Your favorite team isn't going to win the national championship and you probably don't give a damn about that right now.
The beauty of college football, where sport somehow transcends team.
In college hoops, especially around here, I think a lot of fans put destination ahead of journey, missing some amazing ups and downs because the only end-game is a national championship. Title or bust for so many teams, sometimes as many as twenty, claiming legitimate opportunities at winning the season's final game. In-season big wins are forgotten about with the next bitter loss. Twenty-five straight victories to start a season becomes old news after an upset loss early in March.
In college football, though, it's a completely different story. A football season is somehow more compartmentalized. Each week a season unto itself. The tailgating, the bands, the build up, each and every
Friday Saturday, there's always something unique. Even though football at the dome can be something of a repellent to most people, it's mid-August and Orange fans are getting themselves amped for 2014. Even though it's a team that is going to lose somewhere between three and six games. Even though...Even though...So many "even thoughs" and in the end, Orange fans will gladly take it and consider it all a success.
Rightfully so, too. Hell, it was just a few years ago SU struggled to win three games in a season. So celebrating a mere three or four losses is more than deserved.
Still, this time of year is always so interesting to me and not just because of the Syracuse coloration. Orange fans are a lot like (insert school name here) fans. We all know something named Florida State or Alabama or Ohio State or Oklahoma will end up playing for the title, we don't care. Random Bowl sponsored by Random Company will earn a higher television rating than most basketball games.
We eagerly await the first game kickoff, and, to a slightly smaller degree, the subsequent eleven or twelve more after.
Even with a "playoff" making its debut this season, how much are things really going to change? I don't mean to knock the mini tournament coming our way in January. Far from that, really. It's just, while those three games that make up the new playoffs will be fascinatingly full of entertainment, the majority of programs will never participate. Seriously, Major League Baseball has more competitive balance, for crying out loud! Things are far from perfect in college football, and that doesn't even take into account the serious concerns the entire sport of football is facing.
And yet, we all wait, counting down the days.
Maybe it's the relatively short season? Maybe it's the fact that football is so ingrained into most of our brains that we're all sheep following some pigskined shepherd. Whatever the basis, I have no clue. But I know that come mid-summer I'm fired up for football, even times when the only thing my team could win is the opening coin toss.
In 2014? Syracuse may end up starting the season with three straight wins, it may end up surprising a team or two (Hello, Louisville) and it may even crack the top 25. Or things could get late early with a loss at Central Michigan and that stretch from late September through October. At this point, almost anything is possible.
Almost because we know a national championship ain't happening for a lot our teams. But ultimately, that's not the point.
(Post script: Happy birthday, Brady! My three-year-old turns to my four-year-old tomorrow at exactly 2:36 p.m. est. This has nothing to do with football or the start of the season for that matter. At least not right now it doesn't. But I can't wait until I'm screaming, "DO YOU WANT A DOME DOG?!" to him in future Septembers, Octobers and Novembers.)
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