Chip Minemyer | Have a passion for pigskin? Let’s play

Conversations like this are happening this time of year in millions of homes across America.

“Uh, honey, the roof is leaking …”


“Mom and Dad, I may have sorta crashed the car …”


“Dear, my mother wants to come live with us …”


With the opening of the high school and college seasons looming, there’s not much room in our tiny human brains for anything but the anticipation of that gridiron action.

Throw in the NFL (Go Steelers!) in two weeks, and it’s hard to concentrate long enough to throw the dog outside to do his business.

Think I’m exaggerating? Try this:

•  64 percent of adults in this country say they watch football;

•  30 million of us participate in a fantasy football league (or two);

•  of the top five most-watched TV shows of all time, four are Super Bowls.

Seriously, it’s a sickness. But nobody’s looking for a cure. Men and women, young and old — we’re all hooked.

That’s why it’s such an exciting time here at the Centre Daily Times, where we’re cooking up a tailgate buffet of fun for football lovers — and for folks who support fall sports in general.

Monday (“Are you ready …?”) brings the launch of a special promotion on our website, CentreDaily.com: Pro Football Challenge.

You can pick NFL games every week right through the big game in February.

We’ll announce the top local pickers each week, and hand out some spiffy prizes. You can even compare your skills with some CDT and local business “experts.”

You could win prizes in a national contest. The grand prize at season’s end is a trip for two to Hawaii (where they play the Pro Bowl …)

You can enjoy Pro Football Challenge on your computer, tablet or mobile phone. You can even play through our Facebook page.

The NFL season kicks off Sept. 5, so you don’t have much time to register and get started.

In addition to picking all of the games, you can play football “survivor,” where you pick the one team you think has the best chance of winning each week. You would be eliminated if your team loses.

The ads for Pro Football Challenge started running this weekend.

“Our Pro Football Challenge is a great way to get our readers more involved and provides some entertainment during the football season,” said Brett Colton, the CDT’s online content manager. “Registered users can make their picks each week, see who’s leading and even talk or brag with other users. And this contest is just the first of many that we will be hosting on our website.”

Our sports team will be featured on sports talk shows you can listen to on the radio or watch online.

Working with our friends at WBLF AM 970, we’ll chat sports for an hour every Friday morning at 8, and for two hours every Monday evening at 5.

You can hear host Jerry Fisher talk football and other sports with our Walt Moody, Travis Johnson, Aaron Carter and Gordon Brunskill.

We did the Friday morning “Inside the Huddle” show last season. The Monday “Quarterbacks Show” is brand new, and will air live each week from Otto’s Pub and Brewery in State College.

WBLF will also host the Forever Lions radio show, featuring Blair Thomas and other former Nittany Lions talking football from 5-7 p.m. Friday evenings on home Penn State football weekends.

“We feel these shows will give our Centre County listeners an incredible insight to not only Nittany Lion football but high school football, Penn State ice hockey and other sports as well,” Fisher said.

(Programming note: The first installment of “Quarterbacks” will actually air on Tuesday, Sept. 3, because of Labor Day. Then catch the show Mondays the rest of the season.)

Monday, we’ll publish a bigger and better version of our CDT fall preview.

As in past years, it will get you ready for the Penn State and high school football seasons.

Lions beat writer Travis Johnson breaks down the Nittany Lions position by position, and also analyzes the Big Ten Conference from top to bottom.

Our troops visited local high school football camps to preview Bald Eagle Area, Bellefonte, Penns Valley, Philipsburg-Osceola, State College and the new team in the county, St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy.

And this year we’ve added other high school sports to set the table for the region’s fine soccer, tennis, volleyball, golf, cross-country and field hockey programs.

Who are the premier runners, strikers, spikers, setters and keepers around? We’ll let you know.

The section will also provide schedules for all of the local high school teams, and the 12 programs playing football in the Big Ten.

Then it will be time to cover the games.

Our Saturday Penn State preview wraps will be new and improved, with award-winning page designer David Kubarek adding his touch to the look of the popular features. The sports staff will fill each wrap with key information to get you ready for that day’s showdown.

Then our Sunday post-game wraps will take you inside the locker room and onto the field after each Penn State game. Of course, you can find in-game updates and full coverage online, too.

So get your chips and salsa ready and kick back in that recliner. Or maybe dust off the folding chairs and coolers for your pre-game tailgate.

We’ll be right there with you.

And don’t forget to log on and pick those NFL games every week.

Are you the next great pigskin prognosticator? Let’s find out.