“Whoa, Nellie!”, College Football Is Back!


I know! The college football season technically started last weekend but for the most of us it starts this weekend.

There are so many voices that are synonymous with college football to me.  Some of my favorites were Brent Musberger with “You are looking live at the…!”, and the voice of the SEC Football on CBS, Verne Lundquist with “How about that!” and “Yes sir!”.

But the voice that resonates with me is Keith Jackson.  I can’t tell you how many football games I watched growing up with him giving the play-by-play on ABC and ESPN.  With “Whoa, Nellie!”, “The Biggins!” and so much more, he helped stoke the fire that was lit when I was little kid.

Back in the early ’80s, I remember listening with my Dad to the Notre Dame football broadcast in our powder blue Aries K before the 4 o’clock Mass on Saturdays.  I can’t remember who the announcers were back then.  Was it Tony Roberts on the national call or was he just the Notre Dame announcer?  Either way, college football is in my blood and I have to thank my father for that.  Being from Massachusetts, I wasn’t blessed with a rich Div. 1-A (it will always be 1-A to me, not FBS) perennial powerhouse.  Yes, BC has had pretty good years but they haven’t been a true force since the ’40s.

One of my earliest lasting memories of college football was Flutie’s Hail Mary in 1984.  I was able to parlay (pun intended) that game into a presentation I turned in as homework the following Monday.  I don’t remember the topic of the grade I received but I remember cutting out the pictures from the Boston Herald.

Although, my real love of college football started a few years earlier when my father and I watched 1981 Sugar Bowl.  That game was the spark that lit the fire.  My father (and probably I) were rooting for Notre Dame to beat the Georgia Bulldogs, but the Fighting Irish had to defend the best college football play I have ever seen.  Number 34 in your program, number 1 in MY heart, the Wrightsville, Georgia native, Herschel Walker.  He was a beast in that game.  I remember his leap into the endzone from what seemed like the 10 yard line.

HE is the reason why today I am a huge Bulldogs fan.  GO DAWGS! Reading game summaries in the Sunday Boston Globe when I was a kid, watching the Thursday night games on ESPN during the cable boom, and the SEC on CBS for decades helped keep my love for Georgia alive.  My now #2 item on my college football bucket list (it was #3 until I checked off Notre Dame Stadium) is to watch Georgia “between the hedges” at Sanford Stadium. Hopefully next year!

Now you know what I’ll be watching most Thursday and Friday nights and all day Saturday (ESPN College Gameday starts at 9am)…Oh! Some Tuesdays for the MAC if they are still doing that.

Thanks, Dad!


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Categories: Choppy's Thoughts

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