Ah, College Football is back! The rivalries, the bragging rights! And the ridiculous, biased Top 25 Rankings and horrid attempt at a 'fair' Playoff. Right now, if the season ended today (yes I know it's only been 2 weeks) and consisted of the Top 4 Ranked Teams, the Playoffs would consist of Clemson, and 3 SEC teams, Alabama, Georgia and LSU, even though LSU is the only SEC to have played and beaten a ranked opponent so far. (On the road, too!)
The funny thing is, fixing all this is from the outside looking in is 'easy.' There is a lot of fat, and I mean A LOT of fat in college football, and it's time for some trimming!
Right now, there are the Power 5 Conferences (SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12, and PAC 12) and the Group of 5 (Conference USA, Sun Belt, MAC, MWC, AAC). That's 10 conferences, plus Notre Dame, competing for 4 playoff spots, although with the ways things work in college football, it's realistically the Big 10, SEC, ACC and everyone else competing for those 4 spots. The most ridiculous part of all this is that the FCS has had playoffs since 1978, and since 2013, that bracket has contained a whopping 24 teams!
Now, I'm going to kill two birds with one stone in this article. Fixing the Playoffs, and killing the 10 team Big 12.
Why kill the Big 12? Easy. Big 12 football has been stagnant/dying for years because of it's refusal to expand, and because it makes the playoffs easy.
What happens to all these teams? I'm glad you asked!
Kansas and West Virginia: Big 10
Texas and Oklahoma: SEC
Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Iowa State: American Athletic Conference
Texas Tech: PAC 12 (Who also, finally, give Hawaii football a permanent home)
Baylor and TCU: Mountain West Conference
Now, you have 9 conferences, all made stronger by this 'contraction' of the Big 12. You can have 6 conference champions go directly into the playoffs, while the other 3, plus the independent with the best record, have two play in games. Every 4 years, you compare the leagues records head to head records in both the regular season and playoffs to determine which 6 enter directly, and which 3 have to participate in the play in, or wild card, games.
Now, regular season games between teams from different leagues have way more meaning, and you could have a conference, on the total strength of it's teams, rather than just 3 or 5 (looking at you, SEC). So a conference like the Sun Belt could go from having it's champion do play in's, to qualifying directly.
Just to give you a little taste of what this could have looked like, here's are the playoff teams from 2018 if it was following this model, well pretending the Big 12 has already contracted.
Big 10: Ohio State
Conference USA: UAB
MAC: Northern Illinois
MWC: Fresno State
PAC 12: Washington
Sun Belt: Appalachian State
Independent: Notre Dame
That's way more exciting than what we got. Alabama vs Clemson 5000 for the Title after Oklahoma and Notre Dame got taken out back behind the barn and put down. Who knows how a couple more games might have changed things? Maybe they don't, but more teams + more games = more people watching.
Anyway, that's my idea for making the College Football Playoffs better, and trimming the fat off of college football. Let me know what you think!
Hello everyone and welcome back to Ramble Sport! Today I'm following up on my last post, Fixing Major League Baseball, Part 1. You can read that, if you haven't already, by clicking Here. Before we get into Part 2, I have to say I was really inspired to get off my butt and write this by last weekends Dodgers v Padres series.
In Part 1, most of my changes called for a realignment that would shift MLB's focus heavily to rivalries, a la college sports, with a reduced schedule to prevent burn out, like what happens right now with Yankees v Red Sox.
Anyway, check out this video of Hunter Renfroe's walk off Grand Slam. Full house, fans from both teams, Padres avoid the sweep in a series with a rival 2 hours down the interstate that they should have swept themselves. Look at the crowd, the passion, the excitement, and imagine that over an entire season...
Wow. Straight up chills watching that.
Now, the first thing I want to fix in Part 2 is the 'Unwritten Rules.' You flip the bat or admire your HR, you get plunked. Act like you've been here before! How about you act like you've pitched before, eh? Take this video of the Royals v White Sox confrontation from last month.
This is just dumb. Grown men arguing over crap like this is not just dumb, it's a bad look for the sport and society in general. But I won't get into cultural ethics here. Now, let's look at Korean Baseball and how they do and handle things like bat flips.
I thought about starting the video at the bat flip part, but this whole thing demands to be watched by American Baseball fans. This is just way, way more fun looking. Anyway, these are grown men, playing a kids game for a living, and they seem to actually remember that and not take things so seriously. So, bye bye unwritten rules! You plunk a guy after a bat flip or admiring stare, or plunk a guy who plunked your guy, you're ejected, fined, and miss games. If you're a reliever, no next start for you, and no workouts either. Reliever? You miss 5 games and no work outs. Repeat offenders get 5 additional games or an additional start every time they repeat.
Now, next up is a fix that I think is happening within the next year or two based on this past off season and the MLBPA actually being willing to discuss it for this year: the universal DH.
Dude, it's time. Beyond time. Nothing like seeing an NL team putting a run together in the early innings. Runners at second and third, 2 outs, a chance to score more...and there's the pitcher for a feeble strikeout. Be gone, batting pitcher. Be gone.
One bit of feedback I got from a reader to Part 1 ties in neatly to this. He mentioned fewer games messes with the stats of the great hitters. 'What could he have done with more games?'
A universal DH actually helps address this.
20 fewer games per season means 20 days in which you can't get injured, and can rest to reduce chance of injury during the other 142 games. In 7 years, you've actually rested the equivalent of an entire season, or 2 season over 14 years.
Now, a universal DH in my alternate universe of a 32 team MLB means there are 16 new jobs for talented hitters of all ages. Now the Pirates have Melky Cabrera raking from the DH spot every day. What a dream that would be! Older players whose skills on the field are declining, but skills with a bat are staying consistent, have more homes. And with fewer games to reduce their career length through potential injury, they could actually potentially play more seasons, both because of less wear and tear and the addition of a DH to the National League.
Next up, game length. Institute the Mercy Rule. In the World Baseball Classic, if you're up by 10 runs and the trailing team has completed 7 innings, it's game over. It makes too much sense to institute this guys. The odds of rallying from 10 down in baseball are so small that games this lopsided see stadiums empty, field players pitch, and are generally a waste of time. Stop it. Mercy Rule is now in effect.
Relief Pitchers. I've got no problem with specialists. None. But this changing of 3 pitchers an inning is getting ridiculous. Either make relievers face a minimum of 2 batters per appearance, or stop letting them warm up on the mound. I mean really, warming up the mound? What the heck is the bullpen for? Same with starters. Let them go the bullpen between innings to stay loose if they want, but no more warming up the mound. Get on with it already!
Lastly, some fun changes for fans that I think will help loosen things up and get more people to games.
No more noon or afternoon games during the week. Fans have to work! Our PTO is precious. We can't just leave at 12:00 for a 12:45 first pitch. You're outta here!
Big league teams work with local little leagues to have 'Free Little Leaguer Fridays' once a month. All the players from the local league can get in free if wearing their gear, coaches, parents and families 50% off.
Special pricing for students. Have a valid, up to date student ID? Your ticket and parking are always 50% off because we want you at the game, eating our food, becoming a fan!
Lastly, drop the price of concessions already! We all know how much hot dogs cost per unit. Stop treating me like I'm ignorant and charging me $3.00 when I could buy 2 to 3 PACKS for that price. If you're stuff was affordable, more people would buy it, which means you'd sell more, which means you'd make more money. It's really easy.
Oh, and this has always been a fantasy of mine. For Spring Training, the World Series winner actually plays in Champions League style tournament against the winners of the other big baseball leagues, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. This means in the Spring the Boston Red Sox would have been playing in a tournament against SK Wyverns of Korea, Sultanes De Monterrey of Mexico, and Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japan. A tournament like this exposes American fans and teams to international baseball teams and players, and vice versa, helping the game to grow globally. Who knows what kind of quality players we might get to see?
And that's it for Fixing Major League Baseball. Let me know what you think in the comments. Until next time!
I've decided to do a series, focusing on fixing Major League Baseball. As a lifelong fan, it makes me sad to see baseball so stuck in tradition that it's appeal to new fans is dwindling at an alarming rate. So, I have some fan friendly ideas to help fix the game.
Part 1 is going to focus on these fixes. League layout, scheduling, and relocation and expansion.
Currently, there are 30 teams in MLB, 15 in the National League, 15 in the American League, both split into 3 divisions of 5 teams. While it's the traditional way of doing things, it's time for a change. Who really wants to see the Orioles vs Red Sox 20 times a year?
So, we're getting rid of the National and American Leagues, and say hello to the Eastern and Western Conferences! Before we get into it, I'm relocating Tampa Bay to Montreal, while Portland and Albuquerque get expansion teams. I'll explain that in a minute.
Now, why do this? Easy. Rivalries. Look at the match ups you get with this layout. Yankees v Mets, Orioles v Nationals, Cubs v White Sox, Dodgers v Angels, Portland v Seattle, Albuquerque v Arizona, and many others. Baseball has rivalries, but could have so many more with this set up. Plus by getting more geographic rivals like Baltimore & Washington, Toronto & Montreal, St Louis & Kansas City, you'll have more fans travelling back & forth to watch games, meaning more tickets sold, fuller stadiums, and better atmospheres.
One problem is that a lot of baseball's existing rivalries are greatly overplayed, & that's because of the schedule. So let's fix that next.
162 games is way too many. By the 140's, you've got a pretty good idea of who's still in it, and who isn't. Time for an adjustment.
Playing a 3 game series 2 times, 1 series at home, 1 series away, against every team in your conference gives you 90 games. Doing a 3 game series 1 time against the 16 teams in the other conference, 8 that you'd play at home, 8 that you'd play away, gives you another 48 games. That's 138 games total. Let's do a 4 game series against your closest geographic rival, with some exceptions (here's looking at you Red Sox v Yankees), 2 games at home, 2 games away, and you have a 142 game season.
Perfect. 142 games played over 5 and a half months is right around 26 games per month, meaning a minimum of 5 days off per month for the players, reducing fatigue and injury risk. An even easier way to do this would be no baseball on Thursdays. 6 games a week doesn't sound bad to me as a fan at all. Now you can start your season in April, and be done by mid September.
Another thing. A schedule like this creates scarcity, especially with the premium rivalry match ups. And it lets you do fun stuff, like the Rangers traveling to play Arizona, then Albuquerque, so a fan could actually travel to see their team super easily in multiple places close together.
These conferences also make the playoffs way, way easier. Top 6 get, with the top 2 receiving a bye, while 3 v 6 and 4 v 5 face of in a single elimination game at the home of the highest seed. Next round is Best of 3, Championship Round is Best of 5, and the World Series, the October Classic, is Best of 7 and actually ends in October as a bonus.
Now, why Albuquerque? Several reasons. First, I love it there, and if you haven't been, you're missing out. Second, it's growing quickly, is attracting new companies, new jobs, young professionals, and has no major league sports competition at all. Third, it provides Colorado and Arizona with a nearby rival. These are 3 of the 4 states that make up the 4 Corners Region, after all. And it fills in the map between Arizona and Texas and Colorado.
The one bummer with this is that Milwaukee, being east of the Mississippi, are stuck in the Western Conference, and you lose their rivalry with Chicago. I considered moving the Marlins to New Orleans to balance it out, but I don't think they're moving any time soon.
But there you have it! A 142 game season, a conference set up chalk full of rivalries without overdoing it, plenty of rest for players, a more balanced, easily scale-able playoff system, and an October Classic that ends in October.
I'll get around to Part 2 soon, covering little tweaks the game should make to streamline things and shorten the game up to make it more exciting and interesting to fans.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Until next time!
Ever since I was a teenager, I've had an idea of what it might look like and take to build a 'modern' wrestling promotion. What I mean by modern is a promotion that takes the best of everything around it and combines it into one awesome thing. The best bits of companies like ROH, WWE, NJPW in wrestling and the best of combat sports like UFC and Bellator.
What would that look like?
Behold: Golden Championship Wrestling.
Championships are divided up by 'weight classes,' so there is room for guys to move around to keep divisions fresh. You would have Heavyweight (Upper Card), Light Heavyweight (Mid Card), and Juniorweight (Low Card) championships. There are also Juniorweight and Heavyweight Tag Team Championships and a Trios Championship. Heavyweight would be the 'top of the mountain,' so to speak. Wrestlers who hold the title for six months can actually 'cash in' their existing belt for a shot at moving up to the next division. Which brings us to: Tournaments and Rankings
Tournaments and Rankings will give matches more meaning, with twelve wrestlers in each 'weight class' plus the champion. Tournament match ups will be voted on by the fans, to increase interest in the promotions online presence and give fans a sense of ownership and involvement.
Every other month, the top eight ranked wrestlers, as voted by the fans, will square off in a number one contenders tournament to determine the next title challenger, while the four lowest ranked are the 'under card' competing in matches to try and get fans more interested in them ahead of the next tournament. This means you would rarely see the same challenger vs champion match at back to back PPV's, which is annoying, but instead have room for storytelling and long term payoffs.
Now, to make things really interesting, there is one title without tournaments or 'weight class' restrictions. The Openweight Championship. This title can be held by and wrestler, but comes with restrictions. It cannot be 'cashed in,' has to be defended every other week in an Openweight Challenge Match with an opponent that fans have voted for, and at every PPV. This title functions almost as an internet championship, creating dream match ups for fans.
As for PPV's. Bye bye tacky names! These PPV's are taking a cue from the UFC. "GCW presents Fight Night 12." Or something like that. And instead of every four weeks, they happen every five. This allows for a 'super card' of sorts in between PPV's where your tournaments conclude, Openweight title is defended, and have all sorts of higher profile matches a few weeks ahead of the PPV. And, to keep things interesting, not every title will be defended at every PPV. Juniorweight singles and tag team titles would be defended on one PPV, while the other titles are defended at the next PPV. This means every other PPV is a showcase for new, up and coming talent. And by getting rid of tacky names or declaring this one show at this month of the year to be the 'Big One,' it falls on the promotion to give fans reasons to buy the show by creating strong stories and match ups, rather than just dialing it in.
An idea stolen from New Japan is the use of stables. Rather than solid entities always coming out as the whole group, they would be much looser, coming together more for tag matches at super cards. And you can build better stories. Members from and compete against each other across weight classes, coming together in multi man tag matches on super cards or competing for the Trios Championship. Possibilities are all but endless.
Wrestlers would do their primary promo work via online vignettes to keep the focus of the shows on the in ring presentation. Promos could show anything about a wrestler and their life, from training to hobbies to life stories, or just be trash talking other wrestlers.
The Weekly Show would announce matches in advance, getting fans to keep checking out the online content of the wrestlers and the promotion to stay in the loop. Again, announcing things in advance will force the promotion to stay on top of story telling and match ups. If fans don't like the look of the nights show, they won't tune in. No more getting suckered in as a fan and realizing after an hour that the show is going to be dud. You'll know well in advance whether you want to watch or not. No complacency here!
Well there you have it. Golden Championship Wrestling. Seven Championships. Heavy emphasis on story telling via in ring action. Deep fan involvement and engagement. Wrestlers allowed to be themselves to forge a connection with fans to determine if they sink or swim.
What do you think? Could a promotion like this actually work?
I'm a wrestling fan. And I love writing. So, I'm writing about wrestling in today's post. Specifically, the upcoming NXT Takeover ladder match for the brand new NXT North American Championship, NXT's mid card title. Here, I want to rank the six contestants in the match and their likelihood of climbing the ladder to become the inaugural champion.
Here For The Show
Lars Sullivan and Killian Dain. Both wrestlers are big, strong dudes. Both wrestlers are also fairly green. Both wrestlers are enough of an attraction to not need a title to be seen as legitimate competitors. At least not yet. When you have a new title, it's very important to not just make sure you put it on someone who can handle the responsibility of being champion, but who you can also build interesting programs around at the beginning of the title's history to give credibility. Sullivan and Dain just aren't quite there yet, but I can see them emerging from this match as rivals for a big hoss summer program.
The Dark Horses
Velveteen Dream and EC3. I'm torn here. Velveteen Dream is really over, and they've been putting a spotlight on EC3, though I think he's the matches Red Herring. But Dream is primarily a character, albeit a very talented one. He's over enough, that he doesn't need the title to get over with fans. I think he wins this title at some point, but not yet. Maybe once he goes through a slight character tweak that will allow to thrive on the main roster. And EC3, talented as he is, won't be someone the casual fans of NXT will be super familiar with. However, he's going to be a guy that they can focus on during what should be the hottest title feud of the summer in WWE.
Building Blocks For The Future
Ricochet and Adam Cole. Making this a ladder match seems to have been done on purpose just to show off what Ricochet is capable of. People who aren't even major wrestling fans know who he is thanks to that match with Will Ospreay Jr that went viral. A ladder match is the perfect way to introduce him. But this match, in my mind, is Adam Cole's to lose. Cole has lost a few too many high profile matches and lost some steam since his debut, but becoming the first ever NXT North American Champion will not only recapture all that momentum, but it will also give Undisputed Era control of every mid care title on NXT.
Just imagine Kyle Reilly and Bobby Fish coming out to cost EC3 and Velveteen Dream while Ricochet takes out Cole, looking like he'll win, before Undisputed Era stops him, and Cole is able to win the match. Instant sympathy for Ricochet, instant heat for Cole. Now Dream, EC3 and Ricochet can feud with Undisputed Era before EC3 turns on his 'friends,' and you have a killer Fatal Four Way at the next Takeover event.
What do you think? Who's going to win the inaugural NXT North American Championship?
We're almost done with March Madness, and it's been a fantastic tournament this year. But that doesn't overshadow how everything started. Several good teams wound up watching the tournament from home. Some because of the selection committees big name, big dollar bias (St Mary's) and other because they lost in the conference tournament and didn't get in despite a fantastic regular season record. (Vermont)
Now, how do you go about fixing this issue? Well I have already proposed a different idea for deciding on who get's into March Madness several weeks ago, (read the by clicking Here) I want to propose something a little more radical to help some of these mid majors like Vermont, UMBC, Albany, Iona, Canisius and Rider get more respect. (Want to know what these teams have in common? They all had 20 or more wins. More wins than Texas, Oklahoma, and Alabama)
Luckily I have a solution. Merging the America East with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Would you look at that? Would you just look at it? That's a 20 team conference. 20 teams. Cross town rivalry games all over the place. Blue pins are teams in the 'America Conference' and maroon are in the 'Atlantic Conference.' The big change here is UMBC, Stony Brook and Hartford go 'Atlantic' while Canisius, Niagra, Siena and Marist go to 'America.'
What would that have done to the end of season standings? Well, if you keep records the same as this year, here is what the final standings for the 'America Atlantic East' would look like.
This new league now has 6 teams with 20+ wins. There is no way you can ignore a league of this many teams with that many teams winning 20+ games. With a league like this, odds are that based on a stronger schedule alone, Vermont and Rider become the looks to get in while UMBC becomes the third team via the conference tournament. Think what the A-10 did this year with Rhode Island, St Boneventure and Davidson this year.
I believe these two leagues coming together in some capacity can only be a good thing. And maybe 20 teams is too many. Maybe you drop the 4 weakest schools, Monmouth, St Peters, Maine and Binghamton and you have 16 teams, with every team in each conference playing their counterpart from the previous season home and away to round out the schedule, i.e, 1v1, 2v2, 7v7 etc.
Anyway, what do you think? Would a merger like this help both conferences be taken more seriously when it comes to March Madness and getting better players? Let me know in the comments!
Another year of March Madness, that glorious season of college basketball, is upon us. And with it comes, of course, controversy over the selection committee. Syracuse and Oklahoma are playing in the tournament over the likes of Middle Tennessee State, St Mary's, and USC. Now I don't want to debate if those two should be there (they shouldn't) but on what the NCAA could do to make sure only the best of the best are playing in March Madness through the elimination of the selection committee and the utilization of a UEFA Champions League style entry format.
For those who don't know, the UEFA Champions League is almost like the March Madness of European soccer. Each league has the chance to send it's best teams to the competition. Some leagues get only one entrant, others, like the Premier League and La Liga, get four. Now, what does this have to do with March Madness?
The NCAA could do the same thing. The top four conferences, as ranked by ESPN for this past year, were the Big 12, ACC, Big East, and Big 10. What if only the top four teams from those leagues got in? Then the next four ranked leagues, the SEC, American, Pac 12 and Mountain West, send their top three? Then everyone else with ten or more teams in their league sends their top two, and the eight conferences that don't, send their champions to the First Four play in games?
Here's what the field of 68 would look like this year using that system. All teams are listed based on conference standings, not overall record.
Conference's with fewer than ten teams get only one entrant. That's leaves eight conferences sending eight champions to the four play in games. Those leagues and conferences are:
Vermont, American East; FGCU, Atlantic Sun; UC Davis, Big West; Harvard, Ivy League; Bucknell, Patriot League; South Dakota State, Summit League; Grambling State, SWAC; and New Mexico State, WAC.
Some might accuse me of creating a structure that gives more opportunity to mid majors. While that is correct, doing things this way also means some teams I cheer for, like Louisville and Penn State, would stand no chance of making it this year if this were the system. And since doing this would eliminate the need to have conference tournaments, March Madness is now all but guaranteed to have only the best teams playing for the right to be called champion.
Some people might not be aware of this, but there's another professional basketball league in the United States and Canada. The North American Premier Basketball League started play recently, fielding 8 teams in season one. The Kentucky Thoroughbreds, Ohio Cardinals, Kansas City Tornadoes, Albany (NY) Patroons, Rochester Razorsharks, Nevada Desert Dogs, Yakima Sun Kings, and Vancouver Knights.
What makes this league interesting to me isn't just providing players with another platform to prove themselves NBA worthy, but the opportunity for cities that haven't had, used to have, or will never have, a professional basketball team to call their own a chance to have just that.
Notice anything on that list of teams? Vancouver used to have an NBA team. Kansas City is one of those zombie expansion cities that always pops up, (And used to have a team) Kentucky loves the sport everywhere, and used to have a successful ABA team.
And we haven't even talked about their upcoming expansion cities: Tampa Bay, Raleigh, Bellevue, WA and San Diego. The NBA is never going to Tampa Bay, doesn't seem interested in San Diego, and the Seattle area has been dying for a team since the Sonics moved. And Raleigh is a huge city that won't ever be in the NBA thanks to the Charlotte Hornets.
The NAPB is a unique position to provide decent quality, affordable basketball games to fans in cities with no hope of the NBA, like Albuquerque, NM or Omaha, NE. And they're building the league with a smart plan, adding teams close to each other to keep travel costs low. Won't be at all surprised to find out that St Louis and Omaha will be adding teams to the league. And these teams are different from the G League. They won't be Austin Spurs or somebodies little brother.
These are independent teams, locally owned and operated. It's the difference between Triple A baseball and independent teams. Players move around, yeah, but nowhere nears as much. And with these teams being completely locally owned, with no help from a big brother NBA team, these teams will have to go above and beyond to connect their teams and players with fans and sponsors.
The future is looking bright for basketball here. I, for one, am excited to see what the NAPB can bring to court to make basketball even better.
Recently the NBA has started looking into improving the Playoffs. If you follow the NBA, you know what's being discussed. If you don't, here's your recap. The NBA is considering creating a 'Playoff Tournament' (Think First Four in March Madness) where the 7, 8, 9 and 10 seeds play each other in single elimination games for the last two spots in the Playoffs.
Not a terrible idea, as increasing the number of spots should, in theory, create more teams trying to win each year because of the increased chances of a playoff spot. Never mind the fact that this means 20 of your 30 teams have shot at a title, which is really high and rewards a lot of teams for mediocrity, but I digress.
I like the idea of these play in games. It's done wonders for baseball, as the Wild Card games have been rowdy, raucous affairs. But the NBA is losing the forest through the trees. The real issue with the NBA Playoffs is that they are way, way too long.
Every playoff series in the NBA is best of 7. So is hockey. You know what they have in common? They take to long! MLB is best of 5, then best of 7 the rest of the way. Still takes a long time, but it's crisper, and shorter.
With 8 teams in the playoffs regardless, the NBA should switch things up a bit to create more excitement. Have your 'First Four,' but then make the first round Best of 3. Force the top teams to really show up in Round 1, and create room for crazy, excitement producing upsets. Round 2 is best of 5, and the Conference Finals and the Finals themselves are your Best of 7. That shaves off 6 potential games, almost an entire playoff series, while allowing more room for upsets and smaller market teams to make deep runs.
Part of what makes March Madness so exciting is the upsets. Due to the length of the playoff series, that doesn't happen often in the NBA. Shortening the series at the beginning won't give the top teams room to coast, and gives the lower seeded teams a real chance.
And now, for fun, here's what your current 'First Four' match-ups would look like if they happened this season.
What do you think? Would this work? Something you'd do differently? How else could the NBA generate excitement for the playoffs and more of it's teams? Let me know in the comments!
I don't know about you, but I'm sick of the 'Power 5' dominating college sports. You know who I'm talking about. The Pac 12, the Big 12*, the Big 10*, the SEC, and the ACC. These guys run college sports, and if they have their way, they'll run it even more moving forward. There's only way to bust up this hegemony, and that's to push your way to the table.
This is where the Mountain West Conference comes in. Widely regarded as one of, if not the best, conference outside of the Power 5, it's time for the MWC to flex it's muscle and make the Big 12 scoot over at the table.
How is that ever going to happen, you ask? Easy. Really, really easy. So easy it's scary, actually. Let's start with basketball.
Currently, the MWC is home to the basketball programs for Nevada, Boise St, Wyoming, Utah State, UNLV, New Mexico, Colorado St, San Diego St, Fresno St, Air Force and San Jose St. Not bad, not great, but decent enough. This year, it's been pretty obvious that two teams are getting shafted in the Top 25 rankings: Gonzaga and St Mary's. What if the MWC added them as affiliate members for basketball? That's a win for everyone, and immediately puts the other conferences on notice.
But we aren't done yet, because the MWC is adding two programs that are bringing their football teams, too. New Mexico State, who are currently looking for a new conference, and North Dakota State. NMS gives you a rivalry in New Mexico and a strong basketball program, while NDS is the king of the College Football Subdivision, strengthening you on the football side.
Now you've gone from 11 to 15 teams in basketball, and 14 in football. Hawaii is a football only member of the MWC. To keep things even, the Mountain West could now add other strong FCS programs that can help with both sports programs, like Montana, Northern Arizona, or South Dakota St, and another basketball only member, like Grand Canyon University.
In my ideal future, the Mountain West Conference looks like this in basketball and football.
That's a pretty strong looking conference to me, definitely stronger than the Big 12! And it would be the first large conference to reach 16 members in football, which is a big step up.
What do you think? Too much, not enough? Would the MWC be better off doing some of this and rather than taking more FCS programs try and pull away some of the smaller Big 12 programs, like Kansas and Kansas St? Let me know in the comments!
*The Big 12 - currently has 10 members.
*The Big 10 - currently has 14 members.
One week after publishing this article, reports surfaced that Gonzaga and the MWC are talking.