Sunday, October 22, 2017

Week 8 - Me, Myself and I

A party for one

When one goes into self-imposed solitary confinement for a mid-season sabbatical, he must find ways to stay entertained and sane. With my first weekend off from attending a live game this season, I was looking forward to a day of couch potatoitis and recharging the batteries. I isolated myself from all humanity and liquids that are calibrated by their intoxicating contents. I lived vicariously through my friends and family who were attending games across the country and I watched multiple games all weekend on the tele. So, enjoy the brief write up and the many pictures that were sent to me.

Around the country – All teams that I have a rooting interest for swept the weekend. I can’t remember a time when this has happened before. For starters the mighty Monte Vista JV Mustangs defeated the power house De La Salle Spartans for the first time in 20 + years I am told. That violent sport of Cheerleading had my youngest sit this one out, as she is under concussion protocol. I hear Will Smith will be doing a movie on it soon. Marshall University (the school all three of my brothers attended at one point), won on Friday night against Middle Tennessee in a Conference USA showdown. Army (my branch of service) won in a thrilling victory over Temple on the banks of the Hudson. Mrs. Tailgate’s Oklahoma State Cowboys took down the Longhorns in OT deep in the heart of Texas. Next up the Oklahoma Sooners (my middle spawn’s school) slipped out of Manhattan, KS with a win. Baker Magic Mayfield did it again throwing for over 400 yards. My Alma Mater Frostburg State won their homecoming game 62-3 and improved to 6-1 and are still a top 20 Division III team. I received multiple facetime calls from classmates exchanging pleasantries with me for not being there. The Columbia Lions (my Dad played there way back in the day) moved to 6-0 by beating Dartmouth and now own sole possession of first place in the Ivy League. The Fighting Irish (my birthright team) annihilated the birth control vessels from USC at night in South Bend. Lastly, my eldest’s alma mater Boise State won on the cold wet blue over Josh Allen and the Wyoming Cowboys.

Frostburg friends enjoying the Homecoming Tailgate

Now enough about my spoils and other games of note. Miami remains unbeaten with another close win over Syracuse. Watch out for Scott Frost and the UCF Golden Knights as they remain perfect after a hard-fought battle with Navy in Annapolis. Butch Jones is one step closer to the unemployment line as the wheels have fallen off the Vols bus as they were humiliated in Tuscaloosa again. In the ABC game of the week in Happy Valley, PA, the Nittany Lions dominated the fighting Harbaughs in a blow-out win. The Tailgate had briefly planned on going to that game last week but had to bail for grown up things. If anyone saw the Cal game, you are probably asking the same question we all are, why did they go for 2 in the second overtime when they didn’t need to? Well they lost to Arizona because of that miscalculation. And how about those Nerdwestrn Wildcats getting a win at home over Iowa? Okay North Carolina is irrelevant, but I must mention that Virginia Tech destroyed them by a margin of 52 points which is the largest in an ACC matchup.
Sis and the Eagle Tailgaters pre-gaming in Charlottesville,VA

The Carluccis in Miami, Josts in Austin and Elf and crew in Naptown

The Bridgham- Bostics and friends in Happy Valley

Bieber – With my constant calling out of Bierberlicious acts the past few years, we seem to be having an effect on eligible candidates keeping themselves in check. However, the world will never be eradicated of Bieber 100% and there will still be periodic outbreaks. This week’s honors go to Rashaan Gaulden of the sinking Tennessee Vols. With Alabama winning 28 – 0 in the second half, Tide QB Jalen Hurts threw a 97-yard pick six to one of Gaulden’s teammates. Gaulden in his excitement followed his conquering teammate into the end zone and let all the Bama fans know who was number one. In fact, he showed them using sign language gestures with both hands. Very talented this kid. Not sure Gaulden is a math major because the scoreboard clearly said 28-7 = 21. By the end of the game 28 became 45 and 7 never changed. Young Mister Gaulden may have left Tuscaloosa with a loss, but he has his kodak moment for the ages and his Bieber hardware to cherish forever.

Next week – The Danville crew invades Seattle for a weekend of UW college football and “Sailgating “on Lake Washington outside of Husky Stadium. I will take my dramamine so I don’t feed the fish too often.

Happy Tailgating!


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Week 7 - Horns Down!

Horns Down in the Big D!
The Cotton Bowl was constructed on the Texas State Fairgrounds in Dallas and was completed in 1930. The venerable old stadium played host to its namesake bowl game for over 70 years until it moved to Jerry World in 2010. It also was the home venue for the SMU Mustangs for 40 years and the Dallas Cowboys for the first 11 years of their existence. In fact, when SMU played it’s home games there in the 1940s, it was referred to as “The House that Doak Built” after “All American" Doak Walker. It is one of the most iconic and recognizable cathedrals in all of college football. Perhaps it is best known for the Red River Shootout or the more politically correct Red River Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas. It has been the home for this rivalry since 1932. The Cotton Bowl sits literally halfway between the two campuses of OU and Texas. Current capacity is at 92,000 and the playing surface is real grass. 

The Shootout takes place every year during the Texas State Fair. The fair is well renowned for having food vendors that fry everything including beer, butter and ice cream. Yeah, you heard that right. This year would mark the 112th edition of the rivalry with Texas holding the lead 61- 45 -5. These are two of college football’s blue bloods with multiple National Championships, All Americans, Heisman winners and too many players that have matriculated to the pro level to count. The shootout is considered one of the top three rivalries in all of college football and regardless of team records, the outcome is never guaranteed. I made it as far as the parking lot outside of the fairgrounds in 1987 and was unavoidably detained by a good time and never made it into the game. Therefore, this one has been on my bucket list for 30 years!
Pre game festivities at the Texas State Fair

Bobby, Jr Ewing, Pamela and Sue Ellen picked me up in their private limo to take me to Southfork for the weekend. Oh wait, that was a different time when I was here. This time I linked up with my Sooner daughter and her entourage.  We were also joined by OU graduates, the Eichinger siblings, Lauren and Brian. Friday night activities included a group outing to The Rustic and then a pass-through McKinney Street in Uptown. Saturday morning started very slowly with the obligatory Bloody Mary at the hotel and then public transit over to the Fair Grounds.  Upon arriving, we were swept up in a tidal wave of crimson and burnt orange with the best pre-game atmosphere I have ever seen. Fans from both schools shouting out in unison their respective chants followed with either “Texas Sucks or OU Sucks!” We took pictures with Big Tex, sampled a few liquid refreshments and made friends with the opposition.
Big Tex looking over us

The DG girls and the old folk showing Texas the proper hand signals.

The sun was scorching for the 2:30 kick off with temps in the 90s and not a cloud in the sky. As the Sooners took the field with the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band belting out Boomer Sooner, “I felt this thrill going up my leg” (Thank you Chris Matthews). The OU half of the stadium was on the south side, with no respite from the solar rays. The first quarter belonged all to OU, as All World QB Baker Mayfield spun up some magic leading the Sooners to a 10-0 lead. The boys from Norman scored another touchdown to start the second quarter to go up 17-0. Then Mr. Mo entered the grand old stadium wearing the color of burnt orange. Texas would score 24 points over the next two plus quarters to OU’s two field goals to take a 24-23 lead. Just when it looked like the Sooners would fall further behind, they answered back with a Mayfield to Mark Andrews 59 yard pass to take the lead by 5 after missing the 2 point conversion. Each team had several more possessions with the final one belonging to Texas. OU’s defense was up for the challenge as they thwarted the Longhorn final attempt and left the Cotton Bowl victorious. My assumptions are that someone put an electronic jammer on Mike Stoops’ mic and his advice was ignored in the fourth quarter. You could not have asked for a better game, and I could not have received a better outcome. Back to the hotel for the night games and a victory meal from Streets Fine Chicken. (The chicken is endorsed by Chickenhawk so it must be delicious.)
Mrs. Tailgate's Cousins with DFT

Action on the field

Around the Country –  Perhaps it is cliché to say that something was amiss on Friday as it was Friday the 13th in October, but then how do you explain Saturday? With that said, this was the weekend of major upsets with four top ten teams falling to unranked opponents. For starters, #1 Clemson went up to lowly Syracuse on Friday night and got the orange squeezed out of them by their “brothers in color” the Syracuse Orangemen. Down goes Clemson! Then out to the West Coast in the Peoples Republic of Bezerkely where we witnessed Mike Leach and the #8 Wazzu Cougs getting mauled by the Cal Bears 37-3. Perhaps something was in the air. On to Saturday, #10 Auburn went down to the suddenly resurgent LSU Tigers in the sweltering Bayou heat. Late at night  in Tempe, the Sun Devils lit up the #5 UW Huskies 13-7. Other ranked teams fell including San Diego State losing to Boise State, Navy losing to Memphis and Texas Tech going down in Morgantown. Four nail biters for the ranked saw USC escaping with a 1 point win over Utah, Miami slipping by Georgia tech in the rain, Michigan needing OT to dispose of the Hoosiers  and Michigan State over Minnesota by 3. Perhaps this was the most exciting weekend of the season so far so sez me. Frostburg State returned to its winning ways with a 59-7 win over William Patterson and Columbia moved to 5-0 to sit atop the Ivy League. That’s right I said Columbia.
The Keusters pre-gaming at San Diego State

Navy Tailgaters undercover at a Maryland game

Bieber – This week’s accolades go to a not so subtle guy named Ernest Suttles from Memphis. On Friday night, as the Memphis Tigers were preparing for their matchup on Saturday against 25th ranked Navy, Mr. Suttles had other ideas of how to pre-game and decided to partake in some unwanted extracurricular activities. Memphis Po Po were called to an off-campus residence at 3:00 AM where Ernie was charged with rape. Ernie was a starter for the Tigers and was immediately kicked off the team and missed the Tigers upset win on Saturday. If these charges hold true, Mr. Suttle will have the opportunity to get pay back plenty of times over the next 15 years whilst staring at his Bieber trophy for comfort.

Next Week – The Tailgate will take a break for the first time this season from live action due to work and family commitments. We will not be going to New Mexico or Penn State as had been previously planned. Next up will be Sailgating in Seattle for the UW game in 2 weeks.

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Week 6 - The calm before the storm

With Mother Billy and his son Joey in town we patronized the incomparable grounds of San Jose State once more. Since Tailgating has been relegated to a John Steinbeck like dust bowl with only a few hardy fans partaking, we opted to pre-game at Stanley’s sports bar across from the stadium.  A brilliant blue California sky and the golden hills of San Jose formed the perfect backdrop for yet another late afternoon picturesque South Bay game. The Spartans would take on their in-state rival from the (559) Central Valley, the Fresno Bulldogs.  Two of CFB’s bottom dwellers put on an entertaining contest that kept us in the stadium until late in the fourth quarter. Although San Jose woke up and played a spirited second half, they fell to the Jeff Tedford led Dogs 27-10. The halftime show had the Spartan band dressed in hippy attire performing a tribute to the counter culture movement in California from the 1960s.

Around the country - I have begun filing the paperwork for my #2 to leave the plains of Oklahoma after the Sooner's demise against the Cyclones Saturday. I am looking into Alabama and Clemson as my top two choices. She has let me down for the last time. In Annapolis, the mighty Midshipmen won a thriller in the last seconds against the Falcons from Air Force Academy. It was reported that not one person was caught kneeling in the stadium during the National Anthem. In Ann Arbor in front of 112,000 fans, Harbaugh stained his mom pants once again by being bested by the Spartans from East Lansing. On Thursday night, NC State knocked out Louisville from ACC title contention and Lamar from repeating as the Heisman winner. Coach Ogre got back on the winning track with the Bayou Bengals taking a bite out of the Florida Gators. Coach O was part of a hit song last week after his LSU team lost to Troy. Take a listen and enjoy:

In Fort Worth, the Horned Frogs shot down the Mountaineers by 7 points in a hard fought contest. Down South Beach way, the Hurricanes chopped down the Seminoles 24-20. The Crimson Tide had their hands full in College Station but were able to leave victorious. Bryce Love and the Stannerd Cardinal continued their winning ways in the Wasatch range by taking down the Utes. In FCS news, My Dad’s Columbia Lions improved to 4-0 for the first time since Christ was a Corporal. I would be remiss in my duties if I did not mention that the Monte Vista High School Junior Varsity advanced to 5-0 by winning their homecoming game against Dougherty Valley.
The Rogers Clan at Kentucky and the Maddalons in Boulder

The Millings and friends in Jordan Hare
Carlucci Jr and Pals in Miami and the Deutchkis at South Carolina

The Donnelly siblings and friends in Annapolis
The Bodners at College Gameday in Fort Worth
Bieber – I have bit my tongue long enough on this one, but the “Idiot Brother” Mike Stoops, Oklahoma’s Defenseless Coordinator takes this week’s accolades. Now with the air cover of brother Bob gone, “Screaming Mike” has been left to his own devices, and let’s just say they aren’t functioning correctly. It was bad enough two weeks ago when the Sooners gave up 500 yards to lowly Baylor and almost lost. Now with the loss to the Cyclones, Magic Mike has been exposed like a flasher on the world stage. His pass defense schemes look like something out of Pop Warner at best as his DB’s get burned more times than 2 AM toast at a Waffle House. As Mike’s men continue to get embarrassed on the field, he proceeds to scream the entire time in his coach’s box from up above. If you don’t prepare your troops for battle before the action occurs, you have no right to scream at your soldiers. To add insult to injury, OU kept him instead of Brent Venables, Clemson’s DC and the best one in the country. Screaming Mike, you will lose your position but you have new Bieber hardware to scream at.

Next Week – “The Tailgate will take its talents to the Cotton Bowl” for the Red River shootout. This will be the first of three road games in a row and four out of the next five weeks. The Tailgate is tanned, rested and ready for the challenge.

Happy Tailgating!