Tuesday, August 15, 2006

College football over NFL? Don't think so, ESPN

Today on espn.com, Ivan Maisel posted 20 Reasons why college football is better than the NFL (in response to Len Pasquerelli's list to the contrary). At the risk of taking sides, I'm taking Pasquerelli's side and declaring that the side Maisel is on is wrong. On to the list:

1. Passion. The appeal of college football is rooted in the simple notion that your team represents you, your state, your alma mater, your youth. The NFL represents -- what, exactly?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it exactly represents the city that the team is named after and located in. Here's what downtown Pittsburgh looked like during its championship parade this past February. Note the hundreds of thousands of not-passionate fans, standing around discussing their alma maters and how the place they spent four years of their lives (if they even went) is more valuable to them than their history-rich hometown team, which, by the way, has a waiting list for season tickets dating back to the 1980s. Point taken, Maisel.

2. 25-year-old millionaires. Speaking of which, college football has none. What the game does have, instead, is humility. You want the bling and the talk? Have at it. We'll stick with guys who are still happy to get their names in the paper.

Again, great point, those 25-year-olds in the NFL are assholes for accepting the millions of dollars offered to the select few of them good enough to play at that level. Anyone who went to college knows that all college players are humble; my sophomore year at Penn State, I recall a mob of people trying to get into a party that Larry Johnson was allegedly coming to, probably to congratulate him on his humility (but then he went to the NFL and got paid, thus instantly lessening his character). Granted, the coaches make six and seven figure salaries, and universities stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars off the sport (or more, if the team makes it into a game that is named after an advertiser), but it's mostly all done for pride, not money, and that is why it's a better sport.

3. Rivalries. Army-Navy. Ohio State-Michigan. Alabama-Auburn. Texas-Oklahoma. Harvard-Yale. Williams-Amherst...

I recall the nation being riveted by Williams-Amherst last year.

...How can anyone justify the depth of antipathy that Ohio State and Michigan fans have for each other when compared to the thrills of a Houston-Jacksonville game in October (or the rematch three weeks later)?

Totally seamless argument - the most famous rivalry in college football is more exciting than a poor NFL matchup. I could counterargue that Colts-Patriots is more exciting than East Carolina-UTEP, but what would that prove? His point's just too solid.

...What does the NFL offer in comparison? Dallas-Washington? How big can a rivalry be when they play it twice a year?

Shit, he's right. They do play twice. Guess they're not rivals.

4. The postseason. I'm going to let WVU coach Rich Rodriguez defend it for me. "In Division I [-A] football, every game is a playoff," Rodriguez said. "Once you lose one game, you're mostly out. If you lose two, you're definitely out...You stub your toe, you can never get back in it."

He's exactly right, you lose once in college and you're out. That's why it's fucking retarded. Or you lose one game like Auburn in 2004 and another 1-loss team gets a shot at the title and you don't. Or you could be like Tulane in 1998 and go 12-0 and finish ranked 10th, but I guess all twelve were playoff games, somehow? In the NFL, the playoff games are playoff games, which I think makes a lot of sense.

5. Bowls on TV. Of course there are too many bowls. But from Dec. 19 to Jan. 8, when there's a game on just about every day, how great is that?

Maisel here nabs a sentence from his twelve-year-old's journal to make his point, which nicely contradicts his earlier, also wrong argument; he claimed the Cowboys and Redskins playing twice a year was excessive, but having 27 bowl games which bear no impact on who wins the national title, that's better. I mean, how stupid is that?

11. More bang for your buck. All those commercials and yet the [NFL] games are shorter. What does that mean? Less football!

Right again, Maisel, NFL games are shorter - shorter than the USC-Oklahoma BCS game that lasted over four hours, which USC eeked out in a 55-19 thriller. The first half ended at goddamn 11:30 at night, and USC was up by four scores, even I turned it off. But yeah, I guess to some people football for 13 hours in two days just isn't enough.

13. Dynasties. The NFL, thanks to the salary cap, is the last bastion of socialism in the world outside of Cuba. In college football, coaches build something to last.

Oh dear lord, I don't even have the strength for the sarcasm on this one. Is he serious? Does he understand that words are for the purpose of conveying an idea and mean things? Players do move around in the NFL, that's an astutue point, but in college, EVERY TEAM'S ENTIRE FUCKING ROSTER IS LITERALLY ENTIRELY DIFFERENT EVERY FOUR YEARS.

...History demands that Michigan must win (or Nebraska or USC). What does history demand of the Carolina Panthers? An introduction.

Again, taking a selective cross-section and concluding it's the norm. What does history demand of Marshall? Or Louisiana Tech? Or Southern Miss? And sure, there's no NFL equivalent to wanting to win. Philly fans were ecstatic with the Eagles' performance last year. And what about the Jets? Their fans were fine, history just demands an introduction from them (what the fuck does that even mean? Does he get paid by the reason, why didn't he just stop at five shitty ones?) I hope he doesn't conclude on some poetic dillusions of grandeur...

20. Eternal youth. It's the same reason we continue to go back to our alma maters season after season. College football reconnects you with the kid you were, when Monday morning meant only a political science class, not the resumption of the mortgage chase. That's why you go back to campus every fall.

Wow. So now he's thieving from his twelve-year-old's poetry book in desperate need of a wondrous ellipsis to blend his sports list into a "life" list. For me, the last time I went to Penn State's campus was the weekend of their spring scrimmage, the "Blue and White" Game, but I missed it because I was much more interested in trying to hook up with girls who'd be more easily impressed that I live in New York than the ones in New York. As for my PSU football memories? Sure, I'll always love college football, but nothing will replace my Saturday night ritual of setting my alarm for 12:50 to wake up and watch the next day's Steeler game, even though it reminded me of my mortgage chase and all other aspects of adulthood. And no 20 lame-ass reasons are ever going to damage that reslove in the slightest. [Was that a deep enough ending? Wha'ev.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad to see your a CUSA fan. ECU, UTEP,Southern Mississippi, Marshall et al. Oh don't forget that when LT played college ball he was playing for a CUSA team. A lot of good NFL QBs played in CUSA. So maybe when those teams get on track they jump to a higher conference. What happens when parity in the NFL occurs? Why the AFC becomes the best conference and wins the super bowl. 5 years from now we'll be talking about how good the NFC is. Parity? Naw it's called the first pick in the draft.