Sent to us with permission to print, by Dr. James Burns, professor emeritus at the University of Florida and for those of you reading, who can answer the question by the little kid at the end of the article?….
The announcement about the formation of the NSL, the National Super League for college football, was not all that surprising. However, the new and intensified scheduling format did raise a few eyebrows. The NSL, which replaces the obsolete NCAA, will have the expected 64-team membership from the most-wallet-worthy college football programs—Alabama, USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Florida, LSU, FSU, Texas, all the usual suspects. “Yup, it’s a dandy,” quipped Grantland Rice’s son, Billy Bucks Rice, though the portrait of his father in the background appeared to have a tear welling up in Grant’s eye.
However, the new 63-game regular season schedule in which all members play each other in a round-robin rib-roast that will allow 24/7 tailgating from September through December does appear a bit ambitious. Since three-hour college courses are commonly scheduled MWF, i.e., Monday-Wed.-Friday, the teams will play their games Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday, still allowing Sunday to be a day of rest and money- counting from the previous week’s revenues.
Since three games a week for the 17 weeks in the Sept.-Dec. span would only account for
51 games, leaving 12 more to be played, the NSL’s super-computer has worked out a way of playing doubleheaders on 12 of the 17 Saturdays. “Geographical proximity” was the key for making college football doubleheaders both fun and feasible. For example, when Ohio State comes south to play the Florida Gators in Gainesville at 1 o’clock on a Saturday, there will be sufficient time for both teams to shower and depart for their night game, Ohio State making a short trek up to Tallahassee to play FSU at 8 p.m. while the Gators will have an even shorter hop over to Jacksonville for their annual Border Battle with Georgia at 7 p.m.
Since Georgia fans will be streaming in from their morning game with South Carolina and Gator fans perhaps still a bit wobbly with tailgating hangovers from the Ohio State game, it may be difficult to still sell the concept of the Florida-Georgia game as the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party. However, it is hoped that the Florida-Georgia game will still retain some traces of tradition, though sacrifices must be made to accommodate the new 677-game TV package the NSL has negotiated with ESPN.
Soon after the announcement of the NSL’s 63-game schedule(plus a six-round national playoff in January) was made, the National Seismographic Center registered “major rumbles” throughout the country. However, it was later determined that these rumbles were merely Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes, Earl “Red” Blaik, and Knute Rockne rolling over in their graves.
The NSL released a press report to tamp down protests from both the living and the dead, noting that the avalanche of new national rivalries(such as Fresno State-Boston College and Idaho-Clemson) and 32 games being played every Tuesday and Thursday with some Saturdays having 64 to be televised nationally will soon make everyone forget Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes, and Knute,…Knute,…..Knute who?? I’ve already forgotten.
After all the naysayers, doubters, and skeptics were rounded up and ridden out of town, there was just one little boy left at the “Stop the NSL” meeting at our civic center here in Higginsville. He came up to me, a sad look etched onto his face amidst all the smudges from his sandlot football game, and said: “Mister, I only have one question—‘If all those Wall Street banks were too big to fail, could college football conferences ever become too big to succeed?’” Perhaps he was wise beyond his years. “Son,” I replied, “that all depends on our definition
James F. Burns is a professor emeritus at the University of Florida—and was a member
of the Michigan basketball team in the late 1950s(back when the Big Ten had ten teams).