Que Sarah, Sarah

Sunday, November 11, 2007

College Football v. NFL - Part 1


College Football v. NFL - Part I of II

Paul M. Banks (college) v. Sarah Spain (NFL-bold)

We know you've all had this argument before: at the sports bar, during holiday parties, at the tailgate. In autumn, some people look forward to Saturdays each week, others count down the days till Sunday. Now the debate hits S&PCB...

Superior tradition, pageantry, Fight Songs etc.

- Football began in the 1860s with a collegiate match between Princeton and Rutgers. It has a 60 year head start on the professional league and that deeper sense of history has spawned numerous rituals that give the fan a greater emotional reaction than you can not find in the more business like professional ranks. The scripting of O-H-I-O, Notre Dame's "Play like a champion today" sign, the singing of "Rocky Top at Tennessee;" the college game is the one with the superior traditions, unique quirks and more colorful rituals. And listen to the fight songs in the amateur ranks! Don't get me wrong, I love hearing local talent Soulja Boy's "Crank That" at Soldier Field when the opponent is ready to kick to Devin Hester or Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin" when Dez Clark has a big gain down the middle on a slant route, but neither experience compares to a time tested fight song like when all of Spartan Stadium at Michigan State sings along word for word, and continues singing even when the band has stopped playing and action resumes. (OK, I admit that last example is a little creepy in a quasi-Fascist sort of way), still Michigan's fight song is so old the lyrics actually say "champions of the west" because it was written back when that part of the nation was considered the frontier. I doubt Jock Jams, 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready for This" and Kernkraft "Zombie Nation" will still move thousands of people over 100 years from now.

Well, as for fight songs specifically...The NFL equivalent to a fight song would be "Bear Down" not "Crank That." Hearing lifelong Bears fans singing Bear Down is just as goosebump-inducing as hearing alumni sing their old fight song -- so it's a tie there. (btw...check out this link to see me and my Super Bowl date awkwardly singing Bear Down for the Chicago Trib guy when we're suddenly joined by Tommie Harris!


Songs like "Big Pimpin'" played throughout the game are more like school bands playing tried and true favorites like "Hang On Sloopy." I do appreciate the youthful, nostalgic feel of a big marching band sitting in the seats along with the fans, so I'll at least give college football the win there. However, fight songs and pageantry sort of fall under the more general category of "overall game experience." Leaving out actual players and game play for now, the NFL wins for game experience for a simple reason... In college 4 hours of class is considered a full day's work and binge drinking every day of the week is accepted. In The Real World most people are lucky to get out after 8 hours of work and are forced to limit their excessive drinking to the weekends. Saturday college football games are the beginning of a full day of other drunken activities including but not limited to: unprotected sex, recreational drug use, keg stand-ing and foam partying.

Meanwhile, Sunday NFL games are one of few remaining acceptable activities for which adults can be completely hammered. (Weddings and bachelor(ette) parties are two other such notable occasions). I love the pageantry of college games but NFL tailgating and post-partying offers up a social opportunity that those of us in the real world sorely miss now that we can't head to a party full of attractive co-eds any day of the week. NFL games are also a great time for family bonding. Yes, there are lots of parents that have raised their kids to love a certain college team, but often times those kids grow up and become loyal to their own alma mater. No matter where they move or where they go to school, they'll still be able to come home to root for their NFL team.

Everyone gets a team

-There are numerous states in the Deep South and Great Plains where dozens of large communities lack professional teams. Pro franchises are hundreds of miles apart from each other. College football gives these people and the entire state something to cheer for, which is extra special when pro teams are few and far between. In places like Alabama, Mississippi, and Nebraska, college football is more than a past time...because it has to be.

Very good point. College wins that one. On the other hand, some of those Mississippians and Arkansans are still hard core NFL fans, regardless of distance.

Every game counts v. 1-3 team coming back to make playoffs to make playoffs

-In college football, there is no room for error. One loss and you can kiss your BCS chances goodbye. If you schedule all cupcakes in your pre-conference (like Kansas St. and Minnesota usually do) in order to stock up on wins, the computer will make sure you're left out of the big party later. Every game is a playoff game, and no matter what the scenario is, you always have to, as Larry the Cable Guy would say "get-r-done." Although I agree with you that having fewer games than baseball or basketball makes each one more meaningful

After waiting months and months for football season to start, you wanna go into every week with hope and get at least half a season under your belt before you know the dream is over. I'd much rather hold out hope that my team can pull it together to make the season count than know by week 2 that they're out of it. One or two bad games for a college team, and they're done. Injured QB? Too bad. Team tragedy? Suck it up. Team chemistry slow to take hold? Sorry fo' ya. There are still only 16 NFL games a year, so unlike baseball or basketball, every game DOES count...just not enough to ruin your whole season. I believe in second chances (and in the case of my Bears, third...and fourth...and fifth...)


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