|Todd Gurley plowed us similarly to how this tractor operates.|
Oh, it wasn't New Year's Day, you say? In the words of the appropriately quoted Lee Corso, "Not so fast my friend." In the South, New Year's Day is the first Saturday of college football.
Now, I know the feathered folks in Columbia will claim that the Hey, Pay Attention to Us! Bowl on the Thursday night game heralds the New Year, but that game is usually just a scrimmage, especially evidenced by the Gamecocks' 52-28 shellacking at the hands of Texas A&M, sans Johnny Football. And to be unbiased, my Tigers didn't fair much better after Georgia's Todd Gurley blitzkrieged Clemson to the tune of 45-21. Reports that Gurley stopped at the 25 yard line during his kick return touchdown to enjoy shrimp hors d'oeuvres and a nice glass of Chianti have yet to be confirmed.
I could opine the tired old topics of college football such as who tailgates the best (Ole Miss with Clemson coming up in second), who has the best fans (Texas A&M), who has the best gameday atmosphere (c'mon... y'all know it's Clemson), who has a celebrity chef as a fan who is likely to vandalize your car with butter (Georgia and Paula Deen). Or even discuss the behavior of certain fan bases, such as Maryland fans' tendency to hurl beer, or Gamecock fans' mullets, or Alabama fans murdering each other after tough losses. Or we could discuss the ESPN-created SEC bias, but nah.
Let's talk about the stages a Southern football fan goes through each season. Now I'm not saying fans in other regions of the nation don't experience these, but down here, college football is a cult that makes the Branch Davidians look like Wake Forest fans.
Stage One - Illusions of Grandeur
Before the first kickoff, we will be national champs. Last year is history, no matter how bad your bowl loss was. We have a new QB. We have some new recruits. We have new uniforms. Our rival had someone arrested, so we're going to win it all. I bought some new window flags and a new lucky baseball cap, which, by God, this one will give us that push.
If you're a Gamecock fan at this moment, you believe your school is the 1985 Chicago Bears.
Stage Two - Rocky Balboa Stage
Okay, so we don't look spectacular... but neither did Rocky at first against Apollo Creed! Or Clubber Lang! Or Ivan Drago! And we will pretend Tommy Gunn didn't happen! Our coach will get it together. The QB just needs a few more reps. The defense won't give up that many yards.
If you're an Alabama fan, you're feeling this stage after beating Georgia State 108-3.
Stage Three - Rodney Dangerfield Stage
What?! We're ranked behind Alabama and Oregon? That's garbage. The whole system is rigged. Who does these polls anyway? Buncha journalists? Can't trust em. We're clearly the greatest team since the '72 Dolphins.
If you're a Boise State fan, you're preaching this after beating Southwestern Mountain Technical Cosmetology School three weeks in a row.
Stage Four - I Am Bear Bryant
We've lost one or two games we shouldn't. Clearly our coach is a buffoon. I know I could do better than this because I beat the same team 56-0 on XBox. It's time for me to sit down and draft up some plays to send to the athletic director along with some threats to pull my donations for next year.
If you're a Clemson fan, this is known as the Form a Lynch Mob and Hang the Whole Coaching Staff Stage.
Stage Five - Acceptance
Okay. Let's just hope for a mid-range bowl in Florida.
If you're a Duke fan and you reach this stage, you check your sweet tea for hallucinogens.
Stage Six - Please, Sweet Jesus, Just Let Us Beat Our Rival
Okay, I don't care about the rest of the season. Just please, please, please don't let us lose to those assholes again. I promise I will work at a soup kitchen all Christmas long if you let us win... by at least two touchdowns.
This is pretty much any fan of any Southern team with an in-state rival, regardless of record.
If you're an NC State fan, you're already looking forward to next year's new uniforms.
Stage Seven - College Football is Bullshit
Who got into the BCS?! (I know, it's a playoff now). Oh, they just let in another SEC team with one loss and left out an undefeated? Herbstreit is full of it. Corso is full of it. David Pollack is a vampire. Jesse Palmer wears skinny ties. This whole system is garbage. Why do I pay all this money and watch this crap every year?! That's it. I'm done with it. I'm going to watch nothing but the NFL from now on.
If you're an SEC fan, this is called, "Welp, my team sucked, but, uh, SEC! SEC! SEC!"
If you're a Florida State fan, you're too busy asking the meat guy at Publix for the Jameis Winston discount.
Stage Eight - Reluctant Traveler
Well, I'm not sure about this bowl game, but it's one last chance to see the seniors play. And it's my team. Okay, I'll go. It'll only cost a $1,000 or so to watch my team lay an egg to some MAC team that is ecstatic to be there.
If you're a Clemson fan, this is the I'm Not Falling For That Shit Again After the 2012 Orange Bowl Stage.
Stage Eight - Maybe Just One Peek...
Okay, I guess I'll watch the National Title game. Oh, Alabama won by four touchdowns? Awesome. This sucks. I'll never watch this again.
If you're a fan of an SEC team with a losing record, you are passed out in drunken euphoria.
If you're a Gamecock fan, you're trolling the message board of the team that lost to Bama.
Stage Nine - Withdrawal
Man, I miss college football. I wish August would hurry up and get here!
Happy New Year, ladies and gentlemen.