WARNING: Less than a month until my true sports fan persona unleashes itself and takes over my mind every Saturday for three months. It’s going to be so dope!
As an aspiring young minded individual attempting to pursue a career where opinions and objectivity don’t mix and match, I tend to keep my views on sports as objective as possible (DISCLAIMER: I am publicly saying this on my blog, so take this admission as you wish). But I do my best to look at both sides of the story before I form an opinion on a subject.
However, ‘tis the season for college football, so ‘tis the season for me to publicly admit my love for college football. I love the game. I love to watch it, talk about it, laugh about it, smile about it, and even cry about it. I love everything about it. When you grow up in Columbus, Ohio, you become addicted to it, and that’s no laughing matter.
Some may argue that college football is facing a darker time now than it ever has before. Lawsuits, scandals, concussions, money and power all meshed as one; what is right with college football then?
The evidence is hard to deny. Luckily, I’m not a lawyer and this isn’t a court case, because college football would be screwed.
For those of you who see terror and trouble in college football, I ask you sit back, relax, and strap on your seat-belts, because I have something to say that suggests there is still a lot of good left in this game.
The game has drastically changed from when I first fell in love with it years ago. It’s changed in every way, and it looks to never return to the form of old. Amidst this seismic change over the landscape of college football and college sports in general, I still see underneath the skin and into the heart of college football. I may stand alone, but I still believe in the general principles that opened the door which forever changed my life.
Good is a very relative term for something as large and influential as college football. It runs our lives every Saturday for five months out of the year. When it’s not in the forefront of our minds, it’s sitting in the back seat trying to unbuckle the seat-belt (you know what I mean when it’s 4 o’clock on a Friday).
In his first season as Head Coach at Ohio State, Urban Meyer not only led the Buckeyes to their first undefeated season since 2002 (yes, there is an asterisk to that title), but he changed the foundation and culture of the team.
For years, my Dad and I imagined a world where Ohio State ditched the boring and colorless I-Formation base offense for the exciting and unpredictable spread offense. After ten years of utter boringness watching Ohio State line up with a two tight end formation and run the ball 30 times a game, finally our dream came true. Last season, the Meyer spread attack came to Columbus and lit our world on fire.
The spread offense is just one of the many changes that has infiltrated college football over the last decade. Combine that with BCS busters like Boise State regularly posting undefeated seasons, underclassmen winning the Heisman almost every year now after never winning it for the first 75 years of its existence, and a seismic shift in the power players in college football; things don’t look anything like they did ten years ago.
College football, the game itself, is as exciting as it’s ever been. The level of competition is at a ceiling it has never reached before. Parity actually exists in college football somewhat now (purists may despise this, but it’s good for the game). The athletes themselves are bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter (in a football sense). And the upsets keep coming too.
As much gutter talk and hate that is sent college football’s way, there is something unique about the game that no other entity can offer: significance to every single game. The one constant in college football is what has kept it from completely falling apart. Every game means something, and hopefully that will never change.
I fell in love with this game, not because I enjoyed watching drama unfold, but because I was captivated by the fact that young men were willing to give their heart and soul to something that only gave them a free education and pat on the back in return. Nothing more.
There will always be drama with this game, sadly that’s what’s become of college football and big time money-making college sports. It’s unfortunate, but it shouldn’t be the reason we forget what makes our fall Saturdays so enjoyable.
This isn’t Isaac Chipps the blogger trying to land a job, impress an editor, or sound smart and catchy with a cool analogy. This is Isaac Chipps, the sports fan speaking. This is the guy who deep down still believes in the good of the game.
In this era, we’re so consumed by constant news and public forums where unqualified individuals think they’re opinion matters. I know it may be difficult, but I challenge you to turn off the social media and think back to what made you a college football fan. Chances are, not only will you find peace of mind and great memories, you’ll remember that there’s a reason why you loved college football then, and why you still love it now.