Officially, that is. It began last night here in the South and parts elsewhere. Down here, however, it's different. Equal parts Christmas, St. Patrick's Day, Lundi Gras, and your birthday, college football unites as well as divides in the South.
A business introducton in my South in the fall may often include - in addition to being asked your name - the question, "Who ya for?" And the questioner does not mean do you support McCain or Obama, but rather the Tide, the Bayou Bengals, or the Gators.
In honor of this vital way a life, in honor of a chromosome that is in the DNA of many where I live, a lighthearted, non-legal ode to college football, and how it is different 'down here' --
FOOTBALL SEASON - NORTH VS SOUTH
Up North: Chapstick in their back pocket and a
$20 bill in their front pocket.
Down South: Louis Vuitton duffel with two
lipsticks, powder, mascara waterproof), concealer,
and a fifth of bourbon. Wallet not necessary -that's
what dates are for.
Up north: College football stadiums hold 20,000.
Down south: High school football stadiums hold
Up North: Doug Flutie
Down South: Peyton Manning
Up North: Rain and overcoats.
Down South: Sunny, highs mid-60s, lows in the
Up North: Expect their daughter to understand
Down South: Expect their daughters to
understand pass interference.
Up North: Male and female alike: woolly
sweater or sweatshirt, jeans.
Down South Male: -pressed khakis, oxford
shirt, cap with frat logo, Justin Ropers.
Down South Female: -ankle-length skirt,
coordinated cardigan, flat riding boots,
Up North: Take prospects on sailing trips
before they join the law firm.
Down South: Take prospects on fishing trips so
they don't leave for the NFL their senior year.
Up North: Statues of Founding Fathers.
Down South: Statues of Heisman Trophy winners.
Up North: Also a physics major.
Down South: Also Miss USA.
Up North: Mario Cuomo
Down South: "Bear" Bryant
Up North: 5 days before the game you can walk
into the ticket office on campus and still
Down South: 5 months before the game you can
walk into the ticket office on campus and
still be placed on the waiting list for tickets.
FRIDAY CLASSES AFTER A THURSDAY NIGHT GAME
Up North: Students and Teachers are not sure
if they are going because they have class on
Down South: Teachers cancel class on Friday
because they don't want to see the few hungover
students that might actually make it to class
Up North: An hour or two before game time the
university opens the campus for game parking.
Down South: RV's sporting their school flags
begin arriving on Wednesday for the weekend's
festivities. The real faithful begin arriving
Up North: A few students party in the dorm and
watch ESPN on TV.
Down South: Every student wakes up, has a beer
for breakfast, and rushes over, 2 hours early, to where ESPN is
broadcasting Game Day "Live" to get on camera
and wave to the idiots from up North who wonder
why Game Day never broadcasts from their campus.
Up North: Wieners on the grill, beer with a
lime in it, listening to local radio station with
truck tailgate down.
Down South: 30-foot custom pig-shaped smoker
fires up at dawn. Arguments about what type of sausages are
served with breakfast. RV neighbor walks around in bathrobe with school
logo on it, and coffee mug with a 'touch' of bourbon in it. Cooking accompanied by live performance by Hootie & the Blowfish, who come
over during breaks and ask for a hit off your
bottle of bourbon.
GETTING TO THE STADIUM
Up North: You have to ask, "Where's the stadium?"
When you find it you walk right in with no line.
Down South: When you're near it, you'll hear
it. On game day, it becomes the State's third
Up North: Drinks served in a paper cup filled
to the top with soda.
Down South: Drinks served in a plastic cup
with the home team's mascot-filled less than
halfway to ensure enough room for bourbon.
WHEN THE NATIONAL ANTHEM IS PLAYED
Up North: Stands are less than half full.
Down South: 80,000+ fans sing along in perfect
3-part harmony. Tears shed, after flyover from Blue Angels.
THE SMELL IN THE AIR AFTER THE FIRST SCORE
Up North: Nothing changes.
Down South: Fireworks with a twist of bourbon.
Up North: "Nice play."
Down South: "Dammit you slow sumbitch-tackle
him and break his legs!!!
Up North: "My, this is a violent sport."
Down South: "Dammit you slow sumbitch-tackle
him and break his legs!!!"
AFTER THE GAME
Up North: The stadium is empty before the game > >ends.
Down South: Another rack of ribs on the smoker, followed by
40 plus people watching two more games on satellite TV
attached to a flat screen. Somebody goes to the nearest package
store for more bourbon, planning begins for next
Note: This isn't mine, it's been on emails for nearly a decade.
Happy Labor Day.