BY REBECCA AGULE
I will never understand you Yanks. You manage to misuse the word barbecue (what you mean is… say it with me, people… Grilling. GRILLING). You look confused when I say, “I am going to fetch a Coke,” and return with a diet Sprite. You think a mobile home is something used for traveling the country after retirement, rather than a place to raise a family. You even seem to think the Civil War is over.
But most of all, I cannot understand how you prioritize your weekends. How on earth did you learn to value Sunday football over the magic that happens on Saturdays?
So for your benefit, I have prepared a primer. Think of it as an outline for your “College Football Wups Up on the NFL” class. I can even post it on HL Central, if that would help. As the college bowl season takes shape, hopefully this will provide a bit of necessary enlightenment.
Now note that I said “bowl season” and not “post-season”. Let’s tackle that first, shall we? There isn’t a college football post-season. With the entire season running just a touch longer than fall, every game is the playoffs, every Saturday matters. Unlike the NFL, you never hear of someone going 4-5 and being thick in the playoff hunt. In college football, your heart gets put on the line every week; one bad quarter can mean the end of BCS dreams and relegation to the Motor City Bowl. That’s Detroit in December, for the uninitiated.
And its not just the games; it’s the rivalries. Army football hasn’t made a whisper in years, but you can rest every red cent on the fact that more people base their happiness on the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia than on any given NFL game. Michigan-Ohio State is a toss-up every year, no matter what has happened to either team earlier in the season. And the tradition of Cal-Stanford? Hell, they don’t even have bands in the NFL.
What’s in a name? It’s all in a name. As creative as it was to call a football team from Houston the Texans, it’s not quite the Horned Frogs or the Gamecocks. And I don’t think it was about the NFL that Keith Jackson said, “The Trojans were able to penetrate the Beavers defense and lunge in for the score.” You know what a Dolphin is, but can you define a Hokie? Let me give you a hint: it’s a turkey who cannot make baby turkeys. Lions and Bengals and Bears, oh my? Hardly. One doesn’t really hear Detroit and think, “Oh, big cats!” But the Texas Longhorns? The Florida Gators? Uga VI taking the field at UGA? It fits like an Under Armor t-shirt.
Location. Location. Location. As romantic as FedEx Field sounds, it’s hardly the Big House. Or the Horseshoe. Or the Rose Bowl. Army-Navy. Texas-Oklahoma. They can’t even be trusted to play on their own fields. The games have to be taken to neutral sites to prevent whatever ruckus might erupt. That isn’t a concern when the Ravens meet the Bengals.
I know what you are saying. “But in the NFL the cheerleaders are practically naked! Naked! Naked girls!” I know; it’s like Maxim come alive. But really, how much Maxim can you read? Wouldn’t you rather watch the bouncing, er, balls on Saturday afternoons, knowing that cheerleader sits next to some kid just like you on Monday in Soc class? Think of it, how better would you define “student body”? It’s hope sprung eternal.
The word on the tip of your tongue is passion. That easily sums up this entire lesson. The passion of an argument about whether the SEC trumps the Big Ten easily eclipses fighting about the NFC North versus the AFC South. Actually the latter argument probably has never taken place.
What with Notre Dame breaking tradition to fire Tyrone Willingham after a mere three seasons and the constant BCS debacle, I fear a changing of the tides. But the naïve girlish fool in me still would prefer the Iron Bowl over the AFC Wildcard game. I know you dig your Patriots and your Bills and your Jets. But show me a proper fight song and I will show you a proper football team. I don’t think the Chargers ever will march to “Hail to the Victors.”
Come by someday. I will teach you the Good Ol’ Song. Once you know Wahoo-wa and Hoo-rah-ray and all that, you will understand. Until then, good luck with your paltry NFL.
Rebecca Agule likes sports.