My bowl picks did not do too well Monday. I tend to root for the schools with the better academic reputation, and they mostly lost. The two colleges I attended never make big bowl or March Madness headlines. It got me wondering about the dynamic of athletic success and academic reputation.

Some would argue that a university that regularly sends teams to the big bowls is one to avoid. If it spends that much on football and basketball coaches, on arenas and travel and training equipment, it must spend less on chem labs and computer access and Nobel Laureates.

Others point out that some schools find ways to succeed both on the field and in class, and that excitement before big games just adds to the fun of college life.

Why should an academically talented sports fan suffer for years at a school like Harvard that never goes to the NCAA basketball tournament (although this year it has a chance) when he or she can go to Duke or North Carolina or Stanford, get just as good an education, enjoy just as much academic prestige, and be assured of exciting seasons?

Did you make such a calculation before you picked your school? What did you decide?