One of the biggest reasons folks are so passionate about college football is the pageantry of the game.
While I, and many, many others, love the NFL, there’s just something special about the tradition of college football — at all levels.
A large part of those storied traditions reside in the sanctuaries that host games each Saturday in the fall.
Whether it’s Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, the Big House in Ann Arbor or Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, there’s something remarkable about the home fields of some of college football’s biggest programs.
Which is why I absolutely hate seeing so many neutral site games.
In 2018, there are 17 neutral site games scheduled, with 10 of them set to be played within the first three weeks of the season.
Those games include these fabulous matchups:
- Alabama Crimson Tide vs Louisville Cardinals
- Auburn Tigers vs Washington Huskies
- Tennessee Vols vs West Virginia Mountaineers
- LSU Tigers vs Miami Hurricanes
- Ohio State Buckeyes vs TCU Horned Frogs
Because of these neutral site games, we’re robbed of the opportunity to see Miami play in Death Valley, or the Vols traveling to Morgantown to play in front of a raucous Mountaineer crowd.
Instead of athletic directors scheduling a one year neutral site deal with opposing schools, they should be scheduling a home and home series.
There’s a certain electricity that will be lacking when Tennessee plays West Virginia in Charlotte next season, or when Alabama and Louisville meet in Orlando.
A neutral site game here and there can be fun. I was a fan of the Battle at Bristol in 2016, because it was something unique. But there’s nothing unique about a plethora of early season neutral site games. It robs fans of an opportunity to see something they don’t usually see.
College football needs to get back to its roots and give us more premier non-conference on home fields.
Remember when Oklahoma and Tennessee played a home and home series several years ago? The 2015 matchup between the two teams was one of the loudest crowds ever at Neyland Stadium. Just think of how many more awesome games like that one, across college football, we could get.
But unfortunately it’s all about the mighty dollar for major college football programs and the NCAA. And neutral site games are clearly very profitable for both parties.
Hopefully the NCAA will see the light, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Featured image via Boston Herald