Arizona Valley (AZChr)
St Mary's CA
The East Coast Conference actually was a thing. And it actually was a thing into the 90’s, although – as with many smaller conferences – it was caught in the undertow of the major college’s expansion/realignment efforts. Fast forward to now (because it’s really difficult fast-forwarding to any other time … although you're welcome to try, quantum physics is a slippery slope that we're still wrapping our heads around). As for ECC membership, we’ll start with the undeniable conviction that the six mid-major Virginia schools represented here need to be together always, regardless of sport. They are brethren. We’re talking ODU, VCU, JMU, GMU, Richmond and William & Mary. Always together. So that is the heart of the ECC. The Pennsylvania contingent (Lehigh, Lafayette, Bucknell), similarly, ought to always be grouped together. Then you’ve got Drexel, Towson and AU to fill in the creamy Philly/Baltimore/DC center. The ECC thus assumes the mandate of both the Colonial Athletic and the Patriot League, neither of which are a thing in Ideal. You’ll notice that Ram football is now a thing, as is Patriot football, as is Eagle football and Dragon football. About time, right?
College of Charleston
Central Connecticut State
Long Island Univ
Mount St Mary's MD
Robert Morris PA
St Francis NY
St Francis PA
The Atlantic-10 is better known – almost exclusively known – as a basketball league, even though football was a sponsored sport for a decade. Glancing at our A-10, you might think “hmm, it looks kinda like the A-10, but also kinda like the Big East – what gives, ICFB dude?” And that is the crux of the matter. You see, apart from all other major conferences, the Big East looks vastly different for basketball than it does for football. This is because some Big East schools are big-time football as well as big-time basketball, and others are more small-time football. No knock there, it is what it is. Consequently, ICFB’s A-10 includes five of those “others” (ie big-time basketball, yet small-time football), namely: Villanova, Georgetown, St John’s (resuscitated), Seton Hall (new program) and Providence (new program). Seton Hall and Providence playing football? You betcha. Add to this five teams who are more traditional A-10: Temple, Duquesne, St Joe’s (new program), St Bonaventure (new program) and GW (new program). The more I look at this conference on paper, the more I think “yes, this should happen, and this is what Ideal is all about”. Temple and Nova in the same conference, vying for city and conference bragging rights? Yes please.
ICFB’s Northeast Conference is quite close to its NCAA analog. Eight current members and two former members (Marist, Monmouth) are present and accounted for. Of the current NCAA members, it should be noted that only four of them play football (Wagner, CCSU, Robert Morris and St Francis PA). LIU, MSM and St Francis NY are being awarded new programs, while FDU is being resuscitated (which is far better than being regurgitated). The two new NEC additions are UDC and Brooklyn, both back from the dead. In the case of Brooklyn, the entire athletic department is back from the dead [shiver].
With shifting membership and a weird tie-in with another conference, it is difficult to grasp the membership of the Big South from year to year. That is going to change in Ideal. Six of the current 10 NCAA Big South schools are members here: Campbell, CSU, Liberty, Asheville, Radford and Winthrop, even though the Camels are aligned elsewhere for NCAA football and the latter three are ICFB expansion programs. Davidson, Coastal and VMI are being returned to the ICFB Big South, while Mercer and Stetson are being added, extending the conference further south. Finally, we are awarding a team to the College of Charleston. So, a reunification of sorts for Big South schools, along with some new blood and four new programs. The Big South will not be a heavyweight (at least not initially), but there will be many budding rivalries.
St John's NY
St Joseph's PA
If there were an award for Most Schools Who Killed Their Football Programs, it would go to the Metro Atlantic. Hands down. Holy Cross is the only MAAC member who currently does play NCAA football, while a full seven MAAC schools have dropped football since the 80’s: Canisius, Fairfield, Hofstra, Iona, LaSalle, Siena and St Peter’s. Needless to say, we have exhumed them all. In Ideal, once something is alive, it's always alive. In addition, we have bestowed intercollegiate football to the campuses of Loyola, Manhattan, Niagara and Rider. While the MAAC is known as a strong mid-major basketball league, we now embark upon the journey of MAAC football. And the nation shall rejoice.
Like the MEAC, the SWAC is a traditional HBCU conference, although much older (organized in 1920). The SWAC has also experienced more of a flux in its membership over the decades. ICFB’s SWAC is identical to the NCAA’s version, though augmented with two additions. As mentioned above, due to the fact that the MEAC is loaded up with 12 schools, Savannah St has been moved into the SWAC. In addition, Kennesaw St’s young football program will compete here. Geographically, both of these moves hold water, extending the SWAC’s reach east one state to Georgia.
Mississippi Valley State
Prairie View A&M
Nearly everyone who follows college basketball is aware of the West Coast Conference, especially as its most prominent member, Gonzaga, just won the NCAA Division I Championship. What’s that…they didn’t? Crap. Anyhow, would the WCC work in football? Say it with me: “Of course it would”. The only WCC school that currently plays football is USD. So, we’re resuscitating the football programs at St Mary’s (recent), Santa Clara (recent), Gonzaga (remote) and Portland (remote). We're bringing fledgling programs to Pepperdine, LMU, USF, Seattle, Denver and Utah Valley. The final member is Arizona Valley (AZ Christian), moving up from the NAIA level due to geographical constraints elsewhere. Finally, as there are now a few schools that are not exactly “coastal”, we are going to rename this league the Western Conference. Fun trivia factoid: one of the early names for the Big 10 was the Western Conference, in the last years of the 19th century. Takeaway: the Big 10 is really old. Expectation: this incarnation of the Western Conference will become a major deal. Query: how in blazes are Seattle, Denver and Utah Valley not in the WCC in real life??
William & Mary
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Eastern Shore (UMES)
North Carolina A&T
North Carolina Central
South Carolina State
IDEAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Does anyone remember the Midwestern Collegiate Conference? Show of hands. Seriously, no one? Shame on you. The MCC was a fantastic concept, though never reached full maturity due to ubiquitous membership juggling. It was also never really set up for football, as many members didn’t play the sport. It was primarily a basketball/baseball/other conference that eventually morphed into the Horizon League in 2001. I got to thinking (which usually only happens accidentally or when there's a lightning storm), “Could the MCC work for football?” If you've read this far, you know the answer. Nothing stays buried at Ideal. Now, the MCC only works if we award football programs to schools who are known as mainstays in other sports. What would Marquette football look like? DePaul? Loyola? So, Ideal College Football presents the inaugural football Midwestern Collegiate Conference: established programs at Dayton, Butler and Valpo. Brand new programs at Marquette, DePaul, Loyola, Xavier, St Louis, Milwaukee, Detroit Mercy, Cleveland St and Chicago St. You’re welcome. By the way, look for a slightly-altered version of the MCC in Ideal College Basketball that will contain Notre Dame. Consider yourself warned.
The MEAC is a traditional HBCU conference that has existed in relatively stable orbit since its inception in 1970. The schools that left have all returned. That's nice to see. ICFB’s MEAC will reflect this stability. However, we are welcoming two new programs into the MEAC’s football ranks. Eastern Shore played football until 1980, and had some very good teams. Hawk football is back. Coppin St is also gearing up with an expansion program. With the inclusion of these two added to the existing milieu, the MEAC is tapped out at 12 schools. Thus, Savannah St is moving to the SWAC (see below).
Copyright © Steven Sugarman