Friday, September 24, 2010

College Football Blows

Most sports fanatics are in heaven every Saturday during the months of September to early January.  Starting with an 11:00 am SEC clash pitting Arkansas vs. Georgia and ending with a late-night Stanford-Wake Forest west coast shootout, college football took over the lives of millions of Americans last weekend, as it does on most weekends during the intercollegiate season.  Whether it be because of alma mater pride, an unresolved gambling addiction, the party atmosphere, or simply the love for the game, stadiums were sold out, bars were packed, and couches were occupied all across the country to watch a bunch of “college” kids battle it out on the gridiron.  I on the other hand, chose to pass, like I do on most weekends, because quite frankly, college football simply doesn’t do it for me. 

Don't get the Angelina Craze
Does that make me less of a sports fan?  Maybe, but I’d argue that it speaks more to my selectivity and picky nature than my reputation as a sports enthusiast.   While most full-blooded American straight males between the ages of 0 and 100 are highly attracted to someone like Angelina Jolie, I can’t get over her awful tattoos, mediocre face, and her overall creepiness.  Even her phenomenal body can’t overcome her imperfections that permeate my thoughts every time I see her on the cover of US weekly with Shiloh, Maddox, Pax and the rest of her crew (By the way, I think we can all agree that her choice of names does little to help her on the creepiness front).  Similarly, while there are definitely some attributes of college football that I find appealing, I simply can’t bring myself to watch it because of all the inherent flaws that ruin it for me.  Just like your Billy-Bobs and Brads of the world have been blinded by Jolie’s assets, college football fans are lost in their own sport’s paradise.  Luckily, I’m here to help them learn the error in their ways and get them to realize that they could be doing much more productive things with their Saturdays.

Don’t get me wrong, I love pro football.  Each Sunday, I am glued to the TV set to watch my beloved Bears and coach up my fantasy roster to the best of my ability.  It’s probably my third favorite sport to watch, just behind pro baseball and college basketball (In case you were interested, here is my list: MLB, college basketball, NFL, NBA, NHL, ATP, PGA, college baseball, FIFA Worldcup, PBA, Gymnastics, college football).  So for those of you who thought my beef with college football was based on a lack of interest in the sport itself, you just got got to the degree of Wallace in Season 1 of The Wire (By the way, if you have not already done so, you should watch every episode of The Wire.  If you are disappointed, contact me, and I will write you a 3-page personal letter of apology).

The Gator Mugshot
One of the biggest reasons that I hate college football is because of the lack of name to face recognition of the players.  Of course most of the Heisman candidates are recognizable by casual fans, but for the most part, an overwhelming majority of the other guys couldn’t be picked out of a police line-up.  Unless, you are a Florida Gator, in which case, you’ve proven yourself to be easily identifiable in a police line-up.  For all the other non-delinquent “student-athletes” however, you’re hidden by the tool that is meant to protect you the most, but serves more to shield you from society; your helmet.  While college basketball fans could identify the location of Kyle Singler’s latest pimple or which team leads the nation in total squiggly lines in their hair, the only way you’re going to be able to differentiate between a linebacker from Tennessee and a tight end from Nebraska is by their name and stat line.  It’d be like if Hollywood was strictly in the business of producing animated features.  What would separate Halle Berry, Scarlett Johansson, and Penelope Cruz from the likes of say…………Kathy Bates or Queen Latifah?  Nothing would, besides skill, talent, and the quality of their voices.  What fun is that?  I want recognizable faces in my actresses, just like my athletes.  College football doesn’t give me that.

Another thing that I find less than appealing about college football is the playoff system.  While millions of other people complain about the BCS, they still continue to watch.  I, on the other hand, have chosen to boycott it all together in hopes that I can have a Rosa Parks-like ripple effect on the BCS.  Problem is, people cared about the Civil Rights movement and what her decision stood for.  My plea will fall on deaf ears, as the NCAA will be unable to hear my voice due to it being drowned out by the CUH-CHING of their cash registers.  Nonetheless, their system still sucks and I will continue to write about it and hope that the millions and millions of followers that THE SOX MARKET has accumulated by the year 2020 will march on NCAA headquarters and demand a playoff system.

Pop Quiz time.  What do figure skating, gymnastics, diving, and college football have in common?  They let judges and voters decide which athletes or teams are crowned champion of their respective sports.  This is fine for figure skating, gymnastics, and diving because the nature of the sport does not allow you to compete head to head, so a judge is the only way to determine winners and losers.  In college football however, the opportunity to compete head to head is available, therefore using voters to decide your national championship game is luda (short for Ludacris for those not up on hip-hop culture).  Instead of taking the logical step to do what is right, smart, and fair, the NCAA would rather take the money and run.  When you think about it that is kind of like when a young, good looking, and talented model marries an old, ugly, wife-beating billionaire.  Sure, the money and fame must certainly be appealing for the woman, but the bruises, black eyes, and general contempt that she must have for both his looks and personality should be enough to sway her towards divorce.  Yet for some reason, even though everyone in her life is telling her otherwise, she stays with the guy.  Just like the NCAA sticking with the current system, she sticks with guy because the cash flow is too appealing.  I mean, the guy is bound to die sometime right?  If only the BCS was like the gift of life, which ultimately results in death, then I might be more willing to watch things play out.  But college football seems more Hindu-istic (not a word, but you get the meaning) in its approach.  When one bad idea dies, it reincarnates into something worse.    By the year 2046, the powers that be, may go with an American Idol audience voting system to decide who will face a 52-year-old Justin Bieber (Pop Singer turned football coach)-led Crimson Tide team in the Twitter/Facebook/Google/Apple Orange Bowl National Championship Game.

Finally, the third thing that  I don’t like about college football is the façade given off that the guys playing on Saturday are student-athletes representing their schools.  Come on.  Even the guys who go to school with the intent of getting a quality education quickly learn from their coaches and time-consuming practice schedules that they are there to do one thing and one thing only, play football.  Instead of all the shadiness by coaches, street agents, and boosters paying guys under the table, why don’t we just call it what it is, minor league football, and start treating the guys like professionals?  Hell, I wouldn’t even mind if you gave guys diplomas, in the major of their choice, for their services on the field (We all know that in today’s economy, a college degree is equivalent to a high school degree ten years ago, so what harm could be done?)  Please though, don’t insult my intelligence by displaying the words student-athlete in the college football handbook.  In college football, those words go together about as well as Tom Cruise-heterosexual.  If you had anything in there though, I’d prefer it to say ATHLETE-student.  That would give anyone who read it a more realistic view of who they are watching every weekend.
What about college basketball you may ask?  Wouldn’t this argument make me not like that as well?  No, because the awesomeness of filling out a bracket each year and watching the greatest sporting event on earth for three weeks in March causes me to overlook this minor setback.  Similarly, if college football got rid of the BCS and created a playoff system that Brent Musburger dubbed December Delirium, I’d be like a jury member at the OJ trial who would easily overlook the student-athlete argument due to a well played tournament-card by the defense. 

Until then, college football will have no appeal to me and I will continually find negatives to keep me away.  While it is a simple solution, I don’t see college football going to a tournament format anytime soon.  Year after year, there will be undefeated teams who never get a chance to say their number one.  The best team in January may be playing in the Outback bowl, while another team who peaked mid-season walks away with all the hardware.  And I’ll be there to witness none of it, because I refuse to watch sports that let judges and voters decide who get to call themselves the best.  If I wanted to see something like that, I’d rather watch Dancing with Stars.  At least  I could live with Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, and America deciding the champion of that, but I can’t live with the BCS screwing up year after year.  If I want to watch football, I'll do it on Sundays.      

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