clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Birth Of College Football

Football existed before this man. It existed after, too.
Football existed before this man. It existed after, too.

Throughout my travels in the Buckeye blogosphere, I've encountered a lot of old timers who think any reform brought to college football would effectively kill the sport. For some, inevitable change means the death of childhood memories, something which has miraculously been welded to arbitrary institutions like the Rose Bowl.

Despite my grumblings against the power structure of the NCAA and its BCS sugar daddies, I'm optimistic about the future of the sport. Maybe money-grabbing and corporate-whoring will pay dividends for these bastions of "higher learning", but I doubt it.

Eventually, it is my hope, the corporate money will be weeded out from college football like the poisoned root that it is. If I am ever unfortunate to spawn another human being, I can't wait to befuddle that DEMON with tales about the monstrosity that was the BCS. (Hopefully it's not Wiccan by then.)

Change is an inherent part of life. Being that it's literally impossible for anything to exist through time without changing, reform to college should be seen like needed repair to a 4-line highway which hasn't been properly paved since 1996. Do you want to knickle and dime the road for a 1/3rd of the price, only to have to redo it again in five years? Or do you want to properly pave the road now so we don't have to mess with it for another twenty years?

I understand why people who get paid six figures to oversee an annual exhibition game want to keep the current system. Who wouldn't want hundreds of thousands of dollars to coordinate a game whose match-up is annually gifted? Not only that, but you get to charge admission for the half-time entertainment (which is also performing for free).

What I don't understand is average folks who still defend corrupted institutes like the Fiesta Bowl. (I'm %10,000 sure it has nothing to do with pleasurable, reductionist child-hood memories welded to such games.)

Let's also not forget that change is usually for the better. I know everybody likes to watch Mad Men and think "Boy, I sure would love to live back in the sixties", but nobody is really about that life. The only thing cool about Mad Men's era was the ability to drink and smoke wherever and whenever. Other than that, it was shit. Not only were blacks and minorities denied basic human rights in large swaths of this country, but we didn't even have cell phones or caller ID. The sixties sucked. That's why we moved onto the 70's.

If these institutions were worth keeping, we wouldn't here. The BCS would still be raking cash in silence. The fact we're here shows these institutions are far from perfect. Like in the road anecdote, why not take advantage of this by talking about long-lasting reforms, so we won't have to do this again in 10 years?

I used to think Jim Delaney had that kind of bold vision. His forging of the Big Ten Network is something which still has his competitors playing catch-up. The four-year scholarship offers to student-athletes were something which helped swing the pendulum back towards "amateurism". It was a step in the right direction.

Delaney's desperate attempt to maintain the status of the Rose Bowl has shown me that he does not have the vision necessary to lead us to the promised land. It's like if Moses had only been able to lead his people to the banks of the Red Sea, but when he went to part it, nothing happened.

It's disappointing, but only somewhat disheartening. Eventually, Jim Delaney's pedantic attachments to the Rose Bowl will die-off. (The Grim Reaper is undefeated last I checked.) Eventually, these institutions will be brought down. (Like death, change has a knack for being somewhat inevitable too.)

I can't say that's too upsetting, because if I ever do unleash a hell-spawn on this Earth, I don't envision myself ever telling it about the death of college football. No, I'd like to think I'm living in the era of the re-birth of the sport.