When I found out we’d be doing the top ten NCAA programs and teams shoot I got excited. Really excited. Showing off your team spirit has always been high on my list of things every fan should do.
As most of you know, I was a Miami Dolphins cheerleader for six years, capped off by a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2007. You could say it’s the ultimate way to show your spirit and I wouldn’t disagree but for tens of thousands of students and alumni filling up the college stadiums of America, dawning your school colors and supporting a program all your own is the crowning achievement of fandom.
I never really had the chance to do that in college. My Owls (Go FAU!) were just getting off the ground as a program so Saturdays were never that sacred for me. My day was Sunday when the Dolphins took to the field.
That’s not to say I didn’t have a choice. I could have gone to FSU on a scholarship (because pretty girls are smart too!) and become a rabid Seminoles fan but when the Dolphins called and told me I’d made the cut I decided to go for it and stay closer to home and Miami at FAU. I don’t regret doing it for a minute but it meant I never really got to experience the whole college game day the way so many others have.
So doing this shoot was a chance to live out one of the great American pastimes and pay tribute to some of the best teams and programs in the country not to mention the great fans they have. We got so much positive feedback from all of you after the first set of NFL pictures were released we had to do the whole set and from there this just seemed like a natural progression.
Now I’ve never been one to brag (totally not true) but I’d like to point out that the ten best teams list has a little southern flavor to it. Three of the ten teams hail from Florida and as a southern gal myself I’m pretty proud of home-grown programs putting up such a strong showing. Miami even made the cut of the best programs in the Playboy era coming in at number nine so we must be doing something right down here in the Sunshine State.
What I really love about college football is how it goes beyond the gridiron in places like Miami and USC and Notre Dame. While NFL fans are not only fans of a team but most likely the game itself, the same is not necessarily true of the college crowd. They are fans of their school, of the sense of community it creates and it shows every Saturday in the stands whether they love football or not. It really is the ultimate expression of fandom; they are not just fans for three hours a week, they are fans of something bigger, something they’ve helped build. They will always be a part of the storied histories and traditions that run deep across college campuses nationwide.
So these pictures are for you guys. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them. Thanks to Gary Cole for the accompanying words and Jared Ryder for taking all the shots.