Oh college football how I love thee, let me count the ways.
There are great games all over the globe, but if there are any better than the college pigskin, I haven't seen it. And I've seen a lot of them.
No, I'm not talking football here, I'm talking college football. As everybody knows, they are different animals. In this guy's book, it's no comparison.
There are the obvious differences. The two levels have different rules. Let's start there, shall we?
One foot vs. two feet for a catch: This is one that a lot of NFL supporters point to as to why that version is superior. Nobody is disputing the players are, in fact, superior at that level. Of course that's the case. It's the best of the best from college. But the one-foot in college makes all the sense in the world, as we just alluded to, the players are not as skilled. Yet. Some can make the two-foot catch regularly, some can't. It fits the skill level and, quite frankly, makes for a more exciting brand. It makes it that much more common to see big pass plays stand. How that's a negative is beyond me.
Pass interference: This is perhaps the biggest source of contention. I whole-heartedly support college's take on this. In no way should a pass intereference call be penalized 45 yards, or however far downfield it is. NFL fans argue that without the harsh penalty, DBs that are beat will just tackle guys running by. Riddle me this: Why don't we see that in college? The answer is because it won't happen. Players are too competitive and in the moment. Moreover, where is the justification for this disparity at the pro level: You can throw a punch at a guy or clip somebody and your team only receives a 15-yard penalty, but if your DB touches a guy's arm a half-second early, the penalty can result in a lot more. Something seems incredibly imbalanced.
Wider hashes: The college game's wider hash marks can open the field more. It gives offenses a wider berth with which to work in some cases, which can lead to more entertaining play calls and just play in general. Plus, the wider angles justifies and offsets the bigger uprights compared to the NFL. Chip shot field goals aren't as much as a given thanks to sharper lines.
There are numerous other rule disparities, but these are some of the biggest. However, what really sets the game apart are the "intangibles."
There is the much ballyhooed pomp and circumstance surround the schools. Full of long-standing traditions that connect the generations, the college game has that much greater of an attachment with such rituals. From The Most Exciting 25 Seconds of College Football to Toomer's Corner and from running through the smoke to the Sooner Schooner. Or there's Hail to the Victors after every touchdown, Fight on! following big plays or Script Ohio pregame. The list goes on and on.
What does the NFL have? The Terrible Towel, cheesehead and Hail to the Redskins? No comparison. Half of those videos above should give you chills.
There's a connection everywhere to colleges. There are only seven states that don't have D-I teams while all the rest have teams at lower levels. No matter where you are, there's a school that is representing you. That's a connection not everybody can share with the pros.
Then there's the variety of college. Because of the inferiority of rosters as a whole, offenses are much more varied and unique. There are so many styles to watch. From the triple option to the spread option and everything in between, it isn't a follow the leader game like the NFL tends to be. It makese sense why the NFL is largely uniform in offensive style, because it's the best way to beat skilled personnel, but that doesn't diminish the plethora of looks college presents.
Lastly, how can you top a college football Saturday? Sure, with the advent of NFL Sunday Ticket, fans anywhere can watch their favorite NFL team play, but you're also playing for it. For the most part, your local area will get one, maybe two games at a time. On Saturday, however, you have a veritable smorgasbord to choose from at any time. It is a regular occurence in my house to have three or four games on at a time utilizing two televsions and two computers in one room. Let's see: a helping of 12 or 13 games on a Sunday or that many by the 3:30 kickoff spot on Saturday? (That's rhetorical in case you couldn't tell.)
I don't try to pretend I'm not a fan. I am. I love my alma mater (University of Miami) unabashedly. Quite frankly, there is no way to grow an undying love for the sport without being immersed as a fan. For that I will never apologize. Because I root for my alma mater does not mean I can't look at it harshly. In fact, it's easier to. More often than not, the harshest critics come from within. All that my connection to my school means is that I know it better than the rest. That's it.
Oh, and how can I forget the best thing of all about college compared to the NFL? The words "labor" and "stoppage" aren't in the vocabulary.