You hear the arguments all the time. People who believe that the best college team in the country could take on the worst NFL team—and win.
People say that teams like the 2008 Detroit Lions or the 2006 Oakland Raiders would lose to a dominant college team like the USC teams of Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart or Penn State with Kerry Collins and Ki-Jana Carter.
I think this reasoning is absurd. Absolutely ridiculous.
Not only would the NFL team win, but they would win by 30 to 40 points. They might win by 50 to 60 points. They would most likely have a shutout and would probably come close to 600 yards of total offense.
Here's why: Every single college football team, no matter how good this team is, has a weakness at some position. It's probably not going to be at any of the skill positions, like quarterback, running back, or wide receiver. It's probably going to be one of the lineman or maybe a defensive back. But one of the players on the college team is going to be a big weakness.
The transition from college to the NFL is not an easy step. Fantastic players in college don't just become superstars in the NFL. Many struggle to even perform as average players.
Take Reggie Bush, as an example. He dominated the game of college football. He was one of the greatest college running backs of all time. He was so good at college football that he knew that he could go to the NFL after his junior year and probably succeed. But guess what happened?
He didn't succeed. Not right away. There was a point, halfway through his first season, where he ranked last in the NFL in yards per carry. And this is one of the greatest college players of all time!
Quarterback Matt Leinart is another example. He won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship with USC. But he doesn't even have a starting job in the NFL right now. He lost his starting job on the Arizona Cardinals, and this was before they were one of the best teams in the NFL.
Now take your worst NFL team. The Detroit Lions hold that honor this year. Every man on their roster has played college football before. Every man on their roster could go back to the game of college football and dominate. They could probably set records.
An NFL team is comprised of the best of the best in college football. The top college players go on to the National Football League. The rest live a normal life, with a normal job. Players in the NFL are too good and have too much experience to lose to 20 and 21-year-olds.
NFL scrubs were the best of the best in college. NFL starters were unbelievable players in college. NFL superstars were usually among the greatest players in college football history.
Your average starting lineman for a No. 1 team will not even make the NFL. If he does, he probably won't be a productive starter.
Take the sad story of Winston Justice, former USC offensive lineman. He was drafted by the Eagles and was asked to make one start in 2007, against the Giants. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora recorded six sacks against him. SIX sacks! In one game! Yes, Osi is a Pro Bowler, but it just goes to show that the talent in college is nowhere near the NFL's talent.
If the college guys had a chance anywhere, it would be at the skill positions. But seriously? Does any NFL player come into the league and make an immediate impact? A few do. A very few do. But the majority of players will sit on the bench for a year or two before being thrust into the game. They're just not ready, physically and mentally.
The linemen would be completely dominated. Many would sustain injuries during the game as well. The receivers would be physically dominated as well, especially going across the middle for passes. The running backs would struggle running up the middle, and the quarterback would be physically battered.
The NFL team is so physically dominant that you could take the 22 best college players in the nation and I do not believe that they would emerge victorious. Not a chance.