The weather's finally broken across the eastern half of the United States this week, melting the snowpack and bringing the prospect of actual, appreciable spring tantalizingly close. You can put the snowblower away, clean off the grill and look forward to longer evenings and fun times ahead. (Oh, it's been warm in California the whole time? Cool, cool. We're happy for you.)
With this warm weather comes a real, undeniable danger, though: coming out of the blanket fort you've been hidden in since The Age of Mississippi Playoff Teams means you're liable to end up discussing sports outside of your carefully-controlled, like-minded, reasonably-well-informed Internet bubble. (Warning not applicable in Florida Panhandle).
Barbecues, work events, weddings, children's birthday parties: at some point, you're going to accidentally end up talking college sports with someone you didn't intend to. And it might look a little... like this.
THEM: yeah, I love college football
ME: Oh, cool, so what's your team?
THEM: Georgia, how about you?
THEM: Oh, so like, Ohio State?
ME: No, the University of Cincinnati.
THEM: You guys play football?
ME: Well yeah, in fact we've been to two BCS bowls since Georgia's last one, b-
THEM: Hey there's this great college football blog I read
ME [perking up]: Oh, word, is it
THEM: Yeah it's called Outkick Th-
ME: SO YOU GUYS LOST TO FLORIDA THIS YEAR HOW ABOUT THAT
THEM: Yeah, it sucks, but they won the title last year, so, no shame, you know
ME: I think you're thinking of Florida Sta-
THEM: Tebow should've gotten a shot in the pros if you ask me
ME: or at least with the Jaguars, right
THEM: yeah, but they got Johnny Manziel, they'll be okay
ME: in a just world they would have
THEM: I wonder if Texas'll be able to move on without him
ME: Well he's been gone for a full year and he didn't play for them, but yeah, I think Charlie Strong has them on the right track
THEM [nodding thoughtfully]: you think Strong's gonna start this year?
ME: at the current attrition rate I suppose it's a possibility they should consider
THEM: they just haven't been the same since Coach Taylor retired
ME: well that's not even accurate in the fictional sense of things let alone the real world
THEM: you see Michigan got that guy from the NFL?
ME: where are we going with this one
THEM: you know, the coach who was in the Super Bowl a couple years ago
ME: I do, but do you
THEM: Jon Gruden, I think
ME: [zones out for five minutes while imagining that magical world]
[comes to in the bushes and he's talking about Tebow again]
ME: so hey how'd you like that playoff
THEM: whatever, it's biased against teams who lost to Georgia Tech
ME: aren't we all though
THEM: pretty cool that Oregon finally won one, though
ME [shrugging]: close enough I suppose
THEM: I wonder if Chip Kelly'll ever get a shot in the pros now
ME: me too, pal, me too