Aug 27

"Next year" is finally here

Posted By:Paul Elder  Tags:

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Photo: John David Mercer - US Presswire

    ESPNU just showed a replay of the Clemson vs. University of South Carolina game from November of 2007.  As many of you no doubt remember, Clemson won the game in dramatic fashion on a last second Mark Bucholz field goal. 

     Even though I watched the game live, and even though I’ve seen the replay of that kick roughly six thousand times in the last nine months, I still held my breath and crossed my fingers as my Tigers lined up for that game winning attempt.  The memories of Bucholz's two misses from earlier in the game were just as fresh, and just as frightening, as they were almost a year ago.

     As the kick sailed through the uprights and the clock ticked down to 0:00, I swear for a split second I was just as excited as I was the moment it actually happened.  And I’m equally sure that some South Carolina fan out there was watching the same replay and was just as disappointed as they were way back when.

     This is why I love college football.  You can substitute any two teams in the country into the preceding scenario, and somewhere out there is somebody who cares about both sides just as passionately.  There is someone whose heart just skipped a beat and someone whose heart was just ripped out.  And we’ve all been on both sides of it.

     College football is all about the passion, and all about the memories that are created.  Go to the message board of this website and read dcomitch’s rant about strength of schedule.  Passion.  Or read zqglass’s post about eating fried chicken and throwing the ball around the parking lot at Groves Stadium.  Memories.

     No matter who you pull for, or where you went to school, or how many games you get to go to each year -- everyone who has ever cared about a college football team has compiled a set of memories, both good and not-so-good, that keeps them coming back for more.

     Appalachian State fans get to remember for the rest of their lives where they were and how good it felt when they beat Michigan.  My dad, to this day, hates Notre Dame because of a blowout win over his Jackets when he was a student at Georgia Tech.  In 1967!!!  Folks in Alabama still religiously visit the grave of a man who got his nickname by wrestling a friggin’ bear.  Passion.  Memories.

     The best part, to me, is that it’s never over.  As soon as the last poll is taken and the final awards are handed out, people immediately start talking about that Promised Land known far and wide as “next year.”

     Maybe some Michigan fans will get some vindication when LSU smokes App. State and puts them back in their place.  Maybe one day Notre Dame will lose badly enough and long enough for my dad to ease up in his hatred.  Maybe one day Mr. Saban will have those Bama fans naming their first born sons Nick instead of Paul.  Maybe all of these things will happen...or maybe none of them will.  But the beauty of college football is that the “maybe’s” will always exist.

     Hell, maybe this year South Carolina will kick a last second field goal to beat Clemson.  Maybe.

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