Football Season!

Football Season!

Currently, it is upper 60s to low 70s; the sun sits powerfully in the sky, warming everything it touches except the breeze, which whips through the trees and kicks leaves off of the ground, evening out all of the work the sun has done. It's warm in the light but not quite cold in the shade; it's the perfect weather for nearly anything in your wardrobe. You can be just as comfortable in a hoodie and jeans as you are in a t-shirt and shorts depending on where you're going and what you're doing. 

This type of weather is held sacred to many in the US, not only because of how rarely the combination of meteorological yin and yang meet in such harmony; sun and wind, warmth and chill, brightness and shade, but also because it signifies something even bigger. 

Most seasons of athletics last for the better part of half a year. The NBA and NHL run concurrently from roughly Halloween to Father's Day, the NFL runs from Labor Day to the Super Bowl in February with plenty of pre-season and training camp before, and Major League Baseball feels like it's here more than it isn't.

But college football? Every year it is refreshing to see it return because we get so little of it. 13 short weeks and a 14th if your team is good enough to reach its conference title game, and maybe a 15th around Christmas time for a warm weather bowl game. It feels like college football is like your best friend visiting from out of town; it never feels long enough unless things go horribly wrong...and then no matter what you're counting down the days until the return.

College football this year will be unlike any other, and unfortunately not for good reason. At the time I am writing this, only 6 conferences of D1 football are scheduled to play, and even then most are only playing teams within their own conference. That means no football in the state of Michigan and only a handful of teams in the midwest depending on conference alignment. 

Fans will not be allowed at full capacity and if they are allowed in the stadium, masks are required as is the mandatory six feet distance between each other. It will make for a very watered down atmosphere; chants will be nonexistent, the band won't be there, and momentum won't be as much of a factor (in college, there's no denying that momentum is indeed very much a factor). 

But you'd be gravely mistaken if I'm not going to watch every second of it. 

If i'm being honest, I feel a little guilty watching college football this year, mostly because we don't know what to expect with a contact sport and if anyone gets hurt I'll feel like an accomplice. I just want everyone to stay healthy and safe and since players literally have little to gain other than proving themselves for the NFL draft, part of me wonders why some even bothered to stick with it. Jamarr Chase seems to have reached that same conclusion; the best receiver in college football has proven he's more than capable on the field, so he's staying healthy off of it and would rather make $10 million in two years than $0 right now (at least $0 according to the rules). Does Trevor Lawrence really need to improve his draft stock?

Anyway, it will also be a year unlike any other because I feel like my children aren't allowed to play. When I first started at Nudge and there were a few weeks left of college basketball, I found myself actively rooting for teams for whom I had previously no affiliation whatsoever. Teams like Creighton that were rising up the AP Rankings and were making waves in March; teams like Baylor that proved themselves in an unbelievably difficult Big 12 conference. I was rooting for them because they were one of ours.

And now, only six of our teams are playing football. I wish more were, but that's the way the chips fell this year, but I am going to be the biggest Baylor-West Point-Houston-Liberty-Texas State-Navy hybrid fan that you'll ever meet. 

And because of conference scheduling, we only get to see two of those teams play each other this year! Previously we were going to have a ton of inter-Nudge matchups because we have so many MAC schools but now the only inter-Nudge football games we'll see are Houston-Navy and Army-Navy. Obviously schedules are subject to change and another game might be slated in at the last second, but hey, at least the Army-Navy game is one of the best traditions in college football. Losing that would have felt like losing a piece of American culture. 

Again, I don't want anyone to be sick. That goes for players, coaches, staff, fans, and parents. I know all the players want to play, the coaches want to coach, and the supporters want to support, but be respectful of those that opt out. Wear your masks, wash your hands, and rep your team. 

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