The hockey blog of the Mankato Free Press
Nobody else needs to join after/with Bemidji. Drop the # of mandatory league games from 28 down to 20. Every team travels to half of the other teams rinks each year and gets the other half at home.The additional 8 non-conference games would strengthen the WCHA's position in RPI/PWR and more WCHA teams will make the tourney each year (of course, the WCHA teams will need to WIN those nonconf games).The current number of comparisons the WCHA has is HURTING the league come tourney time.
20 league games? No thanks. I'd rather watch the Mavericks get bounced from the NCAA tournament because they lost to North Dakota and Minnesota four times each instead of watching more trash teams like UConn and RPI every year.
I think 16 nonconference games would be a nightmare for ADs and coaches to schedule every year. Also, MSU would have trouble getting good competition, too, I think. I don't think you'd see a lot of BCs, BUs and Michigans running to schedule what they would deem to be a dangerous WCHA team that could hurt their own PWR. Finally, the the WCHA comparisons usually help the league teams. Remember the year six teams got in? Remember Wisconsin last year? This year might be the exception.
Remember when all that stood between the WCHA and having SEVEN teams in the tournament last year was the Denver screw job? Thanks Randy Schmidt.
But if MSU-M has the great rivalries with UofM and UND that it claims there is nothing preventing non-conference matchups with those teams. Surely they'll still be happy to play you guys ... you could even schedule those games at the X and make a ton of money.The "State of Hockey" would be able to reconstitute the DQ cup and determine a real champion of Minnesota every year.Admittedly Mankato might have a harder time finding good opponents than say UofM or Wisconsin or UAA ... but the alternative sucks. The current unbalanced schedule is a freaking joke. Don't want to play UConn? Don't schedule them ... it's that simple. And why bash RPI? They're generally just as competitive in the NCAA as the insipid Mavericks. Increasing the number of comparisons can only help the WCHA. Remaining insular is the height of chicken-shit provincialism. In years of more parity in the WCHA fewer teams get into the NCAA's ... beating up on each other doesn't help. It hurts.I can't think of anything better than NOT playing Mankato four times a year. What a boring 4 game series that is. But hey ... Lucia says we're "rivals" right? And nobody in Mankato really is excited when UAA comes to town are they?A nightmare for AD's and Coaches? LOL. They get paid year round ... nothing wrong with making them work a little bit during the offseason.I know that BC, BU, Northeastern, Maine, and/or any of the other regular top eastern teams will happily schedule games against UAA due to the exemption that every school gets for coming here to play. Mankato doesn't have that advantage but as I said ... proximity to UofM and the existing rivalries with them and UND, UMD, St. Cloud and Bemidji ensures an ability to fill in the extra 14 (not 16) regular season games.I guess it's more than most fans of the "WCHA Collective" want. Whatever comrade.
I think Shane is right. Sixteen non-conference games would be a nightmare for a school like MSU, especially if BSU and UNO were in the WCHA. You'd probably end up seeing teams schedule league opponents for non-conference games.
Chris:Plenty of NCAA schools play non-conference games against conference opponents so it wouldn't be something new.The 28 game WCHA schedule has always been burdensome in my opinion. Only 6 non-conference games is a pain. The unbalanced schedule is a joke. 12 teams makes it even worse when you have 28 league games. 22 league games would be fine with 12 teams or 20 with 11 teams.Wouldn't MSU enjoy going to Florida for a tourney? Or even get an exemption in a year that they don't travel to Anchorage by attending the UAF tourney? Or even travel east to some AHA tourney and clean up on cupcakes? I'll admit here that I think lesser league games would be HUGE for UAA because they can leverage the exemption and play more home games. Teams might not be thrilled with the travel to Anchorage but they sure as hell are more than willing to make the trip so they can get the extra home games that come with the exemption like MSU-M gets every year now.It is precisely that exemption that allowed MSU-M to clean up with a home game at the X. It's all about money from WCHA AD's perspective right? Dropping the # of league games should help schools make more money. Hell, MSU-M could host a tourament at the X ... imagine the cash that would bring in.
Teams play 36 games. WCHA teams have eight nonconference games (this year MSU played Bemidji, Omaha and Bowling Green twice each as well as Princeton and Yale). Just from covering sports for several years, I know that teams really don't like playing nonconference games against conference opponents. Fans want to see variety, too. The unbalanced schedule isn't ideal, but it's sure better than it was a few years ago when it was random and not on a rotation. As for nightmare for ADs and coaches trying to schedule games, remember, under your idea, there would be 11 schools each trying to schedule 16 nonconference games throughout a season. That's a lot of games.
34 games is the current NCAA schedule limit for regular season. Teams that play 36 games get to do so as a result of playing games that the NCAA deems exempt -- i.e... because they played in Alaska or Hawaii.Schools in Alaska and Hawaii NEVER get to play more than 34 games.
If Hawaii had hockey ... which of course they dont.
I stand corrected. Still, if a team is going to Alaska in a particular year, it would have to find 16 games.
It isn't nearly as difficult as you make it sound. It's 7 or 8 weekends ... using MSU-M as an example.A home and home with UofM ...Co-host a tourney at Xcel with SCSU and invite Cornell and UMass ...Go to RMU for a 2 game series ...Host MTU for a non-conference seriesGo to Michigan StateHost Providence (with an agreement to go to their rink the next season) ...Go to UAH ..Home and Home with UNDViola ... Win the majority of those and your RPI would be pretty damn good in a normal year. I'd think a coach with a decent understanding of how to use a phone (can Jutting press buttons?) could hook up all that with a couple of weeks of work in May/June.
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