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National Duals Thoughts

If we think about the National Duals as a floating date of sorts, the event does its job. This way we set up some great matches we wouldn't normally see, admire some conference champions, and have a date open to possibly match up two remaining undefeated teams (when applicable). The caveat is the Big Ten adding a conference championship match or a floating date to make sure multiple teams don't finish undefeated which it seems they are working on. If the Big Ten figures this out, then the National Duals remains a useful floating date to make sure we can settle having two remaining undefeateds in upcoming seasons. That way if Iowa and Missouri are the lone undefeateds next season, we can match them up.

There will be years where one team, like Penn State this season, was just better than everyone and the championship match was probably the 4th best dual of the slate. People will remember NC State going in to Carver-Hawkeye and blemishing Iowa's record, similarly to Missouri for pulling off the feat last season. The Virginia Tech-Michigan match was an incredible dual to watch with five of the matches featuring guys who were All-Americans and/or ranked in the top ten. The upsets were not just anti-Big Ten as Rutgers turned away a heavily favored Lehigh squad. 

Speaking of NC State and Missouri, for two years in a row (albeit different formats) the National Duals have allowed a non-traditional power to come in and steal the spotlight. We need more of that in college wrestling so while their isn't a perfect solution, keeping some resemblance of a National Duals is important to allow these programs to vault in to the national discussion and be appreciated. It's very difficult for a team to win the National Championship at the tournament that isn't a traditional power. You can see how historically that has played out when it's very rare when last season a program won their first title. 

I think we all want to see more of a formal bracket and championship structure, but the obstacles are understandable. Also, this "Bowl Series" is a nice consolation and does give us that ability to get the matches we would need to see if the top two teams haven't faced each other. We have to appreciate that. 

Congrats to Penn State of course. They were clearly the best team all season long. They have four legitimately ranked #1 wrestlers in the land and are the favorite to win the Big Ten and the NCAA Championships. However, it's worth noting that while their top ranked guys (and Megaludis) look really impressive none of them are returning National Champions. It's a bit of a stretch to assume titles for them since this isn't like expecting Kyle Dake or Logan Steiber to win and get the team points. The NCAA tournament is the craziest sporting event out there and a few upsets could open the door to another team. Penn State is the clear favorite, but they are far from a sure thing.