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Eph72
07-16-2011, 01:23 PM
[First of all, I am starting this thread JUST FOR FUN! It’s not for anyone who is p'o'ed at Penn State, or North Dakota, or anyone else, for screwing up college hockey. If you want to hate on somebody, please stay away! There are lots of threads on this forum for hating (unfortunately).]

The purpose of this thread just to amuse ourselves in speculating about what might happen next as college hockey reacts to the dramatic changes already announced.

To show you what I mean, here goes:

The Big 10 and the new NCHC have changed the landscape. There are more dominos to fall. Where might things head?

Well, let’s imagine that the next domino is that the big eastern hockey schools decide to buddy up, to reel in a TV contract and to cross-schedule with the Big 10 and the NCHC. What might an eastern super league look like? Well, it would certainly include BC, BU and UNH. Major state universities like Maine, Vermont and UMass might well come next. Now let’s think big. Why not add Notre Dame, who doesn’t have an obvious home, and how about Connecticut, if they would agree to ramp up the hockey program like they have done in basketball. So you’ve got BC, BU, UNH, Maine, Vermont, UMass, Notre Dame and UConn. There’s undoubtedly a New England TV contract there, if not more, with Notre Dame in the fold. For now, let’s call it Big East Hockey, if the name’s available.

Ok, that’s nice for those eight schools, but now you’ve wrecked not only the CCHA and the WCHA but also Hockey East. What’s next as the world of college hockey unravels?

Well, again, just for the fun of it, let’s imagine the Ivy League hockey schools finally decide they are better off alone in their own rarified academic/athletic conference, rather than compromising academic standards and scholarships and number of games with the rest of the ECACHL. So a few weeks go by and then Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Cornell and Dartmouth announce their departure from the ECACHL to reestablish the Ivy Hockey League. Plenty of new opportunities for the IHL to find new rivals and reestablish old rivalries. How about cross scheduling the Big 10 for two years? How about cross-scheduling the new Big East Hockey league? Bring back Cornell-BU at Madison Square Garden. How about Dartmouth-UNH home and home. Or BC-Yale in Bridgeport? OK. That leaves six schools stranded in the ECACHL: Colgate, Saint Lawrence, Union, Rensselaer, Quinnipiac and Clarkson.

Next, the four schools left behind in Hockey East, Providence, Merrimack, UML and Northeastern have got to reorganize and find at least two new partners to keep their autobid. In fact, it’s beginning to look like smaller conferences with autobids are going to be a big part of the new world of college hockey. If you can’t count on a home and home with the Gophers or the Sioux, you might as well focus on winning and getting to the NCAA tournament.

So the remaining Hockey East schools go courting. Where’s the obvious place to look? Atlantic Hockey. In fact there are four Atlantic Hockey schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut which might make a nice geographic fit: AIC, Bentley, Holy Cross, and Sacred Heart. Then throw in Quinnipiac, which has been left out of the new Ivy configuration and you have nine call them “mid-majors”, all in eastern New England, all within easy travel distances, all pretty much in the same recruiting pool. Let’s call this new league the Yankee Hockey Conference. Nine members: Providence, Merrimack, UML, Northeastern, AIC, Bentley, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac. Added benefit: the former hockey east schools have upgraded their chances of getting to the dance and the former AH teams have upgraded their neighborhood. Even Quinnipiac is probably better off, playing in a truly New England league with more real peer schools. No doubt Northeastern isn't liking much being out of Hockey East, but they would still have the Beanpot, as well as much improved chances for a tournament autobid. Same with Providence, Merrimack and UML.

That leaves seven schools in Atlantic Hockey (Air Force, Niagara, Canisius, Mercyhurst, Robert Morris, Army and RIT). A perfect solution quickly comes to mind: there are four stranded AH schools located in New York and five stranded ECACHL schools located in New York. Let’s call it the Empire Hockey League. As in the case of the Yankee Hockey Conference the EHL makes a great deal of sense. Less expensive travel by reason of geographic proximity and the chance to develop natural geographic rivalries. Who’s in? Niagara, Canisius, RIT, Colgate, Army, St Lawrence, Union, Rensselaer, and Clarkson. I know Union and Colgate won’t like not being in the almost-Ivy league anymore, but there is no reason they can’t schedule some of their former rivals out of conference. They will have more out of conference games available than they have today.

Ok, that’s a lot of dominos, and as a result, all of the old ECACHL and Hockey East schools have homes. But we’re not done. AH schools Air Force, Mercyhurst and Robert Morris are left with no home and the CCHA and WCHA still haven’t fallen into place. A natural solution for the CCHA and two of the three stranded AH schools is to form a new CCHA (lets call it the Great Lakes Hockey League) with Mercyhurst and Robert Morris from AH and CCHA holdovers Bowling Green, Lake Superior State, Western Michigan, Northern Michigan, Michigan Tech and Ferris State. Ok, if I’m a Western Michigan fan (for example) this is not exactly my dream alignment, but I have to admit, it’s got geographic coherence and my chances of an auto bid have improved mightily with Michigan, MSU, Ohio State and Miami no longer in the equation. And in an eight team league, I’ve got plenty of out of conference scheduling opportunities and there is room to grow the league. Why not cross-schedule the Big 10? Or the new Empire League. Or the new Hockey West, which is the big question…

… and it may or may not work. We’ve got three Minnesota schools, Bemidji, Minnesota State, and St Cloud, left from the WCHA, as well as AK Anchorage. Plus AK-Fairbanks from the CCHA, Air Force from AH and perennial left out Alabama Huntsville. How bad is it? Three Minnesota schools, two Alaska schools, one Colorado school and one other. Call it the Hockey West? Why not? Again, much improved autobid prospects, some geographic coherence (some not), and some decent expansion potential. Putting the two Alaska schools together is problematic based on today’s schedules and economics, but maybe there are synergies, too. Maybe it would be cheaper all around if only five schools (the other 5 Hockey West schools) had required trips to Alaska each year. The rest of the travel to Alaska (to fill out AKA and AKF’s home schedules) could be subsidized by college hockey as a whole, with the result that every D-1 team in the country would rotate through Alaska over a seven or eight year (or whatever) cycle. A fourth Minnesota school in M-Moorhead? How about Air Force partnering up with Colorado Boulder or Colorado State down the road? Air Force wouldn't be in Army's league any more, but they could certainly still schedule them. Why not add a Canadian school or two (no reason why eligibility requirements can’t be synched up).

Remember this is all just for fun. I haven’t even begun to figure out whether teams would play 2 or 3 or 4 conference games and how to deal with odd-numbered leagues. Or who would be travel partners and how to deal with having both Alaska teams in the same league. That’s what computers are for!

Here’s what we end up with: Eight leagues instead of five. That means eight autobids. Leaving, presumably 8 at large spots, so long as well still have a 16 team tournament, although opening up the tournament if you have eight leagues might make some sense.

In general, smaller leagues should lead to more out of conference games for everyone. This could make comparisons between leagues easier and smooth out some of the strength of schedule issues which concern some of us. There would be more geographic coherence, which could lead to lower travel costs for some leagues. There should be a lot more opportunity for cross-conference and out of conference scheduling. Many traditional rivalries would be maintained. There would be lots of opportunities for new rivalries. Smaller conferences may lead to growth of the sport because they can more easily accommodate new members. And you can still tweak this line up. Maybe Colgate and Army would rather go with the Ivies…or Notre Dame goes to the National league, or stays in the new Great Lakes. Maybe UConn can’t or doesn’t want to step up and stays with its old AH partners. Maybe you split up the two Alaskas. And who knows where Alabama Huntsville really belongs!

Anyway here's the new line up:

Big Ten (6 teams): Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Minnesota

National Hockey (6): Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, Miami, Colorado College, Denver and Minnesota Duluth

Big East Hockey (8): BC, BU, UNH, UMass, Vermont, Maine, UConn and Notre Dame

Ivy Hockey League (6): Yale, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, Princeton and Harvard

Empire Hockey (9): Niagara, Canisius, RIT, Colgate, Army, St Lawrence, Union, Rensselaer and Clarkson

Yankee Hockey (9): Providence, Merrimack, UML, Northeastern, AIC, Bentley, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac

Great Lakes Hockey (8): Bowling Green, Mercyhurst, Robert Morris, Lake Superior State, Western Michigan, Northern Michigan, Michigan Tech and Ferris State

Big West Hockey (7): Bemidji, Minnesota State, Saint Cloud, Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Fairbanks, Air Force and Alabama Huntsville

Have fun!

Patman
07-16-2011, 01:31 PM
[First of all, I am starting this thread JUST FOR FUN!]

have you seen a lot of "for fun" in the last two weeks? Every one of these proposals I've ever seen doesn't benefit my school... so much "fun" in imagination land until its you on that line.

Tater
07-16-2011, 02:12 PM
Every summer we have seen some guy with way too much time on his hands come up with a "realignment" scenario and no one nailed what is happening now.

You lost me at "Big East." :eek:

ecbrevik
07-16-2011, 02:19 PM
A natural solution for the CCHA and two of the three stranded AH schools is to form a new CCHA (lets call it the Great Lakes Hockey League) with Mercyhurst and Robert Morris from AH and CCHA holdovers Bowling Green, Lake Superior State, Western Michigan, Northern Michigan, Michigan Tech and Ferris State. Ok, if I'm a Western Michigan fan (for example) this is not exactly my dream alignment, but I have to admit, it's got geographic coherence and my chances of an auto bid have improved mightily with Michigan, MSU, Ohio State and Miami no longer in the equation. And in an eight team league, I've got plenty of out of conference scheduling opportunities and there is room to grow the league.

Here's what we end up with: Eight leagues instead of five. That means eight autobids. Leaving, presumably 8 at large spots, so long as well still have a 16 team tournament, although opening up the tournament if you have eight leagues might make some sense.
Realizing this is all just for fun, it would be more realistic if you actually account for what is going on in college hockey right now as you put together your leagues instead of just drawing things up out of thin air. For example, you have Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech grouped together in the remains of the CCHA, when news reports have it pretty well estabished that these two schools will in fact play in the revised WCHA. This instantly makes your central and western groupings unrealistic, and to my way of thinking, eliminates much of the "fun" in trying to figure out what might happen in conference realignment.

On the topic of the NCAA tournament, the size of that tourny is based on the number of schools that sponsor the sport, not on the number of conferences.

jjmc85
07-16-2011, 02:25 PM
I like Hockey East the way it is.

Shirtless Guy
07-16-2011, 04:13 PM
Realizing this is all just for fun, it would be more realistic if you actually account for what is going on in college hockey right now as you put together your leagues instead of just drawing things up out of thin air. For example, you have Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech grouped together in the remains of the CCHA, when news reports have it pretty well estabished that these two schools will in fact play in the revised WCHA. This instantly makes your central and western groupings unrealistic, and to my way of thinking, eliminates much of the "fun" in trying to figure out what might happen in conference realignment.

On the topic of the NCAA tournament, the size of that tourny is based on the number of schools that sponsor the sport, not on the number of conferences.I thought someone mentioned elsewhere that only 50% of the tournament may be autobids...so if there are more than 8 conferences, the tournament would have to be more than 16...

Shirtless Guy
07-16-2011, 04:33 PM
If we're just having a fun, this is a combination of what I think will happen along with some not very likely stuff that would create some nice balance between conferences...64 teams with Moorhead, 2 Big Ten schools (I really don't know which but I picked Iowa and Illinois), Columbia, and Penn all adding hockey. the NCHC, WCHA, AHA and CCHA are very likely to end up the way I have them. I highly doubt the Ivy's split off unless columbia and/or penn step up. I don't see HEA changing at all unless BC and BU somehow decide to chase the money with NCHC if its as lucrative as the retards in grand forks seem to think it will be. Otherwise, here is my list.

NCHC (8): Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, Miami, Colorado College, Denver and Minnesota Duluth

WCHA (8): Bemidji, Minnesota State, Saint Cloud, Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Fairbanks, Northern Michigan, Michigan Tech, MSU-Moorhead

B1G Ten (8): Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Minnesota

HEA (8): BC, BU, UNH, UMass, Vermont, Maine, Providence, and Northeastern

IVYs (8): Columbia, Penn, Yale, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, Princeton and Harvard

AHA (8): UConn, RIT, Army, AIC, Bentley, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart and Air Force

ECAC (8): Merrimack, UML, Colgate, St Lawrence, Union, Rensselaer, Quinnipiac and Clarkson

CCHA (8): Canisius, Niagara, Bowling Green, Mercyhurst, Robert Morris, Lake Superior State, Ferris State and Alabama Huntsville

ecbrevik
07-16-2011, 04:39 PM
I thought someone mentioned elsewhere that only 50% of the tournament may be autobids...so if there are more than 8 conferences, the tournament would have to be more than 16...
That may be. But you'd have to spread college hockey pretty thin to get more than 8 conferences. We only have 59 programs right now (including Penn State), so 8 conferences is only 7.4 schools per conference on average, pretty close to the 6 required for an autobid. You could make 9 conferences with at least 6 schools each, but not 10. So at max DI college hockey as it sits right now could get to 9 autobids. I doubt that most schools would want to be in a conference of only 6.

Split-N
07-16-2011, 05:00 PM
There's a wise old saying that goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Hockey East ain't broke. Thank you for your concern.

Shirtless Guy
07-16-2011, 05:01 PM
There's a wise old saying that goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Hockey East ain't broke. Thank you for your concern.I thought the same thing about the WCHA...and look at where my team is today?

jjmc85
07-16-2011, 05:06 PM
HEA (8): BC, BU, UNH, UMass, Vermont, Maine, Providence, and Northeastern

ECAC (8): Merrimack, UML, Colgate, St Lawrence, Union, Rensselaer, Quinnipiac and Clarkson

Lowell and Merrimack are fine where they are.

Shirtless Guy
07-16-2011, 05:23 PM
Lowell and Merrimack are fine where they are.That is by far the least likely change of existing programs...but there is certainly a chance that some of the HEA teams break away like the WCHA programs did...I just picked the 2 DII teams as the ones left behind.

Eph72
07-16-2011, 06:00 PM
If we're just having a fun, this is a combination of what I think will happen along with some not very likely stuff that would create some nice balance between conferences...

Shirtless, great reply! In exactly the spirit offered. Thanks.

A few reactions. A good question will be whether Hockey East can resist the temptation to beef up and go for a TV contract. The Big 10 and the new National league will certainly be going there. That's why I think its possible HE will dump all of Merrimack, UML, Providence and Northeastern. Who to add? Notre Dame is the obvious one (if they don't join the NCHC) and the academic fit is better with the eastern schools. It will be real interesting to see where they go. UConn is another intriguing possibility. I admit they have shown no interest in moving up, but if they did it would make a compelling case in TV land. UConn would need a new building or would have to play in Hartford.

I think you are right to imagine Big 10 expansion. The only question is who? I think, yes, Illinois, for sure. They have a pretty good ACHA D1 program so there is some interest in hockey. But I have no idea whether there is a rink or even a speck of institutional interest. The second school would really be a long shot. I think Indiana is the only other Big 10 school with an ACHA D1 program.

As far as the Ivy League is concerned, the reappearance of Penn and Columbia would really help the league. Both are urban and in locations where there is no meaningful college hockey competition. Penn already has a nice rink. Columbia would have to build. Stranger things have happened. Columbia has been the only Ivy without a men's squash program since forever and next year they are adding squash and competing in the Ivy League. Penn used to play in the ECAC and both Penn and Columbia (assuming competitive programs) would draw much stronger support from fans around the league than say Q or Clarkson (nothing against Q or Clarkson).

I would tend to agree that the massive domino effect I posited is pretty unlikely, but who would have ever predicted what's happened already. I think the real key will be the siren song of TV money in the east. If the Big 10 and NCHC get contracts that's going to impact recruiting big time and BU, BC, Maine and UNH will have to take notice. Wait until Jerry York or Jack Parker loses a top recruit or five to a Miami or Penn State of all places because the kid wants to play in a super conference with a national cable TV contract. Not sure the Merrimacks of the world will make the cut. Ask St Cloud, Bemidji and Minnesota State. Right?

joecct
07-16-2011, 06:06 PM
There's a wise old saying that goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Hockey East ain't broke. Thank you for your concern.
It only gets broke if the NE-10 gets involved.

Shirtless Guy
07-16-2011, 06:51 PM
It will be interesting to see what the wcha, ccha and nchc actually look like in October 2013. Will the wcha stay at 6 with nmu, will they take uaf, will they wait for msu-Moorhead, will they take on a school like fsu, lssu or wmu? I have a feeling that it will get to 8 the way I have it.

buoldtimer
07-16-2011, 07:34 PM
As far as the Ivy League is concerned, the reappearance of Penn and Cornell would really help the league.



Does Mike Shaffer know that Cornell has disappeared?

Alton
07-16-2011, 08:28 PM
I thought someone mentioned elsewhere that only 50% of the tournament may be autobids...so if there are more than 8 conferences, the tournament would have to be more than 16...

Well...yes and no.

No more than 50 percent of a tournament may be autobids, that is true. But it does not mean automatic expansion if the number of conferences eligible for autobids is greater than 50 percent of the tournament field. If, by some bizarre turn of events, we actually get to 9 conferences, there will be a "play-in" game for the 8th autobid.

What will happen if we have 9 conferences is this--the hockey committee will rank the conferences before the season (by RPI, most likely), and the top 7 conferences will get autobids, and the champion of the 9th best conference will have to play the champion of the 8th best conference in a game hosted by the champion of the 8th best conference. That "play-in" game will take place before the selection of the tournament, and the loser of the game would be eligible for one of the at-large bids. On selection day, the 7 conference champions plus the winner of the play-in will join 8 at large teams in the tournament, seeded (presumably) by PWR as always.

I think the only NCAA Division I tournaments with play-ins right now are Women's Lacrosse and Field Hockey.

CornwallAce
07-16-2011, 09:34 PM
Shirtless,

if we are imagining, lets add Navy to the AHA

Also, for anyone who has tons of free time, I have a load of outside work to keep you busy for a long long time!

bigmrg74
07-16-2011, 09:37 PM
With the rise of the NCHA, is there any thought that their will more new teams out west at big schools? UBC and their location in a rich Canadian hot bed of talent would be a tempting target as soon as they decide to cross the border. Colorado State supposedly has a big group there pushing for hockey, and most of the DU and CC posters seem to be of the opinion that if CSU adds hockey, Colorado wouldn't be that far behind them. And heck, any large school west of the Mississippi river would likely be welcomed with open arms by them I would think.

Eph72
07-16-2011, 10:08 PM
With the rise of the NCHA, is there any thought that their will more new teams out west at big schools? UBC and their location in a rich Canadian hot bed of talent would be a tempting target as soon as they decide to cross the border. Colorado State supposedly has a big group there pushing for hockey, and most of the DU and CC posters seem to be of the opinion that if CSU adds hockey, Colorado wouldn't be that far behind them. And heck, any large school west of the Mississippi river would likely be welcomed with open arms by them I would think.

Yes, totally agreed. As long as we are imagining, the Canadian universities in Alberta and BC should be targets for eventual WCHA expansion and the Colorado schools are now naturals for the NCHA. I'd also like to put the Pac 12 schools on the table. It would only take 6 of them...and more and more kids from California are finding their way into D1 programs...