Happy New Year!

This morning I’m going to offer my opinions about college and professional football; this coming from a person who never played football and is but a casual fan. Those of us who follow sporting events are shaped by our place of residence. There are few Auburn fans that are born and raised in Colorado; there are few Denver Bronco fans that are born and raised in New Jersey.

Having spent my youth in Omaha, Nebraska I grew up with no allegiances to any professional football team. When you live in Nebraska you are a cornhusker fan, plain and simple. In the 70’s we would gather on Thanksgiving Day to watch the Huskers play their archrivals, the Oklahoma Sooners. If the Huskers could get by Oklahoma there was a certainty that they would play in a top bowl game; the Huskers won two national championships in the 70’s. They played in the Big 8 Conference; we held little respect for the Big 10 Conference, and for good reason; Big 8 teams dominated Big 10 teams on the rare occasions when they would meet.

After moving to Minnesota I followed the Huskers, but they were seldom on television up here in Big 10 country, so my interest waned. There was absolutely no reason to cheer for the Minnesota Golden Gophers; a joke back in the 70’s and a joke ever since. There must be something in the water in Minneapolis that prevents anyone from hiring a decent athletic director or a competent coach. Lou Holtz’ brief tenure with the Gophers was the only spark of genius before he headed off to his dream job at Notre Dame.

Today my disdain for the Big 10 has largely been confirmed as Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Northwestern have all lost their bowl games. Only Iowa has emerged victorious and Ohio State has a chance to win on January 4th. I would pound my chest more except that four of six big 12 teams have also lost their bowl games, with only Texas A&M left to play on January 7th.

On the professional side, I became a Packer fan in 1997 when they won the super bowl. The Vikings have always turned me off; they’re a terribly run organization, no matter who owns them. I sure as heck don’t want to build them a new stadium; they can’t go off to Los Angeles quick enough to suit me. I also like the Chicago Bears, which is an enigma to both Bears and Packer fans. Both the Bears and Packers are the most historic, storied franchises in the NFL. I’ll root for the Bears, unless they are playing the Packers. Today the Bears play the Packers at Lambeau, but the Bears will likely rest some of their starters, as they have nothing to gain with a victory.

In any case, football gives us a pleasant diversion as the cold winds of winter blow in the upper Midwest. Hockey and basketball are football’s weak sisters and are to be watched on television only when there are no more football games.

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