We have had our share of college/NFL football discussions on this board. Since it's a Michigan Wolverine blog, I figure I'm in mixed if not friendly company here, but...I just can't fathom the friends I call up who just aren't interested in, say, yesterday's thriller because they live their sporting lives on Sundays.
Having grown up in Detroit and Seattle, the college teams were pretty much the only game in town with the Seahawks and Lions stinking out their domes.
My core feeling comes down to this...yesterday's ND-UM game will live forever in the pantheon of the rivalry. Ditto great rivalry and conference games across the nation. The constant influx of young, enthusiastic students ensures programs will fold these new moments into their tradition, and everyone can share the "I so clearly remember when Tate hit Mathews, and the entire Michigan nation detonated as one."
For every Super Bowl 36 (Pats-Rams) or 42 (Pats-Giants) that is a true classic, dozens of good pro games are simply subsumed into the league standings and the teams move on to the next one. Around here everyone gets excited for the Skins-Cowboys game, but it's not THAT important, since they'll play again the next month.
Now to be fair, many people don't go to a big-time football school and that's when a lot of people catch the bug. But one of my coaching buddies went to Yale and he's a huge college football fan, so I don't totally buy that.
EDIT: What I DON'T have a problem with is people that grew up in Pittsburgh, or Boston, or San Diego, and have a natural affiliation with a team. (Northeasterners in particular are flush with pro teams and devoid of consistent college programs). What I can't figure out is the "Bud Light fans" who just think the NFL is "the game to watch" and will watch whatever is on, but poo-pooh the college game for whatever reason. I've heard lots of rationalizations:
"College is just about getting the best players, the pros have real strategy in their game."
Reply: NFL offenses are uniform, oversized and bland. Great players have less opportunity to separate themselves from the crowd unless their skills specifically fit the NFL's preconceived notions of "real" offenses. College systems are more free to evolve absent peer pressure, so the systems are as different as the schools that play. NFL "strategy" is notoriously risk-averse, lessening game-by-game excitement.
"There are more exciting NFL games than college games (or lots of dog college games)."
Reply: There are dog games in college, but that simply means you have to do your research and not tune in to a dog if you want to see a good one. As I've addressed above, many of these exciting games don't carry their momentum into the next week, as enforced mediocrity seems to virtually randomize game results. A big win can carry a college team to an historic season, but since everyone's so balanced in the pros, you play your division twice, and the playoff system is long, there's not too many chances for a "big win" to boost a team to a transcendent level of performance.
"College football is all about money."
Reply: I have criticized TV deals and the large expenses of college athletics, but the absurd sums spent on coaches, players and beer ads in the pros, not to mention the incessant commercials (even after kickoffs!) makes this comparison laughable.
"You're not allowed to celebrate in college football."
Reply: This is a cooked argument since celebration is allowed and showboating is not, but given the self-aggrandizing garbage my youth players learn watching NFL games, I don't see how this is a problem. You want to see dancing, go on Dancing With The Stars.
"College football is illegitimate as a sport because there's no playoff."
Reply: I don't even respond to these arguments. If they don't want to enjoy exciting football I won't beg them to.