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12 STEPS TO GETTING THROUGH THE OFFSEASON

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Although part of me will always know that abstinence makes the liver grow sober, if college football was played year-round, I probably wouldn't love it as much (because I'd be dead from Cirrhosis). But that doesn't make the eight long months between football seasons any less painful, nor does it make them go by any quicker.

Are you like me? Does it burn when you pee? Whoops, I mean are you addicted to College Football, too? Do you cry yourself to sleep every night burying your face in a moldy seat cushion? Did you make inappropriate advances on the postman when your Rose Bowl DVD arrived? Or do you ever find yourself dressing up donning an oversized mascot head and screaming “Not so fast, my friend!”? If so, apologize to all football fans no more my Fall Saturday disciple, because you are not alone. For I have come up with a tried and true 12-step program to help all of us football addicts survive the bitter college football off-season.

For purposes of anonymity and to avoid getting sued by A&M, who apparently copyrighted the number 12, I have chosen to call my program...

“Footballaholics Anonymous”

1. Around the end of January, when the tremors start, admit that you are powerless over college football and give every penny from your IRS tax return to the local athletic department so that you can keep your same season football tickets for next year. Sure, it's legalized extortion, but it is tax deductible and Women's Lacrosse really does need your love, people.

2. As Ash Wednesday approaches, come to believe that a power greater than college football will restore you to sanity. Of course if God's too busy helping Buck Burnette decide what college to attend, you can always do what I do and grab your Scully Day Planner or Palm Pilot and fill in next season's football schedule. Try it, I think you'll find it quite therapeutic.

3. On April 1st, make a decision to attend the spring game but not get so drunk that you miss Easter Vigil. I know the spring game looks like an oasis in the vast desert known as baseball season, but it's not, it's just a mirage. Sure, you may get a few player's signatures on your Kelly T-Bar Pop Warner helmet, but think how empty you'll feel inside when you're forced to sell it on eBay so you can afford your meds.

4. Spring cleaning time is almost over, so make an inventory of all your college paraphernalia. I know you have the Nike Coin Toss Game Day Coaches Shirt in both home and away versions. You may even own the Nike Quick Count Mock T with wicking agent. But do you have the Nike Cover-2 Jock Strap or Nike Dri-Fit Cufflinks or even the Nike Two-Minute Drill Throat Slash Ascot? If you don't merchandize, you can't accessorize. Do not underestimate the importance of this.

5. Take a few days to write a letter to Matt Leinart. Sign it “Concerned Physician,” and be sure to point out that there is no cure for herpes. Be sure to CC Paris Hilton on your letter.

6. Memorial Day is a good drinking holiday, but you have to stay focused. When the new season ticket order form arrives, make sure you remove all hope from your wife's mind that she'll be getting that new kitchen dinette set by purchasing tickets to every home and away game. Maybe the kids do need braces, but you know what? Achieving Platinum status with the Flying Fan Club isn't exactly cheap either. We all have to make sacrifices, I'm sure they'll understand.

7. Summer is here, which means it's time to start getting serious. Go to the break room at work and tape a note to the water cooler that reads, "Anyone who wants to beat Ohio State, meet me at the Corner Tap for dollar longnecks at lunch." HR may write you up and order you to take a psych evaluation, but at least you'll know who's serious. And as we all know, winning is 10% perspiration, 10% preparation and 80% inebriation. Don't sweat the technique.

8. Make a list of all the people you hurt and offended at last year's tailgate parties, make every attempt you can to contact them, and tell them to buy a ticket, because don't you know the pain train is coming back to town. Oh yeah, if they can't take the heat, maybe they shouldn't stand so close to the grill next time. Hey, anyone could mistake the lighter fluid for the bottle of KC Masterpiece. It happens, and I'm pretty sure eyebrows grow back too.

9. Still two months out, and you're feeling all alone. That's okay. Just find a cheerleader who misses football season almost as much as you do and ask her not to drop your Spirit Stick. If you can't find a cheerleader, call 1-800-SWEATER MONKEY, and for $4.99 a minute, one will be appointed to you.

10. On our nation's birthday, continue to take personal inventory and when you forget to do something really important like ordering Seatbacks for home games, admit it. Nobody is judging you here. If you want to feel better, do what I do and sing the seatback song while you're ordering...

ODE TO THE MIGHTY SEATBACK (Think Coors Light Wingman Commercial)

This chick's scootin' her butt into seat 3, row 4.
Her ass is like an anchor.
You can't outflank her
She's takin' up her seat and half of yours.
Noooooooooooo,
So you buy the chair,
Because fair is fair: Mighty Seatback
It's taking one for the team,
so your butt can live the dream:
Seatbaaaaaaack!!!

11. Two-a-days have arrived, and I'm not talking about double fisting down at the Corner Tap. Football season is finally upon us. It's 120 degrees in the shade, USC is still losing 41-38 on ESPN Classic and Sunday Morning Quarterback has worked his way through 80% of the Division 1 programs. Congratulations, you're almost there. Celebrate a return to anxiety-ridden weeks of nervous anticipation by shitting your brain outs. You can use an issue of Phil Steele’s College Football Guide if you need inspiration.

12. Having received deliverance as the result of the previous 11 steps (and learning how to freebase Prozac), I implore you to share this message with others so that they too may get through yet another long, tumultuous off-season without incident, or an insanity plea.

A giant hat tip to Cory Davies for this post. Burnt Orange Nation, and now EDSBS, are grateful for your services.