I’m sorry, but I think I’m addicted to college football

Coaches, players get final tune-up
September 2, 2014
Cardiac Cats rally from 17 down, earn opening win
September 2, 2014
Coaches, players get final tune-up
September 2, 2014
Cardiac Cats rally from 17 down, earn opening win
September 2, 2014

OK, OK, I have an announcement to make.

I think I am addicted to college football.

I know, I know – it sounds ridiculous for someone to say or admit within the confines of a newspaper.

But I think I am addicted to college football.

I’m 27. I have a lot of passions. And I know that there are a lot of things in the world that can easily attract my attention.

But only one thing gets the peak of my excitement – only one thing in the world can trap my attention for 10-12 hours on a Saturday morning, afternoon and then evening.

Do I even need to say it again?

I think I am addicted to college football.

There’s just no sport like it. There is so much to love and so many things that peak a person’s interest.

It’s far and away my favorite sport to cover as a journalist and to attend as a fan. Now that it’s underway, I am more than happy to get my fix, though I know before I turn around, it’ll be January and we’ll be left wondering, “Where did all of the time go?”

What I love the most about college football are the rivalries – one or two games every team has on its schedule that are just marinated in venom and hatred.

Some games are bigger than others in the grand scheme of things – like LSU and Alabama or Stanford and Oregon.

But rivalry games are non-discriminatory to power conference teams. EVERY school in college football has a few, and when they are played, it’s an athletic contest that is special because of the real-life passion and legitimate hatred that is poured onto the field for three and a half hours.

I remember vividly the day that Nick Saban came back to Tiger Stadium for the first time as Alabama’s head football coach. It reminded me of the stories I’d learned in history class about the warriors fighting in the Coliseum.

The players on both sides wanted to rip one another’s heads off, and the crowd yelled and screamed and egged it on.

In that game, LSU blocked a short Alabama field goal to send the game to overtime. In a span of a quarter-second, the Tiger Stadium crowd went from eerily silent to a deafening roar of 90,000-plus thousand screams.

It’s a memory that I will never forget as long as I live. It was a moment of sheer passion and pandemonium that cannot be rivaled in any NBA arena (due to the small size) nor any NFL stadium (due to the corporate crowd).

But the second thing that I love about college football is the sense of urgency that exists throughout a season – the true-to-life mindset that every game does matter and that on every given Saturday we may see a result that can have earth-shaking impacts on who wins the national championship on a given season.

No other sport in the world has that.

But college football does.

Where else in the sports world can a team be eliminated from winning the championship on the first night of the year?

In college football if you’re a power school and you lose to a smaller, non-heralded foe, your hopes may not be fully dashed, but they are greatly affected – especially in today’s new College Football Playoff System that will pit human beings in positions of power to judge who the four best teams in the country might be for a given season.

Here’s another example that I can share from my experience as a Tiger.

In 2007, the LSU football team played a home tilt with Arkansas on the day after Thanksgiving.

The air in Tiger Stadium was brutally cold on this day, and the sharp wintry breeze made things incredibly uncomfortable for those in attendance.

Those brutal weather conditions got even worse in the third overtime of the game when the Razorbacks deflected quarterback Matt Flynn’s 2-point conversion pass, which sealed Arkansas’ upset victory over the then-No. 1 Tigers – a loss that “ended” LSU’s national championship aspirations, according to most experts along the sport’s landscape.

But on Championship Saturday, madness ensued.

For starters, LSU defeated Tennessee 21-14 to earn the 2007 SEC Championship – the Tigers’ first conference championship under Les Miles.

Then around the college football landscape, an avalanche of upsets occurred, which took LSU from its deathbed and ascended the team back into the national championship picture.

The last game of the night that needed to be played was Pittsburgh and West Virginia. If the Mountaineers won, they would go to the National Championship Game to face Ohio State.

If they stumbled and lost, LSU would head to New Orleans.

No one expected Pittsburgh to win over their hated rivals – West Virginia was a 33.5-point favorite at the time of kickoff.

But some sort of way, the Panthers channeled themselves and played the best 60 minutes of their lives, dusting West Virginia to secure the victory.

Thousands of miles to the south, LSU fans rejoiced because their season had been saved.

Again we state: Every game matters.

The college football is finally under way – not a moment too soon.

We have no clue who will win the National Championship. Heck, I don’t even have a clue who the four playoff teams might be for the new postseason format.

But no matter how it’s sliced, I’m just happy to have something to do on Saturday afternoons from now until January.

I have an addiction to college football, and I’m damned proud of it.

It’s a sport that is unrivaled in the world.

It’s easily the best four-month stretch of the year.