Thursday, September 22, 2005

New developments...

As you know, I'll watch anyone play football. I mean, anyone. I've made it through the halftime show of a Tuskegee game on BET once, where I learned that band members for a proud historically black college could indeed spell "PIMP" on the field while playing a 50-Cent tune. I've also sat through a couple football games at Embarrassing Fourth-Tier State U, where I graduated. That program, a 1-AA school masquerading as 1-A, put some awful teams on the field and couldn't draw flies. Yikes.

Vandy is playing this Saturday against Richmond, albeit not on television. For that matter, Vandy almost never plays on television, except for the handful of games picked up by Jefferson-Pilot sports, the regional syndicator whose production values scream "high school". JP wouldn't even bother with Vandy if they didn't have to, but I think they're required by the SEC to show every conference member at least twice. JP is third in line behind CBS and ESPN when picking games. Vandy hasn't won enough in recent years to ever sniff the big time, and of course a gimme versus a 1-AA cupcake won't excite anyone but the faithful.

Needless to say, I'm not driving to Nashville for this one.

I will, however, watch anyone play college football. Upon learning of Kentucky's embarrassing defeat at the hands of Indiana, and the subsequent mass suicide of the Wildcat fanbase, I smelled an opportunity. Could tickets to their upcoming bloodbath against Florida be had for a song? Sure enough, tickets are still available for $22 and $29 from the ticket office. That's cheap for major college football, and UK's Commonwealth Stadium is a very nice place to see a game.

Still, many on Kentucky's message boards predict a ton of empty seats for this massacre. I e-mail a UK fan with decent seats a couple of days ago to ask his price. Face. Thanks anyway. It's on CBS, and I have a comfy recliner that works just fine. He e-mails me back today...$15 each. Wife is in class right now and unavailable to ask, but I'm thinking about taking him up on that. Maybe a little cheaper. We'll see.

Sad is a stadium that holds 70,000 people and draws nearly that many every week to watch what Kentucky puts on the field. I've learned something about UK football fans. They're loyal to a fault. They consider it close to a character flaw to not show up, no matter how frustrated they are. Yet, that's what it would take for them to force honest change in their program. Empty seats don't look good on TV. Season tickets unrenewed hurt the bottom line. Voting with your feet isn't disloyalty. It's tough love.

I will let you know soon whether or not I go to the train wreck that will be the Florida-Kentucky game. Maybe I can learn the words to "We Are the Boys of Florida"?

Indiana football is back on track after hiring a heck of a coach, Terry Hoeppner, away from Miami University (OH). See, Kentucky? It is about whom you hire for the job. IU's got a fanbase just ready to explode over a winning football team. Their basketball fans are pretty crazy too.

Speaking of crazy fans...this needs to be said. I went to the Texas-Ohio State game a couple of weeks ago in Columbus. As you know, I'm originally from Texas. San Antonio, in fact. I went with a buddy of mine and we busted out the orange for this one. We parked about two miles away from Ohio Stadium and walked to the game. That wouldn't have been so bad, except that we walked down Lane Avenue to get there.

Lane Avenue, for the uninitiated, is the off-campus student housing area/gameday party zone near campus. House party going down at every house. That's cool. There are Buckeye fans on every porch, balcony, and lawn getting down before the game. It's 6:30 PM, so about an hour and a half before the game. We come walking through there with orange on, and they went crazy. That's what it must be like to be an Israeli soldier walking through a horde of Palestinians.

"F--- Texas!"

"Hook this!" from a dude grabbing his crotch.

"Go the f--- home!"

"Steers and queers! Steers and queers!"

"A--hole! A--hole!"

I had some of the most beautiful women I've ever seen in my life walk up to me and tell me to f--- myself. Everyone had an obscene gesture for me.

As they say, words and gestures don't hurt, and they don't. Beer bottles do, though. They came flying. We dodged beer bottles and garbage for the next block. Someone succeeded in nailing my buddy in the shoulder with a can of beer. Someone else nailed him with some sort of barbecue sauce. We got the hell out of dodge before it got worse. I hear that they rioted after the game.

Needless to say, if a tornado buzzed Lane Avenue and destroyed every house on it, I wouldn't be alone in considering that a tremendous improvement. Get some class, Buckeyes.

Sheesh, the roughest thing I've heard outside a Vandy game was:

"2-4-6-8, Vandy players graduate!"

Tomorrow, I'll have my picks for this weekend's games.


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