9 Sporting Events to Get College Football Fans Through the Offseason

Andrew CoppensContributor IMay 5, 2014

9 Sporting Events to Get College Football Fans Through the Offseason

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    Felipe Dana/Associated Press

    No more spring football?! What's a college football fan to do with all that time on his or her hands? 

    Thankfully, we're here to give you some ways to help make the summer months go by quicker. While we all love college football, this offseason can be all about exploring new sports and finding amazing sporting events to fill your time with. 

    Consider it a good time to also cross some things off your sporting bucket list, because who doesn't have one of those in his or her head or actually written down (like this guy does). 

    Let us introduce you to nine sporting events you need to check out this offseason, and hopefully they get you through the long months ahead. 

Championship Sunday in Barclays Premier League

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    Imagine your favorite college football team needs to win a game on the final weekend of the season in order to win the conference. Now, imagine that all the other games you need to know about are happening at the exact same time and your team can't do anything but put it all out on the table. 

    Championship Sunday in the English Premier League is this Sunday, and it starts at 10 a.m. ET here in the United States. This year, things happen to be very tight at the top of the table, with Liverpool and Manchester City needing victories to possibly win the league. 

    Not only will the champion be crowned Sunday, but there is still one team that will go down to the Championship division. Norwich City and Sunderland are fighting it out to stay in the lucrative EPL, and that means nearly half of the 10 games being played simultaneously will have meaning. 

    To give you an idea of the drama that plays out, check out what happened just a couple of years ago between bitter derby rivals Manchester City and Manchester United for the title. 

    If you haven't caught on to the growing number of people watching the EPL in the United States, this Sunday would be a great time to check out what it's all about. 

College World Series

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    College football and tailgating go hand in hand, so if you're getting a hankering for some grilled meats and college sports, there isn't any better event to check out than the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. 

    This year's event is scheduled to take place June 14-24/25 from TD Ameritrade Park. 

    If you haven't taken in this drama-filled event, this is a great time to check it all out. UCLA is the defending national champion, and last season's event was full of upsets and good baseball all around. 

    While it may not rival a Saturday tailgate in SEC country, the amount of differing fanbases helps to make this event a lot of fun. Omaha also happens to be a great host city for the event and one of the more underrated midsized cities in the country. 

    Even if your favorite college doesn't make the College World Series, heading to Omaha would be well worth your time. And it makes for some real good television viewing as well. So pick your poison on this one.

Indy 500

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    The smell of gasoline, cars roaring around a track at 200 mph and hundreds of thousands of spectators—what's more American than that? Nothing signals a sporting summer in America more than the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend.

    After the prolonged winter in the Midwest, this event could be one heck of a celebration of the start of summer when the 98th running of the race goes off May 25. 

    While the heyday of the 1980s are long gone for open-wheel racing in America and the television numbers are down, this event is still one of the must-see events on the sporting calendar. 

    Come May 25, America will tune in to see the survivor of 500 grueling miles dose him or herself in milk while kissing the rubber- and gas-filled bricks that mark the start/finish line. It figures to be the glorious event it has been for the previous 97 runnings. 

2014 World Cup in Brazil

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    Felipe Dana/Associated Press

    Every four years, the best soccer players in the world gather to represent the best countries in the world at soccer at the World Cup. In 2014 from June 12 to July 13, Brazil plays host—and who doesn't want to visit that country at least once in his or her life?

    If one doesn't remember the agony and thrill that sports can give you, just look back on the final moments of the United States' group game against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

    There's nothing like the World Cup to bring out the national pride of nations the world over. With Brazil holding the event, a trip to South America to root on the Americans with Sam's Army (the unofficial U.S. national team supporters' group) could be well worth it. 

    If you're sticking closer to home, find the nearest sports bar and celebrate with the rest of the U.S. As for America's chances this go-around? With Germany, Portugal and Ghana in the same group, it's going to be a tough road for anyone to advance. 

The Preakness

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    Being in the middle of a three-race event can sometimes put you near the back in the popularity order, but a horse can't win the Triple Crown of horse racing without winning the first two. That means the Preakness Stakes is vitally important. 

    We haven't seen a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, and without a win in this year's Preakness, we won't get to the Belmont Stakes with anything to root for. 

    This year, it will be California Chrome, who just won the Kentucky Derby, looking to break the 35-year streak without a Triple Crown winner. We have only seen two horses win the first two legs of the Triple Crown in the past decade, with Big Brown (2008) and I'll Have Another (2012) failing to finish or start the Belmont. 

    For most reading this, chances are you weren't alive to ever see a Triple Crown winner, so why not make 2014 the year you cheer on a dominant horse with a great story? 

    Sure, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore doesn't have the pageantry or fame of the Kentucky Derby, but having the event May 17 pretty much puts it in a position to be must-see TV for the sports-obsessed person and the casual sports fan alike. 

Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

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    Scoff all you want, but if you've never experienced a race in person, you shouldn't knock it. If you don't want the craziness of the opening event on the NASCAR calendar, then choose the second event at the Daytona International Speedway. 

    Cars, tailgating and beverages in usually amazing weather? Sure sounds about right for the Fourth of July. Top it all off with a spectacular fireworks display, and you've got the all-American weekend right there.

    The annual July 4 event at the famed speedway may not have the attention that the Daytona 500 has, but the pageantry of the event is nearly equal. It also happens to be a very important event on the NASCAR calendar. 

Manchester United vs. Real Madrid

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    College football will collide full-on with two of the most famous club soccer teams in the world this summer, as Michigan Stadium will play host to Manchester United vs. Real Madrid on August 2. 

    While the sports may be different, the venue is at least college football, and don't think for one second that the passion and pageantry will be missing in any form. In fact, if you think college football student sections are crazy, you could be in for a big surprise.

    With 115,000 people taking in the game, chances are you'll get to experience passion for a team one could only dream of in the world of college football. 

    This event should be a blast, and considering it's part of the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup, this won't just be the usual preseason friendly either. 

Sunday at the U.S. Open (golf)

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    Growing up, there was no better tradition with my dad than getting up on Father's Day, playing a round of golf and coming home to check out the final round of the U.S. Open. 

    What makes the second major of the year so amazing is that the course usually makes extraordinary golfers look just like you and I duffing it at the local municipal course. 

    The 2014 U.S. Open takes place June 12-15 at legendary Pinehurst Golf Club in North Carolina, and both the scenery and the golf promise to make this year's event very intriguing. 

    Will Tiger Woods make a comeback at the event in hopes of catching Jack Nicklaus' majors record? Depending on his health, we may or may not get Tiger at this event. 

    That said, golf in 2014 is much more than just Tiger Woods, and that's a good thing. Whether you're at Pinehurst chasing the final group around for 18 holes or taking in the drama that usually occurs on HDTV, this is one event that will help you get through the summer. 

Champions League Final

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    Yes, soccer is on the menu once again, but when you've got the World Cup sandwiched in the middle of the usual soccer calendar, it's bound to be a "summer of soccer," if you will. 

    While the college football fan looks forward to the national championship game every January, the rest of the world builds up to the third weekend in May as it crowns the champion of the richest sporting competition in the world—the UEFA Champions League. 

    This year will be especially intriguing and watchable because crosstown rivals from Madrid will take to the pitch in Lisbon, Portugal, for the final on May 24. It'll be Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid for the best club team in the world.

    We're talking about Spain's version of UCLA vs. USC but with the hatred and passion of Michigan vs. Ohio State or Alabama vs. Auburn. 

    Look for this game to be passionate, nasty and full of amazing players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Costa and Gareth Bale. Consider this your primer for the upcoming World Cup, because nearly everyone on these rosters will be in Brazil too. 

     

    *Andy Coppens is a national college football featured columnist. You can follow him on Twitter: @AndyOnCFB.