Would You Rather: New Year’s Six Bowl Or Final Four?

Mar 24, 2021, 10:08 AM | Updated: 12:12 pm
NCAA March Madness...
A general view of a 'March Madness' logo is seen during practice before the First Round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 20, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NCAA Tournament is in full swing and there have been upsets on top of upsets. March Madness is living up to its name.

The Sweet 16 has multiple double-digit seeds like Syracuse, UCLA, Oregon State, then there were the early departures of No. 1 Illinois and No. 2 Iowa, and there are also some schools that very few have heard of like Oral Roberts who became the second 15 seed to make it to the Sweet 16.

There is a reason March Madness draws a huge audience and captures the attention of nearly every single person in America for a few weeks in March. Cinderella is in full force nearly every year and that makes the bracket.

Now, compare that to college football and the upstarts or those from outside the Power 5 league who are always looked down upon and never get credit because they beat up on a usually weaker schedule. Even if teams roll through a schedule with ease, the strength of schedule conversation comes up.

More often than not, even when a team from outside of a power league wins, it is dismissed as a fluke or the brand name team such as when the 2008 Utah team opened up a big lead and defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl was not interested in the game.

Just take a look at a few of the celebrations this weekend from these programs outside of the power conferences. Some would lose in the second round but others like Oral Roberts are still standing. These teams actually have a chance at a national title, which is what football is lacking outside of about, seemingly, 10 programs.

College Football Postseason Leaves A Lot To Be Desired

Getting to the Big Dance is what makes college basketball great and while college football is more popular, its postseason, specifically the playoff, leaves a lot to be desired in the current four-team format.

The best teams nearly always come out and win the college basketball title but the few upsets along the way is what hooks people and college football’s national title is sort of fake with only four teams involved.

KSL Sports Scott Mitchell who is a record-setting quarterback at Utah was asked Final Four or a New Year’s Six bowl game and he explained why he chose the former.

“I would rather go to the Final Four,” Mitchell said on KSL Unrivaled. “Those are for championships and a New Year six bowl is [just a parting gift]. If you were in the College Football Playoffs or the Final Four, I’d pick the playoffs.”

It all comes down to opportunity and the one-and-done nature of the NCAA Tournament, compared to a one-off football game that is essentially a glorified exhibition against a pair of teams.

Alex Kirry is the other half of KSL UnRivaled and he pointed out that one of the biggest achievements in BYU sports history, after its football national title, is its deep NCAA Tournament run.

“BYU biggest claim to fame in the NCAA tournament is Danny Ainge going to the Elite Eight going coast to coast,” Kirry said. “The Elite eight is essentially going to a New Year’s Six game you know what I mean? It is like, ‘Hey, man, you got to the Elite eight. You didn’t win it, but, boy, you made quite the effort.'”

That is interesting how fans and the media will fawn over teams that are not supposed to make it to the Sweet 16 but do so and then lose. Ending up as one of the top 16 teams in college basketball is considered great but doing it in football means you were on the outside of a New Year’s Six game.

Look at the University of Utah, the Utes are still considered a really good basketball team due to deep NCAA Tournament runs and a national title appearance under Rick Majerus. Those occurred over 20 years ago but yet the football team who made a pair of BCS games and is now in the Pac-12 is not seen as a top-tier football school.

Just imagine how wild it would be if college football had a playoff larger than four teams because the potential for an upset of a MAC or Sun Belt team over the vaunted SEC would be off the charts even compared to what No. 15 Oral Roberts did this year by making it to the Sweet 16.

Tune into KSL Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

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