Some of the greatest athletes in the NBA or in MLB have come right out of high school. Think about LeBron James or Bryce Harper. They’re two of the hottest names in all of sports right now, and they either went right from high school to the pros, or spent so little time in college that they might as well have just gone pro. That’s not something you will see in the NFL. Athletes are expected to have a certain amount of college ball under their belts, or at least be a certain age. In all reality, it’s not realistic to expect an athlete to stay in top shape if they don’t play consistently until they reach that age, so you will have the best young athletes playing college football until they meet the minimum requirements to declare for the NFL Draft.
What that means is that the best young football players in the world are playing collegiately. And that’s just one of the many reasons why college football tickets are so highly sought after. These aren’t just college athletes, but potential professionals waiting in the wings for their chance to go to the big time. In effect, it makes college football a big show all on its own.
For this reason, some of the best talent in the entire sport is still playing in the NCAA, and it makes games so much more exciting as a result. You are giving yourself a chance to watch a potential NFL Hall of Famer playing today, years before they hit it big as a pro. In this sense, it’s a very exciting time. Part of the fun is that you don’t know who will become the next Peyton Manning or the next Jerry Rice. It could be the freshmen that only gets a few minutes of playing time, or it could be the star quarterback that is in Heisman Trophy contention. You don’t know yet, and neither does anyone else. But they might be, and that just adds to the enticement of college football. And the more games that you go see, the better your chances of glimpsing a future legend.
You are also allowing yourself to catch some great athletic experiences right now when you go to a game. Even if someone doesn’t become an NFL legend, they are still competing at one of the highest levels of athleticism in the world. Division I sports are not easy to get into, and the colleges that have the best teams spend a lot of money on recruitment and scholarships. They might not be getting paid to play, but the best college athletes are certainly not paying to go to school, either. A college degree can cost more than $40,000 a year, and these programs have no problem paying that and a lot more to attract the best players to their school. By getting the best athletes on their team, they can attract huge crowds to games and sell a lot of merchandise to fans. It’s a win-win.
Yes, there’s a big difference between the way that the game is played in college and the way that the pros play. Professional football players are bigger and stronger, and the game is typically more throwing centered than it is running based. You will sometimes see top NCAA players really struggle in the NFL. Think about a Johnny Manziel or a Tim Tebow. But then again, there are sometimes under the radar players that become NFL legends, like Tom Brady. There are discrepancies, but that’s normal. Even those that flopped in the NFL are great athletes, but the nuances of the leagues were not suitable to their strengths. Getting tickets to a college football game still allows you to watch some of the best athletes in the world, regardless of what happens with the rest of their career beyond college.