10 Reasons Why College Football Blows the Pros Away
I admit it. I’m a college football junkie. When then season starts each year I start planning my Saturdays around football games. When the season ends each year I go into withdrawals. To me there is no other sport that can equal it – but that being said, I’d like to stack the pro game up against it, and show just why there really is no comparison.
1) The Rivalries: Sure the NFL has its traditional rivalries that fans and players get up for….Chicago-Green Bay, Dallas-Philly, ummmmm….well yeah it has rivalries. But when put side by side against the likes of Auburn-Alabama (The Iron Bowl), Michigan-Ohio State (The Game), Ole Miss-Mississippi State (The Egg Bowl) and Oklahoma-Texas (Red River Rivalry)…rivalries that many times began in the 1800’s, to just say the pros fall short would be a huge understatement. In the collegiate game rivals only play each other once a year, which lends to the magnitude of the games. Losses stay with the losers for 364 days…and many times may haunt them for life. NFL? The Cowboys get a chance to avenge their Thanksgiving Day debacle to the Eagles in another week and a half.
2) The Stadiums: I admit Jerry World is a beautiful, shiny and extravagant facility, and going there is an experience in itself. But compare it to the Big House, The Swamp, The Shoe, the Rose Bowl, Death Valley and playing a game “Between the Hedges”…and there’s no comparison as far as actual game experience and the feeling one gets of history and tradition. While college football stadiums do get upgraded with additional seats and modern amenities on a regular basis, they keep the original look and feel in tact while doing so (and they have cool nicknames).
3) Overtime: In college each team gets an equal opportunity to win the game and they keep playing until someone does (win that is). A coin flip isn’t a determining factor in the outcome as it still is in the pros where you can win the toss, score a touchdown, and the game is over.
4) The Fans: Sure the pros have their crazy die-hards, just take a visit to Green Bay, Oakland or Seattle for visual and auditory proof. But college has their student sections, fans that are actually connected to the players and university. Try to imagine fans of pro teams rushing the field after a big win and the players celebrating with them…..
5) The Nicknames: Compare the names Lions, Bears, Giants, Eagles, Panthers and Rams to Horned Frogs, Sooners, Buckeyes, Aggies and Hoosiers. Originality and ties to location and/or heritage count for something. And when a college has an animal nickname, they actually have the real deal as a mascot.
6) Saturday Games vs. Sunday Games: Let’s face it, Saturdays are just more fun than Sundays – plain and simple.
7) Traditions: Script Ohio by the Buckeye band, Howard’s Rock at Clemson, Midnight Yell at A&M, Flight of the War Eagle at Auburn, Chief Osceola at Florida State, Jump Around at Wisconsin. If you don’t know what these are you’re missing out (that’s what Google and YouTube are for – use ’em).
8) Uniforms: Whether classic and unchanging like Michigan, Texas, Penn State and USC, or forever surprising and flashy like Oregon, TCU and Baylor, they are just plain cooler than their NFL counterparts.
9) No Lockouts or Strikes: Sure a player may get suspended every now and then and miss a game or two, but amateur status (at least for now) means no need for a union, no need for a CBA and no ugly contract negotiations. Which means the games get played each and every week without the threat of a labor situation or player holdouts. The athletes play for the love of competition and the game itself – not the almighty dollar.
Last but certainly not least, 10) Every Game Matters: Twelve regular season games (college) vs. sixteen (pros) doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but it is when you’re ultimately competing for only four spots in the playoff system. So the Patriots lost Sunday night to the Packers in last week’s “game of the week.” Not a big deal – It doesn’t end anyone’s season or even change the standings. But Mississippi State losing to Ole Miss last Saturday? Or if Kansas State knocks off Baylor this Saturday? Big deals. Because of the very slim margin for error in the college game, each game can be life and death to a team’s season. You don’t have to be perfect and go undefeated in the college game if you want to compete on the big stage at the end of the year, but you’d better be pretty darn close to it.