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The College Football Decade Ahead

by on December 26, 2019 5:00 AM


As this decade comes to a close, plenty of people around college football have been looking back at the decade that was. But instead of looking back, let’s look ahead in the crystal ball to see what those of us lucky (or maybe unlucky) enough to still be around may be looking back at when December 2029 rolls around. Here are some fearless predictions for the next 10 years...

1. College football players will be capitalizing on their names, images and likenesses. Florida’s 2022 starting quarterback will be getting paid for appearing at/crashing weddings, sweet 16 parties and bar mitzvahs. He will gross six figures in appearance fees. 

2. Top players at schools in state capital cities (i.e. Wisconsin, Ohio State, South Carolina, Texas) will become registered lobbyists and be paid handsomely by lobbying firms to drop in on state legislators.   

3. College athletes will be involved in a television rights revenue-sharing model with their conferences and schools.

4. Alabama will win a national title when a game-winning field goal is kicked through the uprights by a female kicker who will also have scored the game-winning goal in the SEC women’s soccer title game. Crimson Tide fans will forever name it the Chick-Kick National Title Game.

5. Texas finally says “alright, alright, alright” and announces Matthew McConaughey as its next head football coach after his two decades on the Longhorns sideline. 

6. To reduce concussions, the face masks will come off the helmets and the rugby shoulder tackling technique will become dominant.

7. The ESPN-SEC lovefest gets serious as they open a SportsCenter Birmingham Studio and bring Paul Finebaum home. Saturday’s ESPN lineup will be the SEC game of the week on ABC nationally at 3:30, the SEC second game of the week at 7:30 on ESPN, the SEC third game of the week on ESPN at noon. ESPNU will re-launch as the SEC Network 2.

8. Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will leave Saturday Night Football broadcasts to call the much higher rated Esports EA College Football Game of the Week on NBC. They’ll be replaced by artificial intelligence holograms of Keith Jackson and Frank Broyles with the living Lynn Swann back as the sideline reporter.

9. There will be over 60 Bowl Games so every team will get to go to one. New bowl games will pop up in locales like Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Dubai. And win or lose every bowl team will get a trophy and every head coach will get a bowl bonus.

10. The playoff will be watered down by going to eight teams. The Pac 12 champion will still miss the cut.

11. The Army-Navy game will be played in Beaver Stadium in 2026—to break the record crowd of 110,000 fans at the Army-Navy game played in Chicago’s Soldier Field in 1926.

12. In 2028, Penn State’s next AD will update the Beaver Stadium bathrooms and press box.

13. By 2029 Ohio State will be riding an 18-game winning streak against Michigan.

14. In four of the next 10 years Auburn’s Gus Malzhan will enter the season “on the hot seat” and beat Alabama in all of those seasons. 

15. In 2025 , navigation app Waze adds Coach Orgeron as one of it voices to give directions. A 20-car pile-up occurs just north of New Orleans as LSU fans try to find their way home from a Sugar Bowl win.

16. The Big Ten-SEC Football Challenge will be played in week 2 every year. It won’t go well for the Big Ten.

15. A non-Power 5 School will win the College Football Playoff.

16. Lee Corso will still be donning head gear and picking games. In 2029 he will get 16 straight picks right, drop the mic and say “I’m out of here, my friends.”

17. ESPN’s College GameDay will be seven hours long with a three-hour betting segment led by Brent Musburger. 

18. Full-fledged fantasy football will come to college football with players being paid for the use of their names.

19. College football players will take all of their classes online, leading us to…

20. Trump University re-launches online and starts a football program. It joins the SEC and in two years is sanctioned by the SEC (Southeast Conference) and the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and the NCAA for major rules violations. New NCAA commissioner Mitch McConnell blocks any attempt to enforce them.

21. The newly-created Space Force Academy starts a football program and wins the Commander-in-Chief trophy.

21. Ryan Day will step down from Ohio State to coach the Cleveland Browns but find that they have less talent than the Buckeye team he left.

23. In 2029, for the 11th season in a row Penn State Athletics’ parking consultant will unveil a new and improved parking and traffic plan. Everyone will park their cars in Hershey and be teleported Star Trek-style to the game.

24. To boost sagging attendance, there will be legal sportsbook gambling operations inside college football stadiums where fans can bet as the game is going on. New NCAA rules allow players ejected for targeting to head to the sportsbook to make in-game prop bet wagers.

25. The University of Colorado will be the first school to sign an endorsement deal with a cannabis company. The official Colorado cannabis will be called Buffs Puffs Rocky Mountain High and the line of edibles will be THC-infused buffalo-shaped gummies.

Hope to see all of you in 2029.



State College native and Penn State graduate Jay Paterno is a father, husband and political volunteer. He’s a frequent guest lecturer on campus and at Penn State events and was the longtime quarterbacks coach for the Nittany Lions. His column appears every other Thursday. Follow him on Twitter at
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