Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 9 CFB 2011 (BCS Shuffle)

Tailgate update – A low key weekend for the Tailgate as the main event was an “Occupy Back Yard” movement at DB&G Saturday for the USC – Stanford game. I am after all the other 1%! And what an incredible game it was, maybe game of the year so far, and I have seen some great ones. I was joined by Dave “I don’t look like Wannstedt” Quilici for the event. For the first time in my life I was pulling for SC (purely for the purpose of helping Boise in the BCS chase) and of course they let me down. As they say “when you dance with the devil…..” If not for the SC defensive back who took the cheap shot on the Stanford receiver in regulation on a 3rd and 10 with less than 2 minutes to play, drew a flag and extended the drive, SC would have won. Lame Kitten would have been the toast of tinsel town….but no, the undisciplined SC style turned out to be the difference. Damn thugs, last time I root for them! We did see Major Mark Trojan Rodrick USMC, USC, USA, waving his flags on ESPN Gameday Saturday morning at USC as well. Did you get to meet Erin Andrews? I did manage to watch parts of about 20 games from Tuesday through Saturday. Guest Tailgate reporter Craig “Let’s do shots” Castelein watched games at the Big House (Field Passes) and the Horseshoe under the lights on the same day! Quite a feat C2. You earned another pass to hang out with me on Gameday!

Around the country, the Vandy missed chipped shot field goal (Shades of Brotzman AKA Ray Finkel) and the untimely fumble cost the Music City Miracles a win against the much overrated Pigs from Fayetteville, AR. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEY. Congrats to Joe Pa And his 409th win as the all time winningest coach in Division 1 history. Your feat will never be matched by anyone. You are a living Treasure (when you are awake). Brian “I have to retrain these kids” Kelly got a much needed win over an outgunned Navy Squad in South Bend. Northwestern & Marshall putting up minimum retirement age numbers on the Hoosiers and UAB respectively (fiddy nign). The BC Eagles put the Terps in their Talons quite easily and soared to new territory... A win! When is Coach Tedford going to bench Zach Maynard G Krebs and put in a QB that can throw again? You made Little Ricky Neuhiesel look like Pop Warner hizzzzzself! The Black Shirts gave Sparty a very rude reception in Lincoln. That is not very nice hospitality from the Cornhusker State. Gramps Weeden & Mr Blackmon and the Ok State D proved me and others wrong that they are more than just a potent offense and can play D against a good O. Sorry RG III, it just was not your day. OU got their Mojo back and renamed Snyder Stadium “Stoops Field”, at least for the day. The Dawgs have quietly crept back in to the top 20 and took another bite out of the Gators at the world's largest cocktail party. Wisconsin Coach Brett Bielema was heard petitioning the NCAA to get rid of plays going under review. Gordon Gee and his bow tie are quite pleased with themselves these days. And Dabo, we want to thank you and the Clemson Tigers for participating in this year’s race for the Ship. Your post game interviews have been choice! Better luck next year.

Gripe of the week– Long hair, long not beautiful hair! With role models like Troy Palamalu, Clay Matthews Jr and Al Harris, college football is full of unoriginal posers who spend more time primping on their hair before a game than worrying about executing fundamentals. They want the world to see their locks, mains and trains as if we are to be impressed. Guess what? We are not. All you metro men should have your damn hair yanked on every play and your scalp should be full of bald spots by game’s end. Cut your damn hair, get a crew cut and looked like a flippin ball player, would you? This is easy for me to say as I personally don’t have the opportunity to sport one of these dos!

This week the Tailgate will be in Chestnut Hill, MA for the BC- FL State game Thursday night. I am told I will be met with a tradition called “Eagle Up” at the Tailgate before the game. I am looking forward to rubbing elbows with the folks that grill up lobster tails at their gate! Saturday night we will be back at Tailgate HQ at DB&G to watch the game of the Century – Bama –LSU. Nuff said. Oh yeah, check out the new Heisman poll on the left hand side, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite team in the favorite team poll.

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 8 CFB 2011 (The house that built me)

Hey folks, see that ad to the left? Click on it as many times as you can because I actually get paid by Google if you do. This money will go toward my travel expenses for tailgating as well as the three weddings I will have to fund for my daughters.

Another outstanding weekend of College football that served as a reminder of why the game is so special to us fanatics. We will break down the action shortly but first things first, the Tailgate Update:

The Tailgate was on the East Coast again on business and was able to tie in a visit to the towns I grew up in (Rockville & Gaithersburg, MD) prior to game day and of course miraculously, I was able to partake in some serious Tailgate action and a game at the Naval Academy. Whenever I get back to the area, I try to take a trip down memory lane and drive by and visit many of the places that shaped me as a person (Not speaking about the pubs in Frostburg as my oldest brother would insist). On this trip I drove by all the fields that I played pick up and organized sports on, the schools and Church I attended, houses of many childhood friends, locations where favorite restaurants and stores once stood, the cemetery where my parents are laid to rest, popped in on several old friends that were influential to me during my early years, and visited the house I grew up in until I was 14. I have been by my house on a number of occasions since we moved in 1978, but never had the courage to knock on the door and ask if I could come in and have a look around. On this occasion, something came over me and I was moved to get out of the car and go to the door, I did and I went in. Of course nothing looked the same and everything felt smaller, but it was quite a moment for me as I have had dreams of the house ever since moving away. My sister reminded me that there is a country song by Miranda Lambert called “The House That Built Me”. This song was very apropos for the occasion. Now I can check that off my bucket list. Enough of the old guy remembering his lost youth crap now… let’s talk about some football!

I was joined by all three of the Brothers Donnelly, Chuck, Billy, and Brian and nephews Sean & Joey. This was only the second time that all the Brothers have tailgated at a CFB game together so it was a special weekend for the Tailgate. Brian and Billy grilled up a feast of ribs, wings, and chili cheese burgers. We also had prosciutto & cheese and of course a cooler full of adult beverages. Great stories and tales were retold and family humor was on full display. The weather in Annapolis was great East coast Fall football weather, overcast and a crisp 60 degrees with leaves changing colors. The tailgate lot was festive with Navy fans as well as those supporting the Pirates from East Carolina. Many charcoal flavors filled the air from neighboring tailgate camps. We were also visited by my Fraternity brother from Frostburg Jerry “Buck” Hampton (see pic above of me and the skinny guy with the Gatorade). I even held my nose and sported a Navy hat for the day much to the chagrin of my Army buddies. The stadium was amazing. This being my first time at Navy - Marine corps stadium for a game, I tried to take it all in. I was able to see numerous plaques commemorating many of the great naval battles in U.S. History, visited the different pavilions sponsored by various graduating classes, and viewed the structural magnificence of this compact but perfect cathedral. The flyover by 2 A-18’s, the Brigade of Midshipmen marching in to the stadium in formation, the PA honoring our men and women currently in harms way and the band playing “Anchors Aweigh” made this more than just another CFB game for me. This was America at its best. The game had all the elements of a classic, and Navy battled back from an early deficit to take the lead in the 4th quarter only to lose the lead with less than 2 minutes to go. The Midshipmen had one last chance as they drove down the field and scored what appeared to be the game winning touchdown only to be nullified by the review booth. They then set up for a field goal attempt only to have the kick bounce off the goal post and land harmlessly back on the field as the clock expired. Final score East Carolina 38 – Navy 35. The event was concluded when the players sang the Alma Matter to the student section. I almost forgot to give mention to the one they call “first down Freddy” as he did a little dance ritual attired in his kilt after every Navy first down (See pic of old dude in kilt).

We packed up and headed back to the hotel to catch all the late games after picking up a bag of the best crab cakes anywhere in the world, G&M’s near BWI airport (Seriously, I make a point to go there whenever I am in the area). All of us being Notre Dame fans crammed into my room and watched in dismay as the Trojans and boy Lame (the understudy of my all time favorite snake in the grass Cheat Carroll) managed to turn BK bright red on numerous occasions while thumping the Irish. I have several bets I must now pay off because of this utter humiliation. Even though I had to get up bright and early to catch a 6:30 flight back home there were still many games to keep watching, and I did until 1:30 AM Eastern time. The Michigan State – Wisconsin finish was perhaps the most exciting ending of the year with a controversial Hail Mary pass that resulted in the game winning TD for Sparty and a major upset over the badgers. The other late intriguing game had the Tuberville Red Raiders and the inclement weather stormin in to Norman to take on the Sooners. After nearly a 2 hour storm delay, TTU pulled off the biggest upset of the year hanging on to beat the Brothers Stoops and Boomer Sooner on their home field. Tubberville and the boys were heard singing as they headed back to Lubbock: “OKLAHOMA, where the winds come sweeping down the plains and the Red Raiders embarrass you at home”. Boise had their tightest game of the year as the Falcons from Air Force grounded out over 400 yards of offense on one of the nation’s top defenses on the smurf turf. But good teams always find a way to win even when they don’t play their best. Clemson, K-State, Houston and OK State continued their perfect Cinderella seasons with blowout wins. Andrew Luck and the Mensa boys from Palo Alto answered any doubts as to whether or not they could beat a quality team by harnessing the Huskies and sending them back North whimpering. Cal finally woke up to get a win over the struggling Utes (What the hell is a Ute?). Alabama and LSU have now set the stage for the game of the century on 11/5 as both won in convincing fashion over quality SEC rivals and will enter the game undefeated ranked #1 & 2. However LSU was without star player Tyrann Mathieu as The Honey Badger was caught dipping in the “Honey Pot” down in Baton Rouge last week and was suspended for a game. I can’t wait for this game and truly wish I could be there. We will have live updates on game day from Tailgate vet Alabama Al. Oh yes I almost forgot to thank Coach Neuhisel for his fine work at his Alma Matter. Good luck in whatever new endeavors you seek next year Ricky! Lastly, does anyone think WVU is ready for the SEC after having their bubble burst in the Carrier dome Friday night?

Gripe of the week – My brother Brian pointed this one out: Why do colleges feel that they need to blare out head banger and hip hop music at the game when they have their marching bands in attendance? Personally I can turn on XM radio anytime I want and hear the crap they insist on playing over the speaker system. However, I can only hear the bands play when I attend a game. The marching bands, dorks that they may be, are one of the Key ingredients that make college football special. So as they said in American Pie 2, “Let Petey Play” and the rest of the flute toting band dorks as well. It is their right as Americans to be heard.

A special shout out and props to another Fraternity brother and Rugby teammate Greg “Shock” Shockey as he was inducted into the Frostburg State University Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday for his prowess on the football field. And to think I taught you everything you know about Rugby Shock!

After 3 straight weekends of Tailgating at different venues, the Tailgate will be grounded and watching the action from the cozy confines of DB&G. Come by and have a cold one if you are in the area!

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week 7 CFB 2011 (2 Pigs on a spit!)

Faithful readers of this blog, I have created a new poll on the left hand side of the site that asks you to vote for your favorite team. I am trying to gauge from the viewership where your rooting interests are, so I can make sure your team gets a mention periodically when they deserve it. Please vote today so I can give your team props or abuse!

I have been revered in the circle of men who do not get the same allocation of hall passes for college football entertainment as I do (believe me there is a price to pay). I have been loathed by the wives of friends who I encourage to attend tailgates and games with me and blow off family and spousal responsibilities. Nonetheless I was taught as a kid no matter how good you are at something, there will always be someone better than you. And Friday night at the San Jose State tailgate, I met tailgate royalty, and I bow down in humility in his presence. I was introduced to the man who is hitting 30 games in 30 different stadiums this season! 15 stadiums already down with 15 to go. Several triple header weekends and double headers all accomplished over 15 weeks. We at the tailgate conferenced and decided one of three things: A - He is a multi millionaire with no financial worries, B – He has no job and this is what he does for kicks and hitchhikes around the country, mooches food at tailgates and sneaks into the stadiums. C – His wife has disowned him or shortly will, and he doesn’t care. Whatever the case, you have my utmost respect Mr. CFB Traveler! Send us an update as you hit each stadium and we will track your progress.

Tailgate update – Friday’s annual “Men of Laurelglen” San Jose State tailgate and game vs. Hawaii was pure EPICNESS (Is that even a word). My day started off with getting a prescription for muscle relaxers for upper back pain. I thought it was a great idea to pop of few of those prior to hitting the Tailgate. I have pictures from the rest of the day so I have been able to re-create the events as they are a bit fuzzy to me from 2 PM on! I highly recommend doing this, as I was purported to have a permanent smile on my face all day. In all seriousness, only professionals should do this, it is dangerous. Classic tailgate grub with Tailgate Tom’s brisket and ribs, I brought Sis’s beer brats, we also had kielbasa and chicken sausages, beans, potato salad and a keg of Fosters! Homecoming at SJSU is a must every year. The tailgate lot was rocking like never before. The weather was perfect, 80 degrees and blue skies. We were paid a visit by Meister Jaeger around 4 PM then all hell broke loose as usual! Next thing you know all the coeds are doing keg stands on our keg, I was goaded into playing cups with them again (And of course I still rule at the game), and we made new friends who I believe went by the names of Luscious, Gorgeous, Awesome, Delicious and Hotness. They even entertained us with a female wrestling match…way cool. The family across from us stuck two small pigs on a pole and hand cranked them over an open pit for 5+ hours, and the skin tasted great! We even had Random Guy number 2 hang in our camp and drink our beer and eat our food all day. I think he was taking a break from the occupy Wall Street protests. Several live bands were playing, San Jose’s finest were patrolling, and the cocktails were flowing and the food was sizzling. But clearly, meeting the guy who is Tailgate royalty was the highlight of my day.

The tradition of this annual event is that we all become rabid Spartan fans for this one game a year. And what a game it was. SJSU is much improved this year as Coach McIntyre is shaping things up in the South Bay. The stadium was rocking with their largest crowd in 4 seasons. A third of the crowd was adorned with Hawaii green. The SJSU student section was unusually large and vocal. 6 turnovers by each team kept this game more than interesting. Each offense racking up over 400 yards in production. A blocked extra kick returned for a 2 point score which turned out to be critical in the outcome of the game. With the Spartans down 5 points with 36 seconds left, they scored on a 37 yard TD pass to take the lead and hold on for victory. We had decided we were rushing the field with the students if they won…and we did. Classic moment was seeing my daughter’s friend on the field in the masses with a surprised expression on her face as if to say “Aren’t you a little old to be rushing the field with the student section?”. I plan on growing up when I hit fifty, I am clearly not ready for that commitment yet. For those that watched it, it was definitely the most exciting game of the weekend. I should know, I watched most of the other 50 games.

Around the rest of the country – We at the Tailgate would like to thank the following teams for participating in the BCS hunt for half a season after losing their first games: Michigan, Illinois and Georgia Tech. Better luck next year. LSU, Bama and OU solidified their grip on the top 3 spots. The next tier of undefeated teams all had impressive wins: Ok State, Boise, Wisconsin, Stanford, Clemson and Kansas State. Oh, and I must give props to Ohio State for finally playing Buckeye ball and pounding Illinois. AZ State went down in Eugene in a spirited attempt to knock off the juggernaut known as the quack attack without their two lead ducks on the field. Just good coaching Chipster. In the battle of the Glove State there was no “Hail to the Victors”, it was all Sparty as Mr. Shoelaces had his worst outing of the year. Big game again next week in East Lansing as the Badgers come knocking. Navy lost another close one to the Scarlet Nights in New Jersey. Question, is the “Honey Badger” Tyrann Matheiu of LSU the most exciting defensive player in CFB since Deion or Hugh Green? I am so impressed with this kid every time I watch him. I can’t wait for the LSU – Bama game on 11/5. This could be the game of the century.

Arizona’s Mike Stoops joins New Mexico’s Mike Locksley as the only coaches of major college football programs to be fired since this season started. Good thing your brother is in a position to take on a charity case! Just to go on record, this was predicted by the Tailgate several weeks ago. When the “desert swarm” became the desert mirage we knew his time in grade would be short. Who is next?

Hit of the week - Watch how this beast wraps up his target and drives him to the turf!

A get well to good friend Tailgate Terry Kernan who suffered a mild heart attack this week. Wishing you a speedy recovery bro! Terry has 2 sons currently playing college football. See pic of him above.

Gripe of the week – Players have forgotten how to tackle. As a kid in Rockville, MD playing youth football, one of the first things I was taught was how to wrap a player up with your arms, hit low and drive them into the ground. These days, thanks to Madden, players take the more spectacular and dangerous and ineffective route of launching themselves like missiles and trying to ram the ball carrier with their shoulder or helmet. The result is often an injured player and a ball carrier that is still upright and gaining yards. Who is teaching these kids? I remember my coach Perry in 8th grade was a former college football player for Arkansas State. He did not like the way we were hitting in practice. He proceeded to demonstrate by tackling every kid on the team with proper technique while in his street clothes. Most of us went home bruised, battered but with the knowledge of proper tackling techniques tucked away in our brains for life. This technique served me and my shoulders well during my collegiate rugby playing days. Of course nowadays, if Coach Perry tackled a player at practice there would be a slew of whiny parents with lawyers ready to lynch and sue!

Next week the Tailgate is heading back East to Join the three Brothers for the Navy- East Carolina game in Annapolis Md. The grub is going to be fantastic!

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Week 6 CFB 2011 "Blowout Weekend"

For a weekend with many much anticipated marquis matchups, most turned into lopsided blowouts with a few hidden gems mixed in. We will address this in a few minutes, but first the Tailgate update:

The Tailgate made the three hour trek Friday to the friendly confines of Fresno State University for the annual showdown of K-9’s and wild horses. K-9’s can have a nasty demeanor or they can roll over and want their bellies scratched. Horses can be unpredictable as well but you can always count on a ride. The pregame festivities put us on a strip of grass amidst a sea of red. Adorned in Boise blue & orange, I was sure to be a target of ridicule and abuse, however I was smart enough to bring former Cal Poly 270 pound defensive lineman “Drink Anything Dru” as my personal bodyguard. After firing up the grill and nearly burning down a 50 year old oak tree as fans in red watched this Boise moron, I was sure to be tarred and feathered. However much like their beloved Bulldogs that night, the fans were mostly docile and more interested in pounding a few pre-game cocktails instead of harassing me (see the picture of me and my new buddy from Fresno with his nice shirt). With my new $14 fold up mini grill, we charred up freshly made chicken and Italian sausages, Elk burgers, linguisa, cheeseburgers and grilled onions, washed down by a steady supply of Pacifico.( I can't understand why I have three stomach ulcers.) We were also joined by Tailgate veteran Ken “Am I the only one, who wants to have fun tonight” Reinke. Yes Ken, we are out here and we do want to have a cold beer and kick it to the morning light! We played a little bean bag toss that we brought (AKA Cornhole, nice name for a game), illegally dumped our coals in a make shift grave and headed to the stadium to buy tickets. In true Boise hospitable fashion, we were handed two tickets for free by Boise boosters and bought a third one for $30 that we split three ways. Total cost of the trip and tailgate $75! Kellen Moore was back on target, and Boise quickly sucked the air out of Bulldog Stadium, and the dogs rolled over in a prone position rather quickly. The game was essentially over at the beginning of the second quarter. The return of the suspended Geraldo “Cash for Clunkers” Boldewijn proved to be the boost the Boise offense needed to get to the next level. The most entertaining part of the night was watching the disgruntled Fresno fan “red man” see picture of the muscle head painted in red, trying to harass the Boise fans until he was offered to share a flask of spirits and eventually quieted down. We beat the rush and departed early in the fourth quarter with the Broncos up 50 -7. Final score, Boise 57 – Fresno -7. Pat Hill thinks Boise is the best team he has ever faced…save for that cursed kicking game courtesy of Mr. Brotzman from last year. My daughter needs to try out as a walk on kicker. She can kick further than both of their kickers combined (Happy birthday baby Rachel!). Are you serious Clarke? Perhaps I am Eddie.

Around the country – Saturday was spent at Tailgate HQ watching 20 + games until 11 PM Pacific time. As mentioned above, many of the much anticipated contests turned into severe “butt thumpins”. The Sooners turned their annual rivalry game into the" blood river rivalry" corralling the horns early and sending the Mac attack back to Austin with their Horns between their legs. LSU and Les “the Mad Hatter” Miles taking another huge bite of gator meat in Baton Rouge’s Death Valley. Does it taste better than "Tiger Grass"? Chip Kelly and the Eugene Avians de-clawing the Cal bears on Thursday night with a big second half quack attack. Notre Dame clicking on all cylinders and grounding the Air Force Falcons in South Bend putting up fiddy nine points! Arkansas giving a little payback to Gene Cheaptrick and the Tiger War Eagles for last year’s Cam fueled victory. Navy and Tailgate Brian witnessing one of the worst attacks on their home soil in decades. Perhaps the best game of the weekend was watching Nebraska come from 20 down in the second half to turn the Buckeyes into a bumbling bunch of elitists with lots of questions to answer. Ask the Wizard of Gee for some of his wisdom on what should be done. (Sorry Buckeye fans, I like the Buckeyes and their fans, just not Mr. Gee Whiz! He and I have issues with each other). Nice win for the Bruins late last night over the boys from the Palouse. Army & northwestern need to learn how to win the close games! You are better than your records show.

Let’s give some recognition to teams that are undefeated at this point of the season that no one could have predicted: Clemson (and my boy Dabo Mr 5 hour energy drink), Illinois, K-State, OK State, Georgia Tech and an incredible job by Brady “No Joke” Hoke at Michigan. I remember telling Michigan fans last winter that this guy could coach, and swallow a few pizzas while he was at it! Speaking of swallowing a few pizzas, I wonder if Kansas misses “Cannon” Mangino and Maryland longs for the Fridge? Just asking, that’s all. There were many roving Tailgate reporters around the country at South Bend (see pic of Tailgate Tubby and Son), San Diego State, Navy , Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl and Stanford to name a few.

Sister "Pre game party" Patsy and Brother n Law "BC" Barney reported in from Clemson South Carolina as guest reporters of the week:

Not a good game for BC but the tailgating was good..great Bloody Mary's & lobster tails!. You would love the whole atmosphere so be sure & put Death Valley on your bucket list. Picture above of the famous Howard's Rock and tailgating with Clemson friends.

An update on the old Kicker dude (click on the link)

Gripe of the week – Classless fans. Why do some fan bases think it is necessary to be classless? Case in point was the shirts that some Fresno organization made for the Boise game that said “Buck Foise” (See picture again of me and my new buddy from Fresno). And then there are the fans chanting profanities or something clever like “your team sucks”. People no longer use wit to make a point, instead ignorance is substituted. I have come to the realization that any fan that stoops to this level does not know the game and is a poser. Come up with something original if you want to impress me or other faithful fans. College game day usually has some pretty clever signs on Saturday morning, study those, get some class and then show me something!

Next Friday is the annual Boyz of Laurelglen Tailgate party at San Jose State. The Spartans take on the Warriors from Hawaii at 6 PM Pacific time. Tailgate starts at 1 PM. I am sure we will have new stories to tell!

Happy Tailgating!