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Breathe.

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It’s time to catch our breath.

Texas A&M v Florida Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

This is where we take a minute.

In the last month we’ve experienced every conceivable emotion associated with following this sport we love. Disappointment. Elation. Frustrations abound. Victory over rivals, and close defeat at the hands of the best team in the nation. Holding our breath when a player goes down. Breathing again when he comes back in, clutching his battered ribs, but playing hard anyway.

We’ve gone 3-1 in the first half of SEC play, with every single game coming down to the last possession. That’s exhilarating. It’s also exhausting. It’s why we follow this game.

Bye weeks were designed exactly for this, but rarely work out so perfectly: the midpoint of conference play, an emotionally spent team coming off their longest SEC road trip to date. Players are dinged up. Coaches need the extra teaching time. And we as fans need to hit pause sometimes as well.

The emotion that rules this eccentric sport is what gives it a spark that is difficult to define. It’s part of the fabric of the entire tapestry: the history, the school affiliations, the regional hatreds, and now, the online identities. Like most fun things, it’s a delight when harnessed and channeled reasonably. Also like most fun things, it’s dangerous when it’s not. Don’t let the emotion of the moment cause you to forget that we’re all just fallible organisms inhabiting this big rock, and it doesn’t cost us anything to behave like decent humans to one another, even as internet personas.

Now let’s beat the hell outta this bye week and bring on Mississippi State.