Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mid Bowl Season Update

I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas and have enjoyed the Bowl action so far. The great thing about having a hobby like College football is that you will meet many interesting like minded people….yes most are nuts just like this blogger. Through my travels this year, I have now connected with two high profile bloggers/writers Steve Koreivo and Joe Rogers. We all now promote each other’s blogs on our pages. This is a show of solidarity amongst those of us with the most significant addictions. Please be sure to click on the two links on the left side of the page and explore the incredible insight and storytelling of these two talented writers. There is talk already of all the bloggers and many other friends uniting next fall in Oxford, Mississippi for an Ole Miss game and a Tailgate Celebration in the most hallowed acre in all of college footballdom simply known as “The Grove”.

Sometimes in life, fate will be on all our sides. As you are aware, I had a great desire to attend the BCS National Championship game in Miami without breaking the bank to get there. As it turns out, a friend of mine with access to tickets came through with a ticket for face value of $350. He shall now be reffered to as "Larry Clawz" and I am forever grateful. To put this in perspective, that same ticket on Stub Hub and other ticket web sites would be between 2k and 5K. Here is the video of me getting my ticket to the BCS championship game:

Bowl Update

The Tailgate did not travel south to San Diego for the Poinsettia Bowl on 12/20 as rumors of the earth ending the next day would have left us stranded and far away from the doomsday bunker. Okay, the real reason is that there were no business meetings in Southern Cal to be had that week. The Tailgate did however set up shop on 12/29 in San Francisco at AT&T Park for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl featuring Navy and Arizona State. Due to forecasted bad weather, we opted for bargating at the numerous pubs and watering holes (Polo Grounds, Lucky Strike) surrounding AT&T Park before and after the game. Veteran Tailgaters Dave “Wannstedt” Quillici, LT. Pat “Wolfman” Wolff and the Legendary Marine, Lance Corporal John “The Sandman” Wintersteen joined the festivities for the day. John is a “Boots on the ground” kind of Marine and will talk to anyone and anything. Also we spent time with Paul Chapla, USNA class of 1963 (Star basketball player) and his wife Sarah, The Queen of England. It’s good to be the Queen! Drubacha, Good Time Reinke and Too Tall Taggert caught up with us and brought Richard Branson with them to sign autographs and pay our tab. Craig C2 Castelein was busy shopping and taking in a show with the girls for the day and had to cancel on us. He was worried that I would call him out on this massive man card violation but I am not that kind of guy. I would never do anything that would bring into question the manhood of a fellow tailgater. Craig, we just want to know if you had balcony or orchestra seats at the play? Although the game was a blowout and Navy did not bring the effort expected of an Academy team, the overall day and atmosphere was exceptional. Blue Skies, warm weather, ample boots and plenty of cold beer. Final score ASU 62, Navy 28. It was not even that close! On the way home we were even courteous enough to teach a member of the Occupy “Bowel” Movement how to properly enter a BART train after everyone has exited first. Of course a little elbow assist always goes along way when teaching morons.

The Fearsome Foursome at AT&T Park

Post game ritual at the Polo Grounds Pub
Navy getting rolled by the Sun Devils

The USO lovelies entertaining Lt. Wolff

Drubaca joining the fray with his favorite Lucky Strike Barteneder

The Skipper, Gilligan and the Queen.

LT. and the lovely Janine
Not a good advertsiment for this Bowl!

In other Bowls so far: Arizona overcomes a 13 point deficit to Nevada in the final minute to win the New Mexico Bowl. Too bad for those of you that turned the game off a minute too early. The Rich Rod Era has a signature win now. I can hear em down in Sleepy Holler in West By God saying “Ya’ll can keep that Yankee trader out there in the Deee Zert”!

Boise – UW – BREAKING NEWS ALERT– A Boise Kicker actually wins a game for the Broncos against UW on a game winning kick in the Las Vegas Elvis Bowl….somewhere in Idaho Kyle “Ray Finkle” Brotzman is practicing 10 yard field goals.

Ray Finkle

 The Central Michigan Chippewas win the Pizza Bowl against WKU when the Hilltopper’s interim coach Lance Guidry elected to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking the game tying field goal. I doubt ole Lance will be a candidate for any head coaching jobs after that bone headed decision! Congratulations to our favorite local team San Jose State for completing their best season ever with 11 wins after beating Bowling Green in the Military Bowl. Tailgate Brian was one of the 300 fans in attendance at that one. No sign of Munchie Legaux, but Cincinnati without Coach Butch Jones gets the win over Duke in the Belk Bowl 48 - 34. What is a Belk anyway? UCLA’s season came to an unexpected end by getting thrashed by the Bears from Baylor in the Holiday Bowl. Frank Beamer notches his 100th straight winning season with the Hokies overcoming a 10 point deficit in the 4th quarter to upend the Scarlet knights of Piscataway. Sparty gets the win over TCU in an exciting finish with each team exchanging field goals in the final minutes in the Chicken Wing Bowl. Coach Mack Brown may have secured his employment status by engineering a come from behind victory over the Beavers from Corvallis in the Alamo Bowl.

Washington State finally has something to cheer about. Check out this Cougar Christmas light choreography:

Gripe of the week: The “Coach Poach” is out of control! Specifically the teams that have qualified for a bowl that have their coaches leave for greener pastures. Is there not any honor amongst thieves? What kind of message does that send to the kids they coach? It’s okay to bail on your duties? This is not the leadership that our kids need. This is perhaps the worst thing about our sport. Here is my solution: As much as I hate most forms of regulation, I believe the NCAA needs to institute a moratorium on “Coach Poach” until after the final bowl game is played. Yeah, I hear the know it alls now saying “but they have to leave otherwise they miss out on recruiting”. Well I have thought of everything, no form of recruiting whatsoever between Thanksgiving and the BCS Championship. Violators will be tarred, feathered and drug into the town square. How’s that sound?

Punishment for Coach Poach!

Let’s have a live look in at our ole friend Cheaty Boy “Christmas”Carroll since I know you all miss him:

Seahawks' Fake Punt After Leading by 30 in Bills Game Questioned

VIBE Posted December 17, 2012

There's one play from this Sunday's (Dec.16) NFL action that continues to receive harsh criticism from sports lovers.

As the Seahawks faced a fourth-and-4 at the Buffalo 43-yard line, leading on the scoreboard by 47-17 with 12:49 to play in the game, the team went for a fake punt. Many would call it a "cheap play" given the circumstances of the game and the team's substantial lead.

However, Coach Pete Carroll says he didn't call the play on purpose but that it was just a part of their plan before the game even started.

"I feel bad about this," Carroll said. "It was an automatic for us."

Portrait of a classless schmuck
The Seattle Times Reports: Safety Chris Maragos is the upback on that play, the one responsible for diagnosing the opponent's formation. He saw it, called for the fake punt, and took the snap directly. He handed it off to fullback Michael Robinson, who came from the right side of the formation. After handing the ball off, Maragos continued to run as if he had the ball.

The execution couldn't have been better. The timing, however, was a little off.

We looked for it every time we were going to punt, and it was just there,"Carroll said. "I should have stopped it in the sense that it looked bad."

In the view of the Tailgate, a tiger will never change his stripes. Petey boy, you will get yours again.

Next up for the Tailgate is the Rose Bowl on new Year’s day in Pasadena followed by the BCS National Championship game on January 7th in Miami.

Happy new Years and Happy tailgating!

Monday, December 10, 2012

2012 Army Navy Tailgate Crew
 Tailgate Update

The Tailgate set up shop on the banks of the Delaware River at Lincoln Field for the annual Army Navy game. This was my second time in 3 years to attend this hallowed event of college football. This great tradition is the highlight of the year for the men and women of the nation’s two oldest Military Academies. It would be the 113th time the teams have met on the gridiron. Throughout the fall semester at both schools, it is drummed into their collective consciousness to beat the other team. A typical greeting in Annapolis may consist of a salute and hardy “BEAT ARMY”! On the banks of the Hudson, the Cadets may greet a ranking officer with a Good Morning Sir, BEAT NAVY!” Pranks are also a big part of the tradition as each school has been known to capture the other’s mascots. The build up to this game for each school is hard to explain because this is so much more than just a typical college football game for the participants. A great book detailing this rivalry and following each school through a typical season is titled A Civil War, by John Feinstein.

Very few of these men who play for the academies will ever play on Sundays after graduation. However, all of them will work on Sundays in conditions unimaginable to most of us, in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq and the dangerous oceans of the world. They will all be on the same team under the same colors very soon.
Friends of Little Stevey ?

The Army Mule left with his tail between his legs

 Perfect Tailgate weather for a late Autumn day in Philly, mid 40’s and overcast. The Tailgate Crew consisted of the Crime Family from Cliffside Park in New Jersey with Boss Ray “Dom” Carlucci and his Capos Lt. Lou Capezzuto, US Army (world’s oldest Lt.), Dino “Guido” Manzoni, Jimmy “Slicky” Nicolizzo, Gerard “Beef” Oranata, Father Mike “Springsteen” Carlucci and “Little” Stevey Carlucci, Tom Nolan, John Harris and a bunch of other peeps with I’s and O’s at the end of their last name. They offered us protection for the day.

The Cliffside Park Mafia
Also in attendance was my legendary Army buddy Buck “the Duke of Earl” Oxendine and his wife and boys, The Irish Mafia of Mike “Pop Pop” Collins, Tim Wallace and the Brothers Donnelly, Billy and Brian aka “Brennan and Dale from Stepbrothers”. 
Billy and Brian Donnelly

Dan and The Duke of Earl, Bucky Ox,

Several West Point Alums mustered for the day in the “Pretty people” section of our tailgate Colonel Spike Reardon, Dan Negron, Duane Linenkugel, Brian Mahoney and Trevor “Bert N” Erney where wine and cheese was served and heaters were keeping them warm.
The West pointers

The Wine and Cheese section of our Tailgate

We were joined for the first time by the notorious College football fan and author Steve Koreivo who I mentioned last week.
Additionally, Joe Rogers and Steve Dawson owners of The College Football Bowl Report:  ( joined us.

Mrs. Ox being harrassed by the Natives

College football's finest bloggers.
There were about 20 rug rats belonging to the Cliffside mafia and friends. They challenged the Navy kids to two knock down games of football and fared better than USMA did on this day.

The chow was first rate consisting of homemade venison chili, Sausage and peppers, Pulled pork, chicken soup, old bay chicken wings, Egan chicken legs, steaks, burgers, dogs, sides, canolies and other deserts and an assortment of libations and spirits. I made up the famous Donnelly family version of Bloody Marys for the pre game kick start.

All your daily vitamins in one red solo cup!

Sailors are not so bad after all!

The Tailgating took place before and after the game in Lot D4. Everybody had a job. Everybody provided something for the Tailgate…well almost everybody, there is always that one guy.

The brothers Carlucci in all their glory
The Boss Bruce Sprinsteen even joined us

The Brothers Donnelly

Frostburg State's Fearsome Foursome
Crash helmet, never leave home without it!
 No flyover or Parachutists this year as the cloud cover was too low. However, we were graced with the presence of Veep Joe Biden, President of The Hair Plugs For Men, not just the President but a member too. He was given a typical warm Philthadelphia greeting where they still boo Santa Clause at Eagle’s games.
I'm not just the Veep,  I am also a member
The atmosphere was charged as the Army faithful believed this was their year to shake the monkey off their back. The Navy patrons were convinced they would protect the bragging rights that they have owned for a decade. The game was incredibly exciting with Army outgaining Navy in total yardage. QB Trent Steelman led an inspired Army team offensively with both his feet and arm. But as it has been for the previous 10 years, Navy sailed away with its 11th straight victory after Army coughed up the ball on Navy’s 10 yard line while going for a potential game winning score with less than a minute remaining. The teams shook hands, embraced and wished each other well. Many Army Seniors cried as their emotions spilled out. The Army and Navy squads joined together to sing both alma matters. The crowd returned to their post game tailgates in the spacious parking lots to either celebrate or drown their sorrows as the latter was the case for me. The funniest part was some moron had the bright idea of scheduling a Who concert at the Hockey/Hoops arena in the same complex at 8 PM. You could pick the concertgoers out quite easily in the midst of the Army/Navy crowd. They had a slightly different appearance. I believe the Who concert crowd were sparking up items other than grills and cigars.

The Who concert goers

Potential Bowl Games for The Tailgate:

• Poinsettia Bowl, BYU v SDSU in San Diego on 12/20 (The day before the end of the world).

• Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Navy v ASU on 12/29 in San Francisco.

• BCS National Championship on 1/7/13 in Miami.

Congratulations to Johnny Football for becoming the first Freshman ever to win the Heisman. Props to Manti Te’o and Colin Klein the other two Heisman finalists on their outstanding college careers. They are all fine young men who represent the best the game has to offer.

Great news on longtime Tailgater Alabama Al Rector as his surgery was a success. Get well soon buddy!

BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL ALERT! Anyone who will be in the DC area over Christmas and is interested in the Military Bowl matching up San Jose State University versus Bowling Green University let me know. I have a source that will sell you a ticket at a 20% discount off of face value. I am a fan and supporter of SJSU but will not be able to make that trip. They had a great year going 10 -2 and only losing to Stanford by 3.

Urban and Papa John Separated at Birth?

I Will only write two more entries this year (Mid bowl report and post BCS championship) and then go into detox and deprogramming.

Happy tailgating!

The world's oldest Lt. and Lt. Dan

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rain drops keep falling on my head...


Tailgate Update - The weather in the Bay Area along with familial and fraternal obligations kept the Tailgate grounded for the final regular weekend of the 2012 season. As such, I spent Friday in the company of Petey the Greek, UCLA fanatic and Vegas odds breaker watching the PAC 12 championship game. The perfect storm occurred in a bad way for the PAC 12 as far as fan interest goes. If you watched the game, which by the way was a great one with all the elements of a classic, you noticed a lot of fans disguised as empty red seats. The crappy weather, the 5 PM Friday start time and the fact that UCLA and Stanford just played 6 days earlier all had an adverse effect on fan attendance. It was disappointing to see for the country’s second best conference this year. Stanford ended up pulling out the title in a great battle down on the farm in Palo Alto to secure a trip to Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

After attempting to put up the outside Christmas decorations on Saturday, I smelled rain in the air and opted to head over to the brand new Buffalo Wild Wings in town to watch the afternoon’s CFB action. 100 TV’s of pure heaven and joy, ample draft selection and some seriously hot wings made for great table gating for the day. Joining the Gate were “Beam me up” Scotty Lehner, Marty Blabermouth (not sure he even knew we were watching football), Good time Reinke and Drupacabra. We took the atomic wing sauce challenge and lived to tell about it in the latest “Dan versus Food” challenge.

Man Versus Food

Inferno hot sauce with warning labels

The new Buffalo Wild Wings commercial

SEC- in one of the best games of the year, the nation watched the Tide roll away with the vaunted SEC crown after a hard hitting battle with UGA and the Dawgs. The last play of the game by Georgia has many people scratching their collective heads. Was it coach Richt’s fault, Aaron Murray the QB, or the receiver who caught the ball at the 5 with the clock winding down? Nonetheless, Bama will meet the Irish in South Beach. I am still seeking a reasonably priced ticket. Lodgings and airfare are secured.

Big 12 – Congratulations to coach Snyder and Colin Klein on winning the Big 12 title by knocking off the Horns and a befuddled looking Mac Brown. Doesn’t Mac kind of look like Mister Sir from the Movie Holes?

Long Horn Head Coach Mister Sir
Calm, cool and collected

The Sooners knock off the Horned Frogs in the stockyards of Fort Worth and the Cowchokes lose to Baylor in the Mistako in Waco. And how about the fine job coach Weiss did in Lawrence Kansas this year? Anyone care to comment? The other fat coach fit in much better in Jayhawk country. Do you miss Mangino now? Oh well, it is basketball season.

Big 10 - hardly worth mentioning this as a game since it was sheer humiliation and an utter embarrassment to the Husker nation as they gave up retirement age plus 5 to the Weezcansaan Baaaaadgers in the Big 10 Championship game.

In other games Boise State captured a share of the MWC title by downing the Wolfpack in Reno. Northern Illinois secured the MAC conference title with a win over Kent State Friday night. Little did we know that their coach would bail the next day for NC State to begin the “Coach Poach season”? Florida State slips by Georgia Tech, barely in the ACC championship game. Arkansas State and Gus Malzhan win the Sun Belt title with a victory over MTSU. Last, Thursday night’s game with Louisville winning over Rutgers puts them in a BCS Bowl as "The Big Least" representative. Will coach Strong head for greener pastures before that game? QB Teddy Bridgewater played through multiple injuries to inspire the Cardinals to victory.

Heisman Update - It comes to down to three in this year's popularity contest: Johnny Football, Manti Teo and Colin Klein. Who will your choic be?

Memories & Musings

What are your best memories of college football as a kid? I remember watching Ohio State on a Saturday afternoon in November of 1968. Rex Kern was their quarterback. I also remember the infamous game between Notre Dame and USC in the early 70’s when Anthony Davis ran roughshod over the Irish in the 2nd half. Watching all the classic college football rivalries such as Oklahoma/Nebraska, Texas and A&M, USC and UCLA over Thanksgiving weekend was just part of the holiday ritual for me that I looked forward to with great anticipation. I have vivid recollections of the Irish v Bama and Ohio State v USC bowl games from the early 70’s. I watched the “Game of the Century in 71 when Nebraska led by Jerry Tagge and the original Johnny football, Johnny Rodgers knocked off the Sooners in Norman, OK. Watching all the bowl games on New Year’s Day on our black and white Zenith TV was always an annual highlight in our household. Johnny Ham and Jonny Lamb Joneses dazzling the old SWC and Russell Erxleben kicking for the Horns bare foot. I also recall the distinct voices of Keith Jackson and Curt Gowdy calling out the names of College football towns as if they were some sort of exotic Meccas: Ann Arbor Michigan, East Lansing, Michigan, College Station, Texas, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Lincoln, Nebraska, Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Pasadena, California to name a few. I was enamored with the College bands, cheerleaders, student sections, school pride and all the excitement around the games. The traditions that many schools have and the pageantry, the pomp and circumstance and the true meaning of student athletes sealed the deal for me. Those are the things that drew me to the addiction I now suffer in my mid life years. See the first step is admitting there is a problem and know how you got there.

Video of legendary BC Tailgater and friend Pops Leblanc on his scholarship fund and tailgating tricks. His wife Peggy is a saint and she needs to coach my Mrs. Tailgate.:

Next Week – The Tailgate will set up camp at the Army/Navy game in Philadelphia. We will be joined by an assortment of friends and family from my past. Looking forward to a great Tailgate and game.

Happy tailgating!