College Football is back in just 17 days and while I am thrilled for the new season, this stretch of the off-season easily is the most brutal.
Sure, training camps are going on, but at this point, there aren’t enough videos of Jalen Hurts tossing the rock around in shells to make this wait any easier. So, maybe a little hackneyed Top 10 list might be just the thing needed to blow off a little CFB hype.
Nothing tops College Football Gameday, for a million different reasons. The bands, tailgates, incredibly unique traditions across the country, all of it is just unlike any sport on Earth. Unfortunately, the uniqueness of the whole sport makes it nearly impossible to replicate a Gameday. Hell, every Spring we attempt to do it with glorified scrimmages and even then it can’t match up.
Sure, some of the things you do on gameday you can do any day. But on Gameday? It’s just different. Here are my Top 10 things I miss the most about College Football Gamedays, in no particular order. Let’s get this going.
Waking Up Early For College Gameday
This is going to be a big-time unpopular opinion. I get it, sleeping in on Saturdays is a fantastic feeling. But college football is my perfect alarm clock, whether or not your team’s game kicks off at 11 AM or not. The best way to start a Saturday is to wake up, get a deep breath of crisp morning air, slap a ribeye on the grill, make your final bets and flip on College Gameday. It’s the perfect way to start the best days of the year.
As for the show, yeah I know it isn’t as good as it used to be. Still, it’s a great way to start the day if you have nothing better to do.
Walking Up/Down The Ramp For The First Time
There is just something special about those first steps into the stadium every game. Whether it’s a warm welcome home to your home field or the thrill of seeing something new, nothing is quite like the slight emotional crescendo of seeing the seating bowl for the first time, with the field a perfect glistening shade of emerald.
Grilling (And the Smells That Come With It)
Most tailgate duties aren’t fun. Hauling stuff, setting up tents, having to pay the satellite bill/grab propane/ dealing with backlash for making pancakes for an 11 AM game.
However, manning the grill is a designation of honor, one that comes with utmost trust and respect. It’s a duty of pride and of much importance. However, even if you aren’t the grillmaster or operating a tailgate at all, the collective smell of a Gameday is a treat all its own.
Cheap, Cold, Beer
I don’t know what it is, but there is something about college football that makes a nice, cold, Busch Light into a can of heaven (keep in mind, this is coming from someone who loves to track down craft beers). I love a nice IPA or Stout as much as anything but on gameday the most expensive I’ll go is Michelob Ultra or a Shiner Bock if I’m feeling fancy.
Unless someone bootlegs Yuengling or St. Arnold’s Lawnmower into the state, of course. Nothing beats those.
(The jury remains undecided on whether or not White Claws will be improved by Gameday, will update)
Catching Up With Old Friends
This might be a preemptive “old man/postgrad” selection, but whatever. Sure, these are the same people you just hung out with for the past four (or five) years, but as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’ll just be more fun to bring back a bit of the glory days (okay sure I’m only like three months graduated but still).
Getting Big Upset Updates on the Out Of Town Board
One unique thing about most stadiums is that no matter how much you upgrade the cell service, the second you enter. This leads you to rely on the ye olde method to get score updates for upsets and “special interest games”: the out of town scores ticker.
Is this the most convenient way to get updates? Of course not. But there is something so exciting about collectively getting a score update that matters and the tension that builds as you wait for the random North Texas-Tulsa type updates to move along for the good stuff.
Pregame Bands (Mainly, The Pride of Oklahoma)
Yeah, this is a massive nerdy pick, but I don’t care. At home, the pregame performance is one of the most exciting moments of the day for me. No matter how much the stadium, university players, or I change, I know that this moment will always bring me right back to the days of being a kid in Section 7, Row 49. It’s just awesome to me.
On the road, the pregame band offers something different. It’s a showcase of the uniqueness of college football: no team does the exact same thing.
Celebrating a Big Play
The stakes for OU usually don’t get very high. Few teams play the Sooners tight, so either the situation is:
- OU is blowing out an inferior team, excitement is low, people leave for the bars early out of boredom.
- OU is struggling against an inferior team, people are beyond pissed and excitement is tempered by nerves, people leave for the bars out of annoyance.
- OU is playing a good team and excitement is high. People still leave for the bars for some reason.
So whenever a truly BIG play happens in a good game that isn’t marred by the Sooners underperforming, it’s a truly thrilling moment.
Is this an obvious pick? Maybe. I still miss it.
The Intro Video
This one has lost stock over the years, but it still is a big moment of Gameday. When properly done, the intro can send the crowd into a frenzy. Check out some of these classic intros and tell me you aren’t at least a little hype for college football (also watch how the trailer music and style evolves from that of a PS2 cutscene into a Christopher Nolan Batman trailer).
(Also shout out to 2003 when we thought using a Nickelback Elton John cover was a good idea, OOF)
It isn’t for everyone, but damn I miss gambling on college football. Setting a slate of games for a full day and tracking it adds so much more intrigue to the overall scope of college football. Hell, even when money isn’t involved it’s intriguing: sometimes I legit rooted harder for Weekend Spread picks than ones with money on them.
Do you have a tradition of your own you’re looking forward to this season or have an idea for another Top 10 list? Comment below or Tweet us @SchoonerBlog and we’ll get back to you. This will be an exciting season, so stay tuned.
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