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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Which is better: college football or NFL?



On today's Dan Patrick radio show, an interesting question came up: If you had to give up one for an entire year, would you give up college footbal or the NFL? A couple of years back, I asked the question of which was better and came up with a Tale of the Tape to figure it out. So with college football cranking up for real Thursday night and the NFL getting underway next week, here's a look back at the comparison (with a couple of updates) between the NFL and college football.

 Dotting the "i'' at Ohio State. Tailgating at Ole Miss. Clemson touching the Rock. Chief Osceola's flaming spear. Texas A&M's 12th man. Grilling a brat in 10-degree weather in Green Bay sounds kind of cool, but nothing beats the traditions of college football. Edge: College.

College has some legendary figures, such as JoePa and the Head Ball Coach. But NFL coaches are borderline psychotic. Have you seen those blankety-blank coaches on Hard Knocks? Actually, if you want to see psychotic, check out high school coaches. Anyway, since Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino went from the NFL back to college, it's easy to come up with the edge here. Edge: NFL.

College football fans are as passionate as anyone with allegiances dating back generations. But, come one, wearing a wedge of cheese on your head? Dressing up like a dog and eating dog bones? Remember those guys who used to put on pig noses and dresses? It takes a sick, sick person to do things such as that. In this case, sick is good. Edge: NFL

Pro players are better, but that doesn't mean the actual games are better. No single NFL regular-season game is super critical. Every NFL team can afford two or three losses. But in college, one loss could dash your national title hopes. Two or three losses in the NFL and you have homefield advantage for the playoffs. Two or three losses in college and you're making reservations for the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl. Edge: College.

What playoffs? If you're a college fan, that's what you say. The NFL playoffs are riveting. In fact, the day of the conference championships ranks among the best of the sports year. Edge: NFL.

Name one truly classic NFL stadium. Throw out Lambeau Field and what do you have? Most of them are nice and swanky and all, but they lack true charm. Meanwhile, the country is littered with great college stadiums such as Ohio State's Horseshoe, Michigan's Big House and the cathedral of all football stadiums, Notre Dame Stadium. I mean, if it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me. Edge: College.

Some NFL nicknames lack originality and/or sense. It seems every NFL nickname was the first that came to mind. Steelers? Seriously, I don't think that's even a real word. Jets? We're naming a team after an airplane? When was the last time you saw a Bear wandering Rush Street? At least colleges try -- Tar Heels, Hoosiers, Demon Deacons. Edge: College.

The best NFL mascot isn't even around anymore. I'm thinking of that big lug who used to wear that Viking getup and stand in subzero temperatures. But in college, we have Notre Dame's Leprechaun and the USC Trojan. Colorado has an actual buffalo. How about that Nebraska guy with the humongous head? And, lastly, the ugliest but coolest mascot in all of sports: Georgia's bulldog named UGA. Edge: College.

Basically, the NFL determines games by a coin toss. More than 60 percent of the teams that win a coin toss get the ball and win. At least in college, both teams get the ball. Edge: College.

Most college players bust their rear ends for a chance to get an education. NFL players are spoiled millionaires who complain to the media. But you know what? I like players who whine to the media. You might hate T.O., but you can't help but listen to some of the stuff that comes flying out of his mouth. Edge: NFL.

In the NFL you get piped-in versions of the Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake and the one song that makes me want to drive an ice pick into my ear, YMCA. But in college, we get the fight songs: Notre Dame, Michigan, USC, We Are the Boys From Ol' Florida and the greatest college song ever, Rocky Top. Edge: College.

The NFL gives you scantily clad cheerleaders dancing to hip-hop. College gives you marching bands. I'm not going to get in the middle of this debate. Edge: Even.

Jon Gruden is awesome on TV. So is Terry Bradshaw. Al Michaels is the best play-by-play guy alive. They're NFL guys. And college has lost all the great ones. Now that Keith Jackson is gone, college football just isn't the same on TV. Edge: NFL.

College football wins 7-5-1. Good thing college teams play on Saturdays, because on Sundays, I still plan on watching the NFL.

[Last modified: Friday, September 3, 2010 11:16am]


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