clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Why the NFL is Better than Major College Football

This is part-two of my editorial a couple days ago proclaiming that the NFL was better than other pro sports leagues .  This piece compares the NFL to its football counterpart in college  Again, this is just one man's opinion and I know there are differing views.  I respect all views, but in my humble opinion, the NFL is according to the popular song, "simply the best."  Both of these stories add up all the reasons why I love the NFL so much.

College football has many of the inherent beauties as the NFL, but it is badly flawed in three major ways.  Two of the three have easy and formidable solutions while the third we just have to live with.

First, regular-season scheduling is processed by the conference two-thirds of the way and left to the discretion of each institution for the other third.  Discretion is control and in this case too much of it  The better teams control their schedules by making sure they play enough non-conference cupcakes to pad victories, plus they might schedule one tough game just to keep the schedule legitimate.  Add the cupcakes to whatever cupcakes exist within the conference (the SEC is the exception here) and the result is that way too many teams play way too many games where the outcome is known before kickoff.  And I don't want to hear about Appalachian State beating Michigan.  A broken clock works twice a day.

A simple remedy for this would be to have a national scheduling system, similar to the NFL, for non-conference games.  Take the six major Bowl Championship Series leagues and randomly cut them in half.  This could be rotated each year. 

Suppose the Big Ten is grouped one year with the Pac 10 and ACC.  The champion of the Big Ten would be mandated to play the champion of the Pac 10 and champion of the ACC on predetermined dates.   The champions of PAC 10 and ACC would also play each other.  The second-place teams would play each other, third place the same, fourth place, etc.  This system would result in a huge influx of 25 or so high-quality games into the national picture, replacing wasteful games.  It would also strengthen and legitimize college football.

The second flaw of college football compared to the NFL is its ludicrous postseason.  There is simply no sane reason why college football can't go to a 12-team playoff giving four teams the bye.  The current BCS computer can do the rankings with six automatic conference champions and six at-large berths.  The higher seeds would be the home teams up until the championship game, which would by played at a neutral predetermined site similar to the Super Bowl.

I don't want to hear this nonsense about how the bowl system has been good to us through the years.  Times change and smart people change with them.  Typewriters were also good to us for many years.  That doesn't mean that we should keep using them due to some outdated sense of loyalty.  Those cities have made enough money on bowl games through the years.  College football does not owe them anything, let alone perpetuity.

I also don't want to hear how the bowls produce too much money.  People who say that are naive to the fact that a 12-team playoff would generate at least 10 times the revenue, and that guess is conservative.  This revenue could not only help fund non-revenue sports and women's sports, it could also help build libraries and buy test tubes.

Thirdly, I don't want to hear about how a playoff system would somehow hinder academics.  Football inherently misses less class time than all other sports since it is only played on weekends and only 10-12 times a year.  If you are concerned about academics, you better look at basketball and baseball which fly all over the place during the week when classes are in session, and travel 25 times a year instead of five.  Moreover, the playoffs would basically take place between Thanksgiving and New Year's, the bulk of which is holiday break.  NCAA Divisions II and III manage quite well with a football playoff system and many of the smaller schools are the most demanding academic institutions in the country.  If institutions such as Case Western Reserve and Carnegie Mellon can uphold academic integrity during a football playoff, I'm guessing that Ohio State and Southern Cal can do the same.

The third flaw that college football has compared to the NFL is that its teams acquire players via recruiting wars instead of a systematic draft.  Not only does this process lend itself to improper recruiting inducements and NCAA rules violations, a whole different ball of wax, it also results in the rich staying rich and the poor staying poor.  Of course, a good coach can maybe turn a program around, but let's face reality, how many times in the last 40 years have Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota and Northwestern defeated Ohio State and Michigan?  How many times have those games been decided by less than two touchdowns?

There is really no remedy for this, but it does spotlight the superiority of the NFL.  Pro football acquires its talent through a systematic draft.  Struggling teams have access to the best available talent each year.  Instead of the rich getting richer, the poor are designed to get richer.  The disparity between the haves and have-nots is a much tighter range.  Check out the point spreads on any given weekend and see the percentage of college games predicted by huge margins. 

It is said that a chain is as strong as its weakest link.  What could possible be stronger than the chain of the National Football League?