Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Westside

October 2, 2013

College football has seen much better days

Many things are better today than they were in the somewhat-distant past — TV visuals, video games, computers, golf equipment, and the country’s beer selection to name a few.

But along with customer service, product durability, reality TV and pop music, one thing that has gotten worse over time is college football.

There was a time when I enjoyed college football more than the NFL. Those days are long gone, as a bloated schedule, absurd postseason, oversaturation and conference chaos have spoiled a once-great four-month experience.

The first step toward today’s diminished collegiate product was the switch to a 12-game schedule in 2006. Since then, viewers have suffered through far too many pathetic offerings like two weeks ago, when 17 ranked teams beat unranked opponents by an average of 35 points. That sleep-inducing Saturday included the trouncing of hapless patsies by Ohio State, Louisville, Miami, Washington and Baylor by a combined margin of 337 points.

Instead of creating more interesting out-of-conference match-ups, the 12-game slate has only increased the number of unwatchable pummelings unleashed on FCS programs willing to endure punishment for a million-dollar payday. It also gives programs a chance to add a meaningless win toward qualifying for one of a couple dozen equally-meaningless bowl games.

A quarter-century ago, there were 17 bowls, the majority of which were entertaining contests that were required viewing. This year there will be 35, many featuring pairings of teams that should be in the weight room instead of thinking they really accomplished something by appearing in what’s little more than a three-hour commercial for whatever rotating corporate entity has lent its name to the nauseating affair.

The overabundance of bowls is matched by the season-long flooding of the airwaves with garbage games. Game day Saturdays used to be an event. Now, finding a good game is as difficult as finding something watchable on regular TV. There are far too many Honey Boo Boos and not enough Sopranos. If you’d told me growing up that I’d eventually wish there was less college football on TV, it wouldn’t have made sense to me. Now, sadly, most of the time it’s just another thing taking up space on the cable guide.

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