A version of this column was first published in January 2001. Some names have been changed to protect the authors.
Congratulations to Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame. It is no surprise that they are four seeds in the finals of the university football tournament.
We will not use the initial Final Four caps as long as the powers are there to organize an acceptable and legitimate national championship. It’s been a long wait.
For this journalist, there is no real champion of great university football, and there will be none until all the teams with a real chance of winning are included in the process. All we have now is three games of invitational bowling disguised as playoffs. A best-of-seven between Alabama and Clemson might be more interesting.
It’s been over ten years since we needed such a look back, but ten reasons why college basketball is better than college football, as always:
1) If the PCP would organize varsity basketball, they would cancel the second weekend of the NCAA tournament and select the top four of the Sweet 16 teams to play in three games. And if the team she really wanted wasn’t one of the 16 options, she’d change the rules afterwards.
2) If bracketologists were to run university football, it would be a real roadblock with all the conference championships and a handful of top teams. The argument that the last team without braces will complain is pointless. The last team that doesn’t have an NCAA basketball heap yet also complains, but they don’t really have to complain about the championship. The lowest placed team to win the NCAA title was nr. 8 (Villanova, 1985); large teams include teams as low as no. 11 or no. 1. 12. That’s a huge margin of error.
3) If the CFP had organised university basketball, all the teams of a non-state conference would have been eliminated from the hunt for the national title this season. I’m sorry, Gonzaga. Bad luck, Houston and St. Louis. Louis. They’re just here to help us make money in the regular season.
4) If the bracketologists were involved in university football, the small balls would be reorganised to form the TIN of university football. The three- or four-week series ends with a high-level game that is not part of the main play-offs. If Coastal Carolina loses her conference game, she still has something to win.
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5) If the PCP offered varsity basketball, the best teams in the country would play their last regular season games in early March and then sit idle for a month or more waiting for playoff games for which they would be rusted and over-prepared. Imagine that the CCA tournament ends on the 4th. March 6 and the Final Four will take place on March 6. The month of April takes place without interlude. That’s a great idea.
6) If bracketologists played university football, student athletes in this sport would be allowed to participate in a major tournament, just like basketball players. Why is it that footballers in nonpandemic years cannot leave campus in December, while their basketball mates apparently can go anywhere and anytime? If the answer is that the football season is too long, stop playing in August and early September when the weather is ridiculously hot.
7) If the GVB played varsity basketball, winning the Conference Championship Games wouldn’t mean winning most of the time. Just as you’re not sitting at the cool kids’ table, you’re not going to win all your games in private. If you sit at a really cool children’s table, you can lose up to 80% of your games and still keep playing.
8) If bracketologists played university football, we would be subject to the same doubts, debates and predictions that make Basketball Selection Sunday one of the best days of the sport. Then we would organize a university tournament that would break all records for audience, attention, interest and sponsorship (not to mention the office jackpot!).
9) If the PFC would play varsity basketball, the odds of the PFC producing an acceptable 68-team field are zero or less. These guys meet every week for two months and can’t even form six or eight teams, let alone 68. Say what you want about the NCAA men’s basketball committee- and I did-but it could give the other members of the PCP a pretty good lesson in procedure and transparency.
10) If bracketologists played college football, you could read bracketing projections practically all year round!
In that spirit, I now officially give my attention to a sport that really knows how to define its annual champion. Only 82 days until the selection Sunday!