Just 57 days till Sept. 5. Less than two months till kickoff.
For college football fans it’s the longest two months of the year. The preseason magazines have been read cover to cover. The what-ifs of the upcoming season have already been kicked around till there’s no new ground to tread.
As my managing editor reminds me, "You could watch baseball."
Thanks, but I’m a Braves fan, and after the emotional equivalent of a kick in the shins four times a week for three and half months, I’m about ready for a break.
So my thoughts, like so many others’, turn to fall when the dog days of summer roll around. But there’s only so much anticipatory daydreaming, blog reading, and message board arguing one can endure.
And while the days will drag on, there’s still much to do between now and kickoff.
With that in mind, here’s my (kinda, sorta) day-to-day guide to survival until football season finally arrives. Get your day planners ready.
Today: Download schedules. Post them in your office, in your car and on your refrigerator, and load them into your computer and mobile device calendars. Consider a semi-permanent tattoo. Study them daily until committed to memory. When you can rattle off that UGA plays Tennessee Tech on Nov. 7 at a time yet to be determined without batting an eye, then you’re ready for the season.
July 11: Begin studying up on opponents. Knowing Vanderbilt’s run-pass tendencies on third and short will make for more effective griping about Willie Martinez’s incompetence later in the season.
July 12: Begin work on a list of excuses. You’ll need these to get out of weekend obligations that pop from time to time during the season.
July 13: Start bugging the folks in the ticket office about when single game tickets go on sale. Notice: Georgia at Tennessee is already sold out, but if you want to see Lane Kiffin cry (and who doesn’t) wait until late September. Disillusioned Vols should be selling tickets at cut rates by then.
July 18: Knock out your Christmas shopping. Nobody wants to go to the mall in December, and your weekends are booked from September through November.
July 22: Get a fantasy football draft guide and start plotting your strategy. If you’re not in a fantasy football league, join one. It’s a good way to ease back into society after the lunacy of Saturday.
July 24: Take the commissioner of your fantasy football league out to lunch. Mention that you’ve got good seats for the SEC Championship game and you sure would like the first pick in this year’s draft. Not that those two are related or anything, I’m just saying...
Aug. 1: It’s tax-free weekend. Explain to the friendly salesperson that you need a 50-inch plasma monitor for your personal computer. It’s educational that way.
Aug. 8: Line up a neighborhood kid to do your yardwork, freeing up your Saturdays for the couch. Get him now at an affordable rate (and preferrably in writing) before he knows his true value.
Aug. 10: Begin dropping hints about how cool it would be to get bowl game tickets for Christmas. Your wife will love beautiful downtown Shreveport, La. They’ve got casinos!
Aug. 11: Speaking of gambling, get reacquainted with your booki ... er ... that guy you know who keeps up with such things.
Aug. 16: Figure out a reason that your toddlers need to celebrate their birthdays during bye weeks.
Aug. 23: Install an emergency generator, so no hurricane, electrical storm or seperatist, off-the-grid-militia uprising will keep you from an optimum football-viewing experience.
Aug. 26: Purchase a satellite plan with a minimum of 120 games. Just do it. Nobody wants to be stuck watching Purdue and Northwestern while waiting on the decent games to start. Tell your wife the $150 charge on your bill is for televised performances of Shakespeare in the Park. Then play dumb.
Aug. 28: Raid the end-of-summer sales for useful tailgating supplies. Get your burgers in bulk and stock up on sunblock. You’ll need it if you’re sitting on the north side of Sanford Stadium in September.
Sept. 4: Take your significant other on a date. Tell them you’ll miss them and you can’t wait to see them again at Thanksgiving.
Brent Holloway is the sports editor at The Times. His column appears every Friday. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.