I get excited when autumn approaches. The weather cools down, playoff baseball gets going, and I’m officially done with wedding gift obligations. Sweet land of freedom! And of course there’s football.

I prefer college to pro football for a variety of reasons — mainly because I can enjoy highlights on SportsCenter without anyone yammering about who’s on their lame fantasy team. But also because NCAA football is so controversially entertaining. It continues to crown a champion without having a playoff. What a frustrating yet compelling statement. Title IX will make pole dancing a sport before college football embraces a playoff, although most fans want one.

Even some members of Congress have chimed in, saying the bowl game system is antiquated and run by money interests. Funny…with that kind of language, you’d think they were talking about the two-party political system.

So with the college football season on the horizon, there are a few things you should know:

*Southern Cal is ineligible for a bowl game after getting busted for a slew of violations. I forget how many exactly, but it was enough so that their uniforms now come with Lindsay Lohan edition ankle monitors. Fans are even changing the title of the fight song from “Fight On” to “We Appeal”.

*Penn State coach Joe Paterno has been nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It was originally just called the “Medal of Freedom”, but it became Presidential after someone heard Glenn Beck badmouth it. It’s impressive that Paterno is still coaching. Man is that guy old. Fact: He coached in the first ever Cotton Bowl when Eli Whitney unveiled his invention at halftime. Fact.

*The last four national champions were from the Southeastern Conference. In fact, if the SEC doesn’t win a title, fans rekindle the emotions they had after hearing that wacky Brown v. Board of Education decision.

*Conferences have fallen in love with expansion. Next year, Colorado and Utah will challenge geography and move to the Pac 10, making the conference more crowded than a bridal suite in Provo. Not sure why expansion is necessary, but maybe if ticket sales fall, they’ll qualify for “Too Big to Fail” stimulus funds.

*Long-time Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is no longer at the helm. And just when you thought the school couldn’t get anymore “Good Ol’ Boy” than Bowden, along comes new skipper Jimbo Fisher. What a fantastic down-home name that is. Apparently Billy Joe Deerhunter and Buckjack Rabbitgutter weren’t available.

*Nebraska helmets are adorned with a red N. So when you see a bunch of them together on TV, either the Cornhuskers are celebrating, or you’re reading a censored transcript from the Dr. Laura show.

*Florida faces their first season without star QB Tim Tebow. Players admit Tebow was a real triple threat. He could pass. He could run. He could ruin parties with Bible trivia. Just an all-around phenom who will be missed.

*Notre Dame welcomes a new coach for what feels like the 5th time in 3 months. The program embraces change so much, many fans are beginning to question their affiliation to the Vatican.

*Football excellence is expected in Alabama. The list of expectations in Alabama goes like this: Crimson Tide championship, home made biscuits, and “accidental” crotch gropes from your uncle. In no particular order.

*Speaking of the land of Dixie, Tide running back Mark Ingram is a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy for the second straight year. Usually the only thing repeated in Alabama is the first grade, so this would be a remarkable accomplishment.

*New coaches take over at Florida State, Texas Tech, Tennessee, and USC, among others. It’s obvious more than ever that fans want to win and win now, and they have the patience of Kirstie Alley during a fast.

Here’s what I predict …
*During the Army/Navy game, former President Bush will wait for Army to go up 3-0 in the first quarter, then announce “Mission Accomplished” and declare the game officially over.

*Florida State will drastically alter its pregame ritual in the interests of political correctness. Instead of a Seminole spiking a flaming spear into the turf, he will calmly approach midfield and deal Blackjack.

*The South Carolina Gamecocks will ask their fans to not chant “Go Cocks” out of fear that people will think they’re cheering for Tiger Woods and Roger Clemens.

*The University of Miami will change its mascot from “Sebastian the Ibis” to “Sebastian the Librarian”. It will be less expensive, and players will still be able to ask “What in the world is that?”

I hope this was helpful for you to enjoy your football watching this season. Who will win the national championship, you ask? I’ll tell you as soon as those pole dancing scholarships come around.