Early games lack meaning

first_imgI think I’m going to wait a little longer. I’m just not ready to end my summer yet even as ESPN starts devoting coverage to the college football season and the smell of tailgate parties fills the air. It’s still too early to start caring about college football yet, especially since the first couple of weeks do nothing but confuse and bore me.With several weeks before the start of heated in-conference play, and rivalry games even farther off, none of the games being played do much to hint at what’s to come this season. Instead, the false hopes created for mediocre teams and early dismissals of some good ones leave me playing catch-up throughout the rest of the season. The first few weeks leave me wondering how the same team that beat up on a Division 1-AA opponent by 30 points to start the season is on the verge of firing their coach and a team I saw lose in week one is now hunting for a Rose Bowl bid.It’s also become too difficult to watch lower tier teams from conferences like the MAC and the Sun Belt flock to packed stadiums across the country only to be slaughtered by teams that are below average in their conferences.Schools like Michigan State and Pittsburgh open their seasons with considerably weaker opponents, and despite having less than formidable teams, MSU and Pitt are likely to emerge as three touchdown victors. In doing so, teams like the Spartans and Panthers will no doubt allow countless fans and alumni to share delusions about conference titles and bowl games while their third stringers continue to run up the score and the band plays the fight song for the fourteenth time. Though it doesn’t hurt fans to dream a little bit, it makes the reality of another 6-6 season even harsher. And although these games do offer fans some exposure to teams that might not be featured on national broadcasts too often, I’m pretty sure I have better things to do than watch quarterbacks with higher GPAs than touchdown-to-interception ratios struggle to learn how to pick apart the University of Alabama-Birmingham’s 3-4 defense.For the nation’s top teams, opening games are even less entertaining to watch. Watching USC trample Idaho won’t give fans any indication of whether the Trojans can compete for a national championship, the same way watching Oklahoma’s redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Bradford take the field for the first time against North Texas, a team that lost their opener to Texas last season by seven touchdowns, won’t prove that Bradford is capable of leading the Sooners to a BCS bowl bid this year.When Murray State heads to Louisville to take on the No. 10 Cardinals, the only thing that might surprise fans is that the Racers, winners of just three games throughout the last two seasons, still have a Division 1-A football team.Though there will be some games featuring two competitive teams with bowl game aspirations, making judgments based on those early season matchups is not a wise decision. To start the year No. 12 Cal will host No. 15 Tennessee. But even a win there isn’t necessarily a sign of an undefeated season for either team, just the way a loss could be chalked down just as much to early season rust as an overrated team.Last season, Arkansas was quickly cast aside after losing its home opener to USC by 36 points. Fans quick to cast aside the Razorbacks must have to been shocked to see the team run off 10 straight wins after that en route to the SEC championship game.Even a part of the football season not determined by wins and losses, the Heisman Trophy race, won’t become evident until after the first few weeks. Though front runners like Michael Hart and Steve Slaton are probably capable of running for 400 yards against Appalachian State and Western Michigan, it’s unlikely either star will see too many carries once Michigan and West Virginia see their leads reach 20 or 30 points. Instead, fans will have to wait several weeks for the types of games that Heisman voters look to when determining a winner of the sport’s most prestigious award.It may be a difficult reality to face, but it’s true: The opening of the college football season isn’t much more important than every team’s annual spring football game. MLB’s spring training goes largely unwatched. It is typically written off as meaningless exhibitions, and the NFL isn’t much different; critics argue that the meaningless preseason is too long. College football’s opening weeks are just a glorified spring training that mean something in the standings.So while millions of fans light up their grills and turn their televisions to college football this week, you can be sure that I’ll be focused on more pressing matters like baseball pennant races, mastering the newest features in Madden 2008 and the WNBA playoffs. Well, maybe not that last one.Mike is a sophomore majoring in journalism. If you think Idaho can make football history at USC, or any other miracles can occur, he can be reached at [email protected]last_img

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