It's that time again.
Training camps are beginning and the greatest sport on earth is getting ready for its first snaps.
But are you looking forward to watching on Saturday or Sunday?
Sure, most people end up watching both because if not they might have to spend time with the wife. But, there's a little something missing if it's not the preferred brand of football.
For a game that's the same, there are an awful lot of differences. Some make their version great, while others leave a bit to desire.
The version of football that some feel is most pure. It might seem with all the investigations and rumors this is no longer the case, but fear not.
There can be up to 85 scholarship players per college team, plus another 40 walk-ons. For every player involved with improper benefits, another 84 are still playing for the right reasons.
And, although the top teams may have a few of these scandals, 120 teams exist in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Not everyone can be corrupt.
Of the over 10,000 student athletes that participate in college football yearly, very few make it to the next level.
The 2010 NFL Draft had 255 picks. Of those 255 picks, half will be out of the league within three years.
There are 1,696 players who are on active NFL rosters during a season. Some players may go on for 15 years, the spots are sacred.
Many who occupy the spots are relegated to the bench and barely see the light of day.
The ones that actually do play: simply the best.
In college, there is a mix of everything.
Fans get to watch the best and the weak all in the same. Some of the best college players never have a chance to even make it in the pros.
The talent level in the FBS is still high-end, but nowhere near what can be watched on Sunday.
The 16 game marathon or the 12-gamer.
Each have their flaws and benefits.
College Regular Season
College regular season games have more meaning. If a team loses a game, their national championship hopes take a big hit.
The 12 games mainly consist of conference games against rival schools. The familiarity is nice for fans and for yearly rivalries.
Many universities also end up with more than their fair share of home games. While it may be a flaw in some respects, the unbalanced home and away schedule is beneficial to fans.
Unfortunately, flaws of the college regular season remain abundant.
The out of conference schedules are often a joke. Even if a college plays one equally or more talented team, three others consist of low tier programs. Some of the programs not even in the same football subdivision.
The rare upset will occur in those instances, but it doesn't mean the same.
In conference games, with more teams than games possible fans may miss out from time to time on a university they wish to play.
The college regular season also rewards mediocrity. If a team goes 6-6 they technically advance to the post-season.
NFL regular season
The 16 game schedule is a marathon.
Each season, teams play their division rivals six times. In addition to those games, a rotating schedule against the other conference is added. Add in some more scheduling and the NFL presents pretty balanced schedules.
Sure, a team may get lucky one year and face some easier teams, but usually within the division itself the schedules remain balanced.
In the NFL, teams don't have to win every single game. Usually a 9-7 record can sneak a team into the playoffs.
The games can become more meaningful as the season progresses or more meaningless.
Depending on your team, by Week 13 your season may be over.
For the good teams, their regular season might end in Week 16. Teams too often bench players and don't put their best product on the field.
What once was great and unique is no longer.
The college bowl system has become watered down and outdated.
1980: 15 Bowl games
1990: 19 Bowl games
2000: 25 Bowl games
2010: 34 Bowl games
Mediocre teams are now rewarded with bowl games. While it's nice to know a 6-6 team has an extra game and possible travel destination, the product itself may not be the best.
Add in the BCS system and much of the greatness that came from a Rose Bowl or Orange Bowl has dissipated.
The storied out of conference rivalries set to occur in bowl games no longer exist.
The games may produce exciting results, but often with month long breaks the quality of football diminishes from when the regular season ended.
And of course, the true winner of the National Championship can be debated on a yearly basis.
Let's face it.
By this point, the NFL playoffs have a large lead over the college football system.
The playoffs are very straight forward in the NFL.
Teams are able to utilize their stadium for extra games if they earned any sort of home field advantage.
The NFL playoffs culminate in the greatest yearly sports spectacle, the Super Bowl.
While the best regular season team may not always come on top, there is no disputing whoever lifts the Lombardi trophy is the clear champion of the NFL.
There is nothing quite like a pure college rivalry.
The names of players may change, but the hatred never disappears.
Michigan vs. Ohio State, Auburn vs. Alabama, Army vs. Navy, Oklahoma vs. Texas...
The list could go on forever. In college, rivalries may take lulls in the product on the field, but never in meaning.
In an off year, these games are the championship for some schools. The greatest part, every school has at least one.
In the NFL, it's not quite the same.
Rivalries exist, but in a different way.
The NFL's best rivalries at a particular time usually include the best teams facing off.
The Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots isn't a historical rivalry. Instead, it's a product of the times now. When Tom Brady and Peyton Manning call it quits the fierceness will fade into oblivion.
As for historical NFL rivals, the passion is never the same. Sure, Packers fans hate Vikings and Bears fans, but when teams aren't the top competition the games lack the true meaning.
An NFL rivalry game during the regular season needs some extra spice.
Brett Favre in Minnesota enhances the Packers rivalry. A playoff meeting between two rivals, increases the meaning.
Regular season game rivalries often lack in the "if we're having a bad season, this win could be our Super Bowl" category.
That's the most a college football fan can actually watch a specific player in their team's jersey.
With redshirts, upperclassmen ahead on the depth chart, and players leaving early that dips to about a two year window.
Despite that, the journey truly begins well before and feels longer than those two quick years.
The diehards will track recruits and follow the kid's path from early high school all the way through college.
In a way, fans feel like they're watching a player grow up before their eyes.
The story of a walk-on or someone from their hometown adds a factor of relating to the kids.
When the player moves on, they will always be recognized as a member of their respective school. They can go on to the NFL to play for one or nine teams, but never lose their collegiate identity.
For NFL players, the loyalties from fans and teams are not always the same.
Some NFL players will remain long enough on a specific team to always be associated with them. Others become journeymen going from town to town.
Fans may grow attached to certain players, but it's tough to define loyalties in professional sports.
At anytime a player could leave during free agency, demand a trade or be cut in the blink of an eye. A once loved player may become hated within an instant.
As frustrated as college fans may get at times, NFL fans hold their players to even higher standards. They're no longer kids playing a game in school. They are getting paid millions of dollars and better produce.
Signing Day and the NFL draft.
The culmination of all that is the offseason.
Both are based purely on potential. A top recruit could be a bust and often times a top draft pick can be too.
The NFL draft has been turned into a monster event that lasts a whole weekend.
Signing day usually begins with the knowledge of most recruit's decisions. Signing day only represents an official day to announce recruiting classes.
The press conferences for both are entertaining to watch when it comes to introductions, but each has their own feel.
While we won't dip into every detail, there are large differences between the two.
Starting with the kick-off things are quite different.
The list ranges from types of alignments on the offensive side to clock stoppages and replays.
But, perhaps the most debated difference is overtime.
Each sport has their specific version that fans love or hate.
Is starting on the 25 yard line and rotating fair? How about sudden death?
The debate can go on forever, but the two will remain unique in how they settle things when time expires.
How can buildings meant for the same thing be so different?
College stadiums have been around forever. There is a feel of history often in the building.
The buildings may go through constant renovations, but in the end don't lose their luster.
Some stadiums fit in over 100,000 screaming fans a week. Add in the bands and a bunch of screaming kids and those places can be rocking.
In the NFL, things are a bit different.
There are still some historical sites like Lambeau Field, but majority of stadiums are built as entertainment centers.
They are built to please with a bevy of amenities outside of football.
While both stadiums have their clubs and suites, the NFL makes those priority No. 1.
One benefit to the pro game, alcohol. Many college stadiums only serve in suites. It would be a disaster to ID thousands of screaming kids, but the pros don't have to worry about that.
The passion is there in each place, but it depends what brand you prefer. The yelling drunk kid or the yelling middle aged man.
It's simple: Girls in college watch and attend football games.
It's an excuse to have fun and get drunk before getting drunk again later in the night.
College girl's are often in their prime when it comes to how they look at this point in their life. They often want to look a certain way and wearing their school's apparel can come off looking quite nice.
And as a bonus an occasional girl learns enough to talk about the game as well.
In addition, every college has a dance team and cheer leading squad.
These squads get the best out of their fans and often look good doing it.
In the pros, things are a bit different.
Not every team is blessed to have cheerleaders (damn you, Detroit Lions). And the teams that do, don't usually travel with them.
By Sunday, women aren't in the same mood to watch or attend the game.
They may even grow frustrated with a person who attempts to utilize a whole day to watch professional football.
The male to female ratio increases even more at venues, with the only source of crowd entertainment coming from drunk guys duking it out.
What day do you observe?
Is Saturday the true holy day or is it Sunday that has your blessing.