The parking lots outside of SEC football stadiums seem remarkably clean this time of year. The air isn’t nearly as toxic as it will be this fall — the smells of 80,000 plus can be quite unpleasant at times. Things are definitely different in the spring, but thank goodness there is football.
Winter has been a drag. Sports played indoors simply don’t have the same appeal in the Southeastern Conference — save basketball in Kentucky. However, almost exactly like in real life, Kentucky is the statistical outlier. The rest of the SEC is firmly infatuated with football, and when the weather warms up and the lost leaves of fall slowly manage to find their way back home, people throughout the conference are ready for football.
The real thing is still nearly a full six months away, but that’s okay — we’ve got SEC spring football to tide us over.
Football is synonymous with fall, these are the truths we hold to be self-evident, but it’ll be September before we’re served our entrees and allowed to satiate ourselves with the game we love… and things cooked over an open flame… and who can forget the beer — lots and lots of beer. Until then spring football will be our loaded potato skins, or just about anything fried. That perfect morsel of football that we’ve been so desperately craving.
Sure, there’s not a lot of substance to it, and it’s not nearly as satisfying when they’re just out there beating the hell out of each other rather than imposing their will on (insert rival here), but there are intangible aspects of SEC spring football that people seem to enjoy.
For starters, there are no win-loss records associated with the spring, so, for now, 14 teams are all under the impression that this is the start of something special. Yes, even you, Vanderbilt.
Then there is the competitive nature of it all. Obviously, there’s no scoreboards out there, and even when they do try to declare winners and losers at the all-important spring game, it really doesn’t matter. But that is besides the point to the throngs of athletes who are fighting to find the field or to those who are trying to solidify a spot and stave off that hungry freshman.
Watching players rise and fall on the depth chart is essentially the scoreboard of the spring, and for die-hard fans across the Southeast, that’s what makes SEC spring football entertaining.
By the time the fall rolls around, the rotation of players that actually see action will be whittled down. However, spring football is a time when fans really get a feel for the roster from top to bottom. It’s the reason why that fan in the North Purple Section at Tiger Stadium — you know the one who watches the game on his portable TV despite the fact that the crispest HD on God’s green earth is right in front of his eyes. It’s how “that guy” knows the name of the fourth-string long-snapper.
SEC spring football essentially lays the foundation for everything that’s great about the fall, and for that reason, the spring is great in and of itself. Sure, we’ll miss all the little nuances of the fall that are absent from the spring, and we’ll miss having the opportunity beat up on each other, but, for now, spring ball will have to do.