THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON HAS OFFICIALLY KICKED OFF, marking the “real” beginning of the school year—obviously classes are an afterthought.
To mark the return of big time “amateur” sport, we folks at TSJ thought we’d give you a run down of some things you can expect to see and hear this season.
1. DEBATES ABOUT THE NEW PLAYOFF SYSTEM
We’d be thrilled never to hear the word “BCS”—is that a word?—ever again. But we will, unfortunately, hear it a ton over the course of this season.
Only this time we’ll be throwing around “BCS” in a debate about whether the new playoff will be better than the old BCS model. Whether or not it is considered a consensus improvement remains to be seen, but the excitement surrounding it is definitely building.
Hell, there’s even a countdown.
And while I’m sure people will find plenty to complain about come December when the four playoff teams are named, watching three meaningful post-season games instead of one will be good times for all college football fans.
2. STUDENTS RUSHING THE FIELD
Rushing the field when the home team wins a big game is a time-honored tradition throughout college football, especially when your team’s playing a major rival or highly ranked opponent.
While there may be some debate about when it’s appropriate to rush the field, there’s no doubt that it should totally happen.
So basically any game where the underdog unexpectedly takes it, or a team plays spoiler and ruins another school’s shot at an undefeated season, expect to see crowds spill onto the field to celebrate with the players, the cheerleaders, and even the band—though that doesn’t always work out.
College football is perhaps the only bastion of American sports in which you regularly see fans brought to tears.
Games mean more because even one loss threatens a team’s chances of playing for the National Championship—which, presumably, most teams would like to do.
Even with the new playoff system it will still be difficult to qualify without a near perfect record. So every time a team loses, especially a team expected to do well or off to a hot start, there’s a good chance that a bunch of fans will be crying and carrying on, even as early as September.
As the season wears on and the conference schedules get going and the undefeated teams start dropping, you can expect to see scenes like this nearly every week.
4. A RECRUITING SCANDAL
Isn’t there always some recruiting sandal or another surrounding college football? If football’s not teeming with recruiting scandals, then it’s the so-called drama of players actually receiving something for their efforts besides a B.A. in Kinesiology or Communications.
And the NCAA has such interesting ways of dealing with the scandals too, real half-measures, like placing a show cause order on a coach who has already moved on to the NFL, or suspending players for half a game.
Seriously, half a game?
That’s something a coach does when a player misses curfew. So we should have said expect scandals, and expect that next to nothing will be done about them—unless someone gets a tattoo.
5. AN SEC SCHOOL WINNING THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Now we’re no fan of the SEC, whether the Southeastern Conference or the Securities Exchange Commission—the former for being too good at what they do, the later for being terrible at what they do—but we’re smart enough to know it’s the best football conference in the country by miles.
Just look at the record: An SEC team has won the past seven National Championships. Seven! In a row! From one conference!
They might as well play by themselves.
Given that five SEC teams are in the top 10 in preseason polls, there’s no reason to think the streak will end this year.
6. THE UNEXPECTED
The off-field drama is usually as, or more, exciting as the game action. Some of the stories are so ludicrous they could only to be true: A despondent fan travels to the campus of an in-state rival and poisons oak trees used in victory celebrations; a star linebacker tragically loses a girlfriend whom he had never met in person inspiring him to play amazing only to discover she is not only alive but also a man.
You can’t make this shit up!
I don’t know what crazy-ass story is going to come out this year, but I’m 100 percent certain that ridiculous people will show up for us to laugh at them.
Some things you can just count on.