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College Football Saturday really happened!

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College football kicked off on Saturday and it was fun! I hope!

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Army Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Buongiorno dal Lago di Como, Italia. Not a bad Labor Day weekend “Plan B” when Hungary shuts everything down. This article’s draft began 11 hours ago. I doubt it’ll be worth the wait!

College football got off to its soft opening on Saturday, and even though there weren’t any marquee games per se, great plays and head-scratching moments were there to be had. Since our beloved Washington State Cougars won’t be taking part in any of the action this fall, I’m kicking around an idea of my usual “Good, Bad and Ugly” theme, but taking into account college football as a whole. I know it will probably take my normal in-season readership from eight to 3.75, but it’s the best idea I’ve got right about now. This article of this kind is a soft opener as well, because I haven’t been around a TV since Thursday night. Hopefully I’ll be on the couch when college football sees a more full slate over the next few weeks.

As with football itself, College GameDay made its 2020 debut, and there were two compelling segments, one that was impromptu and emotional, as well as one that was scripted and somewhat saddening. First up was Kirk Herbsteit making a heartfelt statement about race, America and football.

Incomparable wordsmith Wright Thompson also put together a piece that nearly anyone who has ever attended a college football game can relate to. We were talking about this topic in our Slack room the other day, and I said that maybe 25% of the reason I go to college football games is to actually watch the game. Wright seems to be in a similar boat.

Going to a college football game is largely about seeing friends, re-living some of the greatest times in one’s life, and just soaking in the atmosphere. I mean, does any sane person think that most WSU fans were going to games in the late 2000s because they wanted to watch the Cougs get curb-stomped week after week? Hell no. They went because Cougar football brings people together, and there are only a few scant days every year that we can all make an excuse to go to Pullman or Clemson or Iowa City or Madison and party with people we love, and who we probably never see except on those rare occasions. That’s what sucks the most about this horrible situation. No games is one thing. No gathering of old friends to take part in shared reminiscence and community is the real gut punch if you ask me.

Once the games started, we got our one millionth reminder that every football coach needs to hire someone who can manage the clock for them, when the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders took on the Army Black Knights. Let’s take a look at some game management that makes Mike Leach in the New Mexico Bowl look Einsteinian by comparison.

On the better side of things, Army started its penultimate drive 99 yards from the end zone. Here’s how that possession went: Runs of five yards, three yards, two yards, four yards, five yards, two yards, 14 yards, four yards, four yards, two yards, no gain. Exchange of penalties. Runs of four yards, eight yards, three yards, two yards, six yards, five yards, four yards, and a 22-yard touchdown run. In other words...

19 plays, 99 yards, ZERO PASSES.

There may have been a paucity of games, but holy smokes was there an amazing catch.

The SMU Mustangs would go on to win, thanks to plays like this.

My man Ulysses has some moves, and a top notch name. And I don’t know the names of #13 and #20 for the Texas State Bobcats, but I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be those two during the next film session.

The Marshall Thundering Herd opened up with a 59-0 laugher against Eastern Kentucky, but I’m gonna tell you right now that ain’t nobody in green wanted a piece of my man Jackson here.

Finally, I can’t figure out if this makes me want to laugh or cry. I’ll leave it up to you all.

If you haven’t gotten your college football fix, the Navy Midshipmen take on the BYU Cougars on Labor Day night.

Football

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Stranger in a Strange Land

The first thing you will often hear when bringing up the possibility of visiting Switzerland is, “that is one expensive country.” I found that out the hard way, and I didn’t even stay there. How so? Well, for one thing, you can’t even drive into the country unless you purchase a tax vignette. Many European nations have these, but the Swiss charge every driver €40. Now, that’s good for the year, but goddamn.

Also, when you drive in Germany and you see a sign on the freeway that’s a circle with diagonal lines through it, that means there is no speed limit. Other countries (like Switzerland), have that same symbol, but the meaning varies. Typically it means that the speed limit is 130 kph. In Switzerland, that sign signifies 120 kph. How do I know? Are there signs near the border that say so? Of course not. If there were, the Swiss couldn’t suck more money from rubes like yours truly. Instead, the first indication that the limit was 120 occurred when I got the camera flash of death a few miles inside the country, as I was doing a clearly reckless and unreasonable 133. Can’t wait for that fine to arrive in the mail three months from now.

Oh yeah, we also got to sit at stoplights on the freeway (Stoplights. On the freeway.) because part of the drive takes you through a 17 km tunnel beneath the stunningly beautiful Alps. Of course, it was a tad difficult to marvel at the sights when you’re in a blind rage because Waze (in the Batman voice of which the kids couldn’t get enough) tries to circumvent those freeway stoplights and directs you to an onramp that’s closed causing you to backtrack past the mile-plus long traffic stoppage and get back in the end of the line buying another 30 minutes of time in the car. tl;dr the drive was awesome!

This Week in Parenting

Quite a few “firsts” this week. The boys had their first days of school, since they were on the COVID list for the first week. Great parents that we are, our kids didn’t even make it a full week because we skipped town for Italy Friday morning. Their entire goal for the trip was to eat authentic Italian pizza and gelato.

Mission: Accomplished

Being the bastards that they sometimes can be, they’ve still found time to complain about this and that, such as the lack of souvenir stores and fact that they weren’t permitted to order lunch while sitting by the pool. What kind of monster parent isn’t a fan of paying for a €15 cheeseburger when there are leftovers upstairs in the room? The horror!

Beer

Best beer I had this week: I didn’t have high expectations regarding my beer nerdery on this trip, but pleasant surprises awaited! We found a gelato store that doubled as a quality craft beer spot, so everyone was a winner! Among the selections I tried was Dr. Raptor Imperial IPA. Sure, it’s from The Netherlands, but it was on draft down here and the label designs that Uiltje Brewing produces, with comic strips to boot, are pretty great.

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