There once was a time when college football was the king of the sports world: a great and entertaining game steeped in tradition, filled with rivalries, and flush with pageantry.
And now, they’ve pissed that all away.
Sure, college football has always had the problem that a true champion could never be crowned. The champion has always been rather arbitrary depending on the controlling interests involved, but for a while that was tolerable because it was always “close enough” to being right (both before and after the BCS). It’s an issue that has continued to go unaddressed even as it has become increasingly clear that this isn’t going to be an acceptable solution to the public in the long run. So, let’s kick off our list with that.
- Lack of a Clear National Champion – Quality teams continue to be left on the outside looking in because they are not part of the conferences that decided to put themselves in charge by creating the BCS. Until the NCAA steps in and organizes a season-end tournament resulting in a singular, definitive national champion, my interest will continue to wain.
- Conferences Can’t Read Maps – The news that the Big East was considering persuing TCU as a new member was the straw that broke the camels back for me. It’s bad enough that the Big Ten is expanding westward with Nebraska, and the Pac-10 moves eastward with Colorado and Utah (though neither is as egregious as the ground covered by the WAC), but the blurring of regional conference lines not only increases travel times and expenses and decreases time spent in the classroom by all student athletes. So it’s messing up both the tradition of regional conferences, as well as going against the claims that the academics come first.
- Violating the Dress Code – Have you seen some of the ridiculous uniforms that some teams have been wearing lately? It’s not just Oregon any more! I mean they are really getting out of hand. Even teams that have classic uniforms are being subject to these monstrosities, and I always have to do a double take and ask “Who’s playing?”. Ohio State in red helmets? Miami dressing up like Florida A&M? And in many cases they claim to be referencing different historic uniforms, but in most cases that’s misleading. For once, I have to give a team like Michigan credit for sticking to their guns (so far).
- When Do The Weeks End? – First, it was Thursday night games. Then, it was Friday night games (typically a no-no, as that’s traditionally high school football night). Now, there’s even Tuesday and Wednesday night games. When does one week end and the next begin? How many people are sitting at home intently tuned into Lousiana Tech @ Wyoming on a Tuesday night? (And I’m sure this scheduling makes it so much easier to put the “student” in “student athlete” as well. </sarcasm>)I don’t have time to keep track of all that, so I like to stick with the Saturday games. But…
- No Meaningful Games Before 3:30pm…If You’re Lucky – I can’t even remember the last game between ranked teams that started at noon on a Saturday. They’re all now getting moved to “prime time”. However, I’d much rather be watching these games earlier, and Saturday nights I’d rather be watching a movie with my wife or going out to dinner. The only chance I’ll actually tune in is if one of my teams of interest is playing (Ohio State, Pitt, UConn or BCS-crashers). Otherwise, I may tune in to an earlier game, but I’ll be tuned out for the “prime time” offering.
- The Bachelor Chow Bowl – Forgive the Futurama reference, but since there’s only about 73 bowl games being played now, some people may have thought that was real. So, now there’s a lot more teams getting to play in extra nationally-televised games, but most of them still don’t matter and aren’t all that interesting as they’re played in front of about 27 attendees each. Amazing.
Basically, I wish that college football would stop pushing itself like they’re marketing on us like a pop music “star” and trying to milk it for all the money possible before that shimmer fades in a few short years. But that happens when universities stop trying to help shape young adults and start running themselves like corporations.
But then again, even pro sports aren’t this reckless with their products…