I’m sprinkling the Saturday morning discussion among the institution of college football, Warsaw girls’ futbol, and Warsaw Tiger football.

Roger Grossman identified college football’s biggest problem in a recent column about college conference realignments primarily driven by football. The biggest problem, I believe, isn’t the conference realignments, though. It was the absence of a czar, the Russian term connoting an emperor like the Caesars of the Roman Empire.

Name In Likeness (NIL), and the compression of influential conferences from five to possibly, um, two-ish needs governance.

College football needs a czar at the College Football Playoff level. I like – and it’s not an all-inclusive list – individuals like Oliver Luck, Condoleezza Rice, or someone with experience as a prominent university president with intellectual horsepower particularly in either legal or business studies.

College football’s greatest revenue streams, like MLB’s wealthiest team owners, will be working in an environment without much restriction. There isn’t parity in college football to date anyway, especially since 2008, and there hasn’t been any parity in MLB either.

Will there be same hierarchy changes among the upper echelon programs? Likely, not much.

It’s still a great on-field product I won’t stop watching because I appreciate the business perspective of garnering football revenue by all means possible: to fund and fortify the Olympic and Title IX programs whose operating expenses tend to exceed gate revenue but round out a university’s athletic offerings. These programs attract athletes who possess as much academic talent as they do athletic talent.

Warsaw girls’ futbol (soccer) fans will miss several graduating seniors from the 2021 Northern Lakes Conference champs/sectional runners-up, but head coach Jon Hoover’s “next-girl-up” approach offers futbol fans the excitement of seeing what athletes will seize the opportunity to continue the Tigers’ strong tradition.

The Tiger girls’ program has less than a handful of sub-0.500 seasons in its program history, and their schedule is chock full of non-conference teams who suitably prepare them for the postseason grind.

This year, Tiger girls’ futbol fans will enjoy home dates with two teams who defeated Warsaw in 2021 (Bishop Dwenger, Goshen) and one squad (Carroll) whom the Tigers tied the previous two consecutive seasons. Another traditionally strong program, the Argos Dragons, will come to the Tiger Soccer Complex (TSC) to battle the orange and black for those of you who aren’t traveling Labor Day weekend.

Road games will feature meat-grinder opponents Penn, Homestead, and Marian (the Tigers look to avenge their 2021 losses to each program), and perennially tough Northridge.

I have much to learn about the beautiful game, so I used summer to take time to watch videos among various levels of futbol action, and to listen to the approach other public address announcers take conveying essential information to the game’s fans.

Fun fact, while some fans wonder why the surface of the TSC remains grass, savvy parents and players noted in my conversations among them they are fine with a grass field. The change to turf greatly affects numerous aspects of the game, particularly the cardio.

There were cardio-based challenges levied upon the Warsaw Tiger football team without a football in sight among the mornings of July 11-15.

The Tiger gridders completed a five 50-minute daily challenges launching at 6 a.m. sharp each toasty morning known as Dawn Patrol, a term many schools use in fact for an intense focus on grit, conditioning, and team building.

The Dawn Patrol t-shirts awarded to Tiger gridder candidates who complete each of the five days are something most of these youngsters won’t brag about earning, but you’ll find many of them will continue to wear these shirts a few years beyond graduation, at the gym, on a work site, and around the house.

My wife is enjoying the last dozen or so days off before she returns to the classroom, and when I told her how eager I was for the two of us to be back in the press box for another football campaign (Shawna is my spotter), she said, “I know you’re excited, but it also means summer break is over for me.”

Bittersweet transition to August for her, perhaps, but I started champing at the bit when I realized, while we took a brief break on the Western Michigan coast almost two weeks ago, the Tigers’ first scrimmage launched in 23 days, um, during dinner.

I also enjoy junior varsity (JV) football announcing as much as varsity football announcing. There is something about the energy on most football Saturday stemming from a groundswell of the “Saturday morning heroes” who might have had a little taste of Friday Night Lights on special teams or during a late game substitution. There they are, in the presence of mostly family members, romantic steadies, and teammates ready to release the week’s build-up remaining within them through Friday night’s ballgame.

Sub-varsity football is a chess match.

Your quarterbacks sometimes must be “budgeted” for limited quarters regardless of the game’s score due to the need to use them on either varsity Fridays or freshman/C-team Thursdays. Perhaps a JV starter was “next man up” on Friday night, and the domino effect must be played out on field the subsequent Saturday morning.

Sub-varsity football is essential.

Recent seasons, either due to pandemic-triggered eleventh-hour rescheduling, or due to conference opponents unable to field sub-varsity teams (for various reasons), the athletic department and the coaching staff turned on a dime because these games must… be… played.

I feel this effort to assure Warsaw’s sub-varsity teams still play nine games pays off when next-man-up and mercy rule situations arise. Tiger “subs” usually perform well and come off the field healthy due to the game reps without bye weeks. It’s testimony to one of several great program core values.