NFL vs. College Football: Which league does Bleacher Report Prefer?

Joe WillettSenior Writer IAugust 30, 2008

There has been a lot of controversy over what you think is more entertaining, what you think has better competition, and what you think has better fans.


I’m talking, of course, of the battle between college football and the NFL.  Both teams took their jabs already.  It started with a popular college football article but was received with a quick rebuttal by an NFL fan.


Some people love the rivalries of college football over the superior play of the NFL, but there seems to be no clear-cut answer over which league is truly more of a fan favorite.


I have decided to use a few criteria and explain both sides of the argument and then, at the end of the article, I would like you all to leave your opinions as to which league is better and why.


Pre-Game Entertainment


By this, I mean tailgating.  This may, at first look, seem like an easy choice seeing as the NFL has recently outlawed tailgating in team parking lots.


However, there are still plenty of parking lots that you can easily park in for a small fee that will happily allow you to get drunk and play bean bags in their facilities.


The only problem for the NFL is that college game-day tailgating is truly unparalleled.  There is the fact that most of the events in college football take place in college cities, as few teams don’t have their own facilities.


Also, since these are mostly college students, they know how to throw a party.  There is beer, barbecue, etc. to make the experience fun and exciting before the game.


Winner: College Football


In-Game Entertainment


This includes everything that isn’t the actual game that goes on inside the stadium.  Basically, this boils down to mascots, bands, and music.


In college, there are plenty of memorable mascots, such as the USC Trojan which puts a sword into midfield before every game as well as the LSU Tiger and whatever you want to call the creature at OSU.


There are also team bands, which play team fight songs after every touchdown for their team.  It is exciting and pretty much everybody knows the words in the stadium to make it a fun, contagious experience.


However, in the NFL, there are still plenty of teams that have mascots.  Also, teams still have fight songs.  Although they may not be as widespread, there are also plenty of team cheers like the infamous J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS!


Winner: College Football




This is the second part of your in-game experience.  All of the fans surrounding you will definitely decide how well you enjoy you experience at a football game.


In college, you have most of your fans sitting around you, as most schools have opposing student cheering sections.  This gets rid of the aspect of trash talk towards your opponent for the most part.  There are still opposing teams fans sitting at games peppered throughout the stadium, but they are mostly centered into one section.


However, you have the passion shown much greater in college football over the pros.  Fans likely went to that college, so they have a deeper bond than just living in the same city as a team.


Also, when other relatives went to the same college as you did, you have that team in your blood and will always return to that team no matter what.


In the NFL, there are plenty of opposing teams’ fans sitting throughout the stadium.  The Seahawks are known for their presence at games home and away, and there are plenty of places where you can find high influxes of fans at certain stadiums.


Winner: College Football




This is something that I found in the comment section of the college football advocacy article, where somebody said that the rules are better in college football.


Unfortunately, the NCAA takes the No Fun League to town with celebration rules.


Just today, I was watching bonus coverage of the upset of Bowling Green over Pitt when I was stunned by a horrible unsportsmanlike conduct call.


Diyral Briggs of Bowling Green sacked Bill Stull of Pitt at a pivotal point late in the game.  However, Briggs pulled a mini-Shaun Merriman by doing a seemingly shortened version of the Lights Out dance that Merriman does after sacks and tackles.


The sack was basically nullified by unsportsmanlike conduct which could have cost Bowling Green the game.  Luckily for Briggs, that didn’t happen and Bowling Green held on.  Stuff like this makes the NFL the better rule book.


Winner: NFL


Quality of Play


The NFL has better players, this is obvious enough seeing as they are college players who have grown and become smarter and better.


However, in college, you have a better likelihood for exciting plays as players go against lesser competition on a more weekly basis.


For example, Reggie Bush averaged 7.3 ypc in his college career at USC, but he has been unable to hold over four ypc so far in his NFL career.  This has more to do with the quality of players in the NFL.


The real reason that the NFL should win this argument, however, is because “any given Sunday” is more of a true statement than just a slogan in the NFL.


The New England Patriots were repeatedly challenged late in the season, especially by teams that were mediocre like the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles.


Winner: NFL




This is a tough one on all accounts.  In college football, there are great rivalries such as Ohio State-Michigan, Auburn-Alabama, USC-UCLA and others.  They have a much larger amount of rivalries than the NFL purely based on the fact that there are plenty more teams to hate each other.


In the NFL, however, there are plenty or rivalries that are existent.  For example, there is the Packers-Bears, Packers-Vikings, Colts-Patriots, and basically the entire NFC East is at each others throats. 


There are the Pats-Jets and Pats-Dolphins which usually create great games despite the difference in ability as well.


It’s tough to decide which league has better rivalries because there are plenty of heated rivalries in both leagues, but I guess I have to choose one, and it is a big shocker.


Winner: NFL


My Decision


This is a very tough decision, but for many years, I have been an NFL fan, whereas I have only been watching college football as of late.


I will have to choose the NFL, and I am curious to know what everybody else thinks.


Leave your comments about which league you think is better, or my analysis. (I know I am going to get it for the rivalries section, but I am prepared to back it up)


I'm Joe W.


Joe also writes for, a basketball fan's site.