Monday, August 31, 2009

Wandering SEC fans unite

Let us start this venture by saying that this is just wrong:

This is the major college-football magazine being offered at one of Charlotte's finest megabookstores this week. It is exactly 300 pages. I am pretty sure that Phil Steele should receive the Nobel Prize in literature for managing to come up with 300 pages of information on ACC and Big East football. I can only guess that there is a full biography of Natrone Means somewhere in there.

The point is, this is the wrong football magazine, because it is not an SEC football magazine. Your average magazine rack in your average Gas 'N' Go in, say, east Tennessee will have at least 37 SEC-related preseason magazines to choose from, including titles such as Annual Guide to SEC Defensive Coordinators; Radio Announcer Power Rankings; and UT's Greatest Long Snappers.

If you are an SEC football fan, in SEC country, you buy all these magazines. You break down the coach's shows with the intensity of prosecutors going over the Watergate tapes. You buy a new team flag to hang off the front porch because that 6-by-9-footer was not making enough of a statement.

You do this because there is nothing on Earth, save love and good whiskey, better than SEC football.

You'll meet all the members of this blog in the next post. For now, just know that we're all Observer people, past or present, who bonded over SEC football but live here in ACC country. We all love Charlotte. But this time of year just kills us. We cluster in sports bars where somebody always wants to turn the TV to the Nationwide race. We miss half the first quarter of the 3:30 CBS game because Duke is down six touchdowns and still throwing the ball. We resort to phoning and texting our friends because there is no one, after a huge win, to embrace in a heartfelt but totally platonic man-hug.

If you know this feeling -- if you are a diehard SEC fan who has wandered away from home -- this place is for you.

We will talk history here. We will linger over loving YouTube productions of our favorite plays. We will hold long, Lincoln-Douglas-style debates over which SEC school has the best uniforms, or tailgate, or mascot. We will expose, and celebrate, our biases. We will try to decide if the Lord really did come back as Tim Tebow, and if so, whether it's theologically correct to hope our stud defensive end gives him a concussion.

Mainly, we will enjoy this football season together.

Join us. Send in your suggestions, your stories, your links, your 29 reasons why South Carolina will win at least 10 games this year. Who knows? They might! In some ways, this is the best time of the season. We are all equally undefeated. We can all concoct a scenario in which our team becomes national champions.* We can all believe.

*Does not apply to Vanderbilt.

We will also be posting on Twitter (@secexpats) during the week and also during games. You will not always hear our true feelings about game play, because our newspaper has certain rules about profanity, but we hope you get the gist.

This will be fun. Hope you come along. We will disagree on things during the season, sometimes violently, so let us leave today with one thing we can all hold dear and true:

The Big Ten bites.

Amen, and amen.

-- Tommy Tomlinson


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