Matt Baxendell's College Football Preview - Introduction
Hello, everyone. My name is Matt Baxendell and I’m addicted to college football.
I wasn’t always this way. Once, I was a happy go lucky kid, to whom Saturdays meant nothing more than a respite from school and fun in the sun. I remember waking up and relaxing, without a care in the world. My football viewing wouldn’t begin until Sunday. After all, that was the only day that football was played, right?
Then, things changed. As I got older, I realized that the weekends held more than just football Sundays. Slowly, I noticed that my dad was usually annoyed every fall Saturday around 3 in the afternoon. I soon discovered it wasn’t just because I hadn’t yet mowed the lawn. You see, my dad went to Pitt and it was commonplace in the late 90s for the Panthers to lose in blowout fashion, so that usually prompted his newfound annoyance at the unmowed grass in our front yard.
Suddenly, there was a myriad of possibilities before me. A whole weekend of football? This dream couldn’t be reality! But it was true! It was great! It was intoxicating. And the atmosphere seemed so much more charged, so much more alive than the NFL games I had become accustomed to watching. I was 16 and the only thing in the way of my addiction was the lawnmower in the garage.
But I managed to control it for a few years, until I ventured out on my own into the world. My plans for college involved no specific school, just a general requirement for major football and a lack of a lawn to mow. I never developed a rooting interest in high school, preferring to keep my options open until I made my own college choice. Unlike my allegiance to the Steelers, my father never managed to hook me on Pitt football at a young age. I traveled across the Midwest visiting the great homes of college football: South Bend, Indiana. Ann Arbor, Michigan. State College, Pennsylvania. West Lafayette, Indiana. And yet, something was missing, like a gaping hole in my heart which couldn’t be filled by anything short of incredible.
Luckily, my final college visit was to a little school in Columbus, Ohio. Maybe you’ve heard of it before: The Ohio State University. The first time I ever set eyes on campus was at sunset, driving north on highway 315. At a turn in the highway, an incredible vista opened up before me, a monument to college football. The South end zone of Ohio Stadium, capped off by a gigantic Ohio State logo. The glorious Horseshoe, 105,000 strong on the shores of the Olentangy River reared up before me and I knew where I belonged. Much like a wine connoisseur, I had found my vintage of choice. There was no going back. I was hopelessly addicted and I still am.
Yet, despite my love of all things Buckeye, I have a great love for college football across the country. I’ve sat and watched SEC football with southerners in my adopted home town of Atlanta. I’ve been to Big XII country and tailgated with Texans. I’ve even watched Pac 10 football with a group of hippies! I find a great deal of enjoyment from observing (and commenting on) the vast landscape of major college football and that’s fully what I intend on doing this fall for all of you.
Beginning on Tuesday, July 15 th, a week from today, I’ll provide you with in-depth previews of all 11 Division 1-A conferences, beginning with the Mid-American Conference. Look for the previews every Tuesday and Friday, finishing with the Southeastern Conference on August 22 nd. From there, I’ll provide you with my top 25 poll every Monday throughout the season, all the way to the National Championship Game in Miami, along with plenty of commentary and predictions along the way through my weekly World of Bax columns.
To me, college football games are my therapy sessions and they can’t come soon enough. Even better, I still don’t have a lawn to mow, so my Saturdays are all about college football! Hopefully, this addict will be able to provide all of you with some of the best college football insight in all the land.
CONFERENCE PREVIEW SCHEDULE
Matt Baxendell is collegesports-fans.com’s newest staff writer. If you’d like to join his college football therapy group, email him at matt.baxendell @ gmail.com with all your questions, comments, and anything else you would like to share.
Copyright 2005-2009, CollegeSports-fans.com and the Dash Fans Network of Independent College Sports Fan Sites.