Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why College Football is Better than the NFL (Part 1)

So I was going to make this a list on why college basketball is better than the NBA, but I thought a "top-37" list was going a little overboard. So instead I've decided to keep it in season and share with you my top 10 reasons why I think college football reigns over the pro game.

10. The Uniforms: The NFL has a few nice looks - the Saints and Falcons come to mind - but they have nothing on the sheer number of styles the college game boasts. From the outrageous Oregon Ducks to the classic Michigan Wolverines, the NFL just can't compete.

More than anything they take chances in the college game when it comes to uniforms. Every team it seems has a home look, a road look, an alternate home look, a night game look, a national television look, you name it they got it and I love it.

Kids seem to always be ahead of the curve when it comes to fashion and what looks good, and it's no different here.

9. Overtime: Is it just me or isn't there something just so anti-climactic about a 50-yard pass interference penalty followed by a 40-yard field goal to end a game? Well that's how they do it in the NFL. It doesn't matter if you just rallied from 30 points down at the half to force the extra period, you lose the coin toss and you are automatically behind the sudden death eight-ball.

Don't get me wrong, the college system isn't perfect, but it is better. Both teams get a chance to answer a score by the other and over the last several years the system has helped produced some of the greatest games in any sport. Anyone recall a recent BCS Bowl Game that featured a hook-and-lateral, a wide receiver pass and the statue of liberty?

The only thing I would do to tweak the college system is have the teams start at the 50-yard line to make field goals a bit tougher to get, but that's about it. I just love seeing two teams fighting and giving everything they have get a chance to keep their hopes alive in overtime.

8. The Crowds: The NFL stadiums and the people who fill them are great fans who can get loud and raucous with the best of them. Still, no pro crowd can come close to 105,000 in Neyland Stadium in Tennessee or 112,000+ packed into "The Big House".

Painted frat boys, bands belting out "The Imperial March" from Star Wars every 30 seconds and inebriated coeds are just a few of the reasons this sports fan loves a college crowd. Not to mention the fact that games are played in places called "Death Valley", "The Swamp" and "The Horseshoe". "Death Valley", how cool is that?

In the NFL they play at "name-that-huge-company field" and it all just seems a bit too controlled and big-business as opposed to the all-out passion that is the college game. When was the last time you saw the folks at Invesco Field storm the field after a big win over the Chargers? Not that I condone that sort of thing, but it is crazy to see a swarm of people target the goal posts for destruction after a win over a hated rival.

7. National Fan Bases: Born out of those crazy Saturday morning crowds are legions of life-long fans who, despite often times living hundreds of miles away from their beloved alma maters, seek out other alums for the express purpose of cheering on their school.

Sure there are pro football fans displaced by the circumstances of life (I live in Minnesota for crying out loud), but it's just not the same. Take in a Nebraska game at Sensor's in Bloomington, Minnesota some Saturday and prepare to be drowned in a sea of red.

That kind of devotion can be found in a few NFL fan bases like the Raiders and Steelers, but a person's alma mater tends to take center stage like little else.

6. The Great Debate: Sports talk radio types who belly ache every year about college football's lack of a playoff system should instead be donating a portion of their salaries to the NCAA for giving them never ending debates over who the best team really is and in turn keeping them in business.

There's something wonderful about guys getting together with other guys and arguing until they're red in the face over whether or not USC could beat LSU. And the debate lasts all season long, keeping the phone lines at KFAN full and giving the hosts of College Gameday something to talk about week in and week out.

If we're lucky we get to find out who would win a game between two top teams at the end of the season to prove who the better team is and which conference reigns supreme. And if we don't get our wish the debate rages into the off-season keeping college football on our minds 12 months a year, genius.

Tune in Thursday to find out the top 5 reasons why college football is better than the NFL.

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