My opinion is as we get older, we should get smarter. As life experiences accumulate, we should get wiser.
If you told me just two years ago I’d be posting random thoughts challenging readers to consider the BCS and the multiple bowl games leading up to it a better way to finish off a season than March Madness, I’d have laughed ’til I cried.
But then the 2011 Final Four featured one team that played in the play-in round…an 8-seed…a 4-seed…and UConn.
I now believe it was no accident the Connecticut Huskies survived March Madness one season ago.
It was a sign from above. (No, not from Tim Tebow…higher) A sign we best not tinker too much with college football…or it just might wind up like college basketball.
Where all we seem to talk about once attention turns fully to it…is solely who will or will not qualify. The “Bubble.”
For a 68-team competition.
To allegedly determine a deserving champion.
When the BCS was born and bowl games multiplied like water hitting Gremlins, I was like most folks big-time intellectually insulted that big-time college football couldn’t just have a large, inclusive playoff like every other Division manages to pull off each season. It was bad enough the BCS was put in place…but then pathetic excuses about not wanting too long a season for the student-athletes, not wanting to be unfair to fans, etc. started to be offered up as a justification why instead of…say a 16-team playoff…a combination of human and non-human resources were mashed together to determine but two teams to play for a National Championship…while half of the teams playing at the big-time level are rewarded with a bowl game slot even if they only win half their games. (That might sound familiar…that UConn basketball team only won half of their games within the Big East)
We’ve all wrote and read many, many articles bashing the BCS. Too many bowl games. Not enough teams getting a shot at the title.
Consider…college football provides a clearly more deserving champion than college basketball.
Because…the competition isn’t BYOB, it’s black-tie.
Think back to last August when college football started up. Hell, we were thinking the loser of some of those opening games would be eliminated from BCS Championship consideration. Every game matters in college football. No slip-ups allowed. Bring your best every weekend.
Aren’t we trying to determine who is worthy of being a champion? All fall, we’re talking “upwards.” We are always discussing who is worthy of being considered the best of the best.
All winter, we’re talking “downwards.” We are always discussing who is not worthy.
There was a time not that long ago where I LIVED for “Bubble Watch.” I could tell you who Joe Lunardi had as his “Next Four Out” as it changed DAILY. I would have gotten “Bracketology” for my license plate if it didn’t exceed the state-regulated seven characters.
I feel an awakening of sorts has occurred within me this winter as all this “who’s in/who’s out” conversation started up on cue last month. While I was bashing the Final Four on this site last April, I was only focused on how gruesomely bad the play was…how fundamentally awful the games were. I should have begun right then and there to focus on the participants and the process that led us to…this.
You see, I want to care about regular season games. I want to spend my time watching what truly matters. I want to talk “upwards.”
Do you know how many people tell me they are big college basketball fans…but then admit they really don’t start watching it until March? Isn’t there something terribly wrong here? What does it say about the process of how we achieve a National Champion in college hoops?
March Madness is great fun because your office has a bracket pool, your significant other will actually watch sports with you for a change (because they have a bracket)…and there are games swirling about that first weekend with television whipping you from one close finish to another. A great spectacle indeed.
But…is it a better way…dare I say a legitimate way…to determine a deserving National Champion opposed to how college football operates? Is it madness to consider March Madness falls quite short of the alleged objective of having the very best teams compete for the crown?
All the bowl games…in some cases, true rewards for teams with great seasons that came up a game or two short. For others…the “Bubble” teams…a chance to extend practice a few more weeks, get some money into their program and put their program in a national spotlight for a few hours.
Perhaps the BCS needs a “Plus 1″ or a 4-team finale tweak…but it is hard to argue when you sit down to watch the National Championship in college football… you know you’re seeing deserving teams who played all year with a “zero defect” mind set.
No “Bubble” teams on the field the night of the BCS Championship.
Maybe it comes down to your personal choice of what you want more.
A champion from a “private” party…or one from a “block” party.