SALT LAKE CITY — What would March Madness look like if it were a college football tournament?
That was the question ESPN staff writer Adam Rittenberg broached early Tuesday morning and his answer took March Madness to a whole new level.
As he put it, “March Madness is here, as the NCAA men's basketball tournament begins with the First Four on Tuesday and Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio, followed by the first- and second-round matchups at sites around the country. It's time to revisit one of our favorite hypotheticals: What would a 64-team college football field look like in 2019?”
BYU and Utah both made the hypothetical field — Utah State is ranked 82nd by ESPN heading into the upcoming season and was therefore left out — the Utes as a No. 5 seed, the Cougars as a No. 11 seed.
After setting the field, Rittenberg then narrowed it by examining each individual matchup and picking a winner.
Rittenberg eventually eliminated all but 16 teams, setting the stage for a Sweet 16 updated version of the hypothetical in the near future.
Among the 16 teams remaining? The Utes.
Rittenberg gave Utah the edge in both its first round matchups, against Matt Wells’ Texas Tech Red Raiders, as well as its second round bout with Syracuse.
The two wins would subsequently pit Utah against No. 1 Alabama, in a rematch of the 2009 Sugar Bowl.
As for BYU, the Cougars were slated to face off against the Wisconsin Badgers in the opening round, and this time around it was the Badgers, according to Rittenberg, who came away victorious.
Best coaches as players, 2019 NCAA Tournament edition
Speaking of March Madness, ESPN senior editor Tony Moss decided to dive into the basketball playing backgrounds of each of the 68 coaches in this year’s tournament.
He then ranked the coaches — “in a mostly unscientific manner,” he noted — the purpose being simply for a bit of fun.
“What should we conclude from this breakdown?” Moss asked. “Probably nothing. You can get to the NCAA tournament without being a standout player. But we thought it would be fun to dive into their playing backgrounds.”
Utah State head coach Craig Smith came in at No. 63 in the ranking, ahead of the likes of Auburn’s Bruce Pearl, Baylor’s Scott Drew, Minnesota’s Richard Pitino, Kansas State’s Bruce Weber and Texas Tech’s Chris Beard.
Of Smith, it was noted, “Smith played at the high school level for Stephen-Argyle Central High School in Stephen, Minnesota, but did not play collegiately at the University of North Dakota. It was while still a student at UND that Smith met Tim Miles, then the coach at NAIA Mayville State (North Dakota), who helped launch Smith's coaching career by hiring him as an unpaid volunteer assistant.”
Gonzaga’s Mark Few came in at No. 58, Saint Mary’s Randy Bennett at No. 52 and Oregon’s Dana Altman at No. 48.49 comments on this story
The top 5 was comprised of Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger (5), Virginia’s Tony Bennett (4), Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley (3), UCF’s Johnny Dawkins (2) and St. John’s Chris Mullen.
- Jason Kreis named head coach of U-23 MNT (USSoccer)
- Wells suspends four Tech players indefinitely (Lubbock Online)
- Special Olympics athlete Matthew Millett of Team USA with the 3/4 court buzzer beater
- Dame's son already has that Lillard Time celebration down
And finally …
The Salt Lake Bees unveiled their 2019 Abejas de Salt Lake logo Monday morning, along with the official hat and uniform, as well as the specific dates on which the team will wear it’s Abejas gear.