STRAP UP AND STRAP IN, BECAUSE YOU'RE ABOUT TO enter an entirely different realm of football experience. The Texans and Oklahomans you left behind in the Big 12 love their football and play it well, but no group cares as deeply about the game as the people in SEC country. Don't believe it? Listen to a few minutes of the Birmingham-based radio show hosted by SI.com contributor Paul Finebaum, which, in the Internet age, has become the sounding board for the entire league. (Oh, and remember, if you call in to request that your coach be fired, the first word from your mouth must be Paaaaaaaaaawl.)
It may take a while to learn all of the SEC's idioms—for example, the one conference game each week that kicks off at 12:30 p.m. will forever be known as "the JP game" in honor of former television title sponsor Jefferson-Pilot—but you'll manage. You've joined a football fraternity that offers a lifetime of joy, heartbreak and slobberknockers (a term you really should know and apply to every knock-down, drag-out SEC battle).
As new kids in these parts you might get hazed a little at first. But after a few years you'll feel as if you've always been here. Like everyone else within the SEC's borders, you'll live for those perfect Saturdays from September to November when nothing else matters but the scoreboard and the temperature on the smoker.
Welcome to football paradise.