In the US, football fans will usually focus on the NFL. It is no surprise really, there are other leagues and competitions around the world, but this is the top point of the sport. A brief boom back in the 80’s saw an emergence of other franchises across Europe. Some of these still exist. However, for the most part it died out on the continent.
But back in the US, while the NFL is king of the castle, there is a massive interest and following in the NCAAF. With football fans over the rest of the world aware of its existence, but the lack of TV coverage makes it harder to access. That can lead to some curiosity from others as to why college football is so important to fans.
We have to ask: why college football is such a big deal, and why you should try to key into this part of the sport? One thing that we can be sure of is that much like the NFL, college football also has a massive yield in sports betting, See https://sportsbook.fanduel.com/navigation/ncaaf to find out just how popular it really is in sports betting.
History of the NCAAF
Part of the reason this part of the sport is so popular is that the inaugural college match was actually the first official game of American Football to be played, back in 1869 in New Jersey. It was played under very different rules to the ones which we use today. This game was played between Rutgers and New Jersey, and Rutgers won 6-4, which proved typical of the low scoring affairs that followed.
For some time, college football was the only type of football that was available. The NFL was not formed until 1920, and it was quite some time before professional teams presenting cities actually came into being.
The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) was formed in 1910 and this is still the organization that organizes college sports tournaments and regulates student athletes from over 1200 bodies across the US.
Over time there have been several rule changes and, otherwise, sides play to standard football rules and as we all know very well, College Football can lead on to even greater things.
Feeding the NFL.
It is no secret that the fans love college football. But many would still question why they love it with such verve, what makes this part of the sport so important? Well, part of the reason lies in the NFL and what is known as the ‘feeder system’. During each off season, the franchises that take part on the road to the Super Bowl will get involved with the draft pick process. This means that the best college players who are ready for pro football are made available, and a bidding procedure takes place.
A good example of this would be in the 2019 draft, which shows that the number one pick to them was Kyler Murray, who enjoyed a productive college football career with Oklahoma. He was quickly snapped up by the Arizona Cardinals after a period in the NCAA where he won a whole host of trophies.
The NFL takes players who have graduated from the NCAAF, and they turn into NFL players. So, part of the importance of the sport is the journey of the players.
Knowing that these players can work their way from the NCAAF to the NFL, there is a lot of loyalty to teams and players. Remember that even the best athletes in college football have absolutely no salary, but they are incentivized to perform at their absolute best because they have the potential for a life-changing NFL contract when their studies come to an end. All of this adds up to a game that is played to the absolute highest of standards.
Therefore, we can see how the NCAAF is a big deal for both the players and the fans. There is often more loyalty at the level of the NCAAF because it is easier to identify with a team and stay with them for life. After all who wouldn’t want to support their former college once you have left and entered the working world.
Not only this, but you can also watch the players grow from NCAAF players to NFL level. Loyalty to teams also works both ways, and despite how a number of NFL teams have relocated over the years, this isn’t really a problem with College Football. Pick a team, and you can basically guarantee you will never have to fly to another part of the country just to see a game.
Love for the teams.
The US is one of the most sports loving countries in the world, but its sports are local just like its politics. The sports can be as local as your local college football team. College football predates the professional football counterpart, and love of these local teams gets passed down from generation to generation.
In college, the viewer doesn’t have to deal with hanging on the outcome of games played by total strangers who will make huge amounts of money in a year, often more than they will make in a lifetime. College players are local heroes. They don’t make a crazy amount of money, and you have a chance of bumping into them on the street and talking to them.
They are ‘our guys’ and college football is how sports fans in the US spend their fall weekends. It is a one-sided love affair.
Fans of college football love this sport so much because it is local and close to home, NCAAF is the precursor to the NFL and when you follow a team or player you can often follow them from one to another through their career. Local people support their local teams, as many will do in sport, but what is magical about this side of football is that it really hits closer to home.
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