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Commie American Football
September 10, 2013 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Manifesto: People’s Union of American College Football: Make American Football Strong Like Bull, Smart Like Tractor. Under former capitalist system, American college football very unfair. Only few teams is climbing to top of heap, and is making all the money, especially more dollars on the television contract. Best, powerful teams is playing cupcake opponent, then flying across country to form conference alliance with faraway team, while also ignoring strong opponent right over next hill. People’s Union of American College Football is creating much better system. Each team is playing best quality opponents throughout season. Each team is being organized by geography, and must fight way out of home District to qualify for national playoff. Champion is last team standing, and is TRUE champion over all other teams in whole country.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (50 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ya know, Communism wasn't 'invented' by Russians. If we're going to use a stupid gimmick like a fake accent, maybe use a German one?
posted by spicynuts at 8:13 AM on September 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


Oh, pipe down. The standard comedy accent for jokes about communism is faux-Russian, a la Boris and Natasha.
posted by uberchet at 8:15 AM on September 10, 2013 [18 favorites]


I don't give two hoots in hell about college football, it's conferences, its bowl games, any of its shit.

Nonetheless, this is delightful.
posted by Naberius at 8:16 AM on September 10, 2013


First we fix BCS, then we get Moose and Squirrel.
posted by eriko at 8:24 AM on September 10, 2013 [28 favorites]


Do any college sports have a promotion/relegation system? It seems like moving up or down a division would be a much bigger deal in college sports than it is for professional teams. NCAA divisions have different rules around scholarships and whatnot that are supposed to allow smaller schools to compete at the same level.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:25 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


BUT TRADITION!!!!!!!



(seriously, fuck tradition)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:26 AM on September 10, 2013


Well, this would certainly make a lot more sense than the shuffling conference mess that we have today.
posted by CaffinatedOne at 8:29 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do any college sports have a promotion/relegation system? It seems like moving up or down a division would be a much bigger deal in college sports than it is for professional teams. NCAA divisions have different rules around scholarships and whatnot that are supposed to allow smaller schools to compete at the same level.

Not officially, but the current mania for conference re-alignment is almost a defacto promotion/relegation system. West Virginia was good, so it got "promoted" into the Big 12, while Temple was bad, so it actually got kicked out of the Big East before they asked it to come back after all the better teams had left.
posted by Copronymus at 8:29 AM on September 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Occasionally teams are actually promoted from a lower "division" as well, FCS => FBS.
posted by kmz at 8:36 AM on September 10, 2013


This would be a good topic for Congress to discuss, now that they've cleaned up steroids in baseball.
posted by surplus at 8:36 AM on September 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


When appointed commisar for footsball, first plan is give footsball glorious invention of hockey penalty gulag instead of so many fractional meters penalties.

Also penalty gulag for breakers and counterrevolutionaries in basketball. Penalty gulag for all sports!

Smart like tractor? Smart like two tractors.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:40 AM on September 10, 2013 [19 favorites]


This makes too much sense to actually happen, so we'll have to continue to make due with the simulation.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:41 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


This might make me care about college football, especially since they have fewer racist names these days.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:42 AM on September 10, 2013


Football (at least the NFL) is already pretty communist when you compare it to the cut throat, sink-or-swim environment of European soccer.
posted by PenDevil at 8:51 AM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


> Ya know, Communism wasn't 'invented' by Russians. If we're going to use a stupid gimmick like a fake accent, maybe use a German one?

In Soviet Football, kickoff kicks off YOU! dank you dank you ladize & gennelmen, I be here all week, enjoy roast beef da?
posted by ardgedee at 8:58 AM on September 10, 2013


Can anyone determine how the simulations work?
posted by crazy with stars at 9:14 AM on September 10, 2013


"Violent ground acquisition games such as football is in fact a crypto-fascist metaphor for nuclear war."
posted by planetesimal at 9:15 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


This would be a good topic for Congress to discuss, now that they've cleaned up steroids in baseball.

I read that as discus at first. Somehow it still works.
posted by srboisvert at 9:25 AM on September 10, 2013


College football is one of the most reactionary bodies in sports, all the way from the athletic directors at the top to the fans at the bottom. The only "progress" that gets made is done for the purpose of making more money. It took us 15 years of widespread clamor for a playoff system before it actually happened because that's how long it took to convince the relevant parties that it'd be even more lucrative than their existing stupid system.

On top of that, Auburn (both the school and its fans) would go apeshit if it didn't get to play Alabama every year, and vice-versa. Most of the good teams in the SEC have long-held rivalries against the other good teams in the SEC. I'm a fan of promotion/relegation as a general solution for college sports (though it would mean that each individual sport could end up in a different conference), but I don't think that fans will stand for it.
posted by savetheclocktower at 9:26 AM on September 10, 2013


Occasionally teams are actually promoted from a lower "division" as well, FCS => FBS.

That's not a true promotion/relegation sort of thing, though -- it's all money-based (with some nods toward school size). Hence Appalachian State remaining in FCS despite winning three straight national titles.

By the way, this is all bullshit compared to the College Football Championship Belt, currently resident at Baylor University.
posted by Etrigan at 9:27 AM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's simple. Divide every college into three tiers, based upon how much money the have for their football team.

Tier 3 has the least amount of money. They complete geographically, then they have a series of playoffs and finally a Tier 3 championship.

Tier 2 colleges spend a moderate amount on their football teams. They complete geographically, then they have a series of playoffs and finally a Tier 2 championship.

Tier 1 colleges have the biggest budgets for their football teams. Once you determine them, you revoke their accreditation for spending too much on non-academic programs.
posted by spaltavian at 9:32 AM on September 10, 2013 [34 favorites]


A very enjoyable read, and very sensible way to organize college football. Also, it would take a violent overthrow of the boards of trustees of most universities, a gulag-enforced re-education of the NCAA board, and likely also a bloody coup toppling most state legislatures and the United States government before something like this could ever occur. CBS pays $55 million a year to the SEC alone.
posted by chicxulub at 9:42 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


In Soviet Union, linebacker coaches m... wait.
posted by delfin at 9:42 AM on September 10, 2013


Also, it would take a violent overthrow of the boards of trustees of most universities, a gulag-enforced re-education of the NCAA board, and likely also a bloody coup toppling most state legislatures and the United States government before something like this could ever occur.

Well yeah, do you think most communist organizations come into power through asking if the capitalists would please consider handing over the means of production if they wouldn't mind?
posted by burnmp3s at 9:52 AM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Overthrow college football monarchy with head injury lawsuit is only way.
posted by surplus at 9:53 AM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, it would take a violent overthrow of the boards of trustees of most universities, a gulag-enforced re-education of the NCAA board

Anything to help hasten this process would be a huge benefit to all of society.
posted by slogger at 9:58 AM on September 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Can anyone determine how the simulations work?

I wasn't even sure they were running simulations.

I figured they were making it up entirely, or using results from real games against new opponents or possibly that the had access to scores from an alternate reality where all these games actually happened. I hadn't seen the first post at the current domain which mentions simulations and implies a history (of at least a year).

I love college football and used to love it more. I think this would be an awful thing to implement and am glad it won't happen. I can imagine designing a new sporting league to work in this fashion but of course people who like a thing aren't going to be happy if you completely gut it.
posted by mountmccabe at 10:18 AM on September 10, 2013


I'd just like to note that in Canada, university football works exactly as one would dream. The country is divided into four regions, basically along the lines that everybody would expect (West/Ontario/Quebec/Atlantic - think West/South/Midwest/Northeast). The teams mostly play interdivisionally, with the occasional exception for a very old rivalry like McGill/Queen's. At the end of the season, the top four teams in each region have a playoff; 1-4 and 2-3, with the winners playing each other for the regional championship. The winners of each region are paired off on a rotating basis (last year, Ontario hosted the West and Quebec hosted the Atlantic; the year before the West hosted Quebec and the Atlantic hosted Ontario). The winners of these two bowls play each other for the Vanier Cup, the national championship since 1967.

The best part of the system is nobody cares, particularly here in the West. In Calgary, we can fill our 35,000 seat stadium for the professional team, and last season we had 13,095 attendance for our college team, the U of C Dinos. That's 13K combined across 4 regular season home games and 2 playoff home games. Not sure I mentioned how the team is the Western champion, five seasons running. Or how tickets are free to the 25,000 current students. Or $15 to anybody else.

That's because the sport is played by actual student-athletes; people who are in university to learn something, and also enjoy football. The average scholarship is something like two thousand bucks; around $2M was spent on scholarships last year across Canada. It's almost like a school league, not a major league sport. It's great, and I really enjoy ignoring it every season, content in the knowledge that these guys are playing a sport they love, they are actually studying for a degree that they want because that's why you go to university, and who gives a shit beyond that.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:27 AM on September 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


BCS is pretty much the only complaint of most college football fans, and is the only thing that needs fixing.
Well, that and the head-first tackling...but that's already being addressed.
posted by rocket88 at 10:29 AM on September 10, 2013


First we fix BCS, then we get Moose and Squirrel.

Boris: Well Natasha, we stopped those two busybodies cold. Now on to hardest part of fiendish plan!

Natasha: And that is?

Boris: We going to take Washington!

Natasha: Dahlink, that's not hard. Look at headline.

Boris: [reading a nearby newspaper display] "Boston takes Washington 7-2"

Natasha: Anybody can take Washington!

Boris: [shakes fist] Wait 'till next year!


This along with the "A-Bomb" joke is one of my favorite bits of Rocky and Bullwinkle
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:30 AM on September 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


CBS pays $55 million a year to the SEC alone.

And the SEC solemnly forbids itself from sharing any of that money with the athletes.

I have two words for this bullshit: Player's Union. The way I see it, in college football, the workers control the means of production and if the players would just agree to put tools down for a season, this faux minor professional league might come correct and start sharing the wealth, set up a long term health and pension programs, and give players all the other perks any other professional sports athlete in America gets.
posted by three blind mice at 10:34 AM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tier 1 colleges have the biggest budgets for their football teams. Once you determine them, you revoke their accreditation for spending too much on non-academic programs.

But of course a lot of our best Universities would fall under Tier 1, because of the system whereby great football programs help to pay for academic programs, and so on, like with Michigan, or Texas, or, um... Penn State.

Okay, I kind of see what you're saying now.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:44 AM on September 10, 2013


crazy with stars: Can anyone determine how the simulations work?

I assumed NCAA Football 14. Not sure what they'll do next year.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:58 AM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


@Navelgazer, They only PRETEND to pay for academic programs. Consider Penn State, for example. $6M profit* (and that's after $34M in contributions from the booster club).

It's pretty easy to list $6M of freebies the athletic department gets from the university. Police support. Rent (use of prime land). Insurance. Property maintenance and landscaping. etc.

When you consider the booster donations might actually be cannibalizing from donations to the college's general endowment fund, really it's a myth that college athletics is profitable for ANY college.

* - (numbers based on yr 2011)
posted by surplus at 11:05 AM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's pretty easy to list $6M of freebies the athletic department gets from the university. Police support. Rent (use of prime land). Insurance. Property maintenance and landscaping. etc.

Take a look at the "Building/Grounds" and "Other" columns.

When you consider the booster donations might actually be cannibalizing from donations to the college's general endowment fund, really it's a myth that college athletics is profitable for ANY college.

That sounds a lot more like you've decided that college athletics are not profitable, and therefore any evidence to the contrary must be dismissed.
posted by Etrigan at 11:19 AM on September 10, 2013


I guess you're unswayed by the $34M the booster club gave the program.

If I was running a fundraiser and took in $34M in donations and gave $16M to the actual charity, you'd call it what it was: a ripoff.

* - (yes I had bad math in my original post. $16M in profit to Penn State's general fund)
posted by surplus at 11:27 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess you're going to keep assuming that people would have given that money to the school if not for the big, mean athletic department grabbing the check out of the provost's hands and pushing him into a locker.
posted by Etrigan at 11:31 AM on September 10, 2013


This is so much better than I expected it to be. Love it. I even laughed inappropriately on a conference call after reading "also, is much Dakota on Dakota football action."
posted by ndfine at 12:07 PM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


surplus: "@Navelgazer, They only PRETEND to pay for academic programs. Consider Penn State, for example. $6M profit* (and that's after $34M in contributions from the booster club).

It's pretty easy to list $6M of freebies the athletic department gets from the university. Police support. Rent (use of prime land). Insurance. Property maintenance and landscaping. etc.
"

At least in the uni I went to, athletics paid for all of these, because it was its own separate accounting entity, akin to how university endowments are a separate entity. Admittedly, coaches are paid well enough that the accounting complexity may be a feature not a bug.
posted by pwnguin at 1:38 PM on September 10, 2013


Hey while I’ve got a bunch of US football (what I know as Gridiron) fans here, can I ask a question? Do you have entirely amateur football leagues in towns, suburbs and regions, where everybody plays strictly for the fun of it?

I can’t recall any reference to this sort of structure in pop culture, it seems to be high school team, then the better ones of them play College Football, and the best of them go on to the professional leagues.

But do blokes in their 20s and 30s with too much energy get together with their mates one night a week for training then play the neighbouring town or suburb on Saturday morning? With the full rules and pads and stuff, not just touch football.
posted by wilful at 4:41 PM on September 10, 2013


Hey while I’ve got a bunch of US football (what I know as Gridiron) fans here, can I ask a question? Do you have entirely amateur football leagues in towns, suburbs and regions, where everybody plays strictly for the fun of it?

Well, there's semi-pro football, which is basically this for the most part. Some semi-pro leagues attract enough attention to charge (or have sponsors), but they mostly are amateurs.
posted by Etrigan at 4:45 PM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sponsors would be like the local real estate firm etc.? Paying for some equipment mostly?

What sort of participation rates are there in this league, how much a part of culture is it? It just seems to be one of the big differences between the US and Australia. In country Australia, and to a lesser degree in suburban areas, the local footy club is very much a part of the social glue. Young men from across the social strata would play footy.
posted by wilful at 4:55 PM on September 10, 2013


Sponsors would be like the local real estate firm etc.? Paying for some equipment mostly?

Yeah, pretty much.

What sort of participation rates are there in this league, how much a part of culture is it?

Tiny. It's pretty much just friends and family who attend. That amateur sport social-glue function is largely taken up by high school sports (particularly football, particularly in the South).
posted by Etrigan at 5:03 PM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


In country Australia, and to a lesser degree in suburban areas, the local footy club is very much a part of the social glue. Young men from across the social strata would play footy.

This role is much more likely to be filled by a baseball/softball team than a football team.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:42 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


In country Australia, and to a lesser degree in suburban areas, the local footy club is very much a part of the social glue. Young men from across the social strata would play footy.

This role is much more likely to be filled by a baseball/softball team than a football team.


I was thinking of that, but I feel like the softball league has more or less gone the way of the bowling league -- it's a thing that I'm kind of faintly surprised at every year, like, "Oh, yeah, there's still a softball league at the park I live a block away from."
posted by Etrigan at 5:38 AM on September 11, 2013


Etrigan: I was thinking of that, but I feel like the softball league has more or less gone the way of the bowling league

True, but it's still more common than a local semi-pro football team. Heck, kickball leagues might have greater penetration than semi-pro football.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:12 AM on September 11, 2013


(American) Football is (at least thought of as) rough, requiring pads and helmets and isn't much for amateurs. When we'd play as kids we'd generally play touch except for rare occasions when we'd play tackle. In high school gym and university intramural leagues it was all flag football.

I have had friends that have played in amateur leagues for softball, ultimate frisbee, kickball, basketball and even hockey... but not (tackle) football.

And, as others have said the folks playing next/before, injured teammates and maybe some significant others make up almost the only people watching.
posted by mountmccabe at 8:54 AM on September 11, 2013


Similarly I have at various times frequented parks/university fields/etc. to play pick-up games of basketball or ultimate frisbee but I don't know where I've ever lived that had enough community identity/constancy to band together as a town/neighborhood and travel to another town/neighborhood to find another such park/field and challenge the locals.
posted by mountmccabe at 8:59 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Etrigan, your mentioning bowling leagues reminds me of Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam, and the observed decline in social capital. But it seems like Gridiron was always more of an observer sport than a participant sport, so drawing analogies between the health of local Australian and US communities based on this sport would be misleading.
posted by wilful at 6:19 PM on September 11, 2013


Etrigan, your mentioning bowling leagues reminds me of Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam, and the observed decline in social capital. But it seems like Gridiron was always more of an observer sport than a participant sport, so drawing analogies between the health of local Australian and US communities based on this sport would be misleading.

I think Putnam overstated his case anyway, so I'll agree with the latter part, but I'm a contrarian by nature, so I'll point out that while American football isn't as participatory a sport, it still draws people together and can be a major source of community -- see Friday Night Lights.
posted by Etrigan at 4:02 AM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


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