Baseball may be America’s pastime but football is America’s passion when it comes to sports. (I have a friend who has dubbed the summer sport as basebore. Wake me up when the world series starts.)
The NFL finished its preseason – and no one knows why they even hold a preseason in the first place (unless it had something to do with money). This weekend they keep real score and the games count in the final standings.
College football came out of the corner swinging last Thursday – literally if you check the video below – with Oregon visiting Boise State and losing on BSU’s Smurf-blue football field that makes TV screens and viewers’ eyes beg for mercy. By now everyone in the world that watches ESPN highlights has seen the sucker punch thrown by a frustrated Oregon player at the end of the game as players were exiting the field. Not quite the punch CFB wanted thrown on a weekend dedicated, ironically, to sportsmanship. (Note: This is real irony, not just the bad luck and tragedy masqueraded as irony by Alanis Morissette in her song Isn’t It Ironic?). But I digress. And despite a black eye administered to sportsmanship, there was plenty of on field highlights for football junkies who have been suffering withdrawal pains for the past eight months.
My Buckeyes played a less than impressive game against the Naval Academy – putting in the second string quarterback in the second quarter is not a recipe for maintaining momentum in what looked like an emerging blowout. But it was good sportsmanship – so count one for the Buckeyes – just like the way the two teams ran onto the field together before kickoff. This was a first ever happening in storied Ohio Stadium. All week leading up to the game head coach Senator Tressell had let it be known that he did not want servicemen being booed – a friendly tradition in Ohio Stadium and a couple hundred other venues each Saturday afternoon of CFB season. In fact, Tressell wanted Navy’s players to be given a standing ovation. Glad it worked. We’ve booed the home team before, too.
Based on one week of results, the sports guru pundits are pretty sure who is really good and who is really bad already. They’ll be wrong a fair amount of the time and by season’s end express indignation with teams that didn’t perform as they predicted. Of course the problem will be the team not their ability to predict. (Note: Only a few of the pundits predict any more. Most now pronounce. Better ratings.)
Not surprising, Lou Holtz has already declared Notre Dame as national champions. The term “SEC speed” was used no less than 300 times on ESPN. And then a thousand more times once the games started. Oklahoma got upset by BYU and lost their Heisman winning QB, Sam Bradford, for an indefinite stretch of games. Michigan looked like the Wolverines again – maybe they’ve been practicing extra. Speaking of which, I am all for eschewing the tie and deciding games in overtime, but it doesn’t mean I can’t still hope and pray that when Michigan and Notre Dame play next week they end with a 0-0 final score highlighted by 20 fumbles.
So who is going to win the national championship? And who do I think is going to be really good and bad this year? Rather than separate the sheep and the goats and impute or impinge character on the basis of winning, as a spectator, I’ll hide behind the words of Teddy Roosevelt:
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.
On that note, all I can say is “Go Bucks. Beat USC!”
College football still packs a punch!