Football is on TV right now. Live football. It doesn’t count (Hall of Fame preseason game). It’s not even the right level of competition for my tastes (NFL). But football is on. So it’s time to start. I’m going to cover football in more depth for The Recorder this fall because I care more than I should. Specifically, I’m going to do my best to bring you a weekly picks column for the biggest college football games of the coming week and a NFL game or two, as well. Each week a different guest predictor will join me, usually someone from The Recorder staff, but sometimes not. We shall see. [Read more…]
Welcome back to the Annual tradition that nobody at all ever asked for, but is getting out of the sheer kindness of my heart: The Addison Recorder live-blog of the Super Bowl! (I realize that I’m a baseball, theatre, and film writer, but, like most Americans with a pulse, I have watched a game of football before. In Internet terms, this qualifies me to write anything and everything about the NFL. You’re welcome, Earth.)
This year’s combatants are the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, two teams from the only two states in the union where marijuana is (mostly) legal. (Hence the title) It pits the fantastic offense of Peyton Manning against my current favorite NFL player, Richard Sherman, and the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom defense. In the meantime, you have Russell Wilson, the Rich Man’s RGIII, against whatever the Broncos have going on defense. I hear Champ Bailey is a thing that’s happening.
By now, I’m sure everyone is aware that the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos won their respective conference title games yesterday, and will be playing in the Super Bowl in two weeks time. During those two weeks, the Internet (and media in general) will be swamped with an overabundance of reporting on topics ranging from the use of “Omaha” in Peyton Manning’s cadences to the quest for the Seahawks’ first title in franchise history. Most people will be sick of this, yet will continue to click upon every link offered to them because…well, football. (You can also look ahead with relish and anticipation for my annual liveblog of the Super Bowl, because football.)
Welcome to The Addison Recorder’s Liveblog of the 2013 Battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy! The #21 Michigan Wolverines (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) and #22 Michigan State Spartans (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten) will be meeting on the gridiron for the 106th time this afternoon in East Lansing. The winner of this game will put themselves in the driver’s seat to win the Legends (ugh, so glad that name is going away) Division of the Big Ten and play for the Championship next month in Indianapolis. So, as the Recorder’s resident Michigan(and college football) fanatic I’ll be setting up the game before kickoff and then providing commentary during the action. Except lots of swearing. Possibly a lot of despair as well. Back in a few moments with a rundown of Michigan’s season so far and what to expect from them on offense and defense today.
Forgive me if this sounds redundant, but football is great and it means an awful lot to me. I’ve said it before on here and you can expect it from me again.
That being said, it is also frustrating, boring, misguided, dangerous, and generally overplayed in our society. It can be terminally dull when a single play lasts only a few seconds, but downtime between plays is generally more than half a minute. Games can last 3 hours and never have a truly exciting thing happen . It can be among the least exciting entertainment this side of televised poker.
I have to admit, the only fall that I ever played organized football I just hated it. I hate the hitting, hated the running, hated most of my teammates, and hated how little interest the coaches gave to me because I had never really been coached before. I wanted to quit for most of the season and only stayed on the team because my parents and the athletic director convinced me that I had made a commitment and should see it through. I’m still not convinced that was worth another seven weeks of misery, but I’ll let that lie.
As I write this, players wearing maize and blue and scarlet and grey are stretching and warming up inside Ohio Stadium. Unsurprisingly, this means I am quite nervous and keyed up since The Game is only fifty minutes from kickoff. The annual contest between Michigan and Ohio State goes back over a century and has filled the intervening decades with jaw-dropping plays, gut-check defensive stands, and thrilling wins (or embittering defeats) for both sides. Bound up in this end of the year game is a wealth of feelings: regional animus, cultural identity, and the simple matter of bragging rights that mean something. It’s everything that is right and good about college football.
I am not here to write about everything that is right and good about college football, though. Instead, what I want to talk about is the business of college football. Earlier this week the Big Ten Conference announced two new additions to its membership starting in 2014: the University of Maryland will leave the ACC and Rutgers University will leave the Big East to become the 13th and 14th members of the alliance still known as the Big Ten (I’m not even going to touch that particular bit of…math). These moves are only the latest in a 3-year long cycle of schools moving from conference to conference in a dizzying cycle of realignment.
As you may recall, one of my first articles on the Recorder decried baseball as a profoundly boring sport played during the interminable period of boredom that is summer. Happily, summer is all but over. Classes have begun, the weather is cooling, and that most essential of American sports returns this week. Having defended its virtues in my previous article, I feel no need to make a case for football, especially college football, as the most entertaining, strategic, and exciting of the major games. Instead, I want to discuss some of the wonders and curiosities that are peculiar to this grand game.
On a very basic level, the pleasures of college football are very simple and tied into the season that hosts the game. The game kicks off at the tail end of summer, with the first few weeks of games played comfortably under clear cerulean skies. Up here in the Midwest, the first sharp crack of cool air and blustery weather means that the conference games have begun. Rivalries that stretch back over a century are fought once again as jackets and hats are pulled out of closets and Oktoberfest beers are toasted in victorious satisfaction. When the calendar turns to November the crowds bundle under winter jackets and heavy scarves as the most bitter of enemies face off on freezing fields underneath slate grey skies. The bowl games around Christmas and New Year’s are played mostly in warm locales, a last tantalizing glimpse of fun before winter finally wipes out all warmth and the football season ends. It’s no accident that the four months that correspond with the football season are my favorite time of the year, but I’ve been an old man since I was 15. No one should be surprised that I revel in the season of decay and passing, and celebrate its sport above all others. It’s a wonderful time that I pine for constantly during the off-season.
Here at the Addison Recorder, we all love sports, but our loves were not created equal. Forget just me and my two cohorts; almost no one I know outside this site has an emotion to match Alex Bean’s magnificent obsession with football, NCAA more than the NFL. Far more. I’d swear that not just the blood but every fluid which comes out of his body is Michigan blue and maize.