The smell of apple pancakes have flooded the household and a steaming hot cup of coffee is keeping the morning chill (and my known/notorious morning grumpiness) at bay. It is sweater season in Oregon, which means I’m in approximately 5 layers and hoping that the shivers mind their own business and slight numbness in my fingers goes away.
If there is one thing that will revive me into a human being quicker than anything else, it is one thing (don’t quote me). It is Saturday. It is college football Saturday. While that may not mean anything to you, I’m personally a die-hard football fan who lives in a state where college football outranks the NFL by and large with two teams that are really giving their all this season. When I first moved to Oregon, I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand why people would rather watch non-pro athletes concuss each other while using slightly questionable antics versus professional fridges barreling down 100 yards of, sometimes synthetic, grass. Whether it was the influence of my best friend, who never found the NFL exciting, dramatic or eye-catching, or my boyfriend, who enjoys most sports (especially football, rivaled by his love of basketball and track), but loves the spirit and energy of college football over NFL football, something started changing.
I find myself watching more college and less pro. When the heck did that happen? I think it is a mixture of things.
1) I live in Portland, OR. By proximity, TV stations play shitty teams because of the teams closest to us. You could not pay me to watch a Raiders game, and, while I enjoy a good Seahawks game…there is a hitch. Good Seahawks game. That stipulation alone means I have roughly one allotted game per season.
2) My team, when the stars align, they sacrifice 80 goats and they have a decent season, still lose most games. Even with RG3, who might as well be included in the college football category because he was born in 1993 and oh-my-freakin’-word I’m so old, the Redskins’ future is grim. Have more faith, you say? I’d rather have my reservations. Point being, when your team sucks, it is sort of hard to set aside time or go through ESPN’s NBC-Olympic-Coverage-Hell-grade hoops to watch the game of your desire, because you absolutely know that the chance of it being shown locally is roughly 300167 to 1. Numbers not to scale.
3) The appeal of seeing pot-bellied grown men/fans painted up, wig donned, costumed-up, possibly shirtless and stumbling drunk after tailgating is slightly less appealing than seeing younger, 20-something men, with growing beer guts, painted up, wig donned, definitely shirtless, sign-carrying and incoherent drunk while their clueless girlfriends lean heavily onto their knees while sitting down, really wishing that they didn’t have that last shot of [insert not quite bottom-shelf liquor here]. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy both, but one just happens to be slightly more aesthetically pleasing while appealing to my still collegiate level sense of humor (does anyone remember that great UO sign against USC? Trojans break under pressure. Hilarious for so many juvenile reasons, but still hilarious to me.).
4) As I said before, I live in Oregon and OSU/UO football is a lifestyle here. People don’t have a pro team to really sink their teeth into (and they would. Think of the surprising popularity of the Portland Timbers), so they get really, reaaaally into the Beavers and Ducks. I can’t blame them, either. Both teams are fun to watch, the fans are competitive, I have roots in both, and watching them is just about the only way I get my Football intake. You think it is hard for me to watch a Skins game in my own home? Imagine trying to find one in a bar. Nope, nothing-doing. Seeing anyone in Eugene with a familiar burgundy, gold and white sticker on their car proclaiming their adoration of my adored NFC East team was like hearing angels strum their harps to the tune of “Hail to the Redskins.” Once or twice, I called out to them, much to the utter mortification of whatever friend happened to be walking with me at the time.
5) Less focus on the personal, diva-tastic lives of the players and more on the game. At least, from my experience, that’s the way it seems to lean. Sure, you have your asshole players that get in a shit-ton of trouble for being stupid or beating their girlfriend or whatever, but it isn’t as projected as pro-problems that actually leak out into the non-sports world. A lot of the time their antics are more horrible than, say, smoking pot and getting caught, but the media saturation can really start to take away from the game/players. Why did Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson have a show on Vh1? T.O., for that matter. Puh-lease. Case in point.
6) It is just really, really exciting. Maybe we can blame the fact that they’re all not tied into contracts and vying for positions, instead of taking their yachts to some exotic locale that I’ll never afford? Makes sense. When you already have something in the bag, that whole edge thing starts to diminish.
Long story short, I’ve grown to love and adore college football just as much as pro, if not teetering slightly above. Don’t get me wrong, I know exactly where I’m going to be spending my Sunday, too. The seasons! They’re young! There is much beer to be consumed and many yells of outrage that have yet to shake the floorboards! Now, with my coffee drained, it is time to get up and plant myself on the sofa.