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It’s college football’s opening week, like Christmas morning for adults. I’m so excited I could barely sleep last night. The best and shortest season of the year is officially here. Over the next 13 weeks you will live or die based upon a fourth down decision, stand in your living room and pace, scream at the television, upset your spouse or girlfriend over how much you care about a game, kick something, and utter grand pronouncements based upon ten minutes of game time.
And if you’re from Alabama you will call me gay.
Right now is the best time in the season, the moment before ball meets foot when anything truly seems possible.
Several thousand years ago a bearded man came down from a mountaintop with ten commandments that changed the world.
1. Thou shall not schedule or attend a fall wedding.
Dear bride, do you know why those fall wedding dates are available at your church? Because everyone else isn’t an asshole.
Don’t be an asshole, get married outside of football season.
2. Thou shall not covet Nick Saban.
Okay, we’re all breaking this commandment.
Moving right along.
3. Thou shall not schedule a child’s birthday on a football Saturday.
My youngest son turns two on September 15th. This is the same day as the Tennessee-Florida game. (Yes, I know, his birthday week is likely to be miserable for years to come.) But he’s turning two and has no concept of days of the week. This means his birthday party doesn’t have to be on the exact same day as his birthday.
We can celebrate his birthday without requiring dozens of fights across the South over whether or not a dad is expected to attend a two year old’s birthday party.
4. Thou shall not wear a college kid’s jersey to a game.
First, it’s impossible for a grown man not to look like a tool wearing a jersey. It just is. The only possible exception to this rule is if it’s your son playing and…nope, you still look like a tool. Second, lots of you are wearing a teenager’s jersey. You were over 21 when this child was born. Isn’t that a little bit humiliating? You could have fathered this child and now a generation later you’re wearing his jersey?
There are two gameday outfits that no man can screw up:
a. coach’s polo with either jeans or khakis.
b. school polo with either jeans or khakis.
(No, Florida fans, this does not include jean shorts. If you wear jeans, that means pants.)
Right now every single woman reading this piece — there are at least two — is nodding her head. Don’t overcomplicate this, just wear a. or b. (Note: shorts are fine. It’s really, really hot everywhere.)
5. Thou shall not forget your sunglasses for the tailgate.
Face it, every year you inch closer to becoming a dirty old man. When you’re 19 and a hot girl walks by your tailgate, you try to play it cool. Why? Because you see hot girls everywhere, your life is basically a smokeshow. By the time you’re 48 and working in a law firm, attractive young women are like desert oases. Hell, you’re not even sure you’ll still be alive when another hot girl passes you buy. This is why old rich men always have smoking hot receptionists in their office, because seeing that smoking hot receptionist when they enter their office gives them such unbridled joy.
You must have those sunglasses.
Must have them.
And, by the way, just to forestall the biggest tailgate argument: Yes, boobs really are getting bigger and better each year.
At least 95% of the time one man will say to another man while discussing boobs, “I just don’t remember boobs like this when I was in college.”
That’s because there weren’t boobs like this when you were in college. Moore’s Law posits that computer power doubles every four years. Clay’s Law is this: The quality of boobs doubles every four years.
It’s every bit as true.
To confirm this fact, just make sure you remember your sunglasses.
6. Thou shall wear a sundress.
Women, I’m sure there are all sorts of reasons why your new pants will look great at the tailgate.
Unfortunately, you are horribly mistaken, all of those reasons are complete crap. (I will allow a limited exception for skirts.)
The sundress is the Nick Saban of Southern football attire, undefeated, unvanquished, and always appropriate.
Yes, you can wear it with boots and those massive sunglasses that for some reason you feel compelled to cover your entire face with, but do not overthink this. In fact, here’s a simple rule, look down at your legs. If they are covered by material on a gorgeous fall afternoon in the South then you have failed.
7. Thou shall not run out of alcohol at the tailgate.
Everything else is fine to run out of — cookies, sandwiches, weed, chips, cokes, you name the product that disappears and your tailgate will still survive.
But running out of alcohol destroys a tailgate.
So whatever you do always bring too much alcohol. I don’t care if you have to pull up a Budweiser truck next door to your tailgate, you make sure that the alcohol lasts.
8. Thou shall not curse in the presence of small children.
I always violate this commandment.
In my defense, have you seen a Derek Dooley-coached football team in person?
9. Thou shall not throw up before a game starts.
One of my friends threw up before a game last season.
His girlfriend got mad at him and said, “I can’t believe you’re still drinking so much you throw up at football games. You’re 32, grow up!”
As he dry-heaved into a trashcan before kickoff, he thought of an appropriate response. Wiping puke off his mouth, he stood up, and faced his girlfriend.
“I’m 31,” he said.
10. Thou shall not take the SEC’s name in vain.
It’s fine to insult other SEC fans and their team.
In fact, it’s expected.
But what should never happen is an SEC fan taking the SEC’s name in vain among other college football fans. That’s just flat out unacceptable.
Do not take the SEC’s name in vain.
It’s almost as unacceptable as pretending that anything can happen on the field that’s going to keep you from watching next season. Because no matter what happens in 2012, you’ll be back in 2013 and 2014 and on down into the distant vistas of football seasons to come.
College football is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy.
Just try and keep this in mind when your team chokes away a fourth quarter lead against a hated rival.