The NCAA Tournament bracket was released on Sunday evening and, as is my duty, I viewed the release through a football perspective.
Twenty-nine programs have now officially reached the football postseason and the NCAA Tournament. Most of them hail from the Power 5 conferences, because the bar is much lower there. Power 5 schools suck up most of the bowl bids and the vast majority of at-large Dance tickets. The Big 12 led the way on a per capita basis with 60 percent of its membership reaching the promised land in football and basketball, followed by the ACC (50 percent), the SEC (36 percent), the Big Ten (29 percent) and the Pac-12 (25 percent). (It hasn’t been a good year for the Pac-12 — Larry Scott’s league missed the College Football Playoff and placed only two at-large teams in the tournament, both of whom were shipped to Dayton for the First Four.)
Big Ten (4)
Big 12 (6)
The bar is much higher to clear at the mid-major and FCS level. In fact, exactly one (1!) such school received an at-large bowl bid and an at-large tournament selection — Houston. The other four such schools all had to win their conference basketball tournaments to reach the field.
FBS Group of 5/FCS (5)
Georgia State — Sun Belt
Houston — American
Marshall — Conference USA
San Diego State — Mountain West
South Dakota State — Missouri Valley/Summit League