It’s just around the corner and the anticipation is increasing by the minute.
No, it’s not the new episode of Jersey Shore, or the highly-anticipated NFL powerhouse preseason showdown between the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks.
It’s the 142nd season (plus or minus some years, sources vary) of college football, the greatest sport you’ve probably never appreciated enough.
Too bad, too, because there is so much to appreciate. Oh, there is so much.
In no particular order, some of the best may include: JoePa at Penn State, dotting the i at Ohio State, Florida State’s War Chant, LSU’s Death Valley, The Swamp , Fight On, woo pig sooie Arkansas, the 12th man at Texas A&M, just to name a few inside one percentile.
But every sport has tradition, whether it be professional or amateur sports. There’s one thing, or one word I should say, that puts college football on a pedestal. It’s a word Webster’s can’t necessarily define adequately, but you know it when you see it. When you feel it.
There is no one way to define pageantry, and of course no college football icon that reveals its identity. It’s every bit as mystical as the sport that it’s associated with.
Pageantry is 102,000 inside the Horseshoe, Tiger Stadium at night, midnight yell at Kyle Field, Huskey Stadium along Union Bay. It is that feeling you get when you hear Brent Musberger’s voice, the feeling you used to get when you heard Keith Jackson’s voice and the low grumble Verne Lundquist bellows.
Pageantry is Hail to the Victors, Tribute to Troy, On, Wisconsin!, Texas Fight, Rocky Top and Fight On, State.
Had enough? There’s more. What about the Gator chomp, Hook ‘em Horns or the O in Autzen? The list goes on and on, but what separates college football from the rest is that the list always stays the same.
Pageantry is 120 teams, 35 bowls and just one crystal ball.
This opening college football weekend features LSU’s Les Miles “eatin’ the grass” and Oregon’s Chip Kelly talking as fast as his offense moves the ball. The lords of the smurf turf visit Atlanta to take on Uga. Or how about the sleeper game of the weekend, the Mountaineers from that college in Boone, North Carolina taking on No. 13 Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. I’d say Appalachian State knows a thing or two about upsets, wouldn’t you?
As the years change, and college football players, coaches, alumni, directors, etc., begin to act like their professional counterparts off the field, we must be reminded what made this game, this ritual that is collegiate football, so awe inspiring. Through the late-night bar fights and scandalous recruiting techniques, one thing remains constant, and will continue to do so for the next 142 (plus or minus some years) seasons.
That word. Pageantry.