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Top 20 Reasons Why College Football Is Better Than Pro

Updated on June 12, 2014


As a college football fan, I admit this hub may appear biased. That being said, it’s hard to argue with the following 20 points. Pro football is, by far, the most popular sport in America, and college football is considered third behind the MLB. The gap is closing, though, and within five years, college football will overtake baseball as the second most popular sport in the country. While its popularity may never come close to catching up to the NFL, there are many reasons why the college version of the sport is better. The following list appears in no particular order.

Poll #1

Which sport do you like better, college or pro football?

See results

#1 The Pageantry And Marching Bands

There’s nothing like popping in a cd of your favorite team’s marching band to get you psyched for the upcoming season. College bands are an integral part of the college football experience. They have a way of getting fans pumped up and behind their team like no other element. It starts when you’re young and your parents take you to your first live game. The music is so loud and powerful while sitting in the stadium, you cannot help feeling motivated to get off your seat, clap your hands, and scream your fight song at the top of your lungs. It generates a special feeling and unique atmosphere foreign to pro sports.


#2 The Tradition

College football traditions are the oldest and most elaborate practices in all of sports. There’s the Little Brown Jug awarded to the winner of the annual Michigan verses Minnesota game, the War Eagle entrance for the Auburn Tigers, dotting the “I” in Script Ohio, the Twelfth Man at Texas A&M, and many, many more. Each and every team features a multitude of different traditions that ensure continuity of the sport for each fan. Pro football has nothing like it and never will. College football fans and commentators use the term tradition a lot more so than pro. One example to support this fact is the Houston Oilers do not equal the Houston Texans, or the Tennessee Titans for that matter.


#3 Polls And Rankings

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, polls provide college fans with something to brag about and a gauge to compare their team to others. While it remains an imperfect system, it’s still better than what the NFL has. Polls give fans something to talk or brag about each week leading up to the next game. They are, if only for a brief moment, a status of how good one team might stack up to another and, for fans, a modicum of respect. They’re also fun to contemplate, in particular if you like stats and numbers.


#4 College Teams Don't Move To Another Location Or Change Their Name

Just ask any Cleveland Browns fan how devastating it can be when your team decides to uproot and move to another city. The Ohio State Buckeyes will always be in Columbus, forever sport scarlet & gray, and will never cease to exist. Many fans of certain pro teams over the years did not have that same sense of security. A college fan could never imagine their team disappearing or moving to another location. It would be a nightmarish scenario for any fan of any sport to endure.


#5 Games Are Played On Saturday Instead Of Sunday

For many working Americans, Saturday is, by far, the absolute best day of the week. For one, you don’t have to worry about getting up and going to work the next morning, so, if it’s your cup of tea, you can get totally wasted knowing you have an entire day to recover. This makes traveling to games and getting home at a reasonable time much easier. College football fans have the luxury of watching their sport on the best day of the week while pro fans have to settle for second best.


#6 Players Don't Get Traded

While a college player can transfer to another school, it is a rare occurrence that is not really an issue in college athletics. In the NFL, players get traded almost as often as baseball cards. Alright, perhaps that’s blowing it out of proportion a bit, but you get the idea. If you’re both a fan of a particular team and a fan of a certain player on that team who recently transferred to another, your allegiance could become muddled and confused. If that player is on the opposing team for any given match-up, who do you root for? College fans do not have to endure such torture since the sport is more team and less player-oriented. You know, how it should be with team sports.


#7 College Stadiums Are Bigger And Better Than Pro

College stadiums feature unique architecture, preserve more history, and include better aesthetics than most NFL stadiums. They also tend to be larger. And since most traditional college stadiums have been modernized to keep with the times, they possess the same amenities as newer pro stadiums yet still retain their overall nostalgia.


#8 Bowl Games

Instead of only a handful of teams getting to play after the NFL regular season, in college football, you get to enjoy watching a total of 70 teams compete for at least a consolation prize. Many argue the amount of bowl games have gotten out of hand, but the bowl season provides fans with what they crave…just one more game. And soon college football will feature a mini-playoff system that, over time, will expand to include more teams. Bowl games are a unique feature to college football, found in no other sport. Over the next few years, college fans will get the best of both worlds.


#9 When You Fall Down, You Can't Get Back Up

In the NFL, a player’s knee or entire body can touch the ground and, as long as he wasn’t touched by an opposing player, he can get back up and keep running. If a player is unable to maintain his balance and falls on his face, why does he deserve to get back up and keep going? This must be the most ridiculous NFL rule ever enacted. It’s so ambiguous that some instances make it difficult to determine if an opposing player actually caused the runner to go down. If you’re down, you’re down…period. A player does not deserve the right to get back up and gain more yards. It’s as simple as that. The rule causes another illogical inconsistency. If you fall down without getting touched by an opposing player then fumble the ball, is it still considered a fumble since, technically, you were not considered down? If a player has the ability to get back up and keep running, is it not logical to consider it a fumble if the player then loses control of the ball while on the ground?

Poll #2

In the NFL, should a runner be allowed to get back up untouched and keep running?

See results

#10 College Overtime Rule Much Better Than Pro

In college football, both teams are given equal opportunity to score, and the outcome does not hinge on a mere coin toss. While the coin toss does determine which one first goes on offense, the other team still gets a fair shot to score. Each team starts on the defender’s 25 yard-line. Play is normal and on fourth down they can either go for it to obtain a first down or touchdown, or kick a field goal. The other team then gets a turn to do the same. If the other team scored a touchdown, your team must do the same or you lose the game. If they kicked a field goal, then doing the same will tie the score and double overtime commences. The team that did not start on offense gets to do so first in double overtime. Play continues until one team outscores the other following one round each.

In the NFL, winning the coin toss is a victory in itself. Though the winner has more field to cover, it is a “sudden death” outcome. The first team to score wins. Instead of starting at the opponent’s 25 yard-line, the ball is kicked off as in normal play. The team that wins the coin toss has the upper hand and gets a chance to score first. It’s high time the NFL implements a similar method not so contingent on a coin toss.


#11 No Lockouts

College players do not have the luxury of going on strike if they don’t like their contract or how much they get paid. Neither do entire teams. In the NFL, the whole league can shut down and an entire season botched. Though most disputes are resolved before each season begins, the possibility of irreconcilable differences that could affect an entire season looms. While a college player could be suspended for violations or conduct unbecoming, there is never a worry they will transfer to another school for not getting paid enough money.


#12 Rivalries Are Much Better

Pro-football rivalries pale in comparison to long-standing college ones. There’s really no comparison. Not only have they been around longer and generate a more intense atmosphere for the upcoming match-up, they play just once for a solid year of bragging rights. An NFL team will play their rival from the same division at least twice in a single season, removing the significance of each win. If the second meeting determines which team heads to the playoffs, the losing team that may have beaten the division winner earlier in the season will mean absolutely nothing.


#13 Better Tailgating

While both NFL and college venues feature elaborate tailgating traditions, the college atmosphere is a lot more fan-friendly. Most college fans bring their entire family and, while there are idiots that abuse alcohol in all walks of life, the NFL’s tailgating atmosphere, on average, is significantly more hostile. College fans and alum tend to have more resources than the average NFL fan, so many of the various tailgating spots are quite extravagant. It’s difficult not to stereotype based on what we see.


#14 Less Fair-Weather Fans

Though it does occur on a limited basis, there are few instances of someone from Florida rooting for Nebraska in college football; unless, of course, that person was born or raised there. In the NFL, it is common for someone from Tennessee to root for the New England Patriots. There isn’t the same regional pride in the NFL. Though exceptions remain, as a general rule, someone from Tallahassee is not going to root for the Georgia Bulldogs or Oregon Ducks. While poll rankings and the elaborate structure of college football sometimes requires a fan to root for another school in order to help their team’s cause, it is a temporary occurrence that can make other games on any given Saturday more interesting.


#15 Mascots

A team’s mascot is their identity. While this excerpt may fit better under point #1 or #2, a mascot is a college feature all to its own. Mascots have been around longer than cheerleaders and they both combine to form an integral part of the college football experience, one foreign to the NFL. While most NFL teams feature cheerleaders, college cheerleaders are a part of the team and university while pro cheerleaders are hired for nothing more than eye-candy. Mascots are part of a team’s tradition and help contribute to the overall college football experience.


#16 Each Game Is More Important

In college football, rarely do we see a team play the same opponent in a single season. In the NFL, a team will play another from the same division twice in one season. While some fans argue it gives them a chance at payback, it confuses bragging rights unless the same team wins both match-ups. USC and UCLA fans and players can brag, with annual certainty, that they beat their rival back in said year. It’s more emphatic and what bragging rights are all about. A pro fan cannot claim the same unless they beat their rival both times in a single season. If they have to share bragging rights following a given season, it takes something away from the win and renders the concept of beating your rival meaningless; especially if the loser of the first meeting manages to make it to the playoffs while the other sits at home.


#17 More Educated And More Female Fans

This is a given with college athletics. Naturally, the average college fan will be more educated than the average pro fan. It’s also evident when you parallel how fans act at a college game compared to that of a pro. The differences are unmistakable. While there are some college fans that get just as rowdy, they tend to have a better grasp for the mechanics of the game, are more diverse, include more women, and are less fair-weather. When going out in public, most college fans know when to put away his or her jersey for more appropriate attire. An NFL fan might wear one to a job interview because he thinks his potential boss is also a fan.


#18 Need Only One Foot In Bounds For A Catch Rather Than Two

Could you imagine some of the great receptions that never would have been had the rule been two feet in bounds? After all, while a receiver is running along the sidelines, each and every SINGLE step is counted until he goes out. Why should the initial foot to land a catch be any different? Logic demands you need just one to count as a reception. Perhaps the rule is necessary in the NFL or else there would be “too many.”


#19 Less About Money And More About The Game

While both the NFL and college football make a great deal of money, college players are not paid a salary. (This reason also supports #6 and #11 above.) A college player might get cocky or confident they will soon be making lots of money but is tame compared to that of some blue-chip NFL players. Most NFL fans admit pro football is more player-driven. Just look at fantasy leagues for proof. The beauty of college football is a system more team-driven and less about the individual. A player will come and go, but the team remains…that is until a pro team decides to up and move.


#20 College Fans Get The Option Of Following Another Sport For The Same Team

If you happen to be a fan of both football and basketball, in the pro world you have to find a completely different team to follow. While it is possible both may reside in the same city, most pro fans follow a football team from one location and a basketball team from another. In college athletics, there is a multitude of sports a fan may follow while remaining loyal to the same team name, mascot, and everything else in between.

Poll #3

In the NFL, should a receiver need both feet in bounds to make a reception or just one?

See results


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    • ButlerOlsonPubl profile image


      3 years ago

      It's the best time of the year!

    • Kile Taylor profile image

      Kile Taylor 

      3 years ago from Roanoke, VA

      The Big 12 has been so hit or miss the last few years. I think it because they have become so focused on the spread offense and the conference has seemed to forget about defense altogether. That makes it fun to watch, but when they face good teams from other conferences they seem to come up short as a whole. I am looking forward to TCU vs. Ole Miss though.

    • Bill Sego profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Sego 

      3 years ago from Logan, Ohio

      Glad you enjoyed the article Kile and thanks for the kind comments. Enjoying the bowl games as we speak. So far am a bit disappointed at the Big 12, but lots more games to go. I also hope the Big 10 is able to rally and finish well. Looking forward to the next few days and, especially, the first college football playoffs with my own team a part of that momentous event. Happy New Year!

    • Kile Taylor profile image

      Kile Taylor 

      3 years ago from Roanoke, VA

      Great article and overall I do think College football is better for the sport. It embraces all of what a sport should be. I love pro football, but if you to a pro game it is fun. When you go to a college game it is an event. I especially agree with you on #8, I love all the bowl games. I just did an article about that; How can you complain about more football? Once again, great job.

    • Kile Taylor profile image

      Kile Taylor 

      3 years ago from Roanoke, VA

      Great article and overall I do think College football is better for the sport. It embraces all of what a sport should be. I love pro football, but if you to a pro game it is fun. When you go to a college game it is an event. I especially agree with you on #8, I love all the bowl games. I just did an article about that; How can you complain about more football? Once again, great job.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      4 years ago from Oklahoma

      I do enjoy college football slightly more than pro. A well thought out and crafted article. I would argue with several of your points, but that's the nature of being an active sports fan. I really enjoyed the article.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Good article with valid points.

    • Bill Sego profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Sego 

      5 years ago from Logan, Ohio

      I couldn't agree more and am glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks so much for the comments. Just 2 weeks to go!

    • Jeff Porter profile image

      Jeff Porter 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      I enjoyed the read! Thanks.

      I am so ready to get to the season. And I agree, college football is the best sport in the world.


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