Sunday, September 1, 2013

Guess what day it is? Guess what day it is?

That's right, it's College Football opening day!

Tailgate Update:The old adage “It was the best move I never made” came to fruition for The Tailgate this weekend.  Originally scheduled to attend the UConn - Towson game in Hartford, CT., business interests diverted me to Atlanta, GA for meetings this week. As any good obsessed fan would do, I drew the drivable perimeter from Atlanta to see what other schools had a home game Thursday night. It just so happened that the Commodores of Vanderbilt were hosting the Rebs from Ole Miss. (acceptable drive time from the 404). This put me smack dab in the middle of   Nashville, Tennessee, but I have found it's a crazy town with its neon dreams, where everybody plays and everybody sings, Hollywood with a touch of twang, to be a star you gotta bang, bang, bang. After all, who could refuse an upgrade from an AAC – D1AA game to an SEC rivalry match?

Joining the Tailgate was the good Doctor, Alabama Al and Sun Devil alumni Kevin O’Connor and his wife Beth. Also crashing our pre game soiree was a guitar strumming, Harley riding, free-loading townie named Brad who uses black shoe polish on his hair, along with his Internet fiancée Kelly LeBrock. The Doctor’s nephew Big Brad also arrived upon hearing there was free beer, BBQ and a rich Uncle in town. Without much time to plan out the festivities, we picked up a case of cold PBR and a few preppy beers, BBQ  pork & chicken, slaw and Mac n Cheese from Edley's BBQ
of Nashville, (the 4 essential food groups as recommend by the USDA) and partied cracker style. The chow was off the hook outstanding! Of course, we were looked down upon by the wine and cheese country club crowd of the SEC’s only private school. If you have not been to Vanderbilt, it is a beautiful campus. However, it’s not your typical SEC game day atmosphere. The spaces on campus and the surrounding area available for tailgating are very limited. The passion of a SEC State University is usually lacking. Since it is a private school, the local support is minimal. Nonetheless, the Commodore faithful adorned in all black and the visiting Reb fans sporting Oxford red were fired up for an early season SEC match up at sold out Vandy Stadium. Commodore Vanderbilt himself would have been proud.

Irish mafia

Game 1, 2013 Tailgate crew at Vanderbilt.
We lucked out setting up our “Gate” on a private lot just off campus with other tailgaters. We pulled up in our stylish Griswold family truckster,(pic) courtesy of Hertz impressing all who could see.

The Family Tailgating Truckster!
We set up the lap top to stream in the SC- NC game on espn 3, played country music on Pandora blasted out on my mini r2 d2 speaker and thus began day 1 of the season for the Tailgate. With beautiful hot weather, we decked out in shorts and our DFT T shirts, representing the Tailgate proudly.

Dan and Dr. Al sporting their new threads.
After setting up, the good doctor and I were challenged to a game of Cornhole by two young ladies tailgating next to us. First game of the season and we skunked the poor gals 21-0 and left them humbled and humiliated and feeling less of themselves. We were not invited back for a rematch. I feel real bad about that.

We scored excellent tickets on the 40 about 50 rows up for 60 each, the band playing tunes from the 70’s with temps in the 80s and 90s and humidity taking it up to over 100.  I am being straight with you. It was perhaps the hottest sporting event I ever attended. Put it this way, I consumed far more H2O than barley & hops. No wonder I was royally flushed. A sellout crowd of 41,000 including a large bastion of loud opinionated Reb fans filled the stadium. Most were respectable with the exception of the tattooed ex con next to me who derived new ways to use the “F word” at least 10 times per sentence, the cigar chomping, mullet laden ice cream truck driver in front of us, and Instant Buddy, everyone’s BFF who went out of his way to be seen and heard.  Other than that, all was good. 

The game was as exciting as any game I have been too.  The atmosphere charged as Vandy just came off a 9 win season with a Bowl victory to boot. The Reb Army travels large and filled up a third of Vanderbilt Stadium.  The stadium itself is small by SEC standards and was built in 1981 on the same spot as their previous stadium, Dudley field. Getting to our seats was analogous to the Bataan Death March as the concourse and tunnels leading to the seats were jammed up with sauna like conditions causing people to pass out and drop like flies. On the field, the offenses were operating at mid-season form, multiple lead changes and some of that SEC passion that usually does not exist at Vandy. Final score: Rebs 42 – Vandy 39 with the Reb faithful belting out their hotty toddy victory chant. Three hours of sleep, and I was back on a flight heading home to the West Coast.

Celebrating Reb style!
The final outcome.

Game 2 of opening weekend placed the Tailgate in that other Crazy Town that celebrates vagrancy, medicinal blunts and just some plain unique behavior, Bezerkely, CA for the Cal – Northwestern game. The hosts of the pre-game tailgate party was none other than Maureen Panovich, and the Big Cat himself, Mihailo Panovich the former Wildcat O – Lineman who once weighed in at an astonishing 3 bills plus a dime. Nowadays, he looks like a cross between Dash Rip Rock from the Flinstones and Skinny from Breaking Bad.

This is now that was then.

Dash Rip Rock Panovich

Skinny P
His old pants and shirts now make up the main billeting for the occupy movement tent city in Peace Park. Approximately 40 people were at our gate, many DFT loyalists posted along with newcomers. Camp was set up in the parking lot behind Berkley First Baptist Church. Yes, somewhat of an oxymoron in a city that praises atheism, mysticism, agnosticism and antagonism. Grills were fired up, tri tip, ribs and sausages cooked, brews, libations and other foreign juices were iced, TV was hooked up to a genny with CFB action on, tailgate games were played, purple décor was strewn all about and all who partook had a great time. If they say otherwise, they will be excluded from all future reindeer games. It was by all accounts a first class Tailgate with outstanding accommodations.


The Big Cat grilling his prey!

Tailgate theater

Don't you all have jobs?

Blue and purple look good together

Fritz holding court

Mrs. P,  the hostess with the mostess

Future pong champs

The girl won

The game featured 23rd ranked Northwestern versus the Cal Bears and their new coach Sonny Dykes and true freshman QB Jared Goff. The 7:30 start time meant there was ample time for everyone to get their pre game serve on. The coliseum was close to capacity with eager Bear fans awaiting a peek at their new product. The match up had all the elements of a classic, with 18 year old Goff tossing 63 times for 433 yards breathing life into a Cal program that had grown stale the last few years. However it was not enough, as the Big 10’s smartest team calculated numerous ways to come up with key plays and score 14 more than the bears for a 44-30 victory.  The Cal faithful went back to firing up fatties and drowning their sorrows in a haze of smoke. The Northwestern crowd dispersed on their leer jets and yachts back to their happy places.

The Big Cat and Dan in the Canyon

With my pint sized college football fan

Strawberry Canyon
Wannstedts and the Castys at sunset

The gang in Bezerkley

Around the Country of games with merit:
Seven FCS (D1AA) teams pulled off upsets over FBS (D1A) teams on the road over the weekend. Of note was the North Dakota State Bisons upset of Big 12 defending champ Kansas State in little Manhattan on Friday night.  Cousin Bobby “Bouche” Baumgartner attended in support of the Bison nation. Eastern Washington, of the red field inferno fame knocked off the 25th ranked Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis in a thriller.

SEC: Here’s Jonnnnnnnnny! Johnny Trash Talk took the field for less than a half on Saturday in College Station, TX and showed the country why he is so loved by some and loathed by others as the Aggies cooked Rice on the gridiron. Jadeveon said he was not clowning around when he was accused of taking half the plays off Thursday night as The Cocks beat the Heels in Columbia in the battle of the Carolinas.The Cowpokes from Stillwater knocked off the Bulldogs from Mississippi State and Les Miles tasted the Turf that Jerry Jones planted in LSU’s key win over the Horned Frogs. In perhaps the game of the day on Saturday, the Clemson Tigers Led by QB Tahj “Mahal” Boyd outlasted UGA and the Dawgs scratching out a 3 point win in Death Valley, South Carolina.  Defending national champion Alabama picked up where they left off, taking care of business in the Georgia Dome against the Hokies in a modest 25 point win.

Big 12: The Sooners opened up the post Landry Jones era with a win over the team from the town of Duck Dynasty. Iowa State loses to D1 AA Northern Iowa taking some of the luster off of the Tailgate’s next big trip to the ISU – Iowa battle in 2 weeks.Texas Tech under Cliff Kingsbury take down the Stangs in Dallas.

PAC 12: The Bruins, Ducks, Wildcats, Huskies are just animals in their wins! The Trojans and Utes score much needed opening day victories. Mike Leach loses to Gus Malzahn in Auburn. Now that Coach Mac has a big contract and as many wins at Colorado as the team had all last year,  maybe he can afford a real haircut and lose the bowl thing.

Big 10: – The big schools from Michigan beat up on the little schools from Michigan. The Urban renewal in Columbus continues with a lackluster win over Buffalo. Nebraska lassoed the Cowboys of Wyoming for a narrow 3 point win. Purdue loses big to our guy Munchie Legeaux and the Cincinnati Bearcats. Penn State starting a true Freshman QB notches a W over the Cuze.

ACC, Independents and others: - Did I mention that the UW Huskies won? Yeah, kind of humiliating for the boys in blue from Boise.  Hey at least tickets will be easy to get this year. Notre Dame wins one for the Chipper over the Owls from the City of Brotherly Love. Army and Air Force score victories in their battles. Maryland and Virginia each end up on the right side of the score sheet. Teddy Ballgame Bridgewater takes the clear lead in the Heisman race with his stellar performance in leading Louisville over Ohio on Sunday afternoon. Fresno State and Rutgers played a two OT “thrilla” in the Central Valley in Cali on Thursday night with the Left Coast winning out over the Jersey Boyz.

This week’s Beiber Award: (This guy is clearly not college material)
(Article byCharles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)
Korey Harris, a sophomore defensive lineman, is no longer with the West Virginia football team following an arrest for first-degree armed robbery. Harris was arrested for a July 12 home invasion, where Harris and two others entered a Morgantown home and held the residents at gun point while burglarizing the house. One tiny flaw in Harris' plan: He was wearing his WVU-issued sweatpants with a #96 - his uniform number, as you can see above - on them. The three men got away with cash and electronics.
Harris is being held in North Central Regional Jail with bail set at $75,000. In April, head coach Dana Holgorsen announced that Harris was suspended from the team for spring semester. Harris' bio is no longer on West Virginia's website and his name isn't listed on the official roster. When asked about Harris, WVU's director of football communications Mike Montoro told WBOY-TV, "We have no comment on individuals who aren't with the West Virginia Football program." The three-star Florida native played in 11 games last year as a true freshman, notching four tackles.
We have seen some dumb college football-related incidents so far this offseason - barking at a police dog and attempting a jail break with hedge trimmers, for example - but nothing that managed to mix the danger of armed robbery with the stupidity of wearing your uniform number during the crime quite like this.

R Lee Ermey’s rant of the week

The moron dumb phone generation – This applies to more than just CFB game day, however I will focus on my area of expertise. How sick and tired are you of being run into by some idiot who is so engrossed in whatever it is on that screen of life on that device in their hands with their eyes locked intently on it that they don’t realize they are clipping and bumping into people walking around the stadium concourse or into the stadium? These people stumble through life like mind numbed robots peering at their panacea of life seeking INFORRRRMAAAAAATIIIOOOON! Just what is so important on these screens that would have these mostly young people missing out on the world around them? I for one purposely go out of my way to teach them a lesson when I get the opportunity; I run into these zombies and try to knock their phones from their mitts. I have a scoring system for what happens after I slam into them: 1 point for them looking up and saying,“sorry”, 2 points for knocking the phone out of their hands, 3 points for the phone actually breaking, and 5 points for the offender challenging me to a duel. I have only been beaten up once so far by a biker chick with tats that would make Mike Tyson jealous. She had me at hello. It is great sport and I encourage you all to try it and report back to me.  It is the only way we can collectively right this ship.

My Nemesis
Next week’s contest:
Primary game - Michigan v Notre Dame
Secondary game - Stanford v SJSU

Submit your score in the comment section below for a chance to win a DFT T shirt. Only one participant last week and the wrong team was picked to win. This is your chance for a free shirt for crying out loud!

Next week he Tailgate will be hosting the 4th annual party at DB&G for the ND – Michigan game.