Geographical Analysis of Conference Expansion

Submitted by stubob on June 10th, 2010 at 4:03 PM

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).

 

Pac-10

name location  Tuscon Tempe Berkeley Eugene Corvallis Stanford LA LA Seattle Pullman Austin Boulder
Arizona Tucson 0 110 860 1340 1380 840 500 440 1620 1360 890 920
ASU Tempe 110 0 750 1240 1280 740 360 390 1520 1250 1000 880
Cal Berkeley 860 750 0 520 560 45 370 350 800 280 1750 1250
Oregon Eugene 1340 1240 520 0 40 560 850 740 280 450 2230 1240
OSU Corvallis 1380 1280 560 40 0 600 650 770 260 430 2270 1260
Stanford Stanford 840 740 45 560 600 0 350 320 840 920 1730 1300
UCLA Los Angeles 500 360 370 850 650 350 0 10 1100 1100 1390 1040
USC Los Angeles 440 390 350 740 770 320 10 0 960 870 1220 820
Washington Seattle 1620 1520 800 280 260 840 1100 960 0 290 2120 1360
WSU Pullman 1360 1250 280 450 430 920 1100 870 290 0 2070 1140
Texas Austin, TX 890 1000 1750 2230 2270 1730 1390 1220 2120 2070 0 950
Colorado Boulder, CO 920 880 1250 1240 1260 1300 1040 820 1360 1140 950 0 overall average
pre 938.8889 848.8889 503.8889 668.8889 663.3333 579.4444 587.7778 538.8889 852.2222 772.2222 695.4444
post 932.7273 865.4545 685 862.7273 863.6364 749.5455 701.8182 626.3636 1013.636 846.6667 1601.818 1105.455 904.5707

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.

 

Big 10

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
Illinois Champaign 0 150 240 350 320 510 150 300 620 90 250 520 270 200
Indiana Bloomington 150 0 390 330 310 640 250 220 550 110 380 640 350 200
Iowa Iowa City 240 390 0 450 430 300 250 540 800 330 180 300 230 300
Michigan State Ann Arbor 350 330 450 0 70 650 260 190 410 260 390 750 660 170
MSU East Lansing 320 310 430 70 0 540 240 250 470 270 280 730 580 150
Minnesota Minneapolis 510 640 300 650 540 0 410 760 990 530 270 430 500 500
Northwestern Evanston 150 250 250 260 240 410 0 360 600 140 150 530 400 110
Ohio State Columbus 300 220 540 190 250 760 360 0 320 240 500 800 540 280
Penn State State College 620 550 800 410 470 990 600 320 0 560 730 1100 860 500
Purdue West Lafayette 90 110 330 260 270 530 140 240 560 0 270 620 370 150
Wisconsin Madison 250 380 180 390 280 270 150 500 730 270 0 500 420 240
Nebraska Lincoln 520 640 300 750 730 430 530 800 1100 620 500 0 330 600
Missouri Columbia 270 350 230 660 580 500 400 540 860 370 420 330 0 450
Notre Dame South Bend 200 200 300 170 150 500 110 280 500 150 240 600 450 0 overall average
pre 298 333 391 336 318 560 281 368 605 280 340 373.6364
post 305.3846 347.6923 338.5714 380 356.9231 540.7692 296.1538 407.6923 654.6154 303.0769 350.7692 603.8462 458.4615 296.1538 402.865
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.

Comments

timtebro

June 10th, 2010 at 4:22 PM ^

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.

WolverBean

June 10th, 2010 at 4:25 PM ^

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.)

BlueCE

June 10th, 2010 at 4:37 PM ^

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.

Engin77

June 11th, 2010 at 12:28 PM ^

 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".

Alaska Hokie

June 11th, 2010 at 6:12 PM ^

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.