Until I'd married someone who really cared about US college sports, I didn't know very much about them. But now I can appreciate some of what makes them so popular, especially when compared to their professional counterparts. There is the unpredictability of results game-by-game as a large pool of serious but as yet unprofessional athletes learn to deal with high pressure situations, sometimes making the big mistakes seasoned pros may not. There is also the unpredictability year-on-year due to the high turnover of students entering into and graduating from university, making even a big name university with massive resources reliant on recruiting well to keep the narrow window of ultimate success open for more than a couple of years. Not to mention the endless arguments week-in, week-out that fans can have over the mysterious polls that decide the top 25 rankings. Lastly, there is at least the certainty that your team (whether you studied there or you follow them for other reasons) will more than likely still be around in five, ten or twenty years time - with little risk of being moved away to another city at the whim of an ultra-rich owner, as the threat goes for a professional US franchise. There's no knowing which conferences they might jump around in a brazen attempt to make more money, though.
But with no personal attachment to any US colleges themselves, as a neutral I tried to imagine how a similarly serious competition might look between the forty universities currently in Australia. I soon added New Zealand and other nearby neighbours with shared sporting interests to increase the pool of available universities by a further ten. With teams playing at first within regional conference boundaries, there is plenty of scope to maximise fierce local rivalries (and, unlike the real NCAA of recent times, there will be no teams hopping between conferences). From each conference the best performing teams move on to an NCAA basketball style knock-out tournament, where all results can be extremely unpredictable and even a hot favourite going on to win a championship is never assured.