George Graham

The Mystery of College Football


My grandson Adam goes to Florida State and he was, of course, rooting for his football team in Monday night’s BCS National Championship Game against Auburn. But he wasn’t motivated just by that good old team spirit you might remember from your own school days. This is the 21st century and kids today are hard nosed. What concerned Adam was the effect a win would have on the degree he’s getting in a few months.

“It would make my degree so much more valuable,” he told Sandra and me as we gathered for our Christmas Dinner a couple of weeks ago.

I had to take his word for it, but for the life of me I can’t see what winning a football game has to do with the value of a college diploma.

I’m sure you know that Florida State won the big game, and consequently is the National Champion. Now, maybe you can tell me why that makes Adam’s International Affairs degree more desirable.

I can see that winning a major sports event would add luster to a college’s image. As one of the players said after the game, “We put Florida State back on the map.” I can even see where such a victory might make prospective employers think more highly of a Florida State graduate in – say- sports medicine or some other field related to playing football.

But international affairs?

I’ve lived in America for 35 years, and I haven’t been hiding in a cave, so I know how Americans revere the game they call football. But why the business world should attach a price tag to a college’s football record escapes me.

Do you mean to tell me that attending a college with a bunch of jocks makes you better at defending some criminal in court?

Or performing brain surgery?

Or whatever?

I don’t get it.

Photo shows Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin catching the game-winning touchdown pass against Auburn cornerback Chris Davis. Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY.

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Click for a primer on college football.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for