Monday, August 27, 2007

Did you hear? Only 3 days until college football!

With that, and since it's raining like God's very judgment outside, I present to you some college football propaganda designed to get you fired up for the 2007 NCAA season.

Let's start with Deadspin's Top 25 Drinking Game...and a reference to "Superbad" on ESPN? You know I've got to post THAT.

Those who know me best know I despise Trev Alberts, generally abhor Dennis Dodd, and adore Stewart Mandel. I watch College Gameday with intense passion, and think that Fowler, Corso and Herbstreit (who has developed into one of the BEST in-game commentators since his rocky "I-heart-Ohio-State" bias of his early ESPN years) are great fun to watch on a Saturday morning. I tend to find Mark May irritating, I think Lou Holtz is a terribly unintelligible commentator, and that Bob Griese and Bob Davie are waaaaaaay too self-important.

Regardless, I keep coming back for more, year after year. Sure, I'll whine about Griese, but that won't stop me watching a game he commentates. And those human interest stories on Gameday and Sportscenter about Matt Leinart's troubled origins as that poor, middle-class cross-eyed kid? Meh. But I still watch, because college football has a passion unlike any other American sport, college basketbal not withstanding.

At the college level, it's about the game and rivalries and aspirations of an NFL career that push and propel players week after week. It's about Virginia Tech fans sneering about the advent of the Warchant ignorantly in oyster bars in downtown New Orleans (January 4, 2000). It's about heckling Florida fans who think that Tim Tebow is the second coming of Christ, and it's definitely about waking up early on Saturday mornings to endure 12-14 hours of coverage and actual play. It's about suffering through repeated playings of that horrid Big & Rich song and putting on your lucky gameday shirt at 9:30 AM CST. When you're at the game, it's about tailgating with rivals and bonding over beer and brats before reverting at kickoff to bitter, mutual dislike. What's NOT to love?

Oh sure, there's that wacky BCS system...and my personal favorite - preseason polls (Auburn knows what I mean). But the intensity and passion of football belong squarely to those who love it best: college football players and their coaches and fans. And oft-beleagured (at least by me, as I used to give the finger to D.'s old Sportsline building every time I drove past it in Ft. Lauderdale) Dennis Dodd actually crystallizes it best:

"And spare me your superior fervor, NFL. Your fans don't have one-tenth of the loyalty and emotion as college ball. I can prove this by walking into any Alabama tailgate with an Auburn flag. "

(Then again, Dodd is the same punk who predicts that the Noles will finish FOURTH in their ACC division, behind one-hit wonder Wake Forest.)

Sadly, college football, despite its wondrous joys, is in danger of becoming just like the NFL, only with better fans - gradually, conferences like the talent-loaded SEC are buying coaches at NFL salaries and changing the scope of the game. Good' old NCAA head honcho Brand is more concerned with hostile and abusive mascots than the franchise-like leanings of Division I. But that's a discussion for the offseason (i.e., after the BCS and preseason polls again create bad bowl pairings). For now, game on!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Sadly, college football, despite its wondrous joys, is in danger of becoming just like the NFL"

One of the many reasons why I am wholeheartedly against a college football playoff.

C. (But, that's a debate for another day.) Lavie