All across the country new co-eds are putting together futons, sneaking beer... err, soda into their dorm fridges, and getting ready for classes to start or are already underway (depending on the school). That means a whole new generation of student sections, student section traditions, and future football fanatics are being molded at universities and colleges all across this great land.
But, along with that comes a different perspective on what college football means to them. It's a perspective shaped by the things they know about college football in their lifetimes. So, what has shaped their thinking on the game? Well, a few facts about what's gone on since their births in 1994 or 1995 may surprise you or just plain make you feel old. So, let's dive into what is shaping the minds of the young college football fan, shall we?
What This Generation Knows About College Football:
1) There's always been a bowl alliance of some shape or form. The 1994 season saw the formation of the Bowl Alliance between the Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta bowls in an attempt to really formalize a "national champion."
2) Penn State has always been a member of the Big Ten Conference. They have no idea that they were an independent football program before joining the Big Ten two years before they were born.
3) Boise State joined the FBS when most of these kids were just 1 or 2 years old as they moved up to the Division 1-A level in 1996.
4) ESPN's College GameDay has always been going on location for the show and chances are they know Kirk Herbstreit not as a quarterback from Ohio State who happens to be an analyst on TV now, but rather a TV analyst only.
5) They only know the Big 12 and probably have no actual memory of the final seasons of the Big 8 and Southwest Conference. (I mean, seriously, who amongst us has actual memories of our own from our first year or two on earth?)
6) ESPN2 has always been around to help feed their addictions to college football and the bottom line has been around their entire lifetimes as well. (For us older folks, remember the days of switching over to ESPN2 just to read the scores on the bottom of the screen for live updates? No seriously, we did that!)
7) Chances are they think that Sean Astin is actually Rudy... The movie has existed for their entire lives!
8) The UPI Poll has no meaning to them as the only polls they know of are the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll. Little do these kids know that the coaches poll and the UPI Poll are one in the same.
9) Florida vs. Tennessee has always been a rivalry game to them. They don't know that before Fulmer and Spurrier, this was just another football game.
10) The idea of a split national champion is nearly completely foreign to them. After all, it's only happened twice in their lifetimes (1995, 2003).
11) Florida and Nebraska are on equal footing in their lifetimes, having won 3 national championships a piece.
12) Athletic apparel companies have always been sponsoring football teams and putting their logos on uniforms.
13) They have no clue about the awesomeness of Tommy Frazier and that's just sad.
I'm sure there are other things that I am forgetting, but if so feel free to comment below!