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Why College Football Is the Best Sport From Week to Week

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After covering a long, slogging golf season that includes nearly as many tournaments as there are weeks in the year, college football is a reprieve for me. It’s 12-13 games in 15 weeks (plus bowl season), and boom, you’re done. The midpoint of the season always comes as a shock. Wait, didn’t we just start this thing?

It’s also why college football is one of the best products going right now.

Is it better than the NFL? A lot of people think so, and while Roger Goodell’s league ratings are trending down, college football’s are not. There was a really interesting article recently in the Washington Post about just why college football has become arguably a better product than the NFL.

There are innumerable theories, but one clear one seems to be that college coaches and administration have become more willing to take risks than their professional counterparts. They are more innovative, and peewee and high school football prepare you better for CFB than CFB does for the NFL.

The way players learn football and play it until reaching the NFL creates a seemingly incongruous truth. College football players are better at playing college football than NFL players are at playing NFL football. [Washington Post]

I feel like this is the opposite of what has happened in basketball, but that’s another post for another day. Mike Gundy talked about the thrill of college football and its appeal to viewers on Monday, and I thought what he said was really intriguing.

“So many games now are big games,” said Gundy. “College football has the market on the future here based on the four-team playoff and specifically this league based on the conference championship game being the top two teams.

“People want to watch every game we play because it matters. It’s not like basketball. You can lose 10 games in basketball and still be a national champion. Baseball, you can lose 20 games and still be a national champion because not every game matters. In football, every single game matters.”

Combine this week-to-week playoff nature with a more intriguing, well-played game on the whole (like I mentioned above), and you get an elite product without a ceiling.

Gundy was asked about whether the OSU-Texas game was bigger than other games because OSU has so many kids that are from the state.

“You don’t see as much put into one game or another like it used to be because if you don’t play well and you lose a game you lessen your chances on what could be your long-term goal,” he added.

“It’s each week. That goes back into the parity that we talked about. That’s what makes it so interesting in this league is that you have to play pretty well each week from here on out. If not, you get a chance to get knocked out.”

It really is true. Each week is monstrous. That’s why blogs like this one even exist. Each week’s game has the implications that five NBA games or 10 college basketball games have. I don’t know what rivalries were like in the 1970s, but I can presume that OU didn’t pay as much attention to Iowa State as it did Texas.

That might be a bad callback because it’s clear OU didn’t pay as much attention to Iowa State as it did Texas this year, but to Gundy’s point, that will get you beat.

So it’s the basis for fewer intense rivalries, perhaps, but it’s also the basis for maybe the best sport going right now. Every game is a playoff for Oklahoma State from here on out. And anybody can take you down (except maybe Kansas).

(Unless you’re Texas).

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