4th & 18: College sports are just better
December 18, 2014
Filed under 4th & 18 by Brian Heissenbuttel
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Dear NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, and any other organization from the MLS to the NLL,
I am here to thank you for being the big money market for sports in the U.S. I am glad you offer the final step for young athletes who want to play sports for a living. I also want to inform you that you don’t have anything on the NCAA.
Yes everybody, if the fact that just about all my columns thus far haven’t convinced you that I am a massive college sports fan, this one should tip the scale. After many years of being a devout fan of the Denver Broncos, the New Jersey Devils and the Northwestern Wildcats, I have found that while the Wildcats have barely put up bowl-eligible football team or a basketball team that made the NCAA tournament, watching their games and following the Big Ten is much more fun than following any of the local professional teams here.
Here is one of the biggest reasons for this: the teams belong more closely to their towns than any professional team ever could. When the Avalanche played the New Jersey Devils in the 2001, my house was TP’d like crazy due to my dad being a devout Devils fan and flying a Devils flag throughout the series. If the scenario were different, such as flying an Oklahoma flag in Stillwater, OK (the home city of Oklahoma State University) during the week of the OU-OSU game, the Cowboy faithful almost certainly wouldn’t stop at toilet paper.
On top of that, professional sports logos pay more tribute to their mascot than their home city. The Denver Broncos, Detroit Red Wings, and Detroit Lions don’t have a D anywhere in their current logos, whereas the logos for the universities of Arizona, Alabama, and Air Force all feature the letter A.
Here is another big reason to support my claim: each team gets more than one chance to be epic. The University of Kansas is a perfect example, as they are finishing out yet another season at the bottom of the Big 12 football standings but already hold the 5 seed in the college basketball standings. Fans in Lawrence, Kansas gets to go from a struggling KU football team to an exceptional KU basketball team, while fans Jacksonville, Florida has to stick with the Jaguars until December and then wait for next season to start.
Professional sports have always held a foothold in American society. To say I wasn’t overjoyed when the Broncos won the AFC championship last year would be a lie. However, college athletics are just too unique and too interesting to be overshadowed by their professional counterparts.