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On the Ball: Ranking each sports tournament from worst to best

Monday night I was sitting in my dorm enjoying the Warriors take on the Kings in the first round of the NBA playoffs and thought to myself, wow, this is some amazing basketball. Then I realized that the game I was watching essentially has no meaning. 

The NBA playoffs stink.

But what makes a good tournament? Here are my rankings of the top tournaments from worst to best. 

College Football Playoff

This one hurts me. College football is the closest thing to rival baseball as my favorite sport. Let’s be honest though; the CFP shouldn't even be considered a tournament. 

The CFP is currently a four team tournament where the four teams that play are decided by a committee of stubborn old men who tend to only choose matchups they would profit from. The CFP has been around for nine years but there have only been five different champions. Plus, Alabama has appeared in six of the nine brackets. 

The CFP is a popularity contest, not a tournament. Until they expand the playoff, this is by far the worst tournament in sports and is essentially meaningless. 


The horrendousness of the NBA playoffs is what inspired me to go off on this little rant and somehow it isn’t in last (sorry dad). 

The NHL and NBA playoffs follow a very similar format so they fall on the same level. 

Four rounds, each round is seven games. The championship should be seven games, but rounds one and two of the two playoffs are potentially the most boring television in sports. 

I don’t need to watch the fifteenth best team in the league get walloped by the best team in the league for four straight games over a week and a half. There is very rarely going to be an upset in this round. 

The NHL slightly beats the NBA for me because the NBA has way too many teams; 20 compared to the NHL’s 16. There is also seemingly a much higher likelihood for there to be an upset in the NHL compared to the NBA. 

NCAA March Madness 

This is maybe the hottest take in this column. 

I love March Madness and this is the first tournament that I find to be entertaining on this list. My only complaint with March Madness is that, unlike every other tournament on this list, the tournament gets worse as it drags along. 

The first and second rounds of the tournament are peak entertainment. There’s a huge high stakes game every hour and it’s thrilling to see upsets and cinderellas pull through. However, the more upsets that there are, the worse the late round games are. 

I love the single elimination games but when you have San Diego State versus Florida Atlantic in the final four, it’s not peak basketball and it’s definitely not memorable unless you are a fan of a respective school.  It rarely ends with the two best teams.

The NCAA tournament is, however, the least predictable and arguably hardest to win, making it highly entertaining and meaningful. 


The Super Bowl is the biggest stage in sports, which is why the NFL playoffs are higher on this list. 

The single elimination nature of the NFL playoffs make it more interesting than others. Each game is a nationwide celebration, as the whole county is zoned in on one game.

With one game rounds there is high potential for an underdog to make it to the Super Bowl if they get hot. 

MLB Postseason

There’s nothing like playoff baseball. The MLB postseason generates the best baseball moments of all time and the league has truly perfected a tournament format. 

A seven game series makes the most sense in baseball because no two games will be the same. There are different pitchers for each game so you’re not watching the same game seven straight times. 

The format also makes perfect sense with a three game series then a five and then two sevens. It’s not too long and it’s not too short. 

The best part of the MLB postseason has to be the October weather, the crisp air in a  packed stadium of people intently watching every single pitch. 

The atmosphere during playoff baseball is so different than any other baseball game and honestly any other sport. I’d suggest that even if you don’t love baseball you should have it on your sports fan bucket list to make it to an MLB playoff game sometime. 

Robert Keegan III is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views expressed in this column do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Robert? Tweet him @robertkeegan_

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