College football – it’s part of our constitution – and we’re glad it’s back

The leaves haven’t changed yet, the apples are still on the tree and Linus is looking for a real pumpkin patch, but the first signs of autumn are here – football has returned and with it the spirit of optimism, ticket sales and television drives ratings and takes up our time.

Time reveals our personal constitutions. It shows where we stand, what we believe and what we love. A 2023 American sports fanship study found that 72% of Americans (excluding my wife) identify themselves as football fans.

According to Nielsen, Americans watched 437 billion minutes of NFL and college football games in the 2018 regular seasons.

Five years have passed since this study, and America’s love of the game continues to grow. It’s almost as if someone knew years ago that something like this was going to happen.

Who we celebrate and how we celebrate is central to the United States Constitution. Certainly the Founding Fathers had more serious issues to contend with, but through their efforts and those who fought for the cause, the blueprint for fandom was born, albeit with an adjusted context.

I doubt Patrick Henry had college football in mind when he said, “Give me liberty or give me death” at the 1775 Virginia Convention, but I know a BYU freshman named John Henry Daley who would do anything for his team will give what he has this year.

When Samuel Adams said, “The liberty of our civil constitution (is worth defending against all danger, and it is our duty to defend it against all attack”), he did not mean stopping a distribution crime. But for the Cougars’ new defensive coordinator Jay Hill, he could have been.

Thomas Paine may have been reflecting on Kalani Sitake’s relationship with his coaching staff when he said, “All power delegated is trust, and all power assumed is usurpation.”

Sitake marches into Saturday’s season opener against Sam Houston (8:15 p.m. FS1) with four new defensive coaches – Hill, Justin Ena, Kelly Poppinga and Sione Po’uha. The head coach has delegated his power and trust to each individual.

Could Senator Edward Kennedy, as he pondered the Constitution, infer how some BYU and Utah fans interact both in person and online when he said, “The Constitution not only protects those whose views we share; It also protects those whose views we do not share?”

Probably not, but it’s definitely true.

George Washington’s loyalty to the document isn’t much different than BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe’s steadfast efforts to get the Cougars into a Power Five conference. Washington said, “The Constitution is a guide I will never give up.” Holmoe guided BYU through 12 years of football independence without ever giving up.

The United States Constitution, honored September 17-23 during American Founders and Constitution Week, is the glue that holds the nation together. When groups choose other ideologies, they can often become unbalanced.

When Queen Elizabeth II said, “The British Constitution has always been and always will be an enigma,” she meant England or the Pac-12, who preferred to live in their own kingdom, which turned out to be not so united.

Pac-12 government decisions were also puzzling, as they did nothing while they watched other principalities (conferences) expand their borders.

Their fatal mockery echoes the British historian Thomas B. Macaulay, who criticized the progressive thinking of the Founding Fathers when he wrote in 1860: “Their constitution is but sails and no anchor.”

He was wrong. Ditto for the Pac-12. As a result of limited thinking and lack of action, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, and Colorado all set sail to anchor elsewhere, launching a once mighty empire on the path to insignificance.

You can learn from history. Live the present and hope for a bright future.

BYU’s football history has shaped its present, and the Cougars look to a future free from the constraining barriers of an independent football club whose name is not Notre Dame.

Those days are over. BYU is now toying with a new Bill of Rights that would give the Big 12 access to everything — as long as they deserve it.

It won’t be easy, and when Ben Franklin said, “The Constitution does not guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it,” he might as well have been speaking to a naïve CougarNation who can’t wait to embark on the unprecedented journey without real happiness of how it will end.

Yes, the first signs of autumn are here. We’ll keep waiting for the leaves, the apples, and the pumpkin patch. But all systems are geared towards football.

At BYU, the schedule is in the works, the fireworks are bought, and the cougartails are ordered.

All that remains is the painting of the Big 12 logo on the pitch and the bang from the clock tower signaling 6 p.m. Saturday night. Then, BYUtv’s “Game Day” will open its two-hour broadcast with the Cougar Walk as the team returns to LaVell Edwards Stadium to make history.

college football. It is part of our personal constitution and is celebrated in a country whose constitution has no regard for a particular season.

We just really like this.

Dave McCann writes for Deseret News and is the studio host for BYU Sports Nation Game Day, The Post Game Show, After Further Review, and play-by-play announcer for BYUtv. He is also the co-host of Y’s Guys


Show More

Matthew Collins

Sports storyteller. Capturing the triumphs and tribulations of athletes, inspiring readers worldwide.

Read Next

Back to top button