Football is finally back

Football season is finally here. Last week we had a handful of high school contests in the area. We’ve had plenty of preseason pro football. But this week, college football begins just about everywhere, and I can’t wait.

6-25 Page 4A.inddThursday, South Carolina will host Texas A&M in the Southeastern Conference opener. I am a little perplexed over this one. I grew up a South Carolina fan, but when I got to Clemson, I became a Tiger fan.

The moment that assured the deal was when I met a Clemson cheerleader at a convenience store on the Saturday morning of a ballgame. I knew then she was the person I wanted to bear my children. She smiled as we were waiting in line and asked if I was going to the game that day. I’m glad she did not ask if I was imagining our lives together, because the answer was the same. “Yes!”

As I never really got to know her, the part about her bearing my children never came true. But I pulled for the Tigers each week as if she was going to decide she liked fat, boring men.

If you are going to pull for the Tigers, you cannot also pull for the Gamecocks. I’m sure there’s some kind of law that says that. And most of the time I had no problem with that if they were playing each other.

But logic somehow got into my head, and I figured out that if South Carolina lost a game, that just made one other team look better than Clemson. So I would quietly pull for those Gamecocks until the last game of the year. I don’t see myself pulling for Texas A&M on Thursday.

I don’t like any school that abbreviates its name.

Saturday, Clemson travels to Georgia. No real conflict there. I heard on the radio that Clemson has only won twice at Georgia in the past 75 years. Of course some years the two teams did not play, and about half of their games were at Clemson, but still, that’s a troubling number.

I remember my freshman year at Clemson, a female Georgia fan was sitting in the “green-grass” section near me. She and her husband had brought in their own drinks, and the time came when nature took its course and she needed to find the nearest lady’s room.

I pointed to one of the trees on the hill (this was quite some time ago) and said “We just go behind that tree.” Her husband was at least sober enough to doubt me, so he took her to find the proper facilities.

After the game — Georgia lost that game, 13-3, ending its streak after winning the national title a year earlier — I saw dozens of Georgia fans begin their ride home, still smiling. They blew their horns and waved as they drunkenly left Clemson.

This year’s game is a total mystery to me. Clemson has lost its star at quarterback. Some say the new guy may be better than Tajh Boyd was, but then why didn’t he start last year? Our defense is also supposed to be improved this season.

Georgia lost its long time quarterback too, but the guy who was behind him got some experience when the starter was injured late last season.

So I really have no idea how the game will go Saturday. I am just glad they are finally playing it.