Goin’ natty

I’m not sure I agree entirely with this premise as phrased, but there’s no denying it’s thought provoking.

On the business side, college football has become a national enterprise, with comprehensive, multibillion-dollar media deals increasing exposure and a collaborative postseason system designed to crown a true national champion.

At its foundation, however, college football is still very much a regional sport across the United States. And because regions tend to go about their football differently, as they do with things like food, lifestyle and dialect, there is a simple explanation for why teams from the South have won national championships in 13 out of the last 14 years.

College teams from different parts of the country ostensibly compete for the same top players, but players tend to stay close to home. Those pipelines in the South, spanning from the Carolinas west to Texas, are pumping out rocket fuel.

“It just means more” is not just a slogan in the Southeastern Conference. It helps explain the current state of college football.

I think there’s a lot more tension going on between the two than is reflected merely in recruiting.  But, I do think it’s fair to say that despite the money interests aligned on the national side, it has yet to overcome the sport’s regional appeal.  Old habits die hard, and all that.

The question is, assuming the likes of ESPN need a little help to remake the sport’s approach, what could help them with the reshaping?  Here are a couple of thoughts that popped up in response to Russo’s piece.

From a purely commercial perspective, the NFL is the most successful sports franchise in this country’s history.  If the commercial perspective is all that matters to the folks running college sports, then emulating the NFL to grow college football beyond its current financial standing isn’t bad advice.  For the rest of us, it sucks, of course, but since when did that matter?


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, The NFL Is Your Friend.

19 responses to “Goin’ natty

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    It’s not a football game. It’s just a device to lay a bet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Former Fan

    Until kids are paid, they should get to transfer anywhere, anytime, with immediate eligibility to play. Also, until they are paid, the scholarship should be a 4 or 5 year scholarship. Schools should not be able to “process” amatuers.

    Rumor has it that Luke Ford’s grandpa had a heart attack recently. The kid transferred to be closer to his family because of his grandpa’s health. He was denied a transfer because he was more than 100 miles from the home? Yet, several QB’s got permission to play immediately?

    None of them are paid. They should have the freedom to move without penalty until the schools pony up and kids can hire agents to help them negotiation with the school of their choice.


  3. 3rdandGrantham

    I’m born/raised in GA but now call the D.C. area home, and there is no doubt that college football barely moves the needle around the parts. Even the many VaTech fans I know would be considered casual fans at best by SEC standards, and there’s no doubt that the NFL is king here. Speaking of which, part of me suspects TPTB are trying to make CFB more like the NFL in effort to attract said NFL fans in other parts of the country like the mid-atlantic, northeast, west, etc. I could be wrong, but I suspect this definitely is a factor in trying to make CFB more like the NFL.

    Regardless, I just don’t see it working, at CFB simply doesn’t have the roots here and in other areas like it does in the south. Thus, instead of turning their nose at the regional domination of CFB, they should embrace it; otherwise you risk losing the one region that actually is passionate about the sport.


    • Jared S.

      What he said ^^^

      And you might think CFB would be much more popular where I live in Maryland versus the DC area where he lives, but it’s just not the case. I live about 2 hours due east of 3rdandGrantham in a very rural area of Maryland called The Eastern Shore. I’ve been here 20 years, and I’ve encountered only a slight smattering of CFB “fans” — most of whom couldn’t tell you the names of three starters on “their teams”

      I’m completely surrounded by Redskins, Ravens, Steelers, Eagles, Giants, Patriots and Cowboys fans but next to no one who cares a lick for CFB.

      I’m fortunate to have my brother and Father — huge Georgia fans — in the same town and we can get together and watch games and share news/opinons. But outside of that I’m left to this blog. (Thank you, Senator!)


      • 3rdandGrantham

        I too live in Maryland north of D.C., and indeed seemingly nobody cares about CFB here. On weekends in the fall, as you mentioned its a bunch of Redskins, Ravens, Steelers, etc. jerseys, and that’s it. Ironically, the overwhelming majority of the reaction I get from people when I mentioned I’m a UGA grad (or from neighbors passing by when they see the UGA garden flag in our front yard) is academic related more than anything else. They’ll talk about their HS son/daughter and how they are applying to schools, and how they are interested in attending UGA but aren’t sure if they’ll get in. That kind of thing.

        In other words, it’s UGA’s high academic ranking that causes interest; not UGA’s football ranking or success. For most of you reading this in Georgia, you might be surprised to hear that UGA is held in very high regard up this way; basically the equivalent of UNC and just a notch or so below UVa. Our immediate neighbors, for ex., have a HS daughter who didn’t bother applying to UGA (even though it was her dream school) because she had a 3.6 GPA and 1250 SAT, and thus she’s attending NCST this fall instead.


  4. JCDawg83

    I’d say there is already plenty of gambling on college football. Anyone who thinks there isn’t is living in a fantasy world.

    Expanding the playoff without tying the expansion to some sort of objective, settled on the field way of getting in will simply lead to mismatch games no one outside of the two teams playing will want to see. Arbitrarily expanding the current playoff format so the beauty pageant committee can manipulate “interest” throughout the country would be a total disaster.

    College football is, and always has been, a regional sport. Nothing Mickey or Vegas does is going to change that. NASCAR decided it wanted to be a national sport and abandoned its traditional fan base seeking big national money. That proved to be a total disaster and NASCAR continues to lose audience as they stumble and fumble desperately trying to create interest in their sport. Once lost, fans, especially paying fans, are almost impossible to regain. College football would be well served to see NASCAR as the cautionary tale it is.


  5. Macallanlover

    I agree that gambling will spread the interest of CFB, but it it will continue to be secondary in the Northeast to the NFL. That drives the numbers for TV and apparel sales which drives perception. I don’t think it is about the products offered as much as the ingrained culture you were raised in.

    I honestly don’t have time for both, they are played on top of one another, and there is only so much time. Since the internet became a 24/7 way to be involved with CFB, and TV now has unlimited viewing of games with streaming/On Demand, who has time for another sport passionately? I suppose those who grew up in the NFL markets feel the same way about adding CFB to their schedule. When you add family demands, and/or work ,to the mix, one of the sports has to take a big step down.

    I hated this lack of interest when I lived outside the South because there was so little coverage in newspapers or on radio/TV. Now I don’t mind, I have the internet, satellite radio, You Tube, etc., so it isn’t bad at all. Just have to stop myself from laughing when I see humans over the age of 14 wearing football jerseys to the stores and restaurants. I do hope CFB doesn’t abandon it’s strength areas the way NASCAR did. Getting the playoff fixed with 8 teams will help in broadening the appeal to more consumers, gambling will bring in some casual fans, but it will always mean more in the South.


  6. DawgPhan

    Think about this season. Without transfers 5 of the top QBs in the country would be on 2 teams in the same conference with only 1 likely to make the playoffs.

    The value of the TV package would be worth substantially less. ESPN will derive millions of additional dollars from the games this season because Washington, Ohio State and Oklahoma all have transfer QBs and now are all significantly better teams. All with a shot at the title. Allowing these guys to transfer could improve the overall quality and value of college football.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cojones

    Not one word about an 8-team playoff that will help the dwindling patronage of the have-nots to the point of enhanced national flavor.

    Let’s go for 8 and pull’em back together. C’mon, yall can do it!


    • Russ

      Shoot, why stop at 8? Let’s go to 12 or more. We can have wildcards, byes, everything and it will be just like the NFL. Yay!


      Four is four too many in my book. When the Sugar Bowl against a traditional power means nothing, the sport is already going bad.


      • Cojones

        Tsk, tsk, tsk. Get off your slippery slope thinking and embrace 8 as it should have been embraced years ago. The thought for 8 was never about more, rather, greater inclusion – and an extra SEC team in the mix. Anyone can use the higher number to try to influence thinking, but isn’t it about time to get to the business (oops!) of 8 teams? Lay off the fright game and save it for the kids at Halloween (oops! again, that’s the J’ville game).


  8. ApalachDawg

    Exhibit A to water board a sport into oblivion = NASCAR


  9. ATL Dawg

    LOL at you people who think NASCAR died because it went national. NASCAR died because it’s boring as shit and takes forever. The younger generations have no tolerance for boring events that take 3-4 hours.

    Yeah, NASCAR’s a cautionary tale…but not for the reasons some of you think.


    • That I can get on board with. The 4 hour games and stupid TV breaks don’t help. TD…commercial…kickoff…commercial needs to stop


    • rugbydawg79

      Nascar died when they made all cars the same. ended the rivalry of Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge and so on. If they would let them run what they have made they might come back but I doubt it.


      • Got Cowdog

        In other words they took the regional/brand/hero fealty out of it then regulated it into having the same breathtaking excitement of drying paint, only with more commercial breaks. ATL Dawg is correct. NASCAR sucks.


  10. Bulldog Joe


    This is overblown. Looking at post-season TV ratings, the closeness of the game is a greater determining factor than the region of the schools.


  11. Hobnail_Boot

    Or, you know, USC/Texas/Michigan/Nebraska, etc. could stop sucking out loud.