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Friday Food for Thought: Seasons

Are you ready for some football?

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets v North Carolina Tar Heels Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Welcome to Friday Food For Thought, the weekend conversation starter. Each week, this article presents a topic for debate. Whether in the comments section, on the golf course, or around the weekend game table, the goal is to provide enough background that either side could be a winner. In order to facilitate the discourse, a suggested beverage pairing is also be included. So speak up, mix it up, and drink up.

With the arrival of June, summer is nearly in full swing. Summer break is starting for the kids. Summer vacations are about to get underway. Before we know it, we will be looking ahead to fall and the September 1 football season opener at Cal.

In fact, once baseball ends, there is a dearth of college athletics until the national college football regular season begins on August 25th. That is a long time to think about past seasons, upcoming games, and the sports we love. Some fans do not enjoy the time away while others need the opportunity to recharge.

Issue: When does the college football season begin?

1. Point

Life without college sports is like bourbon without barrels; it just doesn’t exist. Sure there is a lot of fun in summer cookouts, family vacations, and a little time on the golf course, but the real excitement in life can only be obtained through on-field or on-court combat. There is really no “off-season”, there are only stretches of time when there are no games or practices.

Basketball season officially ended on May 30. The games may have ended in April, but the season continued while the rosters for next year are sorted out. Sure there is some summer recruiting ongoing, but letting high schoolers determine the length of a season for sports fans is like letting the NCAA determine what are and are not classes. Too soon? Get over it.

May 30 was the deadline for early entrants in the NBA draft to withdraw their names and return to college eligibility. Welcome back Luke Maye. Much like the summer solstice marks the end of spring and the beginning of summer, the NBA draft deadline marks the end of basketball and the beginning of football.

Now is the time to learn the depth chart. Now is the opportunity to get insights from the strength and conditioning sessions. The summer polls are based on enough knowledge to be actually meaningful. ACC media days will be July 18-19. Surely the conference would not hold football media days if it weren’t football season.

Welcome to the 2018 football campaign.

2. Counterpoint

NCAA Bylaw 17.10.2 states that “An institution shall not commence official preseason football practice sessions . . . before 29 days before its first scheduled intercollegiate game.” By my count, for UNC, that means August 3rd. That is the first day of practice and is the official start to the college football season.

The season for any college sport exists from the time during which the team practices and plays until they stop. The NCAA sets the definition of the season and fans should fall in line. When there are no more games, there is no more season. When a team is not practicing, they are not in a season. They could be preparing for a season, but they are not participating in one.

Football season starts in August. Everyone, even fans, need a summer break.

Drink Pairing

In need of encouragement to debate – I would bring in my golf partner for the weekend to describe how to make an Old Fashioned but we don’t have the time. He once described it to a bartender for two hours. The bartender was not happy and I’m not sure she really learned anything other than the proper method to muddle. Combine a teaspoon of sugar, a few dashes of bitters, and a hint of soda water. Muddle. Add ice and rye whiskey such as Bulleit Rye. Stir. Add an orange slice and two or three cherries.

Can debate without assistance I continue to be amazed by the Orange Fanta. At a gathering last weekend, the young teens drank it up like we live in the desert. Must be good.