The national championship of college football will be decided tonight. Georgia vs Alabama. I think I'm pulling for the Dawgs (that's Georgia) but I really have no idea who will win. The one thing we know is the championship goes to the Southeastern Conference.
When it comes to football, I'm a college guy more than the NFL. It helps that I went to a school that is a football power but I felt that way before that....more than forty years ago. I realize that there are a lot of things wrong with college football...and college sports in general. You have coaches and universities making millions of dollars on the backs of student-athletes who make nothing. There are colleges that don't care about the education of their athletes as long as they are eligible to play. There are boosters, who have nothing to do with the school, that have way too much power due to the amount of money they donate. Plus the incidents of sexual abuse cases are higher on college campuses where there is football.
Yes, there is plenty wrong with college football but when it comes to the game itself, here are the reasons why college ball rules over the NFL.
College campus atmosphere:
Have you been on a campus on football game day? The atmosphere is electric. Sure there's tailgating at NFL games but it's nothing like it is on a college campus. I love the mix of students and alumni at a game. It's beautiful to see the interaction of the young and older folks. Plus, if you're a student at a school that has a team having a great season, the excitement is not just on Saturday. You can feel it throughout the week. When I was a student at Oklahoma, we won two national championships. The only sports title I enjoyed more was the Cubs winning the World Series...and that's only because it took so long to occur.
Every game means something:
This is the new saying about the sport but it rings true. In this new era of playoffs, not a single team has made them with more than one loss. It means you can't take any game for granted. Two losses and you're done. In the NFL, three teams with six losses and two with seven made the playoffs this year. Three of them made it into weekend number two.
Army vs Navy:
I'm not a big fan of the military but there's something extra special about this game. The players are students who will only rarely move on to the NFL. They are students that will have a military obligation of four or five years. In the stands are students from both academies. They're dressed in their uniforms cheering on their team. The game is played every December, usually in horrible weather conditions. In the overall scheme of the sport, the game means nothing and yet Army-Navy is everything college football is about.
Army-Navy. Ohio St.-Michigan. Oklahoma-Texas. Alabama-Auburn. USC-UCLA. Harvard-Yale.
Yeah, the NFL has the Bears-Packers but it's civilized compared to some of these college rivalries. Has any Green Bay fan ever come to Chicago to poison a tree like an Alabama fan did after a loss to Auburn. Let me tell you about Oklahoma and Texas. In 1971, OU beat them for the first time in five years. The next morning, a friend and I ran into an older Sooner fan who had apparently been celebrating all night. He was telling us how happy he was and he wanted us to go get breakfast on him. He handed me two twenty dollar bills. That's a guy who does not like the University of Texas. That's what a rivalry is about!
Bowl games and playoffs:
Yeah there are too many bowl games. The number of them seems to be about 100. Plus the commercialization of them is annoying. They used to have names like the Peach Bowl or Alamo Bowl and you could tell by the title where they were located. Now it's The Weedeater Bowl and Hell if I know where it is. Still, it's a nice reward for the players who work hard all year and the fans of their team. Half of them will end their season happy. Do you think anyone in the NFL ends their season happy except the Super Bowl champion?
As for the playoffs, because there are only four teams, there's a good chance the best team of the regular season will win. Certainly a better chance than the NFL that has twelve teams in their playoffs. And, way better than NCAA basketball which has 64 teams trying to win it all.
I wouldn't mind seeing the playoffs expand to eight, and I haven't figured out the logistics of that, but no more than that. Plus, if they keep it at four forever, I'm good with that.
So those are my reasons on why I think college football rules. I have a feeling I'm in the minority although with the tanking of NFL ratings, maybe not. If you think I'm wrong, bring it on. Until then...GO DAWGS....I guess.
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