You know that if you read my rants that I love football, I’m kinda of a “9 months of the year” football guy. I like college football more than most people who consider themselves football fans. Like when I started following it intensely – almost 8 years ago, I remember finding it extremely difficult to talk about college football with people, simply because they just didn’t give a damn.
Now, over the years I’ve become more of an NFL guy because it’s just a more popular league than ever before. But everybody always laments college football “ahh they need a playoff system , that will really give them great ratings” By the way, college football ratings have been going up for 10 out of the last 11 years.
So Wisconsin and Ohio State played basketball last weekend – it was a really good hour and a half of drama and I watched some of it. I kinda had a gut feeling that this was a game that Wisconsin was gonna win because they’re great at home, Ohio State is a big target, it’s really hard to think that they will go unbeaten. But here is the thing…. great upset, an hour and a half of great television…do you know what it all meant? NOTHING!!!
Ohio State is still going to be the #1 seed – in fact, the loss may have helped them because you don’t want to go into a tournament unbeaten. I’d rather go in with a loss or two; so you never wanna go in unbeaten. I would argue then that the loss was good for Ohio State, because the win for Wisconsin means nothing to them, they are still a good program and they will still end up as a 3, 4 or 5 seed.
In college football, when Wisconsin beat Ohio State – it shocked me and the nation, changed the entire alignment of the Big Ten and knocked Ohio State out of the national championship. It meant something for southern fans, for Oregon fans, for the PAC-10, to the Big 12….ramifications everywhere!
College basketball, we get a huge game that was really exciting, yet it meant squat. In fact, I’d argue it helps Ohio State…it’s actually good for them. It kinda helps to re-focus the program. Think about this – and this is interesting because everybody tells me how great a tournament it is. Look at these numbers, the ACC is averaging 9500 in attendance in college basketball. Unless they get a spike in attendance, it will be the first time in 20 years they average fewer than 10,000 a game. “How is that possible?” you might ask “This playoff system is so great! It’s just the magic solution to everything right?” Really?
What has happened in our society is that you can’t fool sports fans anymore because they have too much information. We’ve saturated the market with all these games, the only way the media can get you – the fans, to the radio or television is when there is urgency. The media can’t fool you…they can go out and tell you that this is a big game, but you know what’s a big game…and you only show up for really big games, NFL, college football and MMA….urgency!
So this “great sport” that’s got all these great tournaments…even their #1 conferences’ attendance is weak! Worst in two decades….two decades!! Think about what college football provides. I think it was a Friday night, a little school in the mountains in Reno, Nevada – the Nevada Wolfpack. So this little tiny city, that you can’t even find on a map, beats tiny Boise State in football and it reverberates around the U.S. Everybody, from the SEC to the PAC-10, Big 12 and Big 10…it changes everything! Bye bye Boise State!
It got all these major conferences…on the internet, message boards. Everybody wakes up Saturday morning and is like “What?? Boise State lost??” That means were getting into a big bowl game! The little guy is out.
So as we lament college football and we always pat college basketball on the back, for its great tournament. Lowest attendance the ACC has witnessed…probably in 20 years, for this great tournament because society has changed. Sometimes there is nothing that you can do about it, you can’t blame the newspaper industry for dying, it’s not all their fault. Some of it is arrogance, but the reality is that you can just get news more quickly from other places.
You can say it’s because the left leaning media or liberal media…baloney! They’ve been liberal forever in the newspaper industry. They didn’t suddenly lose people because of that. They lost people because society changed. A lot of smart people work in newspapers, but suddenly you can get – something close to what they give you immediately, instead of having somebody throw a big wrap of paper on your front porch 16 hours later.
So, it was so funny because I’m watching this Ohio State/Wisconsin game, it was just tremendous television…yet it meant nothing. Ohio State is a #1 seed and will continue to be. Frankly, I was more impressed with how Ohio State played…they were really good. And Wisconsin is a terrific program as well, they will still be a #3, 4 or 5 seed….but it all meant nothing!!