Mike Lantry, 1972
In the wake of today's 2013-2014 B1G Men's Basketball schedule release and the dislike that came with it, I thought of a new way to formulate a conference schedule. I tried to keep it balanced where the high-level teams play more high-level teams and the low-level teams play more low-level teams so there's no repeat of Wisconsin's/Ohio State's favorable one-offs.
I introduce to you tier scheduling. Taking the final standings of last year, I broke up teams into four three-team tiers, Tiers 1, 2, 3, and 4 obviously.
Now, once these teams are in tiers, it's time to set up which tiers will play the other tiers how many times. It is cumbersome to explain it in words so I will just show what I have in my spreadsheet
There might be a better way to balance this out, but I feel this does a decent job making sure good teams play more good teams with the occasional bad team and vice versa.
So what would this mean for Michigan this year? Here's a hypothetical schedule based on their tier 2 standing
When it came to the one-offs I picked teams with less of a recent history with Michigan so that's why they play Indiana once out of tier 1 but OSU and MSU twice, then Minnesota and Purdue once out of tier 3 but Illinois twice, etc.
I did this somewhat hastily so if there's any apparent flaws please point them out but I think I have everything squared away.
Obviously this kind of scheduling is too late because 1. 2013-2014 schedule is already done and 2. this is the final year of having 12 teams. But this was a fun "What If?" scenario I wanted to share.
It's 3:22 AM on a school night and for some odd reason I was struck with insomnia. I was also struck with the effort to put into words how the Big Ten Hockey Conference would be created and managed thanks to an impromptu logo designing session. Below is how I feel the BTHC should be constructed.
14 conference games total
4 games versus main rival Michigan State
4 games versus secondary rival Ohio State
2 games versus each Minn, Wisc, and PSU (6)
|Team||Rival 1||Rival 2|
|Michigan||Michigan State||Ohio State|
|Michigan State||Michigan||Ohio State|
|Ohio State||Michigan||Michigan State|
Obviously, the rivalry series are to maintain the rivalries between teams from the same former conference (CCHA or WCHA...with Penn State involuntarily thrown into the WCHA rivalries)
Top 2 seeds (via conference record) receive first-round byes.
#3 vs. #6 and #4 vs. #5 have a best of 3 series with the higher seed receiving home ice.
Teams re-seed after the first round, therefore the #1 seed plays lowest remaining seed, #2 seed plays highest remaining seed.
Second round is also a best of 3 series, with the higher seed in each matchup receiving home ice.
The Big Ten Championship round is best of 3, with the series played at Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI.
In order to help keep the CCHA/WCHA competitive and afloat, each Big Ten conference team will face a significant number of opponents from their former conferences. For Penn State, they could be free to schedule a lot of non-conference opponents from all over the country. Approximately 12 games could be devoted to former conference opponents.
14 conference games + 12 former conference games = 26, which leaves about 5-7 out-of-conference games to fill in.
For Michigan, their 12 former conference games will include all Michigan schools (WMU, Ferris, LSSU, NMU) along with Miami and ND. These can all either be home-and-homes or double homes and double aways with a rotation the following year.
Sample Conference Schedule: Michigan
Bolded dates are conference opponents
10/6/12 vs. USTDP-18 (exhibition)
10/7/12 vs. out-of-conference opp.
10/13/12 @ out-of-conference opp.
10/20/12 @ out-of-conference opp.
10/26/12 vs. Ferris State
10/27/12 @ Ferris State
11/2/12 @ Ohio State
11/3/12 vs. Ohio State
11/9/12 @ Notre Dame
11/10/12 vs. Notre Dame
11/16/12 @ Michigan State
11/17/12 @ Michigan State
College Hockey Showcase - Ann Arbor, MI
11/23/12 vs. out-of-conference opp.
11/24/12 vs. out-of conference opp.
11/30/12 vs. Northern Michigan
12/1/12 @ Northern Michigan
12/7/12 @ Penn State
12/8/12 vs. Penn State
12/14/12 vs. Ohio State
12/15/12 @ Ohio State
12/28/12 Great Lakes Invitational
12/29/12 Great Lakes Invitational
1/4/13 @ Minnesota
1/5/13 vs. Minnesota
1/11/13 vs. Miami (OH)
1/12/13 @ Miami (OH)
1/18/13 vs. Lake Superior
1/19/13 vs. Lake Superior
2/1/13 @ Wisconsin
2/2/13 vs. Wisconsin
2/8/13 vs. Michigan State
2/9/13 @ Michigan State
2/15/13 @ Western Michigan
2/16/13 @ Western Michigan
2/21/13 - 2/23/13 First Round of BTHC Playoffs
2/28/13 - 3/2/13 Second Round of BTHC Playoffs
3/7/13 - 3/9/13 BTHC Championship Round
This prediction of the BTHC may be obvious and not too challenging but I feel this is what may happen and I hope happens. Seeing as the Big Ten is all about inclusion, they may cycle the BTHChampionship round between different cities like Chicago (United Center), Detroit (JLA), Minnesota (XCel Energy Center) as well.
I would like to know your thoughts and your insights into the (inevitable) BTHC.
Bonus Graphic: Our current jerseys with the new B1G logo on the right shoulder
EDITS: Restructured Big Ten conference games, increased number of games vs. CCHA, edited potential Michigan schedule 3/6/11