College Football Cavalcade: The New Normal Bowls, Playoff, Fans, Schedules

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Cavalcade: The New Normal Bowls, Playoff, Fans, Schedules

College Football Cavalcade

College Football Cavalcade: The New Normal Bowls, Playoff, Fans, Schedules

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College Football New Normal, Part 3

Non-Revenue Sports

It continues to be my No. 1 most unpopular take – colleges just don’t need non-revenue sports.

Here’s my question going forward once things become more normal. Some non-revenue sports will return, why?

Athletic department are being slashed left and right, certain sports aren’t able to be played, and universities are still able to function as institutions of higher learning.

This isn’t high school. You don’t need after-school activities that  have nothing to do with the educational aspect of a college and the average student can’t be a part of.

2020 exposed just how thin the college athletic department margins are. That’s going to change.

Opting Out

This is definitely part of the new normal, and it’s about time.

Players aren’t eligible to go to the NFL until they’re two years out of high school – it’s an NFL Players Union thing – and opting out is the new hack for superstar sophomores.

First, top NFL prospects left before their eligibility was up, and everyone went crazy.

Then some top players started to sit out bowl games, and everyone went crazy.

Going forward, superstar sophomore pro prospects are going to sit out the season to protect themselves, and everyone will go crazy.

Now, opting out because of COVID concerns isn’t being questioned, but it’s sort of like the old school NBA “hardship” rule – players could leave early for the next level because of family issues – as a cover against a negative reaction for not wanting to risk future earnings.

Coaches will have to prepare for having top players for just two years instead  three to five.

“Passionate” Fans

I despite the term “passion” when it comes to marketing. Everyone is passionate – it’s a nothing filler word that never advances any thought.

With that said, passion does tend to be fluid.

I noticed this in 2004, sort of in 2008 and 2012, and big-time in 2016 – past election years when people’s attention was focused on something other than sports.

Nothing, though, compares to the differences I’m noticing in fan attitudes and correspondence from most normal years to this one.

The fan reaction to various opinions, and the general lack of craziness – both fun and psychotic – over silly football things isn’t there at all.

This is obviously observational, but as a political junkie, the same sort of feelings for a candidate or an issue tend to mimic those for a sports team. Passions have been diverted.

As long as there’s this virus, and as long as our political world is off the rails, getting fans jacked up by saying their quarterback sucks or their team isn’t going to win this week isn’t happening.

In the moment, sports fans will be there if there’s a wrong call or in a big game, but as social media shows so well, it all snaps back instantly to the real world.

The news and current events are far more interesting than anything sports can come up with. It’s as if the new normal is the realization that sports are just sports, and they don’t really matter.

They’re not life and death. They’re not more meaningful than real world concerns. They’re games, and they’re an escape.

That’s always going to be normal.

NEXT: I Think, I Know, I Believe …

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