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Why I can’t stand college football

It’s football season and I really hate football. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I hate college football. A large part of this hatred comes from the fact that I work for a company (and in a town) whose economy is almost entirely based on college football. So not only do I have to deal with the idiots on the streets, I have to deal with clients at work that can’t find anything better to do than give out football tickets and other Ohio State crap. Every year between August and January my angst for college football goes into overdrive. I see scarlet and grey in my dreams while Brutus Buckeye laughs all the way to the bank. For years I’ve pretty much just said, “I hate football,” but this year I’m giving pro football a bye.

A topic came up on sports talk last week that got me thinking about college versus pro football and why I can stand to watch the NFL but can’t stand college games. And it boils down to what professionals are allowed to do and what college athletes cannot do. In short, pro athletes can show off, college kids can’t.

When I watch the NFL I see players that are characters, personas. I see men that are larger than life and that, for lack of a better term, perform. I also see players that feed off the crowd and play for the crowd. You’ll find none of this in college football, and not because the players are void of excitement and character, but because they’re just not allowed. It’s against the rules. That’s not saying the players aren’t feeding off the crowd, it’s that they can’t show that they’re feeding off the crowd.I want to see the players having fun, expressing themselves, and playing for the fans. Which team ends up winning is of little consequence. NFL football is spectacle. College football is, well, boring.

The only redeeming value in college football are the fans, and that’s only because they are all nuts. Watching fans revel in their fandom is often more entertaining that the games themselves. I believe Columbus is a special place because 8 out of 10 people you meet on the street seemingly bleed scarlet and grey. This town lacks any sort of (good) professional sports team and the college is the reason. Pro teams just don’t have a chance here – just ask the Blue Jackets. Everyone seems to think being an OSU fan makes you part of some special club, but is it really that special if everyone is in the club?


Maybe I’ve just been watching wrestling for too long, but competitions are far more interesting and exciting when you’re watching a show and not just a game. The “show” is created by the players and their actions, the fans and their reactions, and off-the-field stories. However, I do feel the off-court shinanigans of pro players are getting a bit out of hand, such as the Favre soap opera — but in the end it does make for great entertainment.

But to be fair, where mainstream pro sports fail is in the passion of the game. For all that they’re getting paid, pro players could stand to put a little more heart into what they’re doing. I’m not saying they don’t want to win every game, but their extra curricular activities distract them. Nonetheless, I’d rather be entertained by athletes that know what they’re doing than kids who ultimately don’t amount to much in the long run. The NFL is about business. College should be about the game and it’s not.

It’s unfortunate that college forbids personality in football because it would make for a much more entertaining time.


  1. Renee Renee August 27, 2008

    I know exactly what you mean. Here I’m stuck in Alabama State vs. Auburn territory. In small towns it’s so bad. Businesses even close down for these stupid ass games. I guess it gives these people SOMETHING to talk about since nothing else goes on around here. *sigh* But then again, I’m not a big fan of sports in general…. I usually just tolerate them.

  2. Big G Big G August 27, 2008

    I’ve always found college football to be a little more exciting than pro football.

    In college football, anything can happen. I’m talking about errors, failed executions, and crazy miracle plays. It’s not quite to the same extent as in high school football, but the unpredictability does make the game more interesting.

    Now, combine that with the unfortunate fact that in college football every game counts, and every game can be a real roller coaster ride.

    I wish that a single loss didn’t have the ability to ruin a college teams season. The pros can loose a handfull of games and still go to the Super Bowl.


  3. Brian Brian August 27, 2008

    Oh…and one problem I failed to bring up about why college football is worse, is that they have the single most confusing tournament system ever devised by man.

    The NFL is cut-and-dry when it comes to the play-offs and champions. College football has more bowls than it does teams and thus in the end even sucky teams go to bowl games and win. Why should bad teams get rewarded?

    I’ve ask my friends every season to try to explain the tournament system and no one can do it simply and concisely. There are just too many factors and too many hands in the pot when it comes to tournaments.

    When there are all these issues in the tournament system, it just lets teams (and fans) make excuses as to why their team sucked.

    And I’ll go out and argue that the “random” errors Big G says make college football better actually makes pro football better. I expect college players to make mistakes, I don’t expect pros to make stupid errors – but they do – and when they do it’s all the more exciting because it’s more unbelievable.

  4. Thee Thee August 28, 2008

    The ‘tournament system’ is very, very easy to describe. |There is none| College football doesn’t have a tournament, we have bowl games and that is it. There are 30ish bowl games, so ~60 teams get to go to bowl games. What I love about bowls is that 30 teams get to end their season with a win. No other sport does that. In most sports only 1 team can win their last game, every other team ends the season with a loss.

    Now there is the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) which can be confusing if you try to understand the detail. The BCS is a master poll made up of other polls (think LOTR and the BCS Poll is The One Ring to rule them all). The theory is that any one poll can be wrong, but if you take 8 polls and average them together you will get the best possible representation of what it out there.


  5. Brian Brian August 28, 2008

    OK, well, if there is no tournament, then THAT is the problem. There should be one winner. The more winners there are, the less value each of them has. How special can something be if everyone has one?

    And from what I’ve gathered from fans like yourself, the only bowl/win that matters is the national one – which makes sense – and any other bowl trip besides that is stupid and doesn’t mean anything…at which point, why have them at all?

    And the BCS formula reminds me of a Dilbert from a while back. It basically had Dilbert averaging a bunch of bad data to used as good data.

  6. Erica Erica August 28, 2008

    Wow, I had no idea you were from Columbus too! I feel your pain. I tease my boyfriend all of the time (who is a big OSU fan, of course) whenever he wants to buy something OSU related or watches a game – “Oh yeah, you’re such a big fan, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE IN COLUMBUS.” I’m so mean. :)

  7. The Original Dave The Original Dave September 13, 2008

    I can’t stand Ohio State fans because they believe their team deserves to be in the National Championship game every year.

    They’re gonna get destroyed by USC tonight, and those hopes might actually be dashed early.

    Go Trojans!

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