This reads like something an academic from… I dunno, Mars? … observing American sports for the first time would post.
That it comes instead from a national writer who covers college football is kinda sad. What exactly would the Pac-12 releasing its schedule on the same day the SEC releases theirs do to enhance this Georgia fan’s enjoyment level? I don’t know. Mandel’s use of “probably” there tells you he doesn’t know, either. It’s just that it’s the kind of thing someone like me should enjoy, if my approach to the sport were more enlightened.
As far as scheduling games out years in advance, what does he expect? Again, college football doesn’t share a monolithic structure with the NFL. It’s up to individual teams to fill in the framework set by individual conferences when scheduling and that can be a messy process when you’ve got more attractive opponents than you do annual slots in the schedule. When it clicks, though it’s part of the charm of the sport — just ask any Georgia fan what a complete gas it was to head up to South Bend in 2017.
Mandel’s attitudeis cut from the same cloth as ESPN’s continued effort to modify college football’s regional appeal into something more homogeneous and national in approach. It’s a matter of convenience. For them. A college football schedule release day may not do much for me now, but think of all the stories Mandel and his writers could compose for a week or two afterwards. Why should the media covering the NFL have all the fun?
Here’s what they miss. Nobody cares who wins the NFC South, but plenty of fans still care who wins the SEC East. Because of parity, NFL schedules are a big deal because of their influence on playoff percentages and the draft. Who Utah has to play this season doesn’t really strike anyone in this neck of the woods as a big deal for now, schedule drop day or no schedule drop day.
I know I’m on the losing side of this. At some point, I expect Mandel will post something similar and won’t need to qualify it. College football won’t be any better for morphing into NFL-lite, though.