Ten years ago, I wrote an article on Bleacher Report regarding the ways that the college version of the sport of football were better than the version where the players wearing those colorful helmets and pads get (legally) paid.
I thought it was high time that I did a slightly revised list of why I – and many other fans – prefer the football that’s played on Saturdays over the football that’s played on Sundays…
1. College football has cheerleaders who actually lead cheers. Pro football has “cheerleaders” who are actually showgirls with pom-poms.
2. College football has marching bands. Pro football brings in marching bands, or plays canned music over the loudspeaker, or places a DJ on the sidelines.
3. College players play for the love of the game and their school. Pro players play for the love of their contract.
4. In college, every game counts, In the pros, you have four games in August that don’t.
5. College football has iconic places where it’s played like Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Michigan’s “Big House” in Ann Arbor, and especially the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. I really don’t think AT&T Stadium, Jerry Jones’ palace in Dallas that he built for his Cowboys, measures up.
6. ESPN’s “College Game Day”; my favorite show in sports along with HBO’s “Real Sports”. I’d much rather see celebrities like Katy Perry pick the winners of games and Lee Corso put on a mascot’s head in front of so many rabid fans on campus than whatever those guys on the NFL’s pregame shows do.
7. College football has the Axe, the Old Oaken Bucket, the Little Brown Jug, the Apple Cup, the Golden Boot and at least a couple of Victory Bells. Pro football has, well…
8. College Football has Renegade, Traveler, UGA, Smokey, Ralphie, a gorgeous looking Alaskan Malamute in Seattle, and a goat named Billy in Annapolis. Pro football wouldn’t let them within 100 yards of their stadiums.
9. UCLA fans don’t have to worry about Jaelan Phillips and Soso Jamabo being traded to Stanford for two offensive linemen and a defensive tackle to be named later.
10. USC fans don’t have to worry about Porter Gustin and Cameron Smith holding out of fall camp because they want their contracts renegotiated – unlike the Rams’ fans with regards to Aaron Donald.
11. Number of NFL teams: 32. Number of major, “Power Five Conference” teams: 66. That’s more than twice the number of teams for the college fans to root for.
12. Everybody knows “Hail To The Victors”, “Cheer, Cheer For Ol’ Notre Dame”, and “Fight On”. Can they say the same for “Hail To The Redskins” outside of Washington, D.C.?
13. College football teams still give away free tickets to underprivileged kids; UCLA has an “I’m Going To College Day” for such a purpose. NFL team owners would rather go out of business than give tickets away.
14. Unlike in the NFL, college football teams don’t move out-of-town and leave their fans because the school president and athletic director doesn’t like the stadium and the team is making millions instead of billions.
15. Rivalries mean a lot more in college. If the Chicago Bears lose to the Green Bay Packers, they get another shot at them in a few weeks. If USC loses to UCLA, however, those Trojans have to live with it for the next 364 days.
Michigan vs Ohio State, Oklahoma vs Texas, Harvard vs Yale, and (particularly) Army vs Navy has so much more appeal than the Dallas Cowboys vs the Washington Redskins.
And even though Alabama won their 5th national championship in the past nine years last season, that Crimson Tide isn’t even the best team in their own state as they still have to deal with losing to Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
16. College football players don’t get fined $5,000 for wearing their socks too high or too low or for tucking in their towel wrong.
17. I would much rather see games in places like South Bend, Austin, Tuscaloosa, Lincoln, NE, in the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, and on top of “Tightwad Hill” overlooking the San Francisco Bay in Berkeley than in Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, and Charlotte, NC.
18. College overtimes are so much better than NFL overtimes: Ball placed on the 25-yard line for both teams. One team scores, the other teams needs to score more or game over. VERY exciting.
19. Although the rivalries can get intense in college, and there have been incidents among fans, at least opposing fans don’t have to worry as much about getting things thrown at them and beer poured on them by drunken fans, unlike in places such as (in particular) Philadelphia.
20. The bonding among alumni at college games, some of them going back roughly sixty years, can’t possibly be matched by any bonding that pro football fans do.
A Bruin scoring a touchdown during UCLA’s 38-20 win over USC at the Rose Bowl in 2014. Photo courtesy of bruinsnation.com