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NCAA Football 12 “Custom Conferences” Detailed

LC June 3, 2011 0

EA released a new blog stating what all you can do in the revamped Custom Conferences this year. You can change around the conferences between seasons, as well.

“Hey Everyone, Ben Haumiller here to give you the details on the new Custom Conferences feature in NCAA Football 12.

This is without a doubt one of the deepest features added to the game in years. With conference membership movements, conference rule changes, and editing BCS bowl tie-ins the combinations you can make in your Dynasty are almost endless. Plus, you can make updates in future years of the Dynasty, which not only allows you to make updates based on changes in the real world, but also allows you to make whatever changes you prefer to see in your Dynasty.

There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s get to it:

Conference Realignment

The hot topic of the last off-season was conference realignment and the possibility of 16 team super conferences seemed very, very real. As a college football fan it was fascinating to watch these stories develop. Rumors of major shifts in the college landscape seemed to happen almost hourly at times and trying to keep up with the news left your head spinning with possibilities of how these new conferences might play out on the field.

Custom Conferences


Great Plains/Great Lakes anyone?

Not only were the rumors rampant, but they also felt like they were never ending. Just when it appeared as though the dust had settled on schools moving conferences TCU jumped to the Big East and the Mountain West set their eyes on a few schools from the WAC. Even as I type this there are still talks of the Big East looking to expand.

It’s because of this that we wanted to give you the flexibility to expand/contract conferences to be able to adapt to the changes in the real world. Even though we are not able to go higher than 120 schools in this year’s game, we allow the ability to take a conference below the required eight schools so that you can move Fresno State, Nevada, and Hawaii out of the WAC even though that drops the WAC down to five schools.

There are three ways you can edit conference membership. Just like last year you can import a TeamBuilder school to replace an existing school and swap schools between divisions or conferences (i.e. you can swap Florida State and Virginia Tech so that FSU is in the Coastal and VT is in the Atlantic). Now for the first time ever you can move a school from one conference to another without having to replace that school in the conference.

You can go to a max of 16 schools in a conference, and as mentioned above, drop down to as few as four schools in a conference. The exception to this is Independents. You will be able to grow Independents to as many as 32 schools and as few as one school, which can really shake up the college football world.

For divisions in a conference 12 is the magic number. Drop a conference below 12 members and the divisions disappear; go to 12 schools or more and you will see schools split into two even divisions. Once the divisions are set, you can swap schools within the conference to get them aligned just the way you want.

One final note on conference realignment: the movement of schools is all up to you now (or your commissioner in an Online Dynasty). Since the old conference invite/demote logic had a lot of issues and only involved human controlled teams, we decided to give you the power to adjust conference membership, rules, and BCS tie-ins during future years of the Dynasty so that you can make the moves that you see fit.

Conference Rules

Once you have the schools where you want them, the next step is to adjust the rules for each conference. The rules are set based on what the conferences do in real life by default, but here you get a chance to change things how you see fit:

Schedule type – if you have 12 schools or more you will have the option to choose what type of schedule you want: one with protected rivals or one without. Protected rivals on means you will have one anchored opponent in the other division of your conference that you play every year while the remaining cross divisional schools will rotate on/off the schedule after a home/home series. College football wouldn’t be the same if Ohio State didn’t play Michigan every year, so if you keep them in separate divisions, make sure they are set as protected rivals.

The number of conference games depends on the schedule type you select and the number of schools. By default all conferences use the correct schedule type, but we needed to account for how conference schedules would work for conferences with less than eight schools or more than 13. Here’s a quick breakdown of how many conference games will be played for each schedule type:

4-8 schools – 7 conference games. There are no protected rivals since everyone plays everyone else. For conferences of 4-6 schools FCS opponents will play the part of your additional conference games

9 schools – 8 conference games. There are no protected rivals since everyone plays everyone else.

10 schools – 9 conference games. There are no protected rivals since everyone plays everyone else.

11 schools – 8 conference games with a rotation of other conference members.

12 schools – 8 conference games when using protected rivals. 9 conference games when not using protected rivals. (Note: C-USA will use their 8 conference game, no protected rival format by default)

13 schools – 8 conference games. Protected Rivals are not available in conferences with odd numbered schools.

14 schools – 8 conference games when using protected rivals. 9 conference games when not using protected rivals.

15 schools – 10 conference games. Depending on the rotation you will have 6-7 division games in a year with 3-4 rotating cross divisional games (based on the MAC’s 13 school schedule rotation)

16 schools – 9 conference games. With protected rivals you will have 7 division games, 1 protected rival, and 1 rotating cross division opponent. Without protected rivals you will have 7 division games and 2 rotating cross division games.

Night Games in November – in an attempt to get every possible detail of a conference correct we added this setting. The Big Ten is currently the only school that abides by this rule, but if night games in snowy conditions are your thing go ahead and turn this off…the player’s won’t mind.

Weekday Games – some conferences only play on Saturday, while others seem to take the field any time someone says they will show up with a TV camera.

Start Conference Games – Are you a fan of getting the non-conference games out of the way at the start of the season? Make sure you set this so that the conference games start later in the season.

Location for Championship Game – once you have 12 or more schools you will determine your conference champion with a championship game. Here you will be able to set where that game is played. You can select any stadium in the game, any bowl game, any school’s home stadium, even the high school stadium and practice fields. If you aren’t into the neutral site thing, go ahead and set it so that the school with the best conference record hosts the game (like the PAC-12 and Conference USA do).

Division Names – When you go from 11 to 12 schools the default names are Div A and Div B. It’s up to you to change that to whatever you want. You can also edit existing division names too if that’s your thing.

Protected Rivalries – here you can set up each protected rival matchup. In the Great Lakes/Great Plains example above, you can make sure the Battle for the Land Grant Trophy carries on every year by setting Penn State and Michigan State as protected rivals.

Schedule Logic

Now seems as good a time as any to talk about some of the new schedule logic that was added to make sure that certain games were scheduled on certain dates even if you changed conference sizes and moved rivals into different divisions.

College football is a sport overflowing with tradition, and there’s not shortcoming of traditions when it comes to the schedule. From the Third Saturday in October to Thanksgiving weekend you can set your watch to certain games kicking off on the same week every year. Protecting those traditions were very important when determining how schedules would be created when conferences changed membership and attempting to keep those rivalry games alive and scheduled on the correct date even when the schools have been moved to different conferences were also greatly considered when determining the new schedule logic.

If you take the Big Ten from 12 to 16 schools, Ohio State and Michigan should always play in the final week of the regular season. We’ve also been able to clear up an issue you might have seen in the past where an extra week was added to the end of the schedule allowing a non-conference game to be scheduled after Ohio State/Michigan week. I’m very excited to finally put that problem to rest.

Non-conference games are the last games to get filled when the schedules are created. If Auburn goes the Independent route but Alabama stays in the SEC, the game will still try and schedule the Iron Bowl for the last week of the season. If it can’t get scheduled that week it will try to find another week to schedule the game. This should help keep some semblance of normalcy to your schedules even though you made a ton of changes to conference memberships.

BCS Tie-ins

Now that you’ve got your conferences aligned and your rules set, it’s time to edit the BCS bowl tie-ins. For me, there’s nothing better than tailgating on Bourbon Street before heading into the Sugar Bowl, so I’m going to move the ACC Championship Game from Miami to the Big Easy. While we’re at it, let’s pair up the Big 12 and the Mountain West in the Fiesta Bowl, and have the Big East champ take on the Conference USA champ down in the Orange Bowl.

Custom Conferences

Here you have the ability to add/remove any BCS Bowl tie-in, which will determine how those BCS bowl slots get filed every year. You can fill all of the slots like I’ve done above, remove all tie-ins so that the BCS standings determine not only who plays in the BCS Championship Game but also who plays in each of the additional BCS games.

You can set a conference to be tied to a specific bowl, or you can set it so that the champion of a conference is guaranteed a spot in one of the BCS bowls, but not tied to a specific one (think Big East currently).

When you edit a conference’s bowl tie-ins it moves all other bowl game tie-ins up/down by one based on the change made. For example, if you remove the SEC BCS tie-in the SEC champ (if they don’t qualify for an at large BCS berth) will go to the Capital One Bowl, the #2 SEC school will go to the Outback Bowl, #3 to the Gator Bowl, and so on.

Well that about wraps up Custom Conferences. July 12th is fast approaching…time to start thinking about how you are going to lay out your conferences in NCAA Football 12. We’ve got more announcements still to come. Stay Tuned.”

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