Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It's the most wonderful time, of the year!

Today kicks off the best five months of the year, as far as I'm concerned. Of course it had nothing to do with the 'toys' waiting for me when I woke up a couple of hours ago--my music from Amazon had arrived this morning, and was sitting outside my door. (Under the tree, of course)

But no, the college football season officially gets underway tonight, and as much as I love that, it means that the NFL is not far behind! In addition to the start of America's Real Pastime, we're on the cusp of several months of wonderful weather here in the desert southwest, plus the baseball pennant race is heating up, we've got the World Series to look forward to--where yet another sacrificial lamb from the NL marches happily to the slaughter--the Nascar Chase gets underway for all of the gearheads, the Ryder Cup is just around the corner, and of course who can forget the wonderful holiday season that starts (for everyone else) on the last Wednesday of November after work and keeps chugging along until the BCS National Championship game.

My buddy Eddie B offered a great quote in this morning's email, along the same lines. He said Personally, I'd like to fall asleep the night of the Super Bowl, wake up again for March Madness, and then go back to sleep until that first college football game comes around.

Sounds good to me, but I'd set my alarm clock for the Daytona 500, The Masters, and the US Open, too. And maybe wake up long enough to catch a few Cards/Cubs games, too. Other than that, I agree with Eddie 100%.

Yep, sports is a huge part of life for me and my buddies. Of course it's all about spectating now that we're all too old or too out-of-shape to play anything but golf. It pains me greatly to watch stuff like SportsCenter, PTI, or Around the Horn and hear all of the commentators talking about how some of these 30-year-old kids are getting too old and worn out to play their respective sports.

I used to think that pro athletes were 'grown-ups', and now here I am older than damn near anyone playing in any of the Big Four. Oh well, it doesn't matter. I never harbored any fantasies of being a professional anything except maybe a guitar god or more recently a poker pro. But reality has tempered those notions, too. I don't have the chops or the discipline to give Stevie, Eddie, Jimi, or Slowhand a run for their money, and I certainly don't have the patience to become a poker pro.

But now that football season is here, I make a helluva couch potato spectator!

For several years, I would field a fantasy football team or two. But damn, even that is a lot of work. I'd do it again if I could find nine other like-minded guys who would be willing to do a modified keeper league with some sort of salary cap. But that ain't gonna happen, at least not this season.

In the meantime, I've joined a weekly college football pool with 22 other guys from around the country. Basically, you pick one school to be your 'Homer' for the season (I chose the Georgia Bulldogs), meaning that you have to pick them every every week to win or lose, and then you choose five other games, with point spreads. You can designate one game per week as your Pick of the Week and it'll count as two games. We have an official scorekeeper/commissioner tracking all picks, and at the end of the season, the guy with the best record gets $50 from everyone else.

I could sure use $1100 around the beginning of the new year.

In case you're interested, these are my week one picks:

Thursday Aug 31
1) IOWA STATE over Toledo -7

Saturday Sep 2
3) VANDERBILT over Michigan +25.5
4) ALABAMA over Hawaii -17
5) --CALIFORNIA over Tennessee-- +2 *PICK OF THE WEEK*
6) NOTRE DAME over Georgia Tech -8

You'll notice that I didn't pick Georgia. Unfortunately, they're playing against a Division II powerhouse, Western Kentucky, so no self-respecting book offers a line.

Anyhow, like most of the rest of the dudes in this country, I'm excited that the whole thing gets underway in just a few short hours.

I'll get off the couch in February.


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