Saturday, August 18, 2012

2012 Season Primer

Welcome back loyal Tailgaters! Hope everyone had as eventful an off season as Mitt and Barry, and Joe and Paul, or not. I settled back in to my globetrotting routine with no football to be watched but new brews, chews and tailgate games were sampled. I even visited a few dormant stadiums. I have some new good ideas for this fall’s menu and activities. Santa even brought me a beer pong table that has been tested out effectively.

With all the controversy, Sadness and Scandal that dominated the offseason, one profound event stands atop all others in the eyes of true Tailgaters. No it was not Bobby Petrino’s Sleazy Rider impersonation, or the untimely death of ex Mountaineer Coach Bill Stewart, not the 4 team playoff announcement, or dozens of players running up local tax dollars via incarceration caused by insipid moronocy (Is that a word?), nor was it the travesty that is conference realignment, nope, not even the continual sinking ships of the U and THEEEEE Ohio State University, wasn’t even the coaching carousel that hit an all time high this off season (see below), one might think that Honey Badger should have cared more, but that is not it. You probably have guessed what I am going to mention. It is so disturbing that it is very hard and emotional to get these words out but it was so life altering I now no longer have a reason to rise at 6 AM Pacific and watch ESPN College Gameday. You guessed right, Erin Andrews has left ESPN for greener pastures over on Fox Sports, aptly named now if I must say so. There has never been such a woman who has combined knowledge of the game, interview skills, personality, gravitas and oh yeah and she's not too hard on the eyes. Sorry Lee and Kirk, you two cowboys just don’t cut it for me without EA. I hope you all didn’t think I was going to mention something else? I may go back to watching Scooby Doo on Saturday mornings or and eating my count chocula 13 grain cereal.

2011-12 FBS head coaching changes

           Out                 IN
Akron Rob Ianello Terry Bowden

Arizona Mike Stoops Rich Rodriguez

Arizona State Dennis Erickson Todd Graham

Arkansas State Hugh Freeze Gus Malzahn

Colorado State Steve Fairchild Jim McElwain

Florida Atlantic Howard Schnellenberger Carl Pelini

Fresno State Pat Hill Tim DeRuyter

Hawaii Greg McMackin Norm Chow

Houston Kevin Sumlin Tony Levine

Illinois Ron Zook Tim Beckman

Kansas Turner Gill Charlie Weis

Memphis Larry Porter Justin Fuente

New Mexico Mike Locksley Bob Davie

North Carolina Everett Withers Larry Fedora

Ohio State Luke Fickell Urban Meyer

Ole Miss Houston Nutt Hugh Freeze

Penn State Joe Paterno Bill O'Brien

Pittsburgh Todd Graham Paul Chryst

Rutgers Greg Schiano Kyle Flood

Southern Miss Larry Fedora Ellis Johnson

Texas A&M Mike Sherman Kevin Sumlin

Toledo Tim Beckman Matt Campbell

Tulane Bob Toledo Curtis Johnson

UAB Neil Callaway Garrick McGee

UCLA Rick Neuheisel Jim L. Mora

Washington State Paul Wulff Mike Leach

Last season had so many twists and turns that we can’t possibly cover them now. Let’s focus on the upcoming season: Will the SEC continue to dominate or do we see traditional power schools like SC, ND, Michigan or a new dark horse rise from the ashes and snatch the crystal? Who will the early season Heisman contenders be? Who will be the next Luck or RG III? What new Frosh will be the next Herschel, Marcus or Bo? What schools will violate more rules and wind up on the wrong side of Sheriff Joe Arpaio? How long will Uncle Jerry the sand man last in State Penn before he becomes the object of Bubba’s desire? What coaches will find their booster butts on the hot seat? Too much intrigue for me to think about. Most importantly, who will find themselves in the tailgate fishbowl? In years past we had Cheaty Carroll, Lame Kiffin, Mark May, Craig James, Front Butt Weiss, Scam Newton, Nontaze Burfict, Rich Rod, Slimedusky and many more. Can’t wait for the first podiatry - orthodontia combination to come out of some scholar athlete or coaches pie hole. We have also had heroes like Big Smoe, Dupree, Carl from Caddyshack and many more. Will we get a new hero this year?

Okay, so here is what I need this year from my longtime loyal followers: Please send my blog out to all your friends. I want to hit over 1,000 weekly readers this year. Post my link on Facebook or Twitter. Vote on the weekly polls, send me good tailgate pictures and stories, make 1 comment a week at a minimum under my by line, we need more opinion and smack. Send me your tailgate menus, games and traditions. Click on the ad’s each time you go to the website, also click on the link from my site if you buy from there. If your company wants to advertise on here, let me know. I plan on retiring before I am 90 so this little fun blog can help me get there! Last season we more than doubled our viewership and I want to do that again this year.

I am so excited for the start of the season I can’t stand it! The Tailgate has laid out a very ambitious schedule for 2012. If all goes as planned, the Tailgate will attend 11 D-1 games at 11 different locations of which 7 will be first time venues for the Tailgate. I will also be traveling back to my Alma Matter for the homecoming game to watch the mighty Bobcats of Frostburg State University. Funny thing is, when I was there I was usually playing Rugby on Saturday and attended less than a handful of games during my decade of matriculation.

Here is the 2012 live Tailgate lineup:

8/30 – SE Missouri State @ Central Michigan University

8/31 – Boise State @ Michigan State

9/8 – Wisconsin at Oregon State

10/6 – Boston College @ Army

10/11 – Arizona State @ Colorado

10/13 – Utah State @ San Jose State

10/20 - Buffalo State @ Frostburg State

10/27 –Mississippi State @ Alabama

11/3 – San Diego State @ Boise State

11/10 – Oregon @ Cal

11/24 – Notre Dame @ USC

12/8 – Army – Navy in Philadelphia

Let me know if any of you will be at these games and stop by and have a cool one Clark!

Gripe of the week: Congratulations to fellow Danvillian (my hometown of Danville) and acquaintance Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott on launching the PAC 12 network last week. Larry has been responsible for a number of things since he took over including expanding to 12 teams adding new markets which really changed the makeup of the conference. My gripe is that I live right in the heart of the PAC 12 nation and I can’t get the channel. AT&T is my provider and they have chosen not to carry the PAC 12network. I went through this last year not getting the Mountain West Conference channel missing several Boise games. I watch the Big 12 Network which they carry and it is pretty darn good. I have been in the cable television business for 23 years and even helped launched a new network back in the 90’s as well as a number of new products. I know exactly what AT&T is doing by choosing not to carry the network. They claim they have no channel space (pure BS, I know how their system is architected and they have more room than a Roseanne Barr poodle skirt). And they are probably asking the PAC 12 Network to give them the channel free for the first 5 years or so (not sharing the per channel subscriber revenue that they charge us as customers) and they probably want more of the advertising revenue than they actually need. Anyway, if you are an AT&T U-Verse customer, give Ma Bell a call and let em hear it. Threaten to disconnect and state you are switching to your local cable company or Direct TV! I plan on calling daily and e-mailing. I’ve done this before and it is very effective.
Happy Tailgating!