Football? College and Pro

If you like the sport, and who really doesn’t, last weekend was a golden weekend.

First of all, you had the first round of the NFL playoffs, on Saturday and Sunday.
Then, on Monday night, the college football championship.
Alabama vs. Clemson. I imagine, there were many who were let down by that matchup.
We had seen it before.

So what?
They were the two best teams in the nation, no question.
What’s wrong with that?

For those who would like to see an eight-team playoff, I’m with you.
I think we’ll see it happen.

Let’s tall about the two versions of the gridiron game.
Here’s what we know. The best football played is in the NFL.
The true spirit of fans is with the college game.
Not that there’s a lack of spirit for fans who root for NFL teams. It’s just that there are those who who are alumni of colleges and that emotion never leaves them. Ever.
It’s where they went to school, regardless of age.

When I was growing up, there were 12 teams in the NFL. Six in the east, six in the west.
The two conference champs would play for the NFL Championship.

In college football, there were only five bowl games. The Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Orange and Gator. Now there are a million. In the NFL there were 12 teams who made the playoffs.
The national champion in college football was decided by a poll of writers and coaches.
So, it’s all changed.

Now, we have players who don’t want to risk injury and affect their pro careers by withdrawing from playing in bowl games. West Virginia’s quarterback Will Grier did just that and his school lost a bowl game to Syracuse.

I can’t really blame him. He’s looking out for his future. Sure, it’s easy to say he owed his school and should have played. But times have changed. Go with it.
It’s funny when we look at the game as it has changed.

The pro game has taken on so much of what the college game has become.
Quarterbacks who are a threat to run, and in the run-pass option, can do either one to confuse defenses.

Some NFL teams have adopted a good deal of that style. It’s exciting, without doubt.
But when we get to the nitty-gritty deep into the playoffs, it’s the same story of what football has always been about. Running the ball and playing air-tight defense.
That has never changed.

And how about the coaches?  There was a time when college coaches became the flavor the month for NFL teams looking for their new leaders.

How many have really worked out? Not many.
And how many want to leave a lucrative, comfortable life as the king of a college town?
Nick Saban is the best college coach on the scene.

He tried his hand as a head coach with the Miami Dolphins, after serving as as defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns under Bill Belichick.
Neither worked out well for Saban.

He came to the conclusion that college football was where he preferred to be.
How has that worked out for him?

Lincoln Riley was a hot candidate for the pro ranks after the regular season concluded.
But Riley, at least for now, has cast his lot with Oklahoma, where he is king.

There is one thing I don’t buy.  That’s the theory that college football is more genuine because it’s more innocent. It’s about kids, who are student-athletes, playing kid’s game. Hogwash.

When you watch a big-time college football game, you’re watching players who hope to become professionals.  Also, the same ugly issues we see from players in the NFL, are also occurring in college football.  Those players bring their same baggage to the pro game.

There is no question there are fans who have been turned off by the kneeling of players not respecting the anthem in the NFL.

I know of many who have turned the page and only watch college football.
Maybe time will change all that.

But in the final analysis, there is nothing like football.
It captures sports fans like none other.
And this is the time of year when it shines.