Dear commissioners of the ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, Big East, Pac Ten, and SEC;
I’d like to offer you some advice to help boost up the regular season for your basketball programs. Due to having a playoff system that includes 64 teams (sorry, 65), some people say that the regular season doesn’t matter very much. Sure, maybe a little to those bubble teams, but really how many games between good teams just past by the way side during the season. Not so with football where every week is a playoff, so you guys need to do more creative things to bolster interest during the regular season. The Big Ten/ACC challenge was a great idea for this; it’s just not executed so well. Mainly the ACC is basketball conference while the Big Ten is a little more football oriented. I’m not saying the ACC is worlds better, but they are still a little better overall. So why don’t you switch things up. Let’s have the Big East play the ACC. Have the Big Ten play the SEC. Those two pairings would match up much better top to bottom than the current Big Ten and ACC alignment. Plus add in the recently started Big XII/Pac Ten matchups and you’ve got yourself 3 mini-tournaments each year.
Now here’s where you have to take some of your marketing dollars and put it to some use.
1. All three need real names. “The 2008 Big East/ACC Challenge” is lame. “The 2008 Basketball Dynasty Challenge” is better. I’m sure your marketing execs can think of something better than I can that isn’t just a combination of the conference names.
2. Give out a real trophy. Look at some of the trophies that go back and forth between the winners of college football rivalry games. You should be able to think of 3 different, large, gaudy trophies depicting scenes like one player dunking on another player. Plus the winning conference can allow one school to display the trophy the year after winning it. I don’t care how you decide which school as long as the school you choose at least won their game during that year’s contest.
3. Don’t play them at the same time. This should be common sense to maximize your ad revenue, but you never know with the some of the decisions you guys make.
4. Promote the heck out of it. You all better have agreements with ESPN to get every game aired. The exception being that each league can air one game on their own network (if you have one or when you get one as I’m sure all of you will eventually). This gives each league a chance to help promote their individual networks (i.e. more $$$).
5. It will help the school come tourney selection time. Remember getting a few losses during the regular season isn’t hugely important, but that extra game against a big conference school (even if it’s a loss) will help the strength of schedule and RPI components that the selection committee always seem to value.
So let’s go guys, this should be a no brainer for most people, so wake up and start marketing your teams. Remember this is a business. (Although don’t mention that part when you announce the new contests next year. Instead say something about the kids being student-athletes first or whatever it is you guys usually say while profiting off of them.)