The conference re-draft project got kicked off last week with the first two rounds of drafting. We've been holding the results back until now, but you can see how everyone fared at project coordinating blog Cowboys Ride for Free.
As could be expected, Texas and Florida went 1-2 in the draft. We picked third.
When creating a conference from scratch, football is going to drive the bus. We preferred to have teams that brought value in other sports too, especially men's basketball and baseball as those are the other ones we cover here, but football was the primary concern. Fan base, facilities, and revenue capabilities factored in as well.
We chose Alabama with our first selection. The football tradition speaks for itself, it's not a bad baseball program, and the school's immense resources mean that men's basketball has the potential to bloom into a power in this coming decade the way that Florida did in the late '90s. If they can keep Anthony Grant in Tuscaloosa, he could be Alabama's Billy Donovan in that way. The fan base, facilities, and revenue capabilities are A+ for Alabama as well.
The next schools on our wishlist were Florida State and LSU. Both are great football schools with great baseball programs and sporadically good basketball teams. LSU wins out on the fan base and other things like that, but FSU is in Florida. It's big for recruiting to tell kids that they can play games in their home state, and Florida is one of the top talent producing states. Our next pick was 10th overall, but LSU went sixth to Red Cup Rebellion and FSU went ninth to Big East Coast Bias. So much for that.
So, we ended up taking a school with a very similar profile to Alabama: Oklahoma. Much of what you can say about Alabama also applies to Oklahoma. OU has the bonus of effectively being the No. 1-A program for the state of Texas, which is big for recruiting.
We're taking a long-term view with the conference building exercise, and over the long haul, Alabama and Oklahoma have been football powers. They were big 50 years ago, and they probably will be big 50 years from now. They're dominant programs in states without much in the way of pro sports, ensuring that they'll always be the headlining sports teams. They have easy access to Florida, Georgia, and Texas, three of the top five best talent producing states in the country.
So where should we go from here? And what should we name this league of ours?
We've selected Nebraska with our third round pick after UCLA and Virginia Tech went 1-2 ahead of us. It's for pretty much the same reasons as our first two picks.