NCAA / ncaa football

Voodoo dolls and Advent Calendars: The College Football Playoffs Countdown
Well, it's finally here, the moment college football fans have been waiting for all year. The regular season is over, the playoff picks have been announced, and now it's time to ... wait. I don't know why the gap between the end of the regular season and the college football playoffs is so long. It's too long. Some of you reading this may vehemently disagree, and that's OK. We can agree to disagree. (But I'm right.) This isn't an argument for the NCAA shortening the break between the regular season and the playoffs, or even adding another round to the playoffs, which could also shorten the break. The point is, if you're a college football fan, you've got about a month to kill from the last regular season game until the playoffs start. How can you make the most of that break? Here are some ideas that, if I do say so myself, are brilliant in concept and elegantly proposed: Complain about why your team didn't make it. This of course doesn't apply to fans of Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame or Oklahoma, the four schools that made it to the playoffs. What if you're a fan of Georgia or “THE” Ohio State? You're dealing with just barely missing out on the playoffs. That's gotta hurt! (Ohio State also needs to find a new coach now that Urban Meyer recently announced he'll retire after this year's Rose Bowl). You could choose to respond in a mature (pronounced mah-too-were if you really want to sound mature and sophisticated) manner by accepting your team's fate as a non-playoff contender and being happy for the fans of schools that made it. But where's the fun in that? Misery loves company, and you could make the time leading up to the playoffs the Month of Misery, ceaselessly telling your family, friends and those silly enough to follow you on social media how your team was royally screwed out of contending for the national championship. (If you're an Alabama fan) Christmas shop for 2019 National Champion gear I love to give Alabama fans a hard time. It's nothing personal, but once a team has enjoyed a certain level of success or even dominance, like Alabama has, you can only expect a little grief from other sports fans. (It's the same way with the Patriots in the NFL, though their dominance looks like it may be fading.) For some (not all) Alabama fans, the question isn't if they'll win the national title, but by how much. (To be fair, a lot of non-Alabama fans make this same prediction every year.) But if you are a very confident Crimson Tide fan, why not go ahead and start shopping for this year's title gear? Or, if you have a fan of Alabama's rival Auburn in your family, why not buy them Alabama 2019 National Champions shirts? (Note: I would never actually do this; it's merely a humorous suggestion. Actually giving an Auburn fan premature Alabama championship gear might be a dangerous move. You've been warned.) Modify an Advent Calendar Here in the Midwestern US, I think it's fair to say most people know what an Advent Calendar is. But if you're from one of those godless, far-off lands (like Brooklyn, or Los Angeles), you might not know that at Christmas time, Advent is a season observed by religious people in anticipation/celebration of the birth of Christ. An Advent Calendar, then, is an interactive countdown to Christmas, a sort of pop-up book/calendar hybrid. College football fans could treat December as a playoff advent, gleefully marking down each day leading up to the start of the playoffs. Modifying Christmas traditions doesn’t stop there. You could also make your own college football Nativity scene. Clemson fans could add a Tiger to the animals gathering around the manger. Alabama fans could replace the three wisemen with Nick Sagan, Bear Bryant and Wallace Wade. Oklahoma fans could add a Sooner to the scene, as soon as anyone finds out what in the world a Sooner actually is. Notre Dame fans could honor their school’s Catholic tradition by ... keeping the nativity scene exactly the way it is, I guess. Make voodoo dolls of the opposing team's players Let’s say you’re not exactly filled with the Christmas spirit, but still want some help in sabotaging the other team? You could always try making voodoo dolls of the other team’s players to keep them on the sidelines. I realize this sounds pretty dark. “I want my team to win”, you’re thinking, “but I don’t want to hurt a college kid!” Relax! You don’t have to break a bone or pull a muscle. Just have the doll ready for game time, and when that player gets the ball, tickle the doll under the arm pit. (You can tell I’m a father and uncle to toddlers with this idea.) Everyone watching will wonder what’s causing the quarterback to laugh uncontrollably and put his hand under his arm pit, yelling “Stop! Stop!” But you, holder of the voodoo dolls, you’ll know. If you’re a die-hard college football fan, waiting for the playoffs to actually start can be a hard process, like a child waiting for Christmas. I think you’ll find these ideas will make the time not only bearable, but enjoyable. You’re welcome. And if you choose the complaining strategy, don’t be surprised if your friends and family start shopping for voodoo dolls ...