How can any schedule with rotating pods be described as "simplest?"
Hoke was top notch at this aspect of his job.
A lot of people are having different opinions on how the scheduling should be, so I try one scenario myself. Whit just 2 different schedules, by only rotating 2 pods one time, you can play everybody every other year, or home and away every 4 years. For the sake of the argument I added Nebraska, Notre Dame, Pittsburg, Syracuse and Rutgers.
Let's lay a few ground rules.
- One rivalry above all (MICH - OSU).
- The requirements to play a championship game are:
1. At least 12 teams divided in two divisions (16 teams in our case),
2. Round robin schedule inside your division (7 games).
- You need to go to 9 conference games. You play the 7 teams from your division + 2 other from the other division.
Big Ten Scheduling:
1. Create 4 pods (2 fixed and 2 rotating). The 2 fixed pods will be made of the strongest teams and will each anchor one division (Pod A will never be in the same division with Pod B). This keeps the divisions strength balanced; also it maintains most rivalries intact and creates new ones based on location.
Fixed Pod A - OSU, MI, MSU, PSU
Fixed Pod B - WISC, IOWA, NEB, ND
2. The 2 rotating pods will change divisions every 2 years (I'll explain later why).
Rotating Pod C - ILL, RUTG, SYR, PITT
Rotating Pod D - PUR, IND, MINN, NW
3. First year you have this 2 divisions:
Fixed Pod A - Rotating Pod C
Fixed Pod B - Rotating Pod D
4. The 2 extra games will be used against teams from the opposing pod (Fixed Pod A - Fixed Pod B), (Rotating Pod C - Rotating Pod D). As an example: OSU and MICH will play WISC and IOWA, MSU and PSU will play NEB and ND.
5. One problem with the 9 conference games is that you play a 5-4 or 4-5 schedule (home-away). You can fix that by having one division playing 5 home games and the other one just 4. This will make it fair inside the divisions. The next year you reverse the schedule and the home teams will play away this time, so the division that had 5 home games will have 4 now. This way you basically have a home and away schedule over a span of two years.
6. After 2 seasons you rotate the pods and now you have this 2 divisions:
Fixed Pod A - Rotating Pod D
Fixed Pod B - Rotating Pod C
7. The 2 extra games will be used against the other 2 teams from the opposing pod. As an example: OSU and MICH will play NEB and ND, MSU and PSU will play WISC and IOWA.
8. The 4th year will be like the 2nd one, a reverse schedule of the previous one for the same reasons.
After 4 years everybody plays everybody home and away at least ones and you basically change the schedule only one time. This way you can actually know way ahead your B10 schedule because it will repeat every 4 years.
The rivalries will be kept inside the pods only, but like I said before; only one rivalry is above all MICH - OSU, all the other ones are secondary and some will be sacrificed.
P.S. These pods alignments are just for the sake of the argument. Please take them as is. I could've used numbers instead of actual schools, but I think is more relevant this way.
Edit: Maybe this will make it easier to understand.
How can any schedule with rotating pods be described as "simplest?"
It's the simplest 16 teams' schedule, not 10 or 12 teams, 16. Given the fact that people will want to play other teams as often as possible, this is the easiest way. You only use 2 schedules and, keep the divisions somehow balanced and play everybody home and away every 4 years.
Yes, you can do it easier. Split in 2 divisions, play a round robin inside your division plus 1 game against one opponent from the other division. This way you will play a home and away with everybody once every 16 years. Then what's the reason to be in the same conference?
I posted this a few days ago and it really is 1) the simplest and 2) the only thing they will ACTUALLY do.
2 divisions - East and West (assume ND, Pitt, Rutgers, Nebraska and Mizzou)
West: Nebraska, Mizzou, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame (to even out the talent it's ND instead of Purdue)
East: Purdue, Indiana, MSU, UM, OSU, PSU, Pitt and Rutgers
You play a full 7 team round robin and 3 other conference games on a rotating schedule so you'll have 4 in div home games and 1 non-div home game and 3 and 2 respectively so you'll always have 5 conference home games (the big 12 already does this kind of deal, SEC might as well, idk)
Winner of East plays Winner of West the weekend after the OSU-UM game. You'll play people from the other division, at most, once every 3 years. That's fine with me as that's more often than we play anyone not named Notre Dame.
The only problem is you play 10 conference games and "people from the other division, at most, once every 3 years". I don't think that will fly with Big Ten AD's.
That actually meant to imply that the least often you would play someone is once every 3 years - you will certainly end up playing someone twice in those 3 years since there's only 8 teams and 9 games to fill. I really don't understand the opposition to once every 3 years, seems like something to look forward to to me. How long was our break between the home and home with Oregon?
Why not? Well let me think. We don't play 10 conference games right now when we have 11 teams and that will make it a round robin schedule and you want that to happen when they expend?
I think you severely underestimate the importance of the other Big Ten rivalries. Wisconsin and Minnesota have played every season since 1890. I don’t see the rest of the Big Ten agreeing to a system where Wisky/Minny must give that up, while Michigan still gets to play both OSU and MSU annually.
I specifically ask to take them as is, which means they serve only as an example. Who knows how the Big Ten will prefer to align the teams and which rivalries will be sacrificed? We don't even know who the teams will be.
I'd modify the pods slightly. First I'd make all of the pods "fixed". Pod A can never form a division with Pod D. Pods B and C can't make a division either. The divisions will flip after every two seasons. Then play 9 conference games, with the two cross division games being against the opposite pod (aka, the pod you can't form a division with). Those cross-pod games would change every two years, which guarantees that every school will see other every conference opponent 2 out of 4 years. This may still create a few imbalances in terms of schedule strength, but preserves most rivalries.
To be honest that was my initial line-up too, but I thought that Pod A was way stronger then Pod D and when you combine Pod A whit Pod C the divisions will be too unbalanced.
Can anybody help me resize that image, please?
Simplest 16-team Big Ten Schedule -
Everybody plays everybody else as much as possible. 12 conference games, no OOC. Rotate on and off in 2 year increments like the current Big Ten schedule, Schools protect 2 rivalries. You cycle through the conference in 3 years, max.
I hope you are kidding. If not, in that case, the simplest schedule will be 2 permanent divisions, 15 conferences games full round robin, divisions' champs play in the final.
I was. And I was also trying to keep it in the scope of realism.
And I was poking fun at the title. And I'm starting sentences with conjunctions.