Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Talking Turkey and College Football Tradition
Rivalries that Have Real History
Rivalries are created over time and must have several characteristics to even be a legitimate rivalry. Conferences and college presidents have the idea that these super conferences are the way college football needs to go. They may be correct financially from television advertising revenue, but they are forgetting what makes people like me drawn to college football which is tradition. There are too many rivalry games for me to highlight, but the one that sticks out in mind was between the old Big 8 conference match up between Oklahoma and Nebraska each year. I mention this game because this series had such great football for many years, but it often had an impact on the national championship picture as well. Nebraska is still a prominent figure in college football however their move to the Big Ten just does not feel right and frankly I follow them less than I normally have.
Rivalries Have Hate
Bitterness is an element of many rivalries where fans, players and coaches feel slighted in someway by the other school. Many times it begins with a coach making a snide remark in the media. One of the best ever was by Steve Spurrier when he said you can't spell citrus without the U and T referring to the Gators virtually sending Tennessee to the Citrus Bowl year in and year out. Comments like this get the fans going and the bitterness can last long after the coach moves on. College rivalries are similar to the Hatfields and the McCoys by passing down the hate from generation to generation within families. I am a prime example where my kids know "Dook is puke Wake is fake and the team we hate is NC State." This pure hatred of another school takes time to build and is one reason why I think ACC basketball has suffered since the merger of Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech. Each of these schools have had good basketball since the expansion to twelve teams, but the lack of animosity toward these teams by traditional ACC schools created a lack of enthusiasm in what once was the best league for basketball.
Proximity can Impact your Rivalry
Proximity is another element that can be important to a rivalry. Some of the best rivalries are national such as Notre Dame and USC that will be played Saturday night, but they are few and far between. For years we were always fed by the media that University presidents would never allow a playoff system because of academics. These same presidents are still telling us how the are institutions of learning and their focus is on the well being of the student athlete. That is complete and utter hogwash! If they were so focused on the students conferences would not extend from coast to coast and the Big 12 would not have a team on the east coast in West Virginia. The great thing about playing in the ACC is that if I wanted to attend a game on the road involving UNC I can pretty much drive to any campus, but we have several regional match ups that make the games very travel friendly. Close proximity rival games are great for college football, but when they are in the same conference it makes the game that much attractive for college football fans.
Close distant rivalries are great from the highest to lowest level of competition and are the lifeblood of middle of tier teams each and every season. Think off the top of your head what the best rivalry in college football is and why? I think you will find they had the characteristics mentioned previously in this article. This weekend alone I know I will tune in to Clemson/South Carolina, USC /Notre Dame, FSU/Fla., Ga. Tech/Georgia, Va Tech/Uva, OSU/Michigan, OSU/Oregon just to name a few.
Before you think how great college football can be remember how great college football has been with tradition, pageantry and great moments that bring us back yearning for more every year.
As always you can follow the MandMsportshow on twitter @MandMSportshow and you can read more articles from Haley at Keepingitheel.com.