Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 12 - Anniversary Weekend

After spending Friday evening in Boston with revelers for the BC/ND game that would be played Saturday at Fenway, the first couple of Tailgatedom made their way down to New Haven, CT Saturday AM to continue celebrating our 27th anniversary. We would be joined by several of my family members for the Harvard/Yale game which has been played since Christ was a Corporal and is one of the most historic rivalries in college football history. This matchup is simply referred to as The Game. Harvard and Yale are two of the oldest and most prestigious institutions in the country and are charter members of the famed Ivy League of the FCS D1AA level. There was a time a Century ago when the Ivy League dominated college football and these two teams were at the top of the list. Before the SEC, BIG Ten and other Power Conferences, this League was considered the best of the best. Harvard leads the all-time series 65-58 with 8 ties in there. One of the most famous games ever was played in 1968, with the headline reading “Harvard beats Yale 29-29”. Harvard down by 16 points with 42 seconds left made a miraculous comeback to end the game in a tie.  The game today would be played in the Historic Yale Bowl built in 1914 with a current seating capacity of 61,000. It is the largest lower division stadium in the country and at one time was the largest athletic stadium of any kind in the world.

We set up in lot A on the East side of the Yale Bowl on this cool, crisp, beautiful, blue sky college football Saturday.  A feast for the ages was prepared: Homemade chili, Old Bay chicken wings, sautéed lobster tails, shrimp, veggies, brownies, spicy Bloody Mary’s, mimosas and plenty of suds. We met the Yale Rabbi who gave us a Jewish blessing and convinced us to consider converting. After seeing this Robin Williams clone all amped up on life, we gave it strong consideration. We were able to watch the Harvard team disembark from the bus as they arrived for the game. All of our surrounding tailgating neighbors were outstanding, friendly and well behaved. It was also fun hobnobbing with the Bush’s at their family BBQ, the Gates soiree, the Zuckerberg/Winklevoss wine and cheese party and of course the Kennedy tea and strumpet gathering. I believe that judge Elihu Schmaels of Bushwood fame was seen wandering the lot looking for his lost golf club. I was also initiated into the most secret society of Yale called the Skull and Crossbones. We are so now dialed into the social scene of blue blood America. We shall all be summering on Martha’s Vineyard together soon.

Spooky picture: The group on the right looks identical to us on the left. Haunted Tailgate?
Chatting it up with Sis and Neicey

Mrs tailgate delivering on the Lobstuh!

The Rabbi on Red Bull was a dangerous concoction for my young impressionable nephew and brother.

Danger Zone, eating Chili with Brian!

Under the banner of Harvard/Yale
Entering the stadium was quite the challenge thanks to our Islamic terrorist friends now making it necessary for stadiums to have strict security and metal detectors. Our grand entry was more like the last moments of hogs gathering prior to the slaughter in the chute to the bacon factory as we moshed our way in through the gates with thousands of chaotic fans. Of course once safely in the stadium, Mrs. Tailgate was distracted by the apparel shops so we lost her and my Niece for the first quarter. The grand old lady is a perfect cylindrical bowl built into the ground. There is no big screen replay board, only an old fashioned scoreboard donated by the class of 51. The play by play announcer sounded like he was straight out of the 1940s. I felt like I was in a time warp inside a black and white highlight reel. This is college football at its finest, where the football player is a student first, athlete second. Very few will continue on to play on Sundays. A few notable exceptions are Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB of the New York Jets and former NFL great Calvin Hill. The quirky Yale band was outdone by the more traditional Harvard band. Sixty percent of the stadium wore blue, the rest Crimson with our crew being the exception. The Yale Bulldogs, AKA the Elis opened up the scoring with a quick touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead. A few short ticks of the clock later, the Crimson answered with an even quicker strike from QB Scott Hosch to one of his receivers to knot the game up at seven apiece. From that point on it was all Harvard as the Crimson rattled off 24 straight points before the Bulldogs would strike again. Final Score had Harvard as the victors with a score of 38 -19. I must point out that the young recent graduate Millennials from Harvard in our section were some of the most annoying people I have shared a game with. We had several pleasant conversations about game etiquette that they were clearly too smart to comprehend. For many of them, I am not even sure they knew there was a gridiron contest in front of them. More about them later.
The magnificent Yale Bowl in all its glory.
The classic old scoreboard

Niece Jacquellena getting advice from Dr. OZ, former Harvard player

The Matriarch and her minions.

Around the Nation –Shout out to friend of the Tailgate Steve Koreivo who celebrated by attending his 500th college football game as a fan at the Army/Rutgers game. We will see you at #503 next month sir! The College Football Playoff (CFP) picture got grainier this week with #2 Ohio State melting down and being completely stopped by a tough Sparty Defense in the Horseshoe. Heisman Candidate Ezekiel Elliott had his own mini meltdown in the presser following the game (More on him below too). Another unbeaten to go down in flames was Oklahoma State as they were manhandled by Baylor in Stillwater. Staying in the Big 12, Oklahoma slipped by a game TCU Horned Frog team who lost when they failed on a two point conversion in an attempt to win the game. Heisman Candidate Baker Mayfield took a vicious helmet to the head and had to leave the game at halftime with a concussion. Back in the Big Ten, Iowa remains perfect on the year by knocking off Purdon’t setting themselves up for a great chance to make the CFP. Northwestern knocks off Wisconsin in a battle of Top 25 teams with Badger fans pelting referees and cheerleaders with snowballs. I will be chilling with those cowboys next October. In the real games played in the SEC, Ole Miss all but guaranteed Les Miles will not be chewing Tiger grass next year as the Rebs dominated LSU in Oxford, MS. The other SEC game of note had Mississippi State besting the Hogs when the Arkansas kicker missed a game winning field goal attempt. Most of the SEC along with Florida State chose not to play varsity level football (More on that below). In the Shamrock series played at Fenway Park, Notre Dame escaped with a narrow 3 point win over a gutsy Boston College team. This was the first game at Fenway since the Patriots called it home. In the AAC Navy keeps on sailing along by thrashing Tulsa in Tulsa. Temple knocks off Memphis and Houston loses their perfect season against a surprising UConn Husky team. Out West in the PAC 12 it pains me to inform you all that USC lost again. I feel real bad about that. Stanford bested Cal in The Big Game, while ASU forked over the Wildcats in the Desert Classic. UCLA punched Utah in the nose delivering them their third loss of the season. In the ACC, Clemson and UNC both win again setting up the ACC championship match in two weeks and Frank Beamer coaches his last home game at Lane Stadium for VA Tech. Coach Beamer, we will miss you as you are someone who has done it right for many years. Back in the FCS in the game known as The Rivalry, Lehigh outdueled Lafayette. This game is on my radar for next season.

The Big OC and the Sun Devil at the Duel.

At least my banner made it into one game. Thanks Eagle Tailgaters!
Bieber– It has been a Bieberlicious week with too many deserving winners. So this week we have a five way tie:
Ezekiel Elliott for his great show of leadership after the Buckeyes loss to Michigan State. Here is the brief video – 


The Millenials in our section at the Harvard-Yale game. I guess they skipped the class on how to attend a sporting event for these mega nerds.
The Harvard Millenials

The SEC and FSU for scheduling twinkies and cupcakes during such a crucial time in the season. If you need rest, just schedule a bye for crying out loud.
These cupcakes were better than yours.

ESPN’s Heather Dinich – Just because she annoys the crap out of everyone that has watched her. The least you could do is get a bombshell if you are going to have a knucklehead know nothing taking up precious air time.
Last is DFTer “The Big OC” for getting beat up by a lady at the Duel in the Desert. He should know better than to mouth off to someone’s grandmother.
I am sure he deserved it.
Next week – The Tailgate will be cohosting a doubleheader in the Bay Area, Boise State visits SJSU on Friday and the Fighting Irish invade Palo Alto on Saturday.
Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week 11 - Homeward Bound

DFT was homeward bound for the weekend

A room with a view
The Tailgate was finally grounded this weekend as was previously communicated, so I was able to enjoy all the day’s action from the comfort of my family room. In full ADD mode, I watched parts of over thirty games from 9 AM Pacific until Midnight, as well as the UFC beat down of my girlfriend Rhonda Rousey on Periscope. 

Larry is fired up for the Playoffs.
Around the Nation – Dr. Pepper Concessionaire, Larry Culpepper will be happy to know that the College Football Playoff picture is starting to gain clarity after this weekend. The top 5 teams in the CFP picture all won on Saturday, albeit in an unimpressed manner (Clemson, Bama, OSU, ND and Iowa). Out West, the PAC 12 cannibalized their chances of getting a dance invite with Stanford being upset by the Dux on the Farm and Rich Rod’s Wildcats chewed up the Utes in the Desert. UNC quietly continues to have a great season improving to 9-1 with a decisive win over Miami. Keep an eye on them as a dark horse to crash the party. Navy should be a top 10 team as QB Keenan Reynolds led the Midshipmen in victory over SMU, and upped their record to 9-1. In doing so, Reynolds set the career college football touchdown record by surpassing Monte Ball with 78 and then adding four more to it. Arkansas knocks LSU out of contention with a shocking win in Death Valley, LA. Moreover, the supposed lock for the Heisman, Leonard Fournette is no longer in that discussion. It was a mere two weeks ago that all the talking pinheads said he was a lock and LSU was the best team in the country. HMMMM, you only need to come to DFT for the truth. I am omniscient, unbiased and humble all in one. Michigan wins a thriller in OT in Bloomington over the Hoosiers. Wolverine QB Jake Ruddock is a cool cat under pressure.  The surprising Houston Cougars remain perfect with a mild upset win over the Memphis Tigers. Oklahoma State got lucky in Ames coming from 17 down to prevail over the upset minded Cyclones. In the game of the week in the confines of the beautiful McLane Stadium in Waco, the surging Oklahoma Sooners delivered a knockout blow to the Baylor Bears’ chance of getting into the four team playoff. OU QB Baker Mayfield jumped squarely into the Heisman race with an amazing performance in out-dueling Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham. Star receiver Sterling Shepard had 14 catches for 177 yards and the Sooner Defense slowed the Bear offensive juggernaut just enough to allow them to get the win. Final score OU 44 – 34. In Division III news, Amherst bests Williams in “The biggest little game in America”, Randolph Macon gets the W over Hamden Sydney in “The oldest small school rivalry in the South”, and Salisbury State wins the Regents Cup with a win over my Frostburg State Bobcats.

The Devine boys at the Devine gate at Notre Dame Stadium

Major Voytek and his Cronie at West Point

The Kernans at Randolph Macon

Crazy Nerd fun at ND.

Now this is a sweet tailgate rig at the Voytek West Point game.
Bieber Award– The “know it all”, opinionated CFB Pundits. You can pick your favorite Tool, but it amazes me that ESPN, Fox and CBS continue to throw shekels the way of these self-proclaimed modern day Nostradamus’s.  Beginning in week 1 and culminating in December, we have to hear these blowhards pontificate about who is in the CFP playoff and who will win the Heisman. They are so self-assured and perhaps they even Belieb themselves. ESPN has shows on all week where they allow these fools to show the Nation their brilliance. I simply turn them off. Jason Seehorn, David Pollack, Heather Dinich and of course Mark May come to mind for me. There are more. I would rather watch the QVC channel or CSPAN than waste any more heart beats tuning in to hear their nonsense. By the way, I almost forgot, they are almost always wrong. Let the season play out, go to an eight Team Playoff and we could put these folks in the unemployment line. They could always hock their Bieber hardware for a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 if they get desperate enough.

Next week – Mr. and Mrs. Tailgate will link up with other family members to Tailgate and attend the 136th rendition of The Game between Harvard and Yale in the Yale Bowl in new Haven, CT.