An Ode to College Football

Here’s a very interesting essay written by a Scotsman about why he loved college football. It’s from earlier in the season, but I just found it—so I’m sharing it now. There are many interesting elements to the story (which you can read in its entirety below). Here are a couple of quotes that I wanted to comment on:

There’s something else too: not every match matters in the grown-up leagues. Professional sport in the United States is run along oddly un-American grounds. Revenue sharing, salary caps, and luxury taxes are designed to level the playing field, while the NFL and NBA drafts create the perverse incentives of encouraging weak sides to lose end-of-season games in the expectation of being able to draft the most promising talent coming out of the collegiate arena. There is a curious Marxist element to professional sports: from each according to their means, to each according to their needs.

It is an interesting way of looking at professional sports like the NFL. Nick Saban has said on numerous occasions that he likes college recruiting where success is rewarded; contrast that to the NFL where success is punished.

Despite commercial pressure to change, college football has by and large remembered that scarcity increases value.

And this is why we may never see a playoff. In its present form College football is a cash cow for the major conferences. Despite a probable surge in revenue from a playoff format, who would own the playoffs? The NCAA. Right now, the NCAA controls the basketball tournament—which means more people share in the revenue pie. The BCS system, as flawed as it is, keeps most of the revenue for the power conferences. Even though some power players like the SEC advocate a playoff, it probably isn’t in the best interest of most power conferences who comprise the BCS (think the weak Pac-10, Big 10, ACC).

Here’s the entire essay on college football: