As always I will do a fair mix of serious and joking (by that I mean many jokes). I hope you enjoy.
#25: CapitalOne Mascot Commercials
Those commercials seem to go on and on all season long, but when they're gone I miss them terribly. It's just something I associate with college football too strongly to not miss. Here's one such commercial:
#24: Ed Orgeron
Yes, Coach O is amongst the ranks of the hated Lane Kiffin now at Southern Cal, but I don't miss Orgeron because of any sense of virtue or ethics. I miss Coach O because he makes Ron Zook seem apathetic and calm by comparison. On a serious note it is worth reading Meat Market (a book by Bruce Feldman of ESPN which chronicles recruiting as seen primarily through the eyes of Orgeron and his staff while at Ole Miss). Orgeron can recruit and was a horrible failure during his short tenure in Oxford leading the Rebels, but he inspired the best YouTube video in the history of Ole Miss football:
#23: Penn State "White Out" Games
Penn State has developed what has every appearance of the best current student section for TV in college football. The massive stadium and general sports-centric nature of the area dictate that they are passionate, and the costumes remind you strongly of the 70's Steelers fan followings for a reason. It is worth noting that the prominence of white at a Penn State home game is really not a challenge. In fact, nobody in the below video needed body paint or even clothing to give off this appearance:
#22: Tom O'Brien's "Prevent Offense"
Tom O'Brien, current head coach at NC State and former head coach of Boston College, has the outward personality of your average tax collector. O'Brien also has a penchant for coaching teams with the offensive philosophy of your average high school coach, the one that runs the ball on 3rd & 15 to the dismay of the entire stadium. His playbook is so close to the vest that it is digging deeply into his spine. I always smile when I flip through and watch NC State run a draw on 3rd & 19 down 14-9 in the fourth quarter. It is a thing of absolute abject horror, but I get a laugh every time.
#21: Fight Songs
In few sports are their truly songs that epitomize and unite the fan bases, but college football has many. Notre Dame's Victory March, Michigan's Hail to the Victors, or Southern Cal's Fight On are just a sampling of songs you immediately identify with the university and its fans. I admit to being kind of a freak with these, as I know the song and sometimes lyrics of entirely too many of these fight songs. This doesn't even take into account songs like Rocky Top at Tennessee which are only spirit songs, and not actually fight songs. Of course these unifying songs sometimes get turned completely around, I'm particularly biased towards this parody:
#20: Weekday Garbage Games
During the rest of the year I know there are games littered throughout the week of less significance for every sport, but only for college football do I watch. It could be Hawaii at Louisiana Tech, Florida Atlantic at Western Kentucky, Bowling Green at Miami (OH), or any possible combination of teams from conference that don't matter and who combined will end the season with 4 wins. I will watch. Some beauties this year include: Troy at MTSU, UAB at UCF, UCF at Marshall, Buffalo at Ohio, Toledo at Northern Illinois, and Florida State at NC State.
#19: Lou Holtz & Mark May Rambling Past Midnight
I honestly don't usually stay up very late on weekends unless I'm out and about, which is rare. One time of the year I stay up late every Saturday is during college football season. The reason is for the late night college football recap show with Rece Davis, Mark May & Lou Holtz. They've been giving you picks and highlights since noon, but they're still at into early Sunday morning. You really don't know how Holtz manages to keep it up so late at his age, but then you see this:
#18: Virginia Tech's Entrance
For biased reasons this is my second favorite entrance in college football, but just watch it and enjoy it:
#17: Dan Hawkins
Dan Hawkins, current head coach at Colorado and former head coach at Boise State, is a bit different. He came in sounding a different tune from your average college football coach, and seemed to be headed for success in Boulder after a successful stint in Boise. Things aren't going well and Hawkins would likely be fired by now if not for salary and buy-out reasons. So expect more moments like this in his final season as head coach of the Buffs:
#16: Kegs & Eggs Kick-Offs
This is a tradition my boss at work told me about, he's an Ohio St fan from Ohio, regarding what to call a noon game. I would guess this is a phrase more common to Big Ten football than any other, since most other conferences avoid noon kick-offs unless television slots require it. In the Big Ten the only time games don't kick-off at noon is when television slots require a later kick-off. I admit that I enjoy these games, especially the traditional Big Ten game on ESPN2 with whatever top-flight crew they put on it this year. The Big Ten does its best to fill the void of noon kick-offs, and I assume their students and fans have gotten used to a solid Saturday morning breakfast of eggs, bacon and Natty Light.
#15: Lee Corso Getting Senile
The clown-like analyst, and formerly near total failure as a coach, Lee Corso has always relished the role as the crazy guy with gestures, catch phrases and mascot heads. He is reviled in some corners of college football fandom (Columbia, SC being one example) and is generally going to piss you off at some point during the season. Now comes the added entertainment that he is literally starting to lose it, and it's no longer just an act. I do offer some genuine sympathy as his health seems to have taken a turn last season, but overall I do not hold any ill-will either as I understand his schtick. This moment was his biggest slip last year, but expect more this season:
#14: Wisconsin's "Jump Around"
Wisconsin is amongst the Big Ten schools with a very energetic and involved student section. They actually have a Fifth Quarter when the band takes the field and plays after the game is over and the students along with fans have fun with it, but the most entertaining moment is what happens between the 3rd and 4th quarters. It is simply a great moment of college football spirit:
#13: Bill Stewart Talking
I really couldn't find a good video for this unfortunately, but be certain that Bill Stewart is an entertaining sumbitch to listen to when he is talking. He is West Virginia in every way. What makes it fun is the that means he with his drawl is funny, unassuming, modest, proud of his state, and trashed as anything on moonshine most of the time he gets a chance to talk. It is probable that he would be amongst the top ten coaches in terms of people you could get along with, but also that he truly is a state treasure for West Virginia.
#12: JoePa's Glasses
Joe Paterno garners a higher combination of respect and comedy than any other coach currently in college football. That's what happens when you're a college football coach in 2010 who can recall getting a congratulatory phone call about his football team from the White House... in the Nixon Administration:
#11: "The Right Reverend" Houston Nutt
Not only is Ole Miss coach, formerly Arkansas coach, Houston Nutt one of the craziest coaches ever, but he also happens to make his fans upset more than any other. He's the coach that everyone loves, until they realize that they will never get past a certain point with him at the helm. Arkansas found that out and eventually fan pressure resulted in Nutt bolting for Ole Miss, keeping in mind he is an alum of Arkansas. The Rebel faithful may eventually reach this point with "The Right Reverend", but until then it will be fun to watch them disintegrate to the point the Hog fans did a few year back:
#10: The "Dirty" FSN Pac-10 Game of the Week
This is another guilty pleasure of mine that shall not otherwise be mentioned. What better than announcers who I've never heard before calling games I honestly wouldn't care about if it weren't 11:50PM on Saturday night and College Football Final doesn't start for another forty minutes. Be it Washington St at UCLA, Arizona St at Oregon St, or UCLA at Washington, this game is good enough for me even if it isn't good enough for 3:30 ABC or earlier on FSN. Defense is usually optional, and rarely does anyone care about the outcome. It's 11:50PM and I want more football.
OK, so this otherwise would not be on the list, but it is this year. This one-time only item on the list is here because of the downright venom that should ooze from this game at every orifice. Nebraska is leaving the Big XII for the Big Ten because they know Texas and the other South Division schools will never allow Nebraska to achieve the equality they will get in the Big Ten. Texas is getting their conference at a lower prestige level due to this exit. Expect hatred to a level unseen in what should be the last game of this rivalry.
#8: The Wannstache
Dave Wannstedt had mediocre runs in the NFL as a head coach, but the Pittsburgh alum has come back to get a very nice run started for the Pitt Panthers. He knocked rival West Virginia out of a national title run. He also has the best 'stache in the business, the Wannstache:
#7: Les Miles on Clock Management
Les Miles might be the least competent coach to ever win a national title, and it worth noting he lost to overtime games that season. He also has an incredible ability to call plays that make absolutely no sense whatsoever, which worked mostly during his title run. It hasn't worked as much at other times, including this beauty which shall be considered his masterpiece:
For a couple consecutive items I will show my absolute bias. This is something that really just began, too early to call a tradition, at South Carolina. I love it, but it needs not be overdone. I was at this game vs Ole Miss (ranked #4 at the time) when I saw how powerful it could be:
The entrance of the team at South Carolina:
#4: Verne & Gary
In Part 1 of 2 on my love for The SEC on CBS I bring you Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson, who get genuinely whacky at times. Danielson actually brings sound analysis to other outlets when brought on, but the two together go the way of hero worship. Most notably they even joked about their own Tebow love on air to the amusement of many, including me. Here's one example of the kind of whacky chemistry these two have:
#3: The CBS College Football Intro
Hearing this is when I know college football has begun, because it signals the first weekend of SEC football every fall. After it is over the words "Hello, Uncle Verne" typically escape my lips. Let it wash over you:
In college football there are rivalries. Some rivalries reach across the country, Notre Dame vs Southern Cal, but most are brought on geographic proximity or Big Ten membership. The Egg Bowl. The Iron Bowl. The Civil War. The Big Game. The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The Old Oaken Bucket. Rivalry never dies.
Step 1) Wake up in time for ESPN College Gameday (9:45AM)
Step 2) Turn on ESPN
Step 3) As noon approaches, grab complete day of games TV schedule
Step 4) At noon begin keeping the channel on the best available game of live action
Step 5) At midnight flip between end of dirty Pac-10 game and College Football Final
Step 6) Pass out when either a) tired from the day or b) too drunk to stay awake
12 step plans are for quitters, my plan for greatness gets it done in 6.
and now your moment of zen...