10. Regional Coverage on ABC – It is a situation all of us have dealt with on any good college football Saturday. The Wake Forest – Boston College game is on ABC at 3:30, so I can’t watch Ohio State play Penn State or Texas play Nebraska. Meanwhile, the ESPN family of networks (of which ABC is obviously a part) is showing me Illinois vs. Northwestern on the Deuce. Why on earth can’t they play the non-regional quality games on ESPN and ESPN2 during the 3:30 time slot? ESPN usually shows women’s bowling or high school gymnastics during this slot anyways. I don’t understand this. Instead of watching a continuous stream of football on my couch from 10am (Gameday) till 1 am (Gameday Final), I must get my butt to a sports bar for 4 hours to watch the additional games. This needs to be changed, and I don’t see any reason why it is how it is. Comments appreciated.
9. NCAA Rules Committee – These clowns must be some of the dumbest, stodgiest people on earth. First, let’s talk about the new clock rules last year, which thankfully have been changed for this upcoming season. Hey, somebody has complained that the games are too long. Instead of shortening halftime (already too long), they decide to actually shorten the game. The result is a fundamental change in how the game is played, not to mention putting all existing records out of reach. Yes, these rules bothered me, but it doesn’t stop there. Not only are there ridiculous rules regarding what players can do or say or accept, but there are obvious contradictions to those rules. Colorado’s Jeremy Bloom is ruled ineligible because of sponsorship money to compete on the US SKI TEAM (read: NOT football team). Meanwhile, Notre Dame’s Tom Zbikowski is winning prize money competing in semi-professional boxing matches. How does that make sense? Let’s not forget about Mike Williams. After a precedent had already been set for a player to leave after 2 seasons provided they were 3 years removed from high school, Mike entered the draft and hired an agent. However, when the rules were changed at the last minute (i.e. not Williams’ fault), the NCAA stood firm against reinstating him with the team. I’m sure these guys are trying to do a good job; they just need to use a little common sense once in a while instead of hiding behind their rules.
8. Overplayed Fight Songs – Yes, I’m talking about you, the Tennessees and USCs of the world. There is nothing like going to a game where the Vols are getting creamed and having to hear Rocky Top fifty-seven times. Hey, we got a three yard gain, let’s play Rocky Top. Or with USC, hey, we sacked Chad Henne again, let’s play Fight On. C’mon guys, the fight song should be used for huge plays – touchdowns, game changing interceptions, long pass plays – not for each and every first down. It detracts from the game and is hugely annoying.
7. Non-Conference Scheduling – Non-Conference scheduling is horrible for two main reasons. First, in this ultra competitive era of college football, one loss potentially derails all hope of a national championship. We’ve all heard the classic argument, “Our conference schedule is so brutal; a difficult non-conference schedule would be suicide” (I’m looking your way, SEC fans). Gone are the classic showdowns between SEC and Big 10 powers, now all we have is a stunning lineup against sacrificial lambs in the Sun Belt and MAC (quick, name one player that plays for a Sun Belt team….didn’t think so). If the fear of losing isn’t enough, we still have our second reason – money. Any time you have two solid, BCS conference teams playing each other, the result is a two-game home-and-home series. This means one less home game, costing a school literally millions of dollars in revenue. For this reason, most schools will only play one, maybe two, such games in a four game non-conference schedule. The other two or three games will thus be filled with the San Jose States and Western Carolinas of the world; teams that won’t demand a return trip to their home stadium.
6. Obnoxious, Uneducated Fans – College football inspires a lot of passion, and partisan fans can get very worked up defending their team’s honor. Arguments are commonplace, and educated commentary about the game is one of man’s most enjoyable pastimes. However, anyone that has ever been to an away game to watch their team (especially Columbus, OH) knows how obnoxious fans can be on game day. Cussing loudly and citing completely bogus statistics are two sure signs of the uneducated, obnoxious fan. Some situations can even turn violent; beer cans are thrown, people are getting spit on, and every obscenity known to man is being screamed. At this point, the gameday atmosphere goes from exciting to aggravating. Crossing that line can ruin the whole experience.
5. Over-hyped Recruits – These guys are some of my favorites. High school seniors who think they own the world…making their college announcements on national TV…please. The only reason anyone cares about you right now is because it is the offseason and we are stuck watching the NBA. You guys haven’t proven anything yet. And don’t get me started on “Golden Boy” Jimmy Clausen. This hotshot rolls up to the freaking College Football Hall of Fame in a limo to announce his choice to play for the Irish. Way to go Jimmy, you now have a target on your chest bigger than your ego. It’s going to be hard to win four national championships and four Heismans, Mr. Clausen (aka Ron Powlus), when you’re in the hospital with a concussion because you ran your mouth.
4. Mark May – The single most irritating man associated with college football. Mark May makes me sick with his idiotic commentary and blatant biases. His love affair with USC is disgusting. Instead of analyzing what was to be the greatest and most significant football game of the last decade (at least), Mark May spent the month or so leading up to the 2006 Rose Bowl proclaiming USC the “Greatest Team Ever.” Then they went out and lost the game. The worst part about Mark May is that although he was an offensive lineman for Pitt, he is consistently enamored with flashy teams with flashy players. I don’t care how much “Florida (or SoCal) speed” a team has, please give me some real analysis.
3. The Mythical Anti-SEC Bias – This is one thing I just don’t understand. The message boards throughout the college football internet universe are constantly ablaze with a “lack of respect” given to the SEC. Look guys, just because Auburn got screwed a couple of years back doesn’t mean that some grand conspiracy exists against your conference. The SEC has arguably been the most consistently strong top-to-bottom conference over the last few years, and everyone knows it. You aren’t getting screwed. What happened in 2003, when LSU jumped USC to play in the title game? What happened last year, when Florida jumped Michigan to play in the title game? If anything, there is way too much respect given to the SEC, not the other way around (over-inflated rankings due to joke non-conference schedules). So go ahead SEC, field 6 pre-season Top 15 teams, have them play the little sisters of the poor, then complain about how tough the SEC is when all you do is play ranked teams week in and week out. Then, when you get to test your conference might in the bowl games, go ahead and post another losing record to the Big Ten. But don’t fret, you’ll place another 6 teams in the Top 15 to start the next season.
2. The Playoff Question – College football is not a gimmick. Rivalries, atmosphere, and yes, bowl games all make up part of the great tradition that is college football. However, what truly separates college football from ALL other sports is not just the tradition. What makes college football unique is that each and every game is life-and-death important. Lose one game, just one, and history tells us that you have a slim chance at winning a national championship. Lose two, and the season is over. This simple fact makes college football the most exciting sport on a week to week basis. You cannot simply say, “tough loss, we’ll play better next time” because there isn’t a next time. The season is over. This harsh reality comprises the very essence of what makes college football great. Add an 6, 8, 12, or 16 team playoff and the regular season loses its validity quicker than you can spell N-F-L. Now we have a gimmicky “December/January Madness” tournament that completely discounts the November rivalry games. How about a USC-Notre Dame classic where the stakes are either a 5 or a 6 seed in the playoff? Or a Michigan-Ohio State game where both teams rest their starters after the first quarter? Preposterous. The BCS may need to be changed, but let’s not blindly join the bandwagon and scream for a playoff without first thinking of the consequences.
1. Notre Dame – At last, the coveted #1 spot on my list. Notre Dame is the New York Yankees of college football. Loved by many, hated by everyone else. There are so many things that I find irritating about Notre Dame, I could make a separate Top 10 list just for them. (Might be a good idea for a future list, but for now I’ll try to summarize) Let’s start with the obnoxious, entitled fan base. Every preseason, no matter how bad they are about to suck (and the rest of the nation knows it), Notre Dame fans go predicting national championships. Evoking references to Rockne, the Four Horsemen, and Touchdown Jesus, the typical Irish fan will lecture you on their tradition, double digit national championship total, and 7 Heisman trophy recipients. Then comes the annual preseason overranking of Notre Dame. I don’t care if they start off #2 or #20, either way you can rest assured that they are overrated. Past glory alone is enough to start every scrub Irish team in the Top 25, and some average ones in the Top 10. Next comes the preferential BCS treatment. Notre Dame is independent, therefore, they play by their own rules when it comes to the BCS. This is the infuriating reason why every 9-3 Fighting Irish team gets to play with the big boys (Also a contributing factor to Notre Dame’s long bowl losing streak - dating back to 1994). Year after year we have to watch some mediocre at best ND team get waxed by a real conference power (OSU, LSU, etc.). I could go on and on….complaining about their “difficult” schedule (winning the Commander in Chief trophy again after beating up on the service academies), Charlie Weis (eating cheeseburgers while whining about ND’s BCS ranking), the movie Rudy (please don’t make me watch it again…) – However, a congratulations is in order. After two decades of “returning to glory,” Irish fans can take solace in the fact that they are finally #1 in something…congrats on your title as the most annoying thing in college football.