Sunday, August 20, 2006

Ready for Some Football

I am ready for football. And not just because of the fact that the Red Sox entered what they knew to be the biggest series of the year and decided to roll over and play dead, though that certainly plays a role. But also, I am in Texas, which means that people have been thinking about football for weeks -- how are the Permian Panthers looking so far? Can texas repeat? How 'bout them Cowboys? -- which makes me start thinking about football -- the SI College Preview Issue arrived this week and I've read it from cover to cover. Can Williams beat Amherst and Trinity? Can BC build on last year's impressive debut season in the ACC and continue their nation's best streak of six consecutive bowl victories? How 'bout them Patriots?

I love college football. I love the pageantry, the passon, the tradition. I love the feel of a college campus on Saturday afternoons. I love the way that a big game can infuse a campus, a town, a state into a frenzy. I love the marching bands in full, ridiculous-looking regalia and the tailgaters who treat their debauchery like a sacrament. I love the frenzied stadia and the 100+ guys in uniform. I love it all.

I love the NFL. I love the intensity, the skill level, the blend of power and speed at the very highest level of sport. I love the way that a big game can infuse a city, a state, a region into a frenzy. I love the tailgaters who treat their bacchanalia like a sacrament. I love the frenzied stadia and the fact that each team has honed their roster down to 53 guys wired to explode at kickoff. I love it all.

Today's Boston Globe has one of those great feature pieces that appear at about this time of year, this one on West Virginia and coach Rich Rodriguez that has all of the hallmarks of the genre: Rodriguez is a West Virginia native who played for the Mountaineers and who knew nothing more than that he wanted to avoid the mines in which his father worked. He takes a job coaching at a small college at the age of 24, and within a year they have abandoned the program. He moves on and up and before long he is coaching the alma mater. Last year West Virginia went 11-1 and beat SEC powerhouse Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, raising expectations for this season, which the Mountaineers enter ranked in the top 10 in every significant preseason poll. Every team has a story. Each day brings us closer to kickoff. If you are like me, you can't wait.


Anonymous said...

WVU is certainly looking tough this season. Should be interesting to see if they can repeat their performance.

dcat said...

SHG --
I'd be happy to see WVU and Louisville continue to have strong national profiles. Once BC left for the ACC, my loyalties shifted to that conference, but I want the Big East to have a football profile and I think it may well be the best basketball conference in the land.
The biggest problems against WVU will be expectations and strength of schedule. I think they may be talented enough, but if the teams ranked ahead of them don't lose, it is clear that WVU won't be ablwe to leapfrog them to get into that BCS championship game. Still -- it's far too early to be thining about that. It's time just to enjoy that football is nearly upon us.

Cheers --

Thunderstick said...

Most of the best teams in college football have especially tough schedules this year (props to Texas and Ohio State for have the cojones to schedule that out of conference showdown). Here's your college football 10-star lock of the year for you football bettors. Save your money, watch WVU go 11-0 or 12-0 (don't know how many games they have) and then take their opponent minus the points (an 11-1 Florida or ND team will be 5-7 point favorites over an undefeated WVU team in the national title game) and lay all your bankroll for the year and live high!!

DCat--please tell me you are picking the Pats to go 5-11. I really want them to win the Super Bowl again.

dcat said...

Actually -- I tend to agree with you, TS. My only point of pause will be that WVU beat georgia in the Sugar Bowl and might be poised to surprise someone, but I agree -- WVU will be a popular wishful thinking choice. Lay the points.

I'll set you at ease and just won;t make a Pats prediction -- yet.


Thunderstick said...

In all seriousness, I expect WVU to go undefeated and with the schedules most of the top teams play, I expect there to be 4-6 1-loss teams. Everyone knows some of those 1 loss teams are better than others, but the BCS doesn't always correlate with that, so if the right 1-loss team is atop the rankings for the group of 1-loss teams, then WVU could win, but for instance if a team the caliber of USC or Texas last year somehow drops a game (as USC almost did to Fresno last year and Texas almost did to I believe Ok State, but I could be wrong) that quality of a team will murder WVU.

dcat said...

It is both so unpredictable how things will turn out and so silly that one loss early in the seaosn versus late in the season can have so much effect that I have but one word: Play-freaking-off.