Jerry Palm studies the merits of college basketball teams for NCAA Tournament consideration. At this time of the year, his thoughts get lots of attention.
Palm, whose title on CBSsports.com is Bracketology / Bowls Expert, wrote a column this week that claimed conference standings play no part in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Committee’s selection process.
The subject of Palm’s column was Purdue, his alma mater. The Boilermakers are tied for second in the Big Ten after winning six of seven games.
“Conference records are so irrelevant that they don’t even appear on the NCAA team sheets the selection committee uses,” Palm wrote. “Conference standings are irrelevant.”
To digress, the College Football Playoff should adopt the same mentality. The CFP lists conference championship (in other words, conference standing) as a criteria. That is a mistake.
Just imagine if, last season, Missouri had beaten Alabama in the SEC Championship game or if Georgia Tech had defeated Florida State in the ACC finals or if Arizona had defeated Oregon in the Pac-12 title game. It’s hard to imagine the Tigers or Yellow Jackets or Wildcats would have made the four-team football playoff.
Think about an undefeated regular-season team losing its league title game on a last-second field goal. Do you believe that one-loss team is overlooked for the playoff? Doubtful.
In other words, conference champion (or standings) should not matter as Palm wrote this week. The football playoff should drop conference champion as one of its stated criteria.
Since Palm studies basketball as well as football post-season play, I hope he repeats this column with an eye on the College Football Playoff sometime in the future.