It’s Time For the NCAA to Re-Seed

The Alabama Crimson Tide did not roll this year — in either football or basketball.

But at least the football team lost fair and square.

Following a 6-0 start, the football Tide lost a 52-49 thriller at Tennessee on October 15.

Three weeks later, Alabama lost 32-31 at LSU in overtime, after the Tigers went for two after scoring a touchdown, which the Tide hadn't done when they scored a touchdown of their own to start "bonus football."

The latter loss essentially eliminated Alabama from realistic consideration for making "the playoff" in college football. They ended up defeating Kansas State 45-20 in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Eve. The Tide finished at No. 5 in the national rankings, behind only the four teams that did qualify for the playoff.

The four-team playoff will continue for only one more year. Starting in 2024, the number of qualifying teams increases to 12.

But there is no end in sight for the inequity inherent in the college basketball tournament — and that is the lack of re-seeding, which almost certainly kept the Tide's basketball team, which was ranked as the number-one seed in the entire field, from reaching the Elite Eight (which is now a registered trademark of the NCAA, as is "Sweet 16"; "Final Four" has enjoyed this legal status since 1988).

Had re-seeding existed, Alabama would have played lowly Princeton in the Sweet 16, while San Diego State would have played Creighton. Instead, the two highest surviving seeds from the South region (Alabama and San Diego State) played each other, as did the two lowest surviving seeds (Creighton and Princeton).

On what planet is this fair?

Not only that, but if you give the top seeds the easiest path to the Final Four, teams wouldn't dog it in their conference tournaments, as they do so often, if they know full well that they are going to "The Big Dance" (another registered trademark of the NCAA) regardless.

And doesn't the NCAA want to make as much money as possible — even though they are vehemently opposed to letting their players make any money at all? (They can't even allow some assistant coach to take one of his players to McDonald's and buy him a Big Mac — now can they?).

Aren't the top seeds going to deliver the highest TV ratings — both over-the-air and cable?

Unlike getting rid of the "tush push" in the NFL, this is a proposed rules change that it is impossible to offer up an argument against.

(There is such an argument in tennis: if the field was seeded based on world rankings in even all of the major tournaments, the same matchups would be repeated, not once but over and over again, until there were movements in the rankings. In college basketball, team rankings are far less static from one season to the next, as seniors graduate and incoming freshmen take their place.)

The Final Four needs to be re-seeded too — making it only two junctures during the entire tournament where re-seeding would be necessary.

And once the football playoff goes to 12 teams, it needs to include re-seeding, as well.

Re-seeding rewards the best teams. Period. End of story.

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