Mea culpa, folks. I don’t know how I missed it, but it seems that with the Big Ten’s divisional re-jiggering and move to a nine game conference schedule, Jim Delany’s also hit on the big idea of parity scheduling.
… If you look at the schedules, what you’ll see is over time, the crossovers rotate. In the first 18 years, you’re going to see a lot of competition between teams at the top of either division. We call that a bit of parity-based scheduling. You’ll see Wisconsin and Nebraska and Iowa playing a lot of competition against Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan…
This is what you get when your conference commissioner puts on his programming director’s hat.
… From a business standpoint, I get it because TV completely drives the sport and having Nebraska or Wisconsin play Ohio State-Penn State-Michigan as much as possible is a no-brainer. But from an equity standpoint, it has some problems, at least during the 18-year period at the start of these new divisions…
Yeah, it does. To start with, look at the question that drew that answer:
… How in the world did this parity-based schedule come to be? This has got to be a classic case of the decision makers being way too immersed in their task and completely losing sight of the big picture. I see the benefit, but this completely destroys any credibility in the process of crowning a conference champion. It’s one thing for the scheduling gods to bless a lucky team or two every year based on randomness, but to deliberately tip the scales so that some teams will have tougher/easier schedules than others is absurd. The concept of a champion has been completely marginalized. If a “mid-tier” team ever has a surprise year and wins the B1G, how could anyone call them a champion if the schedule is DELIBERATELY aligned in their favor EVERY YEAR?! How has this not been met with opposition by anyone with a brain? It’s not too hard to imagine this system malfunctioning. Example: Iowa wins the west winning a couple crossover games against Rutgers and MSU, while Nebraska comes in 2nd in the west going 0-2 against Michigan and OSU. A scenario like this is almost guaranteed to happen at some point.
I suspect that if you could get Delany to talk about it off the record, he’d tell you that it’s unlikely that a mediocre team, even one buoyed by a parity schedule, would get by a tough opponent in the conference game, and that in either event, the winner would come out with an enhanced position for the national playoff. That’s the second purpose to this arrangement – to make sure there’s at least one team that emerges out of the conference race with a good SOS number.
It’s all about the ratings (TV and schedule, in that order). Works for the NFL, doesn’t it?
Sounds great. If you aren’t, say, a Minnesota fan, that is.
Delany’s announcement this week of the East-West football alignment that starts in 2014 will include “parity” scheduling — meaning more games for a traditional mutt such as the Gophers against Maryland, Rutgers and Indiana, rather than Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State.
Get those tickets as soon as possible when the 2014 home schedule comes out. Maryland, Rutgers and Indiana are sure to pack the joint.
Some people lack an appreciation for the greater good. Or the bottom line.