Sunday, August 26, 2001

College Saturdays beat pro Sundays




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        College football is to pro football as handmade is to processed, as authentic is to artificial, as heart is to hype.

        It's a lower level but a better experience, full of genuine ambiance and fabulous fight songs. It's the Old Oaken Bucket and the Little Brown Jug and a hundred rotating relics with no intrinsic value and priceless memories. It's the Four Horsemen, the Seven Blocks of Granite, Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust and the Lonely End.

        It's the best thing to happen to Saturday since sleeping in.

        College football is Script Ohio. Pro football is five shirtless slobs with letters painted on their bellies.

        College football is winning one for the Gipper. Pro football is: “I'm going to Disney World.”

        College football is Joe Paterno. Pro football is Art Modell.

        College football is corrupt to the core, of course, dominated by quasi-students and sham amateurs and steroid mutants and sociopaths. These are the louts, by and large, who move on to the NFL. The majority of college football players move on to real jobs. They become bankers and engineers and physicians and physicists and sell roughly 97 percent of the nation's whole life insurance.

        College football is Woody Hayes claiming to have pushed his car across the state line rather than buy gas in Michigan. Pro football is Al Davis claiming loyalty to both Oakland and Los Angeles and demonstrating none.

        College football is the checkerboard end zones at Tennessee. Pro football is the (alleged) Jimmy Hoffa end zone at Giants Stadium.

        College football is 86,000 fans chanting, “Damn Good Dog!” up on the entrance of the Georgia mascot. Pro football is mean drunks in the Dawg Pound hurling invective and dog biscuits.

        College football is the rolling consonants of Keith Jackson. Pro football is the rolling eyes of Dennis Miller.

        College football is the first person plural: “We need to play better as a team if we are to reach our goals.” Pro football is the third person pretentious: “People don't respect Bubba Throckmorton the way Bubba Throckmorton wants. Bubba's paycheck is too puny for Bubba's large lifestyle.”

        College football is Student Body Left. Pro football is the Ickey Shuffle.

        College football is a caravan of campers leaving Lincoln, Neb. Pro football is a motorcycle gang in Raiders regalia.

        College football is New Year's Day in Pasadena. Pro football is January in Green Bay.

        College football is a 1944 telegram to Red Blaik: “THE GREATEST OF ALL ARMY TEAMS STOP WE HAVE STOPPED THE WAR TO CELEBRATE YOUR MAGNIFICENT SUCCESS STOP MACARTHUR.” Pro football is a 1972 phone call from Richard Nixon suggesting plays for Don Shula.

        College football is The Eyes Of Texas. Pro football is the nose of Tim Krumrie.

        College football is the Heisman Trophy. Pro football is the All-Madden Team.

        College football is ancient rivalries: Army-Navy, Harvard-Yale, Alabama-Auburn, Oklahoma-Nebraska, Ohio State and That School Up North. Pro football is franchise free agency and recurring realignment.

        College football is small stickers bearing Buckeye leaves distributed for spectacular play. Pro football is contractual bonuses based on offseason workouts and inseason weight.

        College football is the Veer, the Wishbone, the Split-T, the Power-I, the Single Wing, the Notre Dame box and the Flying Wedge. Pro football is the Pro Set, ad nauseum.

        College football is Bear Bryant's houndstooth hat and timeless wisdom: “It's not the size of the dog in the fight that counts,” he said. “What counts is the size of the fight in the dog.” Pro football is Tom Landry's dreary fedora and deliberate dullness.

        College football is the homespun humor of Bobby Bowden and the graceful genius of Eddie Robinson. Pro football is the brooding of Bill Belichick and the sanctimony of Brian Billick.

        College football is preseason polls. Pro football is preseason games at regular-season prices.

        College football is Husky Stadium in Seattle, with the boats moored just beyond the East end zone. Pro football is Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, with the game-day jail in the basement.

        College football is Rudy. Pro football is Black Sunday.

        College football is color and pageantry. Pro football is commerce.

        E-mail tsullivan@enquirer.com. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/sullivan.

       



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