Experts Discussion ... Why College Football?
Oklahoma RB Billy Sims
Oklahoma RB Billy Sims
Posted Jul 10, 2008

Why college football? What is it that got some of the top players in the media into this sport over any other? From the atmosphere of the game to a classic Billy Sims hair-do, here's how the experts fell in love with college football.

Preview 2008 - Experts Roundtable

Part Five - Why Did You Get Into College Football?

CFN is honored to once again get the thoughts and opinions on some of the hot topics from some of the most talented, influential insiders in the college football media, while getting to know a little bit more about them.

Along with
Pete Fiutak and Richard Cirminiello from CFN in the discussion are ...

- Charles Davis, NFL Network/FOX Sports
- Dennis Dodd, - College Football Columnist

- Bruce Feldman, - College Football Columnist
- Steve Greenberg, The Sporting News - College Football Columnist
- Teddy "Mr. Media" Greenstein, Chicago Tribune - College Football Columnist, Media Columnist
- Stewart Mandel, - College Football Columnist

- Part 1 What aspect of college football should you care about, but really don't?
- Part 2 Should a two loss LSU team really have won the national title?
- Part 3 How should college football be more like the NFL?
- Part 4
Your college football guilty pleasure
- Part 5 How/why did you get into covering college football?
- Part 6 How/why is the BCS better than a playoff?
- Part 7 I'm not buying into ...
- Part 8 Just how bad is the Big Ten?
- Part 9 Do you have any problems with Tim Tebow winning two Heismans?
- Part 10 Give the 2010 Rankings for: Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska & Notre Dame
- Part 11 How much do you care about non-BCS teams?
- Part 12 When Should Players Be Eligible for the Draft?
- Part 13 The Next Really Big Superpower Will Be ...
- Part 14 The Best & Worst Interviews You've Ever Done
- Part 15 Quick Hitters, Part 1: Greatest Players & Greatest Games

- Part 16 Quick Hitters, Part 2: The National Champion & Heisman Winner

2007 Roundtable Discussion  
- Part One The BCS, tweaks, and college football's biggest problem
- Part Two On-field and off-field changes, steroids and cheating
- Part Three Overrated, underrated, 10 years from now, & what fans don't understand

5. Why college football? What is it that got you into this sport over any other?

Charles Davis:
Played in college at Tennessee…if you don’t love it in that atmosphere then you just don’t watch or follow the sport

Bruce Feldman: I’ve always loved football. I love the physical nature of the sport and the strategy involved. Also love how it is also very localized in the passion for it.

Fiu: The hair-dos of former Oklahoma star QB, and eventual senator, J.C. Watts and Heisman-winning RB Billy Sims ... I'm not joking. As an eight-year-old, whose idol was Dr. J., watching the 1980 Orange Bowl, I thought Watts and Sims (can I do this without going Imus?) had really, really cool hair, and then I became mesmerized with the brilliance and precision in the way they ran the option attack in the 24-7 win over Florida State. In my strange young world, Oklahoma became an even more magical place once Buster Rhymes became a big deal.

Later in 1980, I watched Georgia beat Florida in the epic Lindsay Scott game, and I became a college football fan for life watching every game I could and reading everything I could find about the game. I’ve been researching and training for this gig most of my life.

Dennis Dodd: This is going to sound hokey but I can remember Saturday afternoons listening to Harry Caray do Missouri games. Yes, Harry Caray. I think he did them for a year or two in the late 60s or early 70s. In typical Harry fashion, he made the most mundane plays sound exciting.

In 1976, I saw my first game in person. Sat on the M at Mizzou for an Iowa State game. Future NFLer Leo Lewis returned a long punt and I think that did it for me. The crowd went nuts. To see a whole state and school united behind one team is the core of the game that remains today. I think in college football an upset means more than in any other sport. Essentially, there are no upsets in baseball. Every NFL team is the same expect for five or six guys. You have to search to find a double-digit point spread. Hockey? Bleh.

The image of fans pouring out of the stands after a big upset is what does it for me.

Stewart Mandel: To be honest, I didn't really follow it that closely growing up -- I was a big college basketball guy -- but being at Northwestern in 1995 when they made their historic run to the Rose Bowl, and seeing the way that team and that sport singlehandedly transformed a previously apathetic campus, and getting to go to games at places like Michigan and Notre Dame, made me appreciate just how great the passion and pageantry is surrounding the game.

Richard Cirminiello: Having played and watched every organized sport growing up, nothing ever moved me more than a great college game on a crisp Saturday afternoon.  And that never stopped changing.  For me, nothing even approaches the excitement, intensity, and pageantry that’s so unique to college football.  Every weekend is an event, and unlike professional sports, it’s not limited to major cities.  If you’ve ever been in Tuscaloosa, State College, or Lincoln on a Saturday in October, you don’t even have to be a football fan to appreciate why college football stands alone as America’s best sport. 

Teddy Greenstein: My wife is from Toronto. Canada's version of college football is on par with intramurals. So whenever my in-laws ask me what the hell is so great about the sport I cover, here's what I tell them: The passion of college football is unmatched. It's not like the NFL. The players weren't drafted by their schools. They actually chose to go there. And 90-95 percent of them will never play in the pros, so they're making memories they will carry to the grave.