One in the Same: Growing Synergy between College Football and NFL
In lock step.
The year was 2014, and for the last time, college football’s elite competed in the “Bowl Championship Series” a slate of six bowl games including The Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and the so called “Granddaddy of them all”, The Rose Bowl. Arguably the best of that year’s slate, the Rose Bowl featured a stirring victory for Michigan State and the number one defense in the nation, versus the physical and well-balanced Stanford Cardinal. At the end of that game, play-by-play legend Brent Musburger remarked that “next year, this game will look a lot different,” referring to the advent of the College Football Playoff, which, by 2025, will expand to a 12-team model. This expansion, along with NIL, is the next step in college football as we know it, morphing like a photoshopped picture, into the image of the NFL.
Look around any sector of any business and they’ll proposition the same indelible truth, money talks, and if I can get your attention for a brief lesson in economics, if there are more games played, there are more monetary gains to be made. A vital organ of the college football anatomy, the passion and grit, gets stripped away more and more with every endorsement deal signed by a marquee player like Alabama’s Bryce Young. I don’t think scholar athletes ought to be prohibited from profiting off their tremendous efforts. No, I think they should make as much money as they can while they’re healthy and capable of delivering elite performance. But as Mace and Biggie once pontificated, “mo money, mo problems”, and the NIL is just not well-regulated enough at this point. That much we can see.
So here we are as the line continues to blur between the NFL and college football, more weeks of playoff games, more hype, more revenue, and more Uber Eats commercials. A website once known for selling books now streams games on Thursday nights. Players made thousands of dollars in profit in the first year of NIL (2021) according to businessofcollegesports.com.
With newly penned, billion dollar television deals, autograph signings at malls and restaurants, and unprecedented media exposure, the NFL and college football are more alike than ever. If you didn’t know this was an article about football, you might even think I was describing the next season of Succession. Controversy and the consistent money changing hands nature of the NFL being what it is, do we really need another entity created in its image? I am here for games overseas, new gimmicks, fancy graphics packages, in-game interviews, and the rest but what I want, and I’m sure you do too, is elite-level competition on the field. This is what’s at risk in college football if kept on the current trajectory. It’s time for a step in the right direction.