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Weekend: Actual Football!

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Well, not actually actual football. It's the preseason.

But it's also the Saints, and the first sanctioned game on a traditionally-proportioned field in six months, and my love knows no bounds in either case.

When not holding my breath through the first quarter, I will be looking during Sunday's Hall of Fame Game at two rookies in particular at needy positions for New Orleans, one of whom I'm somewhat familiar with from his college days (Tyler Palko) and one of whom is a total mystery (cornerback Usama Young, late of Kent State). For a college fan, the ends of these exhibitions are interesting, because your beloved campus star is just a guy, and treated by bored TV crews almost like he was picked up off the street, so that any real positive is met with a sort of amused shock by the NFL-centric who couldn't care less that he was second team all-Big Twelve the last two years. Hey, who is this guy? Thousands of people know him and love him and, almost assuredly, are convinced he's going to be the coveted late round/free agent steal that completes his new team's puzzle. I still can't believe Rod Davis didn't catch on with the Vikings, because he wasn't the biggest or the fastest, but he was a football player, dammit. Well, not for long, as Jerry Glanville used to say. If they wanted to gin up a little cheap emotional interest for the exhibitions, the networks could reprise CBS' sublime Super Bowl intro with the families and campus fans of the guys who won't be on the field until the fourth quarter, who only have a few snaps to determine the course of the rest of their professional lives. That's what the preseason is really about.

But for the rest of us, we can play drinking games for every player in the second half whose college we can correctly identify, which for some of us means blacking out before the final gun. The preseason is about that, too. That, and old-fashioned obsession. Welcome back, welcome back...

Reggie Bush, cheater, taunter, flaunter, liar, frequent flyer, I love you. Please don't get hurt!
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