This was my entry to the USA Today Weekend “College Football’s Biggest Fans” contest. A snippet of this made the article, but I wanted to share the whole entry:
Hi. My name is Katie. I’m a rabid fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks. My grandmother was the biggest Razorback fan, and she passed that love to me.
But that’s not why I’m “College Football’s Biggest Fan”.
I am a fan of the sport itself. My focus isn’t solely on my Hogs. In the last couple of years, I have written a blog during the season, covering everything from the SEC to the FCS. I have learned more about college football in the last two seasons than I had in the previous 16 years of my life. I forgot to mention, I am about to start my sophomore year at the University of Arkansas.
The transition from being a casual fan to what is best described by some friends as an obsession with the sport happened about 3 years ago. I can pinpoint it because I remember getting a recruiting magazine with Jadeveon Clowney on the cover and then telling my dad to watch out for him (I guess that was something I should have told Michigan RB Vincent Smith). Saturdays in the fall during my junior and senior years in high school were not spent with friends or at parties. I didn’t sleep in after a tough week of school and volleyball. Being on the west coast, I got up a little before 6am to watch College Gameday on ESPN with my dad. When 9am rolled around, we’d be watching games, usually flipping channels and watching some on my computer. This is what we would do until the end of the last Pac12 or MWC game of the night around 10pm. The rest of the week was spent splitting time between homework, volleyball and my blog. (My blog consumed the biggest chunk of time.)
I started my blog because of a suggestion from my dad. He mentioned it after one of my many arguments with analysts or commentators. At first, I didn’t think it was that great of an idea because no one would care what I had to say. When I expressed that, he told me that it was for me, not for other people. So, I followed his advice, and because of that, I know so much more about college football and it is a great way for me to keep my dad up to date with my thoughts and predictions. This past season, I picked 100 regular season games and was 63-37 as well as 20-15 for the bowls. Each week I wrote a preview and a recap. And, while I’m not complaining, the recap took significantly longer this past season because I went to 9 Razorback games, leaving much less time to watch games live on TV.
I was lucky enough to make it to two away games: Alabama and LSU. Anyone familiar with Arkansas’ 2013 season might be confused that I used the word “lucky” to describe going to those games, but going to Tuscaloosa was one of the coolest experiences of my life. Even though the Hogs lost 52-0 for the second year in a row. Being in a place with so much football history was amazing. Our seats were at the very top of Bryant-Denny Stadium, and I’m so glad they were. We could see everything, and it was beautiful. Death Valley was great for a different reason. That reason being we almost pulled of the biggest upset of the season to that point. (The Iron Bowl was the next day, so we would have held the title of “Biggest Upset” for less than 24 hours.) That LSU game was one of the best I’ve ever been to.
I might not show my love of the game the way other fanatics do by painting my face or body or by getting tattoos. But if you spend a Saturday with me during the fall, you’d understand why I think I’m one of College Football’s Biggest Fans.