Can college football produce a Butler? 

April, 4, 2011

It's just a few hours before the NCAA basketball title game between Butler and UConn. What the Bulldogs, from the Horizon League, have done by making it to consecutive title games is remarkable. I don't think there is a legit comparison by football standards. The sports, particularly in how they are set up these days, are simply too different.

Start with the talent gap. Yes, both sports deal with "mid-majors," but in college basketball, the chance for upward mobility is much greater. Two or three very good players can carry a program. In football, two or three really good players might not get you to even a four-win season. Also, most of the top talents who are college age, ages 20-22, (guys such as a Derrick Rose, who would be a senior at Memphis now, for example) are in the NBA, not in the college game. In hoops, the talent gap isn't as significant from the powerhouse programs to everyone else. And there's the physical toll. The attrition that can wear a non-AQ conference team down by facing several AQs is impossible to measure, but TCU coach Gary Patterson acknowledged to me a few years ago that it is very real. College hoops doesn't have it like that.

Also, the college hoops season is conducive to runs and makes room for slumps. This Butler team lost twice this season to Milwaukee and also was defeated by a Youngstown State team that finished 9-21. You'd need a wide-open all 120-program football playoff to even have a team like that in contention.