Whenever Hank Williams, Jr. asks if I’m “ready for some football,” I always answer “yes!”
So with each passing day more tinged by the color and scent of autumn, along with other local fans, I find myself more and more ready to cheer my teams.
Because I’m a University of Michigan Wolverine fan, I’m always—at least in the Jim Harbaugh era—on the edge of my seat well into the late stages of any game. The Wolverines are off to a decent start, but the schedule only gets more and more challenging, as we face rivals of Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan State before the yearly grudge match with Ohio State.
Fans like my wife’s family, cheering instead for the Michigan State Spartans, cringed on a recent Saturday night, when Arizona State place kicker Brandon Ruiz ruined their late night in the desert, nailing a game-winning field goal as time expired. After their bye week, however, the Spartans are poised to return to success as they begin Big Ten play, pinning their hopes on the arm of quarterback Brian Lewerke and the defensive prowess of big Raequan Williams.
Local high school fans, from Cheboygan to Harbor Springs to Petoskey, and everywhere in between, can also find plenty to cheer about on football Fridays, as these young teams continue to test their mettle against their conference—and non-conference—rivals, all hoping for a spot in the coveted end-of-season playoffs, aiming ultimately for a championship.
Unfortunately, the state’s professional football fans are less cheerful, as our Detroit Lions continue to suffer through more than a half century of mediocrity. New head coach Matt Patricia and his staff recently ushered in the latest wave of enthusiasm, though—at least so far—this group has been unable to pair that new energy with any game-winning results. Our hapless Lions, as they have since the middle of the last century, appear destined for another post-season holiday, continuing a long tradition of disappointing even the most committed of fans. Still, because we are willing football fans, we watch.
Alas, dear fans, not all the gridiron news is grim. So take heart, grab a sweater or a rain coat, and check out this weekend’s full slate of games, whether high school contests close to home, college games a bit farther away, or the luckless Lion’s, best viewed from the comfort of home, where at least if the game gets out of hand, the snacks are close, the drinks are cold, and another game is only a remote control click away.