NCAA Throws Shade on NFL

posted Nov 14, 2017, 2:10 PM by Ryan Allison

            Is the NFL empire losing it’s fanbase to the National College Athletic Association (NCAA)? Well that depends on who you are asking. Some would say the NFL is the King Kong of the sports world, but then I say they haven’t spent time on a college campus on game day, enjoyed the Pac 10 “after dark” where a jackrabbit took the field and scored a touchdown, celebrated a 45-point upset, watched a kicker re-kick his own blocked kick, or sat sunned when a game was won with a walk off fake punt and this was just the beginning of the 2017 season. For me the work is done on Saturdays and Sundays are truly a day of rest.

            For those of us who live and breathe college football it is comparable to a Hometown Buffet. Full of entrées for everyone. On any given Saturday you can flip through the channels and find a dozen different games with a dozen different offenses-triple options and spreads. College football boast more than two conferences and advice from a college super fan: root for a bunch of teams. Pick one team from each conference. Follow high profile college athletes or the team with the most draft prospects, and the NFL draft takes on a whole new meaning. Suddenly, on a Sunday Amari Cooper and the Raiders versus Deshaun Watson and the Texans becomes: Alabama versus Clemson.

            College football is full of pre-game traditions. For example, the nation’s number one tailgating happens at The Grove for a home football game in Oxford for Ole Miss, where “hotty toddy” becomes a way to greet fellow Rebel fans, Tailgating on Lake Washington for the Huskies, boat slips at Baylor, the dancing trees at The Farm at Stanford, the midnight yell the night before every home game at the Texas A&M home of the 12th man, the Purdue drum, tapping the sign at Notre Dame, Nittany Lions pre-game parade, W0000, Pig, Sooie, Arkansas: the calling of the hogs, Mike the tiger at LSU, riding the Schooner at Oklahoma, and no pre-game list would be complete without mentioning the Auburn War Eagle. Pre-game shenanigans are just the beginning of four quarters of traditions, such as: the Seminole war chant, the Alabama rally cry of “roll tide”, the Ohio State Marching Band (if you have never seen them form the traditional “Script Ohio” I encourage you to Google it), college fight songs that bond and fire up the crowd, and the Tennessee Volunteers trash can tradition. One of the best college gameday victory traditions is Toomers Corner where Auburn fans bring rolls of toilet paper and roll the trees after a Tiger victory. College fans tailgate in the same spots, sing the same songs, remember the words to alma maters, and recite chants that are decades old because, well fans have done it for as long as anyone can remember-that is what college football tradition is all about.

            Unlike the NFL you do not have to wait for the playoffs for all the excitement. In the NCAA every game counts. One loss or a win that causes an upset can cost a team a spot in the National Championship. For this reason, college ball is exciting. Anything can happen. Anyone remember sitting stunned when Auburn returned a missed field goal by Alabama to win the game? Or when Utah WR goes 78 yards to the end zone but celebrates early, drops the ball on the one and Oregon takes it all the way back for a touchdown?

            Finally, is there anyone who really sits on the edge of their seat to see who is going to take the NFL MVP? But, the Heisman journey-that creates intrigue and debate all season long. The Heisman in my opinion is (besides the Stanley Cup) the most revered trophy in all of North America.

            If you have not been to see a college game in person I highly recommend it. I have been fortunate to have seen more than a few games. I have been to the famed Autzen Stadium-home of the Oregon Ducks. I have been to The Farm, and I have been to Cal Berkeley to see Ole Miss play for the first time on the West Coast in the school’s 169-year history. I have to say there is nothing like the goose-bumps you get when you walk into a college stadium on game day and hear the marching band or the roar of the crowd when fourth and crazy happens. There is an excitement in college football that has to be seen and felt in person. Go see a college football game you will not regret it! It’s just my opinion.

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter