I thought about putting this information in my previous post about JWU and the SCAC, but there is a lot here. To start off with, the SCAC is awesome. I don’t say that because Southwestern is in the SCAC but because they’ve always been so accommodating to my requests and usually give me more than I ask. In this case, the SCAC has sent me the outline for their 2018 conference matches now that they are going to 9 teams. Here are the highlights:
- The three Pods have been established for the upcoming year:
- Pod A: Trinity, TLU and Schreiner
- Pod B: Southwestern, Austin College and Centenary
- Pod C: Colorado College, JWU and Dallas
- The team placed in the “Colorado” Pod will rotate each year. The SCAC Tournament host will be the team rotated into the pod. This year, the SCAC Tournament will be held at Dallas so they get the short Colorado straw.
- Note – This works until either JWU or Colorado College host the SCAC Tournament. By my count, Colorado College is due to host in 2020.
- In my previous post, I mentioned that the conference schedule would now stretch to 6 weekends (currently it’s at 4 weekends). The SCAC has devised a way to get the schedule done in 5 weekends.
- In a nutshell, they have eliminated one of the two “divisional” (inter-pod) weekends by moving those matches to a crossover or allowing the schools to play midweek.
- The weekends where there is Pod play (Divisional), the SCAC will bring in a non-conference opponent to play the other three SCAC teams (if possible). This also gives the SCAC teams three opponents on the weekend.
- The SCAC Championship Tournament will now stretch 3-days with the final being played on Sunday.
The SCAC listed some benefits to this new approach, which included:
- Every school gets to host either a crossover or a divisional.
- No back to back matches (or extra time given if required). Note – This has been a bugaboo for the SCAC for as long as I can remember, but I did (not so) secretly love it when Colorado College had to play Trinity and Southwestern back-to-back.
- A plan for the schools that only have one volleyball court (Dallas and JWU) to host. Note – In the four years my daughter played at Southwestern, the team never played at Dallas (the school closest to my home…no I’m not bitter).
Looking at the schedule outline, it’s impressive the level of detail that went into the planning. Some matches are already not scheduled during a divisional or crossover, which means they will be a midweek match. Although midweek matches are common in the West Region, they have not been done in the SCAC in the past 5-years (at least). These matches include: Colorado vs. JWU, Trinity vs. Schreiner and Trinity vs. TLU. A number of other divisional matches are scheduled during a crossover but the schools have the option of playing them midweek instead if the schools can agree on the host site.
About the only other thing of interest is that the divisionals will be hosted by TLU, Austin College and JWU. Every other team will host a crossover and, as mentioned above, Dallas will also host the SCAC Championship Tournament.
As for my take…I’m glad the conference schedule will be limited to 5 weekends. Although the SCAC traditionally has three nationally ranked teams, the rest of the schools can be hit or miss. This can lead to a lower Strength of Schedule (SOS) unless the teams augment their schedule with tougher out-of-conference matches. With JWU coming into the conference (after losing most of their players), SOS will be even more of a concern to those teams with NCAA Tournament hopes. The team that hosts the SCAC Tournament will make two trips to Colorado a season, which is definitely a bit of a hardship. Colorado College gets a boost as some years they don’t host anything and now there will be two weekends where they host or can drive to the site. Overall, I’m happy the SCAC is growing, and I can grudgingly admit to be a little pleased that Colorado College gets a bit of a bone thrown their way as they consistently lead the nation in travel*.
* I actually have no clue if Colorado College leads the nation in travel, but it sounded really cool and it could be correct.