My wedding day was supposed to be October 20, 2007. But the banquet hall double-booked, and they asked us to move it back a week to October 27. I was a little upset that now it would fall on a USF football Saturday, but I married someone who didn't know anything about college football and didn't have a team of her own. So I decided not to raise a fuss. Plus, it was just UConn, and that game couldn't possibly be THAT important, and back then you still couldn't get every game on TV or on the Internet. Maybe it wouldn't matter at all.
Well, it mattered a lot. Even though USF had famously lost to Rutgers the week before, the Bulls were still ranked 10th when they visited UConn. To get away from the wedding venue for a few hours, me and a couple of my friends (both Gator fans) adjourned to a bar in downtown to watch our games.
It just felt like something was wrong as soon as the game started. It's probably illegal for USF to play in East Hartford in anything less than horrible weather, so the rainy, windy day was a given. The Bulls spun their wheels for the entire first half, missed a couple of field goals, threw a pick-six, and looked hopelessly out of the game at 16-0 by the time we had to head back.
(Meanwhile, this was going on in Jacksonville... fortunately my Gator friends are easygoing and correctly thought this was the funniest thing ever.)
UGA Celebration! (via puprock2975)
As we know now, USF was not hopelessly out of the game. They got back in it in the second half and cut UConn's lead down to 19-15. But it's also probably illegal for USF to play UConn and score touchdowns at the goal line, so all of their attempts (and there were a lot of them) failed. The Huskies ultimately won 22-15, their first win ever over a ranked opponent.
I didn't see one play of the second half. I still have not seen one play of that second half. I never will see one play of that second half. I choose to remember everything that happened other than football that night. The reception, the conversations, the leftover alcohol (we still have an unopened bottle of wine), my wife forgetting to bring any clothes with her other than her wedding dress and me having to go back home the next morning so she would have something to wear to breakfast... and especially the surge of adrenaline that hit right after the ceremony began. Short of having a kid, which I'm sure will happen eventually, I can't imagine another feeling that is so exciting and scary at the same time.
Lately I've been trying to get my wife into college football. I don't use USF games because they're so miserable to watch, but I expose her to other games (mostly in the Big XII), and she's picking up on things. We came home from dinner last night just in time for the Louisville-Cincinnati ending, and she remembered how college overtime works. In a couple of weeks I'm taking her to the TCU-Kansas State game, her first live college game. I have a number of friends who went to both schools, so she'll find out what tailgating is all about. And inside the stadium, I hope that game ends up being as crucial as I think it will end up being so that she can see for herself why college football is so great. I can tell her how great it is much as I want, but nothing works as well as that first live experience.
But that first experience isn't going to be tonight. It's October 27. See you all tomorrow.