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I love to hate college football this time of year


I love this time of year. Major League Baseball is closing into the playoffs; NASCAR is in the playoffs; and, college football is off and running.

I know the NFL season has kicked off. As a Jacksonville Jaguars fan, I’ve learned to temper my emotions. Fool me once, shame on them. Fool me 17 times …

I love college football. I couldn’t wait to watch last week’s Louisville-Central Florida game. UCF started with two quick touchdowns. That’s when I should have turned the television off.

They wound up losing, 20-14, in a lackluster performance.

I hate college football. That’s what happens when your team loses. Florida Gators fans, you know what I’m talking about.

The season is off to a weird start. The Sun Belt Conference was a monster a week ago with Georgia Southern winning at Nebraska, 45-42; Appalachian State beating Texas A&M and all of its money – just look: players have “ATM” on the side of their helmets – by three points, 17-14; and, Marshall thundered into Notre Dame and came away with a 26-21 victory.

The best game was in Austin, Texas, where big-time college officials still don’t know the rules for calling a safety. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young was tackled in the endzone by T’Vondrew Sweat. Young still threw wildly to the side of the endzone with no receivers in the area. Even if the officials decided it wasn’t a pass, that means it was a fumble that went out of bounds. The tackle was a safety. Intentional grounding is a safety. Fumble out of bounds in the end zone is a safety. Instead of giving up two points, the Crimson Tide punted – and won, 20-19.

Although there’s a long season to play, how odd is it that Arkansas and Kentucky are both ranked higher than the Gators? Better yet, how about Appalachian State getting more points in the polls than Florida State or Auburn?

That’s why I love college football.

Like other UCF fans, I was crushed when Scott Frost decided to leave the Knights program after leading them to a perfect 13-0 record – and mythical championship – in 2017. He played at Nebraska and got the chance to go home. It was hard to blame him, but his tenure with the Cornhuskers was a trainwreck.

The Georgia Southern loss was too much for the school to accept. He got fired the next morning. Nebraska was so eager to get him off their sidelines, that it was willing to pay an extra $3.5 million in a buyout clause. If the Cornhuskers waited until Oct. 1 to dismiss him, they would only owe him $3.5 million. Doing ahead of Oct. 1 made the payout $7 million. And you thought the government was reckless with money.

That’s why I hate college football.

There’s relief ahead for our favorite teams. Florida will try to get back on track against South Florida this weekend, while my Knights will travel to Florida Atlantic. Neither should pose a threat – although that’s what Notre Dame, Nebraska and Texas A&M thought – but not counting Georgia’s ability to play dominant defense, you can’t count on anything anymore.

You also can’t count on players staying with a program for more than a year, either. The transfer portal allows players to jump from one school to another with the frequency of the Camp Lejune lawsuit commercials. Dillon Gabriel started at quarterback last year for Central Florida and he went into the transfer portal at the end of the season. He agreed to play at UCLA, only to change his mind 18 days later for Oklahoma. That means in less than three weeks, he was part of three different teams.

Programs expect fans to be loyal. Why doesn’t that include the players?

That’s why I hate college football.

It’s still a great time of year to be a sports fan. The Atlanta Braves are in the middle of a tough division race with the New York Mets. NASCAR has races at the Bristol Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway in the next three weeks. If you’re a racing fan, it doesn’t get any better.

And of course, there’s the Jaguars.

That’s why I love college football.