Longhorns and Aggies (and Cowboys and Texans) and Bears, oh my! Welcome to Texas Monthly’s football blog, helmed by me, Jason Cohen (there’s my Twitter handle, if you’d like to complain that your team was left out of that sentence).
Here’s eight things you need to know about It’s Always Football Season.
1. The title
Should be obvious, but see my first post for the backstory.
I mean, sure, I like the NCAA basketball tournament as much as the next guy, and hockey more than almost any guy. Pitchers and catchers report in ten days? I’ll be watching (in April).
But sports in Texas still means football first. Football is brisket. Other sports are barbecue. Football is Willie Nelson. Other sports are country music. And in this era of the every-second news-and-social-media cycle, there truly is no off-season.
So here we are. It’s Always Football Season. It’s a blog, but that word can mean anything these days. Expect opinion, media criticism and round-ups of coverage from across the state, but also reporting, interviews, first-person diaries, as-told-to pieces, and, no doubt, silly lists and slideshows. Maybe even works of speculative fiction.
2. I have a degree from the University of Texas
But only grad school. Barely counts!
Seriously. At best, I have a love/hate relationship with both the UT program and my fellow Exes. At worst, I kinda root against ’em. Maybe to annoy my wife, who really is a fan (and daugher of fans). Or maybe because, like everybody else who was at the infamous 1997 UCLA game, I started rooting for the season to go bad just to be sure that Mackovic was finished. Then I forgot to come back.
3. Or maybe it’s because I am, y’know, a journalist
Here’s the thing. Sports aren’t fun if you don’t have a passion for them, meaning, a passion for one team over another. The media has been improved by the inclusion of the fan as blogger/columnist, but what we’ve lost along the way—in politics even more so than in sports—is the fact that, while there’s no such thing as an objective person, and there’s no such thing as writing that’s completely free of one’s perspective and experience, it is still actually possible to take a step back and be objective about something. To put aside your feelings. To think critically. Anyone can do it!
In the end, my bias is the same one that the media has always had. We root for the story. This year, that was A&M, which, much to my delight, had some people accusing us, a publication that’s sometimes been called “Austin Texas Monthly,” or just “that liberal teasip magazine” (fun fact: there are liberals in College Station, and conservatives who went to UT!), of having a pro-Aggie bias. At the same time, some A&M fans told us to get off the bandwagon, as if we hadn't given the proper level of attention to those other years in which the Aggies won eleven games and had the Heisman Trophy winner.
Good stories are also about conflict, which is why the Longhorns’ struggle to get back to where they were as the last un-SEC national champion, and the seemingly eternal mediocrity of Jerry Jones’ Dallas Cowboys, are subjects that we'll never tire of.
4. I’ll still make Aggie jokes
But also Longhorn Network jokes. And truly stale jokes about Baylor students dancing. If I knew any TCU jokes, I’d make those too (...reaches for my first edition hardcover of Semi-Tough).
And how have I gotten this far into the post without referencing Texas Tech? Not to worry. Really looking forward to Koach Kingsbury's first season.
5. I have a soft spot for the little schools
If you read back through this blog (which includes all the stories about football Texas Monthly published in January), I'm the one who said SMU had the best win of the bowl season. I wrote about UT-San Antonio in the magazine before the 2011 season. I’m the reason Mary Hardin-Baylor, West Texas A&M and Sam Houston State get mentioned on our Twitter. Coming soon, a fascinating post about the future of the Sun Belt Conference (promise!).
Even so, I know that fans of schools like Texas State, UTEP, or Stephen F. Austin, to say nothing of Houston, SMU, and Rice, are going to think that I don't write about their school enough. And fans of the Big 12 teams or the Aggies are going to think I write about those schools too much.
6. College Football Will Get Written About More Than Pro Football
That's my personal preference. For a statewide publication, it also just makes sense. More regions. More teams. More rivalries. More media outlets from around the state telling stories that are not necessarily seen by the whole state.
Houston v. Dallas, or Cowboys v. Redskins, or America’s Team v. the people who hate American’s Team, is just not as compelling, to me, as the way Baylor and A&M fans get under each other's skin almost as much as UT and A&M fans.
What I love about Texas college football is that we think there is no other football outside of the state. And what I hate about Texas college football is that we think there is no other football outside of the state. A&M to the SEC expanded the bubble, just as the Big 12 once did. And while some Horns fans may have pulled for Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, and some Aggies are apparently now favoring Waffle House over Whataburger, I say state before conference, always.
Anyway, you’ll still see lots of Cowboys and Texans coverage on this blog, including work from other writers. And this Sunday, I'll talk about commercials and Beyoncé just like everybody else.
7. But nobody on this blog will ever write a column saying Jerry Jones should hire a general manager
What's the point? We all know it. Nothing left to say.
8. I don't think you can take football too seriously
We obsess about it unhealthily, but that doesn't mean we don't know that it's just a game. Maybe.
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) February 1, 2013
Don’t they know that rivalry is over?
(Football photo, Associated Press/Scott Boehm.)
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