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.