College sports have been a huge part of the communities they are in, as well as the national obsession and culture in the United States for generations.
Dating back to the 1840s when Yale University formed its first boat club, college sports have grown and become nationally important to players and supporters of a wide range of sports, including Football and Basketball.
This range of sports often comes with varying levels of following. The national popular American Football and Basketball can draw huge crowds, though there can be strong, niche support for other teams like the bowling team or surfing team depending on where you are in the country.
There are so many traditions passed down in the nearly two centuries of competition between colleges that brig pride and passion to the players and supporters alike. This history is part of the college experience for students as well as the history of the community that the teams play in.
Most of the teams have a longer history than the majority of professional teams, which ensures the passion and commitment continues, and the popularity of college sports remains high.
With the history, comes the gameday experiences. The stadiums full and the community and students in full voice, college sports teams matchdays are part of the local culture. Starting with the tailgate and into the match afterwards, the experience is one of local community and support, shared amongst generations, which helps continue this passion amongst Americans.
The athletic departments at many colleges across the nation are central to the educational community. Loyalty is embedded into the culture of being at a specific institute while the search for the best players and athletes to attend a college is vital to keep their program relevant and popular.
With the athletes that attend being amateur, though many looking to work themselves into careers in the NFL or NBA, it gives purity to the sports. The matches and competitions are pure entertainment for the fans, while the coaching each athlete receives can be of professional level depending on the college that recruits them.
With no second division and no relegation, the NFL franchises keep a close eye on the league as it is the destination for players who come from high school, where they will develop and learn in front of cameras broadcasting across the world. The college football lines are a good indication for where the next top talent is coming from and who will be the most demand in the NFL draft.
For NFL coaches and scouts, so much work is put into understanding each colleges organization and style of play. The coaches and coordinators who develop the players are thoroughly watched to help identify the types of players they will produce.
Each coach in the college system will often have aspirations of working their way into roles on NFL sides which ensures the professionalism of the programs at each college brings quality onto the field for supporters to see.
College Football has a history of drawing incredibly big crowds to some of the biggest games in the calendar each year.
The biggest attendance on record was on 7th of September 2013 between the University of Michigan and Notre Dane in Ann Arbor. A crowd of 115,109 witnessed the match which Michigan came out the victors by 41-30 at home.
These two sides are bitter rivals, and since records began in 1948, their matches in Ann Arbor the top two for attendances, with 114,804 reported to having at the same game back on the 10th of September 2011.
The Spartan Stadium in Michigan was built in 1923 and as an all-standing venue has broken many records and has had five games with over 113,000 since 2011.
Outside of Michigan, some of the biggest have been spread around the country to show how valued the sport in is sports culture in the United States.
Pennsylvania State hosted Nebraska at Beaver Stadium on the 14th September 2002 and 110,753 people were in attendance.
Two other colleges with elite football programs are Texas A&M and Ole Miss, on the 11th October 2014 there were 110,633 people in Kyle Field to see Ole Miss come away with the win in a 35-20 game.
Heading across to Tennessee, the college faced Florida State at the Neyland Stadium and was host to 109,061 fans back on the 18th September 2004.
It shows the effect college football has across the country. The players represent the college as well as the community, which is especially important in cities that are either without an NFL team or have a fully committed college football program.
When the best young players in the country are drawn to specific colleges, it is also due to the fanbase. The amount of money colleges invest in their sports clubs is often parallel to the community support as well.
College sports continue to be vitally important in American culture, something which is unique to the country.