In September, espnWs weekly essay series will focus on college football.On Oct. 17, 2009, I was at the wedding of one of my closest friends in a town just outside Columbus, Ohio. It was a Saturday wedding, and as we filed into the church, many people reluctantly turned off their phones. Ohio State, ranked in the top 10 and undefeated in the Big Ten, was playing Purdue University.The Buckeyes were big favorites to win, but as I sat in the church my attention was divided -- I could hear the vows, but I was breaking the rules, constantly refreshing my phone. I couldnt believe what I was seeing. The Buckeyes led when the bride walked down the aisle, but as the wedding played out, a great season was slipping away.We lost to the lowly, unranked Boilermakers and I was devastated, holding the secret as the ceremony finished.I put on a fake smile and headed down to the reception with the rest. People started opening their phones and inevitably, the first question the groom asked when we got downstairs was, Did Ohio State win? Several people shouted at once, No, they lost -- to which the groom responded, This is the worst day of my life.He received a quick death stare from the bride, and I added another rule to my growing list of things to avoid on game day: Never, ever get married during an Ohio State game.***Growing up in northern Ohio, we didnt have a professional football team to cheer for. This was when the Browns had moved to Baltimore, and even before that, they didnt give anyone in Cleveland much to cheer about.I can remember how fall Saturdays were about Buckeye football, and I had the scarlet and grey striped knee socks to prove it. Sure, wed miss games with soccer matches and school activities, but my favorite question of the day was, Did the Buckeyes win?The majority of the time the answer was yes.When it came time to choose a college, Ohio State was considered. I had never attended a game in person and the chance to go every Saturday was a dream come true. But the football team alone cant dictate a college choice, and I attended another university in Ohio where I still rooted for the Buckeyes every Saturday.?After college, I moved to Chicago, a Big Ten melting pot and -- true statement here -- the best city in America to watch a college football game. Walk around the North Side on a Saturday and every bar has a flag hanging -- Iowa, Purdue, Michigan, Sparty, Ohio State. I quickly found the top three places to watch an Ohio State game along with every other crazy Ohio fan. Every Saturday, I bribed my friends to get in line as early as 6 a.m. for a noon game, because I had to ensure we had the exact same seats (Im superstitious).Eventually, I left Chicago and moved to New York City where again, one of my top priorities was tracking down the perfect Ohio State bar and reconnecting with old Buckeyes friends. A good development: The bars in New York took reservations, and I was able to catch a couple of extra hours of sleep before game day.When my husbands job took us to Connecticut, one of my first questions was, where will we watch Ohio State games? For the most part, we watch them at home, with our dog, Brutus. Yes, Brutus is named after the Ohio State mascot. We cook, put him in a jersey, text with friends and family, and l live and die with each outcome.?Two years ago, Ohio State kicked-off the season in Baltimore, which is only five hours away, closer than any Big Ten locale outside of Rutgers. We drove down for the weekend to catch the game, along with most of the state of Ohio. It was a young team, and after starting quarterback Braxton Miller got hurt during camp, we had a freshmen quarterback leading a young team, and diminished expectations. For most of the first half, we were losing to Navy, and at halftime my husband joked, If this team makes it to the National Championship, well go.I laughed.Watching this team, I knew there was no chance, and while we managed to beat Navy, we lost at home to Virginia Tech the following week. However, this was the first year of the College Football Playoff, and what we couldnt know then was that one loss -- even a bad loss -- doesnt mean youre out.Each week that Ohio State team continued to find a way to win games, even late in the year when it had to start its third-string quarterback running the show after yet another injury. When we somehow squeaked into the playoff, it was somewhat bittersweet. There was Alabama, touchdown favorites, playing in the heart of SEC country. I figured it was the end of the road for this team. Somehow, they found a way. As the game finished, I looked at my husband and said, Whos booking our trip to Dallas?Going to the National Championship had always been a dream of mine and when we walked into that stadium, I had a feeling Ohio State was going to win, despite coming in as underdogs. When they did, and without a lot of suspense, really, I looked at my husband and proclaimed, This was the best day of my life.Later, he gave me a framed photo of our picture at that game next to a picture of us on our wedding day. He wrote, Glad I was able to be a part of the two best days of your life -- I promise I wont ask you to rank them. Of course, we made sure our wedding was in August.No surprise losses to be sad about.At the start of the season, every college football fan hopes this is the year for their team. Im fortunate to have had the opportunity to see my team win a National Championship, but Ill be honest, it only makes you want it to win more.For me, college football is about more than the game itself. 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LOUIS -- Rookie Tavon Austin has missed another day of practice, lessening the odds hell be ready for the St. Just like Kyle Abbott is not exactly sure when he is going to be able to make the move ball move, Tabraiz Shamsi does not really know whether the Australian batsmen can pick him, but as long as the wickets come, he does not mind the uncertainty.Thats the theory going around and with theories, you cant say its a given thing because its not a proven thing, Shamsi said at the MCG where his 4 for 72 against a Victoria XI put him in line for a Test debut. I am really happy with the way I have gone personally against them.Shamsi was picked for the Test squad on the back of a stellar 2015-16 first-class season - he was joint-second on the wicket-charts with 41 scalps at 19.97 - and performances in shorter formats which suggested he could be a handful. Shamsi took 3 for 36 in his third ODI against Australia in Port Elizabeth last month and was South Africa As third-highest wicket-taker in a 50-over quadrangular series in Australia this winter.The talk in South Africa is that Shamsis variations render batsmen illiterate and that he was brought on this tour specifically to play in Adelaide. He was seen practising with the pink ball on his own during the Hobart Test and even though it may be harsh on Keshav Maharaj, who also debuted on this tour, South Africa may want to use Shamsi as a trump card in the day-night fixture.Shamsi confirmed the pink ball wears a lot more than the red balll, and is therefore more likely to bring spinners into the game.dddddddddddd Wristpin with a pink ball has emerged as particularly tricky for batsmen and even though Shamsi is not sure of exactly how difficult it is, he hopes he can prove a handful anyway.Theres a theory about legspinners and batsmen not picking it, Shamsi said. The guys say its harder to pick the seam off the legspinners so maybe there is a difference but at the end of the day you have to put the ball in the right areas.Conceding more than six an over, as Shamsi did in the warm-up match, may not speak much for his disciplines which may be why Shamsi continues to be coy about his chances of playing. Its almost as if he knows that he travelled as a reserve, or a surprise package, and is focusing more on being part of the Test squad than the starting XI. Thats not up to me [if I debut], he said. Ive just got to go and do my bit. If it comes Ill be happy. If it doesnt, the team is doing well so either way its a win-win situation.Like his team-mates, Shamsi repeated the mantra that South Africa are not merely satisfied with a series win. They want a whitewash too. We came here to win the series. Weve done that. Our mission is not over yet. We are going to try and win the series 3-nil. ' ' '