50 Things We Just Love About College Football

Dan VastaSenior Writer IIIMay 6, 2012

50 Things We Just Love About College Football

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    There are millions of things that we all love about college football, but some are more obvious than others.

    Everybody may have a few things that they always look forward to every single season, but they likely have their own personal preferences.

    College football is so entertaining once the fall rolls along that I just had to come up with a list.

    So, here are your 50 things that we die-hard, addicted fans absolutely love about college football!

Upsets

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    Nothing is better than collegiate sports and its upsets. Fans rush the field with passion and excitement for their beloved teams.

    The sport would not be nearly as good if all the preseason favorites went on to win their conferences.

    The upsets that occur every season (and weekend) makes for great headlines, and the fans always love cheering for the underdog when their team is not involved.

    Parity in sports is special, and while not every favorite will lose, having too many of the favorites can make the sport filled with less drama.

    Well, college football is filled with plenty of it.

    There is a ranked team (specifically top 10) that gets upset on every weekend of the season, and many times you are unsure of which team will get that lucky bounce.

    In a game of inches, the upsets make it an exhilarating and wild ride every fall.

Overtime

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    The NFL has recently implemented a new overtime system for playoff games, but college football still gives you more excitement.

    Sure, it does stink at times when kickers are involved. However, that is where the excitement honestly begins. If your offense is good enough, it shouldn’t stall when you're inside the 25.

    There are so many thrilling games that head into overtime, and more times than not they live up to it. College football is home of where the upsets happen, and overtime gives us that opportunity.

    We could argue that it is a tad bit fluky when it comes down to a kick, but if you truly are a better team, then it should not even go to overtime.

    We live for overtime because we may keep on playing for hours. The more football we see, the better it is for us die-hards.

Night Games

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    College football at night is a match made in heaven. It gives both fanbases more time to tailgate and enjoy their time.

    The player can relax all day and do his best to not buy into the hype that many of their fans have bought into.

    More importantly, watching these games under the lights is special because they are on national television where everybody is watching.

    Not everybody is watching the noon or 3:30 Eastern games if they are doing errands around the house, but night games are simply electrifying.

    It is entertainment at its best, and the national prime-time games adds to the drama of these games.

    The fans are rowdy and anxious for the game to kickoff that once it reaches game time, pandemonium really starts to set in. 

Saturday

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    God bless Saturdays in the fall. The lovely leaves start to fall off the trees, and depending on your location, the weather is still gorgeous.

    Waking up at the crack of dawn to start your day is like nothing else. I can only compare it to one thing, and that would be Christmas morning as a child.

    The only difference is that college football occurs over a dozen times in the fall, which makes life that much better.

    I truly wish every day was Saturday even though that means not much would be accomplished other than living the dream! 

Time Slots

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    An underrated aspect of college football are the time slots of all the games. Things could be much worse and we could be forced to watch a billion games (at say only two time slots all day), but instead we are able to watch a dozen or so per time slot (it varies, more in afternoon normally).

    Every vital game is on national television. However, thanks to ESPN GamePlan and many of the other sports packages that are out there, us die-hards never miss a game.

    Whether we catch every play live is one thing (love DVR), but we never seem to miss anything of importance because the games are spread out perfectly.

Traditions

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    College football is arguably the best sport in the world, and much of that is because of in-game traditions.

    Every prestigious program has something to get the crowd going, and the true pageantry that is shown on gamedays truly is one of a kind.

BCS Busters

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    Every single season, we wonder about which non-automatic qualifying team can crack the BCS code?

    It is not easy for a non-BCS team to appear in one of those five illustrious bowl games because there have been just six teams to accomplish such a task.

    The Big East has recently lost its AQ status, which should give the underdogs a better chance of appearing in a BCS bowl if they were to run the table.

    TCU has since moved to the Big 12 along with West Virginia, so outside of Boise State, there are not many teams that have the overall talent to compete with the big boys.

    At the end of the day, it is great for the sport to have an underrated team compete with a team full of NFL stars (though Boise just had two first-rounders), and it makes you appreciate every and anything they can accomplish.

    Houston gave us a wild finish last season albeit they fell short. Will there be a team in 2012 to catch us by surprise?

Erin Andrews

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    Never before has there been this great of a reporter with as much wealth of a knowledge as Erin Andrews. Her beauty and excitement for the game is shown whenever she is on College Gameday.

    College basketball and MLB have seen her grace the court and diamond before, but watching her deliver excitement on the gridiron is not something you get in any other sport.

    It is because of Erin Andrews that so many females have been inspired to become the next great one, but just the swagger and respect for the game she shows is unique.

Debating

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    Where would we be without the Top 25 rankings?

    The pollsters send their votes in and whether we are talking about the Associated Press or the Coaches Poll (ultimately BCS), it is great water cooler talk.

    Sports would be in trouble nowadays if there was nothing to debate, but there is always important news to discuss.

    College football falls into that category because many of the important pollsters do not always call it like it is.

    Many argue the rankings are bias towards a specific conference or against a few teams on the West Coast, for example, because they often play past the bedtime of the ones who are expected to watch and rank every college football team.

    Either way at the end of the day, the rankings almost always work themselves out, but sports (and life) would be nowhere in general if we all were alike and agreed on everything.

BCS Conferences

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    Let us show some love to all of the power conferences in college football. Where would we be without them?

    However, it is not the only conference out there. The BCS conferences are favorites of fans all over and even with the Big East losing its swagger in terms of an elite conference, we still have the Big Ten, Big 12. Pac-12 and ACC alongside the SEC.

    From the players being drafted in the NFL to the coaches, traditions, stadiums, fans, tailgating and camaraderie, these conferences have it all.

    The SEC has dominated the NFL Draft in recent memory, but the Big Ten actually has the most ever BCS appearances (25).

    There are so many top 10 teams that are in all of the polls and rankings throughout the season from these power conferences, but it is a fluid motion.

    The ACC has been down, but they are waiting for Florida State and or Clemson to become BCS contenders.

    The Big 12 should be getting better in 2012 with West Virginia and TCU and we know the Pac-12 should be legit with USC taking off right where Stanford has been the last two seasons.

Special Teams

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    So many teams last year were ruined on that dreadful final play. Great teams do not place the blame of a loss on one player because great times should not struggle with mediocre teams, but the heartbreak hotels that we witnessed last year was eye-popping.

    Plus, it was fun watching Brad Wing bring back a fake punt for a touchdown (although it never counted with his premature celebration).

    Overall, the special team hits that are made on punts and kickoffs are relentless, and when a player brings one back to the house for six, the stadium erupts.

Spread Offenses

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    The spread offenses really took charge when Tim Tebow and the Gators went on to win two separate BCS titles (one as starter, other backup).

    Sure, the spread started long before that, but it has really taken flight in college football in recent memory and some defenses are still searching answers to slow it down.

    There is nothing wrong with most enjoying a ground-and-pound type of game, but threading the needle 40 times a game (per team) is enjoyable because if the big play ability and capability for both teams on the field.

National Signing Day

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    Is there anything else better that is going on in the offseason?

    Especially in February, National Signing Day gets everybody excited about the future of their programs. If there was a specific area of need, perhaps one player or a group of a few studs will help make your team a conference or national title contender.

    Plus, when the season ends in January, everybody goes through a bit of a downward spiral in terms of sadness. Realizing the football season is over is no fun for the die-hards, and National Signing Day sort of brings your happiness back up to par.  

Summer Magazines

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    Picking up a magazine or two at the start of the summer (often end of spring) really gets the juices flowing because one realizes how close the college football season is.

    Just a few more weeks (months) before the bands are playing your alma mater’s fight song is always exciting.

    It helps to understand that the best time of the season is nearly upon us. Summer is great for weather and all, but when it comes to an end, we all know that college football will soon be underway.

Mascots

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    These lovable mascots whether they are live animals or not makes college football that much more enjoyable.

    Many of the mascots are icons for their prestigious programs, and gameday traditions are lived on forever.

    The excitement in the air is brought many times by the mascots.

    Whether it is taking a picture with them on gameday before kickoff or just seeing them bask in their glory, mascots have a solid role on Saturdays.

Quarterbacks

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    It is arguably the most coveted position in all of sports thanks to media, fans, coaches and, at times, the players themselves.

    We love to talk about the next Heisman candidate at quarterback, and it is vital for them to produce.

    This position is arguably overrated in terms of bringing home a BCS title since the last three seasons have featured new starting quarterbacks when the season has started (McElroy, Newton, McCarron).

    Still, they are involved in every single play (QB exchanges, handoffs count), and it is imperative they are consistent in everything they do.

    Let it be known football is arguably the ultimate team game, but teams often rally around their quarterbacks since most of the time they are the inspirational leaders in and out of the huddles. 

Battle of Trenches

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    SEC, Big 12, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, it does not matter what conference we are talking about because the battle of trenches is what decides the winners and losers more often than not.

    Watching the stud tackle take on an elite edge rusher is enjoyable because it often has a huge impact on the outcome of the game.

    Every team has their own identity, and some love to run the rock a bit more than others.

    If a team enjoys dropping back and spinning it to their star wide receivers, they better be able to pass protect or else their quarterback will not make it past halftime. 

Media

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    For good or bad, we should love the media. Some use it as ammo for their own team, whereas others use it as a barometer of where exactly the program is headed.

    Sometimes we may disagree with certain things that are or have been said, but at the end of the day winning solves it all.

    Without the social networking and information that is talked about in college football, the hype and excitement would likely be down a notch or two.

    Since there is always somebody stirring the pot or at least ranking everything that can be ranked, it allows everybody to give their two cents and enjoy the sport that we all love.

Conference Alignment

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    With conferences expanding and adding or losing so many teams in the past season, more water cooler talk has been added to the sport.

    Unfortunately, money does have a lot to say (not that there is anything bad with that), and at the end of the day, we should want the best competition and entertainment made possible.

    Some may not enjoy watching the rich get richer, but we do know that parity is not such an awful thought and the more teams the merrier (to a certain extent).

Tailgating

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    Man, does America love their tailgating. The food and beverages are always digested and consumed with the best of them on fall Saturdays.

    The relationships we build with family and friends are often gained through the tailgating experience that so many enjoy.

    Depending on which part of the country you tailgate at, the wide variety of foods are ridiculous. I hope you enjoy eating because more times than not you will get to the tailgate site starving and leave as if you will never eat again. 

Holidays

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    Maybe college football is the best because of the time of the year when it is being played.

    Thanksgiving and Christmas (for those who celebrate it) are two of the best holidays of the entire year, and it brings families and friends together.

    We do not get that nearly as much in any other sport. Throw in New Year’s Day for the bowl games, and you could argue that college football is easily played around the best holidays of them all.

Coaches

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    The pre- and post-game speeches are always enjoyable, but it is often the halftime speeches from coaches that gets their team fired up to kick some rear end.

    So many current coaches are icons of the sport, and they mean so much more than just being the leader of their team.

    Many of the top coaches are considered the mayor of their city and the guy that can lead their state to the promised land.

    College football is so enjoyable that an entire community often unites together for every home game. Don’t forget so many coaches do not get as much time as they have earned in the past, so if they cannot win right away the hot seat will burn.

    The pressure is there for certain coaches to live up to depending on the program they take over for, but if they live up to it and then some, everybody will adore and treat their coaches as if they are gods.

Heisman

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    Is there anybody out there that does not like how the Heisman takes up an entire week for their presentation?

    Didn't think so!

    It is enjoyable to take a deep breath and appreciate the regular season that had just ended, and it also gives you time to prepare for the upcoming bowl season.

    Having a whole night for the Heisman is great because it truly honors the top players in college football, and the young men deserve their dues.

    The prestige and tradition that has put forth into the Heisman Trophy makes it arguably the best individual (and overall) reward there is in all of sports.

Spring Football

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    Many of the spring games do not feature their star players due to the workload and already knowing what to expect from them, but the excitement of having college football back is noteworthy.

    It also allows many of us to witness who may have the edge at certain position battles, and many youngsters shine in these spring games as well (like Alabama's T.J. Yeldon). 

Female Football Fans

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    The amount of females that show their true colors on gamedays does more than just add to the overall atmosphere.

    Many die-hard college football fans are female, and many of them are stunning, beautiful and gorgeous.

    I could go on, but the warm climate hotties seem to nearly outshine the players on the field at certain points of the season.

    The tailgating and life in general is perfect when there are essentially models roaming campus.

    It doesn’t end there, though, because many of these women love the sport just as much as males do, which makes us think twice in terms of true love for college football.


Dream Matchups

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    Early season matchups make college football difficult tough to beat.

    The regular season is so important that every game is important if you expect to play in the BCS title, but every season there are magical matchups that you couldn’t expect in your wildest of dreams for any other sport.

    Alabama-Michigan, Boise State-Michigan State and Clemson-Auburn are just a few of the heavyweight matchups that we will witness on the opening weekend of games.

    Being able to watch these type of games every season helps make the argument for why college football is the best. 

Conference Championships

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    If 12 weeks of regular season games weren't enough (throw in a bye week), an extra week of conference championships sure sounds exciting.

    Boy, it really is thrilling because of the BCS and often BCS title implications that are on the line.

    Most of us love this sport because it is considered to be the most entertaining out there, but having implications on the line always has extra people watching.

    There are so many scenarios where a team may be going to the Sugar, Fiesta or perhaps the BCS title game if it were to win its conference title.

    It is also the final day of college football for a few weeks, so the appreciation and energy put in to the final day of the regular season (considering titles are still regular season, Vegas obliges) is a great ride.

Weekday Games

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    The MAC will give us a ton of weekday games during the middle and even early parts of the week. After "Monday Night Football," it seems as if football is on every single day starting in November.

    Don't forget about the heavyweight matchups we have seen on Labor Day in previous seasons (Boise-VT) either.

    More football is always the choice and even if the matchups aren’t great (FSU at VT, Nov. 8), the fact that football is being played is all that needs to be said.

Explosive Touchdowns

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    Everybody loves it when their player breaks off a long electrifying home run. Whether it be a long touchdown run or pass, we all love entertaining touchdowns.

    The more points often means enjoyment, although not everybody is a fan of Baylor-Washington (Alamo Bowl) where the defenses cannot buy a stop.

    The Rose Bowl was a perfect example of explosive touchdowns without making defense seem completely irrelevant.

    Although the scoreboard started to go bonkers towards the end of the game, highlight-reel touchdowns are always enjoyable.

Cheerleaders

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    The fall weather ensures us one thing: college football!

    The weather may be more beautiful in the South as opposed to the Midwest or the East Coast in November, but life is absolutely heaven when September rolls along.

    One of the reasons why?

    Those cheerleaders!

    It is one thing to see people cheer for your team, but when females are dressed up in your favorite teams' attire, it only helps make you like them a bit more.

Kickers

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    Living and dying by kickers is something else. Many times you will absolutely love your kicker. Obviously, a game-winner makes life much easier, but if he misses a game-winner, most will feel sick to their stomach.

    It truly is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in the life of a kicker (and a fan), but the excitement and drama that it adds to college football has been amazing.

    Last season we saw so many top 10 teams lose on a final kick.

    Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Oregon, Stanford, West Virginia and so many others lost games via the kick.

Freshmen

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    Sammy Watkins became just the third true freshman in NCAA history last season to become an All-American (behind Hershel Walker and Adrian Peterson).

    Despite his recent off-the-field troubles, the kid is still a superstar talent, and so many freshman these days are given the keys or at least the opportunity to shine brightly right away.

    It is great to follow young studs, and Watkins is one of the many we will see in the immediate future.

Hostile Environments

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    The hostile territories that teams encounter every weekend is absolutely deafening for the visitors.

    It is tough to get in and out of plays, and we see so many teams nowadays use visual signals to avoid communication issues.

    The fans of college football are simply the best, and it shows every single Saturday with the packed houses.  

Hawaii in the Morning

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    Watching college football past midnight should almost be illegal.

    Waking up at the crack of dawn is heaven in itself, but then being able to watch college football for over 15 hours makes a great finish towards your Saturday.

    Most of Hawaii football games are beyond 2 a.m. Central time, 3 a.m. East Coast. Formerly from the WAC (now Mountain West), the Warriors' offense is always entertaining to watch, and their defense allows crazy things to occur.

    Yes, these games are really crazy if you stay up late in the morning hours. Hawaii could be up two touchdowns for the entire game, and then bizarre defensive blown assignments will occur (getting gashed against the run hurts).

    All in all, Hawaii caps off a great day of college football, and we can count on their talented team to get back to relevancy with Norm Chow leading the way now.

Rivalries

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    Rivalries in sports are great to follow, but college football takes it a full notch above the rest.

    The Iron Bowl every season is intense among other SEC rivalries, but the Big 12 and the Big Ten have quite a few as well.

    The Pac-12 has given us classic rivalries as well, but regardless of the conference we are guaranteed to see a ton of excitement with quite a bit of hype that ends up living up to it.

    We wait around for a year once our beloved team loses to our hated rivals, and we can only countdown the day until we can get redemption.

    Michigan’s victory over Ohio State this past season ended their 2,926-day funk of last defeating Ohio State (which was Nov. 20, 2004).       

Vegas Odds

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    'Gambling is illegal at Bushwood sir, and I never slice.'

    As much as some may or may be aware, the experts in Las Vegas set the odds on every heavy favorite to win the BCS title, and once the season is underway so much is available for the public to look at.

    Every game between FBS opponents have lines, and many prognosticators that are not involved in gambling will even mention it.

    Leave it to Lee Corso. Or Brent Musberger will arguably throw a line out there every single weekend, which gives some ammo towards a specific team.

    In today's world with social media, many times fans will discuss who should be favored and by how much.

Trick Plays

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    Boise State’s victory over Oklahoma in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl was an epic finish that ranks among the greatest finishes.

    There are so many trick plays that light up the stadium, but the creativeness from offensive coordinators has been taken to a whole new level.

    Timid offensive calls no longer exist in the sport in an era of win-now-or-go-home. Still, the yards and often the touchdowns are piled on, thanks to the bevy of trick plays that college football has given us. 

Student Section

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    Why is collegiate sports better than professional sports?

    Well, the love and excitement we see from the fans is apparent with the ability to rush the field.

    The chants, the bashing, the love and often the tears are shown.  

    The pageantry that is in the air on gameday is special, and the students truly give it their all, just like the players.

Lee Corso

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    Where would college football be without Lee Corso?

    The mascot machine himself makes "College Gameday" a true treat often because you do not what he is going to say next.

    Some may find him annoying, but he is the best reason why the sport is so great.

    Always entertaining, Corso loves the sport just as much as we do, and he shows us every single time he is on camera.

    Many love college football because of the end of "College Gameday," Corso dons the mascot head of the team he picks to win the selected game that the crew attends.

    Thank you, Lee Corso!

Icons

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    Former icons that are still around the game of college football are always appreciated, but the sport always has fans that come back for more.

    Fans certainly help, but the atmosphere and excitement that former coaches and players’ bring back is memorable.

    Most stadiums and or fields are named after previous icons, and all of the college football awards are named after previous ones as well.

    It is important to honor those who meant so much to your sport, and college football succeeds at such.

Senior Day

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    Many college seniors come back for that fourth or fifth year if they were to redshirt.

    All of the hard work they put in is rewarded by the fans in that final home game, but there have been so many collegiate stars in recent memory that turned down the NFL for the pure joy and love of college football. 

Regular Season

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    Pure entertainment could sum up the regular season. The electricity we witness every weekend is relentless because it keeps coming back with even more excitement.

    The upsets, the thrilling plays and the overall emotion of the game cannot be duplicated. Every weekend is a playoff, and ranked teams are often getting taken to the woodshed.

     The No. 1-ranked team is always on upset alert, and it is vital to find a way to survive and advance.

    BCS title aspirations may be over with a loss, but BCS aspirations remain in your power conference because upsets are a part of the game.

    Unlike the NFL (which I love as well) and every other sport, college football has fireworks-filled games with a ton on the line every weekend.

    There is nothing better than watching a sport that has so much meaning in nearly every single game involving ranked matchups.

Time Expiring Plays, Game-Winning Drives

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    Nothing beats a thrilling finish, but being able to watch a team oppose their will and finish the game with such calmness in the clutch is amazing.

    All the great quarterbacks can lead their team to victory, but the drama that unfolds in the process is unlike any other sport. 

Two More Years Until Some Sort of Playoff

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    Most will admit a change is needed, and luckily we will only have to wait two more seasons before some sort of likely mini-playoff occurs.

    There is nothing called a perfect system, although we do not want to change for the better. Love or hate the way the BCS works, more times than not we get great games, and the hope is that the future playoff will only make the sport even better.

Walk-Ons

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    This could be thrown under the underdog story and then some. It is difficult for a player to tryout for a team when they are not sought after.

    College football allows walk-ons, and many times they surprise us with their ability to help out the team in some sort of fashion. Many stars were once walk-ons, and they eventually catch the eye of the coaching staff before perhaps getting a scholarship.

    Either way there is always a great story or two, and the players have to work off their tail to even see the field. 

BCS

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    When the first BCS rankings comes out, it is almost like Christmas morning.

    All the presents are waiting to be opened up and you practically know what will be unwrapped, but you are unaware of the order in which everything will go down.

    The BCS has given us so many great BCS titles, and there were so many matchups that would have never had happened (USC-TX, OSU-MIA) before the BCS.

    For all the sports that have a playoff, the excitement level is right there, but the better teams on paper (proved it in regular season) are usually not always advancing.

    Some might argue that the third best team could beat the top teams in the country and that a playoff would be better, but the BCS title has given us a ton of great memories.

    So, what is truly better than to be rewarded for what you have accomplished during the season?  

Bowl Season

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    It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

    The college football postseason and all 35 of its bowl games are perfect for the die-hard fans. Some may not like it, but those are the ones who do not understand how college football works.

    These bowl games mean everything for the players and coaches who often have their futures decided on opportunities like these.

    The conference matchups we see in the bowls are nearly perfect, but the constant football we see in late December heading into January is perfect for the ones who can never get enough football.

New Year’s Day

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    Is there a better day involving sports for the entire year?

    I love the opening day of March Madness as well as any opening day of another regular season or postseason for any sport, but New Year’s Day is entertainment at its best.

    The matchups are classic, and many of the traditions get better every year. The Pac-12 against Big Ten is perfect, but being able to watch several SEC squads take on the best from the Big Ten is memorable.

    Throw in an extra BCS bowl minus the Rose Bowl, and you have yourself 12 hours of perfection. 

Constant Change

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    Certain teams come and go with their ability to dominate the competition, but your reign can only last so long.

    Florida State once upon a time finished the season ranked in the top four for 14 consecutive seasons (1988-2001), but that will likely never come close to happening again.

    Every weekend when the polls are revealed, it gets everybody going since there is a team or two that received undeserved (or too much) love whereas others received the no respect card.

    The rankings in itself juices up the sport, and constant change (fluid motion, always changing) in rankings every single weekend is what makes the sport such a joy to follow.

Lifelong Memories

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    The memories we make throughout each college football season is like none other. The enjoyment it gives us is like nothing else, and we simply cannot wait for the season to start once one ends.

    The pageantry and excitement that is always in the air can light up an entire community, but the overall landscape of college football is special.

    Life is all about enjoying every moment to the fullest. The relationships and memories we gain from this enjoyable sport will remain with us for our entire lives. 

    Follow Dan Vasta on Twitter.