09.Jan.2011 Is College Football in Decline?
I know the ratings, attendance, and popularity are all up, so it seems ridiculous to ask this question. But, by following Oregon State, you naturally follow Oregon, and it’s hard to argue that what is happening down there (and in Oklahoma) is good for the overall health of the sport.
As we all know, there are no salaries or free agency in college football, but the donor/facility race produces the same effect: have and have nots.
In the forum I discussed this a bit, and the poster ObjCritic chimed in with his insightful post:
The “lesser of two evils’ you mention, with regards to college football, is why I think I soon quit watching the game. This was discussed on another thread, and I was talking about the trend towards “neutral” stadiums like Cowboy’s stadium. I think that trend is a disservice to college students and their fan base who give up a home game. Likewise, its to the direct benefit of professional team owners.
Add the trend of needing big money and flashy facilities to win, and you have a declining sport in my opinion. I don’t think its crying sour grapes or jealousy to suggest that UO would not be in this position without Phil’s generous support. Likewise, I recognize that Reser Stadium, as half-assed as it is, would be worse without the generosity of Al Reser. UO and Oklahoma State are in my opinion good examples of what is occurring with college football. But I’m preaching to the choir here on this last point. I do appreciate the “Minnesota Twins” analogy you use Angry, to suggest that there is another way for at least episodic success and achievements that allows the team to retain relevance.
I think OSU is on the verge of becoming irrelevant in the Pac-12. It would not be “reactionary” to suggest some significant changes are necessary given the time the current staff has had, the time they’ve had with their own recruits, and the increased competition for So Cal/Pac-12 recruits that’s likely to occur in the Pac-12. You can’t change while the world changes around you and expect to stay in third place…
So, let’s get a pulse of this fan base. How close are you guys to just turning off your televisions and giving up on this sport entirely? I feel like I have another 3 to 5 years of college football in me if nothing changes. The overall increase in popularity, one would think, must be due to the fringe fans, or budding fans of the 20 or so traditional powers. Even if that is not that case, right now the business model is almost like that of a lottery. That is, the majority of people (i.e. fans) are going to lose. And the people playing the game (in this case, watching TV) are the working poor who are doing nothing more than hoping for their long shot.
I don’t think as Beaver fans we’re in this alone. I think most fans are struggling with the reality that their team has no realistic shot at a BCS game, and for the have-nots the odds get longer each year. It makes me wonder how much time the sport has left. Wouldn’t it be ironic, and apropos, if the Ducks won a title and nobody cared? We’re not there yet, but we’re close.