Tuesday, January 8, 2013

After Another Boring BCS Championship, Cherish March Madness

It's been a while since the BCS has seen a moment as nail-biting as KU's Mario Chalmers hitting a buzzer-beater. (sportsillustrated.com)

A college football playoff is coming soon, like a glimmer of sunlight on the horizon. But it didn't come soon enough to save us from yet another blowout in the BCS National Championship last night.

Unless your favorite words are "Roll Tide," you probably weren't thrilled with how the game turned out. A 14-0 lead in the first quarter; 28-0 at halftime. There was no reason to watch the second half. Alabama was too dominant and Notre Dame isn't built to come back from large deficits.

College sports will have another major postseason event in just over two short months. March Madness is a completely different setup with a different kind of excitement. One thing is as certain as certainty can be, it won't be boring.

If you watched Alabama/Notre Dame last night, take a second to remember your excitement level during the game ('Bama and ND fans excluded) and then cherish the fact that the NCAA Tournament is built to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Both have flaws. People complain that it's more likely the best team in the country is not playing in the national championship game in basketball. Although after watching Notre Dame last night, would anyone still say the Irish deserved the spot over Oregon (hindsight is 20/20)? At least 64 teams still have a chance at a title as the postseason begins. Nothing Oregon could do in the Fiesta Bowl could get them a date with Alabama. And you can't say the two teams playing for a basketball title didn't earn their way. No computers helped them out. They each won five games against the country's best teams to earn a chance at a title.

Where March Madness separates itself in the excitement levels is before the title game. It was more than a month since Alabama and Notre Dame had last played. More than a month was spent analyzing and speculating every aspect of the game. Alabama's been there before, but Notre Dame has the underdog card. The anxiety and excitement was built up over that month until it reached a peak right before kickoff, which makes for a great event. That is, until the game is a dud. It's like getting socks on Christmas morning. You wait all this time for the best day of the year and it turns out there was nothing to be excited about.

NCAA Tournament games can be blowouts, too. There's no question about that (although they are usually much closer than the most recent BCS Titles). But it's those first two weeks of upsets and buzzer-beaters and Cinderellas that makes watching that title game worth it. Your team might not have reached the title game, but after watching Butler make a magical run and jumping into the spotlight, didn't you want to see if they could finish the ride? Nothing that Alabama or Notre Dame did in the last month makes you feel like that.

A football playoff is coming soon to help clean up the mess of the BCS and add excitement. Still, as you fill out your bracket in March, don't take those three weeks of mayhem for granted. It may not be perfect, but it's definitely not boring.

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