The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Watch How the Pros Do It


There was nothing better than watching Reggie Bush weave his way through college defenses and waltz into the end zone while starring at USC -- except watching Bush do the same thing in the NFC Championship game for the New Orleans Saints. It's a bigger stage in the highest league making it all the more amazing. Bush and the Saints lost that game, but they were one half away from having the chance to show their stuff in the Super Bowl.

Unlike the NFL, it's hard to completely dedicate yourself to a college system that still can't produce an undisputed champion. Before the BCS, the fans of Penn State in 1994 rooted for one of the greatest undefeated teams in college football history. Led by Kerry Collins and Ki-Jana Carter, Bobby Engram and Kyle Brady, the Nittany Lions completed their perfect season by blowing out Oregon in the Rose Bowl. And then Nebraska was declared the sole national champion. Some system.

It has moderately improved if you think the Bowl Championship Series works. Except it doesn't. Take 2004 for example. Auburn was led by Jason Campbell and Ronnie Brown and went 13-0. Forget a national championship, they didn't even get to play for one.

I understand there are many who didn't grow up with a professional football team. Places like Nebraska and Oklahoma are mostly college football first, life second.

But overall, the NFL is where the best football lives. This is where the big boys play. The NFL has the proper playoff system in place and allows division rivals to battle twice a year, every year. There are too many teams and not enough weeks in the season to develop new rivalries and maintain scheduling consistency.

The football itself is always exciting. Doesn't matter whether it's Saturdays or Sundays, the fans flock to watch the games with their friends. There are few things better than weekends in the Fall -- except that it gets darker much earlier at night. There are far fewer blowouts in the NFL and it's better that way. Clock management is also much more strategic in the pros and there is much more faith in the kicking game. There are also no cake early season games scheduled in the NFL. Of course, you can't take away the youthful exuberance of college athletics and its fans.

Both NCAA and NFL football are well worth the price of admission. In their own ways, each system creates its own excitement and unique style of football. Ultimately, football is best when there's a system in place so teams and their fans know there's a chance of a championship at the end of the season. You can't guarantee that in college, and it continues to plague the sport.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  October 17, 2008; 11:17 AM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Your right.Some system for college football.I can remember back to the Nixon administration. One year Both Penn State and Texas were ranked the top rated teams and there was a controversy as to which team should be ranked number one.Nixon himself decared that Texas was number one and so they were.

Posted by: arlin from arlington | October 17, 2008 12:00 PM

As a Penn State alumni and fan, let me tell you, I think Joe will be remembered as King of the unbeaten and uncrowned (as well as the winningest coach in college football.) I think that it could very well happen to them again this year.

That said, it's the terrible system that makes college football so exciting. Last years Patriots aside, the NFL doesn't demand perfection. If you want to win it all, all you have to do is make the playoffs and then string together five victories. No easy task, sure, but NCAA football demands 12 weeks of perfection followed, a month later, with another win. That kind of perfection is hard to produce.

Right now in the NFL there are many two and three loss teams that have a legitimate shot at a championship (let alone the one loss teams.) Ask Ohio State or USC how their championship dreams would look if they lost another game.

In the NCAA game, every week is a playoff - and that's exciting.

Posted by: Gavin082 | October 17, 2008 1:43 PM

I got news for you Gavin, JokePa is not the winningest coach ever, he's just an old geezer with a limp. Bobby Bowden has more rings and more wins. Ain't so happy in happy valley is it?

Posted by: Seminole City | October 17, 2008 2:12 PM

Seminole City: Um, check your math. Even if you include Samford, Joe still wins. Actually, I was just in Happy Valley. It was pretty happy. How's your BCS ranking?

Posted by: Gavin082 | October 20, 2008 12:50 PM

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