The Patriots haven’t played a football game since November 3rd, (even worse, they haven’t won a football game since October 27th vs Cleveland. Gulp.) The bye week couldn’t have come at a better or worse time. I say better because a week 10 bye is a prime time to have a week off during the NFL season and this year it was at another level because I was traveling for work, specifically on Sunday and I didn’t have to alter travel plans to accommodate kickoff.
(One year, I took 4 college students to a conference and the Patriots kicked off at 1pm in Orchard Park and I had to drive to Bangor from Hartford. The students were NOT happy when I told them why they had to be down in the lobby at 5:30am.)
I was traveling through the bye week, but I spent plenty of time paying attention to other football. Did you know college football is great? Between conference sessions I watched Penn State at Minnesota which was a scene and a half as Minnesota went to 9-0 for the first time since Washington crossed the Delaware. Congratulations to PJ Fleck and former Black Bears HC Joe Harasymiak who is now an assistant for the Golden Gophers.
Saturday featured a game that commanded my attention so strongly that catching score updates on my phone or between session check-ins just wouldn’t do. No, LSU at Alabama demanded to be watched. After the mania in Death Valley last year, the fiber of my football DNA wouldn’t let me NOT watch the sequel in Tuscaloosa.
I was able to talk my pal Dave (also at the conference) into adopting me into his Youtube TV family, so I could stream the game on my phone. So through the final sessions of the conference, the awards banquet and dinner, I was locked in on the steel cage match between Slick Nick and Coach O. With scoring that would make the Big 12 jealous and the Big 10 blush, the Tigers and Tide traded blows throughout the fading sunlight of the golden hour turned into darkness that blanketed the Bryant-Denny gridiron the way neither defense could.
In the end, Joe Burrow pulled Ed Orgeron’s wagon to the Promised Land. The LSU Tigers are #1 in the country and perhaps more important #1 in the SEC. November is here and November is the true start of football season. The Patriots are in the midst of a 5 game stretch where they play nothing but contenders, every college game could end a team’s season and we’re just over a week away from Thanksgiving football. Add in the chance of snow flurries for almost any of these games (like we had in Green Bay last Sunday) and we are truly entering the most wonderful time of the year.
And I don’t care of you think it’s too early to reference a Christmas carol, I’ve been listening to them since before Halloween anyway.
By Sterling Pingree