Monday, July 2, 2007

Professional College Football Coming Next April

Unlike prior professional leagues which in one way or another tried to appeal to NFL fans, the All American Football League will try to tap into the borderline insanity passion of college football fans in The South, with plans to use college rules, college stadia and or locales, and surprisingly requiring all players to have possession of a college degree. A very interesting read from the great King Kaufman for any fan of CFB.

The forces behind this are all former college football officials, with former ACC president Gene Corrigan and former NCAA president Cedric Dempsey seeming to be the point men.

One of the most interesting things about this to me was the degree requirement, as initially you would think that they will be excluding themselves of some major available talent:

In fact, the college-degree requirement is only partly an outgrowth of the idealism of a bunch of former university officials. It's also a business decision: The AAFL wants to coexist with college football. "We want this association with the colleges," Corrigan says, "and if they see us as people who are, if you will, giving opportunities to kids to just leave college without a degree, then it isn't going to work for us."

Smart. You can clearly see that for this to work, they are going to need the Universities on their side, as happy and willing partners, so the degree rule prevents the league from being seen by the Universities as yet another threat for talented "student-athletes" to leave early without getting an education making more money for and further raising the profile of Big State U.

Interesting to look at this from the view of the college athletic departments. University of Florida has already signed on to host games in the swamp, and it seems that teams will be loosely affiliated with the college teams in their vicinity. Take Florida; I guess they are signing thinking that this could be an additional revenue stream for them. Perhaps charge the team rent, get a cut of the ticket gate, parking, concessions, etc. On the cost side of the ledger would be the usual game day things like security, logistics, etc., and by agreeing to this it looks like UF is rolling the dice that enough tickets will be sold to make it a worthwhile. The risk is that if 437 people show up for the Florida Lizards first game then they would take a hit. I would think that the main angle to prevent this will be for each team to stock itself with as many players from it's affiliated university as possible; basically the top dozen or two players that 1) graduated and 2) are/were good but not quite good enough to make it in the NFL. Players like former Florida Gator receiver Travis McGriff, who has signed up as a promoter/spokesman for the league but is also hoping to play.

Like many startups it may very well live or die by the television deal that it secures. Again they are being smart in this regard by choosing not to go after a huge national television deal but rather shoot for "regional cable". NFL fans in the Northeast corridor will not watch this, or any other poor man's version of the NFL product that they love so much, on a major network. But college football fans, already familiar with Sunshine Network, JP Sports {now Lincoln Financial}, Fox Sports South, and the like, just might tune in to watch a team named simply "FLORIDA", wearing royal blue and orange of course, playing in the swamp, and stocked with 15-20 guys they already know very well from their college days.


They'll watch. They most definitely will watch.

Will it succeed? Seems doubtful, but football fans in the South are a passionate lot, so I can see their reasons for taking a chance on it.

More info here. I just hope that the Georgia Barkers don't lose 15 of their first 17 games to the Florida Lizards {or will they be the Fightin' Jorts?}...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a joke and will be a big flop.

southern football is dawgs vs gators
or vols and bama, not a bunch of has beens

harumphharumph said...

You're damn right we'll be there--Travis McGriff, former midget wideout for the Gators, is an official spokesman.

Kanu said...

Trust me, we know who the fuck Travis McGriff is. Fucker was involved in those mid to late 90s ass beatings if I remember correctly that all seemed to end up 40 something to something-teen.

Although I think he was on the 97 team that we actually beat, so I guess that is something. Fucking McGriff...

beast in 'bama said...

That's Jeremy Piven in the photo, right? And Carrot Top?

Kanu said...

I thought it was Orson Swindle and Stranko Montana...