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A Heavenly Day For Football Fans

by Steve Barnes
Jun 21, 2013 12:03 AM EDT



I had a religious experience today.

They do not happen often to most folks, yet for me one happens each year about this time. The college football preview magazines have hit the newsstands.

There is an old saying about college football in the South — it is not a religion down here; it is much more important than that.

That adage is true. Someone can convert from being a member of the Baptist church to Catholicism, but once a toddler utters “War Eagle,” he can never be an Alabama fan. In the South, we seem to have a unique chromosome. No, I don’t mean the one the kid playing the banjo in “Deliverance” seems to be missing, but a football gene. Sure, we all have “X” and “Y” chromosomes, but we Southerners also have one with the LSU or UVa genetic marker.

Notre Dame might have "Touchdown Jesus," but in the South, we go into even more spiritual depth. We worship "Turnover Margin Buddah," "Third Down Conversion Allah," and even Southern atheists pray for recruiting success on National Signing Day.

I have sampled several denominations. I have attended the Church of Rebel in Oxford, worshiped at the Cathedral of Bowden in Tallahassee and prayed at the Chapel of Trojan in Troy.

And yes, I have sung the hymns at the top of my lungs.

“Forward Rebels march to fame, hit that line and win this game…”

“We’re gonna fight, fight, fight for FSU, we’re gonna scalp 'em Seminoles…”

“Here’s to the school we love, we are Trojans one and all…”

With that being said, let us begin our spiritual service.

First, a reading from the Book of Athlon.

“This hasn’t been the easiest of offseasons for (FSU coach Jimbo) Fisher. Not only is he replacing a slew of starters on both sides of the ball, but he also lost six of nine assistant coaches to other schools.”

Brother Jimbo has built an ark in Tallahassee to survive the flood waters of change. He has populated it by marching in recruits two-by-two, and when the ark lands on Mount Doak-Campbell, the Seminoles will return to their righteous place among the others.

And now a reading from the Book of Lindy’s.

“(Clemson) possesses the elements for a national title run, although season bookend games against Georgia and South Carolina will say plenty about that.”

Should Brother Dabo raise his arms and part the Red (and Black) Sea, once in Death Valley and once in Columbia, the Tigers should reach the Promised Land in Pasadena for an opportunity to earn their heavenly reward — a crystal football.

Join me now my brothers and sisters as we break the Tostito, the only corporate sponsor of a BCS Bowl that is edible.

Follow me in the sipping of the Miller Lite from the NCAA goblet, the draft beer of choice at my favorite establishment of fellowship. If you are ever in Pensacola, check out Kooter Brown’s on Ninth Avenue.

Since the shameless plug is complete, there is only one thing left to do. We must all count the 40 days and 40 nights (actually about twice that) until kickoff.

Amen.