Your last point about the Penn State addition compared to the latest rumored ones versus the total Pac 10 dealio is legit. I take your, or Google Maps (and their Dukes of Hazzard-ish type jumps), word for these numbers. If Texas football ever tanks it like Michigan has these past couple of years, I will love to see the turnout of Longhorn fans in Seattle and vice versa.
Geographical Analysis of Conference Expansion
One of the big sticking points in the conference expansion talks is “Think of the poor students, and how far the women's field hockey team will need to travel.” I intend to evaluate that statement, and examine what difference, if any the proposed expansion scenarios have on it, as well as examine the effects of previous expansion (a.k.a Penn State).
|Colorado||Boulder, CO||920||880||1250||1240||1260||1300||1040||820||1360||1140||950||0||overall average|
As it stands now, the average distance between schools is 695 miles. Adding Texas and CU makes the max distance 2100 miles. Texas and Colorado are at least 800 miles away from every existing school, and already 950 miles from Boulder. And, it goes without saying, about 1200 miles from the Pacific. Adding CU and UT makes the new average 900 miles. On the surface, that’s a ton, but, by doing so, it allows the creation of an East and West conference, with the dividing line in Arizona or thereabouts. That should actually reduce the travel distance between in-conference schools. So what we could wind up with is some sort of Pac-8, and a South Western conference that has nothing to do with the Pacific. Or, given what’s going on today, anything and everything else.
The Big 10 is the conference we all know and love, and has a reasonable shape, making for much more manageable distances between schools. As it stands now, there is an average of 370 miles between schools, with Minnesota – Penn State the longest trip at about 900 miles. Note that Google maps is either aware of the Car Ferry, or assumes a Dukes-of-Hazzard-ish jump of Lake Michigan at Muskegon to get to Minneapolis and Madison. As always, chart:
|Champaign||Bloomington||Iowa City||Ann Arbor||East Lansing||Minneapolis||Evanston||Columbus||State College||West Lafayette||Madison||Lincoln||Columbia||South Bend|
|Michigan State||Ann Arbor||350||330||450||0||70||650||260||190||410||260||390||750||660||170|
|Penn State||State College||620||550||800||410||470||990||600||320||0||560||730||1100||860||500|
|Notre Dame||South Bend||200||200||300||170||150||500||110||280||500||150||240||600||450||0||overall average|
|pre minus PSU||262.2222||308.8889||345.5556||327.7778||301.1111||512.2222||217.7778||373.3333||248.8889||296.6667||319.4444|
It seems Missouri is less a given than it was yesterday, but I’ll leave it because it would make too much work to take it out. Adding those three makes the new average distance 400 miles, and Nebraska – Penn State is the long haul at 1100 miles. Once again, there would probably be East and West divisions in the conference to reduce the mileage even further, but a distance difference of 30 miles is pretty negligible.
Big-10 pre-Penn State
For those of you who have stuck with me this long, here’s the payoff. What effect would removing Penn State have on the distances? Or, how much effect did adding Penn State have originally? You can see that without Penn State, the average distance drops to 320 miles between teams, or a difference of about 50 miles.
What all this shows is that the net mileage difference from adding Nebraska, Missouri and Notre Dame would be less that the difference was just by adding Penn State, even without factoring in the divisional separation. The Pac-10, on the other hand, is already crazy, and adding anything east of Arizona is even more crazy. To put this in perspective, the CCHA has an exemption for any team that plays an Alaska team. Google maps says that it’s a 3800 mile drive from Ann Arbor to Fairbanks. The trip from Austin to Seattle is 2100 miles. Perhaps they will have exemptions for anyone making that trip.
I knew conference footprint was an important consideration, but I'd never really looked at it before.
Note that Google maps is either aware of the Car Ferry, or assumes a Dukes-of-Hazzard-ish jump of Lake Michigan at Muskegon to get to Minneapolis and Madison.
I once, just for fun, asked Google maps for driving directions from Ann Arbor to Leeds, UK. It gave me driving directions from Ann Arbor to LaGuardia, and picked up at Heathrow on the other side. Google maps is the best.
(Sadly, I've tried this again since, and it no works. But it was funny at the time.)
but it used to tell you to swim the ~3,000 miles across the atlantic
It used to tell you the best way from Ann Arbor to Japan including kayaking to Hawaii, driving the Hawaii high ways, then kayaking to Japan. Kayak was the prefered nomenclature.
Interesting that ND would be the team that travels the least distance (tied with Illinois to the centimeter!!!) if they were to join the conference...
In terms of distance, how does joining the Pac-10 and B10 compare for Texas? What if they came along with A&M?
Great great analysis.
Austin to State College - 1500 miles
Austin to Urbana - 1000 miles
Austin to Minneapolis - 1170 miles
I've made the drives (more or less as I started in Houston). They'll be using that added revenue to fly.
i came here for the maps and you give me spreadsheets.
-1 to you
It would wind up looking like United's flight routes. I could maybe draw circles around each team's average travel radius, but I don't know how much that would help.
Definitely will be interesting for fans who like to take road trips. You guys are going to have to drive way farther now.
This is a kitten:
You've got Michigan State and MSU in the chart and no Michigan.
Otherwise great work.
That would be Excel helping me by pre-filling the columns... The MSU in Ann Arbor is really Michigan.
and I thought this was going to be a sweet diary with RISK-type maps of conference expansion. WORLD DOMINATION
edit: Oops, repost
shares a border with Ohio, keeping the Big Ten a conference of contiguous states. And Nebraska shares a border with Iowa.
Adding Colorado to the Pac-10 makes a crazy quilt, bypassing Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming. Clearly, I'm ignoring the single point shared by CO and AZ at "the four corners".
The drawbacks to long distances can be compensated by multiple games per road trip. Here in Alaska, the teams usually play several games at several schools when it becomes necessary to play Outside. Think of having a field hockey team travel from road game to road game without having to return home.