College Football is the Best Thing About Loving a Cruddy Baseball Team

Illya HarrellAnalyst IISeptember 5, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 11:  The Ohio State and Marshall marching bands perform a tribute to September 11, 2001 during halftime of the game between the Ohio State Buckeyes andthe Marshall Thundering Herd on September 11, 2004 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  Ohio State defeated Marshall 24-21.   (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)

I'm a Cincinnati Reds' fan. They are nowhere near contention for a spot in the postseason...per usual.

One would think I'd be upset over this. Not the case. It's Saturday morning, and I haven't slept a wink—I'm way too excited.

I have this ritual on college football Saturdays.

First, I do usually sleep the night before. So let's assume I did.

I wake up, brew some rocket fuel coffee, grab my trusty ruler, clipboard, and a copy of the game slate from the Wednesday U.S.A. Today. Why Wednesday? Because me and few other guys, we each pick eight games against the spread.

Each week...for the next 14 weeks. Just the thought makes me smile.

I have two copies. A clean one where I have carefully rulered strait lines under each game. This one I will use to keep the scores.

My other copy got a heavy workout last night. 

The lines fluctuate from Wednesday to Friday. Not so much this week. In fact, the only game where the line moved more than a point was the Buffalo-UTEP game. It moved in UTEP's favor. 

From the beginning of the week though, I was dead set on Buffalo. They, along with Western Michigan over Michigan, were my only two solid, gut feel picks.

It was quite strenuous on Friday night in the Harrell apartment. I studied almost every match up, and was very careful not to hastily mark the sheet. Once it is marked, there is no going back. 

Of course it is totally legal to switch picks before the player emails his or her choices.  But it is very bad luck. A certain 1-7 week, and for the first week...that is doom.

I saw "his or her" even though there is not an official "her" in the league; however, mid-season, slumping participants have been known to let their wives or lady friends make their picks. This seems to work, and then the next week the guy makes his own picks and fails miserably.

More bad luck. I would never, ever consider letting my wife or girlfriend make my picks for me. I mean, you know, if I had one.

Is this making sense? Am I rambling? Does it seem like I'm just killing time before kickoff?

There is more to my Saturday pregame ritual than just coffee and ruler lines.

I write down every televised game and channel for a quick reference and proper flipping. I also print everyone's picks from the league website.  

This allows me to gauge when and/or I will take my nap. In week one, unless I go down 0-2 in my 12:00 p.m. games, a nap is out of the question...again, bad luck.

If Penn St. and Minnesota both fail to cover, I will take a brief nap during the 3:30 games.

Now I am a fan, a big fan, of the Marshall Thundering Herd...I can see the stadium from my kitchen window. I could've easily gotten tickets, not only tickets but really good seats for today's 4:30 contest versus a pretty good FCS team, Southern Illinois.

But going to the game is a lose-lose situation. They should win. If they don't, I will have missed some of my key picks and leave the stadium with a knot in my gut.

Western Michigan, Notre Dame, and the Illinois versus Mizzou games all are set for 3:30 kickoffs.

And besides, being in the sun would tucker me out and I would miss the prime time battles; Bama and Tech, BYU and Oklahoma.  Wow, talk about some serious channel flipping.

Even though I shied away from the game, a lot of the guys picked LSU, so I have to stay up for that 10:30 game and pull for Washington to stay within 17 points of the Tigers.

Jiminy Christmas, I am going to be so busy today. 

And for anyone who thinks that it's easy work, do you have any idea the strain on the eyes from 14 strait hours of television? The stiffness wears the body after sitting docile for incredible amounts of time.

And, oh yeah, I think the Reds play today. It is such a relief not to be a fan of a good baseball team.