American college football, and how it works

American college football, and how it works

Gators quarterback Tim Debo flies over debates and his opponents at the University of Alabama in college American football. – Eric S. Lesser / Reuters

From our correspondent in Los Angeles

College sports are almost a religion in the United States. By far, (American) football is the most popular, filling stadiums with 100,000 seats in matches, breaking up families and making hundreds of millions of dollars. As the season approaches with its finals (we will be Rose Bowl Thursday), takes stock. But first, a video explaining the rules of this game is essential:

Division, Conferences, Who, What, Where?

119 teams belong to Division 1 of the National College Athletic Association (NCAA). They are distributed Twelve Regional Conferences (Avoid traveling from one end of the country to the other). The regular season runs from September to January with a dozen matches. Almost all states Keep one or more universities with a football team. Some cities, such as Los Angeles, have two (UCLA and USC). Of course they hate each other deeply.

How is a national champion appointed?

This is complicated. Unlike professional football (NFL) or basketball, college football does not run with a playoff system (a series of playoff matches after the regular season, like our rugby top 14) will give an undeniable winner.

On the contrary, it is highly controversial Bowl Championship Series: அ Ranking established, Based on magazine rankings (especially AP, USA Today), coaches and computer algorithms (taking into account the horrible set of statistics). This is the end of the diet Bowls Meetings between the best teams in early January. From The most popular bowls, Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta. Since 2007, one-fifth has been created: the National Championship Cup, where two top teams compete against each other and the winner is nominated as champion. This system is constantly criticized, and some topics are discussed in the bistro years later.

Who are the best teams?

This year, the National Championship Cup will be pitted Florida Gators To Oklahoma Sooners. Historically, the best teams have been Alabama, Notre Dame and USC, all of which have more than 10 national titles on the clock).

And after college?

If you are good, a pro life. But places are expensive: less than 10% of high school footballers are able to join a team in college. If you have ever seen the best series Friday night lights You know that scouts and agents struggle to bring out the best in you. However, a college player is not paid (What some controversy The hundreds of millions of dollars they bring in and the enormous salaries of coaches). In contrast, most do not pay tuition or shelter or health insurance premiums, which end up being 000 80,000 per year). There will be about 2% of college players Draft (Selected) NFL

Is college football popular?

Not just a little. Bowls arena all Our State is larger than de France, And packed. Many exceeded 100,000 seats. Finals sometimes reach 40 million spectators, as in 2006. Half of the benefits with Super Bowl are, of course, but in general, in the top 5 of the annual audience (including the Oscars and Grammy Awards).

But beyond numbers, college football is deeply rooted in American culture, with its cheerleaders, symbols and songs. Americans are more affiliated with their university than French.

Sometimes this leads to family drama: Deanna, a high school student from Los Angeles, explains that her father is a USC Trojan and her mother is UCLA Bruin, and that they are struggling to influence college exams. Torn, she wants to respect the roots and support Notre Dame’s proud Irish. A rivalry develops Multiple valves (“What do you call a USC player with a champion ring on his finger? A thief.” Or “Do you know the story of the truck that lost pigs on the Notre Dame campus? The driver of the bus? IDs before allowing the cheerleaders to get in.” Class.

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