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Sunday, October 7, 2012

On Brave Old Army Team

Tom's pub.


The Tailgate traveled to the Banks of the Hudson where college football is steeped in tradition, greatness and patriotism. Up until the late 1950’s, Army had been a perennial national powerhouse. under HOF Coach Red Blaik the Black Knights won national championships in 44, 45 and 46 and back to back Heismans in 45 & 46 with Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis and in 1958 with Pete Dawkins. Having been a ROTC commissioned Army Officer, I have always had some loyalty to USMA and the Cadets and the dedication of these young men (My reasons for serving were less noble than theirs as I had a large bar tab to pay off from my college days, and I was influenced by Bill Murray in Stripes). The historic campus is littered with ghosts of great Americans: Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George “slap em and love em” Patton, Omar Bradley, Ulysses Grant and Robert E Lee just to name a few of the greats that matriculated through the Point. The fall colors, the crisp October air, the Alumni swapping stories, the long gray line of the cadets marching in, the pageantry, the pomp and circumstance, the post game singing of the Alma Matter and of course a raucous Tailgate on the banks of the Hudson led to a most memorable experience. I was accompanied by West Point Wiggins and hosted by the Monahan and Kimsey Tailgate crew from the USMA class of 86 in “A lot” right outside the stadium. Lodgings were provided by Tom & Jeri (no lie) Voyteks Pub and boarding house. Friday night in Tom’s pub was just a primer for the Saturday festivities as we drank good draft beer and watched baseball and the Friday night CFB games.



My Version of Duty Honor Country

We started the pre game tailgate on Saturday morning with the appropriate breakfast beverage of choice, a kick starting bloody Mary followed by some tasty PBR suds. No chow before the game as that would be saved for the post game Tailgate. Also met up with my old High school Buddy and former Army offensive tackle Karl “Tiny” Heineman and his clan.


The West Point Tailgate Crew


Tiny Heineman makes me looks skinny

Army was taking on the Eagles from BC, with both teams struggling mightily through the opening month of the season. This would be the opportunity for one of the two teams to right their ship. Army had a special good luck charm join them as their last Heisman trophy winner Pete Dawkins graced their sideline for the afternoon. In a game that saw Army surge out of the gates and then relinquish a lead with players being carried off the field and the air being sucked out of the stadium by halftime. The feeling was that BC would just overpower the smaller Black Knight squad at that point. But as it is often said, the Service Academy teams do not know what the word quit means. Army crawled back into the battle with a tenacious ground attack that BC had no answer for. Down 31 -28 with less than a minute to go, Army QB Trent Steelman ran the triple option to perfection and tucked the ball under his wing and scampered 40 yards down the field for the winning score! This was surely the biggest win in historic Michie Stadium in recent years. The Cadets racked up over 500 yards of offense. I was all set to rush the field with the cadets but noticed that I would have been the only one doing it. I believe such childish actions are prohibited in institutions like USMA and frowned upon. We missed meeting up with the legendary “Pops” Leblanc and his BC crew and doing the traditional Eagle Up pre game shot. However he did send me a nice BC T-shirt that was waiting for me when I returned home.

Dan and West Point Wiggins in Michie




Serious fuel injection!

The Black Knights doing battle.

Never trust an Irsish bartender!
  
  
On to the post game festivities, all the tailgates around the campus were joined by Cadets as they had a get out of jail pass until 11 PM that night to party with friends, family and even strangers like me. Great chow, as the menu consisted of ribs, burgers, sausages, chicken, and mac salad. Of Course an assortment of beer was also distributed to the troops and tailgaters. At the conclusion of the post game gate we did a forced road march around campus checking out all the historic buildings, epic views, statues and places that scarred the memory of a young Cadet Wiggins where he was hazed, harassed, sharpied, spat on and wedgied some 30 years before. I bet I had more fun at Frostburg State than he did ! After the march, we headed back to Tom’s Man cave pub to catch the late games of the day on his 3 screen set up. Hey Tom, check your basement. I am still there. This is my dream home now. 


Major Tom keeping ground control in the Man Cave
General MaCarthur and Lt. Dan




















Around the country: In a weekend that saw big upsets, and three top 5 teams go down, the college football landscape is starting to take shape. Upset of the week for those of you that watched this game, NC State pulled it out in the end to shock # 3 Florida State in Raleigh and the fans did not rush the field? What is this silly trend? Just because they had a 12 foot wall to jump from is no excuse not to storm the field. Are the Irish for real? I know there are a lot of haters and doubters out there but I am more impressed each week with their defense. Against the Hurrilames of the U on Saturday night they racked up some impressive O stats as well in a 41 -3 blowout at Soldier Field in Chicago. Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp and other notable former U players (notice I did not say graduates) are planning on disassociating themselves from the school if this happens again. Chancellor Shalala would be so crushed I’m sure. My good friends Snooki and the Sitch attended and sent in a guest photo. The Boyz from the Blue smurf turf traveled down to Hattiesburg, MI and put together a performance reminiscent of the Kellen Moore era by putting 40 up on Southern Miss. Navy saves it season with an OT win over Air Force below the shadow of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs.

The docile puppies from Athens, GA were hounded into submission early and often by a game Cocks squad from the other USC in a decisive 35 - 6 beatdown. The ole ball coach still has a few tricks up hizzle sleeve. “We just came out and peetched it around a bit” he was quoted as saying. Staying in the SEC, LSU and their pathetic offense were exposed for the second week in a row but this time it cost em as Musty Muschamp and his snippy snappy Gators chomped down hard in the Bayou and came away with the W, 14-6. Howz that there Tiger grass taste now Coach Miles? Coach John L Smith is now $40 large large in da hole!!!! That means 7 zeros after the 4! What kind of football coach can get that far in the hole? At least he got a big win against War Eagle on Saturday perhaps saving the Hogs season. Anyone looking for an ex Auburn coach to hire next season? He has good hair. The Teabagging Tide from Tuscaloosa (http://deadspin.com/5948267/alabama-teabagger-gets-two-years-in-prison) had the weekend off and were able to breathe a little easier seeing how things shook out.


 

















Pretty sad when the best team in the Big 10 doesn’t count this year. Urban and the boys from Columbus Bucked up and smacked down T- Magic and the Huskers in a 63 – 38 victory. Militiagun State struggled in Bloomington, IN eeking out a win against Gene Hackman’s Hoosier squad. Only if the Hoosiers ran the “ole swinging gate” play and let Jimmy Chitwood get the glory, they might have won. Northwestern Purple Cats got abused in State College, PA…oops bad choice of words. The Cats were so deflated that they refused to shower after the game. And Coach Dana “Hairless club for men” Holgersen and his offensive Mountaineer juggernaut are just happy that Mac Brown does not know how to run a defense either. WVU racked up its second Big 12 shootout win in a row against teams from the State of Tejas. K- State continued to force Coach Front Butt Weiss to question “what was he thinking” taking the job in Lawrence. It’s Buffet time Charlie, eat up. Bill Snyder is just a brilliant coach. The Sooners rebound with a solid win against the Red RAIDUHS!

In the Pac 12, Stanford had to pull out all their weapons to slide by the Rich Rods from U of A as Josh Nunez showed flashes of Andy Luck. Oregon State stays perfect by continuing to give Mike Leach a proper welcome to the conference. Matt Barkley had a fantastic second half as the Trojans stole one in Utah Thursday night. The Black Mamba and the Ducks flew by the Huskies in their most impressive win of the season. UCLA losing to the lowly Cal Bears? Not good for the conference. Commissioner Scott has to be pleased with the overall level of conference play; Oregon, Oregon State, USC and Stanford are considered elite teams as of this point in the season.

Countdown to Mr. Sandman’s sentencing in 3 days…

Hit of the week:


 

 Tradition of the week – The cadet parade review at West Point and march through campus to the stadium. Nothing will make the hair on your neck stand up quite like it. You can feel the history, the pride and the patriotism go rushing through your blood when you experience this. Only I wasn’t quite there on time to see it due to the fact my co pilot Karaokied until 4 AM Friday night (Very poorly I might add). Man I wish my middle daughter would heed her calling and go the Academy!

Gripe of the week - I watch a lot of college football shows with so called experts. Many of these shows will have recently fired/disgraced ex coaches filling up the sound waves with hot air. How am I to take them seriously when they couldn’t get it done on the sideline, yet now they have become the omnipotent ones regarding the game they were just pink slipped from? It’s kind of like getting advice from Jimmy C and George B the 1st on getting reelected. Okay, I promised not to be political on the blog because football unites us all, even if you are wrong and don’t agree with me ideologically LOL! Just recently I watched “Coach” Dan Hawkins on the ESPN show called The Experts talk about some team’s defensive miscues. Check me if I am wrong, but isn’t this the same guy who was run out of Boulder like a lady of the night in a monastery? Why should I listen to a guy whose Defenses were as porous as France during Blitzkrieg in WWII? Last year we got to watch Rich Rod slink his way through a season of being a pundit. This was the guy that gives Cheat Carroll a run for his money on ethics and integrity. Do I really want pointers from him. Okay, I will take my meds and go calm down now.

Vintage footage of my brother Brian watching football at brother Billy’s house in 1994:



Next week is a big doubleheader for the Tailgate. We will be taking in a big celebration in Boulder on Thursday night. If the Buffs win, I will storm the field and run with Ralphie the Buffalo. Shades of me in Pamplona in 08 with the exception that I dove over a fence to get out of the street so the fools could get crushed. Right Dru? Saturday is the annual Men of Laurelglen and friends tailgate at San Jose State. We will be doing a big breakfast tailgate as game time is 1 PM.

Happy Birthday to my baby girl Rachel who turns 21 on the 8th!

Happy Tailgating!

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