1. Tradition. The history of college football goes WAY back, and teams don't move to another city when they aren't making enough money. For example, Penn State football goes back to somewhere around 1887. Coaches generally stick around a lot longer too...Joe Paterno has been coaching the Nittany Lions since 1950.
2. Loyalty. When you spend four of the most formative years of your young life at a university, in general you become fiercely loyal to it, including its sports teams. Careers take people all over the country, but they will remain fans of their school's football team for life. Few pro teams inspire this kind of location-independent loyalty.
3. Bands. My favorite part of a Penn State football game is watching the Blue Band take the field and go through their standard pre-game routine. As much as I hate to admit it, Ohio State's drum and bugle corps with their script Ohio is pretty cool. Marching band kids practice a LOT and require real dedication, with very little public affirmation.
4. Fight songs. College fight songs are awesome, especially when they are really catchy like Wisconsin's or Notre Dame's. It's fun to make up words to your rival's fight song like we have for Michigan. Ever since our oldest was a newborn we have sung the Penn State fight song to our kids before bed at night. Now they request it.
5. Rivalries. There is much debate about what makes a rivalry. Sometimes it is obvious, like Ohio State and Michigan who play each other in the last game of the season every year, forever. But more often it is less obvious, like why are Penn Staters thrilled to be playing Nebraska every year now that they've joined the Big Ten? The history between the two teams makes for a potentially bitter rivalry. We love to hate our college football rivals.
6. Mascots. The Nittany Lion, the Wisconsin Badger, the Florida Gator. They are lovable and cute and add a festive spirit to the games. And underneath the suit is a super hard working college kid who does it for love of his team and certainly not for money.
7. School colors. Much more than professional sports teams, school colors are loved and integrated into all kinds of wardrobes...fashionable and not-so-much. Visit the university co-op and you'll find a wide variety of items in burnt orange, blue and white, green and gold, maize and blue...you name it.
8. Underdogs and little guys, cinderella stories and sleeping giants. Since its not about how much money these teams can pay the players, you never quite know which team will win out in a given season. No team has a huge cash advantage like some do in the pros. With so many teams and conferences and non-conference games, polls and rankings change like crazy from week to week and year to year. It's fun to cheer for non-BCS teams like TCU or Boise State who go undefeated and threaten to mess up the insane system college football has for determining a national champion.
9. Quantity. The sheer number of teams and conferences means that every weekend in the fall there are a billion games to watch. Saturdays (and now Thursdays, Fridays, even Mondays?) are packed with games for your viewing pleasure and joining a group pick 'em game makes it fun to watch and track games other than your own team.
10. Tailgating. I admit that not all schools excel in this area they way Penn State does. But on home football Saturdays, the cow pastures surrounding Beaver Stadium become a sea of RV's and trucks with grills, lawn games and plenty of beverages. It's an atmosphere of festivity and community that even visiting team fans can enjoy. There's nothing like it, and it's what I like best of all about college football.