It doesn't help, that my pro team has been everybody's favorite homecoming opponent the last decade.
But the college game just has so much flavor. So much chaos. So much variation in styles, settings, uniforms and coaches.
The pro game is finely polished corporate product. High level, yes. But too often predictable, and increasingly homogenized. Go ahead, smear vaseline over some eyeglasses, flip around, and try to tell me which teams you are watching.
The college game - and system - meanwhile, is hopelessly corrupt. As my friend Drew Magary at Deadspin notes:
Everything about the sport is intractably corrupt. The coaches are corrupt. The boosters are corrupt. The schools are corrupt. The idiotic postseason is broken up into 35 separate retarded entities that are all INDIVIDUALLY corrupt. The governing body of the sport (the NCAA) is corrupt and is also so fucked up that they don't really have any say over that same postseason, which makes no logical sense.
The networks are corrupt. Consider the progression of UT's Longhorn Network, which the school operates with the self-feeding s**t demon that is ESPN. Bad enough that Texas got its own network (was CMT not enough for these folks?), which was basically akin to the rest of Big 12 allowing Texas to barge into their homes and s**t on the furniture. Then the network was going to air high school games, then the Big 12 (said) "Uhhh, you probably shouldn't do that for, like, a year." Then the NCAA straggled in later on like a deadbeat parent and decided Texas couldn't do it at all. The sport is so f***ed that the network had to navigate through two separate corrupt entities before being somewhat constrained by a third corrupt entity. Even the f***ing ANNOUNCERS are corrupt (Hi, Craig James! Your son's a gash!). This is a sport so hopelessly screwed that it makes the United States government look efficient by comparison. Every national title won is just WAITING to be vacated.
And if I may pile on...
It's a sport where the urge to win is so fanatic, a coach puts a student on a 30 foot lift to film practice, he falls in 50 mph winds and dies, AND NOT A SINGLE PERSON GETS FIRED!
A sport where a rival winning the title is enough to drive one man to not just poison two beloved oak trees in the rivals' town, but to GO ON THE RADIO AND BRAG ABOUT IT!
In other words: "To hell with the legal ramifications. I want CREDIT for this act of fandom!"
What happens when the corrupt poop hits the big fan?
Nobody at Ohio State got fired above Jim Tressell after the whole Lies, Tattoos, and Memorabilia Scandal. The Fiesta Bowl didn't lose it's BCS status after John Junker took it to the Bernie Madoff cleaners. The NCAA looked at $cam Newton's dad's admission he ASKED for $180,000 for his son's services, but basically decided they had a bad headache, didn't have time for this nonsense, and needed to just lie down for a while.
But there is an upside to all of this hypocricy, lawlessness, greed and mayhem.
It's awesome to watch.
A real playoff would be nice. But for now, I am learning to embrace the "Chinese Downhill" nature of the college football regular season.
Oh, you don't know about the "Chinese Downhill?"
Not a big fan of the cult classic movie "Hot Dog?"
Well then, take a gander below.
That, my friends, is the FBS season in a nutshell. It's a bunch a teams barreling downhill with only loose rules, and lots of spectacular wipeouts along the way.
Is it fair? Hell no! Does it always produce the most worthy champion? Not on your life.
But it is, fun. So let's pull up a folding plastic lawn chair and grab a beverage.