50 Things About College Football We Hope Never Change
There is so much to love about college football that it is hard to put it into a few slides. So, why not make 50 of them?
College football is quickly becoming one of the most popular sports in this country and it continues to grow in popularity.
With so much to love, there is plenty that helps set it apart from other sports.
While there may be some things everybody would love to change, for the most part the uniqueness of the sport is second to none.
Here are 50 things about college football we would never change.
Perhaps more than any other sport, home-field advantage in college football is second to none.
There is no question that the home crowd can make a big difference in any college football game.
With many stadiums having a seating capacity of over 100,000, there is no question that it can get a little loud.
There are traditions in every sport, but college football has some of the most unique in all of sports.
Whether it is the lore of the Notre Dame football program, Howard's Rock at Clemson, the Gator Chomp or so many others, college football has everything when it comes to rituals and traditions.
What other sport has an entrance with a man riding in on a horse and spearing the field like the Florida State Seminoles do?
Upsets in sports are something that are always going to happen, but in college football there are truly games pitting David vs. Goliath.
Just ask Michigan who fell to Appalachian State a few years back.
Every year there seems to be a handful of upsets that shock the college football world.
The 2012 season should be no different.
Great Overtime Rules
While the NFL is starting to move in the right direction as far as overtime is concerned, college football has it figured out.
There have been some thrilling overtime games over the years, including Notre Dame vs. Michigan State a few years ago and of course the Fiesta Bowl featuring Oklahoma and Boise State.
As we have come to know, all bets are off when the game goes to overtime.
There is nothing like tailgating before a college football game, and while every university has it in some form, there are a few schools that do it a little better than others.
One of those places is The Grove at Ole Miss. This is one of the most unique tailgating atmospheres in all of sports.
The best part about tailgating in college football is there are places like this everywhere.
There is nothing like waking up on a Saturday morning and getting the day started with a little College Gameday.
When Lee Corso is in rare form along with Desmond Howard and Kirk Herbstreit, the group is second to none.
Even though Erin Andrews is no longer with ESPN, I'm sure the network will find an adequate replacement.
The Small Guys
How different would college football be if teams like Boise State, Southern Miss, Houston, TCU, BYU and others did not do what they did from a smaller conference?
Without question, it would not be nearly as fun.
The little guys make a big difference when it comes to the college football world.
Constant BCS Debate
Even though the debate for who will play for the BCS National Championship is always heated, that does not mean that it is not fun.
It seems like the debate starts earlier every year and for good reason.
With the four-team playoff on the horizon, talks may slow down a little, but the bickering will definitely continue as far as the eye can see.
Some people love defense, while there are those who enjoy a little offense.
The good thing about college football is that it offers fans both. There are some offenses that put up numbers on a consistent basis that are mind-boggling.
Teams in recent years like Oregon, Houston, Oklahoma and many others consistently put 50 points on the board without breaking a sweat.
Expect that to continue in the coming years.
Every sport has its fair share of crazy coaches, and college football is no different.
Whether it is the grass-chewing antics of Les Miles or the screaming of Brian Kelly, there are some interesting personalities when it comes to college football head coaches.
Love them or hate them, at least they keep it interesting.
Race for the Heisman
Conversation surrounding the Heisman Trophy has already begun for the 2012 season, and it will continue right up until the Heisman presentation in December.
No matter what year it is, there always seems to be controversy with everybody having their own opinion.
Who will emerge this year remains to be seen.
The offseason can be extremely long and college football offers something that few other sports do...spring games.
For a few weeks in the spring, teams are allotted a certain amount of practices, usually culminating in a game at the end.
Spring games can draw crowds at schools like Alabama and Ohio State that are near capacity and are a great way to get through the offseason.
It seems like every year there are names that pop up on the college football landscape who many people did not know much about.
Whether it is a feel good story or somebody coming off an injury, it is fun to see.
Names like Collin Klein and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III were a few from last season who made a name for themselves.
Big Out-of-Conference Games
What everybody looks forward to when the schedule comes out is conference play, and while it is a big deal, the out-of-conference games are huge no matter what year it is.
This year there are games featuring Alabama-Michigan, Boise State-Michigan State and Auburn-Clemson.
That is just the first week of the season. There is much more to come after that.
It seems like in the NFL that most kickers make nearly every big kick.
On the college level, things are a little different and it makes things much more interesting.
What is more exciting than seeing a kicker miss a chip shot and lose a game?
The old saying it isn't over until its over has never been more true. Just ask Boise State fans.
As mentioned, there are plenty of excellent offenses in college football, but the old saying defense wins championships has never been more true than recently.
Alabama had one of the most fierce defenses in recent memory last season, and other teams in the SEC were close as well.
While offense wins games, defense wins championships, no matter what level it is.
Conference Championship Games
Some people may not be all for conference championships, but last time I checked it is more football to watch.
I think the SEC Championship Game also doubles as the national semifinal.
Even though these may be going away if the playoffs expand, I would still love to see them for conferences who have 12 or more teams.
There are rivalries in other sports, but none more so than college football.
With rivalries like Michigan-Ohio State, Auburn-Alabama, Texas-Oklahoma and so many others, there is no sport in the world that has more rivalries than college football.
Whether the teams meet at the beginning or end of the season, some games have extra meaning every year.
Games Nearly All Week
Every year it seems like there is more of an emphasis on games being played all week.
Eventually we will get there, but what we have now is pretty close. Once the middle of the season hits, fans can expect to see some type of game nearly every day of the week except Sunday and Monday when the NFL is on.
With the Mountain West and MAC taking Tuesday and Wednesday games and the Big East covering Friday, there is college football every day the NFL is not playing.
Every Game Matters
No other sport is quite like it when it comes to the importance of every game.
The saying that every game matters is not more true in any other sport.
For teams who lose the first game, every game may not matter, but there is no regular season that is more important in any other sport.
The big-play capability in college football can be found all over the country.
Names like De'Anthony Thomas and Robert Woods have the ability to score from anywhere on the field.
There are plenty of others across the country who can do the same thing, and these electrifying players can make any game interesting.
Even with what has happened recently at Penn State, there are still plenty of living legends in the college football world.
There are also legends who will never be forgotten. Names like Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler will live on forever.
Perhaps the biggest living legend today is former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden.
Some may say the college football bowl season is too long and there is too much time between games.
But, that only holds true for those who are playing. For the fans, it is a month of excellent football.
The bowl games now start just a week after the regular season ends and continue well into January with games nearly every day.
What is better than that?
The fan support at almost all college football stadiums is better than anywhere else in sports.
No matter where in the country it is, there is undying love from most fans for their team. The passion is different from any other sport.
What helps to set college football apart from the others is the fact that a lot of these schools do not have professional teams in the area, meaning they live and breathe college football.
When a guy sticks around for a final year of eligibility it can be a big deal and that senior leadership is something college football has.
A guy like Matt Barkley could have easily gone pro, but he decided to stay around for a chance to win a national championship.
That can go a long way toward determining a team's success.
Conference re-alignment is something that always has fans talking and will seemingly continue to happen.
But, is that necessarily a bad thing?
Change is usually for the better, and seeing what the next major move will be in this chess match between the conferences certainly has my attention.
Cheerleaders can be found in any sport, and keeping them around is more important than most people think.
What would fans do during the timeouts or between plays?
They are a must for college football.
Saturday Nights in the Fall
Night games in college football are the pinnacle of the sport.
Every year there seems to be more and more of them. While day games are great for many reasons, going to a game under the lights is a whole different experience.
The atmosphere is completely different and the crowd is that much louder.
Growing Interest in Recruiting
Every year the recruiting aspect of college football continues to be more of a big deal.
There are multiple websites to get recruiting information, and it continues to grow in popularity every year.
That not only makes the offseason more fun, but also gives teams hope who are having a bad season.
The No. 1 recruit this year, Dorial Green-Beckham was known around the country well before he even turned 18.
There is passion all over the college football field. From the top row in the stands all the way down to the players on the field, passion can be found everywhere.
With so much emphasis placed on every game and a loss having the chance to completely ruin a season, no team is going to go down without a fight.
Neither are the fans of those respective teams, and it shows every week.
With college kids, there is always the issue of unpredictability, particularly when it comes to clutch situations.
That not only makes things hard to judge, but also fun to watch.
Some kids may step up in that pressure situation, while others will wilt in the limelight.
Either way, nothing is certain at the college level.
The Teams That Are Hated
Everybody has that team that they just can not stand.
It is one thing to root for your own team, but rooting against another almost just has hard is something that has grown to be commonplace.
Whether is is a conference rival or an entire league that just completely drives somebody nuts, there is no doubt that everybody has somebody they just loathe.
There are so many pregame rituals when it comes to college football that nearly every school has something unique.
There are famous entrances such as "Enter Sandman" at Virginia Tech or the Ramblin' Wreck at Georgia Tech.
These are just a few of the many amazing pregame rituals college football has to offer.
Every stadium is completely different than the next in college football, and for those who have had the opportunity to visit multiple stadiums, every one is unique in its own way.
Whether it is the large stadiums that can be found at Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama or Penn State or if it's the smaller stadiums with a little style to them such as the one in Oregon, there is a little something different at all of them.
While freshmen in college football do not have the impact that they do at a lot of other sports, they can still play a large role for a lot of teams.
Just ask Oregon about what De'Anthony Thomas did last year.
There are plenty of others as well such as Sammy Watkins and Marqise Lee. Who will step up this year remains to be seen.
Mark May and Lou Holtz
Even though they are not necessarily on the same page all the time, Mark May and Lou Holtz are very entertaining to watch.
They are wrong almost all of the time and anger me along with thousands of others.
Watching my team prove Mark May wrong is something I always look forward to.
There are so many famous fight songs when it comes to college football, and all of them have a special meaning to their respective team.
Whether it is "Fight On" at USC or "Hail to the Victors" at Michigan, fight songs are a huge part of college football.
The debate will continue as to which team has the best one.
An Upcoming Playoff
With news that there will be a four-team playoff beginning in 2014, college football is certainly headed in the right direction.
This will likely be expanded, but what a great way to get two more teams involved in the national championship race.
When it goes to eight teams, that will be even better.
Every team has some type of mascot, and while some are a little more interesting than others, there is no doubt that they can be a big part of any game.
Whether it is the Oregon Duck running on the field before the game or the Georgia Bulldog biting an Auburn player, mascots play a large role in college football today.
The term "Fear the Turtle" did not come about for nothing.
Heart and Energy
The passion of the fans is one thing, but the heart and energy displayed every game by the players on the field is greater in college football than in any other sport.
The players are not playing for money but the love of the game, and they give it everything they have every Saturday.
Not many other sports can say that.
New Year's Day
There is nothing in sports quite like college football on New Year's Day, and I hope that never goes away.
Even though it is not what it once was, New Year's Day is still a big deal and has the best collection of bowl games of any day of the year.
With two BCS games along with a few others, football on New Year's Day is the best of any day all year long.
Where else in sports can you get a uniform like the one Maryland sported for part of last season?
These are some of the most atrocious in sports, and the Terps are not the only college football team to put something together that is shall we say interesting.
This is certainly another unique aspect of the sport.
National Signing Day
How great is national signing day? It keeps the college football season going for another month.
It has gotten so popular that every February 1, some people decide to take the day off work. With live coverage all day long, why not enjoy what is becoming one of the best days of the year?
This is truly one thing about college football that no other sport can match.
College football has mascots, traditions and so much more, but the pageantry is something that stands apart from all other sports.
With displays of pageantry put on by bands all over the country such as the famous 'Script Ohio' by The Ohio State Marching Band, pageantry is a big deal in the sport.
There are plenty of other bands that display it as well.
Trick plays are something that kind of levels the playing field, and college football features plenty of them.
Just ask Oklahoma who lost to Boise State a few years back on a couple of trick plays in the Fiesta Bowl.
Even though some teams may be severely outmatched, trick plays allow them to hang around a little longer with the big boys.
Multiple Awards Handed out
Besides the Heisman Trophy, there are also a lot of other awards handed out at the end of the season.
Whether it is the Walter Camp, Maxwell, Jim Thorpe, Rimington, Doak Walker or any other award, there is something handed out to players from every position.
Even kickers and punters have their own awards.
College football has been around for nearly 150 years, and there has been plenty of history over that time span.
Rivalries that are nearly a century-and-a-half old and still existing today are unique to college football.
Particularly with the northern rivalries, college football has a history matched only by Major League Baseball.
Gambling and Odds
Who doesn't love to make a little wager on a college football game every once in a while?
With so many different Vegas odds and different aspects of the game to bet on, gambling on college football has become a big deal.
While college does not have the fantasy aspect that the NFL does, it still has gambling that can make it even more interesting.
College football features postgame rituals that can not be found anywhere else.
Whether it is 'Carmen Ohio' which is sung at the end of every Ohio State home game or saluting the crowd at Notre Dame, there are some amazing rituals all over the country.
Certainly "Rammer Jammer" at Alabama can not be forgotten although that is more of a winning tradition than anything else. At West Virginia they sing "Take Me Home Country Roads," and at Auburn, Toomer's Corner is a major postgame ritual.
Amount of Games on Television
It now seems that nearly every college football game is on television somewhere, and frankly I like it that way.
With games almost every day of the week and on so many channels across the dial, there is literally college football on for 14 hours every Saturday.
Eventually we will probably get to a point where every FBS game is nationally televised somewhere.