Let's get this party started. Paint your face. Fire up the grill. Put on the jersey - whatever version your favorite school is being paid to wear by some sports-apparel company.

Let's get this party started. Paint your face. Fire up the grill. Put on the jersey - whatever version your favorite school is being paid to wear by some sports-apparel company.

College football returns today in all its gluttonous glory. Here come four months of pageantry, celebration and furious debate over a decimal point in the Bowl Championship Series rankings.

Lee Corso is about to be unleashed into your home so often, you'll want to charge him rent. Fear not, for "More is Better" seems to be the slogan of a sport that once was quaint with regional borders but now rages coast to coast.

"Things have just exploded," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said.

Think of college football as a Spinal Tap amplifier - it goes to 11. Crank it up today, the first of five consecutive days of games, including No. 2 Ohio State's opener on Saturday at home against Buffalo.

By year's end, ESPN alone will have broadcast 450 college games on its various channels. You can watch one nearly every day of the week. Click the remote through Fox, CBS, the Big Ten Network, the Pac-12 Network, the SEC Network, the Longhorn Network…

"It seems like there is an insatiable appetite for college football," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.

Nick Saban personifies the sport's overindulgence. He has coached Alabama to the past two national championships, and three in four years, yet the current GQ magazine reports that he responded to the 2011 title by saying, "That damn game cost me a week of recruiting."

Saban's accumulation of talent has Alabama ranked No. 1 and favored to win the Southeastern Conference's eighth consecutive national championship. He must do it with computer favor. This is the 16th and final season that BCS rankings will be used to pit the top two teams for the title.

The maddening and mysterious BCS gives way next year to the College Football Playoff, hatched from years of public outcry that finally wore down the game's power brokers. It helped, too, that the Justice Department was sniffing around about possible antitrust violations regarding the BCS.

The federal government wasn't interested in college football's system for determining a national champion when games were played mostly on Saturday afternoons and conference titles served as the main goal. Back then, Woody and Bo talked only about the Big Ten. Nothing else mattered.

As recently as 10 years ago, the idea of a playoff in major-college football was so troublesome to university presidents that then-Vanderbilt chancellor E. Gordon Gee said: "We're trying to preserve what universities are all about. We have to take a stand, and the stand is right here."

Principles eventually gave way to more and more TV money, which fueled the recent roulette of conference realignment. Fans need maps to find league members. The Western Athletic Conference was left without any football this year for the first time in 51 seasons.

More money means more spending on coaches' salaries and campus athletic buildings.

Minnesota announced last month that it plans to spend $190 million on athletic-facility upgrades. Oregon, flush with Nike cash, just unveiled a$68 million Football Performance Center that has showers with marble imported from Italy.

More spending means more expectations, resulting in more turnover on coaching staffs despite how much they talk about being "educators" of "student-athletes." There are 29 new coaches this season among the 124 Football Bowl Subdivision schools. The SEC has had 10 new hires in the past four seasons. Eight Big Ten coaches have been at their schools fewer than three seasons.

Everyone seems to have a real problem with the NCAA. This football season could be the last played under the current format of college sports' governing body.

Commissioners of the five BCS conferences - the Big Ten, SEC, Atlantic Coast, Big 12 and Pac-12 - spent the summer talking about the need for "transformative change" in the NCAA's structure. That has increased speculation that the most powerful leagues might form a new division or even break away.

"When you have commissioners openly speaking of it, you're closer to it being a possibility," said Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, a longtime football coach.

The besieged NCAA also finds itself battling an antitrust lawsuit headed by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon that could alter the entire college sports system of revenue sharing. While the O'Bannon case worms its way through the courts, current football players can't help but notice how ESPN paid$7 billion to secure 12 years of TV rights for the new playoff.

"There is no other industry where the workers generating the revenue aren't compensated for it," Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter said.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has become the face of the pay-for-play debate, and the sly-grinning embodiment of college football itself in 2013. Manziel shot to stardom last year when he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. His offseason travails have been chronicled by TMZ, as if he's a Kardashian in cleats.

On Sunday, NCAA investigators questioned Manziel about allegations by memorabilia dealers that he accepted payments for autographs. Yesterday, he was suspended for the first half of the Aggies' game against Rice on Saturday, the school admitting that he inadvertently had violated NCAA rules.

Johnny Football, it seems, has become too big.

Will college football ever reach a similar a tipping point?