36 days to go.
Compliments (heh, I swiped it, gleefully) of Paul WesterDawg:
…college athletics is not ABOUT the players. College athletics is FOR the players, but that’s a different thing, and that’s a distinction we don’t often make. College football only works on this grand scale, I believe, because it’s about the colleges. The alumni connect to it. The people in the town connect to it. The people in the state connect to it. People are proud of their connection to the University of South Carolina and Clemson, they are inspired by Alabama and Auburn, Penn State and Notre Dame and Stanford, they identify themselves through Missouri and Wisconsin and Florida and Texas A&M. The players matter because they chose those schools, they play for those schools, they win for those schools and they lose for those schools too. Everyone, of course, wants them to be the best players available, and some are willing to cheat the current system to get those players. But soon the players move on, and the love affair continues, just as strong, just as vital. The CONNECTION is what drives college football.
Otherwise, without that connection, it’s just football that isn’t nearly as well-played as the NFL.
Big-time college football … big-time college basketball … these are about the schools that play them. They are about the institutions, the campuses, the landmarks, being young — the front of the jersey and not the back, as coaches love to say. This connection — fan to college — is at its strongest with sports. People might get irritated when the alumni fundraisers find them at their new address (how do they always find me?). They might not want to send in money to build a better library. But they’ll buy sweatshirts, and they’ll buy tickets, and they’ll travel to bowl games, and they’ll pay for pay-per-view, and they’ll take a chartered bus to a subregional in Tulsa. This direct line to sports is how they support — and how they love — their school.
36 days, baby, 36 days.