College football controls interest

Published 9:59 pm Wednesday, April 14, 2010

College football is king. That’s a phrase I have heard more times than I care to in my life.

Here in the South, we all know that the sporting world begins and ends with our favorite collegiate pigskin players.

Nothing else really seems to matter. But, why?

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I mean, why is college football the only sport that generates lots of interest in this part of the country?

It’s not the game itself, to be sure. The NFL could probably make a justified claim to having the best on-field football product in the world, yet Southerners tend to turn a blind eye to the professional game.

Baseball can generate a little interest every now and then if the Braves are winning or if one of the college teams gets hot, but nothing like the amount of attention college football receives.

At the high school level, football is a big deal around these parts, but I would argue the local baseball teams have just as passionate a following as the teams on the gridiron do.

Why does that not carry over into higher levels of competition?

But, at least baseball generates some interest. Basketball, on the other hand, generates practically none.

High school basketball, college basketball, the NBA, you name it and the odds are people could probably care less.

Consider the fact that during the NCAA Tournament, which I consider to be the single greatest sporting event in the world, people in the South are more concerned with spring football practice.

Not a game. Practice. And not even practice leading up to a huge game. Practice that takes place almost four months before a meaningful snap will be played.

I guess what it comes down to is that people simply do not care about professional sports around here.

I wish I could say this phenomenon was just an Alabama thing, since that would be understandable.

Alabama has no major professional teams, which could explain Alabamians lack of interest in the national sporting world.

But, I’ve seen this very thing in other places, as well.

Being from Georgia, I can tell you that the Hawks, Thrashers and Falcons don’t even exist in the mind of most Georgians.

I mean, take this week for example. The NBA Playoffs start Saturday.

The NHL Playoffs begin last night, apparently (though I must admit that on a scale of one to ten, hockey excites me at about a level of negative-two.)

But, no one I know is talking about any of this.

But hey, Alabama, Auburn and Troy kick off in just over 138 days, right?

Nick Duke is a sports writer for The Messenger, and he can be reached at or on Twitter at Messenger_Nick.