It’s in the air 

One of the most electric times to be a football fan is late summer. Your heart's full to bursting. The hair of your neck stays on end. The fight song plays on constant repeat in your head. You can almost smell the fall air. Anticipation gets the best of you most days. Gawking at the tight new unis is only the tip of the iceberg.

The rains on Sunday may have cooled folks down a bit, but as you'd hear at my high school every time two-a-days came around, it's been hot as a mug out there. You don't have to remind anyone to hydrate during these dog days. If reports about Petrino's conditioning fall anywhere near the truth, practice must be killing those guys.

That's real good, because if reports about our defense fall anywhere near the truth, we're going to be playing a lot of fourth-quarter football.

Patrick Beverly may have had a lukewarm year in 2008, but his presence on the court gave me a little hope that our rebuilding year wouldn't exactly feel like one.

Pressure from his teammates and his mother seem to have kept him on board despite his wish to transfer earlier this summer. Any off-the-court problems would be even harder to overcome if his heart weren't truly in playing for the Razorbacks.

The circumstances surrounding Bev's departure from the Hog basketball team remain murky, and while the urge to speculate on those circumstances is almost unavoidable, the real speculation needs to focus on how Coach John Pelphrey is going to find a way to earn his recent pay raise. There won't be a redshirt left to burn at the end of the season. We've got a bonfire on the horizon.

Remember the hypnotic power of the Preview Channel in the bygone days of basic cable? Something about those endlessly cycling options could lull even a toddler into a zen-like state of total immersion. You'd click over to find out what time some show began and end up drooling and confused thirty minutes later, with no clue when “Hangin' with Mr Cooper” started.

That's what Olympic coverage does to me. So far, the commentary and the camerawork on NBC have been God-awful, but I get wrapped up for hours at a time just watching events I neither understand nor generally care about. Nay, just watching folks warm up for events I neither understand nor generally care about.

The worst part is the benign but troubling jingoism that even gymnastics can tug out of me. Screw you, Other Nation-States! Go USA!



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