With the release of NCAA Football 2009 a week away, I thought I'd talk about some things I love about college football—besides a video game that wastes hours upon hours of my life trying to recruit that five-star kid I created that's 6-foot-6, 275 pounds and runs a 4.21 40 with 99 hands, trucking, and agility, but now he wants to go to Duke for some reason.
The game frustrates me.
Anyway, there’s a locally-famous audio monologue that is played all across the campus of Ohio State on fall Saturdays called simply "I Want." It’s an homage to why we love college football, in this case, specifically the Buckeyes.
But the overall echo is universal in its appeal with its talk of tailgating, boozing, hating opposing fans, enjoying the co-eds, and most importantly the chill that goes through everyone’s body from head to toe when their team takes the field.
Just thinking about that made some people get goosebumps.
So in the words of my favorite monologue on college football, I’m writing about the things I love about college football, and I want to see soon. Yes it will be somewhat biased, based in some parts on my favorite college football team.
But it will also translate to any other team. When I say I enjoy seeing F-M*ch*g*n T-shirts around campus, you think of your own F-(insert team here) T-shirts.
We aren’t so different you and me. We both enjoy college football, we love our favorite team, and we have an unabashed hatred for our rival that some would consider borderline psychotic. But only borderline.
Things I love, and a few things that annoy me, about college football:
Waiting until the 3:30 Saturday afternoon games end to begin your evening even though you could care less about the teams involved.
At 11:30 PM on the East coast, you’re happy that Fox Sports has Pac-10 coverage of the latest attempt of a Pac-10 school to knock off the Trojans.
The signs behind College Gameday.
Upsets…when the Colts lose to the Patriots in November, their season continues. When Oklahoma lost to Texas Tech last season in November, their season ended. College football…surviving one week at a time.
I personally love everything about gameday:
The waking up at 9:00 AM for a noon game when I was just up until 4:00 the night before.
The walk to the stadium filled with a sea of scarlet and gray.
Walking into the stadium, and undoubtedly then walking up the 17 flights of stairs to get to C deck.
Seeing the field for the first time, watching the warm-ups and just soaking it all in.
I loved hearing Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” that was played anytime Mike Nugent was getting ready to kick off.
Odd traditions, which locally seem normal. Explanation: SEC college guys wearing suits to the games, the Miami “C-A-N-E-S” fans greeting, West Virginia fans and their arson/couch-burning fetish, Wisconsin’s section O, or tailgating indoors at Oregon.
Fight songs, and the mocking lyrics you give to opposing teams’ fight songs (the words we have for “Hail to the Victors” at OSU, may or may not be suitable to print on this site).
Classic helmets and uniforms. Out of the NFL’s 32 teams, only 10 of them can say they have kept the same traditional look for the past 40 years. In college football, all the powerhouses have stayed the same. From Penn St. and Alabama, to USC and Texas. College football is about tradition and knowing that on Saturdays I don’t have to buy a new jersey every season.
The ladies. College football: 20-something young women who like to expose their still perfect bodies. NFL: 40-something old women who still like to expose their bodies, only now it’s because they’re too drunk to know better, and we wish they wouldn’t.
Stadiums. I’m a young nostalgic. I do not care for the $500 million+ cathedrals to pro football that are being built, even though most of them are very nice. Give me cramped aisles, bleachers, and some history any day. The ‘Shoe, Neyland, the Coliseum, that’s what I love to see.
Night games. They allow for a full day of pre-gaming (and sleeping in).
The Spread Option.
Boise State giving me a pleasant surprise on the evening of January 1, 2007.
Famous names of plays like Holy Buckeye!, The Hail Mary, The Play, Belue’s Miracle, The Bush Push, The Immaculate Reception (college version), and the BYU comeback.
NCAA Football for Playstation or XBox. It resulted in multiple missed classes in college.
What used to be a non-coaching carousel. College teams are linked to their coaches sometimes more so than their historic players. Bowden, Paterno, Woodie, Bo, Bryant, and on and on the list goes. We’re getting to a point where coaches jump around more than they used to, but there are still a few old standbys around.
One thing that annoys me: that guy who stands on the sideline and controls the TV timeouts. If you’ve been to a game recently, you know who I’m talking about. I hate that guy.
Another thing that annoys me, college stadiums that don’t sell beer. And think about it this way, if college stadiums are that rowdy and there isn’t alcohol on the premises, imagine what could happen if there was. I guess that’s the answer to my question though.
Weddings that get planned in the fall around college football Saturdays.
Sitting at a sportsbook in Vegas with no fewer than 15 games to…umm…"enjoy."
There are two domed stadiums in the BCS conferences (Minnesota and Syracuse), and will only be one in 2009 when Minnesota opens its new outdoor stadium. Just the way football was supposed to be played, outdoors.
The college football bowl season. Personally, I’m not really a huge fan of all the crappy bowls that are on. But did I watch Purdue battle Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl last year? Yes. Did I watch all or part of six different bowl games on New Year’s Day while recovering from a massive hangover? Yes. We’re junkies, we have a problem.
Another thing that annoys me—the division formerly known as…I hate that stupid change and refuse to use it. I’m sorry; I will not budge on this.
Jokes. How do you get a Michigan grad off your porch? Pay him for the pizza. Why do Michigan grads keep their diplomas on their dashboards? So they can park in handicap spaces. What’s the only sign of intelligent life in Ann Arbor? Columbus: 187 miles. Feel free to replace your least favorite team in for Michigan and use liberally.
The bottom line on ESPN that says something like Abilene Christian 56, Mesa State 12.
Song Girls, which my buddy says is single-handedly the best thing about college football. I disagree, but I still like them.
Cheerleaders you see in class on Monday.
Secondary nicknames like: The Ramblin' Wreck, the Men of Troy, Bayou Bengals, and the Fighting Zookers...ok maybe not the last one.
A**hole fans that get punched for being such.
The person in your section that shows up to the game wasted, because we all know they'll be getting screwed with when they pass out at halftime.
Quoting old stats and records over opponents to prove you are better than another team.
Michigan State's yearly collapse.
Guys that return for their senior year.
Guys that are smart enough to know they shouldn’t return for their senior year. When you’re a projected first-round draft pick, go get paid son, go get paid.
And finally, the thing I love the most about college football is the time from when the band strikes that first note, until we all sing the alma mater in the south stands together.
From start to finish, college football allows the alumni to reminisce, the current students to rock the stadium, and the players to provide entertainment for 60 minutes.
It’s college football, and no matter who you are saying F*#$ (insert team name here) to, we’re all saying it together. It's almost football time...