Ironically, Liberty is the program that would have benefited the greatest from this format, but yet would have never been saved since they were dropped so the school could move their football program to the FBS level, in hopes of increasing the Liberty brand.
For those of you that don't know, Liberty had a relatively solid dual meet program. Their team basically have 10 athletes that were all capable of qualifying for nationals (though no top 20 guys). They finished the year 14-7 with their biggest win coming over a 16-4 Maryland program that had knocked off American, Virginia, Navy, Northern Iowa, Penn, and North Carolina.
I think you see more match-ups coming into play with duals and thus duals and results are more exciting. You can have two teams that are nearly balanced in tournaments but the dual can be a blowout due to poor matchups and you can have a team that is not as deep in a tournmanet setting that matches up well and knocks them off in a dual. This is good for sport. It is good for wrestling and is the reason sports radio talk about the matchups of two teams for a week leading up to a game.
Liberty beast Maryland
Maryland beats Navy
Maryland beats #18 American
#18 American beats Arizona State
#18 American beats #20 Oregon State
#18 American beats #22 Pitt
Navy Beats #8 Lehigh
#20 Oregon State beats #12 Missouri
#20 Oregon State beats #25 Wyoming
#8 Lehigh beats #11 Michigan
#8 Lehigh beats #9 Rutgers
#8 Lehigh beats #1 Cornell
#1 Cornell beats #6 Virginia Tech
#1 Cornell beats #5 Minnesota
So if wrestling were like football, where each dual was vital to your post season, there would be people arguing that Liberty could match-up well with Cornell or Minnesota. Now, I think wrestling is easier to determine matchups than football and so my point is not that people would literally be claiming Liberty or Maryland could beat Cornell and Minnesota. My point is that there are a lot more dual results out there that tell us about the excitement level in wrestling than we give it credit for.
How many people would have honestly thought that it would have been possible for Liberty to actually be able to have a fan call in to a talk radio show and argue (albeit, a weak arguement, but still justified with some results) that Liberty could potentially beat Navy, American, Arizona State, Oregon State, Pitt, Missouri, Lehigh, Wyoming, Michigan, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Minnesota, and Cornell?
These are the results that make duals exciting. Duals are exciting when you realize all the teams that beat teams that shouldn't. This is why college football is so exciting. The number of home duals typically averages the number of home football games.
Scenario that could have played out in 2011 if we had an NCAA duals:
If each dual was vital to a team's post season run, Lehigh fans (and students) would hate the fact that Navy could have spoiled their chances to make it out of the EIWA. Luckily for them, Lehigh stormed back and knocked off a strong Cornell squad to justify their bid to the NCAA duals. Navy would be arguing that they should be considered for an at large bid and will cite their win over Lehigh which will rally their boosters who get upset when they aren't selected.
Oregon State beating bubble team Missouri wouldn't have gone over too well for the wrestling fans in the state of Missouri. You would hear high school coaches talking at a tournament saying "Can you believe they lost that dual? Their whole season is shot now." While another man counters, "No way is our season over. With the schedule we have we just need to knock off a few top teams and we are right back in the mix." Ironically, this is the SEC football arguement each year, where Missouri is, now a member.
And, yes, Missouri bounced back. They went on to post wins over American Lehigh, Boise State, and Oklahoma State.
There are so many scenarios that play out each year in duals that can make people excited about wrestling without having to follow each wrestler's individual results.
Sometimes it is the fact that a team spoiled something great that builds a rivalry the most. The fact that Minnesota spoiled Penn State's undefeated season at the first dual, last year, when most fans thought Penn State would run the table to their next national championship crushed some PSU fans, energized Minnesota fans, and made the rest of us just sit back and shake our heads in amazement.
This is what sport is all about!
Well put. I'm excited for this to begin.