Sunday, October 3, 2010

College Football is Pretty Awesome

There are only two ways you become a rabid college football fan.

1.) You grow up in a college town without a professional sports team in the city limits (Norman, Austin, Tuscaloosa).

2.) You grow up with parents who are very invested into a college team or high school team.

(Note: I realized I needed to add high school after realizing how many high school friends I grew up with are infatuated with college football. It makes sense. High school football transitions right into college football and still follows that "pure" formula that people think amateur level sports have. And both levels compulsively drink themselves silly on the weekends. It fits.)

I grew up without any of those things. Any colleges in the Dallas/Fort Worth area absolutely blew when I grew up (TCU was just in the infant stages of being relavent and SMU routinely pissed themselves throughout the 90s). And while my high school was rolling skulls, snappin' necks and cashin' checks, I really couldn't be too interested. Come on, I was a high school basketball player. We didn't get much attention. But I'm not holding a grudge or anything (Yes I am).

So needless to say, college football is not my expertise. Sure, I love watching games all day on Saturday, rip on the BCS and have yet another excuse to drink in the afternoon, but I can't tell you the fourth string running back for any of my "teams." I can count on one hand how many games I've been to. My only "teams" have manufactured feelings:

Texas: School I was roped into rooting for because, well, I lived in Texas. Sort of how it goes. Actually fell in love with the team in 2004 and seriously thought I was going there. Been burned twice by admissions so now I'm emphatically "meh" towards them

Kansas: School I actually went to. Great school but I transfered for a reason. So obviously some mixed feelings there (no reason to go in-depth here. It's a dark and twisted tale).


(Note: For those reading thinking I was too dumb for Texas, think again. I had a 3.5 GPA at a well-credited university when I transfered. Suck on it.)

So when I ventured out to Fair Park Saturday morning, I had no idea what to expect. Sure, I went to the biggest college football game of the 2007-2008 regular season (Kansas/Missouri) but the powers at be decided to have the game over Thanksgiving Break which resulted in the stadium looking like a bunch of bumble bees swimming in an ocean.

I also had the pre-inclined notion that the Cotton Bowl was a stink hole. I've read countless reports of how the game is destined for Cowboys Stadium and that the game will be for the better for it. I sort of had to agree. I never been down there, never been to the game, so I'll trust the writers (BECAUSE THAT NEVER BACKFIRES).

Needless to say, six hours after the game ended and I was in a Dallas bar, one of my closest friends who goes to Oklahoma told me "There's no way they should move it from the Cotton Bowl. No. Way."

And I agreed.

The Red River Rivalry game really is a festival. It's a clash of cultures and friends and food and good times. And also alcohol. But seriously, it is something to behold. Inside the Cotton Bowl I almost choked on my spit by how small the stadium looked. Except then I realized I was part of a record-tying  crowd of 96,006. There is so much life to the stadium. Not to mention you can't beat over-zealous college football fans. I'm pretty sure after every penalty someone yelled "OU is buying the refs!" to which I would turn around and say something snarky about how the penalty was really Texas' fault (which I was right. Texas played a Lindsay Lohan game: Sloppy, messy but still hot enough to take home after a failed night of hooking up.) I ate it up. I'm a sucker for huge attended sporting events. I felt the same way when I went to the MLB and NBA All-Star games and even a random Oklahoma/Baylor football game. Just being apart of the crowd that was was fired up was good enough for me, regardless of Texas shitting the bed. I understand that Cowboys Stadium holds more people, but would the spirit be there? Would the noise be there? No way.

Because you see, there really is something to this whole "college football experience." Or maybe there's something to going to a giant party with carnival rides and menus that read:

"Fried Butter - 7 coupons
Fried Margarita - 11 coupons
Beer - 10 coupons
Slightly fancier beer - 11 coupons
Kids drink - 5 coupons"

Try to replicate THAT Cowboys Stadium.

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