College football is the greatest spectator sport in the nation.
America loves football. Of the 20 most-watched broadcasts in television history, 19 are football games [all Super Bowls, with the M*A*S*H Finale coming in at number nine]. Averaging over 20 million viewers per week, the most popular program on television is Sunday Night Football, while the fourth most-watched TV show is Thursday Night Football.
Despite its popularity with viewers, the NFL is flawed. Employing a “more is better” philosophy, the product is overexposed. Once reserved for Sunday afternoons, pro football is now played on Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights.
With the exception of the New England Patriots, the caliber of play in the NFL is mediocre. What Roger Goodell calls parity, I call boring. Teams posting a .500 record get into the postseason discussion. Last year, two 9-7 teams made the playoffs. In 2014, the Carolina Panthers won the NFC South with a losing record.
Factor in delays for penalties, television timeouts and replay review, and pro football games – especially for fans in attendance – lack flow and energy. NFL players’ failing to stand for the National Anthem has alienated the game’s fan base.
In college football, every game matters. Playing a 12-game regular season schedule, a single loss can cost teams a shot at a conference title or a spot in the playoff, making every autumn Saturday critically important.
Featuring a four-month season and a short, intense playoff format, the college game is without peer.
Add marching bands, mascots, rivalries, cool trophies and traditions, and you get the finest sport in the land.
College basketball games once rivaled those of their football brethren in terms of importance, but the advent of conference tournaments ruined that. Today, every team in a conference qualifies for their league’s season-ending tournament, which allows any squad that gets a hot-hand for one week a spot in March Madness.
The NBA is the biggest joke of all major North American sports. Why even have a regular season? Just put the Warriors up against whatever team LeBron is playing for and call it the Finals.
The road to the Stanley Cup may take as many as 110 games. MLB teams may play as many as 182 to identify a champion. In 2016-17, North Carolina played 40 games en route to the NCAA basketball championship.
Meanwhile, the team that wins this season’s College Football Playoff will have played 15 games – with none of them meaningless preseason affairs.
The baseball season is a long, boring grind, punctuated by endless trips to the mound to make pitching changes. Four weeks of spring training – six for pitchers and catchers – are followed by a season that lasts half a year. The postseason is gripping theater and more closely resembles college football in that every pitch matters, but the national pastime is not America’s best sport.
The NHL and MLB have two things in common. Both play a bloated regular-season schedule. And both feature an epic postseason – but not enough to make up for the huge yawn that is the regular campaign – and certainly not enough to surpass college football.
The NCAA must be cautious with how it handles the college game. While broadening the current four-team playoff format would produce millions in additional revenue, the move would diminish the importance of the regular season, which is the very essence of what makes college football King of All Sports.