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I have been to Tuscaloosa and State College and Austin, to the Rose Bowl and the Iron Bowl and every pre-COVID College Football Playoff. I have been engulfed by LSU fans on Bourbon Street and been swallowed by an on-field rush at Auburn. I have been lucky enough to see the best of college football, which may be the best — and most American — of all sports. It produces some of the most thrilling and unique atmospheres, creating unparalleled passion for numerous regions without professional teams and deeper rivalries that don’t ebb and flow with the success of the teams.
Whenever I’ve been fortunate enough to witness tailgates beside stately buildings or towns united by a team, I stop to recognize it is incredible — and upsetting. New York will forever be deprived of enjoying such spectacles. With no FBS team within a 40-mile drive of Times Square, generational luck is necessary to bring high-stakes college football to the city.
Because of this — and because most of us have always had the Giants or Jets to seek out our football fix — many New Yorkers have never found a college team to call their own. Some have their alma mater, some are part of Notre Dame’s Subway Alumni, but I know countless people whose pro team is the only football team that matters to them.