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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Why college football will never be as popular as the NFL

The wide talent gap and constant roster turnover makes college football much harder to follow

<p>Action-packed NFL games are simply no match for five-hour-long, triple-overtime college football match ups.&nbsp;</p>

Action-packed NFL games are simply no match for five-hour-long, triple-overtime college football match ups. 

As a lifelong Bills fan, my love of football was instilled at a young age. I’ve always spent my autumn months attending and watching football games. 

But even from a young age, college football never caught my eye as much as the NFL. 

I know that I’m not alone in that sentiment. I think many other people would much rather sit through a three-hour, action-packed NFL matchup than a potentially five-hour-long, triple-overtime college football game with non-existent defense. 

The most glaring issue that makes college football less popular than the NFL is the massive talent gap between the best teams and the worst. 

When you have programs like Alabama football, that attracts the very best high school football players every year, there is nothing left over for smaller football programs like UB. That’s why when you see a matchup between a Big Ten powerhouse like Ohio State against a smaller MAC school in Toledo, you get a final score of 77-21.

In the NFL, on the other hand, any team could win any week. The talent gap between an elite team like the Bills and a weaker team like the Houston Texans is far less noticeable than in the college ranks.

The constant turnover of team rosters isn’t doing college football any favors either. Sure, this is just the nature of college, let alone football. Student athletes only spend a handful of years with their program before they graduate. 

But from a fan perspective, it’s much harder to keep track of your favorite college team when star players graduate or transfer regularly each year. There are certainly (and luckily) no Tom Brady’s in college football who play for the same team for 20 years.

I’m clearly not the only one who thinks this. The TV ratings clearly show that the NFL remains dominant over the American football market.

About 22.6 million people watched the CFP (College Football Playoff) National Championship game in 2022 between Alabama and Georgia, according to frontofficesports.com. Seems like a very large audience right? The 2022 Super Bowl attracted nearly 100 million viewers. College football couldn’t even get a quarter of the NFL’s audience. 

Unless college football seriously alters the top-heavy nature of recruiting and transferring, and evens the playing field, it will never compete with the NFL for popularity.

Brandon Cochi is the senior sports editor and can be reached at brandon.cochi@ubspectrum.com

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