It’s September, and it’s time to get back in the classroom (for some of you anyway). Let’s get back to school by looking at college teams as college majors. Enjoy.
Biology, a field one either loves it or hates it when they took it. This subject is full of interesting info, and it explains the world well, as it is the study of life. But unless students are doing more or going on to pursue another degree, there just isn’t much to do with biology.
The triple-option may be easy enough to understand in theory, but it’s very tough to perfect and even tougher to defend play after play after play. However, eventually, the question becomes “what else are you going to do to better yourself?” and that’s the question that can be said to Air Force when their offense looks too stale.
A psych major covers a lot of different areas, it makes the student more marketable, and almost every class is interesting (except for experimental psych, speaking from experience). But no one told these excited students that they had to go to grad school to be taken seriously out in the real world.
Boise State is seemingly always the talk of the conference, love it, or hate it. Fans are cheering for them to win or lose, but they keep things interesting. They win a ton of games, but the general fan discredits them for not playing Power 5 competition (as if they have a choice). From their perspective, they are the big fish in a small pond, being a perennial top 25 team but are in the Group of 5. Disliked by both Power 5 and Group of 5 teams, and seemingly out of place on either side of the debate, they are don’t have a clear path on their next step.
Education seems like a classic can’t miss major, right? They like kids and are passionate about history or math or something, maybe they even want to coach. This one should check all the boxes. Until these students start having to learn about common core and hit a bunch of competencies, you never knew existed. Certainly, teachers never had to do all this when we were all growing up.
The Rams look good on paper. Solid recruiting classes year after year. Offensive firepower and some good players on defense. But then the games start, and it all seems to fall apart in a hurry. The defense can’t keep up with other teams. The offensive stars can’t come out for big games, and there seems to be a great divide between the players being recruited and the players taking the field.
The field of engineering uses math and science to develop new ideas and make things more efficient. They blend new and old by taking timeless math formulas and theories to produce fresh new technology. Students mainly end up specializing in one of many subfields and end up being successful.
The Bulldogs take an old school approach and mix in more modern elements of the game to stand out from the competition. A balanced offense with a tough defense, strong in the trenches and innovative at the skill positions. They aren’t reinventing the wheel at all, nor are they taking their opponents by surprise, but Fresno State is efficient at what they do, and minimize mistakes, which sets them apart from the team they end up beating.
Art majors love the freedom of being able to spend all work doing what they love and learning how to improve their talent and ability. Then they get into the real world and realize they were living in a dream world and aren’t prepared for anything.
Hawaii has an offensive system where wide receivers don’t have set routes and instead are free to adjust “on the run” depending on how the defense is playing. They have a free-spirit type of coach who says and does what he’s thinking in the moment and is pretty much beloved for not acting in conformity. However, one flaw of these systems is QBs and WRs who put up huge numbers at Hawaii don’t translate the same type of game when going to a more conventional NFL offense.
Communications is a diverse field to study. Journalism, broadcasting, social media, advertising, or public relations. In some ways, these students are a jack-of-all-trades, able to jump from concentration to concentration or job to job with the best of them.
The Wolf Pack seem to reinvent themselves every few years, at least lately. They ran the pistol under Chris Ault, did whatever we are calling the Brian Polian era, and are now in the Air Raid under Jay Norvell. It’s all still football, but the program changes schemes with each new coach. When it goes well, they send players out to successful college and NFL careers. When it doesn’t go as well, everyone transfers and coaches are out of jobs.
Everyone knows one of these students who has seemingly been at school far too long to still not have a major. They try a few classes in science, then history, stats, and religion. They go from one side of the spectrum to the other, talking about each like it’s the best thing in the world until it doesn’t work out.
Is New Mexico a triple-option team or a spread team? What is their defensive identity? What is their roster makeup after bringing in 20 JUCO players in a recruiting class? Will Coach Davie even be around? If the Lobos are anything, it’s undecided.
San Diego State
It’s a solid major, one where students learn a lot, and if they understand it, they likely excel in the classes. But... then the students graduate and get in an interview with all the other graduates, and they better hope they have something to distinguish themselves, because everyone learned basically the same stuff.
San Diego State is a great program and has been for years. It’s easy to see them as a top of the line Group of 5 program. However, despite some wins over Power 5 teams, they just don’t look to be on par with Power 5 programs (like their conference-mates Boise State and most recently Fresno State). They have a tried-and-true formula for winning games, but it gets exposed when playing against or above their talent level.
San Jose State
Woody Allen once said, “Those who can’t do teach, and those who can’t teach, teach gym.” I had some knowledgeable PE teachers in my day, and some not so much, like pretty much every other teacher. But being able to wear and t-shirt and gym shorts to work every day is the dream, and you know they all loved when they got to join in the games and dominant kids in dodgeball and the other sports.
Oh SJSU. Like PE teachers are teachers, the Spartans are a football team. But they are regulated to the end of the table and often get an asterisk when it comes to most things. They can beat up on the lesser competition (most of the time) but struggle against their peers. Still, at the end of the day, they are doing the same things everyone else does, and the program is enjoying being a D1 program, and not everyone can say that.
Graphic Design seems like a cool major, and it is. The students in this field are pretty talented and usually working on and talking about their next cool project (that is way better and more advanced than their last one, now that they know what they’re doing). However, unless you double major with business or marketing, or live/move to a big media market, jobs can be scarce, and salaries can be lacking.
The Rebels seem to come into every year with the thought process of this being their breakout season. They have some talent, work hard, but have yet to put it all together, despite the constant discussion about it. Like their Graphic Design counterparts, they are now hoping that partnering on with the soon to be Las Vegas Raiders will help them boost their status.
Or any other pre-medical profession where you need top grades to make it into the actual professional school. The students feel like you should be studying, and the program is constantly competitive. Their reward is more work and more school and paying more money. But when they actually get the satisfaction of starting your practice, they have never felt more accomplished.
The Aggies are constantly working to not be the third team in Utah. They are in constant work mode, competing with Utah and BYU. Even when Utah State does something well, they rarely receive recognition from their in-state rivals. However, the times they beat either of them on the field or finish with a better record, they also have never felt more accomplished.
Hear me out on this one. Real Philosophy majors aren’t just the students looking to be able to spout off some vague truisms for an easy A. They actually learn the writing and theories, study it, talk about it, and commit to a specific philosophy. It’s not easy to wrestle with what Immanuel Kant or Soren Kierkegaard has to say on existence, suffering, and ethics.
Likewise, Wyoming isn’t just chasing the best player available. The coaching staff scourers the recruiting areas for the size and skills they desire at each position. They have a system, and they develop players through it. When the Cowboys get a QB commit, there’s a specific pattern to the types of players they secure. They are set in their prototypes, development, as well as offensive and defensive philosophies and don’t compromise it.