College Football is Serious Business*

By Jason Priestas on July 9, 2008 at 7:00 am

For the first time in recorded history, the powers that be are blessing us with an unprecedented five-straight days of glorious college football to start the season. Last season there were 64 televised games on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday nights of opening weekend. For 2008, the number of televised games has jumped 13% to 72 and the addition of three games on the sabbath (including a Governor's Cup battle between Louisville and Kentucky) leaves me wondering if I'll leave the house that weekend.

  2007 2008
THUR 14 11
FRI 2 2
SAT 46 54
SUN 0 3
MON 2 2

All of this begs the question: Is college football on its way to becoming the 2nd-most popular sport in America? The sport has absolutely blown-up since the early '90s and from my vantage point, three of the major pro sports have significant problems.

Major league baseball has the steroids issue and an entire generation of fans that find the game slow. The NBA has Tim Donaghy and a legion of cynics screaming "I told you so!" The NHL has Gary Bettman and a PR department seemingly run by Wile E. Coyote.

The ratings support the ascension of college football -- the 2008 MNC and Rose Bowl each beat the most recent World Series and NBA finals. Hell, even the Meineke Car Care Bowl matchup between Wake and UConn posted numbers the NHL would kill to score.

The NFL is still clearly king in this country, but without autumn crack fantasy football, would it be?

For the moment, Eugene Clifford is still a Buckeye. Judging by our Diebold-certified blog poll results, only about 10% of you think he'll survive his latest incident. Count Ken Gordon in with those that don't. Evidently one of Clifford's high school teammates at Colerain, Ravelle Sadler, was charged with aggravated menacing for "threatening to go to his car, get a gun, and shoot the bar employees".

Tressel was in Youngstown on Monday and fielded a question about Clifford's status:

“I haven’t really talked to him and I haven’t heard much about the situation that’s occurred. It’s never a good thing when you’re in the wrong places.”

Pretty tough to parse that, but I'll give it a shot: "I just haven't had a chance to tell him he's gone yet."

* Deference to life's most serious business, of course.