Talk to any college football fan at this time of the year and most of them will have some sort of gripe with the alphabet.
Not the entire alphabet, mind you. Just three little letters.
Show of hands from those that have a problem with computers, opinions, and voting annually deciding the top dog of gridiron glory each season?
(Long pause...this could be a while...we’re still counting...wow, thought so...OK then, moving on.)
I mean, if collegiate champions can be decided by voting, then I don’t see why we can’t extend that to the pros and put the long-suffering Cubs fans out of their misery?
College football has a problem with the current system they use to crown a champion when the list of schools (Utah, Texas, and USC) that have a beef over the title-game participants is longer than the list of teams playing for the championship (Oklahoma and Florida).
So with that line of thinking, why don’t we just use polls, popular opinion, and the same format as the five BCS games in order to script a champion for the men’s tourney in basketball along with four under-cards right now?
So using BCS logic (quiet in the back), the following is how March Madness would shape up along with which hoops team compares to the current football teams.
Title Game: North Carolina vs. Connecticut
North Carolina assumes the role of Oklahoma, while UConn plays the part of Florida. Like the football teams, both UNC and UConn each have a loss to a team that probably shouldn’t have beaten them.
That being said, there are other teams more deserving of a title shot but since this is a sexy match-up (read: ratings), we’ve got the Heels and the Huskies. Deal with it.
Both teams like to play at break-neck speed, pressure their opponent, and ring up points like a supermarket checkout.
Two of the better coaches in all of basketball, Roy Williams and Jim Calhoun, patrol the sidelines for the two schools. And the similarities don’t end there.
Each team has a dominant big man (Tyler Hansbrough and Hasheem Thabeet), a sensational point guard (Ty Lawson and A.J. Price), and an impact, stud freshman (Ed Davis and Kemba Walker).
Prediction: In a battle of two high-powered offenses, Carolina out-slugs UConn, 91-88.
Fiesta Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. UCLA
Pitt plays the role of Texas, because like the Longhorns, they have a better argument to be in the title game than at least one of the actual participants.
And UCLA is this year’s Ohio State because the Bruins have gagged in three straight Final Fours, while the Buckeyes have thrown up all over themselves in back-to-back title games. Kindred spirits, you might say.
Unlike Texas and Ohio State, these two teams both are capable of playing lock-down defense against a great opponent (that was a shot at The Ohio State University, in case you were wondering).
While Pitt didn’t play anybody in the non-conference portion of their schedule (like Texas), they flat out destroyed Georgetown in DC, thus, proving their worth.
UCLA’s toughness is still up for debate since they lost to Michigan and Texas, and as a result, don’t yet have a signature win on the season.
Prediction: In a classic case of pupil besting teacher, Jamie Dixon’s Panthers top Ben Howland’s Bruins because Pitt has DeJuan Blair and UCLA doesn’t.
Sugar Bowl: Clemson vs. Louisville
Clemson is the hoops version of Utah because while the Tigers remain undefeated on the season, they’re only No. 14 in the coaches’ poll. In fact, eight teams that have at least one loss are ranked higher than they are. Sound familiar, Utah fans?
So that leaves Louisville to portray the Alabama Crimson Tide. Or, a team very highly ranked at one point that hasn’t really beaten anyone of significance but has managed to lose their biggest games of the year.
No analysis offered for this contest. Instead, Clemson is awarded the victory for the sole purpose of creating chaos throughout the BCS system. Just like Utah’s victory over Alabama has done. Man, I love the BCS!
Rose Bowl: Duke vs. Purdue
The Blue Devils are the Trojans, because like USC, Duke can score a ton and they also get after their opponent on defense.
At the other end of the spectrum, Purdue occupies the slot of fellow Big Ten rival Penn State.
What’s the rub with Purdue, you ask? Simple.
Much like the past decade of Rose Bowls, we need a Big Ten team that under any circumstances absolutely will not show up against superior competition. And seeing as how Duke already spanked the Boilers this year at Mackey Arena, I don’t see why the outcome would be different.
Prediction: Duke by TKO, because Purdue, out of fear of suffering yet another Big Ten beat-down, refused to leave the locker room.
Orange Bowl: Gonzaga vs. Notre Dame
Last, and most definitely least, is the “No One Cares About These Teams” Bowl, Part II.
The Zags are the understudy to VaTech, because, like the Hokies, they’ll emerge from a conference with a bunch of stiffs in it.
And that leaves Notre Dame.
So, how exactly does ND mimic Cincinnati?
Well, quite honestly, they don’t. But I figured someone had to throw their fan base a bone because this is as close as the Irish will get to a BCS bowl game any time soon.
Prediction: Gonzaga pulls this one out in the end and not because of great coaching by Mark Few or a clutch shot by Jeremy Pargo. Nope. The Zags win because Notre Dame wrote the book on losing bowl games. And please, Domer fans, spare me your recent victory over powerhouse Hawaii. You lost to Syracuse on Senior Day. Case closed.
So there you go. March Madness is settled two-and-a-half months early.
The universities can collect their seven-figure payouts and the players can go to class (because that’s what the universities really care about). They’re student athletes, in case you haven’t heard.
Congratulations, Tar Heels.
And thanks, BCS. Heck of a job.