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Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
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schmolik Online
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Post: #21
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
(03-23-2020 07:18 AM)CliftonAve Wrote:  
(03-23-2020 07:13 AM)goofus Wrote:  You could have a football conference of 20 teams if you play at least 9 conference games.

Split into 5-team pods. You play every team in your pod (4 games) plus all the teams in another 5 -team pod for a total of 9 games in a ten team division. Then rotate the pods that play each other every 3 years.

In basketball, you would play 20 conference games, play 18 teams once, and 1 team twice.

So I think the answer is 20 teams.

Alternatively a 20 team conference could house two 10-team divisions that play 9 conference games. Winner of each division plays in CCG.

Some would argue this is more of a confederation than a conference since a lot of the schools would not be playing very much in FB, but truth be told there would be a lot of schools that would have no interest playing most schools in the other division anyhow and the chances are you could arrange the divisions geographically to keep fan interest/engagement peaked.

You have two 10-team divisions and 9 conference games and they would play NO cross division games. If the Big Ten went to that, teams not in Ohio State's division would never play OSU again in a conference game. If I'm Illinois, would I agree to that? Over my dead body, especially if you assume Michigan is going to be in Ohio State's division and I lose them too. Same concept with the SEC and Alabama. You do that and you might as well have two separate conferences with the exception of the paychecks (although admittedly that's a pretty important exception).
03-23-2020 07:29 AM
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CliftonAve Offline
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Post: #22
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
(03-23-2020 07:29 AM)schmolik Wrote:  
(03-23-2020 07:18 AM)CliftonAve Wrote:  
(03-23-2020 07:13 AM)goofus Wrote:  You could have a football conference of 20 teams if you play at least 9 conference games.

Split into 5-team pods. You play every team in your pod (4 games) plus all the teams in another 5 -team pod for a total of 9 games in a ten team division. Then rotate the pods that play each other every 3 years.

In basketball, you would play 20 conference games, play 18 teams once, and 1 team twice.

So I think the answer is 20 teams.

Alternatively a 20 team conference could house two 10-team divisions that play 9 conference games. Winner of each division plays in CCG.

Some would argue this is more of a confederation than a conference since a lot of the schools would not be playing very much in FB, but truth be told there would be a lot of schools that would have no interest playing most schools in the other division anyhow and the chances are you could arrange the divisions geographically to keep fan interest/engagement peaked.

You have two 10-team divisions and 9 conference games and they would play NO cross division games. If the Big Ten went to that, teams not in Ohio State's division would never play OSU again in a conference game. If I'm Illinois, would I agree to that? Over my dead body, especially if you assume Michigan is going to be in Ohio State's division and I lose them too. Same concept with the SEC and Alabama. You do that and you might as well have two separate conferences with the exception of the paychecks (although admittedly that's a pretty important exception).

For a variety of reasons, my guess in that scenario OSU and Illinois will be in the same division. That being said, if they weren't I am sure Illinois would be happy to continue cashing their $50M+/yearly check (which would probably be higher in a 20 team division).
03-23-2020 07:39 AM
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Post: #23
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
(03-22-2020 04:42 PM)Stugray2 Wrote:  
(03-22-2020 02:42 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  16 is totally workable provided you can find a way to divide your teams into workable pods or divisions that preserve the important regional and historic rivalries.

Beyond 16 requires either divisionless play or an NCAA rule challenge that would permit conference semi-final games.

Pods don't work.

In theory one could go to 21 in basketball, single round robin 20 games. But to honest I prefer double round robin, so 11 would be my Basketball ideal.

You can make larger numbers work. Even numbers for Basket ball mean you designate a rival you always play home and away. With 14 you'd play 6 of the other 12 twice, 6 once, hosting each 3 times in four years. For 16 it takes 7 years to host each 4 times (your rivals always). At 18 you might as well forget rotation, just designate 3 rivals, host the other 14 every other year -- you are basically like the old Big East.

For odd numbers above 11, you need an even number of "rivals" or none at all. If none then for 13, if you play 18 games, you host every school 2 times every 3 years, at 20 games you host every school 5 time every 6 years. If you declare two rivals and 20 games, then you host the other 10 schools 4 times every 5 years. At 15 you host the 12 non-rivals 2 times every 3 years. At 17 or 19 it's a bit complicated - you are probably best off having 2nd games only for rivalries or TV match ups (NET boosters).

For Football it's not great above 14. If you play 8 games it would take 7 years to host every school in the other division. At 16 it would take 16 years with only 8 games. 16 IMO dictates 9 games, as you are not a conference if you only host some schools less than once a decade. In fact 10 games might make sense at 16.

Football at 15 maybe better, with no Division. You could probably designate 2 rivals you always, and in an 8 game schedule play 6 of the other 12, so that you host everyone every 4 years. At 9 games it's funky.

Football just wont work about 16. You are getting tow a point where Divisions are de facto conferences. If you have 18, you are playing 8 Division games, and only 1 of the other 9 schools with 9 games, wihch might as well count as OOC.

Scheduling basically says 16 is as big as you can go without de facto turning Divisions into conferences, or turning basketball into an every other year hosting affair, ending rivalries.
And when you become two conferences you increase the possibility of a split. Also as you get larger, you get less homogeneity among the schools. The Big 10 has been around for over 100 years because the schools are so much alike. The SEC used to be a lot alike, but are growing apart as states like Georgia and Florida grow.
03-23-2020 08:43 AM
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XLance Offline
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Post: #24
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
14 is too many.
The ideal size would be 10, 11 or 12, with no conference having more than twelve members.
03-23-2020 09:58 AM
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schmolik Online
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Post: #25
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
Conference size will continue to rise as long as

1) There are Texases and Oklahomas and other schools attractive to the "attractive" conferences to want.

2) The attractive conferences don't have the guts to kick out their "dead weight".
03-23-2020 10:24 AM
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Michael in Raleigh Offline
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Post: #26
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
I think C-USA is unwieldy at 14. There is no big TV paycheck at all like the Autonomy 5 conferences for having 14 members, yet the league is stuck with having to divide the CFP money 14 ways instead of 12 ways, or in the case of the Sun Belt, 10. Plus, as with the other leagues with 14 members, teams go six or seven years without playing each other. It isn't so much a conference as it is a scheduling arrangement.

This just underscores why C-USA and the Sun Belt should just rearrange.

I suppose the Power Five leagues will add on more schools so long as the dollar bill says that it makes sense, both matter how many old rivalries are disrupted.
03-23-2020 11:06 AM
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Post: #27
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
It's not so much the size of the conference that could lead it to become "unwieldy", but rather the membership itself that could lead it to become unsustainable and/or constructed to eventually break apart. No matter the size of a conference, its membership has to not just have athletic value, but is also has to have like-mindedness (ideally, high-academic similarities) that can also boost the collective's academic standings as well.

For example a nation-wide conference (or association) that has the B1G take the AAU PAC and ACC programs would be massive; however, because of the peer associations, as well as the athletic brand values each program would (in theory) bring, I don't think a collection like this would be too big.

AAU West
North
California
Oregon
Stanford
Utah
Washington


South
Arizona
Colorado
Nebraska
UCLA
USC


AAU Midwest
East
Indiana
Michigan
Michigan State
Ohio State
Purdue


West
Illinois
Iowa
Minnesota
Northwestern
Wisconsin


AAU East
Atlantic
Florida State*
Georgia Tech
Notre Dame*
Penn State
Rutgers


Coastal
Duke
Maryland
North Carolina
Pittsburgh
Virginia

*Not AAU, but for sake of discussion (and likeliness they would be) both are included
(This post was last modified: 03-23-2020 11:07 AM by GoldenWarrior11.)
03-23-2020 11:06 AM
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esayem Offline
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Post: #28
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
(03-23-2020 06:32 AM)schmolik Wrote:  
(03-22-2020 09:10 PM)esayem Wrote:  10

I'm just curious as to who's the 10 you would have in the ACC then?

Virginia
Virginia Tech
VMI
Richmond
William & Mary
Wake Forest
North Carolina
Duke
NC State
Davidson
03-23-2020 11:12 AM
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XLance Offline
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Post: #29
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
(03-23-2020 11:12 AM)esayem Wrote:  
(03-23-2020 06:32 AM)schmolik Wrote:  
(03-22-2020 09:10 PM)esayem Wrote:  10

I'm just curious as to who's the 10 you would have in the ACC then?

Virginia
Virginia Tech
VMI
Richmond
William & Mary
Wake Forest
North Carolina
Duke
NC State
Davidson

Close but I think you might want to consider:

Virginia Tech
UVa
Carolina
State
Wake Forest
Dook
South Carolina
Clemson
Georgia Tech
Maryland
03-23-2020 11:42 AM
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DoubleRSU Online
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Post: #30
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
(03-23-2020 11:12 AM)esayem Wrote:  
(03-23-2020 06:32 AM)schmolik Wrote:  
(03-22-2020 09:10 PM)esayem Wrote:  10

I'm just curious as to who's the 10 you would have in the ACC then?

Virginia
Virginia Tech
VMI
Richmond
William & Mary
Wake Forest
North Carolina
Duke
NC State
Davidson

Nice 1950s conference
03-23-2020 02:19 PM
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Statefan Offline
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Post: #31
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
The Southern Conference broke up at 23 in 1933 and split 13-10
The Southern Conference broke up again in 1953 and split 7-10

It's difficult to maintain more than one culture in an athletic conference.
03-23-2020 03:31 PM
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Stugray2 Offline
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Post: #32
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
(03-23-2020 06:32 AM)schmolik Wrote:  
(03-22-2020 09:10 PM)esayem Wrote:  10

I'm just curious as to who's the 10 you would have in the ACC then?

Duke, UNC,Wake, UVa, GIT, Clemson, FSU, Miami

probably NC State and VT for 10. ND works as an 11th in basketball for 20 games.

OBE schools really are not part of that core. Nothing against them, but BC, Syracuse and Pitt hardly fit the ACC culture. Louisville .... hum.
03-23-2020 06:59 PM
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Post: #33
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
10 for basketball, 9 for football would be ideal. But after that any conference that has a number dividable by 4 would work the best for scheduling purpose.
03-23-2020 08:47 PM
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Post: #34
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
(03-22-2020 04:18 PM)Kit-Cat Wrote:  I don't think there is a real limit for the power guys if they can grab enough pieces.

SEC-16 (Florida St, Clemson)
B1G-16 (Oklahoma, Kansas)
PAC-16 (Texas, TT, TCU, OSU)

I also like the A-10's model of 14 where it collected all the best mid majors in the Northeast corridor for good saturation.

For the lower tier D1 conferences 10 or 11 is better. 10 in FB is a good number for the G5 conferences.

12 is good for the AAC. Ten would be much too small. 14 would help the AAC to become a potential P6 conference.

16 seems awfully large, considering that three of the P5 conferences (ACC, PAC-8, Big-8) started out with 8 teams. In a 16-team conference, the two divisions would function like conferences, and the number of inter-conference FB games would be as low as 1 per season (7 division games, 1 non-divisional games, 4 OOC games). In what sense are teams in the same "conference" if they hardly ever play the teams in the other division? With basketball, the teams couldn't play 14 divisional games, since that would only leave ~ 4 games for non-divisional games, so they would probably go non-divisional and only play 3 sets of home-away conference games. This, in turn would create some significant asymmetries in the number of Q1 through Q4 games per conference member.

Even the ACC plus Notre Dame seems somewhat bloated, and not truly an "Atlantic Coast" conference with Louisville and Notre Dame. Nebraska, Rutgers, and Maryland overly distend the Big-10's footprint and don't fit the Big-10 very well culturally. As a Big Ten fan for many years, I preferred that conference before Nebraska, Rutgers, and Maryland joined it, and as an east coast college sports fan, would prefer to see teams like Penn State, BC, Rutgers, Maryland, Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia, and Temple playing each other at least once every year or two. By grabbing up all the best teams, the ACC, Big Ten, and Big-12 have really made a mess of things for college sports fans in the northeastern region.
03-23-2020 10:26 PM
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Nerdlinger Offline
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Post: #35
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
(03-23-2020 10:26 PM)jedclampett Wrote:  12 is good for the AAC. Ten would be much too small. 14 would help the AAC to become a potential P6 conference.

G5 conference + more G5 schools =/= power conference
03-23-2020 10:34 PM
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ChrisLords Offline
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Post: #36
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
Before the change in the championship game rules, a geographically sensible 12 team conference was ideal. Now that you can have one with 10 schools; ten is ideal. You can have a double round robin with 18 conference basketball games or maybe have 1 non football school and have 20 conference basketball games. But that's not what the OP asked.

I agree with other posters that conference size is not the key factor that causes conferences to fall apart. If the NCAA allowed for no divisions, you could have a virtually unlimited number as long as you were scheduled to play everyone eventually. There's no stipulation that you have to play everyone in your conference every so many years. Just that you play everyone in your conference.

With the current conference rules, the 20 team conference that CliftonAve describes is probably as far as you can go. 4 pods of 5 that make 2 new divisions every year.

While keeping fixed divisions, 12 is as high as you want to go. The SEC and ACC each have 14 but most schools have 1 team in the other division that's a must play or in the ACC's case, they wanted to keep both Miami and FSU alive for the championship game even though they played each other every year. The ACC and SEC only rotate 1 game around the remaining 6 teams in the other division making it so you only play everyone home and away once every 12 years. That's unwieldy.
03-23-2020 10:35 PM
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BruceMcF Offline
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Post: #37
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
(03-23-2020 10:26 PM)jedclampett Wrote:  16 seems awfully large, considering that three of the P5 conferences (ACC, PAC-8, Big-8) started out with 8 teams. In a 16-team conference, the two divisions would function like conferences, and the number of inter-conference FB games would be as low as 1 per season (7 division games, 1 non-divisional games, 4 OOC games). In what sense are teams in the same "conference" if they hardly ever play the teams in the other division? ...

Of course, that is if you elect to do it that way.

Halfway between fixed divisions and the WACky 4x4 pods on an all-way rotation are alternating divisions, with the two "outer" groups of four anchoring the divisions which swap over every second year.

So in the Big Ten, with 9 conference games, you play your seven games in division, so you play the three schools in your group every year and the eight schools in the two groups rotating into your division twice in four years. And that leaves two cross division games to play against two of the four schools in the group that never joins your division, so you also play them twice in four years.

As to whether it's better cohesion than two divisions of seven ... no, of course not. You lose something each pair you add above twelve, which lets you play five in your division every year and six in the other division twice in four years, and have 4 OOC games available. 14 is "more unwieldy" than 12, 16 "more unwieldy" than 14. But for the right two schools, you'd consider it.

Eighteen really needs freedom to have conference semi-finals, since then you can have three divisions of six, play two cross-division against each of the divisions in a three year rotation, and the highest ranking runner-up is hosted in the semi-final by the highest ranking division champion not in its division, the highest ranking remaining division winner hosts the lowest ranking division winner in the other semi.
03-24-2020 02:01 PM
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ken d Offline
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Post: #38
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
(03-23-2020 10:34 PM)Nerdlinger Wrote:  
(03-23-2020 10:26 PM)jedclampett Wrote:  12 is good for the AAC. Ten would be much too small. 14 would help the AAC to become a potential P6 conference.

G5 conference + more G5 schools =/= power conference

This is true. If the AAC could entice three schools from the top half of one of the P5 conferences to jump ship, I think they could get an NY6 bowl to give them a contract. But I can't think of any such schools who would do that. And I don't think just any P5 schools would do the trick. They would have to be perennial Top 30-40 or so programs.

Or, if the top seven AAC football programs were able to jettison the other members and replace them with the three best non-P5 programs (like BYU, Boise and SDSU for example) they would have an outside shot at an NY6 contract. But I don't see that happening either.
03-24-2020 02:33 PM
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Hokie Mark Offline
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Post: #39
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
Surprised no Notre Dame fan has said "1" yet.
07-coffee3
03-24-2020 02:52 PM
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Bogg Offline
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Post: #40
RE: Maximum size before conference gets unwieldy
(03-24-2020 02:52 PM)Hokie Mark Wrote:  Surprised no Notre Dame fan has said "1" yet.
07-coffee3

Nah, Notre Dame enjoyed the 16-team Big East just fine. Their real answer is "conferences are for basketball".
03-24-2020 03:04 PM
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