The NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision season kicks off tonight!

I’ve never been a big college football fan.  Growing up in the shadows of East Coast cities, college football isn’t much of a “thing” here.  Not the way it is elsewhere.  Add in parents who didn’t attend colleges with major football programs, a preference for intimate familiarity with programs and players (something the NFL has in spades over the NCAA), and quality-of-play issues, and I just never really sunk my teeth into the game during my formative years.  I rooted half-heartedly for Michigan because my brother liked them and because they had cool uniforms and because I thought the name “Elvis Grbac” was both funny and cool.  But that was about it.

In college, I regularly attended and rooted for my now-alma mater, Boston College.  But that was primarily a social routine.  The stadium was small, there was not much of a following, and most student fans would rather tailgate in the dorms than go to the stadium.  And when I say “tailgate”, I mean something most college football fans would find unrecognizable… a bunch of drunk college kids drinking Busch Light cans and eating cold sausage.  When BC moved to the ACC and supposedly picked up some new football rivals, only to have the league essentially fall off a cliff in terms of national relevance, I wrote the whole thing off.

Fast forward a few more years, and I’m starting to see the benefits of the game.  First and foremost, one of my favorite activities is to drink beer and watch football.  This is nigh impossible for me during the NFL season since I need to be in tip-top shape Monday morning to deal with the lil’ beasties.  I actually circle the few Sundays during the season when I can drink because of Mondays off on the calendar with red pen and make note to Zazzy and all others that they dare not interfere with what I have come to call “Zazzymas”.  But college football makes this possible!  Secondly, I love defensive football.  The more hard-nosed and hard-hitting, the better.  Which is exactly what the SEC seems to have been providing these past few years.  I also enjoy well-orchestrated offenses, which some Big-12 and Pac-10 (or is it Pac-12 now?) teams seem to be offering.  Lastly, I love the fervor that college football seems to engender.  There is just a different energy in a bar full of people watching and rooting for a college game than there is for an NFL game. It’s not better or worse… just different.  I love the energy of an NFL game.  But the NCAA fans bring something different to the table… and I like it.

So, my goal this season is to actually follow a full season of college football and have a rough approximation of what I’m talking about.  I want to know about teams that are outside the top-5 and/or SEC (there seem to be times where those groups are synonymous).  I can fake talk about any sport, but I’d like to real talk about college football… and not just the X’s and O’s, which translate pretty well from the NFL… but about the game itself: the teams, the players, the rivalries, the fan bases, the stadia, the tailgates, all of it!

It feels appropriate that I adopt LSU as my squad, seeing as how the one and only thing currently on my bucket list is to attend an LSU tailgate.  I realize that makes me a bit of a front runner, but it also means I have to wear purple, so I call that a wash.

So… on the eve of the season (which is now 17 minutes old… but I swear I started this at 6:55 before Zazzy asked me about something related to something, neither of which I remember), that’s what I got.

To steal a page from the Patron Saint of MD’s Book… what do you all got?


One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.


  1. Well, if it makes you feel any better about BC’s situation, the conference they left has fared much worse in terms of relevance. Which actually hasn’t been fair because the Big East is (or was, until this year) a pretty solid conference from top to bottom. The problem is that they didn’t have any stand-out great teams. So last season, going into the last week, seven of the eight football teams had the potential to be bowl eligible (not all of them could be because they were playing one another).

    The ACC has suffered from a similar ailment. They bank on Florida State and Miami, both of which have had down periods. It’s not that they haven’t produced good teams, it’s just bad for a conference when a small private school or a run-the-ball technical school are winning the conference instead of Big State University (USC is an exception to this, because by private college terms they are huge).

    This all changes this season and next, though, when the ACC takes another one of the Big East’s best teams and another is now in the Big 12-2. On the other hand, the ACC was supposed to be a serious power conference when they took the cream of the Big East crop, and that didn’t happen and the Big East stepped up (not that anyone noticed).

    If you have any college football questions, I’m pretty knowledgeable. Even when it comes to the conferences that few people care about.

    • Thanks. I think what I bemoan most about BC’s departure from the Big East is the basketball situation. I’d much rather watch and be a part of Big East basketball than ACC basketball. I’d rather watch teams with a bit more “street” in them play in MSG than teams of lumbering white guys play in Asheville.

      The hardest thing about college football is the sheer size of it. I could name the starting QB for probably 28-30 of the NFL teams just off the top of my head. College football has, what, over 100 teams? I know a lot are meaningless, but I’m not sure if I should intensely follow one or two conferences (and thus miss some of the standout teams in the “conferences few people care about” (CFPCA from here on out)) or intensely follow the top 25-30 teams. I’m not sure which is A) easier and B) more enjoyable.

      Fantasy College Football would actually help get the base knowledge down, but I think the NCAA still forbids that. Brilliant move, guys.

      • Oh, yeah, I forgot about that other sport. The ACC talked about moving their tourney to NYC, though I don’t remember what came of that.

        I typically follow conferences. Which conferences will vary from year to year. Usually my school’s conference, one of the major ones, and one of the mid-majors.

      • Kazzy,

        I’m terrified Louisville is going to leave the Big East. I think the aggressive style of play up there is what make Big East teams so competitive come tournament time. I suspect if UL does go to the ACC they will have some problems with fouls for the first season. ACC ball is much more gentlemenly and not in a good way.

        • The crop of teams that the Big East brought in (Louisville included) after the BC/Mia/VT exodus was amazing. I was SOOOO jealous. I hate the gentlemanly ball. HATE IT! BC under Skinman was a great fit in the Big East. Now we’re just a mess no matter where we’d be. We’d disgrace the Big East. But I’ve never rooted too heartily for my alma mater, for a variety of reasons. I agree that Louisville is best right where they are.

  2. Football readiness status: High

    Its raining so no bike ride for me…but at least i can watch a game while i ride at the gym.

  3. I’m watching the Rice-UCLA game as we speak.

    I was all set up to watch Louisiana Tech take on Texas A&M. I once worked for an employer that recruited heavily from these two schools for reasons I can’t get into due to Mindiv policy.

    On a sidenote, the “FINAL” on the scoreticker is in yellow. This is bad because it makes me think that there is a flag being thrown on every play.


    I’m already struggling with this S.Carolina/Vandy game! S.Carolina is #9 in the country and both teams are making egregious mistakes up and down the field. UGH!

    Maybe I should only allow myself to watch games between teams outside the top 5 in a bar. Drunk.

    • I don’t know if you get CBSSN, but the Rice-UCLA game is within five points* and not boring.

      It’s Week One. Play is usually sloppy in Week one.

      * – I’m on 10-minute delay on the DVR, though, so I’m not sure where the game is ten minutes from now.

      • I understand Week 1 will be sloppy, but there is a vast difference between the quality of this and the NFL game. See.. THIS is what kept me away for so long. Right now, I’m not getting any of the benefits of the NCAA games I outlined above. I need to make sure of that, by either being selective with the games I watch and/or selective with the venues. Right now, I’m double-failing.

        I did just find the UCLA/Rice game, so hopefully this picks up a bit.

        • Bad and worse for Rice. They were looking really good with half a minute to go in the first half. NMSU vs Sac State does not look like a particular good one. Hmmm. I’ve got a local college game to watch.

          BYU against Washington State should be interesting. BYU’s roster is chalk full of 25 year olds who spent a couple years maturing while on their missions. On the Washington State side, Mike Leach’s debut! (If you don’t know who Mike Leach is, look him up.)

  5. I started at Virginia Tech the year before they joined the Big East. Being in a recognized as good but not really great conference has actually been very good for them over the last 2 decades.

    (and your BC teams have always been good at beating Notre Dame, even when Notre Dame is not awful, so you got that going for you)

    • My time at BC marked the first time BC ever won four consecutive matchups against the Irish. It was glorious. We made it to #2 in the country a few years after that behind Matt Ryan… which tells you something about what a down year that was for college football and college QBs.

  6. I know that the Ducks play on Saturday. I believe there are other games happening this week, but I could be wrong about that.

      • Yes, and those are the one you want to picture, because at least when I blog wearing the Day-Glos I’m wearing *something.*

  7. When I was growing up, “We Are The Champions” was a song title that made people say “Did you mean ‘Hail to the Victors’?”

    So I think that I’m picking UM with an “of” in the middle. I’ll be able to proudly proclaim that I am a member of Team Blue.

  8. My alma mater had no football team.

    My nephew is a newly-enrolled freshman at San Jose State University.




  9. Sounds like a lot of you supposed college football fans are no better than I (typed as smugly as possible… and, yes, that means I’m on the toilet).

  10. I lost interest in college football once I became addicted to UFC fights. With that said I am excited that my alma mater, University of Louisville, is ranked this year. And as always I will be a good Catholic and pull for Notre Dame and then be completely disappointed and depressed about it by mid-season.

    Ancillary note: My high school alma mater finished last season ranked #2 in the nation on most of the polls in football. Most of the startes from last year were juniors so we are hoping for a #1 ranking and another undefeated season this year.

  11. My alma mater is Division III.

    We used to have a t-shirt that said “Undefeated in football since 1865”

    I will give credit to anyone who can guess my alma mater without googling.

  12. Kazzy, If you happen to find yourself in Baton Rouge it would be best to never ever say anything bad about the color purple. If you happen to find yourself at tiger stadium I think it would be better to wear a gold shirt because then you could finish your tailgaiting at tiger stadium, drive to the French Quarter to party till dawn and then tailgate with the saints fans before going into the superdome. After 36 hours of drinking you should be close to normal for around here.
    If you liked defensive battles, you must have loved the two bama/lsu games from last year.

    • Oh, I know better than to say anything at all negative about anything LSU-related down those parts. And I think you’ve perfectly mapped out what our plan will be for that weekend. Though we’ve technically sworn off NOLA after my bachelor party there last year reached “Hangover”-level debauchery… we know we’ll be back.

      I missed most of the first Bama/LSU game because my college roommate had the nerve to get married that day. Caught the second one and enjoyed it, though I was obviously less-than-pleased with the ending. When Nick Saban smiles, impoverished children go blind.

  13. True story, We had our wedding on a Sunday because we knew nobody would show up if it was on Saturday.
    Nobody hates Saben more than LSU grads.

      • You thought it was the weather?!?!

        Sporting events I missed because of weddings, in decreasing order of frustration…

        – Final Four
        – Bama/LSU
        – Sox/Yanks (my own wedding!)
        – Sox/Mets

    • My second biggest regret with regards to LSU (first would be nit going there, but there are actually other schools ahead of it on that list) is failing to wager the house on them versus ND in the Sugar Bowl a few years back. ND was overrated, as usual, LSU was practically playing a home game, and the SEC was not yet realized to be so much absurdly better than everyone else. Before the game came on, I said to Zazzy, “I swear, I would bet everything we own on this game if I could.” I didn’t. LSU rolled 41-14. ND didn’t even deserve to be at that game as fans.

  14. For the first time in 40 years, I’m having trouble getting excited.

    I snuck into Nebraska games while I was in high school, am a Nebraska alum, and have bled scarlet and cream for decades. For the last 24 years I’ve lived in a Denver suburb, where there are enough alums that they arrange radio coverage of the Nebraska games each week. This year, much to my surprise, I’m just not excited about it. I suspect the conference re-alignments. Last year Nebraska went to the Big 10, and Colorado to the Pac 12. In effect, the Cornhuskers start over — no conference championships, no rivalry history, none of that. And the Denver media now has to look west, not east.

    I’ve hung out with too many anthropologists over the years, and would argue that both schools are now in conferences where they are better cultural matches. Denver/Boulder has always been part of the West, not the Midwest. The majority of Nebraska’s population is Midwestern, not the Great Plains of Kansas or the oil/gas business of Oklahoma and Texas (and my Kansan brother-in-law would note, the difference between a struggling Kansas wheat farmer and a successful one is that the successful one found natural gas under their wheat fields). In the long term, both Nebraska and Colorado will probably be comfortable in their new homes. I’m big on cultural matches; I suspect that in two or three years, Boise State is going to find that they really don’t like playing football in the Big East conference where the other schools and their fans sneer down their noses at the hicks from Idaho.

    As for me, I suspect that I’m not ever going to be really excited by college football again.

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