I’m Trying to Like College Football, But I Don’t Just Yet

Eight years ago, we moved from suburban Washington, D.C. to St. Louis.  As we did so, I moved from college basketball territory to college football territory.  Unfortunately, I just can’t get into college football.

I grew up in and lived in Maryland, which is not a hotbed of college football.  Yes, Maryland has a team and is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which is a major football conference and a member of the Bowl Championship Series.  But the ACC was and is, in my opinion, a basketball conference.  I grew up a huge Maryland basketball fan, and I still am.

Hung Outside My Neighbors' Home, But No Pull for Me Yet

I went to Williams College for undergrad, a Division III school, where our home games attracted over 2,500 fans at Homecoming and exam schedules took precedence over sports schedules.  The Williams football field was certainly second or third class when compared to some high school stadiums in Texas and Arkansas.  I did go to a home game in Ann Arbor once to see Michigan-Notre Dame.  Being among 105,000 people was fascinating, but, for me, a one-time event

So I moved out to Missouri, and I noticed Mizzou flags hanging from homes and cars on Saturdays.  I noticed the prominence of Mizzou on the local news.  I talked to new friends who routinely made the 90-minute drive out to Columbia for home games and some who also made road trips to Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas,  For me, this was a whole new phenomenon.

It was a phenomenon, but not a bug.  I watched my friends, not understanding how they could be interested in college football.  This is a sport that has so much going for it, but four things in particular have always driven me away:

AJ Green Sits for Getting Money, But Georgia Takes All It Can Get

  1. The sport makes massive amounts of money, but none goes to the players.  The recent episode with A.J. Green, a University of Georgia wide receiver, is indicative of the problem.  The kid sells his jersey for $500 or so and is suspended for four games.  His university, of course, sells his jerseys on their website.  See Michael Wilbon’s article pointing on the hypocrisy of this.
  2. There is no mechanism to decide a legitimate champion.  Every other sport and football in every other division has a way to determine a champion.  Why no playoff?  See #1.   More money in the bowls.
  3. The sport has been and, in my opinion, always will be corrupt.  You know that players are paid under the table to matriculate and then attend.  You know that they receive preferential treatment in their academics.  Why does this happen?  See #1 above.
  4. It just takes too much time to watch.  Too many players on each team.  To much changeover each year on the players.  Too many games to follow.

Over our time in Missouri, I have enjoyed watching Mizzou games with friends.  I have gotten used to the Monday morning conversations about college football.  I have started watching and started trying to enjoy it.  It’s growing on me.  The Michigan-Notre Dame yesterday was very exciting, but I got bored by the Boise State-Virginia Tech game the week before.

We’ll see where the evolution goes.  No Mizzou Black & Gold just yet.  I’m trying,  but it will be a long road.  At this point, NHL training camps are more interesting.


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