Sunday, November 19, 2006

the unbearable lightness of college football

Ohio State beat Michigan 42-39 to guarantee at least one Big Ten representative in the national championship game this January (whether Michigan goes also is yet to be determined.) Like Texas's win over USC in last years Championship Game, the game was exciting and fast-paced, but I found both contests dissatisfying, and am struggling to understand why. Here are a few possible reasons:

1. Televised games have become so slow, as a result of advertising, as to lose a great deal of their usual flavor. The Ohio-State Michigan game started at 3:30 and wasn't over until about four hours later. (At least I didn't fall asleep as I did during last year's game which finished at or after midnight.) The endless interruptions make it inevitable that one will lose attention and deprive the games of the needed intensity.

2. Good college football, indeed any sport, requires a balance of offensive and defensive skills. Rather than displaying this balance, the recent "classics" have been lopsided scoring contests in which the winner appears to be outlasting rather than genuinely outplaying the losing side. The games haves just come to resemble computerized rather than real football and, as in professional basketball, discouragedviewers from watching anything before the fourth quarter.

3. The endless hyping of the games, not to mention the nonstop talk about national rankings, have made it all but impossible to live up to their billing.

My personal feeling is that #1 and #2, which are to some degree related (a lot of scoring tends to slow down the game clock) are the principal culprits with #3 close behind. I would be interested in hearing other views, if people care enough by this point to comment. If they don't, well, that's a comment in itself, isn't it?


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