Ron Agostini

The real fun is on Saturdays

Why college football never disappoints:

There are playoffs -- every week, from September through November.

NFL players walk alone with their teammates into the stadium. On Saturday, thousands line the sidewalks for the home team.

The colleges sign and enroll athletes. The NFL prods and measures them at the combine.

Out: All faceless big cities. In: Champaign, Tuscaloosa, Starkville, Corvallis, Athens, Boise, Boulder, Happy Valley and College Station.

And Tallahassee, Fresno, Lubbock, Stockton (until 1995), Chapel Hill, Berkeley, Blacksburg, Pullman, Norman and Baton Rouge.

And South Bend, Ann Arbor, Gainesville, Tucson, Columbus, Lincoln, Waco, Knoxville, Fayetteville and Palo Alto.

NFL fans rise for the first time for the opening kickoff. By then, college fans have delivered four standing ovations.

Real music is provided by students -- marching bands.

"Boomer Sooner," the "Victory March," "All Right Now" and "Conquest."

Both teams get a chance on offense in overtime.

Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden can coach forever -- as long as they win and donate to the library.

Daniel Snyder Jr., Sterling Sharpe, Howie Long, Terry Bradshaw and Jimmy Johnson have nothing to do with college football.

The late Bill Walsh loved the 49ers, but Stanford was "my bliss."

Tightwad Hill at Cal -- a log for your seat with binoculars in hand. No charge.

The Modesto Junior College Pirates, 88 years strong.

Senior citizens wear their school colors and no one blinks an eye.

Ralphie, Bevo, Uga, Traveler and War Eagle.

The Rose Bowl, the Horseshoe, Death Valley, the Swamp, the Doghouse, the Big House and Strawberry Canyon.

Roll Tide, Touchdown Jesus and calling the Hogs.

Knute Rockne, Bud Wilkinson, Eddie Robinson, John McKay, Tom Osborne, Fielding Yost and Bear Bryant.

Walking the campus before the game. Or after.

Glenn Davis, Billy Cannon, Herschel Walker, Earl Campbell and Charles White.

Elvis Peacock, Randy Rhino, Dick Bass, Colt Brennan and, just because I can't leave his name out, Isaiah Hipp.

It's telling your daughter, "I sat in this seat when I was 10."

John Elway, Joe Namath, Dan Marino, Joe Montana and Tom Brady -- all great long before they arrived in the NFL.

Major Applewhite, Conredge "007" Holloway, Tommy Frazier, Robbie Bosco and Steve Spurrier -- all great in college, and that was enough.

Oklahoma, Georgia, USC, Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Penn State, Tennessee and Notre Dame -- their uniforms virtually unchanged for decades.

Mid-summer magazines, bowl games and spring practice -- the endless season.

No two-minute warnings, which sounds like an oncoming invasion.

The wishbone, the veer, Student Body Right, the Notre Dame "box," the power-I and the T-formation -- all begun by collegiate teams.

Said John Heisman: "Gentlemen, it is better to die a small boy than to fumble this football."

NFL stars talk constantly about their respective alma maters. College stars never talk about the Packers or the Cowboys.

I'll take Ohio State's "Best Damn Band in the Land," USC's "Spirit of Troy" and Florida A&M's "Marching Rattlers" over any NFL dance team.

Troopers protecting SEC coaches, and sometimes they're needed after losses.

Tim Tebow of Florida, Jeremy Maclin of Missouri of USC's Rey Maualuga -- 2008's peerless trio.

Rolling Toomer's corner at Auburn, "yell practice" at Texas A&M, Script Ohio and Howard's Rock at Clemson.

The Play, the Bush Push, Flutie's Hail Mary and the Bluegrass Miracle.

In 1934, a future President (Gerald Ford, Michigan) tackled a future Heisman Trophy winner (Jay Berwanger, Chicago).

Chris Schenkel, Keith Jackson and, today, Ron Franklin.

Appalachian State over Michigan, Boise State over Oklahoma, and Stanford over USC.

All things are possible on Saturday.

Bee sports columnist Ron Agostini can be reached at ragostini@modbee.com or 578-2302.

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