Like it or not, football is here
We’re barely a few days from August, but football is just around the corner.
It seems just like yesterday the Atlanta Falcons suffered the all-time choke job in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.
But the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers are starting training camps this week and the endless round of exhibition games will soon be on TV.
But pro football isn’t the only game in town, and certainly not here in the Copper Country.
There’s a lot of interest in college and high school football.
A lot of fans will be looking to see how Michigan Tech — minus Tom Kearly in the coaching box — will do this fall.
New MTU skipper Steve Olson faces a big challenge to do as well as Kearly did the last decade.
MTU will have a lot of new faces in the lineup to get ready for the always tough GLIAC schedule. A Sept. 16 home game against Grand Valley could tell a lot about the future of the Huskies.
Finlandia University also prepares to head into new era. Having been accepted into the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association for the 2018 season, the Lions will play a less taxing schedule this season. The first two years of the program were handicapped by meeting some of the very best Division III programs in the country. The results often were not pretty.
On the high school scene, the situation is ever-changing. That’s been caused, in large part, by dwindling enrollments and the increasing number of eight-man teams.
I, for one, never believed I would see the day when Crystal Falls Forest Park would be playing eight-man football. The Trojans were a small school powerhouse for so long, it just didn’t seem possible.
But I also couldn’t foresee L’Anse and Baraga, Ontonagon and Ewen-Trout Creek and Ironwood-Gogebic combining forces, either.
The reshuffling of the West-PAC for 2018 is another huge factor in prep football locally.
Lake Linden-Hubbell, another U.P. powerhouse for decades, will join the small school section of the league along with West Iron County, Hurley. Wis., L’Anse and Bark River-Harris.
The Lakes will meet Norway, Munising and Newberry this season to get ready for that task.
Calumet, long the top power in the area, will be in the large school division with Houghton, Hancock, Gogebic/Ironwood and Northland Pines.
The alignments will also call for some games between the two divisions in the future. So, fans could see a much-anticipated LL-H-Calumet game somewhere along the line.
As far as the Packers and Lions, one of the best rumors in the offseason was that retired Detroit great Calvin Johnson was going to sign with Green Bay.
If that happens, I’m going to start watching Australian rules rugby or cricket this fall.