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Venkataraman: Taking on Stanford football from a different perspective

Spring is truly an amazing time of year. The weather gets warmer, the hills of northern California get coated in lush green grass, people start their annual intake of allergy medications and class attendance drops as a function of both the weather and any rush-related events held the night before. However, all of these things pale in comparison to the biggest news that spring always ushers in with it: Football is back.

The diehards among us football fans cringe when the Super Bowl winner is crowned at the first weekend in February, for this means that there will be little to no real football on television for a few months. Admittedly, there is the newfangled notion of the NFL Network, which promises football every hour of every day, and there is the drama and pageantry of the NFL Draft and associated rolls of body fat pertaining to the Spandex Olympics — also known as the Scouting Combine. However, I personally don’t consider either of those as viable football alternatives, mainly because Comcast wants me to pay them an additional 20 bucks a month just for one channel that only I will watch, and the NFL Draft and Combine only make me miss actual football even more.

Rant aside, at long last, the day has almost arrived; this Saturday, my cravings will be satisfied and I will be able to quench my now-unbearable thirst for football as the annual Stanford Spring Game (more accurately, a scrimmage) will be played at 1 p.m. Watching this game (and with some luck, all other home games), however, will be a very different experience for me, as I will be providing color commentary for KZSU from the press box.

My normal game-watching routine involves a series of bad habits, including (but not limited to) extensive consumption of junk food, swearing at the TV screen in hopes that there is some level of transference of my disapproval to the players on the screen, swearing at the TV screen in hopes that the coach is paying attention, swearing at the TV screen in hopes that God will take pity on me and intervene and occasionally explaining to my mother and brother what is actually going on in the game. The last part of the routine is highly uncommon and often ignored, mainly because my mother and brother both hate football and more often than not, I’ve already been summarily booted from the living room due to my potty mouth.

It will come as a shock to no one that none of these tactics will be valid or even allowed when I’m in the press box this Saturday. For one, there are strict rules of etiquette in the press box that prevent loud and obnoxious consumption of food (darn it!) and yelling and screaming or any shows of partisan bias (darn it all!). Probably more relevant is the fact that swearing on air is a one-way ticket to Finesville (darn it again!) and most definitely grounds for immediate dismissal.

The good news is that instead of my mother and brother ignoring my in-depth football analysis, I will have a dedicated and passionate audience that wants to really know and understand what is going on…I hope. If not, the perks of chilling in the press box and avoiding the nasty lines to get into the stadium are reward enough for me.

The upcoming football season holds immense promise for the Stanford Cardinal, but also a lot of unknowns. Fresh off yet another trip to a BCS bowl, there are longtime starters to replace, new players to get excited about and a whole conference of strong teams and rivals that have a vested interest in dethroning Stanford from its spot atop the Pac-12.

Put succinctly, football is back, ladies and gentlemen. I’m just honored and privileged to be along for the ride.

Vignesh Venkataraman would really, really appreciate it if you listened to KZSU’s call of the Cardinal’s Spring Game this Saturday. Ask him for a shout-out at or follow him for some witty banter @viggyfresh on Twitter.

About Vignesh Venkataraman

Vignesh Venkataraman (or Viggy, if you prefer) writes weekly columns for the Daily, unless he forgets. He is a computer science and mechanical engineering double major, with an unofficial minor in watching sports. Born in Boston but raised in Cupertino, CA, Vignesh is a diehard New England Patriots fan and has adopted the Golden State Warriors as his favorite basketball team. He was the backup quarterback for his high school football team and called Stanford football games on KZSU in 2014.