Friday, March 1, 2013

Shuffling the Deck

I've eluded to this in previous posts and since we're nearing the end of the season and I still have an audience, I thought I would throw it out there (even though it will never happen).  You never know what the future holds but realignment in Section 2 is something I've thought about extensively over the years and though you could do a complete overhaul of the conferences, you could also do a little massaging here and there to make things more compatible.

My first problem with the current alignment goes hand in hand with the lesser 18 game schedule.  I am of the opinion that more non-league games is better.  It gives you a better chance to compare the leagues and makes the seeding process easier on everyone.  It also provides teams that have serious State Championship ambitions to play out of section games (for the CBA's and Albany Academy's of the world) and still have room for some in section non-league games.  In the current format, I believe an 8 team league is the perfect size.  You get 14 league games, and 4 non-league, a nice ratio and enough league games to give a representative sample and crown a champion.  There are currently 91 schools in Section 2.  Simple math will tell you that you can't get all 8 team leagues.  The second best option is a ten team league with two divisions and a championship round where each team in one division plays each team in the other.  That would give you 8 division games, 5 non-division league games and 1 championship round game, for a total of........14, just like an 8 team league.  So how do you do it?  Any one of a thousand different ways, but I'll show you my favorite (that's my favorite as of today, I'll still change my mind a thousand more times).

Let’s start by making the Big 10 an actual 10 teams.  I have thought for a long time that Bishop Gibbons was misplaced here.  While the league is based largely around the big three cities, Albany, Schenectady and Troy, lets not fool ourselves into thinking all the schools in those cities are in the league, nor should they be.  We’re going to take Gibbons out and replace them with Green Tech and Albany Academy.  That brings the total to 10 teams like it should be.  We’ll split them into two divisions, the Capital and Collar divisions.  For the girls, we’re going to replace CBA, Green Tech and LaSalle with Holy Names, Albany Leadership and Emma Willard.  While this may seem a bit harsh to Albany Academy and Emma Willard on the girls’ side, the Big 10 is not what is for the girls as it is for the boys, and with the potential downgrading for Bishop Maginn and Troy now being an A, this isn’t too much of a stretch.  It also gives the people who think all the private schools should be in one conference a reason to be happy, as most now are.  The schedule would allow for two games against each division opponent, one game against each league non-division opponent, one championship game where each team plays the corresponding team in the other division (1st place plays 1st place, 2nd plays 2nd, etc) and a league champion will be crowned, and four non-league games.  The new Big 10:

Capital Division
Albany Academy
Bishop Maginn
Green Tech

Collar Division
Catholic Central

Capital Division
Albany Academy
Albany Leadership
Bishop Maginn
Holy Names

Collar Division
Catholic Central
Emma Willard

The Suburban will removing four teams and while you may see this as a slight against the Suburban, it’s more of an addition by subtraction.  The four teams to be moved out are the three A schools, Averill Park, Burnt Hills and Mohonasen as well as a AA, Ballston Spa.  The two reasons for Ballston Spa are their proximity to Burnt Hills geographically and their relative close enrollment to the AA/A border.  This allows the remaining teams more room to explore non-league opponents, whether in the Big 10, with the 4 teams that left, or other out of section teams.  This will now be an 8 team league so they’ll have 14 league games, 2 against each team in the league and 4 non-league games.  The new Suburban Council:

Boys and Girls
Saratoga Springs

The Foothills Council will remain the same despite some long travel distances.  There are just not enough options for the teams up North.  All the schools around them are significantly smaller and the competitive advantage is too great to put them in the same league.  Trust me though I have tried very hard to move things around.  In the end, while a few small changes could be made, the way it is constructed works out best for the rest of the teams, more so than for the teams in the Foothills.  Also, for the girls, I really don’t know what is going on with Gloversville, but can only assume that at some point they’ll have a team again.  This is an 8 team league and would have the 14 league and 4 non-league games.  No change to the Foothills.

Boys and Girls
Glens Falls
Hudson Falls
South Glens Falls

Here is where it gets fun.  In order to do this as efficiently as possible with 8 team leagues, you need to add a new league.  This actually accomplishes a couple things the first of which is it appeases the math.  Secondly, it might appease some politically as well.  I don't know who runs each of the leagues, but I know someone does and creating a new person to run a new league might help in the favor department (and actually get something this dramatic done).  Anyway, this league will consist of the four departing Suburban members and the lone departing Big 10 member.  Add to those five, three of the larger Colonial schools (who don't benefit as dramatically from playing in the Colonial as the smaller schools) and you have a new league.  As for the name, I typed in directions from one school to the next and got this from Google maps.  It looks a bit like Italy, so I called it the Roman Conference.  You may call it what you wish (any suggestions are always appreciated).  This is an 8 team league and would have the 14 league and 4 non-league games.  Your new Roman (insert your own name) Conference:

Boys and Girls
Averill Park
Ballston Spa
Bishop Gibbons
Burnt Hills
Ichabod Crane

The Colonial Conference will be getting a sizable make over with the departure of Ichabod Crane, Lansingburgh and Schalmont, they'll be adding some quality schools as well while downsizing.  Mechanicville will also be leaving to entertain new foes (closer to'll see).  Mekeel Christian Academy and Tamarac will be joining the party from the WAC South and Wasaren respectively.  The first is a boost on the boys' side, the second a boost to the girls'.  Mekeel Academy needs a new league as they dominate every year and the WAC just isn't competitive with their presence.  They are also the lone B school now that Fonda-Fultonville has switched leagues.  This seems like a natural move.  Tamarac has always been a bit out of the way for most of the Wasaren teams much like Granville and both are B schools. The difference though is that Granville doesn't have anywhere else to go.  Every other school remotely close to them is a D school and while Granville may struggle at times in the Wasaren, they would blow out the Adirondack annually.  Also, once you see the new Wasaren, this makes a lot more sense.  This is now an 8 team league and would have the 14 league and 4 non-league games.  Your new Colonial Council:

Boys and Girls
Mekeel Christian Academy

The Patroon Conference, much like the Foothills Council will remain unchanged and the lone 9 team league.  While I would like to move Rensselaer or Maple Hill out, there isn't a natural fit for either.  The Colonial probably wouldn't accept Rensselaer (they kicked out Waterford a number of years ago) and geographically Maple Hill makes more sense where they are, even if they don't by classification.  I also think Rensselaer would dominate in the CHVL, where they might also fit in, as they are usually fairly competitive in the Patroon.  On the whole, I think it's better the way it is.  At 9 teams, they will continue playing 16 league games and 2 non-league games.  No changes to the Patroon Conference.

Boys and Girls
Maple Hill
Taconic Hills

Wasaren League purists will hate me after this one but you really can't argue with adding quality teams, especially if they are close to home.  With the subtraction of Tamarac, they would stand at 7 teams, but instead of just adding one more, they are going to add three.  This accomplishes two things, it creates another 10 team league and helps reduce two other leagues away from 12 teams.  The three teams you would be adding are Mechanicville from the Colonial, Saratoga Catholic from the WAC North and Corinth from the Adirondack West.  All three are B/C schools and fit in nicely with the current mix of teams in the Wasaren.  They are also each geographically close to at least one existing Wasaren team.  A ten team league, of course, means two divisions, the North and South.  You could also split this as an East, West but I prefer this one.  They would follow the same schedule format as the Big 10.  Your new Wasaren League:

Boys and Girls
Saratoga Catholic

Hoosic Valley
Hoosick Falls

The Western Athletic Conference took some heavy losses in Mekeel Christian Academy and Saratoga Catholic, but this is more in line with what the division is, a C/D laden group.  One of the problems I have with this conference is that it’s the only conference that doesn’t play every team in the conference.  They play a couple cross-over games at the end of the year and crown a champion from that.  They also have an uneven number of teams before and after the changes.  The way I think is best to fix that is to add a team from the Adirondack, Hadley-Luzerne.  You could take another team away, but none really make sense in any other conference and Hadley-Luzerne is fairly close to both Galway and Mayfield.  With the addition, the WAC becomes the only 12 team conference which poses scheduling challenges because two 6 team divisions would play 16 league games and if you chose to have a championship round, that would be 17 leaving only one non-league game on the schedule.  That’s not acceptable to me, neither is not playing everyone in your conference, so I’ve decided a 3 division setup is best, much like the Suburban used to be.  This way you would play 6 division games, and 8 league non-division games.  You basically need to have a playoff in this format so 2 additional games for that bringing the total to 16.  Not ideal, but better than 17.  A lot of these schools choose to play non-section opponents anyway so we’re not really losing that many non-league games.  The championship would face the three division winners against the best league record that didn’t win the division playing essentially a four team tournament with a consolation game.  The next best four teams would do the same and the worst four records the same completing the schedule.  It’s a bit messy, but so is what they do now.  Your new Western Athletic Conference:
Boys and Girls
Fort Plain
Sharon Springs
St. Johnsville
Prior to all that’s happened above, the Adirondack League contained 12 teams.  After the departures of Corinth and Hadley-Luzerne, they are a 10 team league, and that makes me happy.  We also took one team from each division so there’s basically no change to the structure of the league.  They would have the same 10 game schedule as detailed above.  Your new Adirondack League:
Boys and Girls
Fort Ann

Fort Edward
Lake George
North Warren
The Central Hudson Valley League will remain unchanged.  The vast distances between these teams and the other D schools in the area is just too great to try anything and if you move someone out, like Germantown (who is much closer to some of the Patroon teams) you’re left with only 7 teams.  While Rensselaer could be a fit, I think they are competitive enough where they are and have the potential to dominate this league which is something to be avoided.  They would follow the regular 8 team schedule.  No changes to the CHVL.
Boys and Girls
Doane Stuart
Hawthorne Valley
Loudonville Christian
New Lebanon

The reasons for doing something like this are two fold.  There are still a few teams that are in leagues that are either too easy or too difficult for them to compete in each year.  Bishop Gibbons and Mekeel Academy shouldn't be in their respective conferences.  How Mechanicville and Stillwater aren't in the same league still baffles me, and I really don't like having independent teams.  Also, how do you have a league in which all the teams don't play each other?  In addition to some shuffling, the extra league provides 22 additional non league games most of which come from teams that would actually play in-section teams to fill their schedules.

While this whole exercise provides little in the way of actually doing anything, I find it an interesting proposition to look at and maybe even someday my dreams of realignment will happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment