VAN WADE — College football watching always “trumps” NFL experience

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Please don’t judge me.

Yes, I watched Florida State play Duquesne and also caught Vanderbilt playing Hawaii in Week Zero of the college football season.

With high school season going on in full force now, the NCAA college football season really gets humming this week after there were a handful of games last weekend.

I simply love college football, way more than watching the NFL these days, even though I still will watch the Cowboys and Texans.

Sure, the NFL has preseason games. I’ll be the first to admit that the first preseason game is always exciting for me simply because it means the end of the late summer abyss in the annual sports calendar.

But let’s face it: After week two of the NFL preseason, I’m pretty much over it. The coaches are sparing their best players, and nobody really seems to be playing to win.

College football always starts on Labor Day weekend, a full week before the NFL regular season. Whoever said “all good things come to those who wait” must not have been a college football fan.

To me, there’s nothing better than going to bed on Friday night knowing that you have nothing to do on Saturday except watch college football.

Then, if you’re like me, Sunday is the day that the wife usually presents you with the “honey-do” list that you feel compelled to do since you sat on your duff all day Saturday.

I will concede that there are some good rivalries in the NFL, but the lack of institutional tradition results in a void of true emotion.

The NFL will never have a Texas vs. Oklahoma, Ohio State vs. Michigan, a USC vs. UCLA or Auburn vs. Alabama.

Then there are the players.

I know that there are a handful of arrogant prima donnas in college football, but the vast majority of them play for pride. It’s also fun to watch a player come in, basically as a high school kid, and watch him develop into a young man.

One of the most noticeable differences between a college football game and an NFL game has got to be the marching band. The beating of the drums alone stirs up nostalgia from my old days in the student section at Lamar University.

NFL teams have cheers, but few, if any, have a full-blown fight song. Once again, these traditional tunes are what really get the crowd fired up — even when their team is playing poorly.

The holidays are always a festive time of year, but the cherry on top has got to be the college football bowl games. Even the small, pre-Christmas bowls give you a reason to have a few cocktails on a Tuesday night while your wife is at the mall—again!

There’s nothing better than finishing a big New Year’s Day meal, loosening the old belt and plopping down on the couch to watch the first few January bowl games.

Now it’s time to kick back and see what my Texas Longhorns and Lamar Cardinals do this year. Both are coming off a rough 2021, but as a die-hard fan of both, I must say everyone starts out 0-0 with everyone out there feeling they can make the playoffs or a nice bowl game.

Van Wade is the Orange Leader sports editor. He can be reached at van.wade@orangeleader.com.