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College Football Fans Should Be Jealous Of NCAA Hoops Tournament Expansion

Most (reasonable) college football fans understand the sport needs a playoff  -- especially me.  It is not because I graduated from The University of Utah or that I am a avid fan of the Mountain West, but because ever other sport known to man at every level (enter your own moniker here) has a playoff.  There is one lone exception which is with the English Premier League who plays\ a double round robin and the team with the most points is declared the winner. Actually, that is a step behind what college football does in regards that at least in the BCS the selected top two teams play it out on the field.

Back to college hoops who to most believe that they have the best tournament with the right amount of teams, but in what is really the motto of the NCAA which is 'more money the better' is more then likely expanding the tournament to 96 teams.  The only way this could be a success would be to have the regular season mean more; this could be a tough move since the causal hoops fan does not pay attention until football is over.

The way to make the regular season more meaningful -- which is what college football rightfully prides themselves of having -- is to have the regular season champ and conference tournament champion qualify to the NCAA tournament. This would help make the regular season more meaningful and reward the non-major leagues to preserve their season long work of winning the title, and second this would limit the amount of major programs that could let in the 13th Big East team to the tournament.  This would have the potential to have 31 auto bids from the regular season and up to 31 more auto bids if each conference tournament champion was different; this would also leave 34 at-large teams and possibly more if there are double champions.

If this were the case this year there would be 46 auto bids between the regular season and conference tournament winners.  That would leave 50 at-large teams and most of those spots would still be occupied by the major leagues, but a handful of low major teams would get two teams in the tournament do to upsets.  For a look at the soon to be the norm 96 team bracket the AI.com put one together by using the 32 NIT teams.

Yahoo's NCAA hoops blog The Dagger put together a list of why a 96 team tournament is bad and says this:

3. Football needed this, not hoops

It's a slap in the face to fans. College football, which many agree desperately needs expansion, continues to have a playoff system based off checks and balances and computers. Certain schools are inherently at a disadvantage. So the NCAA comes in ... a breaks the best postseason tournament in sports because, basically, it can. HOW. CAN. YOU. BE. SO. OBTUSE.

Then there is the total hypocrisy of the tournament that is further removing the student from the term student-athlete.  It is obvious that the goal of the 96 team is for money only since during the press conference there was some major toe tapping around the obvious fact that if teams make the Sweet 16 that they would miss an entire week of school.  Here is the awkward exchange during the press conference and try to keep up:

Q. To follow up, if you're going Saturday/Tuesday, Sunday/Tuesday then with the teams that advance if they're playing Saturday/Sunday games, right?
GS: They would play Saturday/Tuesday.

Q. So you're not going to play any games on Sunday of the first weekend?
GS: No. You'd play half the games on Saturday, half the games on Sunday.

Q. The Sunday teams that advance would play on Tuesday or are you saying Wednesday?
GS: Wednesday.

Q. Basically they'll be out of school an entire week the second week?
GS: Actually, if you were to look at the window for each individual team, you have to take each team and contemplate the fact right now you have half the field leaving campus on Tuesday, returning on Sunday or Monday.

Q. If they lose. I'm talking about the teams that win and advance. You're going to advance 16 teams.
GS: No, actually in the current model you have teams that depart on Tuesday, and even if they win, return on Sunday.

Q. We're misunderstanding each other. Under the new model that you laid out, you play 64 teams Thursday/Friday. 32 advance to games Saturday/Sunday. Then you are down after those games to 32 teams.
GS: Right.

Q. You're saying you play games in the round of 32 Tuesday/Wednesday. They would then advance to regionals when?
GS: They would continue into the regional as it's normally scheduled now.

Q. So they would go Tuesday to Thursday, Wednesday to Friday?
GS: Right.

Q. So they miss an entire week of school. That's what I'm trying to get.
GS: If you listened to my original answer, they leave now on Tuesday.

Q. I'm talking about the second week, not the first week. They play a game Saturday/Sunday, play a game Tuesday or Wednesday, then go directly to the regional. Tell me when in that second week they're going to be in class.
GS: The entire first week, the majority of the teams would be in class.

Q. You're just not going to answer the question about the second week. You're going to keep referring back to the first week, right? They're going to miss the entire second week under this model.
GS: So they're going to go to school the first week, and then they're --

Q. They're going to be under the same schedule you said basically the first week, and then they'll miss the entire second week.
GS: I'm clearly missing the nuance of your point.

Q. You and I miss nuances a lot. Thank you.
(Press conference moderator) Bob Williams: Next question, please.

Back to the college football perspective of this which if you were to listen to BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock he would say that the BCS looks out for the student-athlete because he -- along with the BCS at-large -- pride themselves on limiting the amount of classes that students miss.  I will give them that since the projected schedule of 96 teams would have players not go to class for a full week where as the BCS has students miss a few days of classes while on their bowl game, and that most of the bowl games occur when the athletes are on Christmas break.

The talk of at least a plus-one would be music to college football fans ears as a first step toward a playoff, but recently there was a poll that said college coaches overwhelmingly like the bowl system:

Ninety-three percent of the 117 FBS head coaches who responded to the survey prefer the traditional bowl system over a playoff.
Eighty-five percent are in favor of the current BCS team selection process.
Thirty percent of the coaches favor some modifications to the BCS system. Of that group, 50 percent prefer the "plus one" model that would result in the addition of a fifth BCS bowl game.

This could be a response in that there has not been -- as far as we all know -- there has not been any official playoff proposal presented to the coaches.  These coaches have been part of a broken system and do not know any better and are fine with taking about a month to prepare for a game and receive those cool gift packs that are worth around $400.

Either way college football fans should be very, very upset that while the NCAA basketball tournament is expanding in order to grab the most possible cash is available to fill their gold lined pockets with hundred dollar bills.  The higher ups in the BCS should take a cue and sell out even more to the corporate over lords who run the bowl system and sell a 16-team playoff to the highest bidder.

The attendance issue that was obviously noticed in the early rounds of the NCAA tournament games could be solved by playing at the higher seeded teams for the first or second round, and then the final four would be in the big bowl games, and the teams that do not make the cut of a 16 team playoff could go to the minor bowls that are able to stay a float.

College hoops fans get an extra round of games in what I am tabbing formerly the greatest sports tournament is still better then a two team playoff that the BCS puts together and basically eliminates the non-major schools.