As an Australian myself, it’s fair to say that I can agree with what many of you are perhaps thinking – American football isn’t real football! The game stops every two seconds! Yet after a full year at college in California – and three to go, mind you – I can’t actually say you’d be wrong in arguing that angle. What I can say, however, is that college students in America love their football for a whole lot more than just the ball and whistle…


  1. The movies weren’t so far off… for a evening game, the tailgate – essentially a daytime party – kicks off with a bang early in the morning, with fraternities hosting parties, beer pong getting competitive and music blasting your eardrums (just to make sure you can’t hear anything the ref might say during the game…)
  2. COLLEGE PRIDE. From decking themselves in the colours of their team, to covering rival schools’ campuses in toilet paper the night before the big game, it’s fair to say that if your college is your family, then your football team is your younger sibling (and you, clearly, are the protective older brother)
  3. Apparently cliques and clichés haven’t been abandoned within the gloomy halls of high school. When a footballer speaks in class, everyone listens, and when one enters the dining hall, everyone freezes. They are the definition of every American ‘jock’ character – ever.
  4. If you miss the game (or just as equally, the tailgate) you would want to have a fantastic reason. And by ‘fantastic’, I’m not talking about your upcoming exam or hangover from the night before. In fact, if you can’t say “I/my closest friend was on my/his/her deathbed”, then you don’t really have an excuse at all. Come Saturday – football is the priority.
  5. EVERY GAME IS THE SUPERBOWL. They all matter, and if you say otherwise, you’re wrong. Apparently. Being on a ‘winning’ streak is just as important as winning overall, it seems – to lose one game, even if you’re still topping the table, is to hand bragging rights to the opposing school (a right that nobody wants to surrender).