Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week 9 recap (Road block Saturday)

Week 9 Recap (Roadblock Saturday)

I’d like to thank Mizzou and Sparty for participating in this year’s chase for the BCS championship game. Better luck next year! And then there were 5 undefeated and Bama lurking with one loss. Nebraska and Danville’s own Roy Helu JR putting a serious beat down on previously unbeaten Missouri making a statement to not forget about them when all is said and done. Mark Dantonio most likely had chest pains after the beat down that the children of the corn from Iowa City put on his Spartans. Perhaps in one of the best statement games of the weekend the Quack Attack from Eugene migrating south to crap all over the Trojans? This was a tough game for me as I was forced to root for Lane Kiffin and the Men of Troy in order to keep my hopes alive for a Boise BCS Championship appearance. I liken it to having to root for the ole USSR in Olympic competition in order for the USA to be in a better position for the Gold! (Spooky how the colors match too) And Lane, on key what did you do? You let me down and your Dad’s defense was like Iraq defending Kuwait in Gulf War I. Oh wait, I hear a serenade from Big SMO and the boys from UT again for you:

La Michael James has made the Heisman race a two man show between him and Cam Newton who also had another great performance on Saturday. Dennard was the best in September, Cam owned October; let’s see who represents in November. As much as I would like to see Kellen Moore win this, these guys (including Mr. James) are in a completely different class.

At the Tailgate, which was conducted indoors due to inclement weather, we feasted on Buffalo Wild Wings and Pilsner watching countless games and the World Series. OK State rebounded with a nice win over the Bill Snyder’s in Manhattan, KS, Puke stealing one from Navy had to make my Brother Brian ill. Army breaking out the Camo uni’s for a thumping of VMI now stand at 5-3. Maryland now sitting at 6-2 and reaching bowl eligibility. Nice turnaround coach Fridge! Notre Dame, tough week all around for you and Coach Kelly. I can’t say much more on it but it hurts to watch right now. Cal, you still have the Big Game to play for so don’t give up completely. Speaking of which Andrew had more Luck than Jake did in the battle of the top 2 NFL QB prospects. Mr. Luck you will be making a nice paycheck next year at the next level! Jake, you made a mistake. You would have been the number 1 pick this year had you come out early as advised. Mac Brown was spotted climbing the Tower on The Austin Campus after going down to the Baylor Bears. Oh how the mighty have fallen deep in the heart. TCU, A&M, SMU and Baylor all on the rise and the Horns and the Tubberville Raiders (Do you miss me now sez Coach Leach aka Vince Gill’s twin?) on the fall. Congrats Jo Pa on win number 399. WVA, do you want Rich Rod back yet? He will be seeking employment in 5 weeks. Did the Harbaugh’s put their house on the market in Palo Alto? Perhaps one of the best unheralded teams in the Country is the Utes from SLC. Coach Winnigham has his team playing at a high level with TCU coming in next week in the battle of the unbeatens. I am excited to watch this one as I think these are two of the best coached teams you will find in CFB D-1. Did anyone notice that Syracuse is quietly putting an excellent season together? Maybe if they didn’t play in a dome where they also play hoops more people would care.

One Eyed Willy update – Brother Bill informed the Tailgate that when One Eyed Willy was 5 years he looked directly into a solar eclipse testing out his superhuman X ray vision. Didn’t work out so well for him. So thus the mystery of the origin of the nickname is now solved.

Gripe of the week – Empty Seats – When I watch a nationally televised game and see empty seats it burns me. Last night watching the 24th ranked Nevada Wolfpack play in front of a half empty stadium I was boiled. Even contemplated hopping on a flight to Reno and jump in the stadium to fill some seats (Except I was stuck in my chair with a plate of wings and a jar of Pilsner). I understand when your team is horrible, but so many stadiums this year are not selling out. I even chastised my daughter for not attending the Boise State game on Tuesday night. CFB is the number one revenue sport in NCAA sports Let’s keep it that way by filling up those seats and keep these programs going.

Next Week DB&G will reopen for the Boise/Hawaii game with a possibility of going mobile to Palo Alto for the Cats/Tree showdown for the Roses. Stay tuned on that one.

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week 8 Recap and the story of One Eyed Willy

Another classic weekend of College football viewing with several major upsets and nail biters. The Tailgate viewed several of these in the French Quarter in NOLA while officially on vacation from the rigors of a weekly bloggers life. More on that later. I wanted to take the opportunity to give a proper Shout out to my Father “One Eyed” Willy Donnelly who graced the gridiron back in the heyday of Ivy League football in the late 1930’s. Bill as he was otherwise known, was a Tight End for the Columbia Lions under legendary HOF Coach Lou Little. Back in the day, the schools that would eventually make up the Ivy League along with Army were the SEC of their time. Since my father passed away many years ago when I was the age of 13, I only recall a few of his stories. One in particular is etched into my memory as this self deprecating man regaled me with stories of his youth and glory. As the story was told, Dad was not someone who regularly got his uniform dirty and was cut more from the cloth of a Rudy Rudegar as opposed to a Cam Newton. Dad was most excited on one of those classic gray fall days in the city of New York as Columbia was matched up against one of its powerhouse eastern rivals. You see, his parents had traveled in from West Pittston, PA to finally see one of his games. Now you may be asking where does the nickname “One Eyed Willy” come from? I am not exactly sure of the true facts on this one but my father was blind in one eye. He was either born that way or had it poked out by a stick as a boy. (Later on during WWII he faked his way into the U.S. Army by memorizing the eye charts). Nonetheless, as the Lions took the field that day, Dad could sense this was going to be a special day. And special it was. After the game was well underway Coach Little tapped him on the shoulder pads and said “Donnelly you are going in for this series”. Bill could barely contain his excitement to actually get some turf time and to do so in front of his Rents. Upon reaching the huddle, the QB called a passing play and told Bill to be ready. As the signal caller received the snap, Bill streaked down the field uncovered as the defense elected not to pay attention to this guy whose number was not well recognized. Already stunned to be wide open, shock set in as Bill saw the ball spiraling through the air toward him for what could be a sure touchdown and pigskin glory. As the ball neared, his arms now outstretched with fingers spread to receive the ball, heart racing a mile a minute and adrenaline reaching levels never attained before. The ball hits Bill squarely in the hands…for a brief instant only to bobble back in the air and eventually fall out of his hands and onto the ground for an incomplete pass. Was it his lack of vision, nerves or other factors that caused him to drop the pass? That I will never know. I believe that was the last he touched the turf for that contest as the coach pulled him back to the bench. Dejected to have lost this golden opportunity to impress his parents and to be hoisted into the air by his teammates and celebrated, Dad chalked it up as a life experience of picking yourself back up after you fall down and get yourself ready for the next big opportunity you may face in sports or in life. I share the story for two reasons; it is the only football story I have some recollection of my Dad telling me, and two it is a tribute to my Father and the very human side of athletics where not all glory is gold but still valuable for life lessons. The picture above I believe was taken in 1938 or 39 on the Columbia practice field in NYC. Props to you Pops!
On to the present day and the events of this weekend’s action. Tailgate Tony and myself parked ourselves in a fine little establishment on Royal Street in the French Quarter called Touché as our lady’s shopped the quarter for fine furs and jewels. The bar can best be described as a characters bar full of local color where we spent several sessions throughout the weekend and became honorary locals. If you ever read the book Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, this bar could have been part of the story save for the fact this is New Orleans and not Savannah. The retired judge, the local celebrity Maître De and the raunchy hooker, the Bar Tendress Donna who took no grief from anyone and our newly found local friends Jerry and Barb who live in the Quarter and told us a story about each character to enter the bar. For those that watched the LSU/ Auburn game it was a close game and very festive watching in a bar full of “Geaux Tiger “ Fans. In the end it was too much Cam Newton that led to the Battling Baton Rougers demise. Auburn is playing as well as anyone in the country at this point in the season. Perhaps the game of the day was the Wisconsin v Iowa game with the Badgers knocking down another highly ranked opponent. In the game that exemplifies why college football is the most exciting spectator sport in the world, Missouri taking down the mighty Sooners with one of the most raucous on field post game celebrations I have ever seen. Other notable matches, Navy sinking the Domers in the new Meadowlands stadium, Cal rebounding with a resounding butt thumping of the Bodacious “Burfects” from Tempe, TCU staying unbeaten by shooting down the Falcons of Air Force.
Gripe of the week – This one is simple. When I ask someone the score of the game because I don’t see small numbers from so far away please give me the score in the proper context or I will call you out as a non football fan and humiliate you and make you cry. What I mean by this is always tell me the high score first with that team on top and where we are in the game. Such as Boise is up 35 – 7 in the 3rd with 6 minutes left. Do not say this; “It is 7 – 35”, leaving me with more questions to ask now such as who the hell is winning, why did you give me the low score first, what Q and how many ticks left! So you readers of this blog I am hoping I have educated those in doubt on how to report a score to me. Saving on football fan at a time.
Next week the Tailgate returns to the backyard tailgate in Danville for Halloween weekend.
Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Week 7 Recap (Upset Saturday)

Upset Saturday it was with three teams in the top 10 falling to lesser ranked opponents. More on that later and on to the more important events from Saturday such as our tailgate party. The 5th annual men of Laurelglen & friends tailgate bash at SJSU was by far the best organized and most spirited event to date. The spread was first class with Ribs, Pork tenderloins, Brats (sister Eileen’s recipe) and bockwurst being grilled up and accompanied by mac salad, baked beans, macaroni casserole, German potato salad, and desert…we actually looked like we knew what we were doing. We had enough food to feed most of the games attendees….ooops not a stellar metric. We also learned a new form of entertainment playing the “beer cups” game with some fellow tailgaters set up next to us. Old guys can still party like rock stars! The keg of pilsner was well received and left mostly vacant by” gates” end. But we all want to know was who was “Random Dude” with adorned cap on top of head (not affixed to head) stumbling into our party with 12 pack tucked nicely under arm (see picture)? He seemed to be enjoying himself watching the OSU/Wisconsin game on our screen and eating our food. Thoughts of Gordon the 38 year old Pizza Boy from Two and a Half Men came to mind. Is “Dancing Girl” still going strong in the back of the pickup truck? There were even rumors of Wolff droppings (2 years in a row) again after the ride home on Laurelglen Ct. Well played son of Wolff! The tailgate crowd was loud and raucous with as many BSU fans as Spartan faithful. Big Dru is now put on the “do not gate list” for his confrontation with security in the parking lot during the second half of the game. No Jaeger bombs this year…thankfully.

The game itself was over after Q1 with Boise taking a 21 -0 lead. Starters did not take the field in the 2nd half and the game was left to the reserves to finish off. Betting on the game within the game kept things interesting. Thanks Tim for letting me take your money. We met a loyal SJSU couple that were sitting behind us that have been to all but 4 SJSU home games in the last 40 years. That is dedication! We even were the recipients of a free pizza being handed out to fans to keep things interesting…I guess. But Boise’s on field efforts will be negated in the rankings as Oregon State lost and Nevada was upset in Hawaii. Oregon State, why did you feel you needed to go for 2 and lose? “You are killing me Smalls!” This is a special year for Boise as they play both sides of the ball as well as they ever had. I am praying for a trip to Glendale.

Around the country - Big upset in Madison with props going to coach Belima for a well executed game plan. Cornhuskers were plowed once again by the Steers from Texas in a major beat down. Welcome back to the living Mac Brown. The “ole Ball coach” from Columbia did not have much to say for once after falling down in the Blue grass state. Will anyone in the SEC play defense this year? 108 points scored in the battle of Mallet and Newton? Law of physics would say this was not possible in years past down deep in the heart of Dixie. Cam Newton you are a stud, and perhaps running away with the Heisman now. I think Denard and Ingram have fallen off the Heisman radar for now. The Men of Troy exposed Cal’s weakness and put a beat down on the Birkenstocks from Berkley. Is Oklahoma State for real this year? 6-0 and winning in Lubbock is something they don’t normally do. Is OU deserving of such a high ranking after struggling with a few lightweights this season? Clemson takes down the Terps, Va Tech continues to win its way back into the top 25 and FSU eeked out an uninspiring win over BC. The fighting Irish are 4-3 and on their way to earning a bowl berth. Who is the top conference this year? Personally I think there is a lot of parity with each conference having a few strong teams at the top and then a lot of mediocrity. This is what makes CFB the best spectator sport in America; unpredictability!!

Gripe of the week –On behalf of neighbor and fellow tailgater Dru, aka Shrek – “Why won’t they let me tailgate when the game is going on?”. As Dru vacated the stadium at half time with visions of recreating the pregame fun and festivities he attempted to fire up the grill and keg for round two. Only, he did not realize that SJSU not only stopped selling beer in the stadium (It explains the lower attendance this year) but you are not allowed to tailgate once the game starts. He was lectured several times by security guards with tasers “to put out that fire and un-tap that Keg!” Dru was last heard screaming “Don’t Tase Me Bro!” When we exited the game Dru was waiting for us by ducking between cars to avoid the taser happy security force. Anyways, I agree with Dru, there is no reason that the Tailgate cannot continue after game time. Some of the best venues I have attended allow for this and in a large scale fashion. At LSU there are as many people tailgating as there in the game, during the game!

A special prayer goes out to Rutgers player Eric Legrand who is paralyzed from the neck down after a violent collision in the game against army yesterday. This is a solemn reminder that these kids play a sport that at times can be violent.

Next week the Tailgate takes a break from normal Saturday activity and will be vacationing on Bourbon Street and The Big Easy. I will be sure to tune to games throughout the day to keep up on all the CFB activity.

Happy Tailgating

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week 6 Recap

The alcohol content in Idaho for beer has got be higher than it is in California. That is the only way I can explain the making of Dumb and Dumber 3, at least half of it. So first the story of Dumb as played by yours truly: As we were about to enter the stadium for game time (after 4 hours of trunk gating) I asked my beloved Amy to give me the tickets. And she said “Why dear you have the tickets”. My response: “Woman, you have them, they are in your purse, now produce them! After several minutes of Amy frantically looking in her “satchel”, I stuck my hands in my pockets and what to my surprise did I produce, yes you got it right... the tickets! The story gets better as we assembled inside with our fellow Trunk Gaters (more on that later). I pulled out the tickets and became confused. I had 2 tickets not sitting together for me and Amy in a different section from our friends that were $15 more than what I remembered paying. After studying the tickets for several minutes it was pointed out to me that these tickets were the ones I had purchased earlier in the day for the game between Boise and Fresno on November 19. Thoroughly humbled I swore off any more high content Boise beer for the rest of my trip!

Now the story of Dumber (Who by the way took great joy in watching my difficulties with tickets) played by “KG”. We arrived at the airport to fly to Boise Friday morning to meet our daughter for parent’s weekend. Upon arrival I receive a text from fellow tailgater and Boise parent “KG” (Real name won’t be revealed for fear of such pain and anguish to be borne by him) stating that he would not be on our flight and would be flying out that evening because of a so called work conflict. After dinner with our lovely daughter, we awaited with great anticipation for the arrival of KG. Last we heard he was at the Oakland Airport enjoying a beer prior to his flight. Next time I hear from him he said he missed his %$#&ing flight and would not arrive until Saturday afternoon. He blamed his mishap on a faulty departure board at Oakland International that he claims said his flight was delayed. He insists that he went to the gate at the new boarding time only to learn that his plane departed on time and he was laughed at by the gate agents, cleaning crew, class bullies and TSA employees. However, upon further consultation with fellow frequent travelers who were at Oakland airport Friday night, Kevin (oops I promised not to state his name!!!) er uh KG, was spotted in the bar at the Oakland airport screaming at the TV as the SF Giants proceeded to blow a 4 run lead in the 6th to the Braves in the national league playoffs. Now mind you this was 5 minutes prior to his flight departing. He was spotted in the same bar 45 minutes later still screaming at the TV. KG, I know what I want to believe and the real truth to your absence on your scheduled flight!

On to the Trunk gating and game; Beautiful day in Boise, great atmosphere, sellout crowd, homecoming parade, first time at the Stadium of Blue Smurf Turf for me. Good festivities in the parking lot on the east side of the stadium. RV’s and vehicles were original but not on the same scale as those seen at LSU and Ohio State. We stored a few boxes of cold ones in the trunk and roamed the lot talking to fellow tail gaters and tuning in to the Alabama Carolina game on every flat screen we saw. The game itself was a thumping. I don’t care what the critics say, Boise is just flat out good and something special this year. I have something to say about that in gripe of the week. The blue turf, the fired up fans, students, parents and townies all united to rooting on the mighty Broncos. I am honored to have the opportunity to be a parental shareholder of the team this year and hopefully for years to come!

Around the country - Now Bama joins the rest of the SEC in my view as being overrated this year (I know there are a number of SEC readers of this blog, calm down I gave credit in past years but this year your strong teams are average). Let’s face it LSU in the top 10 and it took a math error last week to beat a poor Tennessee team? I am tired of hearing about the SEC as such a tough conference. Just not true this year. Oregon destroyed Tennessee several weeks ago (by the way Boise beat Oregon in 08 & 09..just reminding you folks) and LSU barely beats them and is in the top 10? Give me a break, I can think of 20 teams that would whip the tigers this year. And I have much respect for the history of LSU, the fans and the stadium but they are living on 9 lives this year and do not belong with the elite. Oh and the Big Least getting an auto BCS birth..Please! Not one team in the Big Least could play with Boise or TCU this year. In the battle of the state of Michigan (no I am not referring to the Islamists in Dearborn who are trying to impose Sharia law on its citizens), MSU bested Dennard, Rich Rod and the boys from Ann Arbor. Now can Big Blue regroup or will they start the slide we saw last year? Props to Terrelle Pryor for a big game. And Joe Pa, if you can hear them don’t listen to the fans about you needing to go…no, not to the bathroom in the middle of the game as you were filmed trotting to 3 years ago, but they mean you stepping down. I mean losing to the State of Illinois is not that embarrassing, considering Blago just did the same and he still holds his head (and hair) up high. A salute to the service academies for going 3 -0 this weekend. Brian Kelly, you just won 2 games that Charlie front butt would have lost the last 2 years. I am liking the progress I am seeing from the Irish. Mark May of ESPN did you say something? Pittsburgh what? I will address you below. As much as the pundits want them to be good, the U is not and will never be the U again. Florida State is on the rise again and there was not even a chance for a “wide right” mishap this year dagummitt! Oregon State knocking down the cats in the dessert was most impressive. Yeah the State of New Mexico finally got a win, albeit against itself. Fellow tailgater DQ reported the tailgating was outstanding amid the cactus in Tucson. VIP tailgater Big Dru was heard doing a Chewbacca roar all the way from Reno while watching the SJSU Spartans go down in a valiant effort against the running Kaperniks of Nevada. Congratulations to Texas for not losing this week…oh wait, they had the week off, that explains it.

In what was probably the game of the week, Stanford taking down SC and the Trojan faithful with no time left on the clock. After the game as the opposing coaches met at the 50, Lame Kiffin was heard quoting the venerable Pete Carroll to Jim Harbaugh “ You Okay Jim?” Okay, my prediction is the coliseum will be half empty for their next home game as we know LA only loves a winner. Snoop Dog Marcus, and the Hollyweird crowd where are you this year?

Gripe of the week – This one is easy. It was best summed up as painted on one of the best Tailgating rigs in the Boise State parking lot “SCREW YOU MARK MAY”. As a lifetime Washington Redskin fan I used to cheer on this former “Head Hog” as he anchored the mighty O line for the skins in the glory years. But now Mr. May you are a pompous A-hole (yes capital A). You are bitter because your Alma (doesn’t) Matter is in the Big Least and you just lost to Notre Dame and Lou Holtz sprayed you with slobber from his excitement. You continue to put down Boise as someone who plays nobody. You always put down Notre Dame. By the end of the season, both ND and Boise will have beaten more top 25 teams than the entire Big Least. Also get over yourself, the so called dominant conferences you promote are not dominant this year. Are Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Vanderbilt ferocious? Penn State, Minnesota and Purdue are terrifying this year aren’t they? What happened to Texas? Mark, your anger is about to put you in the unemployment line real soon. Your act is tired. So my advice to you is fly out to Boise and spend a weekend with the good folks of BSU and you too will be drinking the Blue Smurf Turf Kool Aid!

Next week’s tailgate will be live at the annual SJSU men of Laurelgen bash. We will be in the grass lot by Spartan stadium at 12 :15 pouring trumer pilsner, beer brats and an assortment of grillable Hormel meat products. Come by for a keg stand or two with the old guy’s!

Happy Tailgating!