Mt St Joseph||Kentucky Wesleyan||Midland||Salve Regina|
|9||N Park||Livingstone||Nebraska Wesleyan||Springfield|
|9||Oberlin||Randolph-Macon||NW Oklahoma||St Vincent|
|9||Otterbein||Shorter||Southern Nazarene||Union (NY)|
|9||St Scholastica||Thomas More||Valley City St||Ursinus|
|9||Wooster||Washington and Lee||Wartburg||W New England|
|10||Beloit||Bethany (WV)||Buena Vista||Bridgewater St|
|10||Benedictine (IL)||Bridgewater (VA)||Concordia (NE)||Framingham St|
|10||Bluffton||Campbellsville||Friends||Franklin and Marshall|
|10||Knox||Christopher Newport||Iowa Wesleyan||Geneva|
|10||Macalester||Emory and Henry||Luther||Grove City|
|10||Marietta||Lindsey Wilson||Simpson||Morrisville St|
|10||Ohio Wesleyan||Mississippi College||St Mary||Susquehanna|
|10||Robert Morris (IL)||Sewanee||Sterling||Utica|
|10||Rose-Hulman||Union (KY)||SW Assemblies of God||Westminster (PA)|
|10||Trinity International||Virginia Wise||Texas Lutheran||Wilkes|
|10||Wisconsin Lutheran||Webber Intl||Washington U.||William Paterson|
|11||Concordia (MI)||Edward Waters||Avila||Coast Guard|
|11||Earlham||Kentucky Christian||Dordt||Massachusetts Maritime|
|11||Hamline||Maryville (TN)||Grinnell||Merchant Marine|
|11||Hiram||Methodist||Howard Payne||Mt Ida|
|11||Lawrence||North Carolina Wesleyan||Loras||RPI|
|11||Northwestern (MN)||Rhodes||Peru St||SUNY-Maritime|
|11||Olivet||S Virginia||Southwestern||Westfield St|
|11||Rockford||Shenandoah||Sul Ross St||Worcester St|
|11||Wilmington||W Virginia Tech||Tabor||WPI|
|12||Crown||Apprentice||Bethel (KS)||Anna Maria|
|12||Eureka||Ave Maria||Cornell (IA)||Becker|
|12||Maranatha Baptist||Guilford||Dakota St||Curry|
|12||Westminster (MO)||Maine Maritime|
Wow - that is an incredibly thorough list. I can see college presidents getting their panties in a bundle already...
This is really just another "Let's make an American Sport more like English Football" discussion. In mid-May I think that's a fine idea.
I like this concept more for what it does to the lower divisions than for the Big Boys.
And got cut off before I could finish: The idea of following UMD as they play for promotion is enchanting.
Not sure that a separate playoff for lower divisions is necessary-for them the real prize is promotion.
I'm hardly a "futbol" fan but as a casual observer, the crazyness associated with this years championships (Chelsea knocking Tottenham out etc.), I say lets go for it! Again, a bloggers proposal makes much more sense than the aholes that run this show.
for something like this to happen.
I always see this idea discussed as "relegation," but don't forget there are two sides to this coin. I saw the end of the West Ham United* vs. Blackpool (?) game this weekend and the West Ham fans were going nuts because they were going to be promoted back to the Premier league.
* Shouldn't they just be called, "Ham United," because if they are truly United, there would be no need to make the East/West distinction.
This is interesting, but I'mconfused about what you mean when you say "division" a few times (whether you mean conference division or division as it is used by the ncaa now: div I, II, III; which I believe you referred to as "level" at the beginning. )
" If an at-large team is selected for the playoffs from the same conference in one division lower, the worst sixth place team plays the winner from the seventh place game on Thursday..."
That means same conference but one level lower? And this would mean the losers from those 2 games are being replaced by the level 2 conference champ and its at-large friend?
Sorry if I seem slow here, I'm really not familiar with relegation.
You got it. Top teams move up, bottom teams move down. In today's world, the levels would be D1-1AA-D2-D3-NAIA, here there are up to 12 levels per conference.
I don't quite understand how you placed the teams. What I mean is that Wabash and DePauw are in different levels inside the Big Ten. They are both Div III teams. Only reason I know this is because three of my friends in high school went there, and the Monon Bell game is a REALLY big deal to them.
Can we take the top two finishers in each of the five conferences and create a 'Champions' League' of sorts? I know the time/scheduling concerns would preclude this from happening, but as this is an exercise in off-season hopeful imagination, let's add that to the list.
This might even give someone a reason to cheer for a directional school..."We're moving on up!"
I love it! It will never happen. There is nothing that big educational instutions like less than actual accountablity for their results.
As if ESPN and the SEC don't ride the B1G as being a weak conference already. Please no... Four mid-majors for the B1G, two for the SEC, zero for the Big12, one for the Pac12, and zero for the ACC.
At least leave the state of Iowa in the B1G region to maintain some continuity and even out the seriously lacking 12th division (albeit, not as laughingly deficient as the Pac12 only fielding six divisions).
I was thinking the same thing. It seems like in the first level the big 10 is at the bottom with the acc.
This is good on a whole bunch of levels. If done across every sport, it might allow a small school like Calvin (btw, I did not see them on your list...no football program but they were D-III National Champs in basketball in the 90's) to compete in sports they are good at and focus there resources to be world class in niche sports like say hockey or rowing or swimming or fencing or track or distance running or volleyball or soccer or whatever. It would allow you to pitch your school to top athletes and garner the exposure of competing against larger institutions.
Doesn't seem like relegation/promotion is appropriate for college. Players are on the field for a maximum of 4, but more likely about 2, years. A senior dominated team could easily perform well and get promoted, only to be a laughing stock the following year when all the seniors are gone and they are playing stiffer competition.
Not to mention the impact of one star player. Think about Dan LeFevour at CMU. He would have gotten CMU up to Level 1. After he left, they were 3-9 (in 2010) against MAC competition - who knows what would have happened against the more traditional B1G.
Can't promote a team when they are forbidden from returning their star players.
(1) If he gets them up to level 1 and they have an 0-12 season then they fall back to level 2 after increased exposure, helping them recruit more in the future.
(2) If they move up to level 1 and have a 3-9 season but someone has a 2-10 season, then they get to stay in the elevated level for another year.
(3) If they didn't move up to level 1 and have a 3-9 season, then there is a chance that they get relegated to level 3. They can move back up to level 2 the following year.
I think that would make coaches focus more on recruiting players they know would stick around. It would prevent a Kentucky-esque basketball situtaion where Calipari recruit five kids that win him the title and they all leave...
Coaches would have to encourage the children to stay in school longer, thus more houses of learn-ed doctors, as Dale Dobeck would say.
That is some out of the box thinking Mathlete.
In 2008, Indiana gets releated. In 2009, without Indiana for it's sole win and to fall behind Michigan in the standings, Michigan gets relegated. In 2010, Denard happens, Michigan wins all of their games and gets elevated to level 1 again. If RR didn't get fired after year 2, he'd still be on after year 3.
I don't think Rodriguez could possibly make it through Year 2 and relegation. That could have been the first time in history that we would have been demoted out of the top-tier level and I don't think any coach would have survived that - think of the pain that came with snapping the bowl streak multiplied by 25.
Universities would put that sort of clause in a contract where if you take our team to a lower level or two, it's automatic firing without compensation....
Alma in level 5? They were 2-8 last year in D3. Placing them in the same level as UW-Whitewater and Mount Union is just crazy.
As always, genius from the Mathlete. As a native Missourian, the best part is seeing Kansas in level 2. A minor, picky point: Big 12 level 6 has Missouri A&T which should be Missouri S&T.
Finally, tailgating at The Grove at Ole Miss will become more accessible for those of us from the states that fought on the "other side" in the "War of Northern Aggression." Maybe Mississippi State will ask that the season-ending "rivalry game" will be renamed the "Scrambled Egg Bowl."
So much for the Mannings' tailgating tent and that cheer in The Grove:
Hotty Toddy, Gosh almighty
Who the hell are we, Hey!
Flim Flam, Bim Bam
OLE MISS BY DAMN!
Archie and Eli will not be happy with this development.
I love the effort here by the mathlete, just incredible. To slot all these schools into divisions, this must have taken a day or two to do all this work.
In terms of the actual proposal, well, we know it will never happen. A relegation and promotion system implicitly assumes that every team has winning as a #1 prority. With college sports, you have all sorts of competing priorities, especially for teams outside of DI BCS.
Slippery Rock vs. Merrimack (followed by Michigan vs. Merrimack on the ice at Yost)?