Yes, some teams played on Saturday, but football doesn't really start until my boys in orange take the field.
Which they did.
And then lost in overtime to a team in CALIFORNIA.
And I KNOW the logic behind not playing a cupcake team from a lower division for your opening game. And I agree with it. And I KNOW that this is how last season started out (but even a bit worse, actually). And it all ended up ok.
But the thing is, all summer when I could have - no, SHOULD HAVE - been reading up on new players and stats - I was working. When I could have been watching highlights from scrimmages or learning the rule changes - I was working. And I'm not talking about the 8 hours in which I'm supposed to be working and not on govols.com. I'm talking about free time. What was I doing? Working. So now it's football season and do I understand the new clock rules? No. Did I know where our new offensive coordinator came from? No. Do I know how much faster Monterio Hardesty can run the 100-yard dash this year? Uh, no. So, what would have been a frustrating but minor loss is now just a symbol of something much greater and much grouchier.
So I still say GO VOLS. But I'm also thankful that this is a bye week.
And how am going to spend this bye week? Going to a football game, of course. And celebrating - in all likelihood - losing a football game. How is this possible you ask?
I'm going to visit one of my very best friends in Columbus, Ohio and we are going to the Ohio State / Ohio University football game. She and I attended Ohio University (she has an actual diploma though) and are big Bobcat fans. Chances are good that you've heard of Ohio State University, but not of Ohio University. It's a much smaller school with a much less-successful football team.
Normally there wouldn't be a huge rivalry between in-state schools that are so different, but one of the years I attended OU there was a big dispute. You see, it wasn't enough that Ohio State refers to itself as The Ohio State University (no, I'm not kidding), but when colleges and universities were given the opportunity to license different letters and nicknames for their sportwear, Ohio State decided that in addition to owning the rights to "Ohio State," "OSU," and yes, even the letter "O," they also wanted the word "Ohio" (not sure if they tried to own "The" as well).
Thing is, Ohio University rightly laid claim to that nickname. Just as the University of Michigan is "Michigan" and Michigan State University is "Michigan State." Or the University of Florida is "Florida" and Florida State University if "Florida State." Not really rocket science, right? But no, some are slow and like to be big bullies and a legal battle ensued. It made national news. Granted, no one outside the state really cared. All that matters though is in the end, the right Ohio prevailed. Ohio University's homecoming theme that year was "There's Only One OHIO." And even though their opponet was the university of Akron, most of the parade floats involved some sort of bobcat beating up a buckeye. 'Gotta love it.
This Saturday no one acutally expects Ohio University to win the game. But that's OK. Ohio's football fans aren't used to winning all that much, but they cheer just as loudly for a completed pass or a good punt as other teams do for touchdowns and field goals. They're never bitter or feel slighted because another team outplayed them. They're just happy little green-clad, oft-intoxicated Bobcats, proud of their school and proud of their team and having a damn good time regardless. Without sounding like a sap, it's really quite touching to see. It also doesn't hurt that the marching band totally kicks ass.
So, if you're around on Saturday afternoon and you're a fan of good ole fashioned team spirit, tune into ESPN at 11am C / 12 E and watch the Battle for Ohio and cheer for the underdogs. The 34-point underdogs.
GO VOLS! GET TO PRACTICE!
GO BOBCATS! BEAT THE SPREAD!