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Transfers, NIL Made College Football a Year-Round Topic, When Will a Network Notice?

Love or hate the NFL, there is one thing you can not do – avoid the NFL. This is no accident. Just as soon as the confetti falls in the Super Bowl, all attention turns to the discussion of free agency. Then it is the combine, actual free agency, the owner’s meetings, the NFL Draft, rookie camps, actual camps, preseason and suddenly, another full season is upon us. This schedule allows the NFL to dominate the sports media schedule.

While there is almost always something newsworthy to discuss when it comes to the NFL, the same was not always true of college football. These days though, it feels as though college football has fallen backwards into its own year round schedule. 

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What has changed this more than anything is the NCAA Transfer Portal. I am not sure which is the more profane phrase in the cathedrals of college sports fans: N.I.L or transfer portal. Most fans unite both and many of them are united in their hatred of both.

Name, image and likeness has created massive headaches in the recruiting world of college football coaches but it hasn’t impacted their calendar anywhere close to the level that the transfer portal has. As former Arizona State Head Coach Herm Edwards said on my show recently, “you have to recruit many players after every single game.” That is in addition to the fact you are already recruiting at least two signing classes in advance.

Setting aside the discussion of how this is impacting current college football coaches, and it is impacting them in an extremely negative way, this development is beneficial for the college football news cycle. There is almost always a real, or rumored, move to the transfer portal that would positively or negatively impact a conference or national championship contender. Which brings us to the question facing FOX, ESPN and CBS; is there enough daily attention from their networks on the world of college football?

ESPN, rightfully, gives us a daily dose of NFL Live. As stated before, there is always something to talk about somewhere in the NFL. ESPN has developed a deep bench when it comes to NFL analysts and can roll out any number of talking heads on a moment’s notice. 

Both ESPN and FOX have the same depth when it comes to college football. In fact, a guy that started out as part of that college football depth at the Worldwide Leader, Marcus Spears, grew into a key figure in the network’s NFL coverage. CBS should be growing their own college football depth chart with their new Big 10 deal. Why not use that depth to feed the college football beast daily no matter the season?

I am aware College Football Live exists on the ESPN platforms but, as a massive college football fan living in the Football Capital of the South (Birmingham’s unofficial nickname), I can’t tell you with any degree of confidence when or where that show airs. I can’t even swear it airs year round. 

I do know that ESPN has wall-to-wall debate shows that seem to get top billing. Perhaps, even as counter programming on ESPN2, a full calendar of College Football Live could flourish.

FOX likely realizes they already have lost the daily NFL programming battle to ESPN. Maybe they could win the daily college football battle. FS1, utilizing some of their college football game analysts like Joel Klatt, Brock Huard, Petros Papadakis and Spencer Tillman for daily college football analysis, would be a fresh face. They have a deep bench of studio hosts like Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Brady Quinn, Chris Petersen and Urban Meyer who bring some star power, as well. They could even supplement that type of analysis with Bruce Feldman and some of their Big 10 Network analysts. 

Whatever the daily college football show is, it may not beat Around the Horn or PTI, but I’d have to think FOX could draw some interest with some of those names on a daily and weekly rotation. It also may help FOX in their ongoing battle to close the ratings gap between ESPN’s College Gameday and Big Noon Kickoff.

There is no doubt college football has stumbled into the world of 365 day-a-year newsmakers. It isn’t the NFL. It never will be, but there is more than enough content to discuss on a daily basis. Who will be the first to embrace it? The answer to that question may also be the answer to this one: Who will dominate the ratings each Saturday? 

That is where the big money is.

Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown is a columnist for Barrett Sports Media, and a co-host of the popular sports audio/video show 'The Next Round' formerly known as JOX Roundtable, which previously aired on WJOX in Birmingham. You can find him on Twitter @RyanBrownLive and follow his show @NextRoundLive.

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