Another Day in Paradise – College Football 101

November 5, 2017

Good Morning and welcome to today’s double header edition of Another Day in Paradise. I’m your host Brett Tomlinson.

When I saw the New York Times article this week entitled “The Disappearing American Grad Student,” I thought that maybe they too were wondering where Southern California’s favorite blogger had been. Alas, they were not, but I do appreciate all the support from everyone and I hope this satisfies your blog appetite (at least for a few days).

Today, I want to talk about the most important part of any American college experience; I’m talking of course about football. While Los Angeles might not seem like the pigskin paradise that is East Lansing, Michigan (home of my undergrad alma mater Michigan State University), consider that the highest paid public employee in the state of California is UCLA head football coach Jim Mora. It seems that California is not so different from Michigan after all.

So given that football and college go together like peanut butter and jelly, you can imagine my horror and consternation at realizing that the college football season is halfway over and I still haven’t visited the Coliseum one time to see nationally ranked USC play yet!! This needed to be rectified.

Explaining the pageantry and tradition of college football to many of my international classmates has been both rewarding and frustrating. The idea that people could live their entire lives without at least hearing about such famous plays as “Whoa, there’s trouble with the snap,” or Auburn’s “Kick 6” was troubling to me, so I have set out on a campaign of education. (I’m considering as a class title “College Football 101: Great American Pastime or Greatest American Pastime” but I am also taking suggestions.)

Now generally, professors try not to give the midterm on the first day of class. So to train my pupils I carefully and subtly feed them to a steady diet of football highlight reels. They are fast learners and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t make the switch to football after spending their entire lives living under a rock watching footgame (er futbol…soccer. Just kidding, you all know I like soccer too).

I also knew that due to the pure hype level surrounding the USC versus UCLA game in 2 weeks my students might attempt to buy tickets and jump right into a major rivalry game without knowing what they were getting into.

I recently witnessed something similar to this unusual phenomenon when two former German colleagues happened to be in town for game 7 of the World Series. My sister put it fairly succinctly with what sounds like the beginning of a hilarious joke:

Two Germans walk into a bar during the 7th inning of the 7th game of the World Series where the hometown team is down by 5 runs and they ask why their team isn’t scoring. Bless their hearts.

I was determined to have no one blessing anyone’s hearts when the Bruins come across town November 18th.

Most of my football lessons thus far had consisted of youtube highlight videos and halting attempts to build a coalition to attend USC’s homecoming showdown versus a surging Arizona Wildcats team lead by an old Wolverine nemesis Rich Rod.

I knew we had to get serious, so I scheduled the class midterm for November 4th at the Coliseum to watch the above mentioned Arizona game; stay tuned for my next post to see if we passed.


Published on November 5th, 2017

Last updated on November 24th, 2017