There should be a conference for the SUNY schools, right? What’s that you say, most of the SUNY schools don’t play football? Ha! We can cure that with one wave of our football magic fairy wand. What’s that, fairies aren't tough enough for football? Hey bub, fairies are plenty tough. Watch “True Blood”. Anyhow, welcome to the Northland Conference. This is where Cortland now resides, along with Buff St and Brockport and Morrisville. You'll recognize them. There are also eight additional schools with freshly-minted expansion programs. There’s your Northland Conference, fairies.
The NCAA Commonwealth Coast, spawned from the old NEFC, is a textbook example of conference disconuity. There has been more turnover in this league than one can shake two sticks at. Go ahead, try, your arms will get tired. There has also been a pronounced overlap with the MASCAC (see above). We've rectified that by initiating a Little East and a Commonwealth Coast (CCC) in Ideal. There are plenty of schools, no need to get greedy. The Commonwealth is comprised of five current members: Curry, Endicott, Salve Regina, Nichols and Becker. Coast Guard and Anna Maria have been brought back. Both Maritime schools have been added, as well as Norwich, Husson and Mount Ida. Now this is a Commonwealth Coast Conference worth writing books about.
Speaking of concoctions, we’ve got a strange brew in the Upper Midwest. Originally an NAIA league, the UMAC transitioned to the NCAA in 2008. Of the current 10 football-playing institutions in the NCAA UMAC, five are full members and five are associate members for football only. We’ve done a little something different in ICFB’s Upper Midwest; we’ve walked a slightly different path. St Scholastica, Martin Luther and Crown are still here, although Northwestern College MN has been shifted out to the Northern Lakes. We’ve imported Maranatha Baptist, Trinity Bible, Waldorf and Presentation (some of which are former full/associate members), giving the conference an NCAA/NAIA hybrid feel. We’ve resuscitated the entire universities of Westmar and Mount Senario just so they can play football again. And we’re resurrecting Pillsbury Baptist, too, just so they can play football for the first time. Finally – last but certainly not least – we’ve given a team to Mount Marty, because all Lancers should play tackle football. Note: bringing three entire schools back from the abyss took a lot of energy. Donations of Power Bars will be graciously accepted. Be in touch and I'll get you our mailing address.
The New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) you see before you is not the current NCAA D-III conference of the same name. Ideal's is fashioned from the NCAA D-II NECC of the 1980’s-90’s, even though that league, admittedly, never sponsored football. This is one of those conferences that lodged in me brain all these years, and when there was an opportunity to resurrect it, I jumped at that opportunity. That’s what we do at Ideal, we jump at opportunities. And free food; we love free food. Those of you who remember this conference will recognize Bridgeport, Franklin Pierce, NE Massachusetts (Lowell), NH College (SNHU) and NH State (Keene) as former members. Some of these schools have been renamed, or re-renamed, as the case may be. Granted, only one of these schools (NE Mass) ever played football, but that doesn't matter 'round here. Let’s keep going. Western Connecticut and SE Massachusetts have been imported from the MASCAC, while Western New England was brought in from the Commonwealth. The final four schools (Colby-Sawyer, Eastern Connecticut, CT College and RI College) are also tasting football for the first time. We think they’re going to like it. Programming Note: there could be a switcheroo between a member of the NECC and a member of the NE-12 for Season 2. A case of Cracker Jacks to the person who correctly identifies both schools.
IDEAL COLLEGE FOOTBALL
The Mountain South (MSC) is similar to the MVAC, in that they're both comprised primarily of NCAA D-III schools, and they came together intuitively. The campuses of the Mountain South are all in Virginia, the Carolinas and eastern Tennessee. Three of them (Knoxville, Allen and TN Wesleyan) are having their football programs brought back from the dead, which still sounds creepy...but exciting. Sort of a zombie apocalypse of college football. A fourth, Virginia Wesleyan, is going to experience the gridiron for the very first time. The big story, however, is Christopher Newport’s inclusion in the Mountain South. This really is a no-brainer. Why would a school located in Newport News VA play in the New Jersey conference? The MSC is where the Captains belong. One minor programming note, which doubles as a shameless plug: Shenandoah will be swapping places with Guilford for Season 2, making both Tidewater and Mountain South even more congruent. We will always strive to make everything in Ideal more congruent. It's the core mission. It's what makes Ideal ideal.
The NCAA MASCAC is the doppelganger for the Little East. Which is to say, the NCAA Little East plays all sports except football. That’s not right. Ideal is bringing football to the Little East, with a retinue of schools you'll instantly recognize: Bridgewater, Plymouth, Framingham, Fitchburg, Worcester and Westfield. Worcester Tech has been added for obvious conference continuity. Boston St has been resuscitated, and new programs have been ushered in at Salem and North Adams. Combination Programming Note and Shameless Plug: two additional schools will be welcomed to the Little East for Season 2. Oooh, could these be our 3rd & 4th mystery guests?!
Washington Univ MO
Granted, the Skyline Conference in Ideal and the Skyline Conference in the NCAA are nothing alike…except for the fact that they’re both based in the NY metro area. ICFB Skyline is essentially the NJAC, although in reality only half the schools in the NJAC are located in New Jersey. How many times must we say this…look at a map. Somebody grab me a soapbox, 'cause here we go: if you're going to call yourself the New Jersey AC, then be sure your members are from Jersey, and Jersey only. This is one reason I don't like conferences named after states. What are schools from MD, DE, PA & VA doing in the NJAC? OK, so here’s the deal with Ideal’s Skyline: Rowan, Montclair, Trenton (TCNJ), Paterson and Kean are here and suited up. We’ve added FDU-Florham as Madison, the town where the campus is located (adjacent to Florham Park). The defunct programs of Jersey City, Ramapo and Upsala have been exhumed from the grave. Finally, Stockton and Drew have been given expansion football programs to do with what they like. Skyline seems appropriate for a conference in the sightlines of NYC. And every school is in New Jersey, so there is that consistency that the NCAA version lacks.
Jersey City State
Madison (FDU Florham)
Trenton State (TCNJ)
The schools that comprise the Mississippi Valley (MVAC) are spread over several different conferences and classifications within the NCAA/NAIA. Nonetheless, this is a league whose time has come. Sometimes you feel a conference coming together intuitively, and only after putting it together do you look at the constituent members en masse to assure it makes sense. That’s kinda how the MVAC came together. This process was altered by the fact that a few of these schools only started playing football recently, so there was some juggling. The final product encompasses campuses from Arkansas and Louisiana in the west to Georgia in the east, all contiguous. All play NCAA or NAIA football. It just works, which is what Ideal College Sports are all about. Seemingly disparate parts coming together in perfect harmony.
Boston State (UMass-Boston)
North Adams State
North Carolina Wesleyan
New England Collegiate
Eastern Connecticut State
New Hampshire College
New Hampshire State (Keene St)
Northeastern Massachusetts (UMass-Lowell)
Rhode Island College
Southeastern Massachusetts (UM-Dartmouth)
Western Connecticut State
Western New England
New Paltz State
Grab the hot cocoa and settle into A Tale of Two Conferences. Our first protagonist, the UAA, has had a stable membership since its formation in 1986. However, only five current members play football, and all appear to be associate members of other conferences (dual memberships). Three of these universities are in other ICFB conferences (Case Western and Carnegie Mellon in the Allegheny, Rochester in the Adirondack). Our second protagonist, the SLIAC, has dealt with more of a shifting slate of schools, including many non-football schools. In fact, the SLIAC has twice sponsored football and both times discontinued it. So, what we a’gonna do is – more or less – merge these two conferences. Don’t worry, I’m an ex-bartender, I'm an expert on swilling things. But kids…don’t try this at home. The result of this mixology is a little creation I like to call Big River. You’ve got Wash U and Chicago from the UAA. You’ve got the football-playing schools from the SLIAC (now UMAC – it’s complicated) in Eureka, Greenville, MacMurray and Westminster; plus former football schools Blackburn and Principia. Rockford has been invited in, and has enthusiastically accepted. To cap off our little concoction, we’ve introduced football programs at Drury, Fontbonne and Webster. This new league now stretches from Chicago/Rockford in northern Illinois, down through St Louis and on into Springfield MO. Spanning the mighty Mississippi. Just thought I’d explain that.
Copyright © Steven Sugarman