Octoberfest. No, I am not talking about the German beer fest. Nor am I talking about UC Irvine’s annual Shocktoberfest, for all you Anteaters.
I am talking about Octoberfest, the one month that makes any sports fan salivate and foam at the mouth. Why? Because October is the only month that features the four major sports that make America, well, America!
From the first to the 31st of the month, fans can watch the National Football League, college football, the wrap-up of Major League Baseball’s regular season and its entire postseason. And do not forget about the National Basketball Association’s preseason which springboards fans into the regular season that begins in the final days of the month. The National Hockey League preseason and the start of its regular season can also be caught in the 10th month of the year.
For NFL fans, October means the meat of the 16-game regular season. One can see teams in mid-season form after they’ve worked out their kinks in the first few weeks of the season.
In the NFL, October means that everyone’s Super Bowl pick steps up or flounders. It is where surprise teams who went undefeated or won three-quarters of their September games either prove to be serious threats or just flukes. It is where preseason contenders, who struggled in the first month of the season, can either wake up or continue to flop.
In college football, where one game can make or break a team’s season, tensions run higher than ever in the month of October. The focus and hype shifts from the non-conference match-ups to the conference and in-state rivalries. The pressure increases on the nation’s top teams as they begin to play opponents within their conference who are familiar with their players, coaches and game plans. A loss to an unranked conference opponent can be the difference between a BCS Bowl game and a bowl game held before the New Year. Just ask the 2007 USC Trojans, who saw their national title hopes come crashing down in the month of October when they lost games against Stanford and Oregon.
Mid-October means BCS Standings. A single-digit victory by a top10 program is deemed unimpressive and affects their national standing. Potential national champions must blast teams by 30 points on a weekly basis.
After a summer jam-packed with baseball games, the MLB picks up steam once again when the calendar turns to October. For the MLB, October means one thing: postseason. After battling through a 162-game schedule, the three division winners and the wildcard team in each league earn a spot to compete in the fall classic.
In this month every pitch, hit, error and stolen base is magnified. October baseball is famous for the birth of legends, the breaking of curses and the crowning of champions after a grueling season.
October is the only month where fans can forget about their significant others to watch six hours of football, take an hour break and finish up a Sunday by watching three hours of playoff baseball. What more could you ask for?
In October, basketballs return to the hard wood. Preseason sets the themes and expectations for the entire 82-game marathon that is NBA basketball. Lottery picks from last June’s NBA draft can finally showcase their talents and prove that they were, in fact, worthy of a top-10 pick.
Now, we mustn’t forget about the NHL. Preseason hockey wraps up in the early days of October, which gives way to the regular season. As the championship banner rises to the rafters of the defending title holder’s arena in October, it reminds us of last season’s triumphs and of a clean slate that brings hope to each team.Enjoy October. It will be one to remember, as many questions will be answered by the end of the month. Will the Colts and Saints have Super Bowl hangovers? Will the World Series Trophy remain in New York? How will Miami’s big three mesh? Was it a good idea for the Chicago Blackhawks to release Antti Niemi, the young goalkeeper who led them to Lord Stanley’s Cup? There is only one way to find out and it all starts in October.
But, sports fans, do not fret that Octoberfest only comes once a year. March Madness is just five short months away.