In the south, college football is a way of life.
Children are raised to say “Go Dawgs!”, “Roll Tide!”, “War Eagle!” and “Go ‘Dores!” (okay, maybe not) before they can walk, and although it usually sounds like baby jibberish, parents shriek with joy when their little one utters those battle cries. Saturdays are Football Days, complete with football shaped serving trays, official team napkins and licensed plastic Solo cups. Every living object, be it adult, child, or canine, is decked out in full-on team apparel from the moment they wake up on a Football Day until long after the official time has run out in the late West Coast game. Everyone here loves football, even the women. This is a fact that most southern men very much enjoy, as one can watch all the games he wants on Saturdays in the fall without catching flack from his girlfriend or wife, since she is likely right there watching the games with him. Personally, I enjoy getting into a verbal fist-fight over whether or not Jordan Jefferson should be allowed to play at this point. However, most women aren’t like me. They nod and smile as you chatter on about coverage and points spreads, all the while wondering if the mini pizza rolls they’re cramming down their throats have mini-calories as well.
As kickoff arrives — Praise the Lord! — I talked with several of my girlfriends and came to several conclusions. We all want our men to believe that we are equally as into the games as they are, because it’s fun to be included and we enjoy the general atmosphere and excitement as the games are played. But let me take a few minutes to let you in on some little secrets my girlfriends shared with me…just don’t tell your wife I told you.
But I guarantee it’s going to help you survive the offseason without living in the doghouse.
Secret One: She doesn’t care jack-squat about the Cal-UCLA game.
Every single one of the girls I asked said that they really love and get behind ONE team, and that team’s game is the one they really want to watch. Will they watch the highlights on SportsCenter and cheer like mad if the evil USC empire falls victim to Washington? Absolutely. We all want to see the Trojans go down, don’t we? But as far as sitting on the couch watching the game and getting excited about a school we don’t love (or in some cases, hate)…yeah, that doesn’t really happen.
Secret Two: She’s more concerned with looking cute in her new houndstooth dress than discussing types of defenses.
Women always want to look attractive, and Game Day is no exception. Showing our support for the team goes far beyond holding a shaker and yelling at the game. Your woman likely has an outfit planned for the game long before you’ve filled out your Pick ‘Em sheets, and these outfits include everything from shoes and bags to earrings, bracelets and even hairbands or sunglasses. For example, my standard football outfit is a crimson shirt and jeans or sundress (depending on the wacky Alabama weather), red flip-flops, houndstooth sunglasses, ‘A’ logo earrings, a houndstooth bracelet, and a game-durable crimson seatbelt purse. (Don’t know what that is? Sigh. You’re such a man. Google it). Women can talk all day about clothes and shoes, but discussing the difference in the Cover 2 and Tampa defenses (they’re identical except the MLB drops deeper into coverage) and which one will work better to stop an Arkansas run?
If you want to really earn some points, compliment an accessory instead of a dress. “Nice dress,” whatever, but “Those earrings look really great.” You’re probably getting lucky later that night.
Secret Three: She thinks you look like a dumbass in your full game day gear.
Sorry honey…those bright red pants you wore around The Hill in Athens back in your fraternity days at UGA just don’t cut it anymore. The orange and blue horizontally-striped sweater that matches those God-awful Auburn cheerleader outfits only manages to showcase your beer belly and not your love of the Tigers. And those bright purple and gold beads you wear around your neck while hanging out in Death Valley should be taken from you and given to my five year old daughter. Please gentlemen, I beg of you: stick to polos or t-shirts, with regular jeans or khakis or something equally as socially acceptable. If you wouldn’t wear it out to the mall on a normal day, don’t think that you can get away with it just because it happens to be a game day. Because if you’re an actual adult with a job other than pretending to stay awake in class, you can’t.
Secret Four: Why She REALLY Likes College Game Day
Does your woman get up early on Saturdays to make you a great breakfast and then sit with you in front of the TV to watch College GameDay on ESPN? My guess is no. But if she does enjoy watching GameDay, I can tell you that she’s probably not really interested in hearing about the player from Indiana who has overcome terrible adversity to be the starting defensive back. She is totally checking out how hot Kirk Herbstreit looks in those tailor-made suits. We like to give you a lot of crap about drooling over Erin Andrews as she does the sideline reports, but we’re equally as piggish when it comes to our love of Kirk. He may be a stuck up, over-spray-tanned jerk in real life, but we don’t care; he always looks so pretty on TV.
Secret Five: We Want to Be Included
Your girl may act like she doesn’t care much for football, or as though she’s perfectly okay with you disappearing for several hours to your closest Buffalo Wild Wings to check out the game with your buddies. Who knows–she might REALLY be okay with it. But I know from experience that even though I may not go toe-to-toe with your annoying stat-quoting buddy, I’d sure like to feel like you want me there with you. (And yes, you all have at least one of those irritating friends. If you can’t think of who it is in your group, it’s probably you). It’s always nice to feel included and wanted, so the next time you are planning something you think she might want to go to, ASK her. Even if she doesn’t end up going, I guarantee she’ll appreciate the invite.
Now that you have a little bit of insight into the mind of a woman regarding this football season, hopefully you can spend more time in front of the TV watching the game and a little less time in the doghouse.
And if you screw up, roses are always a good choice.
(Just don’t put them in the trash like Ronnie on Jersey Shore).
(Editor’s note: Due to a technical issue, this article was previously attributed to Clay Travis. The byline has been corrected.)