The first FBS vs. FBS game will be played tonight. More will follow on Saturday, and more still the Saturday after that. No one can say for certain how many college football games will be played this fall, but the first one's going down tonight.
And on this toned down Opening Day amid this strange season, Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde talked to a number of voices about why the college football industry pushed so hard to get this season played, and about what football means to us in this country.
As usual, I thought Nick Saban had something smart to say.
“Everybody acts like we want to play for the money. We want to play for the players. I want to play for the players.”
That echoes what he said last month to ESPN: "I want to play, but I want to play for the players' sake, the value they can create for themselves."
Asked why we love football so damn much that we're willing to do the heavy lifting necessary to play the game amid a pandemic, Saban said this:
“I know that sports tied our town together when I was growing up in Monongah, W.Va.,” Saban said. “The last guy turned the lights out because everybody went to the game. Everybody went to the football game on Friday night. Everybody went to the basketball games. I mean, they closed the pool room. They closed [the place] where we used to play pinball and played cards all night. They closed all those places because everybody went to the game.
“So why is that so important to people? They love sports. People identify with competition. A lot of the principles and values that make you a good player in sports, whether it’s pride in performance, personal discipline, your ability to sustain effort and toughness and persevere, overcome adversity. But it’s been a part of our society since back in the Greek days. That’s why it’s important.”
The piece speaks to a wide array of voices across the sport. Check it out here.