10. Don't watch the early-December bowl games unless your team is involved. It will only get you frustrated with the fact that North Texas and Middle Tennessee State get to go to bowl games, you'll get burnt out by the time the good games roll around, and you'll be embarrassed to be watching such drek when you could be having social interactions with real people.
9. For college apartments and bachelor pads: invest in cable splitters, which can be purchased at your friendly neighborhood Target, Radio Shack, or Wal-Mart. This allows you to use one cable outlet to watch multiple games at once in the same room. Thank goodness for those tiny little metal thingys.
8. Play the "Which Crappy Big Ten Game Will Pam Ward be Calling This Week?" game with your friends. Check out the several crappy Big Ten games on ESPN on a given Saturday, everybody select a matchup, and tune in for as long as you can bear it to see who wins!
7. If you are awake early enough on Saturdays, look for the Washington State University flag that is present at every single on-location episode of College Game Day. This is an unofficial response by Wazzu alumni to their feeling of having been snubbed by Game Day for the past several years. As a broader rule, try not to listen too much to what the guys are saying during the show. Instead, once you've found the Wazzu flag, look for the other great signs people bring to the set, such as "AJ Hawk Plays With 'My Little Ponies.'" (Happy Valley, PSU-OSU, 2005). Because a college football version of "Where's Waldo?" will always be more entertaining than Lee Corso. If all else fails and you just can't take that these guys are the only option of what to watch before actual football gets going, check this out.
6. Go to a good SEC (or Penn State) tailgate party. It might even be a good idea to go without tickets, skip the game, and just stay at the tailgate the whole time. You might not enjoy the game, especially if your team sucks. But you're sure to have fun at a tailgate!
5. Watch the Texas-OU Game. We're coming off a five- or six-year stretch where any neutral observer could have accurately predicted the winner--Oklahoma for 3 or 4 years, and Texas for the last 2. Coming into the season, this appears to be the first time in awhile when the teams really are pretty evenly matched so it should be a very entertaining fight in October.
4. Watch the Alabama-Auburn Game. We have no real interest in either one of these teams. In fact, we actually rather dislike them both. But with apologies to Ohio State-Michigan, there simply isn't a more bitter rivalry in all of college sports than the Bama-Auburn game. In Alabama, you're not Baptist, Catholic, or Jewish first. You're either a Bama person or an Auburn person. If a kid from a Bama family goes to Auburn, that kid "converted." This is not just about football to these people. This is about getting confirmation that your entire belief system is better than that of the other half of your little state. For people like us who are not involved, it's actually a little much. And funny. And it makes for great football.
As a caveat, we would not, in fact, recommend that Bama or Auburn fans watch this game. It will only get you worked up.
3. Remember that the games are played on Saturdays (and sometimes Thursdays). Do so by not letting your buddies who are fans of other schools get to you and by keeping your own dialogue civil. We will, of course, be writing a lot about what we think in this space but we will certainly be doing our part to try and keep the conversation rational. Some of your friends like to needle you and get a rise out of you over college football. That's cool. But just remember that no matter what they say or how you respond, you will have absolutely no impact on the outcome of the game. So just watch it.
2. Remember that the games are played on Saturdays (and sometimes Thursdays). Do so by watching a minimal amount of football-related television throughout the week. The more you listen to Mark May and all the other talking heads on ESPN, the angrier you will become. Unless you are a Southern Cal fan, you will feel that your team is constantly "disrespected" because we all have a certain level of irrational bias about our teams. And, those guys are blowhards.
1. Be a Texas Fan
*Special Thanks to Jeremy Podolnick, UGA '08 and Hannah Gershen, PSU '07, for their help on this post.