Sunday, April 4, 2010

Kiss This Perfect Little Thing Goodbye

I don’t know about you, but I watched the Final Four Saturday under a lingering cloud of depression.

The realization that this most awesome of sporting events is about to be ruined – and that this was the very last pure Final Four I would watch – just left me in a funk.

I could hardly enjoy seeing Butler – again, F’ING BUTLER! – crash the Championship game despite shooting a lousy 31% against Tom Izzo’s bruisers. Normally, I would absorb the magnitude of this Cinderella story, instead I just kept wondering about how stupid and messed up next year’s “bracket” is going to be with 96 teams.


Sorry for swearing, but if I don’t, I’m gonna lose my mind.

That’s a joke. Ninety-six of the FINEST basketball teams in the land! Har. Sure. My god, we gotta get Dayton and a lousy, under-achieving, mail-it-in UNC into this puppy next year.

To quote a favorite line from Opie and Anthony: “Go screw!”

As sports fans, we have affirmed over and over our love for March Madness. We have said how perfect it is. We have obsessed, we have gambled, filled out brackets, formed pools, organized trips to Vegas – all around this beautiful, breathing monster of sporting month!

Nobody was asking for more of it. It was perfect. But here it comes, sports fans.

Open wide, because we’re gonna shove it down your throat. And Dick Vitale will be calling the Final Four.

Yep. That’s gonna happen. You can bank on it.

“Heyyyyyyy bayyyybeeeeee! This is awesommmmeeeee, I’m at the Final Fourrrrrrrr baybeee!”


Oh, but don’t worry, the even Bigger Dance is gonna be BETTER! Or, not much different than it is now. Or it’ll be whatever spin the NCAA overlords put out that particular day. They’ll say because it’s on ESPN’s Gatling-gun of different channels, you can watch more games. They’ll say it’ll help more mid-majors make the field. They’ll say they had no choice, economically. They’ll say it makes mathematical sense. They’ll say it won’t hurt the integrity of the regular season.

They’ll say, they’ll say, they’ll say….

Truth is, they will be lying out of their asses on half the claims, and the other half they really won’t know what is gonna happen next. Neither do we.

Chances are, things won’t be better. There will be un-intended consequences. Nasty surprises. Opposite reactions to what they had thought would happen.

Up until last week, however, I had consoled myself by thinking: “Okay. Whatever. I’ll just jump in when they get down to 64. The extra weekend on the front end, would just be a way to essentially “play the bubble.”

Oh, but wait. We found out there won’t be an extra weekend. They are going to jam this larger shovel of shit into the same 3 week sized bag.

Fucking super.

In short, I see the following.

An all-cable, all-ESPN mega-tournament will peel off even more of the casual college fan. It’ll un-mainstream it, just like what happened when the NBA fled for cable. It won’t help more St. Mary’s make the dance. It’ll help more Mississippi States and Texas A&M’s. It won’t give coaches more job security, it’ll get more of them fired.

TV ratings will not go up.

Making the tournament won’t be special. Winning a game in it won’t be special. Waiting to see the brackets on TV that Sunday night won’t be special. Filling out your mega-pool-sheet won’t be special.

One Shining Moment will now be Is It Finally Over Already?

Go Butler.

I’m gonna start drinking now.


  1. This is the same NCAA that claims a football playoff system would take the student/athletes out of class for too long right? Better get some waders and a shovel because this is more bs than i imagined!

  2. I think Reid and Pelosi must be behind this. Sure, nobody WANTS this change that will hurt the quality of the product, but they know better than us! It won't take as long to find out this sucks, though...

  3. The NCAA says we can't have a football playoff because it would take students away from class. Sure. If we had 8 teams, 2 teams would miss an extra week and 2 would miss 2 extra weeks of winter break, not classes. The first round would be the equivalent of their bowl games, so no extra time lost for the first round. Total of 6 team games.

    The same NCAA will add 32 games to their basketball playoffs.

    Now I realize college football teams are much bigger than basketball teams, so maybe it's a wash in terms of student athletes effected. But, what about students who will watch their teams play who otherwise wouldn't watch. Having 32 extra games is going to have a much larger effect on the overall student population than 6 extra games.

    Aside from the NCAA's immense hypocrisy, it won't matter. We went from 16 to 32 to 48 to 64 and now 96 and it didn't matter. People will still watch and the regular season will be meaningless to maybe 50 teams instead of the current 30.

    The tournament isn't the biggest threat to the NCAA. It's developmental leagues, Europe, and having coaches break all the rules to recruit for one year and then move on to another school and avoiding the fallout.

  4. I had heard all the talk of expanding the NCAA tournament, but didn't understand who was really pushing it until this past week... ESPN talking heads starting coming at the topic as "Let's say it's gonna happen... what will that mean?" now I realize they were pushing their own agenda.

    NCAA, listen up... I watch the tournament because my team is in it? No. (Although Towson might make it next year?) I watch the tournament because I have a bracket and it's fun pitting my upset picking skills against my coworkers. 96 teams? Right, I'm picking the winner of Coppin State vs. East Carolina? No. No bracket for me, no ratings for you. I have no idea how to watch ESPN360 or ESPNU... not gonna happen, even if you put the National Championship game on one of them.

    So, Thanks for making it easier for me to follow the hockey run up to the playoffs and then right into the Masters. And since the regulare college season is now meaningless, I don't have to follow that either... wheeeeeeee!

    Oh, and my boss says thanks for the office wide productivity bump.

  5. Easy on Texas A&M. We've made the NCAA Tourney the past five years, winning the first game each year...

  6. It's like your best friend has a terminal disease and you know this was your last time hanging out with him. March will never be as good as it is now.
    One day we'll tell our kids, "This tournament used to be crazy cool huge! Everybody watched this thing called Selection Sunday and filled out brackets.....used to. Now it's just 96 teams huge."
    Sigh.... Goodbye old friend.

  7. that's one hell of an accomplishment, there, killerrag. maybe next year A&M can win TWO games and still get put out in the round of 32... or 48; whatever the hell it will be.

  8. When you strip down the decision to go to 96 teams, it all comes down to one thing. Money. Everyone knows it. If that is the case how can those that are making the decision to have 96 teams, not see how much more money a true football playoff would make? They shouldn't be allowed to do anything with basketball until they fix football.

  9. Steve,

    You ruined scallops for me - skate wing? WTF? Truly something I would have better off never knowing.... my mind keeps going back to that picture of "skate" on your Czabecast.

  10. It is quite an accomplishment considering A&M and Pitt are the only ones to have done it in the last five years, but good try.

  11. This can be summed up using one of Czabes old sound bites "Wwwwwoooorrsssttt Decision Ever"! I think Gordon Gekko is now the new head of the NCAA because they must believe that "greed is good" because that is what this is all about.

    Now this is my this expansion going to allow more smaller conference teams into the tourney or is it just to allow four more meaningless big east, acc, sec,big ten, etc. teams in? Because this would be my one major stipulation that I think should be implimented...the winner of the regular season should get an automatic invite along with their tournament winners. For instance if Davidson wins the So. Conf. regular season, but then loses in their tournament then they still get the automatic invite. If Princeton wins the regular season and then Cornell wins the Ivy tourney then both go. That in my opinion is the only way you can keep the regular season meaningful.

    If this is all to get a middle of the road acc, pac ten,or other big conference team in then I agree with the rest of you, the NCAA tourney will become less appealing to most casual fans...not to mention trying to get office pools completed and filled out before the first games begin.

    Definitely a prime example of less is better.

  12. Czaban, the annoying whining morning little BITCH. Do not get too excited! your edit sorry ass football team owner is doing his usual. Every year he gets high priced players and they end up being a total bust, what a joke. In the trade of Donavan, he wanted to give up Albert Heinsworth who he just got last year for 90 mil. I guess he is admitting this time he fucked up again, what a joke. The Red shits will always be the doormat of the division and this year is no different, even with Donavan.

  13. Bah. Can't wait till they expand the field to 4096

  14. This COULD make things better if they did it correctly. Give each of the 30 conferences two automatic bids to the round of 64 (logically, this would be the league play and conference tourney winners when they were different teams). Let the at-large teams have regional play-in-tournaments to become the sacrificial lamb for the one-seeds (call it the "NIT").

    League play and tournaments become important again (more butts in the seats at the major conference tournaments = more money for conferences, too). No more punishing good teams from the mid-majors for not being able to book regular season games with the big boys (I'm tired of watching mid-major bubble teams lose out to the seventh best team in the Big Ten because of a poor RPI). The two best teams in the league always get a seat, and there's room for the rest of you in the play-in deathmatch. Most importantly, excellence is rewarded -- league winners, league tourney winners, and survivors of the play-in tournament are the only ones who get to participate in the round of 64.

  15. OK,

    It is now the beginning of April, 2010. Fully four months after after removing Czaban's show, people continue to post comments decrying Steven A. Smith and asking that Czaban be returned to a national-level broadcast.

    This is not rocket-science.

    Someone at the executive level of Fox Sports Radio; please do your research, analyze some statistical data on what/who people want to listen to in Czaban's former time-slot and then make the right decision. Put Czaban, the "money-magnet, snark-co-seur, Snyder anti-ite," back on the air.

    Then, all you need do is remove Smith's show, re-vamp and re-up Czaban's crew. Easy stuff!

    I can tell you that my wife is not a sports fan; however she listened to Czaban's show WITH me many mornings. It was so much fun.

    Without any framing or agenda setting, I asked her to listen to the "new show." She was totally put-off with Smith and she, along with me, will NEVER listen to that man.

    FSR executive, we forgive you. Now, cut your losses, buy Smith out, then kick him out and put Czaban and his crew back on the air.

    I ask you, is this about ego or money? Which of those two are going to address your profit margin?