The college football season begins Aug. 31 with 15 games kicking off a long, happy holiday weekend of action.
If only it could start sooner.
Sadly, that’s a wish that won’t come true, but I have plenty more dreams for this season.
I wish . . .
● That Tyrone Willingham gets some credit for whatever success Notre Dame has this season.
It was his brilliant 2003 recruiting class that brought in the core of the Irish’s national championship-caliber team, including All-America talents in quarterback Brady Quinn, receiver Jeff Samardzija, defensive end Victor Abiamiri and safety Tom Zbikowski.
Willingham ended up fizzling in South Bend but not before setting in motion this season of high expectations.
● That Southern Miss punter Britt Barefoot would actually kick without a shoe.
● That a few of the bowls would go bankrupt and go away. I used to be in the more-the-merrier camp when it came to bowls, but the addition of four new games, bringing the total to 32, cheapens the whole experience, not enhances it.
● That Penn State defensive back Knowledge Timmons and Hawaii offensive lineman Hercules Satele could finally settle the brains-vs.-brawn debate.
● That we don’t get too politically correct. The SEC wants TV outlets to stop referring to the annual Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” Not to come out in favor of binge drinking, but this seems like a lame way to try to stop it.
● That we really don’t get too politically correct. Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis used to call his strong-side linebacker position “Apache.” Now, like most coaches, he calls it the “Sam” linebacker. “In this time of political incorrectness, I didn’t feel comfortable with that,” Weis said of the Apache nickname.
● That there would be a ban on the phrase, “He’s the next Reggie Bush.”
● That I could introduce Michigan running back Mister Simpson to former Texas A&M running back Sirr Parker.
● That Navy would beat Notre Dame. This would wreck my preseason No. 1 team, but it would be worth it to see the Midshipmen end an NCAA-record 42-game losing streak to the Irish that dates to the days of Roger Staubach.
● That Akron’s Reggie Corner lives up to his name and has a really outstanding year at – corner.
● That we could all stop talking about a playoff. We’re starting a new four-year cycle in which we’ll have a stand-alone national title game after the four BCS games are played. It is what it is. A playoff isn’t happening soon. Deal with it.
● That there would be a ban on the phrase, “He’s the next Vince Young.”
● That poor, underfunded Oregon could get some black helmets from Nike . . . you know, just so they have something new to wear.
● That the Football Writers Association of America, in association with the Charlotte Touchdown Club, would recognize that the first winner of its Bronko Nagurski Trophy (given to the nation’s top defender) was Arizona’s Rob Waldrop, not Waldorf.
Do a Web search and see how many times that mistake has been multiplied.
● That recently retired Doug Flutie brings the same kind of boyish enthusiasm to the ABC/ESPN booth that he does to Red Sox games (he still brings his glove, hoping for a foul ball).
● That every game is decided on the last play, no one gets hurt, everyone posts a 4.0 grade-point average, coaches open all of their practices, Steve Spurrier has only nice things to say about Georgia . . . and whatever other fantasy you want to insert here.
● That networks would fire all sideline reporters, pool their salaries and do something useful with the money. Here’s an idea: Let’s give it to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Anthony Gimino’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org