Anybody who has not had large portions of his cerebellum removed
for scientific purposes knows that college football is better
than pro football the way that Sean Connery is better than Roger
Moore. Still, it's always nice to remind ourselves why.
For one thing, college football has Ralphie, Uga and Smokey the
Blue Tick Hound. Pro football has Crazy George on too many Jolt
College football has picnic blankets with candelabras at
Harvard-Yale, brats on the grill at Michigan--Ohio State, cold
beers at the Esso gas pumps before Clemson home games. Pro
football has stadium nachos--now with actual foodlike cheese
College football has Auburn's Tiger Talk radio show with Terry
Bowden and calls like the following one:
"This is Bobby Dan Tallbutt down in Huntsville."
"Yessir, Bobby Dan."
"Just wanted to say War Eagle."
"War Eagle, Bobby Dan."
Pro football, meanwhile, has 103 FM's 24-hour Sports Zoo, in
which Mad Mike continually screams things to the Captain, such
as: "It's time the truth was told!!!!! Gale Sayers sucked!!!!!"
College football has the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Orange
Bowl and a bowl system that, despite its flaws, has produced
three stirring games in the last four years that were do-or-die
for the ultimate national champion. Pro football has 1) the
Super Bowl (average margin of victory the last 11 years: 22.4),
and 2) the Bud Bowl (average margin of IQ points lost by
watching it: 22.4).
College football has rich traditions: walking the Grove at Ole
Miss, standing up for A&M, dotting the i at Ohio State. Pro
football, on the other hand, has rich marketing guys with not
enough to do. If pro football had its way, we would have AT&T
Presents the i Plan: dotting the i with today's guest
College football has The Notre Dame Victory March, On Wisconsin,
Hail to the Victors. Pro football has Houston Oilers No. 1,
College football has rivalries that have not changed in 50 years:
Army-Navy, Texas-Oklahoma, Stanford-Cal, Florida-Georgia and
about 25 others that keep players awake all night and cause
receptionists to answer phones by saying, "Beat Texas, Monolith
Oil, how can I help you?'' The best pro football can do is
Chicago-Green Bay, which hasn't been a decent rivalry since
College football is the bonfires at Texas A&M, between the
hedges at Georgia, up on Rocky Top at Tennessee. Pro football is
performance-weighted draft picks offsetting a free-agent
sell-off to skirt the salary cap.
College football has Stewart to Westbrook. Pro football has
Anaheim to St. Louis.
College football has Hook 'em, Horns! Whoo, pig, sooey! Roll,
Tide! Pro football has giant clapping hands on the scoreboard,
dot races and Chinstrap Nights.
College football will get you so delirious, you'll wear your
school's underwear and throw an Also Receiving Votes Party. Pro
football will have you wondering if you can leave early in the
fourth in order to get home for the beginning of She's the
College football has Athens, Ga.; Eugene, Ore.; and Madison,
Wis. Pro football has not one but two (2) teams in East
College football is the high-water pants. The lisp. The white
visor. Pro football is Buddy Ryan in one of those horrid NFL
Properties sweaters in which the team name gets swallowed up in
an ocean of fat rolls.
College football is an Ohio State helmet adorned with Buckeyes,
a Florida State helmet adorned with hatchets, a Penn State
helmet adorned with nothing. Pro football is basically a whole
lot of black and teal now, though some teams are trying
something vastly different and refreshing: teal and black.
In college football, nobody is a free agent. Nobody gets traded.
Nobody sits out their option year. In pro football this
off-season, more than 200 players changed teams. What you're
basically doing is rooting for your team's uniform design
against the other team's uniform design.
College football is yell practice. Point push-ups. Shining the
helmets. Pro football is the Buffalo Bills' professional
cheerleaders, the Buffalo Jills, who recently formed a union.
(Chief complaint: Thurman Thomas keeps pretending to lose helmet
in our dressing room.)
College football is LSU's Tiger Stadium at night. Spring
football in Strawberry Canyon at Cal. Annapolis when the leaves
turn. Pro football is a guy with sleet hanging off his hat
outside the Pontiac Silverdome, trying to get his butterfly
College football is the Southern University Jaguar Band halftime
show, runny makeup on homecoming queens, a 92-year-old halfback
at midfield. Pro football is a halftime show with Michael
Jackson attempting a groin pull.
College football has Keith Jackson saying, "Whoa, Nellie, we're
fixin' to have a barn burner!" Pro football has Beasley Reece
and Jerry Glanville discussing the roll-up zone.
A college football player will tell you he loves his team, will
play there for four years and will wear his school ring the rest
of his life. A pro football player will tell you he loves his
team, will play there for six months, sign with a team in the
same division, play for six other teams before his career is
over--and wear his school ring the rest of his life.
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: ILLUSTRATION BY CALEF BROWN [Images relating to college and professional football]