By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal
When we drove away from Nashville’s LP Field after watching Mississippi State survive a rather lackluster effort in December’s Music City Bowl, there were eight whole months until the start of the next football season.
As you read this, we have 50 days until the Sept. 1 kickoffs for MSU, Ole Miss and Southern Miss.
Those schools have a lot to do in the next seven weeks. So do sports writers.
But the fact is, we have reached the point where college football season never really ends.
The moment the 2011 season ended with Alabama hoisting the national championship trophy, attention turned to National Signing Day in February.
As soon as we’d digested the winners and losers in recruiting, it was time for spring practice. Along the way, there’s always some weird off-field development – such as Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino’s bike ride to oblivion – to distract us.
In June, the preseason football magazines began to appear and SEC Media Days arrive in mid-July. Next thing you know, it’s August and practice has resumed.
And all spring and summer, fans were already speculating about the 2013 recruiting class. And the 2023 class, for all I know.
Then it’s kickoff time again. Rinse and repeat.
In the meantime, the Rebels’ Hugh Freeze and Golden Eagles’ Ellis Johnson have been able to enjoy the perks of one of the greatest job statuses in the world – being a major-college head football coach for those magical few months before the first game is played.
For his part, MSU’s Dan Mullen and his staff have been able to live off a two-game winning streak at season’s end that gave him a second consecutive winning season.
“Bragging rights,” as in winning a big rivalry game or winning a bowl game are the fuel that helps keep the college football machine humming all year.
Now it’s just 50 days and counting. Sounds like that’s still a lot of time. Trust me, it isn’t.
John L. Pitts (firstname.lastname@example.org) is sports editor at the Daily Journal.