Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Next Level

Every NFL scout at one point or another has asked it: He’s a great college player, but can he do it in the pros?” 

It’s true for players, and it’s true for boyfriends.

Any guy can date a girl from a big-time college football school and have little trouble getting her to watch football on Saturday. It’s what she knows. It’s what she’s learned to love.

But precisely because she ended up watching more football on Saturday than she could have ever imagined, the thought of watching football on Sundays too became more repulsive than her favorite Nordstrom’s catching on fire.

So the question to you, Mr. Hot-Shot Boyfriend, is: Can you take your game to the next level?

It's not easy, but here’s my three-step primer on how to do it.

Step 1: Keep your ears open.
Early on in our relationship, I was out to dinner with Lindsey, her sorority sister Emily, and Emily’s husband John: Three Oklahoma grads. At dinner, John told a funny (and inappropriate) story about OU tight end Jermaine Gresham. We all laughed hysterically, and a lightbulb went off in my head.

Step 2: Nurture Your Information
Gresham was an All-American, and a future NFL star. I knew one day he'd be playing on Sunday. So every time we watched him play with Lindsey and her friends, I’d retell the story, and we’d joke about Gresham and refer to him by his (inappropriate) nickname. I wanted Lindsey to know him, like him, and develop an interest in his career.

Step 3: Reap the benefits.
Now Gresham’s a Cincinnati Bengal, and when the Bengals play on Sundays, I’ll point out Gresham, and of course, call him by his nickname (OK, fine, it’s “The Black Mambo”, in reference to his privates). And lo and behold, Lindsey's at least a little interested, and watches a few plays with me.

I’ve also done this successfully for Tommie Harris (she took a class with him), Dusty Dvoracek (her sorority sister hooked up with him), and Sam Bradford (#1 draft pick, no back story necessary), among others.

Getting your college football girlfriend to care about pro football is hard work. It’s time and thought consuming. You might find yourself questioning whether it's worth it.

And that’s exactly when the scouts will be watching.

Weekend Picks

Nebraska (-11) @ Kansas St. (Thurs, 8:00 ET). I want to take the Thursday night home dog, but I think the Huskers are way too talented, and the crowd will be headed for the exits early.

South Carolina (+7) vs. Alabama (Sat, 3:30 ET). I've had this one picked out for a while. I think it's where Bama gets a scare and hopefully (and finally) falls.

Florida (-6.5) vs. LSU (Sat, 7:30 ET). Don't be confused by LSU's ranking -- this team is lucky and overrated. And I think the Gators come out hungry after getting smashed by Bama last week.

Bills (+1) vs. Jaguars (Sun, 1:00 ET). I know this sounds crazy, but I just have a feeling B-Lo sneaks into the win column here.

Texans (-3) vs. Giants (Sun, 1:00 ET). I think I've picked Houston every week now, and this line reminds me a lot of the Dallas game where they got blown out. Oh well!

Oakland (+7) vs. Chargers (Sun, 4:00 ET). The Chargers are great at home...and stink on the road. Take the points.

Last Week: 3-3
Season: 14-10-1