The Final Four you will enjoy watching this week could never happen in major college football.
It couldn’t happen because it never has and likely never will.
Start with the premise that college football doesn’t do Cinderellas well. The sport is an exclusive club walled off with money, influence, tradition and network contracts reflecting how the public wants to watch
more than, say, Boise.
It is reflected in the definitions — Power Five vs. Group of Five. It is reflected in the numbers. Exclusive club? Only 30 football programs have won a national championship in the wire service era (since 1936). About half of those are members of the current SEC and Big Ten. The last and only team to win it all outside the current Power Five was BYU in 1984.
Only 18 college football teams have even played in the BCS Championship Game or College Football Playoff since 1998. There have been 36 total teams to play in basketball’s Final Four during that period.
So, yeah, football is exclusive.
The difference is that the basketball tournament starts each season with all 351 teams truly having a chance. VCU got to the Final Four. So have George Mason and Butler. This year, it’s Gonzaga, which has been knocking on the Final Four door so long it’s almost an insult to call it a mid-major.
Football equivalents to Gonzaga and
South Carolina Gamecocks
, despite it being a Power Five program, are virtually impossible to envision. The gap between football’s haves and have nots has never been wider financially, athletically and perceptively. But we’re going to try.
We thought it would be fun to try to put together a Final Four bracket based on the college football equivalents of this year’s participants. Call it a Football Four.
Obviously, this list is open for interpretation … and criticism.
That’s why we stress: this — is –…