As the dog days of summer near its conclusion and kids prepare to take their talents back to school, the return of college football means that the season is a changing. With that, we're on the bus with The HarBros, Cleatus and other Fox Sports personalities to celebrate the return of college football with a 12-day, 12-city tour across America that culminates with the Michigan Wolverines entering hostile territory at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City to face the Utah Utes. Welcome to FS1's Opening Drive Tour.
You can keep up with the tour bus and the shenanigans that ensue along the way by using #FS1OpeningDrive across your favorite social media channels, but if you're still unconvinced, here are 11 reasons why you should.
Yes, the bus we're all riding on, there's something different about it. Oh yeah, it's dressed up just like Jim Harbaugh. Here are some quick facts:
- The bus has 1,300 square feet of fabric, enough for 52 pairs of Harbaugh khaki pants
- There was 1,100 feet of thread used to stitch together the fabric - enough to go the length of three football fields
- The belt is 45 feet long, enough to make belts for the entire Michigan offense or 15 belts for Harbaugh
- An equal sized Sharpie could sign approximately 91,000 autographs
- An equal sized whistle would generate over 140 decibels, louder than a college football crowd or a jet engine
Meet Dino, Kyle, Nick, Sam and Thomas.
Individually, they are each college students at the University of Michigan. However, when their power combine, they turn into the die-hard Jim Harbaugh loving Wolverine fans known as The HarBros. The quintuplet have vowed to be dressed in the traditional garb of Michigan's head coach, complete with the Michigan crewneck, khakis, whistle, sharpie and the "Bo" style block-M cap. The Bros will be on the bus for the entire tour, running amok across the country by blowing their whistles at people and running football drills randomly.
The HarBros can't get the party started without first kicking things off in Ann Arbor. With the bus already adorned with All-Michigan everything paraphernalia (courtesy of The M-Den), Wolverines fans will have a chance to show their appreciation of the Maize and Blue by getting an up close look of the bus and to hang out with The HarBros.
The Harbus rolls into Chi-Town on Sunday, August 23rd as Northwestern and Illinois welcome the tour with hugs and high fives. Okay, maybe not. However, my personal goal is to see which Harbro can finish an entire deep dish pizza the fastest. I've got my money on Sam.
Queen City Stop #1
The Harbus will travel into Cincinnati to provide a bit more support for Michigan as the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds do battle in Great American Ball Park for an afternoon tilt. Personally, I'm looking to acquire as many bags of Grippo's chips as possible. (Per legendary producer LA Reid, they're Jay-Z's favorite chips)
Maybe the kind folks at Ohio State will allow us to pull the bus up the legendary Ohio Stadium? Maybe? Eh, probably not.
The Harbus will pull up at Yankee Stadium on August 26th as the New York Yankees fight to stay on top of the AL East standings against the division leading Houston Astros. Maybe Joe Girardi can call in Cleatus to be an emergency relief pitcher? Are robots legal in baseball? Probably not, but they should be.
Queen City Stop #2
Word on the street is that they're going to let us take the Harbus onto the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This could be the greatest or the scariest thing ever. Hopefully one of The Harbros can blow the whistle when we go too fast.
Atlanta's Newest Hawk
Michigan alum Tim Hardaway Jr. was traded from the New York Knicks to the Atlanta Hawks during the NBA's offseason, and hopefully we can get him on the bus with the Harbros. In fact, we should organize a game of 3-on-5 between myself, Hardaway and Cleatus against The Harbros, just for the visual comedy. The Periscope sessions will be live for that event.
Keith Van Horn's last stop
Utah's Keith Van Horn finished his basketball career as a member of the Dallas Mavericks in 2006 and The Harbus will roll through Dallas on August 30th. The legendary Ute with his trademark high knee socks helped put Utah basketball on the map by leading the Rick Majerus coached squad to the Elite Eight in 1997. Maybe we can get Cleatus to put on some high knee socks to pay homage to Van Horn. That would be awesome.
5,000 miles and running
St. Louis is known the world over for it's trademark arch that signifies you're traveling westward, and the Harbus rolls into town on the last day in August. in total, the Harbus will travel approximately 5,000 miles during the 12-day trek across America.
It's All About The U(tes)
Here's the thing about this entire trip, Michigan is going on the road to play in one of the rowdiest crowds in the country in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Utes are 3-point favorites against the Wolverines and could be a darkhorse threat to emerge out of the Pac-12 as conference champions. Utah has something to prove in this matchup, as they fundamentally believe that they deserve the national spotlight just as much as their visitors.
Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”