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Introducing the SB Nation Conference Re-Draft Project

Missed the incredibly indulgent Conference Armageddon post that lead us to this point?  Check it out here.

If there is one universal in college athletics it is that all fans believe that the NCAA has done 90% of things incorrectly. The latest and most prolific of these second guesses being the configuration of the conferences. Well we are here to re-draft all that, and to invent teleporting while we are at it... bear with me here.

A few weeks ago I had an idea to basically treat all the NCAA schools and athletic programs as free agents, with 6 commissioners holding a fantasy style draft to fill up their empty conferences. Thanks to some overwhelmingly positive response from many of my SB Nation blogging peers, this idea developed and became what you will read below:  The SB Nation Conference Re-Draft Project.


The purposes of the fantasy draft are: (1) to explore the values of individual schools by drafting them sequentially, and (2) to have fun strategically building a conference of schools.

There will be six conferences, and such conferences are NOT meant to be new versions of current conferences. That is, the objective of the game is not to create tweaked versions of what we already have. The goal is to draft schools based on their overall value, and to compile a conference of teams strategically and coherently. 

What makes a school valuable? Well as one of the six conference commissioners, we leave that largely up to you, with a few important guidelines. First, bearing in mind that we are drafting athletics conferences, athletics should be weighted heaviest, if not exclusively.

While obviously we must consider athletics, the following are factors you may, but are not required to consider:

Weather/Desirability of Destination
Historic Success
TV Revenue Potential
Rivalries (two teams)

On the flipside, for purposes of this game there are two factors that are NOT to be considered. First, do not take travel/geographic concerns into consideration (I told you we invented teleporting).  In real life, Washington and Florida are unrealistic conference partners; in our world, that doesn't matter -- neither from a travel or time zone standpoint. Second, and related, while we may take individual rivalries into consideration (e.g. pairing Michigan and Ohio State), preservation of current conference history/rivalry/alliance is not to be considered. Hopefully for obvious reasons.

Finally, the goal is not to improve the status quo. The goal is not to create a conference that will actually play games. The goal is to use a draft to value schools and have fun strategically grouping them together.

In sum, there is no single way that schools must be valued and/or grouped together. Some may wish to create the best conference of all-around athletics-academics combination. Others may want to create a revenue superpower. There are any number of valid ways to do this. The only limitation is not creating a group that is based on regional and historical ties. Time to wipe the slate clean and start over.



As mentioned above, there will be six conference commissioners: House of Sparky (Arizona State), Big East Coast Bias (Big East), Black Heart Gold Pants (Iowa), Team Speed Kills (SEC), Red Cup Rebellion (Ole Miss), and BC Interruption (Boston College).

An (incredibly) important note: The six conference commissioners will start with a blank slate. House of Sparky, Black Heart Gold Pants and Red Cup Rebellion will not be starting with Arizona State, Iowa or Ole Miss in their conference already. If we want our own schools, we'll have to draft them. 

The draft order was determined by a random generator thingy and is as follows.

1. BC Interruption

2. Black Heart Gold Pants
3. Team Speed Kills
4. Big East Coast Bias
5. House of Sparky
6. Red Cup Rebellion

For now the conferences will be referred to as Conference #1, #2, #3, and you can probably figure out the rest.  As they develop, the commissioners and selected schools may decide to give their conference a name.

The draft will be a snake draft, with Red Cup Rebellion receiving the 6th and 7th picks.

The draft is officially being run here on Cowboys Ride For Free, so I will have the final say in the matter in any and all disputes (ensuing power trip montage).

One quick note: When a school is drafted, all athletic programs from that school go to the conference.  So enjoy that Duke football program whoever gets them


The draft will proceed along the following schedule:

Monday, June 6 - Sunday, June 12: Introduction week. This week will be spent introducing the idea, and discussing the draft strategies and such across all blogs, particularly the conference commissioner blogs.

Monday, June 13 - Sunday, June 19: The first two rounds of the draft will be held behind the scenes with the commissioners making the picks utilizing their own judgment, and hopefully input from their readers.

Monday, June 20: The first official posts go live. At Cowboys Ride For Free, I will announce the conference names and recap the first two rounds of the draft.

After the big reveal of conference names and founding members, the draft will continue in much the same manner, with two draft picks a week for the next several weeks. Once a conference drafts 12 members, a conference can be capped. If we want, the draft will continue for conferences who wish to add more members. If in any subsequent round only one conference remains, it may select the remaining members of its conference up to a maximum of 16 schools.

And that is it for the rules!

Since this site is now the official last word on conference building, what does everyone think about the project?
What would your draft strategy be?
Who is the first pick?
Who will pay to have Dan Beebe's longhorn tramp stamp removed?