Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pigskin HNT

OK--let's talk college football. One of the things about living in Montana is that we tend to be isolated. When it comes to football, we are a long ways away from the NFL (Denver and Seattle are the nearest) and from big-time colleges. Closest big ones are Idaho (lousy team), Boise State (Smurf Turf!), Washington State (Go, Cougs!) and Washington (home of the Huskies). But none of these are known necessarily for the rabid gameday activities as those of the Big-10, SEC, Big East or others.

What we get around here are the teams from the former 1-AA. And my team, the Montana Grizzlies, have been its most consistently dominant team over the past two decades. They have the longest running streak of playoff appearances, and are generally considered one of the top 4 teams in the country on a regular basis. It's considered a "poor" season if they lose early in the playoffs, or in some years, if they don't make it to the championship game.

Oh, what's that you say, Os? Championship game? Playoffs? Yes, the FCS (Football CHAMPIONSHIP Subdivision, formerly the 1-AA) has a playoff system, and a real, undisputed National CHAMPION! This is what makes small college football so much more exciting than it's bigger cousin. And it's the same playoff system that ALL football leagues, from Pop Warner to the NATIONAL FRIGGIN' FOOTBALL LEAGUE use, except for the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision)!! Big college football is a totally different game. Maybe politically correct in that everyone gets a chance to play. In other words, if you've got a season record of 6-6, then you deserve to go to a post-season bowl game. WHAT??? 6-6?? Big school presidents say that the playoff system won't work. Of course not! There's no money in it. Corporations won't throw money at schools to play in their little bowl game. Or that it takes away from the academics and the "student-athlete". Give me a break! They're lucky to have players who can read at a junior high level! Big college football is all about the big bucks. And a training league for the NFL to become overpaid gridiron gods (or their underlings).

Back to the small schools... For anyone who hasn't experienced small college football--you don't know what you're missing! There's alot more ownership of the team, there's a "family" feeling at the games, traditions, tailgate parties, and always good seats at the games (as opposed to sitting 10 stories above the action). And for anyone who thinks that the smaller schools can't play with the big boys, just ask Michigan, Colorado, Northwestern, Rice, Iowa State or Northern Illinois, all of whom have lost to the "lesser" division within the past two seasons.

For my fall sports activity, you can usually find me in front of the TV, watching whichever local small college team I can. Usually the Griz (UofM), while listening to the radio broadcast of the Carroll College Saints. But occasionally, it's the other way around. Here I am watching a replay of the game winning field goal in Carroll College's 2005 NAIA National Championship (third consecutive out of four). Wearing, of course, my official UofM slippers!

No, it's not the same as being at the game, but if the beer is cold (and it always is) and the game is good (and it usually is), then I'm a pretty happy camper. I have a feeling that you'll be hearing alot about both the Griz and the Saints on this blog. Their respective national championship games are once again on the same weekend in December in Tennessee. Are you guys ready down there?
Even this week's Mystery Guest got into the sporty football spirit! I happen to know that she's a big fan of her local NFL team (but I can't tell you who that is yet!). She's sort of new around here, but certainly enjoys HNT! From what I've figured out about her so far is that she's sorta quirky, but in a good way! She's probably been to your site--she leaves lots of comments! I'll be revealing her on Thursday afternoon, but she'd love to hear from you if you think you know who it is!
I have to reveal the MG a tad earlier than usual, since I won't be online for the rest of the day. She's the cute and quirky ~D of "T.I.L.D.E."! Stop by her place--she's also a soccer fan!

"...the Other HNT" has some new participants, and a couple of "regulars". Definitely NSFW, but feel free to stop by and check out your fellow HNTers! And leave a comment or two!
Busy week from now through the weekend. I'll be here and there, but pretty much away from the computer, and with the Symphony. Still lots of stuff to write about. I'll get to it as soon as I can! Have a great weekend!

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