10 Most Influential Figures in College Football

Stacey MicklesCorrespondent IIJuly 11, 2011

10 Most Influential Figures in College Football

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    College Football has become almost as big as the NFL and one reason is because these prominent figures.College football has turned from just a few games a week on Saturday afternoons, to being on the verge of being the second most loved sport in American society. From college football commentators, to commissioners, to overseers of the games themselves, their voices and actions have made college football the biggest entity in sports outside of NFL.

Tony Barnhart

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    Tony Barnhart is perhaps the most respected and most liked figure in college football. He is pretty damn good at his job too. Barnhart’s insight has garnered him the nickname Mr. College Football, which is well deserved.

The Bowl System

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    The bowl system remains a powerful player despite the cries from many (especially those against the BCS) to get rid of them. The bowls can broker which teams they want to see in their bowl games, plus their payouts to teams are HUGE, so even if there is a college football playoff in the future, don’t expect the bowl system to be taken out.

Tim Brando

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    Surprise! He is just one man, but Brando’s rants about the BCS are starting to pick up steam around the country.

    As one of the leaders against the BCS, Brando has a strong and powerful voice that gets to be heard around the country on his radio show and CBS.

ESPN/ABC Sports

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    ESPN has basically taken over college football.

    Either ESPN or the affiliated ABC own the rights to just about every bowl game. They have also aligned themselves with several BCS conferences including the Big 10, SEC, and ACC.

    ESPN owns college football.

Paul Finebaum

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    Paul Finebaum knows what’s it like to be hated. He was just named by dixiefriedsports.com as the most hated man in the SEC.

    Love him or hate him, Finebaum has been angering SEC fans for years, and now he has new fans to tick off around the country.

    He took his radio show from just a local market, to statewide, and now national. Finebaum hasn’t found a scandal he didn't like or a coach he wouldn't try to get fired.

Kirk Herbstreit

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    Herbie is the most knowledgeable college football mind out there today.

    He was one of the few reporters who predicted Auburn to win the SEC West last year because he knew Cam Newton was THAT good. No one else believed it.

    Herbstreit’s voice has also become hated because of his love of the SEC and his rant against former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, despite the fact he is an Ohio State grad.

Yahoo Sports

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    Yahoo Sports is like the 60 Minutes of college football reporting. They broke the Ohio State/Jim Tressel story, the Oregon scandal and rumor has it they are about to break another blockbuster story in August about an SEC West team. If Dan Wetzel or Charles Robinson is calling your school, watch out!

Jim Delany, Big Ten Commissioner

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    Delany may not be as big as Mike Slive of the SEC, but he is not that far behind. Delany managed to break up what was once the Big 12 by stealing Nebraska and bringing them to the Big Ten and unlike the SEC, his conference has its own network which showcases each of his 12 schools. Delany is going to need Nebraska to be successful, because it looks like Ohio State is going down.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive

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    Brokering multi-million dollar deals with major TV networks for ALL major sports, basically forcing other conferences to follow your model for a  football championship game while winning that last five BCS national championships is pretty darn powerful. Slive has turned the SEC into the NFL without the labor problems. They have the best network deals, best football coaches, and the best players. Slive just has to hope that cheating scandals does not tear down what he has built.

The BCS

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    They turned the college football world upside down by not providing a playoff system, but a system that is supposed to bring the top two teams in the country to play each other in a National Championship game.

    The BCS is SO powerful that they forced teams like Utah and TCU to join bigger conferences if they wanted to be considered a contender for a national championship. Hated by most, the BCS will be hard to take down.