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Caustic Undertow
03-21-2011, 07:32 PM
You may not like it, but it is happening.

Over the past five or so years that this topic has been a source of hot debate (and parody and irony) on this board I have warmed to the idea considerably. There are two major reasons why I have grown more sanguine about it: 1. College hockey has been stagnating in its current conference alignments, and competing with Major Junior for talent has become a problem. 2. The Big Ten stinks in hockey this year, and has grown steadily more mediocre since Wisconsin and Michigan State won national titles.

Now the inevitable has happened, and the Big Ten is going to be a reality. The question is: What realistic steps do we take to strengthen college hockey now?

We know some things will change for good. Improvements include a presumably strong television package on the Big Ten Network, perhaps some increased national attention, and a significant increase in the number of non-conference games available for teams in each affected conference. This last issue is no small thing; we have long lamented that there are too few big non-conference games, and those games now have a larger chance to occur.

The problem is, how do we strengthen the small schools that play hockey and encourage new ones to join? I hope that scheduling agreements will be reached between the CCHA and WCHA and their soon-to-be-former members. Several CCHA schools enjoyed exactly one home series against a Big Ten team this season; there is no reason they cannot continue to do so. WCHA teams are less tenuous, but there is little question that Wisconsin and Minnesota are among the biggest draws for teams like UMD and Mankato, so a scheduling agreement will help in that regard.

But is there more that can be done? Would it be better for there to be massive realignment, or better to keep things the way they are? If ever a time existed to completely realign the college hockey landscape, this would be it--but is it worth the risk?

solovsfett
03-21-2011, 07:33 PM
one quick question. you DO remember Wisconsin was in the National Title game just last year right?

Caustic Undertow
03-21-2011, 07:39 PM
Yes, but Michigan only made the tournament with a miracle run while MSU, Minnesota, and Ohio State were irrelevant. This year the Big Ten landed fewer teams in the tournament than Hockey East, the WCHA, the CCHA, and the ECAC. And it wasn't a close thing. Earlier this decade every Big Ten team was vying for a berth every season and Frozen Fours regularly featured multiple Big Ten squads. The point is that the power teams in hockey are currently non-Big Ten teams--this will not destroy the competitive balance of college hockey.

#1BCFAN
03-21-2011, 07:41 PM
It's been debated much longer than 5 years. This topic was discussed so many times, that it became part of the noob guide for uscho fan forum. It's kinda sad that we can't make any BTHC jokes anymore. All the old-timers on here will remember the good old days

NUMcNeely
03-21-2011, 07:42 PM
underground sugar caves

M-HockeyNet
03-21-2011, 08:30 PM
one quick question. you DO remember Wisconsin was in the National Title game just last year right?

That's debatable :D

Dirty
03-21-2011, 08:39 PM
I expect this conference to be about as successful as the ants that this is in reference to.

solovsfett
03-21-2011, 08:46 PM
That's debatable :D
well played, touche

uaafanblog
03-21-2011, 09:33 PM
It's been debated much longer than 5 years. This topic was discussed so many times, that it became part of the noob guide for uscho fan forum. It's kinda sad that we can't make any BTHC jokes anymore. All the old-timers on here will remember the good old days

Ahhh ... but now we have the proposed BHHC (Butt Hurt Hockey Conference) which can apply to any number of current proposed "realignment" scenarios since they're pretty much all based on being butthurt by the departure of the Big 10 schools from their current conferences.

One door closes but another one opens!

Bakunin
03-21-2011, 09:38 PM
In through the out door.

bigmrg74
03-21-2011, 09:53 PM
If college hockey is going to continue on in the current 16 team NCAA format, we'll need the small schools to stay around. I think the best thing that would help that out would be somebody like College Hockey Inc would get together with a bunch of the bigger college hockey boosters out there and work on raising funds for endowments for college hockey at the smaller schools that could be in trouble. Not so much with getting the big boosters to bankroll smaller programs, but to help prime the pump to help those schools get their fundraising and promotions in order to help them stay afloat til better economic times.

Biddco
03-21-2011, 11:51 PM
The clearest issue to me is that the Big Ten cannot count. Six teams in hockey, 12 in everything else. I thought they were all "good" schools.

Almington
03-22-2011, 12:22 AM
Yes, but Michigan only made the tournament with a miracle run while MSU, Minnesota, and Ohio State were irrelevant. This year the Big Ten landed fewer teams in the tournament than Hockey East, the WCHA, the CCHA, and the ECAC. And it wasn't a close thing. Earlier this decade every Big Ten team was vying for a berth every season and Frozen Fours regularly featured multiple Big Ten squads. The point is that the power teams in hockey are currently non-Big Ten teams--this will not destroy the competitive balance of college hockey.

I think that it is important to remember that things are cyclical, now is just a time when the B10 schools are down. The fear is that once the B10 schools get up, they will stay up (or in Michigan's case, remain up). I'm not sure that is what will happen, talent is but one ingredient in a championship caliber team and it's not like UMN, UW, or MSU are lacking in talent right now.

Overall, I'm far more worried about losing teams for financial reasons then I am about a losing competitive balance.

Eaglefan06
03-22-2011, 12:33 AM
Overlords? Not a chance that the Big Ten Hockey Conference will be the overlords of college hockey.

bluevox
03-22-2011, 09:35 AM
Overlords? Not a chance that the Big Ten Hockey Conference will be the overlords of college hockey.

Not a chance. Not even one in a billion?

Caustic Undertow
03-22-2011, 09:07 PM
I think that it is important to remember that things are cyclical, now is just a time when the B10 schools are down. The fear is that once the B10 schools get up, they will stay up (or in Michigan's case, remain up). I'm not sure that is what will happen, talent is but one ingredient in a championship caliber team and it's not like UMN, UW, or MSU are lacking in talent right now.

Overall, I'm far more worried about losing teams for financial reasons then I am about a losing competitive balance.


The CCHA finals are going to have a hard time making money without the big boys bringing in the gate. The encouraging thing is that WMU and Ferris have both delivered solid attendance at the Joe in the unusual events that they made it there, but those games were against the Big Boys and that always helps to drive interest. They'll make the finals more without UM and MSU in the conference, but will people care?

Wreckincrew
03-22-2011, 10:09 PM
Ahhh ... but now we have the proposed BHHC (Butt Hurt Hockey Conference) which can apply to any number of current proposed "realignment" scenarios since they're pretty much all based on being butthurt by the departure of the Big 10 schools from their current conferences.

One door closes but another one opens!
Ug, I hope this doesn't catch on....... That is NOT some of your best work.

Grainbelt
03-23-2011, 12:12 PM
I wonder whether the fri-saturday format will be in place for non-conference games. With only 14 to use up, I could see paired weekend series with MN and WI traveling to CC / DU, SCSU / UND. Maybe a big weekend tourney with SCSU, UMD, & Mankato. I'd love to see a trip out east to play the Boston teams.

Agree that there is the opportunity to see big non-conference games that have PWR implications on national TV, which can only be great for the sport.

The WCHA will have to consider whether St. Paul remains the best place for the Final Five - I'd like to see it in Colorado every other year, at a minimum.

goldy_331
03-23-2011, 12:19 PM
Ug, I hope this doesn't catch on....... That is NOT some of your best work.

He's been pushing it for a while and it hasn't so far. I don't expect it to do so.

Osorojo
03-23-2011, 12:48 PM
Do you think a Big-Ten conference will increase or decrease the "amateur" standing of college hockey, or, in fairness, will the creation such a league have no impact upon the guts of college hockey: revenue and investment? No? Don't believe in capitalism?

The minimum score of 600 (zero) on the College Boards Entrance Examinations* mandated by the NCAA to be eligible for participation/scholarships in varsity college sports insures the recruitment of college hockey players will hurt the major juniors as much as NHL raids hurt college programs.

* A policy chiefly designed to expand access of racial minority athletes to college educations - and a policy which has little legitimate application to college hockey.