I honestly think our Conference needs to show some leadership and try to work with league teams to increase the quality of the D-1 OOC play. The MVC and the MAAC have "quotas" for RPIs of non-conference games, and teams that don't meet these quotas don't get their full share of NCAA money. I personally think it's a great idea and forces league teams to step it up a bit.
While I'm not saying we need to play the Big East, but we should try and play some teams from the following conferences more in non-conference games:
Mid Continent (Valpo, IUPUI, etc.)
These are leagues that are 5-6 notches above us in the Conference RPI rankings that we can probably compete with, and getting a win or two against them would be great to help our RPI.
Although the Ivy League has a better conference RPI than we do, if you take Penn and Princeton out of the mix (and I don't think we play a bunch of games against those two), their RPI is awful.
Travel costs! The reason AE, NEC, Patroit, Ivy, and MAAC teams play so many OOC games against each other is because of travel costs.
Unless you are going to the midwest or south to play a Big 10, Big 12, or ACC team during the same trip it would be too expensive to travel to a Butler or Southern Ill without a "payoff." Most of these teams can't afford the "payoff" and it would make no sense for them to return a game and split the gate because on the return game most schools couldn't even draw 2,000 in paid attendance.
I think two things would help scheduling:
1) No non-DI teams (or only once every 4 years).
2) Schedule OOC teams that are expected to finish with a similiar record in their own conference. For example, Vermont should try to schedule a Manhattan while UNH should play a Loyola (MD) or NU vs. Princeston and Albany vs. Harvard.
Since most teams in our league play a guarantee game or two on the road, why not try to schedule a game (without a return) with a mid major team in a higher conference?
What's wrong with playing, let's use UMBC as an example from this season, Ohio State in Columbus and then trying to get a game with Akron, Cleveland State, Wright State, Youngstown State etc. They're already out there, and they get a road game against a real good team and a team they can be competitive with. There's always an outside chance you can get a return, as well.
Our league should also be a bit more assertive in trying to get "Agreements" with other conferences to play each other. I'm not saying we should have an AE-SoCon challenge, but if teams got together and were creative, they could do some fun things with scheduling.
If say, Albany and UVM (since its driveable) were to try to schedule games with 2 teams from a comparable conference, I think it would make some sense.
Before Hofstra was in the AE, they'd do something similar with NU. NU played Northwestern and Tulane on a Thursday/Sunday and Hofstra would play the opposite team.
NU did this with Iona, George Mason, and Central Michigan over a couple of year period as well. If coaches and teams want to work together, it makes a ton of sense.
should almost mandate what Hoop Fan has proposed and evry team in the AE should be accountable to the conference for their schedule.
I know some schools say they have to schedule DIIIs and it doesn't count in the RPI but basically it does count because if those DIIIs were DIs it could help our RPI. I know some schools have a hard time getting home games but if the conference wants to move up into the 15-20 range things are going to have to change.
The bottom tier must improve (Albany, UNH etc.) have to improve - having teams in the very high 200s and low 300s really hurts.
I know Maine played Bethune-Cookman as part of their trip to Florida State, and Bethune-Cookman is supposed to return a game to Maine. Maine and UNH could partner up to do a Durham/Portland trip for someone too.
I agree that travel cost is probably a factor in OOC scheduling with the Ivy, Patriot, MAAC, NEC, etc. There is also some long standing "rivalries" -- quotes because of a lot history of playing rather than the emotion normally associated with rivalries. I'd like to see some of these games continue, but would like to see a few new faces on the schedule as well.
I've never done any detailed analysis, but I wonder how costs are impacted by this Wed.-weekend scheduling and no travel partner concept. Last year I know no one played at UNH and at Maine on the same trip which logically seems foolish unless you fly to/from Maine -- UNH is 10 miles off I-95 on your way North! And it always seems illogical to me that Albany & Binghamton aren't weekend trips -- everyone but SBU and UMBC I think drives through Albany to go to Binghamton!!! Why do the drive twice???
Anyway, if OOC games within the season weren't frowned upon then more teams could bundle an OOC game on their trip to Baltimore. For example, Maine & UNH as travel partners could bundle a weekend with UMBC & their new A-10 football partner and former AE mate Towson! If there is too much bad blood with the CAA defectors than hook up with someone else in the Baltimore-DC area!
I like Jeff's idea of Maine and UNH bundling games with OOC opponents. Obviously, BU & NU are naturals for the same idea. Even Albany and Binghamton could do this easily as well, or Albany and Hartford. For that matter, if the Boston schools don't want to cooperate, Hartford or even UNH could bundle with either Boston school.
About 20 years ago, the Cumberand County Civic Center (Portland) hosted a double header with UNH playing Boston College and Maine playing South Carolina (if memory isn't failing me!!) that I recall was pretty well attended. Let's put it this way, there were more people than two excellent crowds in Durham and Orono combined! Maybe with some help from the Choice folks for decent hotel rates then a two day event could be scheduled at the Verizon Center or the CCCC in Portland. Manchester with SW Airlines service (for another cost savings!) might be a great site for a UNH-Boston school foray switching opponents on the subsequent night. Providence and Hartford also have SW service (sorry, don't know about Albany). Baltimore also has SW service! Shoot, PanAM out of Pease (Portsmouth, NH -- less than 10 miles to Durham) could be chartered for anything at the Whitt or the CCCC.
Bottom line is that the possibilities are endless!
You're making WAY too much sense there. Your points are valid. How come we're the ones thinking up these ideas?
I only disagree with one point, playing NU AND BU in the same trip might be a bit daunting these days for a mid-major, but that may just be nitpicking. They'd basically have one day to prepare, but that's semantics. A team can come to New England and play either or, AND another D-1 team such as: Harvard, Holy Cross, Brown, Dartmouth, etc.
I tossed the idea of an NU-BU double header at the Fleet Center with Ian McCaw and he indicated that "BU was against it." Now, I'm sure if you asked Gary Strickler he'd say "NU was against it." But if NU and BU each got a good, I'm not saying GREAT opponent, it could work. I think I heard the number of 10,000 as the break even number for a college hoops game at the Fleet, which is probably a stretch for NU and BU, unless there was a big time opponent.
I think the concept of certain schools only playing at home on weekends was thrown out for some reason. I remember when UD and Drexel joined the AE, we ALWAYS did a Friday-Sunday with them.
The person who complained the most AGAINST NU and BU being travel partners was Tommy B. He hated having to play both in one weekend, and he probably has a point. He'd have to play two key league games in 72 hours, while NU and BU got to stay at home and play at UVM almost in isolation.