Welcome back. It has been too long. I have missed you. And... I think I might love you.
I love you because you give me a day of wall-to-wall football information to digest in the middle of February. COLLEGE football information. A month removed from the national championship game and more than two from the end of the regular season, you propel college football back to its place atop the sports world, if only for a day.
Because you give me rankings to obsess about. Players, teams, conferences, I will devour all of them from every recruiting service, zeroing in on the highest rankings for my team and the lowest rankings for my rivals. I know that moving back and forth across different rankings to bolster an argument or to tear one down is not only accepted, but encouraged. Yet another reason I love you.
I love you because of the stars. The stars, the stars, the stars. How you celebrate largely unqualified people quantifying that which is extremely difficult to quantify, and doing so through the awarding of stars. Hours upon hours of video to review, interviews to conduct, and camps to attend, and in the end, all that really matters is:
*** = meh
**** = woot!
***** = OMGWTFLOLBBQ
I love you because almost without fail you lay the foundation for yet another year of underachievement from the Texas Longhorns. Also, because almost without fail you give the rest of the nation another chance to agree that Alabama fans are largely a bunch of assholes and Nick Saban has an unholy pact with Lucifer himself.
Because you expect me to extrapolate a four year collegiate career from two minutes of grainy highlights shot from a handheld video camera and set to rap music that I have never heard before. Did you see the way that running back moves? Nevermind the eight-foot running lanes he had to sprint through, the kid's going to be unstoppable. Or what about that receiver catching jump ball after jump ball over kids a foot shorter than him? Indisputable evidence that he'll be a stud.
I love you because you inspire me to learn the hometown, Facebook relationship status, and favorite food of players whose name I may or may not remember in three years.
I love you for your school assemblies and your baseball caps and your fax machines.
More than anything, though, I love you because you are the pinnacle of sports nerdom. The product of sports multiplied by geek. A whole day where the internet is as much a part of the story as it is a place to discuss the story.
A lot of people are counting on you today, NSD. This is our last taste of college football until spring football comes along in a couple of months for us to overanalyze. Until then, though, we'll have to get by off of what you give us today. Please don't let all of those F5 keystrokes go in vain.
Committed to you,
Trent Wooldridge will be that guy with enough bourbon. He loves the S-E-C chant and honks because he hates Texas. He puts honey on his pizza, demands aisle seats, and sees quitting golf as more of a hobby than actually playing golf. Follow @twooldridge and track his quest to transform his two-year-old into a southpaw ace in the bigs.