College Basketball vs College Football
Both college basketball and college football are multi-billion dollar industries and are certainly very, very popular among betting fans on leading sites like www.oddsshark.com, but why does football get so much more media attention than basketball?
College Football Saturday
College football Saturdays are an institution, especially in the south. Fans tailgate for hours on end, there is pageantry and fan fair galore. The spectacle of college football is as much of the game as the actual game itself.
College basketball lacks this. Nobody is lining up for hours to watch Ole Miss vs Alabama play basketball. The game is not talked about on national radio and nobody outside of the deep south really cares. Yet the same matchup in football is going to garner attention for days leading up to the tip off.
Games Mean More
College football has between 10 and 13 games for most teams. One loss can spell disaster for a team trying to get into the playoffs. This is not true for basketball. Yes, a loss to a bad team can still hurt you, but a single loss is not the end of the season. This causes fans to care less about college basketball games compared to college football games.
The quality of the opponent is also important. Top tier football programs may play 1 FCS school a year. These are basically preseason games and end up in blowouts. College basketball's non-conference schedule is full of these types of games. Fans can deal with one football game of Utah blowing out Weber State, what they do not want to watch is Utah blowing out six schools they have never heard of.
College basketball and football programs tend to have the same rivalries. USC and UCLA are rivals in football and basketball, as are Duke and UNC, and Michigan State and Ohio State. But the intensity of the rivalries is different, with maybe the exception of Duke and UNC. Fans will still be poor in these games, but facing your rival twice lessens the importance compared to facing your rival once.
Additionally, conference realignment and expansion have killed basketball rivalries. A good example of this is BYU and Utah. Once one of the most important games on each team's schedule because it would dictate the conference champion, is now a game in November that nobody cares about.
There is one area where college basketball beats college football and that is the playoff system. College football's playoff system is pretty much a joke. It is a judgement call that always goes to the SEC. Yet March Madness is one of the greatest events in American Sports.
The uncertainty and chaos that a playoff brings, which the football committee actively tries to avoid, is what gives March Madness its allure. Yes, ultimately the tournament is going to be won by a great program, but the upsets and the chaos is all part of the game. It also gives a more fair footing to all schools to win the title. In 2010 had Butler guard Gordon Hayward hit that half court shot and the Bulldogs won the NCAA tournament, nobody would have said that they did not earn it. Football does not have the same luxury. A small program like Butler is not going to get into the playoffs to even have a shot to win.