Saturday afternoon in autumn means one thing to me -- college football games.

This was true while I was in school and, decades later, it’s still a fact of my life, thanks to cable TV.  

I’m not what you’d call an avid sports fan, but I never miss a Northwestern University or a Texas A&M football game if I can help it; Northwestern, because four years of my life and all my scholarship money went to NU (as did my future husband), and A&M because three of our children are former Aggies.

Oops, I should not use the term “former.” My daughter has informed me that “once an Aggie, always an Aggie – you’re never a former Aggie.”

Watching football games for both NU and A&M is somewhat of a problem if you live here in Greenville, though. First of all, many of NU’s games are only broadcast on the Big Ten Network, and the cable package I subscribe to does not include that option. One can subscribe separately to a Big Ten package, I suspect, but my budget does not extend to this degree of fandom, so I am limited to those few NU games which are carried on the major networks.

Of course, if Northwestern should make it to the Rose Bowl, it will get major coverage, but then how often does that happen? The answer is once while I was in school (my sophomore year), and then once again many decades later. The minor bowls played around the holidays have included NU several times, but it’s not quite as meaningful as the Rose Bowl. However, beggars can’t be choosers,  as the old saying goes.

Televised Aggie games were easy to find until they joined the South Eastern Conference which has its own TV network and is not available on my cable package. Now I must hunt for the occasional ESPN or other major network showing, which means the TV sections of the newspapers I subscribe to are pretty well thumbed each weekend.

And speaking of newspapers, the post-game stories of NU matches are almost nonexistent in Texas. I can’t blame the sports departments though. The majority of fans in the southwest are probably not Big Ten alums or addicts, and the attention rightly goes to the area games which have the most potential readership.

Rats.

Last Saturday the Aggies had an off week, but Northwestern played an away-game with the University of Nebraska in Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium. I put on my purple-and-white Northwestern alumni shirt which I always do for good luck, although the charm has not been particularly effective this season. It didn’t work last weekend either, and we lost 13 to 10.

Rats, again.

Today, Northwestern is off, but the Aggies play Alabama at Kyle Field in College Station.

Alabama? Good Lord!

I’ll wear the maroon and white shirt that my daughter gave me, watch the game if it’s on a channel I can access, and hope for the best.

Gig ‘em, Aggies!

Carol Ferguson is a weekend columnist for the Herald-Banner.

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