College Football: 10 Reasons Why it is a Sport Unlike Any Other

Scott GarfinkelContributor ISeptember 12, 2008

The time has come. After an eight month off-season, college football season has finally arrived.

College football fans no longer have to watch long and boring baseball games to fulfill their dosage of sports for the week or search on the TV guide to see if a replay of an old game will be shown.

We can't stop counting the number of days until kickoff.  We can now enjoy what we have been waiting for ever since Jan. 8: more college football. To kick off the season, I have listed ten reasons why college football season is unlike any other sport:

10. The AP and Coaches Polls

The polls determine what teams will play in the BCS National Championship game. No other sport has a ranking system that is scrutinized more than the college football polls.

The importance of the polls is why each Monday, when the polls come out, we call our friends to brag about our team's ranking or complain about how we are ranked lower than teams that we beat.

9. ESPN College Gameday

On Saturday morning, we wake up at least two hours before we usually do because we are so excited about spending our whole day watching football.

We turn the TV on and watch Kirk Herbstreit pick our team to lose, but Lee Corso says, "Not so fast, my friend" and putting on the headgear of some team's mascot.

There is no other sport that has a pregame show that broadcasts live from the best game of the week with hundreds of fans holding up flags and signs and chanting their team's cheers.

As we watch the show, we make sure to spot the Washington State Cougar flag to make sure the Cougar fans are still supporting their team, no matter how miserable the Cougars are playing. ESPN College Gameday is the best live sporting pregame show and it is a perfect kick start to the football weekend.

8. The Underdog

Fans of college football love supporting the underdog except for maybe Michigan fans. There is more parity in other sports than there is in college football that when a major upset occurs in college football (Appalachian State beating Michigan) the whole nation takes notice. In the NFL MLB NHL and NBA any team can win or lose on a given day. In college basketball, there are no more dominant teams due to so many players leaving early for the NBA and highly acclaimed recruits attending a variety of schools. In college football, however, the best recruits in the nation flock to the major powerhouses with the best facilities such as USC, Florida, Texas, LSU, Ohio State, Michigan, and Notre Dame. Because the smaller programs are not able to compete with the powerhouses in recruiting, major upsets are highly unlikely. However, when these smaller programs upset the major programs, it is that much sweeter and causes a raucous among fans that last the whole season. Upsets make college football fun to watch and have fans predicting each week what the one major upset will be.

7. The Marching Bands

The marching bands are an integral part of college football. We can thank the bands for helping to lead the cheers around the stadium, for making noise while the opposing team has the ball, and for keeping the fans into the game from beginning to end.

We get chills right after our team makes a big play and our marching band strikes up our fight song while the whole stadium sings in accord with the band. Marching bands have become part of the tradition of major programs.

If it were not for their marching bands, Notre Dame and Michigan, programs that have two of the best fight songs in the nation, would lose a little of their mystique.

6. Tailgating

Hours leading up to the game, we put up the tent, start up the grill, season the steaks, slab the ribs with barbecue sauce, load up the coolers with beer, set up the bar, and eat and drink until the game starts.

After the game, whether our team wins or loses, we take out the food and drinks and tailgate for hours and watch the rest of the other games on TV.

5. The Heisman Trophy

No other sport has its most prestigious individual award discussed more than college football and the Heisman Trophy.

Sometimes we as fans get carried away and would rather our team that is out of the national championship race have our star quarterback throw for 450 yards and five touchdowns and lose the game than have our quarterback throw for 150 yards and two interceptions and win the game.

4. The Cheers

Each of our teams has a unique cheer when yelled at the stadium sends chills down our spine.

Alabama fans scream "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer Giv'em Hell Alabama" at the end of the fourth quarter when Crimson Tide fans know their opponent has been beaten.

Florida Gator fans sing "We Are The Boys From Old Florida" at the end of the third quarter.

These cheers make college football unique from other sports around the country where fans just sit and watch the game and occasionally yell and clap as loud as what seams like a golf clap compared to the noise you will hear in a college football stadium. 

3. Rivalries

There are rivalries in sports such as the Red Sox-Yankees in baseball or the Lakers-Celtics in basketball, but no sport has as many heated rivalries as college football. When I mean heated, I mean trash talking our rivals 365 days a year.

We sometimes despise our rival so much we would rather go winless in every game but win our rivalry games than win every game but lose to our rivals.

Winning rivalry games means bragging rights for the whole year and winning key recruiting battles. We as die hard college fans know the importance of recruiting and what winning rivalry games does to a recruiting class.

Where in any other sport can you play your rivalry games in a neutral field where the stadium is split right down the middle with fans of both teams on each side of the stadium? Florida and Georgia fans know how great and bitter a neutral field rivalry can be.

2. Tradition

Each college football team has unique traditions that make us proud to be a fan of our team. These traditions include the Notre Dame Victory March, the Clemson Tigers running down the hill in Death Valley Stadium touching Howard's Rock, Mr. 2 Bits running on to Florida Field before the game to lead the crowd in a cheer, or Ohio State's dotting of the I.

All these traditions have lived on for years in these program's histories. What sport can match all these traditions? Don't bother thinking, because you will not find an answer.

1. The BCS System

Nine out of the top ten reasons why college football is a sport unlike any other have depicted college football in a positive light. However the number one reason why college football is in a league of its own cast a dark shadow on the sport.

The BCS system is that dark shadow. The BCS system to a fan is like a student getting A's on every exam but failing the final exam which is weighted 30 percent of the final grade. Like the student receiving A's on the exams during the semester, the college football regular season is perfect.

The drama and excitement the season creates leaves fans, whose teams had just finished their games, counting the hours until their team's next game.

However, the BCS system is like the student failing his final exam, a disaster. The most important game of the season is determined by computers instead of on the field. It is inconceivable to think that a true national champion can be determined in the best sport in the world where every team does not play each other and the same competition.

Every other sport has some type of playoff because these leagues realize that a playoff system can determine a true champion. Because not every team plays each other and some team's schedules are harder than others, the only way to determine a true champion is for the presidents of universities to stop being stubborn and only worry about money and come together and call for a playoff system.

I could go on and on about how the BCS system is a joke, but the college football season is too great and too short to be worried about one flaw in the sport.

To all college football fans, fall Saturdays are the best days of the year. So enjoy it while you can. Before you know it, it will be over and the dreaded off-season of no football will have begun.  


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