The sound of fingernails scratching a blackboard that came from the college football offseason finally subsided Thursday.
Everyone could remove their hands from their ears as the regular season arrived with none other than Jadeveon Clowney, the ferocious South Carolina defender, and the rest of the South Carolina Gamecocks kicking it off against North Carolina.
Clowney’s thundering hit on Michigan’s Vincent Smith seems like so long ago after the tumultuous offseason.
For every college football fan, it was bad news after bad news they had to read for what felt like every day before Thursday.
It all seemed like the fault of the NCAA, aside from issues with players with too much time on their hands and committed crimes.
First, there was news that the NCAA might take electrifying Texas A & M quarterback Johnny Manziel away from college football enthusiasts for something as silly as selling his autograph.
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas showed the NCAA’s hypocrisy by finding what few knew about: he discovered that someone could search the name of some college athletes on the NCAA’s apparel website and be directed to the athlete’s jersey.
What makes that so damning is everyone in the business has always proclaimed that the No. 2 Aggies jersey being sold is not Manziel’s, but just a No. 2 Texas A & M jersey. So the NCAA is not profiting off of his name, like he was allegedly by selling his autograph.
The NCAA, finally realizing its hypocrisy, announced this month it will stop selling players’ jerseys. It was also announced Manziel would only be suspended for two quarters.
Sadly, it was not the only recourse by the NCAA as a result of another idiotic decision.
The governing body had the gall to tell former U.S. Marine Steven Rhodes he would have to redshirt in his freshman year at Middle Tennessee State because he played in a recreational league during his military service.
That decision was later reversed. He will be able to play this season.
As the season has come upon us, we are thankfully able to move onto the game on the field, which is more exciting than ever.
This year’s crop of exiting players is large, featuring the likes of a speedster from Oregon in De’Anthony Thomas to quarterback Braxton Miller of Ohio State.
Those two players are among those who are operating out of a spread offense that opens up the field and puts more points on the scoreboard.
Even the Mid-American Conference is something people are excited about.
MACtion features two players in Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch and Kent State’s Dri Archer who could both at least be in the conversation with the best in college football.
And while many remain pessimistic about Central Michigan football, it at least has talent in players like receiver Titus Davis, whose 20 yards per reception average ranked No. 1 in the nation among receivers with at least 40 receptions last year, and Zurlon Tipton, who rushed for 1,492 yards.
So make sure, before the next offseason arrives, to savor another season of the greatest entertainment on earth: college football.