College football returns to us (and ESPN) tonight and that means America's Sideline Princess is back on the job. But can we talk about her without talking about that thing that we're not supposed to be talking about?
Ever since "the unpleasantness" of this summer, everyone has been wondering what will happen when Erin Andrews goes back to work. How will fans react? Her co-workers? The drooling bloggers? Is everything going to be different from now on, like when you graduated from that sappy high school TV drama?
My guess is that she probably won't be posing for a lot of waist-cinching candids with any bozo who comes out of the stands. N.C. State says they're always on alert for drunken idiots and ESPN is bringing their own security, so don't expect any Rey Malaluga-type nonsense. There probably won't be any eating of wacky local foods or improv comedy bits with local celebrities. At least not for awhile.
What if it's a typically uneventful ESPN football broadcast? Even the dullest of EA moments have been memorialized in screenshots and YouTube clips that fill up inboxes everywhere. Will that happen tonight? Is that still okay if it does? If some coach leers at her in an interview or a few fans over her shoulder get a bit too close, people will talk about it and we'll have a good laugh and then everything will be "normal" again. It might take a few weeks to get there, but the world hasn't changed that much.
After all, there are still some yobs out there who think wearing a mini-skirt to a photo shoot negates your right to be horrified about someone drilling a hole in your wall to spy on you. And we still have the Oprah interview to get through. She still has to go to work, however, and—like everyone else at ESPN, and here in our little corner of the internet—that work is part information and part entertainment. And let's be honest ... guys get a lot of entertainment out of a cute blonde talking to them about sports.
So tonight is like that sappy high school drama's class reunion. (Or your real class reunion.) It might be a little awkward at first, but before you know it, it will be just like old times.
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Do you need another reason to watch South Carolina-N.C. State game? What if you could so while reading the soothing prose of Mr. Barry Petchesky? Now you're talking....