100 Things About College Football We're Thankful for This Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is truly one of the best holidays of the entire year because of the time we can spend with the ones we appreciate the most.
It allows us to let everybody we love know how much appreciation we have for them. College football, though not comparable to our own families, is often considered a way of life.
So, without further adieu, I list the 100 things about college football that we should be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
Everything overall about college football is what makes it the best sport in the world.
The electrifying energy that fanbases brings to every game, the tailgating, cheerleaders, players, coaches, mascots etc. Every single time when a beautiful summer winds down, we know that the best part of the year is upon us!
What is your favorite day of the entire week? Even when it is the winter I still say Saturday because I know that college football is only 10-11 months away from starting.
Regardless if it is the morning, afternoon or night, we all wish that every day was Saturday!
I look at this as a positive asset of the sport since it is the great message boards/websites such as B/R, ESPN, CBS, Phil Steele and Rivals that allow us to get pumped up about college football every season.
Fans often get offended when their team is not on a list, but it is so much more than water cooler talk. It is a way of life, and in a fluid, subjective sport, what else is better?
Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard, Erin Andrews and the rest of the ESPN crew have such a positive impact on the sport.
Many believe the most entertaining sport to follow is college football because of the excitement everybody on the show has.
Since the show has started Lee Corso has always been the best part.
Maybe one enjoys the X’s and O’s a bit more and just the overall coverage is without a doubt great to watch. However, Mr. Corso dons the headgear every Saturday, and his overall mannerisms and pageantry are shown every time he is on camera.
God bless Lee Corso!
Brent Musberger & Brad Nesseler
These are once-in-a-lifetime announcers who always make the games more enjoyable. "You are looking live," always makes you feel as if you are at the actual game with Brent Musberger.
Brad Nessler has always been underrated at entertaining the fans with the way he is able to call a game. Even if the game isn't the best of the day he has a knack for making you stay tuned. Without these two legends, I am not sure the sport would be as fun to watch due to all of the great BCS moments we have shared together.
There I said it—but I am so thankful for not having a fluke playoff system like every other sport has.
More times than not the best team does not win in a playoff system, and I am always a fan of seeing the best and most talented teams play for it all. No sport can say that outside of college football!
Bowl Championship Series
To follow up on the bowl system, adding that fifth bowl has really made the BCS amazing to follow. We have given the at-large bids from power conferences more respect and at the same time have allowed the non-automatic qualifiers to participate with the big boys to see if they can compete on any given night.
It's the most wonderful time of the year! I follow every sport from season to season, but there is something special about college football.
The bowl games are remarkable to watch for the players because of how much it means to them. Not only is it the last time they can play a game with their beloved teammates, but it may also be the final time they get on the gridiron if they are not next-level players.
It is one thing when the bowl games are being played during the holidays, but it does not matter.
Every Saturday seems like a vacation day because of how enjoyable college football is to watch. When the day comes to an end, you just cannot wait for the following Saturday.
We have to be thankful for the SEC West because what they accomplished this season was in uncharted waters. Not since 1981 have we seen three teams ranked from first to third all in the same division.
Many haters do not appreciate all the love the SEC gets, but when it comes to bowl season every year the Big 12 and Big Ten cannot hold the jocks the majority of the time.
No disrespect to any other conference because there are many very good conferences, but the SEC is still the king of the castle, period.
This goes back to the fifth bowl, but one has to be thankful to see a non-automatic qualifier come out of almost nowhere every year to shock the world of college football. Not many saw TCU going undefeated last season and being ranked in the Top Three while knocking off Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
Boise State Broncos
Some adore them while others cannot stand these Smurfs. They get some hype since they beat up their opponents every season.
However, if they were nonexistent and NOT the winningest program from 2000-2010, the landscape of college football would not be the same.
The wins keep piling up for the winningest player (47) in the history of the FBS, and he has meant so much for the sport. No player is ever bigger than the sport, but not many players have accomplished what No. 11 has.
One of the better players we have seen in the BCS era in terms of overall talent.
Many scouts say Luck is one of the greatest they have ever seen for the next level. Luck has been able to do it all despite not having elite talent at his disposal, and we should be appreciative to see such greatness.
Most who still have a tad of time on their hands will always dig out one of the better EA Sports games. Since it first started coming out for PlayStation 2, NCAA Football has always been a popular choice for college football fans.
Without it, great times would have never occurred.
We are appreciative of a conference like the Mountain West because of the great game that TCU-Boise gave us this season, but teams like San Diego State and even Wyoming have been impressive throughout the season.
Going 70-6 regardless of the conference is just unimaginable to think about. Coach "Pete" did not want a second place finish in his Broncos' first season in the Mountain West, but a Top Five finish and a possible BCS at-large bid is still a possibility.
The "Mad Hatter" is as good as it gets lately, and we should enjoy him while we still can. Miles should not be going anywhere anytime soon, but he has given us quite the hilarious and, at the same time, exciting moments.
People talk about how great of a players' coach he is, but don't forget Miles can do the X's and O's quite well.
The Saban haters out there will not be thankful for Saban, but you cannot deny his success. He is the only coach to win a BCS National Championship with two different teams, and he is on the pursuit to a third BCS National Championship.
Saban took over an Alabama team that was a bit in the dumps, and he has turned them into one of the finest powerhouses in the country.
"The Freak" has been just that terrorizing SEC defenses for the past three seasons. Richardson could be on his way to winning the Heisman if he were to go bonkers in the Iron Bowl. Alabama never had a Heisman winner until Mark Ingram accomplished such a prestigious task two years ago, and now Richardson could be on his way.
We all should be extremely thankful for the regular season that college football gives us. Seemingly an upset when a Top 10 goes down only makes the sport more entertaining.
We watch sports for the entertainment and expectations that we put on teams, but the sport would not be amazing without a great regular season leading up to the bowls.
Big 12 Conference
Maybe the best conference next to the SEC, the Big 12 is loaded with high-octane offenses and stud signal-callers. Landry Jones, Brandon Weeden, Collin Klein, Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill are just a few of the talented guys.
There have been several thrilling finishes this season, and we are still waiting for Bedlam.
Robert Griffin III
Totaling for more than 500 yards against the Oklahoma Sooners is not something that can be said every lifetime, but it is said for RGIII.
Griffin has been a stud for years, and he leads the Bears to their best bowl game in seemingly forever.
Though not quite the athlete RGIII is, Keenum has set (now holds) numerous records, whether it is passing yards, total offense, touchdowns and more.
Whether or not his Cougars can go 13-0 and play in a BCS bowl, Keenum has left a mark on college football.
This non-automatic qualifying conference has never received much hype, but the Houston Cougars have given us a little extra promise. Throw in an improved Southern Miss squad on top of a Tulsa team that has just three losses (Boise, OU, Oklahoma St.), and the conference no longer lacks solid squads.
The leading rusher in the country for the past two seasons is something to appreciative of, right?
James has dazzled us with many spectacular runs, and his ability to hit the home run ball on any given play is something that will soon be missed when he is gone.
We are still waiting for the first-ever conference championship, but the USC Trojans have played a huge role in this conference. They gave Stanford everything they could handle and ruined any chances for the Oregon Ducks to play in a BCS title.
The bottom of the conference is a bit down, but one could argue that Stanford, Oregon and USC could compete with almost any conference's best three.
This past weekend had a lot to say about upsets, but the more the merrier. College football is great enough as it is alone, but the classic upsets we see seemingly see every weekend is what makes it amazing to watch.
Once November rolls around, the sport never stops ticking due to the games being played every single day (save Monday). Thanksgiving weekend is always a memorable weekend because of the vital games played on Friday.
We could just re-watch the 2008 Fiesta Bowl and see all of the miracle tricks, but it wasn’t only Boise State that has pulled them off. The half-back passes and quarterback touchdown receptions beyond many other gadget plays puts college football on a map by its lonesome.
There are only a select few who get to play every weekend in the NFL, but in college there are dozen of night games every weekend.
The biggest difference is clearly the attendance of these games. A night game in South Bend or Ann Arbor brings a ton of pageantry to the sport, but an SEC night game often gives their opponents and fans nightmares.
Maybe this is the opposite of being thankful?
It is a privilege to play collegiate football, but to watch and cover it is not too shabby either. My hat goes off every season to the players who go out and risk it all. They do not get paid and there is no guarantee they will necessarily play at the next level with possible injury, yet we see them give it their all every fall Saturday.
Obviously certain coaches and assistants make more than others, but they make the game better with the emotion they often show before, during and after the game. Every coach has a different mentality and attitude toward their own team, and for those very lone reasons we should be thankful.
This really sums up what we all should be thankful for.
Boise State-Oklahoma, Miami-Ohio State and Texas-USC were just a few of the games that will remain among the greatest to ever be played.
What is not to love about seeing all of the legendary teams' line-up every Saturday?
Michigan, Notre Dame, Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida State and Ohio State are among many others that will always get you going once the season kicks off. There is so much history from many programs that it does not matter which players come and go because the great programs will keep reloading.
Paul "Bear" Bryant, Tom Osborne, Knute Rockne and nearly every other legend gives you more reason to cheer and believe that your team has a head coach who can lead your beloved team to the promised land.
Many people love sports in general because of how much one can socialize, and there are always friendly atmospheres that make you wish every single day was Saturday. Playing catch/bags as well as having a few beverages and some food make it all worth your while.
Depending on how great your team is, the fun may begin and end with the tailgating.
If the regular season was entertaining in itself, conference championship weekend is also amazing to witness. This year there will be several BCS tie-ins that will be on the line, and we can always appreciate and count on a thriller or two along the way (See: past few Big 12s).
The spread offense has really picked up the past several seasons, but we should all be appreciative of it since it is quite entertaining to watch.
There is nothing wrong with running the ball out of the I-formation, but there is something sexy about being running it out of three-four-five sets.
It wasn’t too long ago that we had to watch every game on a normal television set. Now with many more channels to watch on our brand new Vizio, flatscreen/plasmas will only spice up this gorgeous sport.
Air Force, Navy and Army are among the 120 current FBS schools, and yet they are rarely talked about since very few players elect or get the chance to play in the NFL.
All three teams have made bowls in recent years, but only the Falcons should be playing in a game this year. It goes without saying who the real heroes are in life, and college football is just a game at the end of the day.
This goes along with the fanbases who you just know how to react well with their players. Many stadiums are loaded with fans, and they pack the place where it is often standing room only.
If there is a team ranked in the Top 25, chances are they will come close to selling out on their near 100,000-plus stadiums.
Outside of the National Championship, what is better? The field is always in tip-top shape (they paint grass), and nothing can beat the storied history that is known as the "Granddaddy of Them All."
BCS National Championship
Since the 2006 season, the BCS added a fifth bowl to allow a few more at-large bids on top of non-automatic qualifiers being allowed to play.
But, seriously what sport can say they have the best two teams play for it all? A playoff system allows other teams a chance, but in reality only the strongest and best teams deserve to play. Every season the cream of the crop have risen, and the title games have rarely disappointed us.
Boise-UGA, Oregon-LSU, Ark-A&M and FSU-OU provided us some early fireworks right out of the gates, and it is games like these that make a big difference in everything. It is huge for the BCS when the rankings come out in October, and they often play a factor come November, but for the fans it is a joy.
National Signing Day
A whole day is celebrated for this special day, and for one full day 17 and 18-year-olds get to have the national spotlight on them.
They might as well get accustomed to it, but even if you are not a big fan of the day, we should appreciate the fact that the next-level stars are committing to our own teams (great in-state battles).
If you are losing a star to the NFL draft you may often pick one up on National Signing Day.
Getting Pittsburgh and Syracuse will surely help the basketball conference become the cream of the crop, and it will certainly give the conference more depth.
Florida State had some lofty expectations this season and Miami had to deal with some of their own issues off the field before the year began, but we can still count on the Hokies to win 10-plus games.
Also, don’t forget Clemson was the talk of the sport for the first two months of the season before they started to slip up.
Thanks to Phil Knight we can witness our programs with killer uniforms often during the regular season/bowl games.
I recall Oregon’s 5,000 different outfits, but the year the Georgia Bulldogs (they beat UF 42-30, 2007) came out with the all-black uni’s was memorable. It doesn't matter which new team puts on new uniforms, it only helps college football and its exposure.
All-American Status & Other Awards
The saying is used a lot, but we should appreciate the fact that there are so many awards recognizing all of the historic players in the past (on top of first, second All-Conference team).
Heisman Trophy Ceremony
The most prestigious award in all of sports arguably takes a whole day out of its schedule to announce which player is the best in all of college football.
There is no college football for one whole week (outside of Navy-Army), and the entire week really leads up to the ceremony. It is great to follow and hear the winner's speech to see how much it means to him to win the coveted award.
Thank you, John Heisman!
Collegiate players cannot go to the NFL unless they are three years post-high school graduation. We should appreciate this rule since many players could leave after their first or second seasons.
It is nice to see they have no option but to come back for their redshirt sophomore seasons/junior seasons.
Dear lord, the band is on the field!
Well, at least during pregame ceremonies and at halftime; this just adds to the pageantry of college football.
This deserves its own slot since it has produced the past two Heisman Trophy winners on top of the last two BCS National Championship winners.
Michigan-Ohio State has given us a ton of great moments, and it is arguably the best rivalry in all of college sports. North Carolina-Duke could make the same argument for college basketball, but scarlet and grey against the maize and blue has plenty of things going for them.
This upcoming weekend is arguably the best of the season in terms of the awaited excitement because of the consequences each rivaled team will have if it wins/loses; 364 days a year there will be trash-talking, and only on one day of the year can everything change.
Howard’s Rock, Dotting The I, Tommy the Trojan and Traveler, Chief Osceola and Renegade—it does not matter which ritual you talk about.
All of them are amazing to follow and just one of the many reasons why college sports are simply the best.
We have often seen coaches showing all their emotions with a postgame speech, and it is something special when a coach can let his team know how much they mean to him.
Specifically this season, the BCS is wide open in terms of who will get the at-large bids.
Will Houston run the table, or will Boise State steal a spot?
Can TCU crack the Top 16, and will Michigan and Stanford take care of Ohio State and Notre Dame to secure their own spots?
All of these entertaining matchups will give us another great finish to the regular season.
Though we should not avoid what has been done off the field, Joe Paterno was considered by many to be the greatest coach of all time heading into the season.
We all wondered when and if he was going to give it up. Though things could not have ended any worse for the man, he certainly should be missed and at the same time be appreciated for what he meant to the sport.
Lower-Tier BCS Schools
Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Iowa State and Rutgers are a few of the teams that do not have high expectations, and yet they are going to be playing in a bowl game this season (most likely).
They may not be the most talented teams, but they still have a ton of success. Teams like these make you feel appreciated for everything they give on the field.
The BCS conferences are the calling card at the end of the day since they are always on television, but the rest of the country needs to be appreciated as well.
All of those crazy pre-New Year’s bowl games are great to follow, and it is because of no-name teams that lay it on the line just like the big shots do.
It may seem obsessive to be talking about sports on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but it only makes life that much more enjoyable when a bowl game is on.
Of course there are NFL games all day on Christmas Eve this season.
Hawaii Warriors Football
Only the true college football fans know where I am going with this one.
It will be three in the morning on the East Coast, and there will be nothing on television but the Hawaii Warriors.
Maybe it is just me, but the end of games are always CRAZY!
Their contract with NBC makes a few people dislike the school or program, but the school has had so many glorious memories.
The Golden Domers have not been national title contenders or even BCS contenders in years, but they still remain among the premier overall programs based on their prestigious history. Brian Kelly looks to have this group in the right direction so it is not like they have no shot at making a BCS bowl next season.
We should be appreciative of kickers whether they come through in the clutch or shank it for our teams. They are often looked at as scapegoats, but they are just as important and a part of the team as any other member.
Similar to the quarterback (though at the same time much different) kickers are told they are the greatest ever when they come through and told they are the worst ever when they cannot get the job done.
Devin Hester is one special player at the NFL level, but Joe Adams of Arkansas has given us a few "wow" moments this season on his punt return touchdowns.
Kickoffs are often the most dangerous play in the game, but it often gives us the most exciting plays.
Sun Belt Conference
We should be thankful for the Sun Belt since they give us some football during the middle of December. The New Orleans Bowl used to be the very first bowl game of the Holidays.
The campuses these schools are at more times than not are college towns. Sometimes the school may not have any professional teams to cheer for, so it is all or nothing with their football program.
Just the community atmosphere and feeling around a town is amazing since one single team can often lift everybody’s spirits.
Some are against all of the movement in conferences these days, but in reality it will give us more entertainment. Maybe the SEC doesn’t need any more help, but there will likely be even more upsets and better games each and every week. The same can be said for the Big 12, Pac-12 (now a championship ) and perhaps the Big East.
One of the most prestigious conferences in America gives us great football every season. They may be considered a joke when New Year’s Day comes calling, but last year was a bit of a fluke.
This conference has not been nearly as strong as the SEC, but the difference between the best and next-best could be a decent margin. Ten teams are likely to go bowling this holiday season, which just goes to show the overall balance and parity that is great for college football.
Both conferences are usually not known for their defenses, but they too entertain us come bowl season.
The MAC has not yet had a team play in a BCS bowl, but Boise State and Hawaii have done so for the WAC.
Plus, Nevada had a great season last year led by all-everything quarterback Colin Kaepernick. They are likely to finish second this season, but it is the MAC that will have at least four teams playing in bowls this season.
There is nothing better than clean, legal hits in college football. Whether it is on special teams, catching the ball out of the backfield or across the middle, this is just one of the things that makes football great.
Warm & Cold Climates
Whether it is warm or cold, we should be appreciated regardless of where we are from.
It was a crazy opener in which South Florida at Notre Dame had a few long delays, and the Western Michigan at Michigan even had to cancel right away in the fourth quarter.
Still, it is the background and climates that make these programs who they are today.
These players are often looked at as leaders among the entire school and city. They can sometimes do no wrong when they are putting up ridiculous numbers on the field.
At times they can be idols for us, regardless of age.
The majority of coaches in college football do the right things and shows respect to his own team and the opposition's.
We have many coaches who always say the right things, and it goes back to a saying one wise person once told me, "Never get too low when things look bad and never get full of emotions when things look good. Keep things in balance."
College football never stops breathing; it is a 365-days-of-the-year sport. March may seem a little like that, but that is right when spring practices begin.
Also, many spring games are now televised nationally/locally, which makes us aware that college football is right around the corner.
Speed Option & Zone Read
This is about the spread offenses, but watching many quick and athletic quarterbacks handle this offense only makes it more exciting to follow.
The Wisconsin-Michigan State finish was an all-time great finish and had an instant impact on the BCS standings. There are many historical finishes that have ended on this play, and this play comes down to the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
Big East & Independents
The Big East will likely be completely different in the near future, as might the Independents, but the teams have played vital roles in college football this season. The Big East is heating up, and it should have a thrilling finish with the winner getting an automatic berth in the BCS.
The collegiate apparel that most of us own is beyond too much. Whether it is just our own team or perhaps nearly every team in the FBS, nothing says you love college football like wearing your favorite collegiate gear.
How many get up early so they can just pick up the morning paper to see how much your team is favored to win or lose by? Though it has its own meanings, we often look at what the "experts" have to say when it is not quite time for game day.
We should be thankful for all the possible BCS scenarios we have because there are a bunch this season.
If Houston loses a game, who takes their spot in the BCS, and what happens if Stanford or Michigan lose?
The sport of college football always has parity, and this past weekend proved that.
Throw a lob or a back shoulder dart in the dark, and your teammate may come down with a sick one-handed grab for six!
Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust
We should never just love one offensive philosophy because the great teams are usually built from the inside-out. There is nothing wrong with running it 70 percent of the time if you have a ton of success with it (See: LSU, Alabama and Wisconsin, among others).
While most may not be thankful college games go nearly four hours long, we should appreciate that the clock stops for a few seconds until the ball is properly started and the play clock restarts.
It makes the endings of games a lot more interesting and allows the offense to move the ball down the field with more ease.
Big Ten Championship
The Big Ten has a ton of history, and there are many storied programs that have been playing for centuries.
The division names may not be appreciated much, but it allows an extra game to played during the final weekend of the college football season.
Next weekend will be the first-ever Pac-12 Championship, and it will be played at Oregon or Stanford since they had the best records in conference (The Ducks are almost a lock to beat Oregon State).
The game is also on a Friday night (Dec. 2), which makes the weekend a whole more entertaining.
Kirk Herbstreit says it is the best game we will see all season long pre-bowl games, and he is probably right. The Atlanta Georgia Dome is a raucous atmosphere regardless of what fans show up, and the game more times than not is a spectacle to watch since it has National Championship stakes on the line.
Army vs. Navy
It is the last game of the regular season, and it always should be.
No. 3 Arkansas at No. 1 LSU
What is there not to be thankful for?
This game could be a national title game (possible, not likely), and it could make the BCS computers sweat even more.
In case anybody has been hibernating under a rock this fall, the Razorbacks' receivers against the Bayou Bengals' defense will be a treat and a half.
When the Sooners and Cowboys have played the past two years, a Big 12 title and a BCS bowl have been on the line.
Not quite as good Alabama-Auburn, but this has been one of the more entertaining matchups we have seen recently.
Mascots & Cheerleaders
Some of the FBS mascots are too funny to take seriously, but the overall atmosphere arguably makes Saturdays in the fall more enjoyable than any other sport.
Thank God we don’t use the same rules as the NFL, because I cannot stand ties during the regular season. The team that wants it more will always find a way to win it in overtime.
Also, did I mention how great overtime games are?
1996 was when it all started, but there is nothing like seeing both teams get a crack to score in overtime (unlike the NFL).
However, when the third overtime starts the two teams cannot elect to kick the extra point, but instead they are forced to go for the two-point conversion. That only juices things up a few more notches for the passionate college football fans.
New Year's Day
Arguably, this is the best individual day of the entire year regardless of the sport.
The Super Bowl could make an argument, but we are often bored out of our minds all morning and afternoon. That is never the case when it comes to watching the Outback, Capital One, Ticket City, Gator, Rose and Fiesta Bowls!
Note: This year the NFL will be playing on New Years Day since it is on a Sunday, so on Monday Jan. 2 college football will once again rule the world.
The thrilling finishes and endings to a game are like nothing else in comparison to any sport.
Many coaches still elect to kick a field goal if they have an opportunity to win outright, but one could argue that three teams lost out on BCS national champion hopes due to that theory (Boise State, OU, OK State and Oregon).
Family & Friends
We have often made friends and new families based solely off of college football.
There are millions of reasons why we truly love the sport, but anyway you look at it each program is a community filled with friends and families. We build upon those friends and families we make within every game we go to or even watch.
The Life Lessons & Memories
We need to be appreciative of all the life lessons, on top of all the great memories we will forever cherish.
For those who love this game, we should never take it for granted.
I would lastly like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!