It is the time of the year when everybody loves watching college football. With that in mind, here are some of the realities to keep in mind.
Coaching: The best coach does not always win the game. It is easier to win in some jobs. Some of the best coaches in our region are Dave Clawson from Wake Forest, Neal Brown from West Virginia and Scott Satterfield from Louisville. None of them is expected to win a conference title this year. They may lose a game, but rarely are they, if ever, “outcoached.”
We probably throw the term “outcoached” around too easily. The coach with the best players usually wins the game. It has always been that way.
Halftime speeches: The halftime locker room fire-and-brimstone speech is one of the great myths of college football. Oh, it happens, but not as often as most fans like to think. The pre-game speech is usually more motivational than a halftime tongue-lashing. Halftime adjustments are usually more responsible for a team’s improved play in the second half. WVU fans have quickly noticed that first-year head coach Neal Brown, defensive coordinator Vic Koenning and others have been very effective at making halftime adjustments.
Officiating: The relationship between coaches and officials is naturally adversarial. Coaches cringe at the very sight of the folks in the striped shirts. The reason that college football coaches do not like officials is purely professional. For coaches, coaching is a profession. It is their livelihood, and poor officiating can impact their families. For the official, college football is a lark. A hobby. A source of vacation money. A bad call by an official may cost a coach a job or a career. After a bad call, the official shrugs his shoulders, eats his free post-game hoagie and goes home to his real job. That situation infuriates coaches. Officiating seems to be especially bad this year. Every week, the ACC, Pac 12 and countless smaller conferences have to admit an officiating mistake that cost a team a game.
Studio hosts: Studio shows are a vital part of college football. Just because a football studio host does not pick your team to win, it does not mean he, or she, does not like your team. Auburn fans still have not forgiven Lee Corso for picking against the Tigers over 20 years ago. WVU fans never liked former ESPN host Mark May. Penn State fans never cared for former ESPN host Trev Alberts.
Traditions: Similar to fight songs, fans of every school think their traditions are the best. Traditions are a part of what separates college football from the NFL. Clemson runs down the hill and touches Howard’s Rock, Oklahoma has the Sooner Schooner and WVU sings “Country Roads.” Even though I have spent much of my life rooting against the Buckeyes, there is not much better than watching the Ohio State band “dot the I.” It is a must see in college football.