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Would Syracuse Football Want to Be in a Non-Gerrymandered "Northeast" Conference?

An interesting look at how things would turn out if conferences were based on straight-up geography.

College and Magnolia

Most college conferences today make little sense in terms of geography. Footprints stretch from Miami to Boston, or Waco to Morgantown, or Atlanta to Idaho without a second thought. While Syracuse reaps the financial benefits of that, it's obviously one of the less-than-great parts of what college football's become.

SB Nation's Auburn blog, College and Magnolia (obligatory: EFF PAT DYE), saw these league setups as pretty similar to gerrymandering -- not a stretch when you consider the origin of the long-standing political practice to get the most of out voting districts (for a respective party) by redrawing wacky district lines. If you want an actual definition, gives you a lot more to chew on.

Gerrymandering could be on the way out of politics, however (or at least is in Arizona), so blogger @WarRoomEagle wondered what would happen if the same was true of college football. The results? We end up with 16 conferences of eight teams apiece, all with varying degrees of difficulty, but all with geography at the forefront. You can check out the original post to see how things shape out for every team, but we'll hone in on the one you (and I) care about most: Syracuse.

SU ends up in the "Northeast" conference, an eight-team group consisting of:

Army, Boston College, Buffalo, Connecticut, Rutgers, Temple and UMass (and of course, us).


That's not to say the exercise was a bad one. The intent was to create leagues based solely on geography. So despite some limitations like small sample size and a small number of teams in our general region, the Orange still get chief rival Boston College here, plus some sort-of-interesting games vs. Army, UConn and Rutgers. And then those other three. Unfortunately, that's the weakest of the 16 proposed leagues by a considerable margin (at least by way of average projected S&P+ rating), but... the Orange would stand a decent chance of winning that "Northeast" conference each and every year, no? AND everyone would get those precious nearby road games they want so bad. Hooray!


Now in an ideal world, of course, things wouldn't have been gerrymandered at all. Conferences would've stayed in the range of 8-10 teams and rivalries would've stayed intact. We (I) actually proposed what one of these conferences could look like in the comments recently. The "Big East" as it could've been:

Boston College, Florida State, Maryland, Miami. Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, West Virginia

Find the Florida State and Maryland adds a stretch? Sub in Connecticut and Temple and you're all set. It's all conjecture at this point anyway, so... make your fictional league whatever you want. You can even put Syracuse in a conference of Miami, USC and Georgia Tech if you want, DOCTOR GROSS!


So what do you think? If we just ended up in a simple, eight-team conference but had a shot to win every year and limited travel, would Syracuse be better off? Discuss away in the comments.