Monday, October 15, 2012

Double Header Weekend

The Tailgate traveled to Boulder Colorado for the Thursday night game to witness the Colorado Buffaloes taking on the emerging ASU Sun Devils and Coach Todd “This is my dream job again” Graham. The Tailgate was joined by Tailgate Tony from the yard, Jeff “Ice Cream Man” Porter and West Point Wiggins. There is much history to be considered when the Buffaloes are mentioned. Coaching legends such as Fairbanks and McCartney (after the Beatles broke up) and players such as Byron “The Whizzer” White, Darien Hagan, Kordell Stewart, Michael Westbrook, Rashaan Salaam and of Course Mork from Ork back in the late 70’s.

Mork back in the day he graced the gridiron at Folsom Field.

Since the mid 1980s I have always wanted to tailgate and attend a game at the University of Colorado and the venerable Folsom Field. I can remember watching the Buffs take on OU in the 87 season with a promising young Quarterback named Sal Aunese who would be taken from this world way to soon 18 months later stricken down with pancreatic cancer. I always remember how festive the night games looked with the students and alumni packing it in and Ralphie the Buffalo running on to the field. Back in 1988, current offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy was a star running back for the Buffs. While watching a Thursday night game that year with my soon to be bride the future Mrs. Tailgate, the announcers kept calling his name: Bienemy to the left, Bienemy to the right, Bienemy up the middle, Biememy with the catch, Bienemy with the score. After about an hour of this, my bride to be turns to me and inquires in her sweet little voice: “who is The Enemy” that they keep talking about?” This explains why I get all my football weekend hall passes to this day.

Several years ago, a customer and friend of mine and CU alumni Rocky Mountain Rich Lawson showed me a picture of this amazing tailgate rig he and some buddies owned and regaled me with stories of his much celebrated Tailgate tradition. So I invited myself to finally attend his tailgate since it lined up perfectly with my work travel schedule. The tailgate rig owned by Rich and a number of his Colorado alumni buddies is named RIG III as this is the third version of a rig over their 20 years of tailgating. Custom made in Texas, almost impossible to haul because of its weight it is stored right outside of Boulder and hauled into the tailgate lot for home games. It is equipped with a 4 tap keg system that pours only Colorado’s finest beer Coors Lite, two industrial grills, a smoker, a large propane tank and generator and is located right next to the stadium on gameday. A DJ and security guards are hired to keep things moving at their Tailgate. Brats, burgers, dogs, sausages, pork tenderloin were grilled and smoked. A vodka bar was also set up as well as a flat screen TV with the MLB playoffs being shown. The best part was coming out at halftime for a refresher! Well done Rich, this exceeded my expectations.

The boyz getting their rocky mountain high on!

Rocky Mountain Rich with the fellas

Rich, Dan and the lone ASU fan at the tailgate!

Guy Fieri and David Wells at the tailgate!

Pauley Walnuts and Dan sampling the local brew on the amazing tailgate rig.
We entered the 88 year old stadium to a crowd that was fired up in anticipation of a Buffalo victory on this cool crisp Colorado night. With the Rocky Mountains and dorms in the back drop, there is no view quite like it in college football. We chose once again to sit in the student section to take in the full ambience of America’s # 1 party school. We were not disappointed as students passed out, fell over benches and unfamiliar odors wafted through our section. The first half had all the excitement you could ask for in a College football game. ASU took a 20 -17 lead into the locker room. Apparently that wasn’t good enough for Coach Todd Graham as they came out on fire in the 3rd Q and ran away with a 51 -20 conquest led by an emerging star QB Taylor Kelly. We were entertained by the student body doing a little “Psy Gangnam Style’ giddyup tango:

Tailgate Tony, a renowned Dodger fan kept whining and wanting to leave early. I had to explain to him that we weren’t yet in the 7th inning so he had to stay later than he wanted. No home win, no storming the field with the students and no running with Ralphie the Buffalo. As an aside, I struck up a conversation with some ASU parents at the airport the next morning and mentioned that their QB was a stud. They replied with well thank you, that is our son!

The boyz enjoying the student section at Colorado
A spectacular stadium

The annual Men of Laurelglen and friends Tailgate took place Saturday morning on the plains of the San Jose State University Stadium lot in preparation for the homecoming battle against Utah State. But first of all, I would like to wish one of our own from Laurelglen, Timothy Wegner a speedy recovery as he convalesces from his hysterectomy he underwent Saturday. Because of the procedure, Tim was not able to join us. Hope you can make it next year Tami…I mean Timmy. As is typical, we got there early and were able to secure prime real estate for our festivities. Tents were erected, tables put together, music blasted, grills fired up, games set up and drinks mixed as the party got rolling. Pre game menu consisted of a Dan original: 36 eggs/ 6 lbs. potato O’Brien/4 LinguiƧa sausages/2 kielbasa/2 smoked sausage/1/2 1b of 6 cheese mix all scrambled together. Damn it was good! I must add that it paired beautifully with spicy bloody marys. So much food we ended up with our own altruistic efforts and fed half of the Senior class of SJSU with our leftovers. No keg this year but ample bottles and cans were provided for the crew.

I kicked Sparty's butt in beer pong!

The Men of Laurelglen 2012

Gangnam Style Psy!

Dru and Taggert...Brama Bulls

Spartan Stadium

We played beer pong with Sparty the Mascot, the girls from the breast cancer awareness tent next to us, inter-squad scrimmage too and flip cup with anyone that would stop by. We learned that we are a lot more popular when we have a keg. Big Dru did a 24 ounce beer funnel to boot. Speaking of Dru, our resident bachelor from the Laurelglen crew was asked at the Tailgate festivities what kind of girl in this target rich environment he was looking for to share the day with? After much contemplation he responded with the following words: (turn it up and pour yourself a cool one Clarke)

We were given free tickets on our way into the stadium. It was not a glorious day for the Spartans as the Aggies from Utah State put some serious offensive numbers up besting SJSU 49 -27. We did get to perform the Gangnam Style dance craze again (pics above)

Around the country:Mrs. Tailgate and little Gracie Tailgater joined Boise State Rachel for the game in Boise against Fresno State. The Broncos go to 5-1 with a win over a much improved Fresno State squad. It still aint the same without Kellen Moore!

The Tailgate Family
Rachel and Gracie at the Blue Turf

Was there Irish magic and mystique again in South Bend as Notre Dame stops Stanford short in OT for a 20 -13 win? Sparty going down in the freezing rain to the Hawkeyes in East Lansing. Urban going back to Indiana and almost bowing to the Cutters from Bloomington (Think Breaking Away for that reference). Mountaineers could not scale the hills of West Texas and stumbled into a catastrophe in Lubbock. Will ESPN still slobber over Geno this week? The Sooners smelled blood in the water in the red river rivalry and steered the Longhorns right out of the Cotton Bowl in a 63 -21 annihilation. The Sooner nation has now awoken! See the guest post write up by Sooner fan Matt Bolt below. K-State and Colin “Calvin” Klein, went Back To The Future and are now 6-0 for the first time since Coach Snyder was here the 1st time! Klein needs to be considered as a serious contender for the Heisman as the Cats defeated a solid Cyclone team from Iowa State. Gary Patterson asks “who needs ole Casey Pachall anyway?” as TCU thumps Baylor with a sober QB. It is confirmed, Tiger grass does taste good and Coach Spurrier left Baton Rouge a “leetle” red faced. It is the place where opponents come to have their dreams die so sez the mad hatter. Oregon State does not skip a beat with QB Sean Mannion sidelined for a month as the surprise team of the year takes down the Cougs from Promontory Point with ease.

Anybody ever heard of Johnny “Football” from Texas A&M and General Patton from Louisiana Tech? This was the game of the day for those of you that stayed up late like me to watch this. LA Tech came back from like 200 points down to come within a crappy 2 point attempt of tying A&M, falling 59 -57 in the end. Johnny “Football” Manziel the freshman A&M QB is simply “amazable”. This guy will win a Heisman before he is done in College Station, TX. On the other side of the field, General Quinton Patton from LA Tech had a sick 21 catches! I said 21! Heck that is a season for most college wide outs. Mike Leach and the “empty corpses” of Wazoo laid down and died against the Cal Bears late Saturday night in the Palouse. Mississippi State knocks the orange out of Rocky Top and Bama gives Mizzou an extremely rude welcome to the SEC with a Tide whitewash. This sets up nicely for a potential matchup of unbeatens in 2 weeks in Tuscaloosa. Guess who will be there? Hey don’t look now but that real estate mogul John L and his Hogs have just won 2 in a row. SoooooooooWeeeeeeeeeeee!! VA Tech gets back on the winning side of things. BC, it is time for a coaching change. The Eagles where tomahawked by the Seminoles badly on Saturday.

Academy update – After the Tailgate sprinkled good luck On Army last week, the Cadets lay an egg against Kent State (Tin soldiers and Nixon, coming…..). Navy rights their ship again and cruised past the Chippewas in Mt. Pleasant Michigan and the Air Force flew by the Cowboys from Laramie 28 -27.

Sandusky dating again- it’s good to see the sandman is allowed conjugal visits in his cell. The warden at state penn just sent in this new photo from the “it’s just lunch” web site of a his new friend:

Friend of Jerry

Tradition of the week – Ralphie the Buffalo running on the field at the beginning of each Colorado game. I mean the build up to Ralphie coming out of the pen and on to the field has as much anticipation and excitement as the first keg being tapped in Munich at the annual Oktoberfest….ooops that is a whole other story. This beast of an animal is tethered by 4 stout cowboys that run him on to the field at full speed before the start of the game. The fans go nuts! Ralphie goes nuts! The announcer goes nuts! Hell, I went nuts! It lasts less than 20 seconds but it may be the most exciting 20 seconds you will see out of a Buffalo all season this year.

Gripe of the week – What is it with player’s helmets popping off during the game at a record rate? There is this thing called fit and a chin strap. Usually if the fit is right and you use that strap it is pretty hard to knock that noggin container off your melon. Up until this season players thought this must have been cool to do this to get some face time or primp for their posse and fam fam in the crowd. Obviously I am not the only one annoyed with this as the NCAA Politburo came down with a rule this year that forces a player to sit out the next play if their cranial cap pops off. So now it is no longer cute, it is a matter of now letting your team down and could be costly if the game is in a critical state and you are forced to take the next play off. So listen up fellas, strap that thing on properly and play the game!

Guest post by Matt Bolt, Oklahoma University Alumni (Thank you Matt for a great post!)

On Saturday two longtime Oklahoma friends and I continued our annual October tradition of meeting in Dallas for the Oklahoma-Texas “Red River Rivalry” game played over at the historic but renovated Cotton Bowl. While the game is always the highlight of our weekend, our time in Dallas usually consists of us college friends having fun hanging out at bars, breweries, and restaurants in the days and nights before and after the game and this year was no different. I drove up from Houston on Friday morning to meet up with Chris who already lives in Dallas and we later drove over to DFW to pick up Joe who flew in from Memphis.

Fast forwarding to Saturday, we were forced to wake up before sunrise after a late night due to the earlier 11AM kickoff and the need to beat traffic to the state fairgrounds on the southeast side of Dallas where the Cotton Bowl is located. Waking up even much earlier than us was my dad who got two game tickets and drove in from Norman, OK that morning starting around 4AM. The four of us headed from Chris’ house to the fairgrounds bypassing all the backed up I-30 fair traffic to get to the much lesser used but very convenient parking in a neighborhood off Martin Luther King Blvd which we discovered about 13 years ago. After a short five minute walk and stop in McDonalds we entered the state fair and the crowded mixed masses of crimson and burnt orange. While this game would yield an ideal tailgating atmosphere if played anywhere else that traditional type of setup is replaced by the carnival atmosphere of the State Fair of Texas that surrounds the Cotton Bowl and is always taking place this time of year. Pregame activities include carnival games, rides, live music, 4H livestock shows, and anything one would expect at a large state fair. In case anyone ever misses breakfast and is hungry at 9AM there is a plethora of fried foods and drinks some more amazing then others and they come up with new and crazier fried items every year. Fried beer, fried butter, fried Snickers, and fried Coke are a few items one can choose from in case he or she is concerned about living too long.

We passed on the food and rides and after spending time checking things out outside we headed to the car display buildings on the north side of the fair. After about an hour of helping Joe get ideas regarding a replacement for his ancient Volvo we walked over to the stadium to join the orange and red shirts filing into the stadium gates. Joe and Chris headed up to their seats in section 102 while my dad and I headed to ours in section 124. Unlike other neutral site rivalry games such as Florida-Georgia the Oklahoma-Texas game has the 92,000+ fans split 50/50 on opposite sides of the stadium with the split line being the 50 yard line. This game atmosphere plus the setting of the surrounding state fair and traditionally higher stakes of this rivalry game are what makes it arguably one of if not the best rivalry game atmosphere in college football . Just watching the stands fill up during warm-ups and band performances is special.

The game this year could barely have been more lopsided. OU quickly jumped out to a quick lead on their opening drive and a 36-2 halftime advantage. Final score: 63-21. A few junk Texas touchdowns in the final minutes against OU’s reserves and an ill thrown pick six by OU’s Landry Jones were Texas’ only touchdowns of the day and the game felt more lopsided than the score indicates. OU finished with almost 700 yards of offense and it was late in the 2nd quarter before Texas ever got a first down. As it was in the blowouts of years 2000, 2003, and 2011 we watched most of the game with half the stadium being full of crimson and the other half empty with only scattered burnt orange faithful remaining. The big question now is whether Mack Brown will return as head coach of Texas next year after yet another embarrassment?

We met up with Joe and Chris in their section before the game ended to watch the tradition of the OU flag being planted at midfield and the Golden Hat trophy awarded to the victors. If it had not been for the incoming stormy weather we would have stayed at the fair longer but we chose to head out and watch West Virginia collapse against the Red Raiders along with other good games on that day. Overall it was another great game and great weekend.

They will literally fry anything at the Texas State Fair!

Boomer Sooner

Next week I had to call an audible and will skip my homecoming at Frostburg State and return to the confines of Tailgate Headquarters. This is a marriage enriching move. Yes, I am deservedly catching heat for this already.

RIP Alex Karras, former Iowa Hawkeye and NFL great. Mongo may you play on the gridiron in the clouds. RIP to Beano Cook, longtime ESPN college football analyst. May your voice still be heard good sir.

Happy Tailgating!