Despite doomsday predictions, college football is flourishing

On3 imageby:Eric Prisbell09/15/23


Despite the naysayers, there is zero indication that NIL, the transfer portal or even the avalanche of realignment moves has chilled interest in college football.

In fact, between robust viewership and compelling storylines, the sport is thriving – with must-see drama emerging nationwide.

Consider the scene in Boulder, Colorado, where the two networks that control college football – ESPN and FOX Sports – have descended for their morning shows in advance of the next chapter in Deion Sanders’ captivating inaugural campaign with Colorado. To further juice intrigue, Colorado State coach Jay Norvell made inflammatory comments about Sanders leading up to their Saturday showdown on ESPN – another ratings bonanza starring CU.

On his weekly radio show, Norvell took a shot at Sanders’ habit of wearing a hat or sunglasses in news conferences.

“Don’t care if they hear this in Boulder,” Norvell said. “I told them [ESPN], I took my hat off, and I took my glasses off. I said, ‘When I talk to grown-ups, I take my hat and my glasses off. That’s what my mother taught me.'”

In a video posted to social media, Sanders addressed the comments with his players at practice Thursday.

“When they give us ammunition, they done messed around and made it [personal],” Sanders said. 

Even more reason why another Colorado game is appointment viewing. People will watch – yet again.

College football still is appointment viewing 

After attracting 8.73 million eyeballs for last Saturday’s victory over Nebraska – the best Pac-12 regular season game ever on FOX – Colorado has now played in two of the top four most-viewed games this season.

In the last season before conference affiliations change dramatically and a 12-team College Football Playoff takes hold, people are heavily invested – and not just in Coach Prime. In all, 21 games have already met or exceeded the 2 million viewer threshold, according to Sports Media Watch.

The number at this point last year? 18. In 2021? 17.

Storylines abound.

Three words – “Texas is back!” – don’t immediately provoke laughter.

Clemson and its anti-portal coach, Dabo Swinney, are on the ropes.

Pac-12 competition (the league is 20-3 in non-league games) is fierce, dwarfed only by the true main event: Washington State/Oregon State vs. George Kliavkoff.

And there’s Jim Harbough’s battle with the NCAA as Michigan pursues its first national title this century.

“They told us, ‘As soon as players are paid, that’ll kill the goose that laid the golden egg because people aren’t going to watch’ – as if people tuned in for amateurism,” ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said. “They do not. There is zero credibility in the doomsday predictions by the NCAA.”–