For most girls (like me) football season is a time of noncommittal comments about games and players, pretending to understand what all of the abbreviations and numbers mean, and staring at all of the players’ asses (love those pants). I’m not saying that girls don’t understand football, quite a few of us do actually understand the game, but I am saying that we don’t all know the intricate details of the sport.
I have three brothers so I grew up tagging along to all of their practices and games. I know the rules of the game, the different divisions and conferences, and I can talk to you all day long about the Razorback and Longhorn feud (Go Hogs!). Knowing this does not mean I keep track of all the rankings, pay attention to every single little thing on ESPN, or know the names of every single starting quarterback in the SEC. But I do know how to get through the season and have a conversation with a guy about it all. I’m writing this guide for all of the girls out there that like football, but they’re not obsessed with it and want to go into football season feeling like they can at least join in. Here are my tips for not just surviving football season, but also enjoying it.
Tip No.1: Know your team.
If you don’t already have a team that you want to support then this is the time to pick one. I recommend either asking your dad which team he wants you to support (brownie points, ya know?), or choosing the college and professional teams closest to you. I’m from Arkansas so there weren’t really any other options than the Razorbacks and the Dallas Cowboys. So figure out who you want to root for (and don’t you dare choose based on the colors or the hotness of a quarterback), and then learn some basic info about the team.
For instance, you need to know who the key players are on the team. Who’s the quarterback, wide receiver, offensive and defensive linemen, and the kicker. Does your team operate off a passing or a running game? Who’s your head coach? What’s his coaching philosophy? Where does your team fall in the rankings? What other team is the biggest rival?
Tip No. 2: Know who the big contenders are this season.
Typically, the main teams to look out for stay the same year to year, and there might be one or two changes. Everyone knows that Alabama is a killer team, and they usually recruit some phenomenal players so whoever they play is always on edge. However, there are years when another team, say Arkansas, recruits a kick-ass running back (We miss you, McFadden) and is suddenly on everyone else’s radar. So, you need to know the top 10 rankings and where your team places overall. Here’s the top ten for this year's preseason.
Preseason AP Rankings:
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Florida State
Tip No. 3: Know the Bowls.
The whole point of football season, aside from healthy competition and team pride, is to go to a bowl game. They’re not all created equal, but your team had better be in one to avoid complete shame. Know the bowls, and know which bowls your team is in line to play in. It’s important to know that this is the second year of the College Football Playoffs (replacing the Bowl Championship Series), and it consists of six bowl games: the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Peach Bowl. The teams are not chosen based off rankings. Instead, it’s all done by hand using a committee system. Finally, there’s the National Championship which is played between two winning teams from the semifinal bowls.
Tip No. 4: Keep up with your team all season.
It isn’t enough to know where your team was in the preseason rankings because the rankings change all season, as do your team's circumstances. One game can change everything so try to stay plugged in. You don’t have to attend or watch every game, but you do need to learn what the highlights were, if any players were injured, and how well your team did. As long as you stay somewhat informed, you’re good.
Tip No. 5: Admit that your knowledge is limited.
Not to burst any bubbles, but guys can easily tell when you have no idea what you’re talking about. So when you’re at a game or a watch party and find yourself in a football convo, listen to what the guys are saying so you can learn, and don’t be afraid to ask questions and admit that you know only the basics but not specifics. The guys won’t attack you for not knowing everything. They’ll actually respect you for admitting what you don’t know and for being willing to learn more. Not to mention, guys love to talk sports and teach girls the “guy” stuff.