The best part of sports is the competition that is shown amongst the teams and their opponents.
Each team gets their chance to prove themselves worthy of being the best.
Whether it’s on the professional or collegiate level, the best teams for that respective season earn their shot to play for the title. And it’s different for each sport as well.
We’ll be focusing on the Collegiate level, and it’s two major sports, basketball and football.
68 teams are playing in a one-game elimination tournament, March Madness.
For those teams who don’t make the March Madness tournament, they go to the NIT (National Invitation Tournament) which has another 32 teams playing the same tournament-style bracket.
Four teams are playing in a playoff for the chance to be National Champions. There are also over 40 different bowl games that are set aside for teams to compete at the end of their seasons.
The most prominent debate is how each is decided and should more spots be added or removed. The committee for both College Basketball and College Football determine who’s in the tournament/playoffs.
Let’s take a closer look at each collegiate sport.
How To Make It To The Tournament?
For the March Madness Tournament, the bracket is decided by strength of schedule, top 25 wins, and RPI (Ratings Percentage Index). The Rating Percentage Index is one of the tools used by the NCAA Selection Committee.
There are also conference tournaments at the end of each season to crown a conference champ where the winner gets an automatic bid into the 68-team tournament. There are 32 conferences which give automatic bids to those winners. The rest of the 36 teams are decided by the Committee.
Even though a team might have won their conference, they are not guaranteed a top spot in the tournament. In fact, several conference champions from the non-Power Five conferences are left playing a play-in the game.
There are four play-in games for each tournament played which is referred to as the “First Four.” These games are played a day or two before when the first round games begin.
Many of the teams included are from smaller conference champions. Many others are snubbed after losing in the conference tournament despite finishing with the best record in their conference.
The Power Five conferences are the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten Conference (B1G), Big 12 Conference, Pac-12 Conference and Southeastern Conference (SEC).
And a majority of the remaining spots will go to those conference over others. This isn’t only happening in basketball, but also college football as well which raises many more questions.
How to make the playoffs?
For the College Football Playoffs, it is all about the Power Five conferences. Since 2014, a 13-member committee has been selecting the four teams to take in the playoffs.
It’s pretty simple to predict the top team in each conference, but with only four spots in the playoffs, most are left watching from home.
For football, the SEC and ACC have proven to be the dominant conferences, but like basketball, you have those teams who surprised us with an unbelievable season. Those teams are usually smaller conference teams or teams in the Power Five that we would never imagine being at the top.
Unfortunately, those teams don’t get the recognition they have when it comes to the college football playoffs. Only four teams play, and many think that should be extended to at least six teams to allow all five of the Powers to be present. The last spot could go to one of those surprise teams like University Of Central Florida who were the only team to go undefeated last season, including a big win over the SEC.
Although already having 64 teams in March Madness, NCAA added an additional four spots to make the competition better. Is it worth a chance for them to add two other places to college football?
Six may be a bit too much, but a fifth team wouldn’t hurt. It would make the job of the committee slightly easier. Instead of the long debates over Ohio State and Alabama, we let them play their way in.
If you have any suggestions or comments regarding the structure of the NCAA Tourney or Playoffs, feel free to share them in the comments section below.
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Featured Image: Photo Courtesy of Sports USA Today