The 10 Most Underrated Things About College Football
From fight songs to tailgate scenes, everything that makes college great
Oct. 5, 2007
By Eric Sorenson
Special to CSTV.com
Eric Sorenson is a regular contributor to CSTV.com, covering football, basketball & baseball. E-mail here!
1. Experience. Experience. Experience.
I've harped on this before, but if the last few years have shown us anything, it's that college football is a junior-senior game. That kind of experience is what wins championships. Last year,
2. An electrified home crowd
Been to The Swamp? Or Autzen Stadium? Or Tiger Stadium at night? Or the Carrier Dome (when
In conjunction with point No. 2, it gets even tougher when a large group of college kids have to load up a bus, then get on a plane, then get on another bus, withstand the cramps from small seats, get into the hotel and then try to get to sleep in a strange bed. Not to mention eating strange food, going into strange environments and getting dressed in a strange locker room. Athletes are normally creatures of habit. True road warriors have a thousand distractions to work through, and that's why it's so tough for college kids to win on the road. That rugged road increases to a 40 percent grade if you're a No. 1-ranked team with a target on your back.
4. Special teams
Especially early in the season, games are sometimes decided primarily because of the kicking game. You hear coaches say they "emphasize special teams" all the time. But do they really? Just last week we saw what
5. Keeping an even keel
Needless to say, 18-to-22 year olds can be over-emotional. But every coach I've ever talked to has said you can't treat the season like a roller coaster. One of the things Pete Carroll has said repeatedly is how his teams play with emotion, but approach each game like it's another piece of business. It's a long season and every team trying to play for the national title can't afford to get too high, or too low. A big, emotional win one week is just the trap door for an upset the next. I think Al Onofrio's 1976 Missouri team is the best example of this. His Tigers beat four top 10 teams on the road that season, but went just 6-5 overall. Onofrio lamented years later that his team was a psychological wreck that year, sky-high one week and pancake-flat the next.
6. Fight songs
(Maybe this should be No. 1 on the list...) One of the things that makes college football unique from any other sport in this world is the school fight song played by the marching band. Forget your piped-in rock or rap music played over the P.A. Give me the opening chords of "Hold That Tiger" by the LSU band when the third quarter comes to an end. Give me the greatest fight songs in the world - either Notre Dame's,
7. Assistant coaches
Some head coaches are great defensive gurus and some are great offensive minds. And some are like great CEOs. You just can't be all things to every facet of football. Good coaches can coach. But great coaches hire great assistants. For instance, I've never thought Mack Brown was a coach you'd put in the "great" category. But he's made some of the most astute hires in recent memory. Same goes with Les Miles at LSU, look at his defensive mastermind, Bo Pelini, possibly the best D-coordinator in college football. And of course, I have yet to touch on the fact that bringing in an assistant that is a gifted recruiter is the gold standard of assistant hirings.
"Look at Mack Brown at
8. Great players come from schools of all sizes
Two weeks ago, a receiver by the name of Nate Jackson scored a touchdown for the Denver Broncos. Where did
9. Preseason polls
Carter Blackburn brought up an interesting point the other day in the Daily Buzz. In the nine years of the BCS, only twice did a team from outside of the preseason Top 10 win the national title, Oklahoma in 2000 and
10. The college football experience
Ever heard of a pro team holding a pep rally by the light of a giant bonfire the night before a game? Isn't it cool when a row of college frat guys paints their faces and spells out the school name on their chests? Isn't it eerie when a 40-year-old man at a pro game does that and has a beer gut the size of
Next week: The 10 Most Overrated Things About College Football