Ken’s Column: Talkin College Football
Published 4:01 pm Monday, July 29, 2019
Last Saturday, I went with three football coaches to Columbus to watch the National Arena League’s Columbus Lions play the Carolina Cobras. I was with Americus-Sumter special teams coach Carl Willis, Schley County offensive coordinator Scott Burgess and the former legendary Americus High School football coach Alton Shell.
We all had a wonderful time fellowshipping with each other on our way to our favorite restaurant in Columbus, the Metro Diner. While we were in the car, at dinner and at the game, we all talked mostly about one subject: college football.
We talked about how we thought Georgia, Alabama, Auburn and other teams were going to do this season. We also discussed the successes of former Schley County and current University of South Alabama running back Trey Minter.
According to the Louisville Sports Commission, Minter, a redshirt senior, is a preseason candidate for the Paul Hornung Award.
We talked a lot about Auburn, being that Coach Shell was a former player for the Tigers. “Auburn should quit football”, Coach Willis kept jokingly saying.
Our conversations were an example of what goes on all over America this time of year.
All over the country, millions of fans are counting down the days until the first college football game of the season, but no fans are more excited than those of us here in the South. We are especially excited to see how our favorite SEC teams will do.
As all of us know, here in the South, College football is not just a game. It’s a religion. People here are as passionate about college football as the English people are about soccer, except for the fact that we don’t riot over games. It dominates just about every social fabric in this region. Fans discuss their favorite teams while at church on Sundays and talk about college football during the workweek.
Of course, on the weekends, fans tailgate outside their favorite school’s home stadium hours before kickoff and yell their heads off during the games.
The South has, in my opinion, most of the best rivalry games in all of college football. You have Georgia vs Georgia Tech, Florida vs Florida State, Georgia vs Auburn, and the most heated rivalry of them all: Auburn vs Alabama in the “Iron Bowl”.
Perhaps the talk of high school football recruiting is also nowhere else stronger than in the South. There are recruiting services such as rivals.com that operate year-round. They provide the college football fan with coverage of who the best high school players are at each position and what colleges are interested in their services. Some fans spend too much time worrying about what an 18 year-old will do once he leaves high school, but that is the fanaticism that exists nowhere else but here in the South.
To sum it up, college football is deeply engrained in our culture and it will be upon us again in just a few weeks. There will be some exciting early-season matchups, such as Miami (FL) vs Florida on Saturday, August 24. The following Saturday, another interesting game will take place between Oregon and Auburn at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.
Ladies and gentlemen, the long wait is almost over. College football is almost here. Let’s enjoy!
Ken Gustafson is the sports editor for the Americus Times-Recorder. To contact him, email him at Ken.email@example.com, or call 229-924-2751.