Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week 4 CFB 2011

The command center of the Tailgate was primarily rooted to the leather luxury box seats in the family room all day Saturday after Friday night’s backyard dry run turned into a late nighter and rough morning. Nonetheless, the Tailgate Nation had many of its members attend the following games around the country: LSU –WVA, Ark – AL, Tulsa -Boise, Mizzou –OU, St. Vincent PA DIII game, and Oregon and Arizona. At the command center the primary games viewed were Notre Dame – Pitt, OK State – TA&M, and Tulsa – Boise with live look ins on 27 other games throughout the day. I do rule my castle….at least for 1 day a week. What’s that honey? Yes dear, I will go do the grocery shopping today. Yes dear I will clean the bathrooms. Also, for those coming over for the backyard tailgates, we received new tailgate games to play in the yard. Of course they will involve the vices of gambling and drinking to truly enjoy.

So, at the beginning of the year, we were concerned with who we could have fun with now that some of the main Characters from Tailgate years in the past were no longer in CFB. Well, how can you not love Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney? Perhaps one of the best post game interviewees in the country. I want the 5 hour energy drink he imbibes. And do you have his back? “He got your back!”

Also, our boy Dana Holgerson does in fact have a Ben Franklin neck comb over. How does his wife let him leave the house that way? Of course BK and Coach Bennett have also made our list this year as newcomers to the tailgate roast. We will vote at the end of the year on your favorite.

Around the country – First, a shout out to the Zookies from Illinois for starting out 4 -0. Good luck in conference play. Hey Terps, you got shellacked again. Maybe you should start playing ball and stop changing your wardrobe every 5 minutes now. And How about San Jose State getting their first D1-A win in 2 years? UCLA knocking off Oregon State in perhaps the battle of the basement in the PAC 12. Let’s give a nod to the Sun Devils of Tempe for knocking off the Lame led Trojans late last night. No disrespect to Bama and the Sooners but LSU is the number one team in the country right now. Big wins against 3 ranked opponents on the road, pretty darn impressive. And #7 Mathieu is as good as it gets in CFB. Alabama looked dominant against a game Razorback team in Tuscaloosa. And of course Dabo Swinney getting his second big win in as many weeks in Death Valley. We do have your back coach Dabo! Tough loss for Cal in Seattle against the Huskies. Poor execution on the last set of downs did them in. Wisconsin, you are 4-0 but conference play starts next will be interesting to see how good you really are. And BK and the Irish eeking one out on the banks of the Monongahela. Toledo got robbed in the Carrier Dome. The UGA Dawgs acted like Dawgs and squelched the Rebel yell. Boise winning easily but not looking as sharp as they should. Did my daughter stay to the bitter end or was she at the library studying like she told me she would do? OU putting a scare in the hearts of Sooner Nation before they decided to pull away from Mizzou. One of the best games of the day was watching OK State come from behind a 20 -3 deficit to a win. Brandon Weedon now has to be in the Heisman conversation. This will bode well for those who also receive AARP benefits. RG III and Baylor cooking Rice easily. He too is squarely in the Heisman race. The Cornhuskers shucking and jiving to a win in Laramie against an improved Cowboy team. Is the Quack Attack back? Just ask the Wildcats from Tucson. And let’s not forget about Mr. Robinson doing his thing again in the Hoke Bowl (Gov Chris Christie’s long lost twin) against the Aztecs in the Big House yesterday. We know where you have gone Mr. Robinson and here’s to you Mr. Robinson! Army did not prepare for battle and got blasted by Ball State. The mighty Falcons of Air Force flew by their opponents easily.

Gripe of the Week

The butt pimple otherwise known as the Salsa Rapper “Pit Bull” in the new Dr Pepper commercial that is always on ESPN. First of all, when I want to have a good time, a really good time I don’t drink Dr Pepper. Second, I don’t go to some warehouse in my cool guy suit with bling and watch some other pimple on the butt of life do the modern adaptation of break dancing. The funny part is that the girls dancing around you are all 5 inches taller than your little man self. And last Pitt Bull, why are your commercials on every college football game on the ESPN Networks? What the hell do you know about football? The worst part about this is after I watch 18 hours of college football on Saturday, is that I can’t get that stupid jingle out of my head and I wake up in a cold sweat singing “Let’s have a good time, a really good time”. Food for thought: what ever happened to “I’m a Pepper she’s a Pepper don’t you want to be a Pepper too?”

Happy tailgating!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week 3 CFB 2011 (Doubleheader weekend for The Tailgate)

Tailgate update -Week three played out as an epic weekend for The Tailgate. Two great games plus two additional stadiums visited and an awesome tailgate! I was fortunate enough to visit the stadiums of Ball State and Bowling Green during my travels before any of the Tailgating action took place. Both are fantastic intimate smaller venues. I was even able to catch the Ball State practice on Thursday. On Friday evening for the Boise v Toledo game, I was joined by my siblings and veteran Tailgate members Brian and Eileen (Sis) Donnelly and new tailgater and nephew Nathan Hejl. As Sis pulled into the packed University of Toledo parking lot with no spaces to be found to park and tailgate, she created her own space right in the middle of the main road in the parking lot. She runs over a few bean bag games set up by other PO’d tailgaters glaring at her, slams the breaks on, throws the chairs out to block 2/3rds of the road and unloaded all the tailgate provisions! Somewhat of an illegal formation, not to mention the fire hydrant next to us, but it worked just fine. People were heard shouting at her “come on Eileen, I swear what he means”! We fired up the grill, popped the cooler and feasted on Sis’s famous beer brats, burgers and cold beer. One word of warning, never trust your siblings to be your lookout when you have to relieve yourself in public behind a concrete barrier over hot coals at a tailgate party….I’m just saying.

As we walked into a packed Toledo Glass Bowl Stadium, the atmosphere was electric and reminiscent of my trip to Reno, Nevada last November when Boise was upset by the UNR Wolfpack. The fireworks display, the fired up student section, the energy in the air all combined smelled like an upset brewing. When Toledo got off to a 6 – 0 lead, the atmosphere intensified even more so. Then the surgeon known as Kellen Moore settled in throwing precision pass after pass to 9 different receivers for 455 yards and 5 TD’s. This kid has been a true pleasure to watch throughout his college career. I have never seen a college QB who is so consistently accurate, no matter who the opponent is. Some NFL team will be fortunate to get his services at a bargain next year. As the Boise lead grew in the 3rd quarter, the Toledo student section emptied out to head to the Sigma Tau Frat party. Midway through the fourth quarter the deflated stadium, now 80% empty, was left to the Boise faithful who traveled to watch their vaunted Broncos wrap up another win. Toledo was much improved over last year and gave Boise all they could handle. Just ask my boy Gordon Gee, President of Ohio State and Spokesperson for “The Little Sisters of The Poor” how much improved Toledo is? By the way Gordon I hope you had a nice weekend in South Beach! Final score Boise 40 – Toledo 15.

Saturday morning we parted ways with Sis and Nathan and headed to South Bend for the classic matchup between Notre Dame and the Spartans from East Lansing. A little pre game trunkgating, followed by walking the immaculate campus of Notre Dame and having a few cold ones along the way. I don’t care how good or bad a season the Irish are having, the atmosphere on campus and in the parking lots is always amazing. We stopped by the Grotto, the Basilica, Touchdown Jesus and Hail Mary and said the rosary, rubbed Rockne’s nose for good luck, sang Ave Maria and prayed for a win. The flyover by 2 A-10’s before kickoff had the hair on my neck stand up. I wanted to do a neck comb over for my own personal golden dome. After a somewhat sloppy first half, it was reported that coach Kelly took a modern adaptation out of Coach Rockne’s famous speech about George Gip (The Gipper, 40th President of the United States)using some of his own colorful language and gave this little speech to the boys at halftime to fire them up: ” "Sometime, Rock, when the team is%$#@&ing up against it, when things are going &%$#*@ing wrong and the breaks are beating the S%$& out of the boys- tell them to go in there with all they've %@$#&ing got and win just &%#$ing one for the Gipper. I don't know where the $&%@ I'll be then, Rock. But I'll know about it, and I'll be &$%@ing happy!" And with that motivation (redacted version) the boys left the locker room slapped the sign that says “Play Like a Champion Today” and hit the field. The true talents of the fighting Irish were evident on this perfect day as they pulled away from their nemesis of Lansing in the second half scoring a 30 -13 victory. Nonetheless they did find a way to make it interesting even with three minutes left. However, it was not interesting enough for coach Dantoni to have a heart attack this yearJ. I believe BK has righted the ship and the echoes were heard resoundly throughout the Midwest…Hail Hail to old Notre Dame!

Around the rest of the country - Since I was actively engaged at several live venues, I was only able to catch a few other games throughout the weekend. But of course I had my blackberry and Tailgate reporters around the country tweeting and texting me with game updates. The Thursday night SEC battle showed once again that the LSU defense could be the best they have ever fielded. There was some serious wood being laid in Starkville that night. Dan “Moon” Mullen, I don’t think you are quite ready to compete with the big boys of the SEC yet. The Sooner-Seminole battle lived up to its billing with two hard hitting defenses slugging it out. OU’s depth and experience were the deciding factors as they pulled out a 13 point win in Tallahassee. Deion Sanders, you can put away your tomahawk chop now, and it is no longer “Prime Time”. Lee Corso knows what he is talking about! As I mentioned above, Gordon Gee had a swell time in Miami watching the tattooed Buckeyes go down to the Canes. I am still perplexed on how Alabama did not cover the 45 point spread and 55 point over against a lowly North Texas Mean Green team. I smell a fix. I am sending a group of Tailgate reporters to Tuscaloosa to investigate. Perhaps my tailgate buddy Alabama Al can shed some light on this. WVA once again taking it to the Terps of Under Armour fame in College Park. Coach Bennett’s boyz from Coastal Carolina did not play as much like Dawgs as the UGA Dawgs did themselves in providing Coastal a 59 -0 pounding. (One more time, click the link for some fun)

Coach Mac Brown was leaving Austin earlier in the week heading to Pasadena for a rematch of last year’s debacle, as he got in his car for the drive he was heard saying “.. it's 1,506 miles to Pasadena, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses ... ... hit it .We are on a mission from God!”. And no mercy was shown on the Bruins on this day. Mac and the Horns provided a good old fashion Texas beat down to coach comb over and the boys in blue. Sorry to my Bruin buddies as it could be a long year. Shout out to Coach Gundy, who is now 44 and still a man and the boys from Stillwater for rolling over Tulsa. Gosh it seems like just yesterday he was only 40 and a man. The Clemson Tigers pulling off perhaps the upset of the week over the Scamless Auburn Tigers. Bo the “shouting Nose” Pellini extracting revenge over the Huskies after last year’s miserable Bowl performance.

Service Academy update

Army let the caissons roll in an upset win over the favored Wildcats from Northwestern. Navy giving the “Ole Ball Coach” in Columbia, SC all they had but coming up a beachhead short in the end. Also, a special mention to the Wounded Warrior Project. They sponsored a tailgate party at Notre Dame on Saturday for our wounded veterans. We stopped in to give our thanks and buy a few t-shirts to support their cause. It was truly amazing to see this gathering. Thank you to all who have served!

Gripe of the week

This one is simple, Boise going on probation this week for what obscure infractions? Gee it seems like the NCAA investigation led by Greg “Skanky” Sankey, who happens to be Co – Commissioner of the SEC could not be biased, could it? Hey Skank, with no due respect to you, this is like Tony Soprano calling a hub cap thief a criminal. You who knew of the actions of Scam “ I am no Isaac” Newton at Florida, MSU and Auburn. Let’s also not forget Lame Kiffin’s 9 months of transgression in Knoxville and all the other shady dealings that take place in the SEC as well as the other BCS auto Q conferences. I saw the movie Blind Side Skank and know about Ole Miss too (Hollywood is always 100% accurate, right?). Are you fearful that a Boise or TCU could somehow end up in the BCS title game and pull off an upset against an SEC school? You have now declared war on all smaller programs as did Gordon Gee last year. Did you see what’s been happening in Columbus? No disrespect to my SEC Tailgate buddies but I am just calling it like I see it. Skank, you win the title of “Stain of The week”.

Next Week the Tailgate will return to the confines of Dan’s Bar and Grill for some backyard tailgating for the Boise -Tulsa game and other games as well. Space is limited, make your reservations in advance.

Happy Tailgating!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Calling an Audible

Just scored 2 tickets to the ND - MSU game for Saturday. Original plans had the Tailgate heading to the Purdue game. This is going to be awesome!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week 2 CFB 2011 (Weekend of Remembrance)

On this weekend, the 10th anniversary of 9/11 we all remember those events of terror and heroism as a seminal moment in our lives. That day forever changed the way we think, live and survive. I remember everything about that day as if it were last week. I am still angry and will never let it go as long as I live. I am happy we “neutralized” UBL, however I will not rest until every last cowardly terrorist scum is riddled with ground worms. In my view there is no better way to show the world that we survived 9/11 than by celebrating with American sporting events. There is no more meaningful competition than College football! And oh what a weekend we had. The tributes that many schools paid to the memory of the 9/11 victims and show of patriotism were simply amazing. It reminds us all of how great a country we can be when we pull together. Many games were outstanding as well.

Now on to the recap of all the action, but first we need to pay homage to this video:

We all need to act more like Dawgs! Enjoy the link from the Coastal Carolina Coach! A new meaning of ”Going Coastal!”

The Tailgate Update – By Grantland Tailgater

Outlined against a blue, gray September sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are: Reese, Floyd, Wood, and Riddick. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Michigan team was almost swept over the precipice at the Big House this evening as 115,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below. On the other side of the ball, Denard Shoelaces Robinson took snap after snap from former President Gerald Ford in the uni’s from back in the day. Okay so it did not really happen exactly like that but the Notre Dame – Michigan game was perhaps one of the most exciting games we may see all year. Despite the outcome which I was not happy with, the game had every twist and turn and element of high drama to keep even the casual fan engaged. The Tailgate hosted a backyard tailgate at Dan’s Bar & Grill with both Irish and respectful Wolverine fans as well as some weary and thirsty travelers. The food, beverages and company were great, the outcome disappointing. The echoes are still in hibernation in South bend! And BK, you need to check your BP, your sensitivity training from the last week seemed to do little for your state of mind or was it the turnovers in the red zone?

A look around the rest of the country and the games of note - OK State and Grandpa Weedon over the Desert Swarm on Thursday night. Was it déjà vu all over again Yogi? Same teams, virtually the same result as last year’s Alamo Bowl. Again another great Friday night watching the thriller in the desert as Drama Queen Vontaze Burfict and the new look Sun Devils held off a roaring comeback by the Mizzou Tigers. Dennis Erickson, all your teams still lack the same thing: Discipline & Class! You ran the same program at the U and Oregon State. Battle of the Brains back in Durham, NC with Andrew needing no luck to bring down the Blue Devils handily. Mark Richt, your seat just got hotter “tween the hedges” woof woof woof woof! Auburn Magic again, the 9th live has been expended! What a hit at the goal line to save the game for the war Eagles. Is Wisconsin really good or are their opponents just bad? The Mighty Cats of NW starting off 2-0. Not since the days of "Massive Mihailo Panovich" have the Wildcat faithful had such high hopes! The battle of the Hawkeye State was a thriller with the Cyclones storming the field in the post game victory celebration after 3 OT’s. Should Joe Pa retire now and get Beaver Stadium named after him? Bama put a beat down on you Joe in your not so Happy Valley. O-H-I-O State Barely hung on Sloopy over the vaunted Toledo Rockets! (Buckeye fans will understand that jab). Cal and the Maynard/Allen brothers squeaking one out in Boulder. Neuheisel eeking out a win over that juggernaut known as San Jose State! I understand that the Quack Attack is back and they were out to prove me wrong after last week’s diss by putting a beat down on the Wolfpack from Reno. Colt McCoy JR. may be the real McCoy after coming into save the Horns from another home field embarrassment against the Wasatch mountain boys. And of course Lame pulling one out of his arse at home against Utah in its first Pac 12 game. Lame are you looking forward to playing Stanford and Oregon this year? I am looking forward to watching. Hey are you and Bruce Pearl, your old buddy from Tennessee going to be hanging out after the season. Maybe you all could hook up with your double wide buddy big Smo:

Service Academy update - Nice win for the Midshipmen over the Hilltoppers in moonshine country. The mighty Black Nights of Army fumbled away their chances in a valiant comeback against the heavily favored Aztecs from San Diego State. In the rarified air of Colorado Springs, TCU rediscovered their winning ways in a tough dog fight over the Falcons from Air Force. And a special shout out to 61 year old Vietnam Veteran Alan Moore for kicking an extra point in his Tom Dempsey boot in Faulkner Colleges NAIA win over Ave Maria College. You are an inspiration to all of us and I am checking my NCAA eligibility now to see if I can squeeze in a season soon.

Gripe of the week – Conference consolidation. Bottom line, I hate it! With all this movement of super conferences we are losing some of what makes college football so great. There is a clear movement afoot to go to four super conferences The PAC whatever, the Big 10 with 20, the SEC and the ACC-East. All other schools will be rendered meaningless and on the outside with no chance of even looking in. We will lose the beauty of the regional rivalries such as OU and Texas, Texas vs. Texas A&M, Nebraska –OU. In conference play you will no longer play each team every year. What happens to Cal/Stanford? Travel expenses will skyrocket traveling halfway across the country for potentially half of your games. Look I am a true capitalist, but this is college sports and it makes no sense to me from a purist fan perspective. I think it stinks! This realignment does not just involve football, it involves all sports. Can you see the cross country team having the travel budget to fly all over the country on a regular basis? What happens to the “Big Dance” in college basketball? This movement reminds me of the dot com era when Internet companies and service providers felt the pressure to acquire content companies because others were doing it and they didn’t want to be left behind. Remind me how that worked out in the end? Let’s end this silliness and call your favorite school’s athletic department and voice your opinion (if it is in alignment with mine of course).

Next week the Tailgate makes it first road trip of the season to watch Boise State play the Toledo Rockets in Ohio. Fellow Tailgaters Brian and Eileen Donnelly and my nephew Nathan Hejl will be co conspirators. Additionally, we will catch the Purdue game on Saturday.