Ladies and gentlemen, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us. Forget Christmas, forget your birthday, forget Mardi Gras – it’s college football season.
This Saturday at 1:30 p.m., Oregon State and Colorado State will send their captains to the 50-yard line at a brand new stadium in Fort Collins, Colorado. A coin flip and commercial break later, 2017 will begin with kickoff in the Centennial State.
If that doesn’t tickle your innards with merriment, then you must hate puppies, oxygen and freedom.
It has been exactly 227 days since the amateur athletes for whom we put our lives aside took to the gridiron and graced our airwaves. That means we’ve been subjected to the “dead season” when the MLB, Little League World Series, Tour De France and international soccer are the only athletic events on our screens. Like a fiend, I find myself watching the top 25 games of 2016 on ESPNU four times over, breaking out NCAA 2014 on the Xbox360 and watching replays of irrelevant spring games in a last-ditch effort to fill the void. I know I’m not alone.
We’ve got the itch, and we get our fix this weekend. But it’s the bigger picture that has me on the verge of bursting.
While summer is still upon us in technicality, and although many opening-week games across the country will hit at least 80 degrees, fall is here. No longer are the dog days spent at the pool, and soon enough, the weather will settle into the perfect crispness while the leaves begin to change.
But more importantly, just beyond the distant future, is the Saturday night matchup that determines a conference championship bid. Classic moments like Appalachian State taking down the Wolverines or Matt Leinart giving Reggie Bush a helping hand to get in the end zone and knock off Brady Quinn’s Notre Dame are coming, along with tens of thousands of pride-filled fans on the verge of heart attack late in October.
Gone are Saturdays spent catching up on your DVR, because for the next four months, we have God’s gift to the world. This weekend’s lineup may not be the best, but it doesn’t matter:
College football is back, and I can’t stop shouting it from the rooftops.
Starting Saturday, football fans’ schedules are booked, and the TV is booked most Thursdays, some Fridays and certainly College Gameday through the late games Saturday night. Oh, and then, of course, there is the occasional MACtion game Tuesdays.
You see, college football is unifying.
It’s a time for everyone to stop thinking about food and the crazy world around us and watch grown men fly around like banshees, looking to rip the head off the opponent lined up on the other side of the ball. We don’t care who you are or where you are from, but when our team takes an interception down the sideline for 83 yards to take the lead with eight seconds left, you’re getting a big ol’ bear hug. We did it. Without us, that touchdown would not have been possible.
College football is back. 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Rejoice.