While I follow almost every sport, nothing comes close to college football. Simply put, I am an addict. I’ll watch any team play, any time.
As you can imagine, spring and summer are hard times for a college football fan, especially one as far gone as I am. I’ll search the cable guide for old games (thank you Big Ten Network and CBS College Sports Network), look for clips on YouTube or even dive into my archives of old Texas Longhorn games (yes, I have an archive of old games — and it is vast).
But the fact that I know what is going happen in those games takes some of the thrill away. Actually, it takes the all of the thrill away. I still watch them, but it isn’t the same. I need new, fresh content. But what in the world am I supposed to do when college football season is still months away?
Go to the bookstore. This will cure my ails, at least for a while.
The bookstore offers addicts a fix with the release of college football preview magazines beginning after Memorial Day. The better magazines (Dave Campbell’s Texas Football is the football bible) are released later in summer, whereas the weaker magazines are released earlier; i.e., Memorial Day weekend reveals the equivalent of the 90 lb. chess nerd that the Tri-Lambs wouldn’t let in the door. But the day I see that nerd for the first time it is what I call Football Magazine Day.
I love Football Magazine Day because it means new content. Each magazine has a cover photo of someone local, as well as teasers about who to watch, who should be great and who should not. All-Americans! All-Conference! Recruiting classes! Rankings! Schedules! I get so excited, I buy the first one I see. And the second. Then I run right home, anxious to dive in.
I start with the All-American teams and then proceed to the Top 25. I then move on to the unit rankings (linebackers, offensive line, running backs, etc.), then on to the conference notes and bowl game predictions. After reading the recruiting class rankings, I read about the Texas Longhorns and oklahoma sooners. (Yes, the lower case on “oklahoma” and “sooners” is intentional. I do this for a reason — I hate them.)
This about the time I get angry and, every single year, say to myself:
How could SuchAndSuch have oklahoma ranked so high… That guy doesn’t even play for Texas anymore… That’s the wrong No. 4, he plays defense…. He’s too short to be ranked ahead of (someone from Texas)… I can’t believe they think oklahoma will beat (marginal non-conference team)… Hahaha, look at the Aggies…
I realize there is nothing in the magazines I don’t already know. My college football addiction drives me to read daily updates of my team, my enemies and everyone in between. The football magazines are either confirming what I already knew or saying something I don’t agree with. And, because of the need to feed football crazy zealots like me, publishers rush to get the issues out on shelves, often resulting in outdated or incorrect info.
The next time I open one of these national college football preview magazines and say “Wow! I had no idea…” will be the first. I wonder why I waste my time on them, but then I'll see a third magazine at the bookstore. Next thing I know, I have parted with another $10 and started the process all over again.
Why do it all over again? I’m addicted, like I said. I can’t stop, and I don’t want to. Maybe, just maybe, the next magazine I buy will be the one to shock me with something I don’t know. Though it's frustratingly cyclical, I simply shall not stop. About the time when ire has reached eye-level, Dave Campbell — the best there is — comes to save me.
When DCTF (Dave Campbell’s) comes out, it restores my faith and delivers the content I was originally looking for. I then wonder why I wasted my time with the first three (or four) magazines rather than patiently waiting for the "good one" to come out.
Football season soon follows DCTF's release, and I am lost in the games. The season progresses, then ends, spring ball comes and goes, then basketball, college baseball, professional sports, and the next thing you know, it’s May, and the whole thing starts all over again.
And it will happen all over again next spring, because I love college football — every part of it — which means I have to love football magazines as well.
What about you?