I'm taking a week off from my amazing predictions to look at an age-old dilemma. Or at least 50 years old. Which is better: college football or the NFL? Based on what topic I write on every week, I think you can figure out which of these I like better, but let's go in depth shall we? Just remember the NFL has this and college football does not. Score one for the NC double A. I'll be awarding 5 points for each category that can be split up any way. For example, a tie is worth 2.5 points for each team, while a total annihilation is worth five for one and a big fat ostrich egg for the other.
Passion: We'll start out with an easy victory for the amateur side. If you have ever watched a high stakes, late season, big conference rivalry, you'll understand what I mean. The NFL produces some high quality crowds, but where college trumps the pros is in games that don't seem to mean quite as much. At most, schools across the country, fans of all ages pack stadiums of varying sizes to cheer on their teams with feverish intensity that comes across easily even on non-high definition TV. NFL games are not exactly known for their game altering stadiums except for possibly Seattle and Indy. The fact that these two teams are constantly talked about as having a great home field advantage means that great crowds are few and far between.
Quality of Players: This one is obvious. The best college players are taken and put into the NFL. During their time in the NFL, they grow physically and mentally and become superior athletes and football players. The only saving grace is that sometimes players are put in better situations to succeed in college or be injured in the pros. That's the only reason they salvage a point here.
NCAA: 1 (5 total)
NFL: 4 (5 total)
Parity: This is one that many people say should easily go the NFL, and up until a couple of years ago, I would have agreed with that. Recently college football has moved in a more competitive direction. Although it's true that Florida will play a cupcake or two every year, don't the Patriots play the Browns and Raiders? Both systems have their flaws and there will never be perfect balance in both, but I'm giving the slight edge to the NFL, because there are just a few too many 1-AA teams on schedules.
NCAA: 2 (7 total)
NFL: 3 (8 total)
Excitement Factor: This is where college football starts to pull away. There are very few games in the NFL season that make me want to keep watching until the end unless they involve the Steelers winning or Cowboys getting blown out. For every Brandon Stokley miracle, there are 10 Pats/Titans snooze fests. That is not the case in college. Yes, not all games live up to their hype and there are a fair number of blowouts, but momentum can swing so fast in a college game that no contest is beyond a comeback until the final seconds tick off the clock. There are only a handful of exciting pro games I can name off the top of my head (Immaculate reception, the last couple Super Bowls, and that's about it) but I could go on all day about exciting college games (Band on the field, Kordell Stewart owning Michigan's defense on a Hail Mary, Colorado's 5th down play, Blue Grass miracle, Texas-USC rose bowl, Texas-Michigan Rose Bowl, pretty much any BCS championship game not involving Ohio State). It's not only the meaningful ones that stick with you, but also every single weekend there are plenty of down to the wire games that have no implication on the championship hunt, but you know what? That's what makes college football great, anytime you turn on the TV, you have the potential for greatness and that just doesn't happen in the pros.
NCAA: 4.5 (11.5 total)
NFL: .5 (8.5 total)
Method of crowning the champion: If you've read my early articles, you know how I feel about the BCS, it sucks but it's not as bad as everyone says, and a playoff system may have robbed us of Texas-USC. The NFL playoffs are sweet, but there are too many blowouts for my liking. Still, the NFL takes this one easily.
NCAA: 1.5 (13 total)
NFL: 3.5 (12 total)
Method of play: This encompasses offensive and defensive play calling. The fact that the NFL thinks the option and the wildcat are revolutionary and creative says all you need to know. However, offenses in the pros cannot run everything that their college counterparts can in part because the defenses are too skilled. Still, seeing Tim Tebow have four options besides passing on a play and Texas Tech fill the air with footballs is a sight to see. It's not only that, Texas Tech vs. Navy is the perfect reason why college football offenses are so phenomenal. On one side, you have an offense that passes almost exclusively out of the shotgun. On the other side, you have an offense that runs without from under center almost every time. Yet both are so practiced in their methods that they both can explode for 50-plus points at any time.
NCAA: 4 (17 total)
NFL: 1 (13 total)
Coaches: Coaches in both the NFL and college jump around at different opportunities and leave behind players that they made promises to. Coaches at both levels have tried unsuccessfully to jump to the other league with varying degrees of success. The reason I give the NFL a huge advantage on this one is that kids coming out of high school are much more impressionable and can be hurt by coaches jumping around more than pros. It is also easier to leave via free agency then it is to transfer schools. Therefore, college coaches suck more and I'm giving this on to THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. (Copyright Ron Jaworski)
NCAA: 0 (17 total)
NFL: 5 (18 total)
NCAA: 2.5 (19.5 total)
NFL: 2.5 (20.5 total)
If I include college football's point from the opening, that makes this last comparison worth everything.
NCAA: 1 (20.5 total)
NFL: 0 (20.5 total)
Stadiums: Now this may not be the most important category, but anyone who has ever watched a football game knows what a difference a stadium can make. The NFL boasts state of the art stadiums that have every luxury known to man. College stadiums have most of those luxuries, but they have more history. NFL stadiums are newer. College stadiums are bigger and have more history. NFL stadiums are set up for comfort. College stadiums are set up to be raucous and to rattle the other team. Yes, Jerry Jones new shrine to football and everything Texas is amazing, but so is the Swamp in Florida, the Big House in Michigan, Happy Valley at Penn State, Death Valley at LSU and countless other venues spread across the nation. That gives NCAA the narrow victory in this category, and a narrow victory overall.
NCAA: 3 (23.5 total)
NFL: 2 (22.5 total)
I could have also brought up the fact that the NCAA regular season actually matters, but I didn't want college to have too big of an edge. I'm sure you may hear a few counterarguments from my delusional colleague Will Robinson, but for now, college reigns supreme.
Now on to my top five list. For those of you who have developed amnesia over the last week, this is a list of top five most exciting players of my lifetime. 5 was pre dog fighting Michael Vick. 4 was the duo of Pat White and Steve "insert fumbling joke here" Slaton. 3 was the speedster form LSU, Trindon Holliday. And checking in at number 2…
2. Vince Young- Vincent Paul Young, Jr. was the most electrifying dual threat quarterback of all time and his size (6 foot 5 inches and 230 pounds) did not seem to slow him down at all. In fact, it just made him more powerful as a runner and playmaker. His leadership and guts were also key characteristics that led to plenty of late game heroics and made him the star of the greatest game ever played, the 2006 Rose Bowl. Even though he hasn't had the stats or the mental fortitude yet in the pros, he was a great quarterback in college and the second most exciting player of my lifetime.
That's all the time we have for today, but tune in next week for my Big 12 preview and the most exciting player of my lifetime.