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Beware the Splinters: Welcome Back, Football!

Beware the Splinters is Salute Magazine’s weekly sports column, authored by Sports Editor Dustin Brown. The column will be a weekly look at something that has ruffled the feathers of Mr. Brown or is just a topic he feels he needs to rant about or discuss. This week’s focus is on every sports fan’s favorite time of year — football season.

Now that the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight has come and gone, it is time for the world to go back to normal. On Saturday, college football had a limited schedule of action, but was welcomed back with open arms. And the National Football League is winding down its preseason this next week.

I may be a fan of every major sport, but something about football season always brings the most joy to my heart — and eyes and ears. I’m not sure if it is partly the cooling temperature, changing of the leaves or spending my weekends watching the most exciting sport in existence. But I do know that football season generally means more people at the house, whether it be family or friends.

We all have the same goal in mind — besides trash talking each other — rooting our teams towards a win every Saturday and Sunday.

As a Bills fan, the season is often over by the bye week, but I’m entering this season with low expectations and watching college football on Saturdays to see who Buffalo selects with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

However, I simply enjoy the game of football so it does not matter how bad my team is because I can always find another team to root for or against.

College Football

As fall commences here shortly, there are some early college football games to watch during the official first week of NCAA football.

No. 11 Michigan vs. No. 17 Florida

No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 1 Alabama

No. 22 West Virginia vs. N. 21 Virginia Tech

All of the above games in the first week are at neutral sites, so the action should be more than enough considering that most of the first weeks of college football look more like a bakery food fight.

NFL

The official kickoff of the first week of the NFL season takes place on Thursday, Sept. 7, when the Kansas City Chiefs travel to the New England Patriots. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be without his favorite receiving target, Julian Edelman, after he tore his ACL against the Detroit Lions.

Which brings up this question: How important is the preseason anymore for NFL teams? Is it worth the risk of injury to their star players?

We have already seen several players suffer season-ending knee injuries: Edelman (Patriots), Spencer Ware (Chiefs), Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins) and Cameron Meredith (Bears) to name a few.

The preseason isn’t going anywhere, but teams might choose to make it more about player evaluation than playing starters who have already proven worthy of a roster spot.

While preseason injuries can be tough to deal with as fans, the sheer excitement of this time of year will make sure that those injuries are only a short-term memory.

And with that, go root on your favorite college football and NFL teams and remember that rivalries aren’t worth a trip to your local jail.

Or maybe they are for some of you…

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