Thursday, August 29, 2013

Touchdowns and Flight Plans

From my admittedly selfish perspective, college football season officially opens tonight at or about 10:30 Eastern Time when the Scarlet Knights of State U. kick off their 2013 season in the Valley of the Raisin against the highly-touted Fresno State Bulldogs.  At last gander, Rutgers was listed as anywhere from a 9.5 to 11.5 point dog to the 'Dogs.  I know that I shall not stay awake to watch the entire game.  If RU is ahead when my eyes close, then I shall declare it a win.  It is the system I have employed with the Yankees all season.  On nights that Hughes pitches, I go to bed after the local news - at 6:00 P.M.  

I need to make sure I get my rest and the schedule makers have helped me greatly in that respect.  My beloved Alma mater does not kick off its 2013 season until Sunday afternoon.  The Buffs will travel down I-36 to Denver to play Colorado State in the Rocky Mountain Showdown.  Last season, CU opened the season by losing to the Ewes (sorry - the Rams) on their way to losing to pretty much everybody they played (thank you Mike Leach and Washington State).  This year the Buffs have a new coach and a new attitude.  New result?  Who the hell knows - certainly not Yours truly.  I know that I shall root for them faithfully every week - even when the action on the screen is so brutal that it begs me to look away.


Regardless of how Rutgers makes out on their season-opening trip to the Left Coast, I like the fact that they are willing to play 3,000 miles from home on Opening Night.  Starting next fall, every Saturday for RU will be "Big Boy Pants Day" as they make their maiden voyage through the Big Ten.  Playing teams such as Fresno State and Arkansas in their non-conference schedule will help prepare them for life in the Big Ten.  Kinda, sorta anyway.  

While I understand the desire of college football teams to play tough, intersectional games, it boggles my mind just how much cross-country intersectional action there is at the high school level.  This fall two of New Jersey's top prep programs, Don Bosco Prep from Ramsey and Bergen Catholic High School from Oradell, will play other nationally-ranked teams from all over the United States.  DBP opens its season at home against a Pennsylvania power, St. Joseph's Prep from Philadelphia.  Bosco's next game?  A short road trip to California to play Mission Viejo High School in Mission Viejo.  The following week, the Ironmen are home again in the cozy confines of Granatel Stadium to play Central High School of Miami, Florida, which as of this morning is the #1 high school football team in the United States (however one determines such things for high school sports).  DBP does not play a New Jersey opponent until the season's fourth week.  Query:  who pays the travel costs of a public high school's football team from Florida when it plays an away game in New Jersey?  I promise that the question is not deliberately snarky.  I have no idea who does.  I presume it is not the taxpayers of Miami.  Perhaps it is the TV network that broadcasts the game that foots the bill for flying a team, its coaches and its football equipment and putting them up for a night or two? 

Bergen Catholic's schedule is equally as ambitious in terms of its strength and far more likely to allow its players and coaches to rack up frequent flyer miles.  The Crusaders open their season in Louisiana against John T. Curtis High School.  The next weekend they are off to play the Jordan Beetdiggers at Rio Tinto Stadium, which (in case you did not know) is conveniently located in Sandy, Utah.  Bergen Catholic's first home game of the season is in their third game when they host Archbishop Gorman....of Las Vegas, Nevada.  

Apropos of nothing the first day of classes at Rutgers for the Fall 2013 semester is Tuesday, September 4, which means that the coast-to-coast trip to Fresno, California is costing the Scarlet Knights ZERO missed class time. 

Don Bosco Prep's first day of classes - according to the school's website - is Friday, September 6.  Ditto for Bergen Catholic.  No big deal.  The Bergen Catholic kids will have plenty of time to study....

....on the plane.    

-AK

  

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