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Article updated: 11/21/2013 10:39 PM
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Conference craziness works back into football season
 

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Conference craziness works back into football season
 

Wouldn't you know it?

Here we were enjoying a fantastic football postseason when conference craziness again forced its way into our sporting lives.

The tug of war drones on between the DuPage Valley Conference and the Upstate Eight Conference and -- even with state football title berths on the line this weekend -- Eyes on Five can't help but look at what's on the horizon.

1. The lowdown:

At Monday's District 204 school board meeting, administrators from Metea Valley, Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley recommended that the board members allow the three schools to leave the Upstate Eight Conference for the DuPage Valley Conference.

A decision is expected in December and, assuming DVC approval, the move would be made at the start of the 2015 school year.

It's a move that's been talked about for years and now it's close to coming to fruition. The question is whether this is the final piece of the area's conference puzzle or is this a case of "be careful what you wish for?"

The answer may be a little of both.

2. The good news:

This solves many problems for both conferences, although the moves would cause the UEC to suffer tremendously in athletic stature.

The DVC would solidify its status as the state's premier athletic conference. The number of state trophies from a nine-team league featuring Glenbard North, Lake Park, Naperville Central, Naperville North, Wheaton North, Wheaton Warrenville South and the three District 204 schools would be staggering in the course of an entire school year.

Football-wise, it'd solve some scheduling problems for the DVC in football. With eight conference games there'd be a need for only one nonconference game -- a far cry from the four nonconference games the DVC's trying to pull together for next year.

For the UEC the loss of the three schools would hurt, but it'd also offer an opportunity for the remaining schools to boost their success levels.

In particular Glenbard East's football team stands to benefit greatly from this move. Without having to face perennial UEC powers Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley, the path is much clearer for the Rams to consistently make the playoffs.

For a program that hasn't made the postseason since its lone appearance in 1999, that'd be a huge deal.

3. The bad news:

The bad news is actually the same as the good news.

The DVC solidifying its status as the state's premier athletic conference is the nice way of referring to a football bloodbath. As tough as the gauntlet is now for DVC teams, it becomes exponentially tougher adding the District 204 schools.

It'll be worth keeping an eye on the growing enrollment gap between the Naperville-area schools and Glenbard North, Wheaton North and WW South. Adding the District 204 schools, especially Neuqua Valley, was not necessarily a slam dunk decision for the DVC because of the enrollment disparity.

Football-wise, there still will be major issues for the DVC trying to schedule that lone nonconference game. Because the DVC would be a league of nine, that means every week one team will have a bye.

Good luck to the schools having to find a nonconference game after Week 2. It won't be easy.

Same goes for the UEC, which would shrink from 16 schools next year to 13 schools in 2015. The odd number means a bye -- and a headache -- for someone. Of course the two leagues might be able to find a way to cross over with each other to ease the scheduling burden, but there'd be a lot of details to work out.

As for the UEC's changing landscape, Glenbard East's road trips become much longer starting next year when the Rams join the league. Losing the three District 204 schools means losing three of the closest UEC stadiums and gymnasiums to the Lombard campus.

If and when a replacement school is found to make the UEC even-numbered again, chances are it'll be a school from west of the Fox River.

4. The fallout:

There's a chance the District 204 schools moving to the DVC would be the final step in stabilizing area conferences, but it's a longshot.

The DVC and UEC both will seek to expand to an even number of schools. While all that is going on, surrounding conferences like the Mid-Suburban League are also talking about expansion.

Is it possible the MSL will target schools from the DVC or UEC? What about the rumored movement in the Fox Valley Conference and Big Northern? Would changes there trickle into the Upstate Eight?

By the time the District 204 schools ultimately join the DVC, a whole new wave of conference changes could be under way.

5. Stat time:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that more than 1,000 homes in Washington, Ill. were either completely destroyed or heavily damaged in the fierce tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest on Sunday. One resident of Washington, which has a population of about 15,000, died in the storms.

In the face of heartbreak and devastation, Washington's football team plays Sacred Heart Griffin this weekend in Springfield in the Class 5A semifinals.

The game will be broadcast live at 1 p.m. Saturday on Comcast Sports Net in an effort to raise money for the residents of Central Illinois affected by the storms. Viewers are encouraged to make donations to the Red Cross by calling (800) RED-CROSS or visiting redcross.org.

kschmit@dailyherald.com

Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit

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