Tonight I got to play futsal with a bunch of other ex-pats. Essentially futsal is like indoor soccer, but with a smaller pitch, no walls, with a smaller and heavier ball, and played on turf (yet open to the elements so thankfully able to enjoy the breeze). After we warmed up with a game of 5 on 5, a few more people showed up and we split things up into 3 teams of 4. For some reason, they chose an American to captain one of the teams, and initially my team started a little slow (about 2-5 in the first hour), but we came into our own during the second hour (7-1). It's great to do something completely different (and the fitness for small field futsal is very different from the distance running I've been doing the past 3 years) and can't wait for this to become a Sunday evening ritual!
During futsal today, I was asked if I was an American football fan, and responded that I'm a huge fan of college football. In fact, one of the reasons I stayed late at school on Friday was to read up on the SEC media days this past week, but a few days ago, ESPN reported Notre Dame and the University of Miami will renew their rivalry in the 2012 season (story here: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5402857) I am really excited that "the U" is willing to schedule more difficult non-conference games and this is something that should become more pervasive throughout college football. Who wouldn't want to see Ohio State play Cincinnati each year? Or Penn State and Pittsburgh? Or Miami and Florida?? Or Nebraska and FSU (or any litany of other big programs they've consistently faced in bowl games)? The list goes on, but unfortunately, the current BCS system creates risk aversion for scheduling non-conference games against big opponents. Notre Dame is blessed because their contract with the BCS allows them to remain independent and have complete control over their schedule (and hence play USC and Michigan each year). We need to change the system to encourage more high profile, non-conference games (or move to a play-off system in which these games would occur, just at the end of the season) instead of beating up on cupcakes.