We love the NFL, but it just can't compare to the Saturday version of the game.
What follows will explain why those of us at College Sports Matchups have this belief.
Based on our observations, there are eight areas that we believe really distinguish the college game from the football played on Sundays. How many more can you come up with?
What we really would love to know: which you prefer and why. We look forward to your feedback.
Do you think Joe Paterno would still be roaming an NFL sideline? How many NFL stadiums are named after former coaches like Bryant-Denny in Tuscaloosa? What is the NFL equivalent to the Four Horsemen? What NFL play is as vivid in your memory as Flutie to Phelan?
College football legends are more colorful and longer lasting in our collective memory.
Where would you rather spend time: in the Horseshoe on the campus of Ohio State or the Cincinnati Bengals' Paul Brown Stadium? Jerry Jones' slick new Cowboys Stadium or the exceptional atmosphere of Kyle Field? The Georgia Dome where the Falcons play or between the hedges in Athens?
College stadiums are classics, and every brick has a story to tell. People still come to watch the game on the field, not the big screen over the playing surface.
The last three Heisman Trophy winners are Mark Ingram of Alabama, Sam Bradford from Oklahoma, and Florida's Tim Tebow. Bet you knew that already. How long would it take you to remember that Peyton Manning has won the NFL MVP award the last two years, with Tom Brady winning it before that?
There is no prime-time show to present the NFL MVP award.
We have to grant, the Lombardi Trophy is pretty cool. After that, what are you playing for in the NFL? In college football, Minnesota and Michigan square off for the Little Brown Jug. Stanford and Cal play for the Stanford Axe. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State strive to bring home the Bedlam Bell. A personal favorite is the Milk Can battle between Boise State and Fresno State.
The Big Ten is particularly prolific in trophy games.
Have you ever seen Clemson players touch Howard's Rock as they run onto the field? What about Tennessee being led onto the field by Old Smokey? Ever sat in the student section at Kyle Field and kissed your date? Heard Bama fans chant Rammer Jammer when a win over Auburn is locked up?
What tradition does the NFL have that can match so many great ones that happen every weekend on college campuses across America?
This season when your team has an off week, take time to visit a campus you have never been to on game day and ask the locals about their traditions.
There are spread offenses, option attacks, traditional sets, and more imagination than, well, you can imagine in the college game. With the NFL, it does not matter which game you watch...the game plans have all the excitement of a paint-by-number kit. A variety of offensive and defensive attacks makes the game much more interesting.
It also helps that all the players are not in the top two percent of all football players...some will be in the upper tier as teachers.
What college football fan has not dreamed of being asked to "dot the i" at Ohio State? The USC band is outstanding, and the University of Tennessee's "Pride of the Southland" marching band is the best part of a Tennessee game when they come to your house to play...unless they are playing "Rocky Top" constantly. There is a reason college halftimes are longer than the NFL's.
Stanford’s band is irreverent, while Michigan’s is classic. Again, there is variety to spice things up.
Alabama vs. Auburn; USC vs. UCLA; Michigan vs. Ohio State; Texas vs. Texas A&M; Duke vs. North Carolina; Georgia vs. Georgia Tech. Name one really interesting NFL rivalry.
Hands down, this category goes to the college boys. I mean really, in this era of free agency, does Redskins vs. Cowboys even mean anything to the players? In the college game, rivalries always matter.