It's the most wonderful time of the year...
I’ve been getting that little twinge I feel at this time of the year. It’s ever so subtle at first, barely noticeable, gradually culminating into the point of hysteria and obsession. . Poison ivy, you guess? Cough due to cold? No, both wrong answers. You are dumb, ill informed, and have no life. What I’m talkin’ ‘bout here is the commencement of the 2006/07 college and pro football seasons!
It all begins with little tombstone reports in the sports section of the paper with little tidbits about early volunteer practices going on at campus’s across the country. Just a paragraph or two on the NFL two-a-days here and there, nothing to get all to excited about, after all, it is still summertime. As the days wear on towards the waning days of August, it becomes three or four dedicated pages of the sports section, injury and scouting reports, detailed analysis of Georgia/Georgia Tech/Falcons upcoming openers, national and conference power rankings, ESPN preseason picks, etc… I ask you my friends, IS IT THE GREATEST GAME IN THE WHOLE WORLD, OR WHAT?!
With the prospect of actually being unemployed by Christmas, the promise that the coming football season brings is what's keeping a smile on my face right now. A quick run down of my random thoughts and who/what I care about…
Army – No chance a reader of this blog doesn’t know why I love these guys. Grew up living and breathing Army football. It’s part of my DNA and hopefully my daughters too. Bobby Ross’s Army team has a lot to look forward to this season. Their independent conference status has allowed for better scheduling that should produce five wins this year. With any luck, they’ll beat a floundering Air Force program and squeak by a Navy team that continues to prove thay are for real.
University of Maryland Terrapins – The Terps will struggle again this year as the quarterback position continues to be a question mark. My expectation is middle of the conference pack again, perhaps a lightweight bowl game. Somewhat related news, Terps star running back two short years ago Bruce Perry who's playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, got his bell rung pretty hard last night. He went limp and looked paralyzed. After a long break in the action, they put him on the board and wheeled him off. It was pretty scary. Players on both sides of the field were welling up tears. Last I heard it was a concussion, but have found no updates.
Georgia Tech – A strong returning defense again this year will keep the Jackets from a subpar finish. Tech will continue to be plagued with the the same problem they’ve had for the last three years: a quarterback who suffers from Doug Flutieatitus. The only hope for senior Reggie Ball is the fact that he has one of the best and tallest receivers in div. IA, Calvin Johnson, to throw to this year. Tech opens at home against a most hated (by me and most rational people in this world) Notre Dame. ESPN will be bringing Game Day to Bobby Dodd Stadium and kick off will be at nigh more than likely. Anybody want to join us? I have only this left to say, OH HELLS YEAH!!!
Penn State – Talked a bit of Penn State football with my brother in law Eric while out at the family reunion in Lake Tahoe. He’s a little guarded about the Nittany Lion’s up coming season. There are two reasons I like Penn State: My brother in law and his 4,000 brothers all went there and watching a game with them is a freak show unto itself, and the fact that PSU is really the only Northeast based football powerhouse. I’m again hoping to find a way to see a game in Happy Valley this year. Penn State’s win over a hated Florida State in last years Orange Bowl was one fo the greatest games ever played.
The Atlanta Flacons – The birds go into this season without receiver Brian Finneran (hurt in practice) who I think sucks anyway. The real question is has Jim Mora made the offensive adjustments required to simplify his playbook enough so a dolt like Michael Vick can understand it. That, and give the guy schemes that allow for him to do what he does best: run the damn ball. I don’t think Vick will ever be a world class passer despite having a bullet for an arm. If Mora can accept this and make the adjustments to his schemes, the Falcons might be able to win a wildcard game this year.
The NY Jets – I have always been a Jets fan going way back to my NY days. They are the Army football team of the NFL. I’m not sure what they look like this year, but I’m sure they’re underdogs in every game and that makes them a team worth pulling for. My main man Jackson’s favorite team. Reason enough to root for them.
The Oakland Raiders – Al Davis has decided to give Art Schell another chance at captaining a disgraced Raider team this year. They looked okay last night in the preseason opener against the Eagles, but who the hell knows, it’s preseason. I do believe that Art can instill the discipline the Raider need so badly. The Raider spirit is a notoriously undisciplined one, but organized chaos is the happy medium that works best for Oakland. They’ll finish better than last year, but not in playoff contention.
The NY Giants – Yes, like Jackson, I like both the Giants and the Jets. I haven’t read much about them this year either, but Mini Manning will be back and as much as I doubted his ability when they picked him up a couple of years ago, I think the dude's got game. Should be exciting to watch at a minimum.
Our biggest and most immediate challenge this football season will be finding a new spot in which to host our Georgia Tech tailgating extravaganza. The morons at Tech decided sometime this past winter to plant a grove of pine trees in the field that we have been using for the past seven years. We will find something soon and you can bet that you’ll be getting some killer on the scene posts to this blog this season using my new kickass new e-mail/phone device which should include photos and movies et al assuming I figure out how to make it work.
We will again have the Reifer/Phillips football pool in full swing this season with perhaps an on line interface which will allow you to get instant status on yours and everyone else’s picks. Shoot me a note if any newbee’s want to join in the fun.
Lastly, this will be the first of many open invitations to any readers who are interested in joining us for any of the GT home games. Simply let me know you’re interested and will get it set up. I am also hoping that I’ll make it up for an Army game too. I’ll die if I don’t get to see them this year. LET THE GAMES BEGIN!