Skip to main content

NCAA Football Conference ReAlignment Trial Update

So realignment of conferences and divisions have been quite a challenge for NCAA Football series on PS2 and PSP. I've discovered a lot of things in the process though! First off, you can move teams around from one conference and division to another by editing the TEAM database, and rename and redo conference structure in the CONF and DIVI databases. It's rather simple really once you have a plan in place.

When I first tried to do this, I was going all-out trying to get it to modern day standards. That meant super conferences with 14 teams. And I got it working in the game and it simmed and it played. But it was missing a very very important aspect to it and that was scheduling. For whatever reason, the game does not look at the team database or conference structure within the dynasty save - it looks at some database on the disc that is probably the first database in League.Dat which I can pull out, but failed to update because it seems to be very partially compressed. Hex editing it crashes the game.

So while having a schedule that wasn't balanced isn't the end of the world, it does screw up league standings since the conference rankings are based on conference game record not overall. So I set out for the past week trying to piece together how I can locate and mod whatever is used to schedule but failed. I discovered in the process though a Team Swap table, which is used to swap teams from Div 1AA and Div 1A when you start a new game. This was the function intended, but you can actually use it to swap any team from any division and it pulls along it's scheduling algorithm too!

So I tried to do a trick of using the 8-team conferences in Div 1AA and swapping with 7 team subdivisions of the major conferences thinking this was the genious idea! And to me it was, but unfortunately the game doesn't schedule Div 1AA teams! Blasphemy! So I had a lot of teams with 3 or so schedule games per season... sigh.

So I've given up on the idea (for now) of getting the realignment to today's standards... and its not so bad because I really dislike how it's done in NCAA now anyway. I mean, Idaho and New Mexico State were playing teams in the south last year! what the heck?

I decided to do some hybrid of the past and the present with my new realignment shown in the cover photo of this post. I think it's well balanced in that the Power-5 conferences are all now at 12 teams and have a championship week matchup (currently Big 12 does not have one any more and in the game - the Pac 10 and Big Ten don't have one). It also realigns the WAC and Mountain West slightly to match something similar to today but moving some teams back from where they are now to it. The Big 12 grabs back some teams that left while keeping current teams that moved in recently like West Virginia and TCU. The ACC stands it has been for a while. The Big East is renamed the American Athletics Conference. The SunBelt/American/Conference USA are now more geographical based. The MAC lost Buffalo but that made sense and I needed to have an 11 team division since the Big 10 was 11 previously, and this worked out since now the MAC is centric around Ohio and Michigan. The SEC remains unchanged. And finally, Notre Dame remains independent while I moved the military colleges out to be Independent like they used to be.

Currently, my trial is looking successful in that it is aligned and runs. I have the task now of using the Swap table to mix and match my way to get a proper schedule system working. Yay.