I grew up in Pac Ten country, lived a dozen years in Big Ten country, and I can assure that there is nothing - nothing - like football in My Beloved South.
The high school football season kicked off last night and as we drove by the closest high school near our house my husband and father commented on the absolute and total lack of parking. The crowds are so big that people are parking in ditches, driveways, streets, and anywhere else you can squeeze a vehicle, even if it means walking a good hike to even get to the stadium. The stadiums are packed and it's often standing room only. The evening news spends a good ten minutes or more reporting on high school football on Friday nights, and today's sports page is thick with high school reporting.
But it's still nothing compared to SEC football.
Hubster, the military historian, born in Chicago but raised in Georgia, Texas and Arkansas (Daddy was in the poultry business), has often commented that Southerners play football as a way of getting revenge over losing the War Between the States. And truth be told, they're damn good at it.
When I lived Up North and would make the long trek down to see Daddy when he lived in Hotlanta, I would see car after car after car after car heading south with flags flying - UT, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina - to the game of the week. Many folks have season tickets and even with the price of gas think nothing of driving (or, in the case of UT, boating) to the games every weekend.
It is a passion here.
And truth be told, the game, as we play it down here, is awesome. It's a different style, although, what with some of the former southern coaches moving on to teach outside the SEC, I think we may see that migrate to other parts of the country.
And today, it begins.