Football time is here, and if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know what a junkie I am for college football. (Professional football doesn’t have the same feel to me. It’s too . . . professional. Part of what draws me to college sports is how each team needs to constantly fight to rebuild itself year after year. Building a “legacy” or simply buying a good team is much more difficult. Of course, don’t get me started on the recent string of college football scandals.)
For better or worse, a good chunk of my attention is devoted to following BYU football for the months of September, October, November, and (hopefully) a bit of late December/Early January. It all kicked off with a far too close for comfort win over Ole Miss last Saturday, and this week we have Texas. Here are some rambling thoughts I have about the season this year:
Independence–Nothing but good news, as far as I’m concerned. Almost all of our games are on ESPN or ESPN 2 this year, and the one that isn’t can be streamed on BYUTV for free. Nice. I was reminded of how awful the alternative could be when I heard rumblings for a while that the BYU/Texas game might be moved to Texas’s Longhorn Network. Uh . . . the same network that is available practically nowhere? Yeah. That network. This supposedly wonder-dunder network made by the big moneybags in Texas, and it’s practically nonexistent outside of the Texas area. That sort of setup would be terrible for me as a BYU fan. I love love love that the team is more concerned with visibility than it is with the bottom line dollar amount.
Big XII Fiasco–I am so done with all the conference realignments. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t follow this all very closely anyway, but I’ve been really disappointed with how much money and prestige in football has come to dominate all of college sports. There’s no loyalty whatsoever when it comes to college football conferences in the past year or two. Long time rivalries are getting torn up as teams play a big game of musical chairs. What does this have to do with the betterment of the sport? Very disappointing. I remember when the WAC had 16 teams. That lasted what–3 years? Who’s to say the same thing won’t happen with a super conference? In any conference, there will be the elite top half of the conference, and the not as elite bottom half. If the top half suddenly gets a whole lot of money waving at them, I think we’ve all seen what happens. Blech.
BYU/Utah–That said, I have to say that I’m kind of relieved BYU and Utah are in different conferences now. (Or, one in a conference and one independent). The rivalry was getting beyond ugly when I left the state, and can’t imagine it improved much in the time since. Outright hatred of anyone is never a good thing, and that’s what it was beginning to feel like. I’m a Yankee fan living in the middle of Red Sox Nation, and I get my share of ribbing and jibes (and give them right back), but it honestly has never really felt mean spirited to me in the same way that Utah/BYU fans could get. (This might be because I’m not an obnoxious Yankee fan, and my friends aren’t obnoxious Red Sox fans. For the most part. Wink wink.) BYU and Utah got bloody and yucky. Sports is supposed to be fun, and that wasn’t. So I’m glad they’re still playing, and I’m sure the rivalry will still be there, but I’m hoping this all cools it down some. People in Utah–has it worked?
Ole Miss game–Way closer than it should have been. We could move the ball at will–until we got close to their end zone, where we kept getting magnetically shoved away. Not cool. Our defense did great, but our offense had way too many jitters, which has left me a nervous wreck looking at this week’s schedule. Texas? At Texas? Our offense better get its act together, or we’re sunk. That said, I think it’s interesting that Texas is in about the same position we’re in in some ways. New coaches, new schemes–lots of new players for them. Hopefully it all balances out. With the beginning of each football season, it takes four or five weeks until you really know what your team is like. Maybe that supposed marshmallow team from week one is actually a dominant force. Maybe the #13 team you beat in week 2 is actually awful. So . . . we’ll wait and see.