Springtime, for football, and Germany

Confused by the headline? You need to watch more Mel Brooks.

Unbeknownst to the common sports fan, spring football is upon us. For the aforementioned sports fan, who undoubtedly leads a much more fulfilling life than those of us who follow this, spring football is a time for college football teams to practice and organize scrimmages in order to prepare for the upcoming season. It is a great way for coaches to (1) keep players in shape, (2) keep alumni interested, (3) try out new strategies and formations and (4) stay away from their families.

The Bobcats are no exception. They’ll be holding their annual Triangle Classic scrimmage in Great Falls this weekend, April 10-11, before cumulating spring football with their final scrimmage at Bobcat Stadium the following Saturday. The Cats attract a decent crowd, and use the scrimmages well to excite alumni, which may be the second most (possibly the most) important aspect of the spring scrimmages.

But in the FBS, spring football takes on a whole different kind of crazy.

According to Al.com, 19 football programs held scrimmages that were attended by 21,000 or more people. Considering that the Bobcats attendance record is 21,527, one realizes that more people watched freakin’ Mississippi State (Stark Vegas) practice than 2013 Cat/Griz. So imagine a full crowd at Bobcat Stadium, except instead of an exciting game, you’re watching an organized practice. And while you’re watching an organized practice, you start to gain unrealistic expectations, “Our defense was dead last, but man they got a lot of sacks against our fourth string offensive line! This is the year!” While you’re gaining unrealistic expectations, zombie Howard Cosell rises from the dead and slaps you for being so gullible. And while zombie Howard Cosell slaps you for being so gullible, you begin to ask yourself, “Who the @!#$ is Howard Cosell?!” Don’t let zombie Howard Cosell slap you for being so gullible! (Get rid of cable and upgrade to DirecTV).

The university with the biggest spring football crowd, Alabama, attracted 73,506 people to their game; and given that it was televised, that total definitely reached six figures, possibly seven. Fewer people watched the final seven episodes of the Michael J. Fox Show … mainly because they were never aired.

The reasons for the unreasonable football interest in spring probably entails the following: (1) Americans have an insatiable appetite for football (2) Avengers 2 doesn’t come out until May, and (3) really, who pays attention to baseball spring training … or baseball in general? I’m not happy about it, but let’s face it, no one cares about baseball around here.

With a large number of spring football games getting broadcast on national TV — Notre Dame will be seen on NBC — announcers can struggle to fill airtime with interesting tidbits.

“Nice play by the sixth string safety, Max Bialystock. He got burned on the pass and gave up an easy touchdown, but when he fell down he accidently did the splits much to the delight of the 1,000,006 people here at The Dennis Washington Gave Us A Lot of Money So His Name Is On The Stadium Stadium.”

“Bialystock is a 5th year 100-lb. senior whose interests include mowing the lawn, rearranging his stamp collection and staring out the window while contemplating his inevitable eternal mortality.”

“Leo, give me that blanket you look ridiculous.”

“My blanket! My blue blanket! Give me my blue blanket!”

In all seriousness, some universities will use spring football for charitable causes. In 2013, the University of Nebraska famously brought out a seven-year-old brain cancer patient named Jack Hoffman to run in a touchdown. In 2014, Kansas State University orchestrated something similar when they had nine-year-old Kaiden Schroeder, a leukemia patient, rush for a 30-yard touchdown.

So, with that in mind, we can acknowledge spring football as what it is: a nice diversion for the avid football fan, a great way for coaches and players to prepare for the upcoming season, and adequate programming for sports channels bored with professional basketball and hockey. By the way, if none of these references make sense, just Google them. Or do the sudokus on the back. Actually to heck with this article just go to the sudokus. If you’re reading this online, well, I think you can still find old Calvin and Hobbes cartoons.