Celebrating the revival of the college football magazine
THIS column was going to be a lament. An ode to lost youth. An old man's rant about the good old days and how they don't make them like they used to, not any more, how things will never be the same and what a shame that is.
That's right, I'm talking about college football preview magazines.
Once, the middle of summer was another Christmas Day. There was that same anticipation, that same excitement, same delight. The college football magazines were out!
And they were like something that you'd open under the tree. You could spend hours going over them. I would usually buy at least two of them. The Sporting News was my favorite. It was brilliant. I bought it eagerly every year for years and years.
Even as it started slipping.
And it did, they all did. There was less of the good stuff. Oh, all those magazines dress it up to make it look good -- a top 25, an All-America team, an opening essay, five coaches on the hot seat, the best stadium for tailgate barbecue. But not much with depth, very little with heart. All the stuff that had made us fall in love with the genre had been reduced to a page and a half in the front of the book.
It got so bad, I stopped buying them. Me.
Let me tell you, it takes something to break that kind of traditional buying loyalty.
So that's what today's column was going to be about.
But then something happened. I went to the bookstore to find examples of bad college football magazines. Should be easy enough. But the CBS Sportsline.com magazine was really good. I mean really good. It was excellent.
(That is, if you don't mind all those full-page ads for "How I Met Your Mother" and "CSI: Des Moines.")
Not mid-'80s-Sporting News-good, of course. But easily the best I've seen in 10 years. I hope it's the start of a trend, the great college football magazine renaissance.
Sportsline has Boise State at No. 19, Hawaii right on the button at 25. (UH fans still mad at Dennis Dodd for quoting Colt Brennan on the soap/parking thing might forgive him for what he writes here.) And Utah State at 118; Idaho No. 113; Louisiana Tech 110; Fresno State 89 -- ouch.
What a joyous discovery. I was so giddy I was still in a good mood when I looked at Street & Smith's. It wasn't great, but did have some good things going for it: old-fashioned facemasks on the helmet logos; small-college previews, too (forgot to check for UH's opponents in there); and it refers to Hawaii as the Rainbow Warriors. So, points there. In celebration of the return of the good college football preview magazine, I may have to break down and buy this one, too.
(The other one in the store, Phil Steele's, is celebrated by some, but really isn't my style. It has more small print than a credit card application and reads like "Bridget Jones's Diary": This VHT is a BMF. VG!)
Yesterday at the Waikele Borders there was a guy thumbing through a magazine with a beatific glow on his face. (No, not the guy with THAT magazine; me, with the college football book.) Man, what a pleasant surprise. It was like being a kid again.
Now all I have to do is scrape up $5 to buy the thing.
It seems at least some things never change.