TWSS: Sarah Spain's campus call
Around this time last year, I wrote a story detailing the many reasons that college football can't touch the NFL. Among them: the BCS system, the kind of absurd realignment that almost landed San Diego in the Big East, too many pointless bowl games, too many off days before those pointless bowl games, unrelenting SEC dominance and, most important, corruption and big business masquerading as amateurism.
I openly admitted the reasons I've never gotten into college football -- I didn't attend a university with a big football program, my parents didn't raise me with any college football loyalties and I don't live in a city that rallies around one big college team.
I got plenty of comments on the story and, after talking about it on ESPN Radio in Chicago, I got plenty of calls, too. The overwhelming response was not just that fans disagreed with me, which was to be expected, but that they also pitied me.
People couldn't believe that I'd never sung "The Victors" at the Big House or done the Gator Chomp at the Swamp. They were genuinely sad for me that my college Saturdays weren't spent grilling and 'gating with thousands of classmates.
Callers were stunned to hear I'd spent six years living in Southern California and never once set foot in the Rose Bowl or the Coliseum. (Truth is, I was at the Coliseum once, but it was just to shoot a promo for the Discovery Channel's "Bloody Rome Week.")
Talking to so many die-hard fans who couldn't imagine how my life could have purpose without football on Saturdays made me realize that I needed to experience college football firsthand to really understand.
So this year, I'm gonna give college football (ahem) the ol' college try.
I'm going to enlist the help of some current college athletes enrolled at some of the biggest and best spots for college football. These ladies will brag about their schools' best game-day traditions, take us inside the rowdiest pregame tailgates and parties and describe just what it's like to be at a big-time college football game.
Via their stories and videos, I'll finally get to see what life is like for a student at a major football school. (Sorry, Cornell, but my days cheering on the Big Red in Schoellkopf just can't compete.)
That's not all, though. In order to truly understand the allure of the college game, I need to experience it for myself. That's where you guys come in.
Using your suggestions in the comments, on Twitter and on Facebook, espnW is going to create a bracket of the best game-day traditions in college football. From the Script Ohio formation to Calling the Hogs, from Ralphie's Run to the Jump Around, these are the things that make the college football experience so special.
I'll pay a visit to the two schools voted to have the best game-day traditions and let current students and alumni show me what I've been missing out on all these years.
Don't be shy! Get your friends and fellow alums to suggest your school for the bracket. If your favorite team wins, you might just be the one leading me through my first "Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk" chant or sharing some brews and fried chicken with me at the Grove at Ole Miss.
It's time for this old gal (relatively speaking) to go back to school.