NCAA Tournament Final Four: VCU vs. Butler? The BCS Should Take Notes
Somewhere in their dark, damp, underground lair, the BCS committee is watching this year's NCAA tournament unfold while they rub their hands together and cackle endlessly.
Just two months removed from their thrilling national title game that featured the "undisputed" top two teams in the country, Auburn and Oregon, they are watching their basketball counterparts flail about in this mess of a tournament that will see the VCU Rams and Butler Bulldogs square off in a national semifinal game this Saturday.
Of course, this March Madness is fun to watch for all of its chaos and unpredictability, but when it comes to crowning the best of the best—when it comes to deciding a champion—it surely disappoints.
Or so the BCS committee would think.
Because at the end of the day, after all the thrilling upsets and wacky buzzer-beaters, what America really wants to see when they turn on the Final Four are teams like Kansas and Duke and North Carolina and Ohio State. They don't want to watch VCU and Butler.
Or do they?
For the second consecutive season, the Butler Bulldogs have reached the Final Four, something neither Kentucky or UConn can lay claim to. At this point, with two straight Final Four appearances—a feat typically reserved for teams like Michigan State, UCLA, Florida and Kansas—how are we to say that Butler really isn't one of the best four teams in the country?
This week, in the days leading up to the tipoff of the first game in Houston on Saturday, you are probably going to hear a fair share of analysts argue that a Final Four consisting of Duke, Kansas, Ohio State and Pittsburgh would have been better for college basketball fans than a Final Four devoid of a single team that is higher than a No. 3 seed.
They will argue that a true national championship, in any sport, should be decided by the teams that the USA Today and ESPN polls tell us are the best teams in the land. They might even convince us, if only for just a second, that this is the way it should be.
But they'd be wrong.
We all love the underdog story in this country. We love the underdog story because we, as Americans, were the underdog some 235 years ago. Seeing teams like VCU and Butler get a legitimate shot at winning a national championship in a major sport is something that awakens the underdog spirit in all of us.
Come Monday night, if you're not rooting for either VCU or Butler against UConn or Kentucky in the national title game, then you're either a graduate of UConn or Kentucky, a student who currently goes to UConn or Kentucky or you have a child who goes there. Otherwise, I can bet you that there will be something inside of you that becomes a Ram or a Bulldog fan, if only for one night.
As college basketball fans, we get to experience this magic, if we get lucky. The last two years, we have certainly gotten lucky. Maybe this year, Butler can achieve what they came within inches of a Gordon Heyward half-court heave of achieving last year. Or maybe VCU can complete their impossible run and bring a title home to Richmond.
Either scenario is a possibility in the world of college basketball. In the world of college football, not so much.
The chances of a team like VCU or Butler ever coming close to having a shot at winning a BCS national championship is roughly the same as your chances of waking up tomorrow and becoming the head football coach at Michigan: zero.
Before the season even starts, we already know that small schools like Nevada and Ball State aren't going to get a shot at playing for the BCS title, whether they finish the season 12-0 or 1,200-0.
Is that exciting? Is that fair?
I don't think it is. That's part of the reason why I love it when the second week of March rolls around each year. It's because I know that there's a slight chance that something special can happen, and when it actually does, it's that much more special.
When teams like VCU and Butler can prove everyone wrong and do the impossible, it's another big check mark on a list of arguments for a college football playoff system and a big middle finger for all of the BCS bowl supporters who not only believe that the impossible can't happen, but also that it doesn't deserve to happen.
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