The League

Doug Farrar

Doug Farrar

A staff writer

Major vs. Minor League


While I understand the attraction to the college game -- the pageantry, the rivalries, the sheer emotion that goes into every Saturday -- I can't imagine how any objective observer could choose the NCAA over the NFL. Never mind that the "integrity of amateur sports" argument was proven to be a canard decades ago; the pro game is so much better, it's as if the discussion was about major-league versus minor-league baseball.

Still, college football is fun. It's fun because on any given Saturday, you can see fifteen different kinds of spread offenses, from Mike Leach's 12-receiver dink-and-dunk to the Urban Meyer power shotgun. In the NFL, you can see one kind of spread offense: The one that doesn't work. And the disparity in the effectiveness of formation diversity (the occasional Wildcat notwithstanding) is an indicator of the primary reason that the NFL has the better game. The players are better. Much, much better.

And the coaches? Pete Carroll has the life in USC. He tried it with the Patriots, got it handed to him, and now resides in his own personal Happy Valley, where he's got unspeakable recruiting advantages and a schedule with the kinds of pushovers he'd never see at the next level. There are no Valdosta States in the pros. 30 years ago. Lou Holtz believed that the Veer would work with the Jets. He got voted off the planet, never mind the island.

D.C. football fans will remember what Steve Spurrier's Fun-and-Gun did to poor Patrick Ramsey, though Mr. Ramsey himself may not remember at this point after all those hits. And need we mention Bobby Petrino? With the most highly-touted college coach in the land, the Atlanta Falcons suffered through one of the all-time nightmare seasons in 2007. In 2008, under longtime pro assistant coach Mike Smith (who?), they've got a 4-2 record.

If that isn't enough, the sheer number of players on Division I pro-style rosters who completely wash out in the NFL should be the ultimate cautionary tale. I like watching college ball, but I often think of it as an appetizer for the real meal (and the real deal) that happens on Sunday. The reason is simple: The game is just so much better.

By Doug Farrar  |  October 17, 2008; 11:27 AM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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