One of the most anticipated times in our annual calendar has arrived. It’s football season.

The Pioneers and the Cowboys officially kick off their seasons this week.

Stillwater is on the road to start the season Friday at Edmond Santa Fe. The following day, Oklahoma State hosts Missouri State.

The Pioneers, postseason contenders for the last three years ,have some new offensive stars to break in. The Pioneers are among the favorites to at least make the state semifinals, but they are setting their goals on the gold ball. Why not? Sounds like a plan.

The Cowboys have lost some playmakers but seem to be deeper at most positions than they have been in a long time. The Cowboys are ranked just outside of the Top 25 but that doesn’t mean a whole lot this time of year.

It feels like anything could happen this year on the gridiron, and it doesn’t always feel that way.

We have high hopes, but we’ve also got safety on the brain.

Last year around this time, with COVID-19 rates lower than they are now, OSU and Stillwater had reduced capacity. Masking wasn’t optional.

Things are a little different because nearly everyone over the age of 12 who is physically able has access to a vaccine. And also, our hospitals have found ways to treat the virus that lead to fewer deaths. But, still, this delta variant has proved more contagious and more dangerous to children.

And, even if death rates due to the virus have slowed, it’s still really stressing the hospitals. Our own hospital has been having to divert a lot of patients lately because it’s already so full.

It’s a bad time to be sick or injured regardless of COVID-19. If you’re visiting Stillwater for football this weekend, keep that in mind.

Have fun, but be careful. No fighting, and drink responsibly.

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