Not that we don’t love Friday nights and Sundays (and Mondays) too, but there’s nothing like Saturdays, especially here in Texas. From El Paso to Houston, we have, count ’em, ten major programs (and two more on the way), with rivalries as old and bitter as anyone’s, traditions as rich and fascinating as anyone’s, and teams as good as anyone’s. College football is unique—it’s better and faster than the high school game and less (for now) overrun with money and celebrity than the pro game. And the passion it excites from its fans is unlike anything else. Every fall, those fans gear up for what each one believes will be the best season ever, regardless of whether recruiting has been soft or the great quarterback from last year went to the NFL or the offensive line is full of overmatched sophomores. This is the joy (and madness) of being a sports fan—the way faith is renewed every year, the way hope springs eternal in the human breast (especially when it’s painted with school colors)—but it’s particularly true in college football, where the wins seem to mean that much more. So as the first kickoff approached, we compiled the following list of reasons to love the Aggies, Bears, Cougars, Horned Frogs, Longhorns, Mean Green, Miners, Mustangs, Owls, and Red Raiders this year, which we are absolutely sure will be the best one ever.
It’s the fans
All umpteen million of them, screaming and shouting and stomping and yelling and singing. And clapping and jumping and rooting …
Photograph by Randal Ford
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If the Aggies and Longhorns face off in November without a single person in the stands to cheer, hiss, boo, or make that horse laughing sound, does the game exist? What would college football be without the fans? Not much more than a bunch of guys throwing a ball around. The game takes its greatness from the fact that so many people care so much about it. It’s the fans who convey the meaning, the true partisans, the ones who grew up wearing the colors, who save their money