What is college football anymore (and what should it be)?

Submitted by crg on December 11th, 2017 at 5:22 PM

I'll try to keep this brief (but likely fail) and prefer to let the board do the talking (and if people don't want to get into a philosophical/existential discussion or a sports blog, that's fine too):

Is anyone else bothered by what college football (at the D1 level at least) is becoming?  The board is all aflutter about the Ole Miss transfers and other impending commits (which is great for the team), but it seems like people are too concerned about roster management and making the playoffs above all else (or most else).  It seems people are concerned about having "the right guys" in place and those who aren't should be given a firm handshake or feel compelled to go elsewhere for playing time.  Shouldn't college (I.e. school) sports be about doing the most with the guys that are there now - making as much improvement to their lives as possible and helping to develop a sense of camaraderie and community?  So a kid doesn't make 1st team - he shouldn't be ignored or made to feel that he needs to leave (or God forbid driven off like at some schools), but encouraged, supported and challenged to work harder and do his best.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I get the impression that it's (all major CFB) becoming all about just wins and losses and money (and "playoffs or nothing") - only concerned with immediate on field success and no longer about developing upstanding young men to do good in the world.  I don't believe UM is as far gone as other programs around the nation (including in our conference), but I see it going that way.  And in that case it just becomes NFL-lite; corporate and without any real personal connection or loyalty.

This is not against any current/former players or staff and I know that many of these guys are doing great work out there in the real world (really admire what Vincent Smith has done, just as one example). But am I the only one getting this impression?

Mods delete if this is a waste of time, or let the board neg away, but I am curious how other UM fans/alum/players/family/friends feel about this.



December 11th, 2017 at 5:27 PM ^

Most of those kids your heart bleeds for leave with a world class education and probably got laid more in four years than you or I will in a lifetime. I don’t feel that bad for them


December 11th, 2017 at 11:13 PM ^

I must have been one of those because I was a non-legacy white male with a 3.5 and 27 (though admittedly I did some shrooms the night before taking the ACT and didn't want to take it again). Every once in a while one of us dummies slips through the cracks.


December 12th, 2017 at 11:21 AM ^


My niece is in the about to start the application process next year and Michigan seems like a stretch (3.8, no ec's, only 1 AP class), her only real hope is that she's interested in nursing and from a very low income family... but assuming she doesn't get in, why not MSU? The op's daughter would likely get a massive financial aid package from State, would get all of the networking benefits that come with going to a big, highly residential state school, etc. As much as I'd love to see my niece in maize and blue, if she gets into MSU I will probably tell her to go and not look back.  


December 12th, 2017 at 1:28 PM ^

Take one of those DNA tests like 23andme and if it comes back that you have any non-white DNA you can claim to identify as an under represented minority.


I haven't done that yet, mostly due to my fear of a corporation owning my DNA profile.  But given that the chinese government owns a copy of my fingerprint records and all my sf86 info (thanks OPM) and hackers own all my credit history (thanks equifax) and the US government has a record of every single phone call I've ever made (Thanks NSA) I'm likely worrying about nothing.


December 12th, 2017 at 11:08 AM ^

They get an opportunity, sure. But that is it. Throwing kids into school environments they may not be prepared for is going to result in poor outcomes... the truth is that even the best and brightest kids don't retain that much information from their college educations outside of what they learn in their major. A football player getting a BGS or pursuing a degree in human movement will likely graduate knowing everything about how to execute a fade route but will have few of the skills that are expected of a Michigan graduate by employers. 

It seems to me that many such players get shunted into sales or into cushy management positions at alumni/fan owned businesses. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but let's not pretend the University of Michigan is taking kids from the streets of Detroit with 18 ACT scores and producing Platonic philospher kings here. 


December 11th, 2017 at 8:31 PM ^

I'm always surprised at how so many of our own fans do not understand what General Studies is at U-M.

BGS allows students to design their own path of study within LS&A (while still having to meet LS&A requirements.  This is useful for students whose schedules (like athletes who have 20 hours a week of practice) make it difficult to fit all the requirements for a "normal" concentration in their schedule and still graduate in four years.  But lots of non-athletes are in BGS, and the athletes who have a BGS concentration generally are pretty good students.  If they were really weak in the classroom, they wouldn't have gotten into LS&A in the first place.



December 12th, 2017 at 11:12 AM ^

Yeah, I knew a dude who got his BGS in, effectively, privilege studies. Instead of just picking sociology or anthropology, he was between the two working on what he believed to be an emerging area of research... he got into a PhD program with the general studies degree.


December 26th, 2017 at 5:21 PM ^

"... he got into a PhD program with the general studies degree."

The original purpose of the BGS degree was to allow students to explore more flexible groupings of studies not limited by traditional bachelor degree programs to better prepare them for pursuing a PhD. If you conducted a canvas of the actual classes pursued by early BGS degree holders, you would probably be surprised at the level of difficulty those degrees entailed.


December 12th, 2017 at 3:17 AM ^

General Studies isn't a BS degree....yes it allows students to forego the foreign language requirement, but that is because it is a rigorous degree. It focuses on upper level classes, allows you to skip lower level pre-req courses to get into them if you can learn that material on your own and convince a professor you can do so. 

I took classes in computer science, chemistry, political science, film, astronomy, literature,  math, animation, photography, american cutlure, communications, attended grad business school classes and law school classes, starting with 300 and 400 level classes my sophomore year. And I took Italian. Most which would not have been possible under any traditional distribution for a normal major. 

Can someone probably skirt the foreign language requirement and take an easy path through BGS? I suppose so, but that doesn't make it a BS degree (it isn't a field).


December 17th, 2017 at 5:22 PM ^

The point is the BGS degree only offers circumvention of foreign language req and otherwise isn't easier than whatever path you can piece together in any other department, probably harder....hence not requiring foreign language because you typically go straight to 300/400 level.

The other benefit to an athlete is the huge amount of flexibility in scheduling required courses across different schools and without as many set prerequisites....you essentially set your own distributions and don't need as many 101->102, 201->202 type progressions.

People who think they go take classes in general studies as a curriculum, like general studies 101, are sadly misinformed.

Perhaps had you taken Reading Comprehension 101........bro.......you would have understood that.

Robbie Moore

December 11th, 2017 at 8:33 PM ^

That certainly identifies one problem. But we have been complaining about the effect of money in college football for years. My biggest problem with the state of college football are the fans (alums and others) who think that making the playoffs is the minimum requirement for success. It devalues the hard work of 20 year old men who (if they are Wolverines) actually have to be students who accomplish something in class. Or, in the case of many (like Noah Furbush for one) accomplish a whole lot in class. And that is on top of the demands of football. And lord help them if they don't win 11 games. They work harder than most of us ever have in college. And they have certainly worked harder than any of the idiots who take to Twitter and excoriate them. 


December 11th, 2017 at 5:28 PM ^

College Football is still wonderful and will remain wonderful for a long time. I disagree with changes that are taking place. I think it is full hardy to try and proclaim a true national champion in a sport where 100+ teams exist.

Also, I think if Brian has his way and college football players are paid then the game as we know it will cease to exist. Smaller programs will fold or drop divisions and a handful of major players will remain. You will also have other individuals injected into the game that will wreck its purity such as agents. I have a feeling we are heading that route and when we do I will turn away the college product for the same reasons I don't watch the NFL.


December 12th, 2017 at 11:29 AM ^

I agree with you, but perhaps not in the sense that you meant. I've become increasingly uncomfortable over the years with the level of investment in college sports both from a university standpoint and from a fanbase/emotional standpoint. While I wouldn't trade my Saturdays at the Big House for anything, I do increasingly see the entire thing as excessive (especially when compared to something like watching a hockey game at Yost). The experiences of co-workers and friends attending games as students at schools like Central Michigan or Grand Valley State strike me as more authentic and correct than the TV spectacle minor league NFL goings on of P5 games. 


December 11th, 2017 at 5:42 PM ^

This is basically how I feel. Players should be able to make money of off their name and likeness, but schools should not be cutting players checks directly. Michigan should be able to facilitate Rashan, DPJ and Devin Bush (yada yada, whoever on the team) setting up a table at Briarwood on a weekend and charging for autographs, with a cut going to Mott's and most going to the players. Suburban should be able to cut a commercial with Peters and pay him for it. Nobody's likeness should be owned by anyone else. This still allows marketable players at smaller institutions to make money. However, if you get into the business of schools paying athletes directly, you will absolutely destroy parity in college athletics, creating a small class of haves and a larger class of havenots.