As much as we enjoyed NDSU-Montana last week, and the Thursday games, and SMU looking kind of frisky last night, and PJ Fleck's continuing descent into motivational speaker madness, they aren't Saturday. Saturday is where we spend the morning finalizing our tailgate spreads and deciding how we're going to navigate between games. (Should we get a third TV? Yes, we should get a third TV.) Saturday is when we get hopped up on catastrophic missed field goals and awesome fake punts and broken plays that turn into highlights and coaches freaking out on the sideline and upsets you totally saw coming and upsets you absolutely never saw coming. Saturday is for animals, like Ralphie and MIke and Smokey and Surrender Cobra, the traveling live mascot that visits every school at some point.
And the first Saturday has something else: endless, boundless optimism. The predictions and previews have weighed your team, and quite possibly found it wanting. But until we play a game, they mean not one damn thing, because you remember when Auburn went from unranked in the preseason to playing for a national title in 2013. You remember 2000, when Oklahoma started the year ranked behind three other teams in its conference and ripped off one of the most dominant seasons in recent memory. You remember 2007, where we came much, much closer to a Missouri-West Virginia title game than anyone could have possibly predicted. Goddamn, 2007. You were amazing. So drink deeply from that optimism while you can. The reality of the regular season will sop it up eventually for most of us.
Until then? We'll say this once, and only once, and if you ever tell anyone we'll deny it and frame you for a felony. No matter your rooting interest - Alabama, Miami, Texas, Notre Dame, USC, Clemson, Iowa, Ohio State, Kansas State, BYU, Arkansas, Wisconsin, UCLA, Purdue, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Oregon, Louisville, Texas A&M, Northwestern, Tennessee, Maryland, Arizona State, whoever - we hope this is the best damn season you ever see.
Unless you root for Georgia. We have our limits.