Is March Madness better than college football bowl season and CFB Playoff?

Apr 6, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski waves to the crowd after cutting down the net after defeating the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2015 NCAA Men
Apr 6, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski waves to the crowd after cutting down the net after defeating the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2015 NCAA Men /

Is March Madness and the NCAA Tournament a greater sporting spectacle than college football bowl season and the College Football Playoff?

The second-ever College Football Playoff in January turned in the best championship game yet with Alabama beating Clemson in a thrilling 45-40 contest as the Crimson Tide won their fourth national title in seven years.

While the game was one of the best of the year and a fitting end to the season, the semifinal games were blowouts and the rest of bowl season was discounted by more blowouts and teams with 5-7 records getting bowl bids to fill out the 39 bowl games.

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The talk of a diluted product ran wild until the title game helped erase some of those memories of boring games and unworthy teams playing in the postseason. However, does the addition of the College Football Playoff give college football a fighting chance against their men’s basketball counterpart and March Madness?

The NCAA Tournament has nearly as many teams participating as football with 68 teams (78 for football) competing for a chance to cut down the nets while One Shining Moment plays in the background with a montage of highlights from the tourney and it’s not like basketball is immune to a blowout.

College football has confidence pools and pick ’em leagues to see who can pick the most winners and accumulate the most points to spice up the watch, but it falls well short of the excitement generated from bragging rights that accompany the winner of your bracket pool.

There just isn’t’ that same type of hype when the team you picked to win the Gildan Bowl pulls the upset compared to the No. 12 seed with players you never heard of from a school you haven’t watched all year who just downed the No. 5 seed from the ACC or the Big Ten.

So in terms of excitement for the fans, there is no comparison for March Madness and the brackets millions of people fill out.

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But how about the level of play?

Both sports have their fair share of blowouts and last-second victories, but I think basketball blowouts are more fun to watch than football because it’s a faster pace and because there are more games played each day in the tourney compared to bowl season, one blowout game can easily be forgotten because your attention has already shifted to the next game on the docket.

That isn’t the case in football.

Further, a last-second win in football, while still dramatic, just can’t compare buzzer-beaters in the NCAA Tournament. It’s why the month is called March Madness after all.

From a coast to coast finish like Tyus Edney delivered for UCLA or a crazy play design leading to a miraculous finish like when Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew hit the shot vs. Ole Miss or a moment that lives forever like Christian Laettner’s turnaround jumper from the free throw line vs. Kentucky in the 1992 regional final.

Football has memorable finishes like Vince Young running in for the game-winning touchdown vs. USC to win the national title or Boise State running a Statue of Liberty vs Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. But the improbable happens more in March Madness than it does in football.

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Plus, the tournament gives the underdog a legit chance to win the national championship, unlike their football counterpart that will never give the little guy a chance. We’ve seen Butler, VCU and George Mason come close in recent years to slaying Goliath in the Tournament and until the same can be said in college football, this is an easy decision, even for a college football website.

March Madness is better than bowl season and the College Football Playoff and it’s not even close.