It is a Monday. Forgive this stream-of-consciousness meandering of a writing which uses far too many conjunctions and probably assumes that you know me personally. Okay, thanks.
I am wearing a green sweater over a white shirt, the collar of which is bolstered by a bright yellow tie. I am shamelessly showing my support of the University of Oregon ducks today, for what may be the first and last time ever, as they take on the Auburn Tigers in tonight's BCS National Championship Game. Two years ago or, to a lesser extent, even last year I don't think I could have done something like this, being a blatant SEC homer and all, but this past season has really changed my perspective on such provincialism
I am a Southerner. I am an SEC football fan. And I really love the idea that the brand of football I cheer for is the best in the nation. But I don't need Auburn to win for all of that to be reaffirmed, nor do I think it's necessary for Auburn to win this for the Southeastern Conference to maintain its hold atop the college football totem pole. And, to keep it simple, I really kinda like Oregon.
My decision to lean even to the slightest towards the Ducks this time comes from my complete falling out of love with the rest of the SEC. I've done it before; I've cheered for Alabama over Texas, LSU over Oklahoma, and seemingly everybody aside from Arkansas over Ohio State. It has been fun and it has felt good to be pulling for a winning team more often than not.
But, really, fuck 'em all. Just fuck 'em. I'm tired of pretending like I like the rest of the dickheads in our conference. I dig the schools, the towns (not you, Starkville), the students, the players, the coaches, and all of the traditions therof when everything is entirely removed from the context of football. But, when "amateur" competitions vicariously played amongst our universities in the form of this bizarre American sport we all obsess over a bit too much comes into play, we all just start to suck. Hard.
We do it. State fans do it (to an unbearable extreme). LSU fans do it (violently). Kentucky fans kinda sorta do it. Everybody does it. We become little snotty shitheads when a bunch of athletes who aren't us square off in a game that ultimately doesn't matter because we've, for some reason, invested a lot of pride and resources into something so trivial, so brutish, and so overwhelmingly exciting.
No, I don't want to cheer for Auburn. I don't want to cheer for any of you assholes anymore. I'm tired of pretending like I like you just because you're playing some "ferrin" team comprised of "yankees" and/or "hippies." Your wins and losses don't have any real impact on me, nor should they.
So go Ducks.
But, please, don't misread what I write; I'll be happy for Auburn if they win. I'll be annoyed by them as well, but it's not as if they wouldn't have deserved it. They've got an insanely talented squad with coaching on both sides of the ball. They've been incredibly exciting to watch this season and, out of the SEC West, they're easily a mere 4th or so in the "least bearable" category. And, regarding the impossible-to-love yet impossible-to-hate Cam Newton, remember to hate not the player in lieu of the game; he's hardly the villain in that whole scenario.
Likewise, I'll be happy for Oregon if they win. I really admire Chip Kelly's innovative coaching, his players' work ethic, and the didication the alumni of the university have for the Ducks programs. I also find it fantastic for the college football establishment that, for the first time in a long time, a pair of non-powerhouse programs are vying for the national championship, giving hope-ish to those of us who cheer for teams like, I dunno, Ole Miss and making us think that "hey, maybe a school with average-ish football tradition and an average-sized stadium with an above-average recruiting draw CAN compete on the big stage if they only had the resources and awesome coaching a team like Oregon has." Right?
Regardless, I'm just going to enjoy this game. I'm going to eat pizza, drink beer, and spend what would be an otherwise nondescript Monday night with a few friends and football fans and use tonight as both a wake for the 2010-2011 season as well as a going away party for the same. The past few months have been pretty damned miserable for the lot of us Rebels, but we all know that, come tomorrow, we'll already be counting down the days until 2011's kickoff.