MAC May go back to 18 Games in Conference - How I would do it!

Word is that the MAC is considering going to 18 conference games yet maintaining division. They are right on one account.

Keith Dambrot wants Zips to get to higher level: MAC Men's Tournament Insider | cleveland.com
Scuttlebutt: Word is the Mid-American Conference will return to an 18-game basketball schedule next season, which means there will be some games that will be two teams’ only meeting while other teams will meet twice.

To be honest I sit among those who think the only conference sport where you need divisions is football. So while I like 18 games I loath cramming six team divisions into such a schedule.

In all the sports other than football conference head to head games are either so numerous, or so rare, that divisions are not really needed. So in case anyone from the MAC reads this here is how I would work an 18 game schedule.

Lets start with this hypothetical 2012 pre season MAC Media rankings.

1. Ohio – 141 Votes (19 first place East votes)
2. Akron – 122 Votes (5)
3. Kent State – 89 Votes
4. Toledo – 143 Votes (20 first place West votes)
5. Eastern Michigan – 118 Votes (4)
6. Western Michigan – 88 Votes
7. Buffalo – 68 Votes
8. Bowling Green – 53 Votes
9. Ball State – 74 Votes
10. Miami – 31 Votes
11. Northern Illinois – 46 Votes
12. Central Michigan – 35 Votes

Rule #1 Everyone plays the entire conference through one time. (11 Games)

You just have to give everyone a shot through the entire conference, otherwise whats the point of a conference right? Rotate home and away games here by year. So right off the bat you get to 11 games.

Here is the tricky part. MAC Tournament seeding should be based only on this first pass through. You still want your best teams to have byes in Cleveland and not to lose out because the cannibalize themselves. The conference could use the remaining seven game for tie breakers and to increase the conference chances at securing more than one bid.

Rule #2 Divide the MAC into preseason Tiers (Three Games)

  • Tier 1 Ohio - Akron - Kent - Toledo
  • Tier 2 EMU - WMU - Buffalo - Bowling Green
  • Tier 3 Ball State - Miami - NIU - CMU

The only really wonky preseason pick was Ball State. The Cards ended up the number five seed in the conference. and were in the preseason maybe eight or nine. But here are three more games you play against teams likely to be in your weight Class.

The team that hosts these games is the one who was on the road for the first 11. these three games get you up to 14 total and still needing four more.

Rule #3 Play the teams you hate (Two Games)

Everyone gets two rivals and no I don't have a clue as to how you work that out.

Here is the trick. This could be the third time you play these teams, but hey would a third Toledo Bowling Green game really be a bad thing? It would help attendance and further foster the kind of atmosphere we all want. A third Kent Akron Game! Awesome!

So how do you work out home or road? Well these are rival games so rotate it by year. In any even this take teh teams from 14 to 16 conference games so we need two more.

Rule #4 Invade your neighbor (Two Games)

If a team in located in a tier where they don't belong, lets say Ball State this season, then give them a crack at the other two tiers. Each team plays one non rival from each of the other tiers. You can try to do this by playing the top tier 1 team playing the top tier 2 and tier 3 teams. If they cant because of the rival rule then just bump them up or down.

That's two more games and you get to 18, hopefully boosting the RPI of the conference a bit by giving the top teams quality opponents and the bottom teams beatable opponents. It would also give the lower teams a chance to boost their RPI with a win.

These four rules would make the MAC's scheduling unique not not strangely so, it would give the existing rivalries a shot in the arm with extra games and maybe help build new ones for teams like UB and NIU who don't seem to have them. The second and third games against Rivals could also help boost attendance, and perhaps revenue.

Most importantly when combined with the MAC tournament format it gives the MAC a better chance and once again becoming a multi bid conference.

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