The most fiercely contested and deeply ironic football rivalry in Florida returns: The New College Null Set vs. the Ringling College of Art & Design Fighting Armadillos.
On Nov. 17, the barefoot philosophers and starving artists will contend on New College’s fields of green in a quest for all the glory that an hour of flag football can bestow – and to benefit our community.
The annual tongue-in-cheek game raises awareness and funds for important causes. This year, the two schools are coming together before Thanksgiving to “tackle hunger” with All Faiths Food Bank in Sarasota.
All proceeds from the game will go toward the Food Bank’s efforts to make sure no family goes without a meal this Thanksgiving. “We are so excited to be a part of this creative collaboration,” said Sandra Frank, All Faiths Food Bank’s executive director. “What a terrific combination of fun and competition, while helping our neighbors in need.”
In keeping with tradition, the festivities also will include pre-game and post-game music from Sarasota’s CrossOver Band, featuring vocalist Lena Lemon and guitarist/vocalist Ken Schwartz.
There also will be family-friendly entertainment sponsored by the New College Child Care Center, including face painting, bounce houses and games.
The colleges will continue the tradition of humiliating side wagers: The losing school’s president will be required to serenade the winners, karaoke-style, and the losing team will take pies to the face at the 50-yard line.
Admission for the community is $10, which includes food and beverages all day. Admission for students is free, but a donation of canned food is required to partake of food and drinks. (Paying attendees are encouraged to bring canned food donations as well.)
Kickoff is 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at the New College of Florida Fitness Center fields, on the college’s Pei Campus (east of Tamiami Trail). Come have fun watching great football and fight hunger in our community at Thanksgiving.
 By football, we mean flag football, not that weak-sauce version where teams wear pads and helmets for “safety.”
 By Florida, we mean the Sarasota-Bradenton area. You mean there’s something to Florida beyond the Suncoast?
 Of late, it’s semiannual, but best described as “when we get motivated and organized.”
 Last year’s game raised $1,700 for the American Cancer Society. (Sometimes footnotes are just informative.)
 Yes, we know it’s flag football, not tackle football. Just go with the metaphor, please.
 To the tune of Queen’s “We Are The Champions,” but substituting “You” for “We,” if that makes any sense.
 Shaving-cream pies. We’re not wasting food at an event intended to help fight hunger.
 Last spring’s game was a true nail-biter. With about two minutes left, and on a controversial call, the Armadillos stripped the ball from a Null Set receiver, then marched downfield for a touchdown. But as time expired, New College’s defense rose to the challenge and blocked the extra-point attempt to hold on for a 19-18 win. How many college or even pro games are that exciting?