Is College Football Becoming the NFL?
College football. A sport once defined by its historic rivalries, monumental upsets, and the innocence of amateurism. Now, it appears the college football we all know and love could be in jeopardy.
Gone are the values from college football. Those were replaced a long time ago so someone could make a fast buck.
Money drives college athletics nowadays, and college football is the king of the campus. Money speaks louder than all, and college football is becoming its victim.
It appears that college football is going more and more by the wayside and is trying to mirror an image of the NFL. Want some proof? Just read the following slides.
Superconferences. Talk really started to spring up two years ago in December, when the Big Ten announced it was open towards expanding and Missouri thought it was a shoe in. Now, conference realignment is happening again.
Texas A&M is trying to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC, if only pesky Baylor would let them leave. TCU moves to the Big East in 2012, and Syracuse and Pitt have agreed to join the ACC. The Pac-12 is actively pursuing Texas and Oklahoma, in an attempt to beef up its conference.
The seeds for the 16-team superconferences are sewn. It's only a matter of time until they become a reality.
So how do 16-team superconferences resemble the NFL? Consider the the NFL's two conferences. The AFC and NFC. Each one contains exactly 16 teams, no more, no less. And when there are superconferences, that makes it easier to create a playoff system, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
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Many football fans have become discouraged with the BCS (unless you're a SEC fan). A lot of them have been calling for a playoff system. It's gotten so bad in some states, that their lawmakers and politicians fight more for their college football team than actually doing their jobs.
I fear with the inevitable creation of superconferences, so will come the creation of a playoff system. This playoff system will take one of college football's greatest and most unique prospects away. Bowl games.
Proponents for a playoff system say the bowls won't lose any of their luster, due to the playoffs. They say it is more fair for the little teams.
Well, the BCS isn't perfect, but it is better than any playoff system. The BCS keeps bowls relevant. It maintains the tradition.
I'm not supporting the BCS, in fact I hate it (Utah won the '09 Championship in my book). But by maintaining the BCS, we, as college football fans, have at least a slim ray of hope of not letting college football turn into the NFL.
Other than that, there's not much we can do. The powers-that-be will create a playoff system and college football will lose another key piece of its identity.
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From SMU to Miami, schools have been paying players for years. Is it against the rules? Well sure. But why not risk it if you can get some good talent on the field? That is a school's rationale. Now, school's are trying to make it legal to pay college athletes.
Some college athletes complain about their lack of money. Welcome to college! At least, they don't have to pay for tuition everyone else. Seriously though, isn't a full-ride scholarship to a college enough. The education one receives in college can prove to be invaluable.
The pay-for-play is an idea that almost all of the little schools are opposed to, knowing that they couldn't match their bigger counterparts. This would create an even bigger gap in recruiting talent between BCS and Non-AQ school.
But paying players has gone on for years and, legal or not, will continue to happen. The NFL pays its players. The only difference is its legal.
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There is a principle in football that I like to call the trickle-down effect. This principle states that when the NFL adds a rule, eventually it will "trickle down" to the next level.
From helmet-to-helmet to unsportsmanlike conduct, NFL rule changes are affecting the college game. But one rule is changing the college game more than any other.
That rule is the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for excessive celebration. Whatever happened to doing front flips in the end zone or giving a hand symbol representing your team, such as the Gator Chomp?
This rule is taking the passion out of college football. Players are supposed to be excited. They just helped their team and scored a touchdown.
When the ball on kickoffs is placed on the 35-yard line and players are required to get two feet inbounds in order for a pass to be ruled complete, then we will know that the boundaries between college football and the NFL have dissolved.