On ďMac App,Ē the siteís namesake and I had an extended discussion that touched upon teams having to travel in sports, and however you might feel about college football, it is an issue in professional sports. Players want to have less travel time, unions do worry about these things, and I think the fans like more local rivalries too.
Anyway, his mention of the NHL (and his team, the Vancouver Canucks) inspired to talk about Hockey realignment, which is necessary because Winnipeg is not exactly in the Southeast. (If you didnít know, yet another franchise has moved from Atlanta to Canada, so thatís why theyíre in the Southeast Division). Iím not an NHL expert, but I do appreciate the game, particularly the playoffs. I think I know enough about rivalries and so forth to give it a try, but Iím sure there are people out there who know more, so if youíre one of those people, feel free to share anything I might be overlooking. Iím also doing a similar series of blogs about college football conferences (I and II so far), and Iíll be looking for input as I get into less-familiar regions of the country.
Anyway, it just makes sense to have match-ups people are going to care about. People in Minnesota, for instance, are going to want to beat Detroit and Chicago regardless of the sport. People in New York are going to want to beat Boston regardless of the sport. And so on.
But like in basketball, Minnesota is probably going to be tacked onto the Northwest rather than a more Midwestern grouping. The existing alignment actually does not have the New York-area teams playing Boston.
Supposedly, the Eastern Conference is against ďradical realignment,Ē but would leaving two divisions alone (except for Winnipeg moving out) and splitting the third really be so radical? I donít think so. And I just mentioned one thing (Boston-New York) that should be attractive about making a change. Also, I think Buffalo fans would like to see them play the New York-area teams more often.
So Iíll start with the four-division idea. I thought it might be fairer to do what baseball did and create even numbers in each conference (of course baseball has leagues instead of conferences). The 15-team-conference alternative would simply move Columbus from the Eastern Conference Southern Division to the Western Conference Northern Division.
This is one place I wanted input. I was wondering if people would have more of a problem with it being harder to make the playoffs in one conference (which would be the result of 16/14) or more of a problem with uneven divisions in the same conference (which would be the result of 15/15).
I thought this first one was the best based on distance and fan interest, but there is a problem. See if you noticeÖ