I like football. I'm not sure if you guys realized this, but if you didn't now you do. You also, quite possibly, have never spoken to me ever. Like not once. But hey, far be it from me to judge how well you may claim to know me if you're ignorant of my not-so-nascent obsession with pigskin. Whether or not you're familiar though, you probably will be by the time you're done reading this because I'm about to talk about football -- and don't worry, it's the American variety this time.
See most of the year is spent ambling around and waiting. There are bright spots. The opening weekend of March Madness might be the best four days in American sports and the Stanley Cup Playoffs may have no equal when it comes to a postseason tournament. Then there's baseball, which can get you through the lazy summer days with its steady dependability and penchant for October drama. But while I love all of these events and the sports themselves, we all know that football, when push comes to shove, is what makes my bull run.
The pros, unfortunately, are still seven days away, but college football with its rampant unpredictability and excuse for daytime drinking every Saturday gets kicked off tonight when North Carolina and South Carolina take the field at 6 p.m. ET. I would be lying if I told you I was ready to settle in and watch the whole thing, I may watch some of the second quarter while I cook dinner, but as long as there is football on the TV it will mean I am thiiiiiis much closer to watching a game I actually care about.
"And when will that happen?" some of you might be asking.
I'm so glad you did. Northwestern kicks off its season late this Saturday night visiting the California-Berkeley Golden Bears for an awfully inconvenient 10:30 p.m. start time. Of course, that start time is only inconvenient when you're on the east coast of the United States, and 48 hours from now I won't be. No, I will be in Section B at California Memorial Stadium to watch my No. 22 Wildcats kick off their 2013 Rose Bowl season with a win (hopefully).
Yes, I said Rose Bowl, and that might be a pipe dream (though, considering they're coming off a 10-win season and returning most of their starters, it might not be), but I think for a season opener at Cal that might be appropriate. That's because even if Northwestern doesn't go to the Rose Bowl this year, a visit to Berkeley is bound to stir up memories. After all, the last time Northwestern played in California was its dream-season Rose Bowl berth in 1995. Perhaps more memorable though is the last time Northwestern actually won it on January 1, 1949, considering that Rose Bowl victory (which was NU's only postseason win in program history until this past January's Gator Bowl) was against the University of California Golden Bears. Catch all the fresh highlights right here in beautiful technicolor.
Ooooh yeah, just look at those beautiful misdirection single wing offenses and underdeveloped passing games. They even use the shotgun formation a handful of times!
So yeah, football is considerably different these days and Northwestern's offense is a bit smoother and a hell of a lot more dangerous, but those are only good things. I can't say if Northwestern will actually go to the Rose Bowl, but I can say that if they do, I guess I'll have to make another trip to California this year, and I'm totally fine with that. I know the likelihood of this is, well, not as high as I want it to be even though it's not as slim as some people think, but this season, like each of the others, is bound to have its twists and turns, highs and lows, and probably at least one heartbreaking loss.
But that's all fine. That's football.
I'm as ready for all of it as I am ready for my flight tomorrow (this may be a bad example as I am yet to pack, but my football fever is catching regardless). My boys may look a little different when they run on the field Saturday night, but I'll still be there decked in purple ready to belt out the fight song more than a few times. Hell, I'm even starting to read this bit of nonsense on my way to work this morning. I can't think of anything more representative of the self-imposed delusion of a Northwestern football fan than that book. And I'm sure I'm going to love every page as much as the Mission District burritos I plan on eating in San Francisco.