Monday, August 8, 2011
Life Begins Today
It's that time of year when I get all banged up and sore and break a sweat just by anticipating the excitement, the pageantry, the beautiful, controlled violence of the game of college football.
I am the world's greatest college football fan.
Oregon takes to the practice field today at 1 p.m. to begin preparing for its tough opening game against LSU on Sept. 3 in Dallas, Texas.
Texas is Willie Lyles territory, as all my football-loving friends know. If you haven't heard about Lyles and his relationship with Oregon's coach Chip Kelly, go back to reading your recent Round Bend Press acquisition and ignore this post.
Oregon players LaMichael James, Darron Thomas, Lache Seastrunk, Josh Huff, Blake Cantu and Anthony Wallace are all from Texas. A tight group, all snatched away from the many second-rate academic institutions that dot that godforsaken state's bleak landscape, enticed by the opportunity to get a solid education and win a shitload of college football games.
Heroes who came West to play in the game's greatest conference, the PAC-12.
I'm a big Duck fan, of course. I went to school in Eugene and have had a long love affair with the team. When I attended classes there in the early 70s Oregon had some very fine football players, but not nearly as many as now.
I sat next to Dan Fouts in poli-sci classes all the time, passed him notes with diagrammed plays I wanted him to try in the next big game.
He said to me one time, smiling at my poorly drawn guaranteed TD, "Simons, you are an idiot to think this will work against USC!"
Well, I can't get down to Eugene to watch my number 1 team practice, so yesterday I went the second best route available to me. I hiked the four blocks to Portland State's campus and watched my second favorite college team's first practice.
The Mighty PSU Vikings, who unfortunately won only two games last season.
You see, I'm also a proud graduate of PSU, and I have more school spirit than a high school cheerleader.
PSU opens on Sept. 3, too, a game the smart people over at the university decided to reschedule for 1 p.m. to avoid conflict with the televised Duck game at 5 p.m.
Smart move. I'll go to Jeld-Wen to watch my Vikings before I head over to the bar to watch my Ducks.
I have my life figured out for Sept. 3, at least.
And I have some good news for you if you've read this far and give a fuck. PSU will have a much improved team this year. Much, much improved. The Jerry Glanville era, a mistake two years removed, is officially and finally over.
Second year coach Nigel Burton, a (here I clear my throat and grimace) Washington grad, has recruited some massive, mobile linemen from the JC ranks, sprinkled in a few transfers from major programs, and brought aboard some outstanding freshmen to, as the sports jocks on the radio say, "git 'er done."
The Vikings open against Southern Oregon. I played football at Southern Oregon--one year, back in 1970. Strictly small time football. PSU will kill them.
Nigel Burton can recruit, just like Chip Kelly, but with perhaps fewer, er, disposable dollars in hand.