While baseball is my favorite sport to follow and running is probably my favorite sport to be involved with, there is just something about football that makes the end of summer and the eventual
introduction to winter less noticeable. Friday nights with high school games, Saturdays with Penn State, and Sundays with the Steelers.
This weekend it started. Last night was the opening high school games--mostly non-conference. My high school was going up against Beth's high school and my Spartans romped 40-7. To be fair, I have to state that my school's a big AAAA school and Beth's school is a small AAA school with a little more than half the enrollment of mine (1504 to 831 in the grades 9-11 enrollment from 2007). As one of Beth's fellow alumni of GS pointed out, the rest of the high school season goes like this for our two schools - mine will MAYBE win two more games the rest of the year against schools its size while Beth's will go on to the playoffs. Oh well. Our bigger rivalry is on the XC course anyway!
I also follow football for the district where I live (and used to teach) and also where I currently teach. All the students have now graduated from Highlands, but you always want the local team to do well. We find it funny that the year I was there they weren't too good, but the last three years have been very successful in the playoffs. My current employer's team is looking to rebound from an off year last fall and earned a solid victory against North Hills. I was listening to part of the internet radio broadcast last night and always find it funny how many of the names I can't put a face to and the other handful of names that I've never heard of. That kid actually goes to my school? I do teach there, you know!
But, of the weekend, I think Saturday's my favorite. Penn State's my #2 sports team behind the Pirates (unfortunately). There is so much drama in college football because of how the system is currently set up with no playoff. So, essentially every weekend is a playoff. You can't lose more than one game and hope to make it to the national championship. I still hope they figure out something similar to my proposed playoff blog post from last fall. I'll see how it works out this fall and do an updated post.
I'm getting pumped up for the start of the season. I'll be excited to see how the Lions come out with a revamped O-line and secondary. The receivers should be fun to watch. The lost the highly successful smurfs, but replace them with three guys who are 6' 3" to 6' 6". Darryl Clark and Evan Royster are a year better and more experienced. We shall see how it goes against Akron.....I work with a guy who played QB for Akron back in the late 90's and he was telling me on Friday that if Akron somehow upsets Penn State he's bringing in a Zippy the Kangaroo mascot outfit and wearing it Tuesday. All I know is I witnessed Penn State's only loss to a MAC school when Toledo, led by Chester Taylor (now with Minnesota Vikings), stuck it to Penn State 24-6 in Happy Valley in 2000. I hope it doesn't happen again. Speaking of MAC teams, how did that Bowling Green-Pitt matchup work out to start last year? (Heh, heh, heh)
A game like Virginia Tech-Alabama tonight is going to go a long way towards determining this path. I'm torn on who to root for. Beth and I spent a fall of graduate school down in Blacksburg and loved the atmosphere. It was so much like Penn State except for the Maroon and Orange. However, after our trip a few weeks ago to Tuscaloosa, I was really impressed with the Alabama community and tradition. So, I guess I'll hope for a good game tonight and jump on the bandwagon of the winner to hopefully face Penn State in the national championship. (Oh yeah, I guess Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, USC, and Ohio State may have something to say about that, too).
Steelers don't start until Thursday. They've now won two Super Bowls in the last four years, so I'm not as 'hungry' to follow them as I am the Pirates (last title in 1979) or Penn State (1986). So, just let me know when their season gets started and I'll watch the games.
Off for a ride & run with Beth and then time for some college football before going to the Pirate game tonight (thanks Mom B for the Pirates gift card for my b-day!).