Monday, October 14, 2019

Geaux Above and Beyond!

The boys in the Bayou!

The annual DFT (Danvillians From the Tailgate or Drunk From Takeoff) anchor game landed us in the swamps of Louisiana in the great river city of Baton Rouge. ESPN College Gameday and the Florida Gators were coming to Death Valley for this classic matchup with the LSU Tigers. This would be my second trip to Death Valley with my first visit being the catalyst for me starting this blog eleven years ago. With our posse arriving from different states, continents, planets and on different days and varying times, we all finally connected Friday in BR at the Watermark Hotel. We contributed immensely to the local economy Friday night in the form of purchasing consumptive nourishment and nutrients at establishments such as Chimes and Boudreaux & Thibodeaux. Random dance moves were broken out, new beers and foods were sampled, and practical jokes were played. As is the tradition with this crew, we went home early in order to be fresh for a marathon day of tailgating and a night game at Tiger Stadium. 3 AM is early, right? Asking for a friend.

Friday Night warm up
Up bright eyed and bushy tailed on Saturday, a gourmet breakfast consisting of bacon infused Bloody Mary and a Boudin (pronounced Boo Dan in a Cajun drawl) omelet got me and Doctor Brian right back in the zone. Others wandered over to campus to catch ESPN Gameday. With a kickoff time of 7 PM it is important to get a little tailgating in to absorb the electric atmosphere that is game day at LSU. With 100,000 seats in the stadium it is said that LSU has over 300,000 tailgaters. It certainly appeared to be true on this crisp fall day in the Bayou. This is a professional tailgating atmosphere with people who know how to do it right.

We all reconnected at 11 AM at the famed KOCKA Tailgate run by Officer James Roy on the south side of the stadium in a grassy area with plenty of shade trees. KOCKA’s set up was most impressive: A giant TV theater tent with two flat screens showing games, a DJ tent, a food tent with a giant gumbo kettle pot, beer pong tent and a liquor tent.  Most unique is their “Beer Funnel of Death” which some of us not named Nancy partook in. We also connected with Mike Doyle and his gang which included Freddy Mercury and the Reno-911 cast. We would continue to hang out with these characters for the rest of the day. Many of the regulars from KOCKA made us feel very welcome and the laughs continued.
KOCKA Tailgate

Doing the Bayou boogie

Chicken head Sammy

The crew with our host James Roy
We meandered over to the Bayou Bandits tailgate in the heart of campus at around 3 PM. We were served more gumbo, gator sausage and Abita beers from a triple tap. Whistlepig Whiskey was pouring samples at the tailgate right next to us so naturally we made ourselves right at home. The famed Tiger marching band along with the Golden Girls processed right by our tailgate spot. Beer pong and football were played, but not very well by the participants with the exception of the five-year-old kid with a canon arm. Much of the day was contemplating who would win Bieber and Ginger awards as there was a vast selection of candidates. At 6 PM we began our trek down into the hallowed sacred cathedral that is Death Valley.
The Bayou Bandits Tailgate. Upper right is our host Michael Kleinpeter

Cheerleaders,  Don Desimone, Amy Poehler, grilled gator and Abita Galore

Death Valley at night against an SEC rival is as epic as any of the great college football traditions. If you could only go to three games in your life, my personal recommendation would be Army – Navy, the Red River Shootout and a night game at LSU. If the atmosphere outside the stadium was electric, then I would categorize the scene inside the stadium as a geostorm.  We were treated by the Army parachute team jumping into the stadium with all landing on the eye of the target at midfield. LSU was ranked #4 and Florida #9 coming into the game. Oddly enough, there was a sizeable contingent of Gator fans there to support their team who had just knocked off Auburn in an upset the previous week.
Death Valley at night!
The first half was an offensive tennis match with each team more or less holding serve. LSU Heisman Hopeful QB Joe Burrow carved up the Gators Defense like they were in an episode of the show Swamp People. Florida’s offense was equal to the task opening holes at the line and making short passes that would turn into big gains. This might be the first time in decades I would say that LSU has a way better Offense than their Defense. Even more importantly was the parade of characters in our section that elicited shrieks of belly laughs from ourselves and everyone around us. We enjoyed calling people out and taking pictures of people now named man bun, jorts boy, weirdo fanny pack fool, orange head, nacho cheese in nose man, Amy Poehler and the list goes on. The first act ended with the score knotted up at 21.
The Freak Show
The Gators started off the second half with a drive resulting in a touchdown to take the lead. The air in Death Valley seemed to be slowly getting sucked out. Just as soon as I thought that, the Tigers clawed right back to score two touchdowns while clamping down on defense and slowing the Florida ground and air attack. Behind by seven points midway through the fourth quarter, Florida had its chances to tie the game but could not find their way into the end zone. LSU would score again and deny Florida in the red zone to secure an incredibly well played victory by the score of 42-28. Canes fried chicken and an Uber ride back to our hotel to catch the Boise State blowout while drifting off to sleep for me. Others from our crew were not as adept at navigating their way home and returned after a long struggle. Baton Rouge, we will be back again.

We will be back!
Around the country – in Dallas, TX at the legendary Cotton Bowl, Oklahoma led from start to finish behind a masterful defensive performance consisting of nine sacks and a shutdown of the Texas Longhorn run game. Sooner QB Jalen Hurts accounted for close to 400 yards through the air and on the ground and All American Cedee Lamb had ten catches and three TD’s. The clear upset of the day was watching the UGA Dawgs go down in overtime to a below average South Carolina team. Paul Finebaum will not get his wish now of a four team SEC college football playoff. Penn State set the stage with their ABC white out night game matchup next week against Michigan by beating Iowa at Kinnick stadium. Notre Dame had a much tougher time with USC then most would have predicted, winning by a margin of only three points. Has anyone noticed that Minnesota is now rowing the boat and undefeated?  In the ACC and PAC 12…….well who cares since other than Clemson no one is going to the playoff or did anything special.

Texas QB Samantha Ehlingher
Bieber – When a school announces that they will lift the alcohol ban and start serving beer in their stadium, euphoria usually ensues, and it becomes water cooler talk at the offices all week long. The analogy of this is that beer being served in most stadiums is like going to a nude beach. The anticipation and build up takes your imagination to places never before explored. The excitement is uncontainable. The reality is 98% of what you would see at a nude beach is not only a disappointment, it can be flat out nightmare causing. The same is true for what happened to us at LSU. After acquiring a thirst from the walk that took us from the tailgate to our seats, I volunteered to go grab a couple of cold ones for the good Doctor and myself. In our concourse, there were two small tables set up with one person taking money and the other pouring beer with neither having a care in the world. I entered the line with about 25 people ahead of me. It seemed like years later I finally obtained said suds to return to my seat. During this course of time I went bald and gained 40 pounds. The actual amount of time was approximately 45 minutes. Of course, I was razzed by the people in our section as I missed a good chunk of live action on the field. So, my Bieber goes to LSU beer concessionaires and any other college stadium that says they serve beer in any fashion other than full on concession stands pouring ,massive amounts of golden lagers.

The beer line at LSU Tiger Stadium 

Ginger –  Let’s just leave this here.....this is ginger as hell!

 Next Week -There is a possibility I will attend the Cal v Oregon State game in Bezerkeley on Saturday if they cancel the Antifa rally. I also plan on attending the Monte Vista high school game on Friday night. A special thanks to Tailgate Connect for once again hooking us up with an incredible day.

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Dixie on my mind....well, sort of!

After spending several days at a work conference in NOLA, I made the two-hour trek east to Mobile, AL on Thursday. The University of South Alabama (USA) Jaguars were taking on Sun Belt Conference foe, the Eagles of Georgia Southern (GASO). I purchased my ticket online for a total of $9. In addition to a cheap ticket, I secured free parking, a free tailgate with multiple food vendors, a free concert and some goodies upon entering the stadium. Score!

Free gating!
The USA Jags play at the famous Ladd Peebles Stadium, home of the Senior Bowl and some other classic annual matchups. The Stadium is 71 years old and built right in the middle of a residential neighborhood several miles off campus. The old girl has a maximum seating capacity of 40,000. Next season, the Jaguars will move into a brand-new facility on campus. The Jaguars have only had a football program since 2009 and became part of  D1A (FBS) in 2012. They are a member of the Sun Belt Conference and have been competitive since their entry.

Both squads were having down years coming into the contest with identical 1-3 records. GASO is traditionally a powerhouse in the Sun Belt Conference and usually competes for the conference’s top spot. GASO is led by dynamic dual threat QB Shai Werts who could play on Sundays but not as a QB. The Jaguars were directed by strong armed QB “Bo” Cephus Johnson. Both teams kept the other off the scoreboard in the opening set. GASO got things going with a field goal in the second quarter only to be answered by a 75 yard touchdown bomb from Bocephus to wideout Kawaan Baker. GASO countered with a TD of their own to take a 10-7 lead into the locker room. The second half was mostly dominated by USA only to allow GASO to march down the field in the final two minutes to tie the game at 24. The game would end in double OT as the Eagles kicked a field goal to out point the feisty Jaguars on this warm night in Mobile. Final score was 27-24.

Less then 10,000 fans came out to watch this great game.
Back on a flight out of Pensacola to Oakland early Friday AM to get me home in time to make it to Monte Vista High School to watch our Mustangs take on the juggernaut that is the De LaSalle High Spartans. It did not go well for Monte Vista but we had an outstanding pre game soiree at Oak Hill Park. Saturday was a day of backyard tailgating with a birthday brunch for daughter #1 with games being watched, and tailgate games being played. To complete my second tri-level trifecta weekend in a row, Mrs. Tailgate and I will be heading to Santa Clara Monday to watch Baker and the Browns take on Jimmy GQ and the Niners.

#1 Strangling me, the pommies doing their thing, the All American couple and the Mustangs and Spartans battling.
Around the country – Friday night in Cincinnati, the Bearcats upended the UCF Golden Knights in a battle of top tier American Conference powers. Deep down in the swamp in Gainesville, FL, the Gators took a bite out of the Auburn Tigers and delivered them their first defeat of the season in a mostly defensive struggle. In Ann Arbor, the fighting Harboogers picked up a win against the Iowa Hawkeyes in a close contest. Pitt scored last in an exciting match against Duke to secure a narrow victory. The Washington Huskies traveled to “The Farm” in Palo Alto and had their hopes of making the playoffs erased by losing to a downtrodden Stanford team. The Oklahoma State Cowpokes galloped into Lubbock to face off with Texas Tech and left defeated on the horses they rode in on. Navy sunk Air Force in an exciting game in Annapolis. In arguably the most exciting game of the day, the SMU Mustangs found themselves down by a score of 30-9 entering the 4th quarter against the Tulsa Hurricanes. ESPN gave the Mustangs a 1.7 % chance to win at this point. Guess what? They came all the way back to tie the game and force OT. In the third OT, SMU wide receiver James Proche made an amazing grab in the end zone to secure the win. And yes, Frostburg State won its homecoming game to advance to a record of 4-1 in their inaugural season as a now Division 2 program. I knew you were all wondering.

Boomer Baley, #1 playing QB 54 and the outlaw boys working on their buzzball skills

She laughs because she got me out for happy hour Saturday away from TV

Sister Eileen entertaining the Sailors at the Navy usual
Bieber – My 96 year-old Aunt Barbara who was a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan passed away in August. Her services were held in Northern Virginia this past Saturday. There would be a mass in the morning followed by a reception/luncheon and more family events. Family members from up and down the East Coast would make the trip to honor this great lady and the amazing life she lived. My angelic sister Patsy and Saintly brother Billy made this a priority and were in attendance for the entire slate of events on this special day. My other less than pious sister Eileen and demonic brother Brian were not as accommodating. First, it was rumored that Brian dressed up in a disguise looking like a maintenance man so he wouldn’t be recognized. Then he slithered into the church back row by the exit so he could make his fast escape along with Beelzebub Eileen. Why you ask? Because they had tickets to the Navy v Air Force game in Annapolis. I would never think of being so inconsiderate as my siblings. In fact, saintly sis Patsy spotted the perps and gave them the stink eye until they did the walk of shame in full view of the congregation to make their way to sit in the front of the church with Saint Patsy and the rest of the family. As the service concluded they made their quick Irish exit and blew off family members and elected not to attend the luncheon and a later family get together. As Karma is a bitch, Brian AKA Magellan got lost getting to Annapolis and detoured through DC and missed the pre-game tailgate. Well at least you both now have some Bieber hardware that will be a reminder of your deed on this day.

Ginger (Badass) – Has anyone noticed the job Coach Matt Rhule is doing at Baylor? Let me go back in time to put this in perspective. A mere four short years ago, Baylor was almost put on the NCAA death penalty for a program that was completely out of control under former head coach Art Briles. Allegations of rapes, assaults, cheatings, beatings and you name it were rampant. Briles was fired and branded with the scarlet letter and would become untouchable for future employment in the college game. The program was hit hard by the NCAA with numerous sanctions. At this time, Matt Rhule had just performed a miracle in Philadelphia by putting Temple on the national map as a team to be reckoned with. Baylor hired Rhule just before the harsh sanctions were leveled on the program. Rhule decided to remain, regardless of how bad the situation looked. Now in his third season, Rhule has the Bears at 5 - 0 and nationally ranked. This is amazing considering this team was hit harder than any other since the SMU Mustangs of the 1980s. He has truly done one badass job in coaching these kids up and recruiting players to come here. For the job he has done, Coach Rhule is this week’s Ginger recipient. I will not be surprised if Blue Bloods like USC, Miami or Florida State don’t come calling for Coach Rhule after the season.

Next Week – Heading back to Louisiana to link up with the Danville gang in Baton Rouge as LSU hosts the Florida Gators. ESPN Gameday has chosen this as their venue for Saturday. With a game time of 7 PM, not only do we have Death Valley at night, but ample time to hit two Tailgate Connect tailgates in the Bayou throughout the day. It was 11 years ago after my first trip to Death Valley that I began chronicling this journey in blog format. My quest began in 2004 but I did not start the writing for four years. Also next week is the Red River rivalry. Be careful not to throw a horns down sign, you might get a red card!

Texas team bonding

Happy Tailgating!

Monday, September 30, 2019

Logan's Run

Under the ominous skies of Northern Utah stood two brave souls or fools.

After several failed attempts to hit the school that Merlin Olsen built, I finally made the trek to the promised land of Logan, Utah. The Utah State Aggies were hosting the Colorado State Rams in a Mountain West Classic matchup below the watchful eyes of the Wasatch Mountain Range. I landed at SLC and was picked up by Danvillian and long-time buddy Irish Mike Iorio who happens to be an Eye Tallion. With 100% chance of thunderstorms and cold temps, we were well prepared in the clothing and liquid provisions department. We made a quick detour to the tailgate lot at the University of Utah to visit our Tailgate Connect Host, the legendary Pig Bus Tailgate as they were starting up for their game against Wazzu. We chatted with Ryan Lufkin and Wubby, the two main organizers of the Pig Bus. They have a legit setup and I can’t wait to return and hang out for a day with them.  We were then on our way for the 90- minute run to Logan. 
With Ryan Lufkin of Pig Bus fame
But before I get to that, Friday Night Lights had me watching the mighty Monte Vista Mustang Defense hold the Livermore Cowboys to a mere 3 points and less than 50 yards of total offense with a 26-3 win. Next up for the Stangs is national power De LaSalle this Friday night in Danville, CA.
Now back to the land that Joseph Smith envisioned, and Brigham Young secured.  On this cool, wet early fall day under the banner of heaven, football was meant to be played and tailgating was meant to happen. Or in our case, the lightning and thunder forced us to dash-gate in Mike’s truck for a little pre- game heater. Kickoff was delayed 30 minutes, so more time for liquid courage. Among the three D1A schools in Utah, USU has the second biggest LDS influence with the party scene for tailgating being very mild compared to Utah which is raucous and entertaining. 
Dash gating, planting the banner, modeling big n tall wet weather gear and wide eyed cfb fanatics
Merlin Olsen field at Maverik Stadium (formerly Romney Stadium) was built on this location in 1968. Merlin Olsen is not only considered the greatest Aggie to grace the gridiron in Logan, he is one of the greatest players ever in the history of the NFL and he went on to star as Father Murphy for years on TV. The stadium is horseshoe shaped with an athletic facility bordering the north end zone and press boxes and chair back seats on the west side. The east side of the stadium is built right into the mountain. Current seating capacity is 25,500. On this chilly night with steady rains, 20,000 + braved the elements to cheer on their Aggies. The student section and band were most impressive as they were visible, loud and energetic throughout the whole game. Our seats which we chose not to sit in were on the east side upper level, however we poached a much nicer view. Stadium concessions included Chick fil A and hideaway flasks of Woodford Reserve. They paired nicely together as the Elders frowned down upon us.

The mystical Father Murphy
Although the Rams of Colorado State were decidedly underdogs, they came out firing on all cylinders in the first half. Their defense was stout with two interceptions and one of them for a pick six off of USU QB Jordan Love. The teams traded scores throughout the first half with the Ram pass defense leading the charge for CSU and stout USU running back Gerold Bright running roughshod over the Rams. The Aggies nudged ahead in the cold steady rain to take a lead into halftime 24-21. By the second half with the rain coming down harder, the Aggies buckled down on defense and held the Rams to one field goal while their own offense kicked a field goal of their own along with scoring a touchdown. Final score Utah State 34, Colorado State 24. Back to our lodgings in Brigham City to endure one of the worst pizzas ever prepared (Pizza Hut tweaker pizza) along with a few suds to watch the very late games.
The venerable Maverik Stadium
Up and at it at O dark thirty on Sunday to head to Denver to complete my tri-level trifecta weekend of attending a high school, college and pro game. Irish Mike, who is Italian if you forgot kicked me to the curb at SLC international and away I flew through ominous skies over the Wasatch and Rockies for the next stop on the tour to Denver. Former neighbor Craig scored free tix to the Broncos v Jaguars game improving upon what we originally thought would just be going to a great tailgate. We Ubered into Lot N on the south side of the stadium to partake in another Tailgate Connect tailgate with Mike Koele and the Sons of Mile High Tailgate.

Host extraordinaire Mike Koele presenting me with the Fireball cup
What a time we had and what a set up they have. Mike has a trailer, a bar, a party bus, multiple tents and games such as Buzzball, D Darts and Dual Ring Daddy along with Beer pong and the Beerzilla contraption. The chow for the day consisted of multiple pots of different types of chili with all the fixings and bags of fritos, cheetos, chips, and the chili was put directly into the chip bags and mixed up. Not only is this a great idea, it was absolutely delicious. I had three helpings along with several Tecates, a jello shot and fireball from the shot ski. We met a family from Australia that found the tailgate through my Tailgate Connect website. I even played Dual Ring Daddy with their 10 year old kid.
Mike and his crew are well known in the Mile High City and throw an outstanding tailgate. There was even a bachelor party in attendance via Tailgate Connect. After several hours of meeting new friends, playing all the games and reveling, we trekked into our seats in the shade in Empower Field at Mile High Stadium. 
The Fireball tent, King Craig in his throne, Buzzball and the Aussie family

Fireball shot ski, WWF legends, pre-gaming with Gardner Minshew and Chili in a pouch
The Broncos were coming into the game at 0-3 and the Jaguars were 2-1 led by the newest NFL sensation, QB Gardner Minshew, AKA Uncle Ricco (from Napoleon Dynamite). On this amazing Indian summer afternoon, the Broncos were up to the challenge in the first half by dominating all facets of the game. Only to relinquish the lead in the second half and ultimately the game when Uncle Ricco led the Jags on a game winning drive resulting in a field goal. Jacksonville stud running back Leonard Fournette ran for over 200 yards on the day. Post- game transport was one of the most exciting things I have done in a while outside of tailgating; I experienced my first electric scooter Lime ride from the stadium back to my hotel three miles away. Thus I became an honorary snowflake and will soon be sporting a man bun and hanging out in coffee shops. Much to what most people would have predicted, I made it home without a scratch or an accident. Now as for the people that had to dive out of my way along the route, they were not as fortunate.
I feel the need..the need for a man bun! 

Around the country
IN ESPN’s over hyped game of the week, they forgot that Nebraska today is not Nebraska of the Tom Osborne era. Totally outmatched, they experienced a thunderous beatdown at the hands of The (not trademarked) Ohio State Buckeyes in Lincoln. Notre Dame did not fall into the proverbial trap game trap, and handled their business against the visiting UVA Wahoos in South Bend. The Irish Defense is for real this year. Out west in Seattle, the UW Huskies took care of the USC Trojans and their latest starting QB 28-14. Oklahoma and a deadly Jalen Hurts absolutely destroyed Texas Tech. Almost as impressive as Jalen is Oklahoma’s Defense holding the high powered Red Raiders Offense to sixteen points. Despite what the mindless talking heads are saying, Mac Brown made the wrong decision when UNC had a chance to take Clemson to overtime. Instead of kicking the extra point to tie, forgetful Mac for whatever reason went for a two-point conversion and the win in regulation and failed. He could have played the percentages in overtime and knocked off the nation’s top ranked and might I say overrated team. Lowly Arkansas nearly knocked off another overrated team in Texas A&M in a neutral site game at Jerry World in Arlington, TX. 
Pops Leblanc back off the IR in action with Rick Gagne and the Eagle Tailgaters of BC

The big ugly Brian Donnelly with the Penn State Big Uglies 

The lovely Suzanne Castelein with her new hometown team Vanderbilt
Bieber- D’erika Queen- Our latest ittle Diva has emerged on the stage of snowflakedness in dramatic fashion. Houston Cougars starting QB D’erika Queen, aka D’ Eriq King has decided after four games to quit on her teammates in her senior season and put into play the newish dangerous redshirt rule that allows you to redshirt after playing up to four games. Not only has the Queen decided to utilize the rule, she was first rumored to be transferring to another school for her fifth year as a graduate transfer. However, after much heat, she along with her top wideout have stated they will be back next year. Why, just because you started the season 1-3? No amount of defending this situation will sway me. This is purely and simply the most selfish behavior a so-called team leader can exhibit. He quit on his team and in doing so is stating they are not good enough for him.  This new redshirt rule should be limited to freshman and players with injuries. This is a dangerous precedent and the copycats will soon follow. I do not get nor will I endorse or sympathize with this prickish, selfish act just because things were not going her way. I challenge you to change my mind! Well you selfish, entitled little lady, enjoy your Bieber hardware!  DO NOT CALL LINCOLN RILEY, NO VACANCIES AT THE INN!
Ginger - (Badass) - This one is easy. It borders on stupidity, but after much elaboration, the award goes to Mike Iorio and me for being the only idiots that would drive into the stormy mountains of northern Utah to brave the nasty, miserable elements and watch a game with two random teams. We had a damn good time doing it and we felt badass in our four layers of clothing enjoying the cold rain bouncing off us. Mrs. Tailgate says it best below in the screen capture.

Next Week - Another tri-level; College game at the University of South Alabama at the historic Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile on Thursday night, Monte Vista High School at home Friday night and the Cleveland Browns at the San Francisco 49ers Monday night. This is to properly prep for the following epic weekend at LSU.
Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Dan From the Couch 2019

My much-anticipated weekend on the couch turned out be just what the doctor ordered. First up however was Friday Night Lights as the Monte Vista Mustangs traveled to Oakland to play Bishop O’Dowd. Pre game festivities took place at the legendary Ricky’s sports bar as I was the lone Pom Dad representative in a den of Football Dads. As one of the guy’s stated so profoundly “Dan is a Football Dad trapped in a Pom Dad’s body”. The local CBS affiliate came in and interviewed us on our thoughts about Antonio Brown. Apparently, I was too damn handsome as they cut my interview out. 

O’Dowd was coached by former NFL players Napoleon Kauffman and “Touchdown” Tommy Vardell. Monte Vista dominated the game and won 27-3. Upon returning home, I poured a nice glass of red to watch a recorded game of Boise State on the blue, in a stadium black out while they beat Airforce dressed in gray.

Monte Vista D slaying the Dragons!

Up and at it early Saturday for ESPN Gameday. Three great feature stories, one on Wisconsin All American running back Jonathan Taylor, one on UGA QB Jake Fromm and the last on Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson who just lost his wife to cancer. The latter brought a tear to my eye. Damn that Tom Rinaldi!  One of the most anticipated matchups of the week turned into a contest of the strong versus the weak as Wisconsin absolutely thrashed Michigan. They were drinking old fashions and eating cheese curds in Madison Saturday night. Are Harbooger’s days numbered at Michigan? I cooked up a mess of Brian Donnelly’s “Famous Old Bay Wings” and slid into the afternoon games in between grazing, napping and grabbing an occasional adult beverage. Texas A&M v Auburn was a snoozer with Auburn dominating in College Station and winning by 8, but it was not that close. Pitt upset the 2017 National Champions (Just ask them.) UCF in a thriller at Heinz field. In the battle for the Iron Skillet, SMU bested TCU to improve to 4-0 on the season.

Outstanding foul chow!

The fun really began with the third set of games as I switched from lagers to dark red vino. Both pared well with the wings. Mrs. Tailgate’s Cowpokes gave the Horns all they could handle in Austin but came up six shy of a tie. The game of the week did not disappoint as the Notre Dame fighting Irish traveled to Athens, GA to play between the hedges in Sanford stadium. The first half was as physical of a game as we have seen all year with ND doing a great job in bottling up the high-powered Dawg offense. The second half saw the UGA size and strength start to wear down the Irish on both sides of the trenches. Down 6, ND had the ball and a chance to engineer a game winning drive but it was not to be. Final score UGA 23-17. In a nod to my annoying neighbor John the UCLA Bruin fan, the most exciting game of the day perhaps took place in the Palouse. Wazzu was up by a comfortable margin of 32 in the third quarter. “Not so fast my friend”, as UCLA pulled out one of the most unimaginable comebacks and ended up notching their first win of the season by a final tally of 67-63. Combined yardage for both teams was about a mile with Washington State QB Anthony Gordon throwing for a school record of nine touchdowns.  A shout out to San Jose State for traveling to Fayetteville, AR and beating a SEC West team. I guess Arky can at least now go chant SEC for the rest of their conference as this was as bad of a loss as Tennessee’s loss to Georgia State earlier this season.

Scenes from the various chairs and couches throughout the day

Bieber - The Cal Bears traveled to Oxford, MS to take on the Ole Miss Rebels on Saturday. The Bears were up by eight with fifteen seconds remaining with Ole Miss driving. Ole Miss caught what appeared to be a touchdown only to have the refs mark the ball just short of the goal line with the clock ticking toward zero. Ole Miss barely got the snap off in a futile attempt to run the ball in only to be denied and awarding Cal the victory. The pass should have absolutely been reviewed and the clock stopped on the previous play. Whether or not the Ole Miss receiver was in is not the bigger issue here. A play of that magnitude at that time being that close should have been reviewed. Of course, our culprits were the PAC 12 refs homering the call in an away venue. Just last week they blew a potential game altering call when Arizona State upended Michigan State in East Lansing. Thirteen years ago, Oklahoma traveled to Eugene, Oregon where multiple incorrect calls were made in the waning minutes ultimately handing Oregon an unearned win. Those refs were suspended for only one game. The PAC 12 body count they are racking up is giving the Clintons a run for their money. Better not say anything bad about them or you may be next. For this pattern of inaccurate calls that potentially alter a game’s outcome, the entire PAC 12 refereeing crew is awarded this week’s Bieber honors. 

Ginger (Badass) – Last Saturday in Ames, Iowa, 24-year-old fan Carson King held up a sign on ESPN College Gameday with his Venmo handle stating his Busch Light supply needed replenishing. He ended up getting $35K sent to him that day in which he promptly donated to the children’s’ hospital adjacent to Iowa’s Kinnick stadium where the now famous, in-game wave takes place from the fans to children. The amount as of Saturday morning had swelled to over $245K and will be matched by Venmo and Busch raising the total to $735K. How amazing and selfless is that act given that he could have just kept the money and done something for himself. In fact, Busch went one step further and is giving him a year’s supply of the beer with his likeness printed onto the can. Your last name is King and you did a truly Kingly act of kindness and a badass one at that. Congratulations Carson King on being this week’s Ginger awardee!
Truly badass

Next Week - A tri-level trifecta will be pulled off for the first time that I can remember. Friday night high school game with Mrs. Tailgate, jump on plane Saturday and hit the Utah State game with “Don” Iorio, followed by another flight to Denver for the Broncos game on Sunday with former neighbor Craig.

Happy Tailgating!