Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 8 - I've never been to Heaven, but I've been to Oklahoma

Mrs. Tailgate's theme song

The last time I attended an Oklahoma Sooner home football game Ronald Reagan was President, I had no daughters, was engaged to be married and donned a full schlock of follicles on the now ever present dome. Barry Switzer wore mink and graced the sidelines of what was then simply called Owen Field. I attended that game in 1988 with my bride to be and now wife of 26 years and my more senior sister Patricia. We were treated to an Oklahoma thrashing of a then hapless Kansas State team. Oklahoma’s Star QB was a young man named Charles Thompson whose escapades would eventually land him in jail and help lead to the demise of Barry Switzer as Head Coach at OU. We were also treated to a heavy dose of plumber butt a mere five rows to our front.

Fast forward to present day...I attended the Oklahoma - Kansas State Homecoming game this past Saturday. Also in attendance was my bride of 26 years, affectionately known as Mrs. Tailgate, my # 1 daughter and recent Boise State grad, daughter #2, a Freshman at OU and my college fraternity brother Buck Hampton. The stadium is now named Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium. Barry Switzer has a museum named after him, Charles Thompson’s son just transferred out of OU, and Kansas State is pretty darn good these days under Coach Bill Snyder.  And did I mention, everyone covered their plumber butts this game….at least from where I could see.

Oklahoma football is rich with tradition, history and a quench for victories and championships above all else. Since the end of World War II, Oklahoma has won more games (598) than any other College Football Team. Among the wins are seven National Championships (second only to Alabama during that time), thirty five 10 win seasons, a 47 game win streak (Longest in Division 1 CFB history), five Heisman Trophy winners, and too many bowl victories and All Americans to mention. The Sooners have been coached by Legends Bennie Owen (stadium formerly named after him), Bud Wilkinson, Barry Switzer and now Bob Stoops for the last fifteen years. The key is obviously to get a coach whose first name starts with the letter B. Duh! Country superstar Toby Keith regularly paces the sidelines on game day. The campus is historic with old buildings and new buildings that mesh perfectly. An assortment of greenery, flowers and statues adorn this beautiful incredibly massive campus. The Greek Row is one of the most amazing you will ever see. The passion the school and the community have for its Sooners is unmatched in most parts of the Country. Oklahoma football is a deity in these here parts!
The Mundings start the indoctrination young!

With an 11 AM start time we missed the annual homecoming parade in which # 2 was a participant with her Delta Gamma Sorority and their float: “The Giving Tree”- very fitting for those of us paying for their tuition! Instead, we opted to head to our Tailgate that was hosted by Mike and Lauren Mullica, and was attended by many of my extended family members and friends, mostly OU diehards. Mike is the proud owner of one of the sweetest Tailgate rigs known to mankind: The half ton, 20 foot rig contains two grills, a deep fryer, warming drawer, Tailgater satellite dish and two flat screen TV’s.  Great grub was served including something called “Man Candy” (see recipe of the week on the sidebar), cross cut ribs, breakfast burritos, sausages and many more items I can’t remember. We mixed up several batches of modified “Bawstun Pops” Bloody Mary’s that elicited instant grins on those who partook in one, two or more.
Master of Ceremonies Mike Mullica and his magical Tailgate rig 

The In Laws and their Outlaw
The Men of DFT going all out for Sooner Nation
The Ladies of the DFT OU Chapter
Boomer Sooner!

Good lawwwd Mrs Tailgate, it's only 9 AM and there are children watching!

OU Matt and Sooner Mav Chris having the first beverage of the day with me

Outstanding Chow was prepared and served.

4/5ths of the Tailgate family.
A true family gathering
Can you pick out the real Sooners and the OSU imposters?
What are these called again asks the Colonel?
The fellas enjoying the short ribs.
Three Kicks, two picks and a DC who can’t coach a lick!
At 10:40 AM we headed into the majestic Cathedral amongst a sea of crimson and cream for the 11 AM kickoff. Although the fan base was confident in their Sooners, they were also respectful of their opponent coached by the great Bill Snyder. I mean come on man; he is the only active coach who has a stadium named after him! Another spectacular day in Norman, OK weather wise as blue skies provided us a perfect overhead fresco along with temps in the low 70s. Seats provided by our Tailgate’s Hosts were on the 20 yard line, 21 rows up. When I attended games at OU in the 80s, the crowds were docile and entitled as they expected to win every game by 40 or more. Not the case anymore. The student section was engaged in chants and shenanigans throughout the game. The Band belted out catchy tunes and the rest of the stadium was very vocal and animated during the contest. 

A classic Cathedral in all its glory.

Oklahoma jumped out to a 7-0 lead and then KSU took the lead with a few scores against a talented but under coached OU defense. Time and time again, the Wildcat offense ran the same set of plays with success in the first half. OU QB Trevor Knight also made one crucial mistake on the day with a pick six from his own one yard line early in the game. Other than that mistake, T Knight played brilliantly throughout the day. With seconds remaining before half, the usually reliable OU Kicker Michael Hunnicutt missed a chip shot that would have cut the Wildcat lead to 1 point going into the locker room. In the second half with OU still chasing, the Defense finally tightened up and only allowed 10 more points. However, it was not meant to be for the Sooners with a blocked PAT, an untimely pick on a trick play and a complete shank on a 19 yard game winning attempt by Mister Hunnichoke. Apparently, the FBI has been sent game film to further investigate the normally Mr. Automatic. Along with T Knight, OU’s stud receiver Derrick Sheppard had an outstanding game with 15 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown. Final outcome: KSU 31 – OU 30. So back to the Tailgate we headed to drown our sorrows.

Around the country (in games that matter) – In a game that lived up to its billing as game of the week, The Criminoles bested the Irish in Tallahassee after a controversial call negated the apparent game winning TD for ND. Jameis and the fellas went out and celebrated with free crab legs and jumped up on tables and shouted out with glee.  These Irish eyes are still crying. A scorned Nick is a dangerous Nick as coach Saban and the boys from T Town turned Kenny Trill into Kenny Nil with a devastating 59 - 0 beat-down at Bryant Denny Stadium. In Morganhole, WV, Mountaineer Stadium proved to be inhospitable once again as the Eers knocked off #4 Baylor by two TDs. Free Moonshine and possum stew for all as the hillbillies trashed the town afterward!  A merry band of DFT tailgaters “garage gated” for the BC - Clemson game wearing their stylish DFT polos only to watch Clemson narrowly win. The Cowpokes of OSU seemed to be more worried about going into the “Hot Zone” of the DFW Metroplex than they were about playing the football game at TCU as the Horned Frogs plastered the pokes 42-9.  In the late, late game – the Sun Devils delivered an impeccable performance against a sluggish Stanford Cardinal scoring a 26-10 victory. A brief shout out to the Marshall Thundering Herd as they are now 7-0.
Bieber Award – Again, many candidates to sift through but one stands out a little more this week. Always fun to pick on USC so I enjoyed this one: Apparently former Trojan Great Lendale White ripped the Trojan DC Justin Wilcox after a recent game via Twitter. His words were not one you would expect from a person who matriculated through such a prestigious institution like USC. Mr. White decided to attend USC’s home game this Saturday against Colorado. As is customary in LA LA land, former athletes and celebrities get passes and watch the action from the sideline. Upon entering the field, Mr. White was greeted by USC AD Pat Haden who shook his hand. Minutes later Lendale was escorted out by the stadium Po Po.  He immediately took to Twitter blaming Pat Haden for his personal tour of the stadium tunnel to the parking lot. He called him a Coward, called for his firing and used other words and names that don’t appear in Webster’s dictionary. Well Lendale, you may now have to start paying for your own Trojan tickets, but you my friend have earned this week’s Bieber Award. #fightonwashedupoverweighthasbeen !

Next week – Thursday night the Tailgate will be in Blacksburg, VA and then we move on to the smoky mountains for the Bama – Tennessee game on Saturday.

Happy Tailgating!

Twitter activity and pics from others
The BC Garage Gaters donning their DFT wear.

Sun Devil Kevin O'Connor has pre-purchased his next retirement home

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 7 - More Cowbell!

A bevvy of beautiful young ladies from Hail State and War Eagle and the good Doctor representing DFT in Starkville.

Once again the bright lights of College Football shone down on the Magnolia State as ESPN College Gameday and the DFT banner (Carried by Dr. Matt Sheffield) traveled the 80 miles from Oxford to Stark Vegas. #3 Mississippi State hosted War Eagle from the plains of South Alabama. The Hail State faithful rang their cowbells precipitously throughout the day in anticipation of their most important game ever. Who would have known that those prophetic words from Christopher Walken would ring true 14 years later: “More Cowbell!” 


DFT update – when the stars align for a home double header, the Tailgate usually takes advantage of the situation. Friday night, the Heins family hosted me for pre-game festivities down on the farm at Stanford for the Wazoo game. Great food was prepared by our hostess Susan. Future Heins family member and former Cougar John Huffington was in our posse for the night. We also had the pleasure of spending some time with WSU Assistant Athletic Director John Johnson. He is a big reason for the Cougars recent resurgence. We will see him in three weeks in the Palouse when WSU hosts USC. Despite rooting for Wazoo, the stout Stanford Defense shut down the high flying Cougar Offense and their QB  Opie Halliday. Final score Tree  34 - Cougs 17.

Amanda Heins all grown up and attending Tailgates.

The ladies brought a touch of class to an otherwise neanderthal gathering.
Some people just have way too much fun.
Saturday we participated in our annual Snobgating at the world famous Claremont Hotel Paragon bar in Bezerkely for game day libations and vittles. Cal hosted the Huskies from UW in Strawberry Canyon on a picture perfect Bay area Saturday. We had the added benefit of watching the Blue Angels do their thing over the Bay to our west. Tightwad Hill was rocking and the cannon was ready to fire above the stadium. I even think I saw a few dirt hippy squatters in the trees. Nonetheless, the Husky Defense chewed up the Bear offense and took home a 31-7 victory.

Skipper, Thurston and Gilligan on a three hour cruise.
Around the country- In the SEC Mississippi State and Ole Miss took down Auburn and Texas A&M respectively. These two teams will now rightfully be ranked # 1 and 2 in the country. Bama went to Fayetteville and Nick almost left them there.

Out west in the PAC 12 UCLA got boat raced by the Ducks in the Rose Bowl and USC eked one out in Tucson. In Big Ten action Brady lives to play another day by knocking off State Penn. Down in the Big 12, Oklahoma barely escaped the Cotton Bowl with a win over their hated rival Texas. In the wackiest game of the day, Baylor comes from 21 back in the fourth set to beat TCU 61 -58. In ACC action, Jameis will face a disciplinary hearing this week. Why not just wait another few games. AWW heck we are just talking about a handful of fel fels and a few misdys to boot. Notre Dame holds on to win against a well heeled team from North Carolina.

My Favorite Sooner and her pals and Big Tex at the Cotton Bowl

Bieber Award – It would be easy to give it to Jameis and the FSU administration, but that story has become the Benghazi of college football. Frankly we are all numb to his idiocy and the cover up behind the scenes. Therefore, we cruised north of the Florida Georgia Line to find this week’s awardee. It seems that our leading Heisman Candidate could not subside on a free education, room and board and a brand spanking new “Scalade”. These things were not enough to satisfy the appetite of young mister Todd Gurley. It appears that Todd’s thirst for the finer things in life led him to a a deep dark place where he felt justified in charging coin for his Johnny Hancock. Sometimes he would charge as much as an Andrew Jackson for his scratch. We already knew he could carry the ball like nobody’s business, but I am just impressed he even knows how to scribble and count his numbers. So he has the ever important three R’s covered of running, writing and arithmetic. Because of his transgression, he has been suspended indefinitely from the Dawgs and has probably lost any hope of winning the Stiff Arm Trophy. But no need to worry, Todd will be taking home the prestigious Bieber Award this week to add to his accolades and awards.

Next week the Tailgate will be traveling to the land where the wind comes sweeping down the plains for the Sooner – Wildcat battle in Norman.

Happy Tailgating!

Tailgates from around the country:

Navy's first couple stirring it up in the rain.

The Hurricane Mahoneys at Sun Life
Maple Leaf fans were lost ending up at a Stanford game.

More Cowbell in Stark Vegas.

Steve and Chris at a Stanford Gate.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week 6 - I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend

Well, I promised to not blog on weekends when I did not go to a new stadium, however I must say a few words about this weekend. First of all it was great to have a weekend when real on field action was happening in multiple venues across the Promised Land.  Starting Thursday night with Oregon losing to Zona and Friday with BYU tanking it, and on to Saturday where four more top ten teams (Bama, Oklahoma, TA&M and UCLA) all went down in upsets. In addition to the marquis games there was incredible action all over the college football landscape including the three late Pac 12 games.  In the Cal/Wazoo game, Connor Halliday the ginger Wazoo QB threw for an FBS record 734 yards only to lose because his kicker was paid off by the Mob to miss a chip shot.

Guest Blog from the DFT crew in the Ole Miss Grove:
The Italian Stallions (Chris & Tim Desimone, Lou & Sam Gervolino, and Dave Quilici) descended into Oxford, Mississippi to attend the Alabama/Ole Miss game. Despite weather and mechanical delays we managed to all make it to Oxford on Friday night. First stop was for fortification and the second stop was focused on becoming fortified. Once hydrated, it was time for the Italians to take on The Square in Oxford, which we did, until “sometime” in the morning. All that walking and non-stop football talk makes a fella thirsty. The Square was packed, with mostly Alabama fans. As we walked the square we were met with “Roll Tide” after “Roll Tide.”  Nevertheless we persevered, but that was just a warm up for the real show on Saturday which came way too early. At 7 AM, the helicopters and planes began circling The Grove; College Game Day had come to Mississippi for the first time ever. 
Hotty Toddy in The Grove
We were hosted by Dr. Brian Wilkinson and his lovely wife Francie along with their many friends at their tailgate. The kindness of everyone we ran into in The Grove is unmatched anywhere in the country. Feasting on pulled pork, cornbread, smoked bacon and an abundance of other delicacies, we almost forgot to go see Game Day. Walking The Grove was no easy task but we made it in time to see the crew and “hear” Katy Perry upstage Lou Corso by picking Mississippi to beat Alabama, little did we know…..We headed back to our home base tailgate, there was still a football game to be played. 
Those are homemade helmet cakes at the good doctor's tailgate
At the tailgate, several people came up to me asking if we were the “California Bloggers.” Unknowingly, we had been given this moniker from our last year trek to the LSU game. Well, good enough, we are the California Bloggers! There was one more tradition to experience and that was the Walk of Champions, a tradition of the players walking through the Grove to their locker room. This is a wonderful experience for the fans and players - high fiving, cheering a cacophony encouragement from everywhere. As the players passed, our Italian crew was equally caught up in the moment. Lou shouted to one player “are you ready” and that player turned around and with intense stare, shouts back, “are YOU ready?” Yea, I was ready to run like hell. All of this hoopla was merely a lead in to the main course - the football game. 

The boyz representing!
Leopard skin ladies are an endangered species
The banner crowd surfing through the game day masses
 Our seats were on the 50 yard line, the crowd was loud and the game was well played and tight in the first half until Mississippi fumbled right before half. Alabama 14 Mississippi 3, the score seemed daunting. However, with Bo Wallace throwing pin point passes in the second half and stout Mississippi defense, the game turned into one spectacular comeback and ended on a phenomenal interception. Number 11 Mississippi had defeated number 3 Alabama 23-17. 

The stadium erupted for what is arguably the biggest win for Mississippi in a generation. The fans spilled out onto the field, the drinks spilled everywhere, and the celebration had begun back in The Grove. As for us, we made it to several post- game tailgates, between live bands, the Elvis impersonator (who was actually pretty good), dancing and simply high fiving anyone walking by, all I can say is, “Hotty Toddy!”  As we wound down the day / night we walked back into the square for dinner for some Southern Fried Chicken, a great way to finish the day in Oxford. All in all, the Italian team represented Dan from the Tailgate as well as anyone could. And Katy Perry, she is now a folk hero in Mississippi………….

The ladies of The Grove will talk to just about anyone!
Bieber Award – Although I myself was in strong consideration for the Bieber honors for missing the Ole Miss weekend, the nation voted otherwise:  For the entire month of September, every time a college football show was on TV, we had to endure the prognosticators predict the future. What sez me you ask? Let’s start first with every talking head Savant that was trying to act like they knew who the four teams were that would make up the new college playoff. We also already heard who the most Heisman worthy players were so early in the season. The problem is, September mostly amounts to College Football’s version of a pre-season. With very few marquis or conference games, why do these self-anointed omnipotent stalwarts continue to play the role of college football’s version of Nostradamus?  My suggestion would be that there should be no polls or Heisman discussion until after the first week of October. It is ridiculous to have a poll after the strong have beaten up on the weak and to strike the Heisman pose when the good players rack up gaudy stats against the bad. Ninety percent of what they say is inaccurate. This band of brothers includes but is not limited to empty suits such as the wise Mark May, Paul Finebald, Collin Cowturd, Jesse Palmer, Danny Kanell, David Pollack, Kirk Herbstreet and Tom Luginbill. If we went to an eight team playoff with the conference winners of the Power Five and three wild cards, we could put these hot air balloons out of commission. They wouldn’t have anything to pontificate about or enlighten us with. Collectively, everyone on TV who opened their pie hole making predictions so far this season win this week’s prestigious, coveted, unrivaled Bieber Award.

Next Saturday, the Tailgate will make the trek through the Caldecott tunnel to Bezerkely to watch the Cal Bears take on the Washington Huskies. As an added bonus, the Blue Angles will be flying over the Bay that afternoon. Also possibly looking at the Friday night game at Stanford against Wazoo. The DFT flag will be in Starkeville, MS for ESPN Gameday in the custody of Dr. Matt Sheffield, a War Eagle by marriage.

Twitter activity:

er 30, 2014