SURRATT: College football is just around the corner

Published 4:00 am Friday, July 30, 2021

It seems the college football season is getting an early start with controversy and speculation.

I normally write one or two sports-minded columns a year, usually screaming at how wonderful it is to see the approach of the college and Canadian Football League seasons, how I have disdain for the NFL and once again explain to those new readers that despite my Louisiana roots, I am not now and have never been a New Orleans Saints fan.

With the college season now less than a month away, with ESPN beginning its college football broadcasts Aug. 28 with five games and the CFL season about a week away (Hamilton and Winnipeg kickoff the season Aug. 5), I’m getting myself prepared with the lucky shirt and cap and counting down the days when I wake up early on Saturday for ESPN’s College Football Saturday.

And just when I thought things would be getting back to normal in the post-pandemic sports world a new phenomenon has arrived — Texas and Oklahoma want to be in the Southeastern Conference. Gosh, is this the end of the Big 12 minus 2? Does this mean fans in SEC stadiums in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia could soon be hearing the strains of “Boomer Sooner” and “The Eyes of Texas?”

From what I’ve read, it appears so.

According to the online sports magazine “Saturday Down South,” Texas and Oklahoma have asked to join the SEC, making the move in 2025. That move, of course, depends on 11 of the present 14 SEC schools voting to allow both schools in.

One of the sure “No” votes will be Texas A&M, which joined the SEC in 2011 to get out of the Longhorns’ shadow. Regardless of the war of words in the Lone Star State between Texas and A&M alums to renew the schools’ once heated rivalry, the Aggies really don’t want to have to start playing Texas again.

But regardless of Texas A&M’s objections, we should expect to see both Texas and the Sooners in the SEC by 2025. The reason? Money. To borrow from the song in the 70s movie “Cabaret,” “Money makes the world go around” and it certainly keeps big-time college sports in operation.

And this move by both schools is a business decision. They can make more money in the SEC and the member schools already in the conference will also benefit from these wealthy programs.

But the decision of Texas and Oklahoma to join the SEC is but a distraction to what is coming soon to a stadium near you. Strike up the band, get the barbeque pits ready and ice down the drinks. It’s time to get ready for football in the South and we are passionate about the sport down here. I mean downright religious fanatics.

As HBCU coaching great the late Marino Casem once said, “On the East Coast, football is a cultural experience. In the Midwest, it’s a form of cannibalism. On the West Coast, it’s a tourist attraction. And in the South, football is a religion, and Saturday is the holy day.”

Let the services begin.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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