- The Stadiums- Almost every college football stadium has a unique history and personality. I once posted a list of 10 college stadiums I would love to visit someday. I have no such list of pro stadiums. Many are ancient, and most are filled to capacity every week with rabid, screaming fans. Students and alumni who show up to support their teams in good times and in bad, dressed in school colors and acting like total idiots. NFL stadiums get loud on occasion. College football venues are loud an hour before kick-off. You just FEEL the excitement through your TV.
- Mascots and Fight Songs- The NFL is a business, and it is so very often the "No Fun League." College football is still very much a game, and the mascots are part of the fun! Whether it's Uga in his dog house at Georgia, Chief Osceola riding on to the field and slamming his spear in the ground at Florida State or the live buffalo leading the home team onto the filed at Colorado, there is a pageantry to CFB that the NFL cannot compete with. And then there are the fight songs and the bands, which stir the emotions of the already rabid crowd. Today two of the most famous will be blaring as Michigan takes on Notre Dame in the Big House. I am no fan of Southern Cal, but WOW what a great fight song! And I convinced that Tennessee occasionally wins games just because the other team can't take hearing Rocky Top on more time...
- Walk Ons- The NFL has undrafted free agents, guys who teams take a chance on in the pre-season and who become surprising good players. But most of them were stars in college and all of them who make it in pro football will be paid very well for what they do. In college, the walk on is given very little chance to ever play. He may toil in anonymity for 4 years, never getting a scholarship, before being given a chance. But almost every game you hear the story of a successful walk on. It's part of the college game. Let me put it this way- Rudy never played in the NFL, did he?
- Traditions- If you watched the amazing battle between Clemson and Georgia last weekend you may have seen the elaborate tradition that is the Clemson Tigers entering their home field. Circling the stadium in buses, unloading at the top of the hill, rubbing Howard's Rock and storming down the hill to fireworks and a frenzied crowd. I have no connection to Clemson, but that always gives my goosebumps. And similar scenes are repeated at college stadiums all over the country every week, like the 12th man at Texas A&M and so many others. Even bad teams have great traditions that make attending the game exciting.
- Every Game Matters- The Baltimore Ravens got blown out by the Denver Broncos Thursday night, but in the long run it really doesn't matter. In the NFL you just need to win enough to make the playoffs and then hope to get hot at the end. The team that is the best over the full season very rarely wins the Super Bowl. Georgia lost to Clemson by 3 points last week, and after 1 week their national championship hopes will hang in the balance every single game! And because conference rivalries are so intense in CFB, you can't take a week off. A 10-6 record often gets you to the NFL playoffs. A 10-2 record will NOT get you to the national championship game very often. Yes, I know we need a playoff system. But it is so great that is many ways every game is a playoff game!
- Overtime- I know that many football purists hate the college overtime because it eliminates special teams and is played under different rules. But I LOVE it! It's truly some of the most exciting football you will ever see, with each team getting a fair chance to score and to stop the other team. And when it reaches the point of triple overtime where each team has to go for 2 after a touchdown...awesome!
- The Tim Tebow Factor- The NFL is a cookie cutter league. They have particular standards for every position and how is should be played. Anything that is really knew is immediately scoffed at. Even the NFL referees are saying that Chip Kelly can't run his offense as quickly with the Philadelphia Eagles as he did at Oregon. In college, coaches do what WORKS! Players that are considered far too small for NFL become stars. Coaches run far more trick plays and weird, off-the-wall defensive sets. They use the gifts and skills of the players they have. It's like this- Tim Tebow was one of the greatest college football players to ever play. He showed with the Broncos a couple of years ago that if you design an offense for him (not an NFL offense) he can be a big winner at the next level. But he is currently unemployed. Why? Because the NFL is a business. And college football- while also a big money venture- is still very much a game. Risks are taken, and creativity is rewarded. A league with no room for the Tim Tebows of the world needs to take a close look at itself.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
7 Things: Why College Football is Better Than the NFL
I have not always been a huge fan of college football. I grew up n NC, where in those days college football was just something you watched to pass the time before basketball season arrived. I would watch the games and I knew the players, but for me the REAL football came on Sundays when the Washington Redskins would play, and on Monday nights because those were the really big games. I am no longer a Redskins fan (I cheer for my local Bucs!) and Monday nights are now reserved for How I Met Your Mother, because those games barely matter anymore. But Saturdays are a different story. Saturdays during football season are now the best, most amazing sporting days of the year. And they are that way every stinkin' week! I know that the NFL is revered in our country, so today I am going to blaspheme. Here are 7 ways college football is better than the NFL!