If you can't bear the thought of waiting another month and a half to watch competitive football, don't. There is football aplenty on tap this very week, and it's the blood-sweat-tears-beer-and-barbecue American kind.
The International Federation of American Football World Championship began July 9 and wraps up with a championship game this Saturday. All contests are being held in Canton, Ohio, and all are broadcast on ESPN3.
Along with some sweet jerseys, the competition features more than a few former G5 players.
The U.S. roster includes guys from Boise State, Middle Tennessee, Hawaii, New Mexico, Army, Texas State, San Diego State and UTSA. P5 schools like NC State and USC are also represented, along with sub-underdogs like West Texas A&M and Tennessee-Martin (trivia time: UTM's former player is Brett Favre's nephew, and yes he's a quarterback).
Joining the U.S. are teams from South Korea, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, France and Japan. The tournament is held every four years and 'Merica is a two-time defending champion. In total, 54 countries field a national American football team.
Here are highlights from the 2011 USA-Germany game:
You might be surprised to know the tournament dates all the way back to 1999. Japan won the first two editions, with the U.S. declining to enter a team until 2007. In the 2011 championship game America smashed Canada 50-7 in the title game, which leaves one to wonder if the Canadians demanded a rematch with CFL rules.
Players have to be at least 20 years old to enter. This year's tournament was originally to be held in Sweden, but that fell through leading to the switch to Ohio and to Germany and Austria pulling out of the competition.
Coaching the Americans is Dan Hawkins, former head coach of Boise State and Colorado. You can read more on Hawkins and the team via this interview with SB Nation writer Rodger Sherman:
Football [around the globe] is a lot better than most people think (Hawkins says). Those coaches travel over here and have contacts over here. A lot of those teams have American coaches, so it should be a good showcase for those countries and the football played there.
TL;DR: there's football this week y'all! I say they put this tournament on real TV next time around. The hunger for hikes is strong this time of year.