Gene Wojciechowski’s ode to college football is a great read. The only problem is that it’s written as a love letter; he was (mis)guided by his emotions.
And don’t get me wrong, I love college football.
But let’s be realistic about this. While Wojciechowski does point out that college football has its shortcomings, simply giving them a passing mention isn’t enough.
As the Summer of Manziel has shown, it’s astonishing how college football has weathered so many scandals without serious blemish. The players and even the sport itself seem practically untouchable.
So why would someone who claims to be a fan find so many reasons to hate a sport they care
so deeply about?
In hopes of fixing it, of course.
Wojciechowski got a lot of things right in his article. College football is an awesomely inspirational sport that’s uniquely American.
But it’s time to stop looking at it through rose-colored lenses.
Why? Here are 100 reasons.
1. I hate universities that make football a priority over education.
2. That in my home state of Arkansas, the football coach makes more than the medical school’s Chief of Surgery.
3. I hate the over-commercialization of the game.
4. Naming rights.
5. That places like TCF Bank Stadium and Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium exist.
6. Fields with corporate stains on them.
7. The sheer number of bowl games. We’re up to 35 and counting.
8. 6-6 teams qualifying for a bowl.
9. And that nearly all the bowl games have names that sound like advertising slogans.
10. I hate that winning the Heisman Trophy has become a beauty contest.
12. The stigma toward defensive players. If Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh couldn’t win one, what hope is there?
13. The fact that there are 125 schools competing in the FBS this year and no player outside of the Power Six has a chance to win the Heisman.
14. Stadium expansion while the rest of campus crumbles.
15. And the belief that having a bigger stadium equates having a better team.
16. Houston Nutt. We put up with this guy for a decade. How?
17. I hate pay-for-play proponents.
18. Writers who claim the NCAA treats [football] players like slaves.
19. Senior seasons. And the stigma that comes with it. Because in today’s game it usually means the player has no football prospects after college. Either that, or he’s a reserve.
20. The players who don’t care about the tradition or the pageantry of college football.
21. Knowing that they wouldn’t stick around campus any longer than they already have to.
22. I hate the BCS. Even now that it’s gone. I hate, hate, hate it.
23. Remember in 2003, when Oklahoma lost in the Big 12 Championship Game but still got to play in the BCS Championship Game?
25. An inept and out of touch NCAA.
26. That high-profile schools and players often escape harsh punishments.
27. Terrell Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, and Solomon Thomas playing in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.
29. People who feel sorry for Joe Paterno and Penn State.
30. That for a few months, the fate of Penn State’s football program and Joe Paterno’s legacy was more talked about than Jerry Sandusky’s victims.
31. I hate that the Southwest Conference, one of college football’s premier leagues for more than 80 years, collapsed.
32. And the domino effect of conference realignment that it started.
33. West Virginia being in the Big 12.
34. Syracuse moving to the ACC.
35. Missouri joining the SEC instead of Florida State or Clemson.
36. The idea of Connecticut, South Florida, and Tulsa all being in the same conference.
37. I hate that most teams schedule an absolute dog on homecoming.
38. The fact that Florida hasn’t played an out of conference opponent on the road in nearly 25 years.
39. Indiana being a football-member of the Big 10.
40. That schools have cut down on playing in neutral site locations across their state.
41. Alabama and Auburn moving the Iron Bowl out of Legion Field.
42. Ole Miss and Mississippi State moving the Egg Bowl away from Jackson, Miss.
43. I hate the kitschy announcers.
45. Pam Ward.
46. Brent Musberger.
47. Bob Griese.
48. This guy.
49. Can’t forget Mark May and Lou Holtz, either.
50. I hate that the Oklahoma-Texas game changed its name to the “Red River Rivalry.”
51. That Arkansas and Arkansas State won’t play each other.
52. The SEC crackdown on cowbells at Mississippi State games.
53. Boise State’s “Smurf Turf.”
54. Eastern Washington’s red turf.
55. The University of Central Arkansas’ alternating purple and gray turf.
56. I hate the ridiculous number of terrible uniform combinations.
The Maryland Terrapins have got to be the worst offenders.
57. People who think Bedlam is a premiere rivalry game. C’mon, Oklahoma holds an 75-17-7 all-time advantage. The Sooners only lost one game between 1967 and 1994.
58. AP writers who give No. 1 votes to undeserving teams.
59. The terrible officials that permeate every conference.
60. The terrible officiating that seems to haunt every big Arkansas game.
61. I hate how ESPN only gives intense coverage to the established programs.
62. The completely undeserved hype a high-profile program gets if it starts the season 2-0.
(Looking at you, 2009 Miami Hurricanes.)
63. And remember when good coaches used to stay at one school for an extended amount of time?
64. I hate that fans are dissuaded from storming the field.
65. That it happens too often now.
66. And that you might get arrested if you do it.
67. Oh, and the SEC will levy a serious fine against your school as well.
68. I hate that a pizza and a coke at Razorback stadium costs more than $20.
69. That Arkansas made student tickets harder to get.
70. Let’s not forget, they also stopped guaranteeing students seats.
71. And U of A’s eagerness to build a new practice facility while the campus runs out of space for its students.
72. I hate the “facilities arms races.”
73. Which happen while a majority of college students and athletes of less popular sports wallow in debt that will haunt them the rest of their lives. (Marble floors imported from Italy, are you kidding me?)
74. The people who believe football players “go pro” in something outside the world of football.
75. The people who believe a majority of college football players are “student athletes.”
76. And people who think the football players live in a dorm and eat in a cafeteria similar to anything like that of a normal student.
77. That students are forced to move their cars from student lots before game day and have to pay out of pocket to park it somewhere else. (Often far from their dorms.)
78. That Matt Leinart got to play one more season at USC because he took Ball Room Dancing as his only class.
79. Athletes who get free (expensive) textbooks and sell them back at a profit.
80. That Arkansas’ beautiful video replay board has most of its picture obscured by AT&T ads.
81. I hate how football players are treated differently than their fellow student athletes.
82. When authorities look the other way when a member of the football team is involved in a quagmire.
83. Case in point: Michael Dyer.
84. Coaches who get a slap on the wrist.
85. Jim Tressle at Ohio State.
86. And that Tressel actually believed Pryor’s promise that he would return for his senior season.
87. The rap sheet for Urban Meyer’s players.
89. The depressing notion that steroids might have infiltrated the college game.
90. I hate that the Arkansas-Texas rivalry is dead.
91. And the Hogs will no longer play LSU at the end of the season.
92. Instead we’ll play Missouri. The Hogs have played the Tigers five times. Five. Now it replaces the LSU game. Yippee.
93. Even though I won’t miss LSU’s Les Miles mispronouncing Arkansas.
94. This pass interference call against Arkansas in the 2010 Florida game.
95. That Bobby Petrino will coach a major Division I team again.
96. The fact that the immortal Bear Bryant (an Arkansas native) potentially was taking a job in Fayetteville when World War II broke out.
98. Razorback fans who think winning a national title makes or breaks the season. (We’ve only appeared in three SEC Championship Games since leaving the SWC in 1991)
99. That tons of scholarships go to football, leaving the rest of the athletic programs to fight over the scraps.
100. And lastly, I hate that there are so many egregious problems with a sport I love so dearly.