Sure, the NCAA Tournament officially tipped off Tuesday night in Dayton, but the real meat and potatoes of the hard court fun begins today with the Field of 64 set to do battle. College football finally just came around to the idea of how much fun a playoff can be, at least at the major level, and the success on TV and in revenue was clear. There are no plans to expand the College Football Playoff, not anytime soon at least, so we will be stuck with a four-team field for a while. A 64-team field for football is absurd, so there is no real need to compare the basketball tournament to the College Football Playoff. That would be comparing apples to oranges, but sometimes we can take one idea from one sport and find a way to implement it into another (hockey goalie masks for catchers in baseball, for instance).
The NIT also got started this week with its own 32 team field of the leftovers the NCAA chose to ignore (Temple, Colorado State?) or had no rightful place for (Alabama, Miami). While the idea of a second four-team playoff bracket may be fun to discuss in theory, it is also fun to hypothesize which four teams would have been included in a four-team NIT last football season, if such a thing actually existed.
In this case, we could go right down the final College Football Playoff standings from last season. After Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State were slotted into the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, Baylor and Michigan State were sent to the Cotton Bowl, TCU was sent to the Peach Bowl and Mississippi State played in the Orange Bowl. If we had a College Football NIT to supplement the College Football Playoff, then we could have still seen No. 5 Baylor play No. 8 Michigan State and could have seen No. 6 TCU play No. 7 Mississippi State.
In theory, it could work even under the current College Football Playoff format, and it could even throw in an extra game. But there is no real demand to see two of the second best four teams in the country play another meaningless game, right? It can be fun to talk about, but it will continue to be just that; talk.
By the way, our friends over at College Basketball Talk have all your college hoops needs covered.