For the record, we haven’t forgotten about SB Nation’s Conference Re-Draft Project, and we hope you haven’t, either. As each newly-constituted league expands, the number of bloggers involved in the discussion increases, leading to longer lag times between picks. Nevertheless, the tenth round has been concluded, and the eleventh round has begun, so it is time to announce the newest members of the 12 Pack:
The league, which already was home to the Boston College Eagles, Clemson Tigers, Duke Blue Devils, Georgia Bulldogs, Texas Longhorns, UCLA Bruins, Virginia Cavaliers, Washington Huskies, and Wisconsin Badgers, was beginning to lean a tad too heavily toward the right-hand side of the continent and the back half of the alphabet, but these concerns were addressed with the 12 Pack’s latest additions, the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Purdue Boilermakers.
The trend toward selecting large universities with quality academics near significant television markets continued with the University of Minnesota, and Purdue University brings to the table basketball and football programs that have improved considerably in the last 20 years, situated at an institution that is tied with the University of Georgia in the national academic rankings. In addition, Ross-Ade Stadium was the largest on-campus stadium available at the start of the eleventh round, and the Gophers have solid revenues and quality hockey to complement the 12 Pack institutions that do not share our devotion to college baseball. To each his own, but the league continues to be an eclectic conference offering strong programs in a variety of sports.
From a Georgia fan’s perspective, there is a lot to like about the 12 Pack’s most recent drat picks. For one thing, the Bulldogs have not lost a football game to a Big Ten team since 1957, so the more Midwestern teams, the merrier! Folks in the Peach State would not find it difficult to develop a seething contempt for the Gophers, who once were coached by Glen Mason and who play in the city that is home to the team whose home field beat the Atlanta Braves in the 1991 World Series, and it wouldn’t be the first time the Hoop Hounds went up against former Georgia coach Tubby Smith in a conference game.
Likewise, local sports aficionados would have no trouble learning to dislike the alma mater of Drew Brees, who now serves as the quarterback for a longstanding rival of the Atlanta Falcons, and the Georgia faithful would welcome a renewal of the football series with Purdue, which invariably features an early surge by one team, a comeback by the other to tie it up by the end of regulation, and a Bulldog win in overtime. Also, on March 16, 1996, Georgia beat Purdue in the NCAA Tournament, marking the last Red and Black win in the Big Dance that still counts in the record book.
The 12 Pack now stands at eleven teams, with the final pick of the twelfth round left to go. Where do you think the conference should go with its final draft choice?