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Did College Football (As We Know It) Die This Year?

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Ohio State v Michigan Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

2021 was a great year for college football. There was chaos and upsets galore. Every year seems to have been the same for a while - Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and someone in the College Football Playoff. 2021 marks the first year a G5 team makes the playoff as Cincinnati gets a shot.

Ohio State lost badly early to Oregon, then lost again to Michigan, the first time the Wolvervines beat their rival in what seems like forever. Clemson had a bad season (but still finished with 10 wins).

Nebraska became the best 3-9 team in college football history. While it was maddening to see our beloved Huskers lose by one score, they did it in a huge variety of ways. They attracted attention, much like a car wreck on the freeway.

This year also saw NIL - Name, Image, and Likeness - deals come into play. There were several players who made a lot of money. A group of Texas boosters put a deal together to pay their offensive lineman $50k per year. Deion Sanders was able to sway the #1 recruit nationally to play for him at Jackson State allegedly because of a NIL deal.

Expanded Playoff - The College Football Playoff committee openly discussed expanding the playoff to 12 teams. This will further erode the regular season and likely, the bowls.

The transfer portal - players can do a one-time transfer without having to sit out a season. There are HUNDREDS of players in the transfer portal. Players are transferring and it drastically changes the vibe of your favorite team.

Are the bowls dead? Players are opting out all over, including players opting out of the ROSE BOWL. Several Ohio State players won’t be playing in the Rose Bowl. Have you ever heard of Big Ten players opting out of the Rose Bowl?


College football is probably better off financially than it’s ever been. When I ask, “Did it die?” I am talking about how we perceive our favorite sport.

NIL is better for the players, but at the same time it makes them more like toasters - replaceable appliances - than they were before. The transfer portal allows players... excuse me, student athletes, to move around easier, but does it diminish our romantic attitude towards the guys who play for our team?

Did the changes this year diminish your love for this sport?

Put it this way. I am a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan. It’s easy to watch them when they’re good. When they suck, I don’t bother. I’m not emotionally invested in the Packers. If they lose, it’s not a big deal to me. It’d be nice if they won the Super Bowl this year, but if they don’t I’ll spend about 10-15 minutes feeling bad about it, then forget about them.

That’s a completely different attitude than I have towards my beloved Huskers. I wonder if my attitude will change in the next few years.

Do you feel like college football as you know it died this year?

Jon has a book out!

On August 21st, 2015, Jon unexpectedly dropped dead of a widowmaker heart attack. He was shocked five times on the way to the hospital with no response. He was shocked two more times in the ER. He was dead for over 20 minutes. A stent was placed, and he was induced into a coma. In January 2016 Jon received a second stent and in June he was diagnosed with an anoxic brain injury.

He wrote a book about death and recovery. The title, “Been Dead, Never Been To Europe” reflects the ironic nature of life, what happens versus what we want to happen. It’s available at Amazon in Kindle and Paperback. It’s available across the world as well.

Consider signing up for Jon’s Postlife Crisis newsletter, which is about Jon and interests beyond Cornhuskers sports. (I know, right?)