Tom and Tony were wrong about the when the modern era of college football began. Here's why.


Scoop Family
Dec 8, 2021
I listened to both Tony and Tom the other day discuss/debate over when did the modern era of college football begin. After 40 minutes, the two concluded some time in the '90s. For Tom it was '92 and for Tony some period around then. But that's not it because there's little to nothing from then that in any way remotely resembles what college football looks like today outside of the offensive balance between the run and pass game. QBs throwing for 300 yards in a game or for 2,500-3,300 in a season. Again that is not enough to consider that the beginning of modern college football and neither was Arkansas and South Carolina joining the SEC.

Modern college football began in 2007 and here's why:

1. The debut of the BCS Title Game which essentially set a given start time, day and date for the national title game. The first was on Monday January 8, 2007. And pretty much since then with a few exceptions, the national title game whether in the BCS era or now in the CFP era, the national title game takes place on the second Monday in January. So no more were national title or even earlier BCS bowl games where the national title was at stake taking place between January 1-5th no matter what day of the week it was. It established this second Monday in January a national holiday of sorts similar to how the last Sunday in January or now the first Sunday in February Super Bowl Sunday.

2. The B1G Network made its debut on both cable and satellite tv. We all know of the long-term financial impact that network has had for the conference overall.

3. The SEC became the preeminent and widely recognized best conference in all of college football that year. And all it took was one key matchup---Ohio State vs Florida. The Buckeyes were heavy favorites going into that game and almost no one was citing how it was the mighty SEC taking on the B1G. If anything it was more like the mighty B1G taking on the SEC after the conference had an 11, 12-1 Wisconsin team which didn't even qualify for the BCS Title Game then both TOSU and TTUN ranking at #1 and #2 heading into their epic matchup in the season finale. TOSU also had the definitive Heisman winner in Troy Smith as well. But one bad performance by both him and the team at the hands of the SEC champion Gators, led many analysts to see the game as being indicative of how much faster the SEC teams are---esp on the OL and DL. And that loss kicked off something I'm not sure we would've seen had it not been for that particular one. It seemed to have galvanized the SEC to hire more elite head coaches and assistants as well as opening up recruitment nationally to them as well as the conference would go on to win the next 7 national titles and a majority over that 15-year span and across the BCS and now CFP era.

4. Michigan's loss to Appalachian State. That loss sent shockwaves throughout all of college football because it was the first time that a major program ranked in the top 5 had lost at home to a football bowl subdivision school. It showed and proved that there was more parity in college football than we had previously thought.

5. How losing late no longer meant elimination from title-game contention.
In the 2007 season both the Buckeyes and LSU Tigers had lost late in the season---something we were always told was a no no in college football. However after losing to Illinois at home then beating Michigan in the season finale, the Bucks were prepared to go to the Rose Bowl. However a string of inexplicable losses of teams ranked ahead of them allowed them to backend their way back into the BCS Title Game. LSU had one early season loss to Kentucky but then would sustain another to Arkansas in their season finale matchup. But even two losses weren't enough to keep LSU from playing for the BCS Title in their backyard in the Louisiana/Mercedes Benz Superdome. This is what set the stage for the Buckeyes to become the first non-conference title winners to make it to the CFP. Likewise with Alabama the next year then Georgia this past season in '21 after losing in the SEC Title Game. Now it was all about the type of loss and how you lost as opposed to the fact that you just lost.

6. The recruitment of Terrelle Pryor.
Few recruits prior to the 2007/2008 cycle were as heralded or fought over the way Pryor was. He was pegged as the can't-miss prospect. The #1 overall recruit that year, #2 according to a few others who was poised and expected to have the type of career that Cam Newton would go on to have ironically. But this was also the first time since the recruiting rankings began that a top player held out from making his decision until several weeks after Signing Day. Now it's far more commonplace to see guys today wait a few weeks to a few months after the February or now December Signing Day to make their final decision on which school they'll attend. And while Pryor's didn't make his decision until well into March of 2008, his recruitment heated up exponentially in 2007.

7. The Playoff talks begin.
Starting in 2007 is when you really began to hear the "We need a playoff" chants heat up. Between then and 2010 it reached a fever pitch especially after how the '07 season ended which I spoke on earlier here. This is when the debates really revved up on ESPN, CBS Sports talk/debate shows and it all went a long way in eventually convincing even the most-hardened BCS supporters and advocates that it was time to move to one by 2014.

8. Tim Tebow wins the Heisman as a Sophomore.
This was a first in the history of the Heisman trophy ceremony and set the stage for other first or second-year guys like Johnny Manziel, Lamar Jackson and Bryce Young to follow suit years later.

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