Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 3 - If you build it, we will come

The 1919 "Black Sox" decided to crash our Tailgate
Out of the corn fields, I saw a vision

  Tailgate Update - The Tailgate traveled to the Great Plains and landed in Iowa for the weekend to hang with the Children of The Corn.  

Malachy welcomed us to Iowa

Former neighbor and Legend of Laurelglen, Tom “Sir Spamelot” Byom hosted our raucous crew that flew in for the State’s biggest annual event; The Iowa - Iowa State game. Joining us from home were DFT veterans Drubaca and Tailgating Tom Mahoney and newcomer to the game of American Football, Alan “Teen-Wolf ” Carell. You see this was a strategic move on our part to descend upon Tom, he happens to be a Wheel at Hormel. Think endless meat products for Tailgating folks! We really never liked him, just the Hormel benefits that he provides to buy his friendships. 

Our Gracious host, Tailgating Tommy Byom

Friday night we participated in a dry run for the Saturday Tailgate carving our way through corn fields and lumberyards to locate the pubs throughout Des Moines and ultimately landing back at Tom’s man cave. All libations passed muster with us, and I am happy to report that the proper alcohol percentages are the same in Iowa as they are elsewhere, perhaps even more so.

The bald head mafia and Teen Wolf
Saturday morning came too early as cobwebs were knocked down and the jack hammer in our heads slowly dissipated. A breakfast of burritos, smoked pork chops and Bloody Marys were consumed enthusiastically. We loaded up the Spam Van and picked up another Tailgater en route, Cheese head Gary Thomas. We then drove the one hour trip to Ames.
Breakfast in a cup
After parking in a sketchy student lot before meeting our host Tailgate crew, we were educated on several new Tailgate rituals; one was called the ice luge where the recipient awaits with mouth agape for his favorite liquid spirit at the bottom of a massive sheet of ice with a luge track carved into it. The kids loved that some of the old guys in our crew were game for it. The other contest involved two poles with beer bottles on top of each pole and a Frisbee as the projectile. You get the picture. We were kind enough to introduce an old fashioned digital camera to two students who asked “What is that thing?” 

Olympic Luge candidate

The ISU and Iowa Luge teams

We hauled our coolers to lot G-7 across from Jack Trice Stadium to meet up with our hosts “Marathon” Billy and “Jaeger” Pammy and a whole bunch of other ISU and IU fans. Jack Trice was the first black player to play for the Cyclones. He died tragically from injuries sustained in a game in 1923. The game itself is one of the biggest events in the State of Iowa every year. The schools have faced each other every year since 1978 and a total of 60 times since 1894 in the “Cy Hawk Bowl” with Iowa being victorious 39 times. The annual battle has divided families and friends alike in the Hawkeye State. You have to pick one team or the other, Switzerlands need not apply. Although both teams will not be knocking on the BCS door this year, the game has no less meaning than it would if they were both # 1 & #2 in the polls. 
Which one is the statue?

The Tailgate lots were awash in cardinal and gold and yellow and black. The weather was perfect with temps in the low 70’s with blue skies. Maybe because we were in the state where corn fields outnumber people, we saw more games of corn hole on this one day than all my previous tailgates combined. To say the least, Tailgaters in Ames were quite spirited. Hormel ribs, brats, cheeseburgers and pork burgers were charred on the grill. An abundance of fancy designer booze, cheap beer and an occasional bottle of water were served under our canopy. One of my mentors from my formative years in College, Jim “Tubby” Devine and his Son Nick drove in from Chicago to meet up with us and swap lies about how cool and popular we once thought we were. I will give this game day environment an A for effort.  Many original Tailgate vehicles, apparatuses and RV’s could be viewed as far as the eye could see.

What the heck was in that shot glass?

Only one of us is being rsponsible

Shooters Cyclone style!

Mahoney, Dan and Tubby


Billy our part time host!

Pam, the ultimate hostess.

 Once inside the stadium, in our section only, rum and coke was being served. Excitement was everywhere as Jack Trice was at capacity with 58,000 feverish fans. After being forced out of his seat by “human inertia”, Drubaca, (all 275 pounds of him) played the role of a human bowling pin rolling around on the steps next to our seats like a potato bug only to be jeered and laughed at by the throngs. Both marching bands were belting out songs and cheer squads were giving it their all to pump up the fans. In recent years, State has been on the upswing while Iowa had seen better years.  Anything can happen in a rivalry game so it is said. Iowa’s size and experience appeared to wear down the younger, smaller Cyclones. With 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Iowa was ahead 28 -7. When all of a sudden the Cyclones got their second gale force wind and put two scores on the board closing the gap to 28 – 21.  The Hawkeye faithful in attendance held their breath as the Cyclones attempted an onside kick that was recovered by Iowa. Disaster averted, Herky the Iowa mascot and the Hawkeyes were able to narrowly escape Ames with the W. 

Get you hands off of me creepy old dudes!
Spam Man in all his glory
Dan representing DFT at Jack Trice
Something very interesting took place after the game. Unlike us, people stayed put and did not rush out. Nor was the parking lot a zoo as revelers decided to shelter in place and continue the annual ritual of CyHawk Tailgating.  I highly recommend this game to anyone who claims to be a die-hard college football fan. This event provided a setting equal to an SEC game day environment. The only thing lacking was ranked teams.

 Lee Brice captures the essence of Ames Iowa Tailgating 

Around the Country – Other than scandals rocking T Boone State (alma mater of Mrs. Tailgate) and the SEC, there is not much to report on. We were able to catch many of the games on our Tailgate TV Theater that I have perfected. This time it required a Best Buy TV on loan for a day. Although it took multiple stores to find the right equipment in Iowa, it all came together at show time.

IT department in action
 SEC – In the most anticipated game of the year, Roll Damn Tide tried to take the air out of Johnny Football’s inflated ego and make him their “girl” for a day in College Station, TX.  In fact, Coach Saban referred to him in the post-game pressy as Johnny WoManziel. That is just mean. Although Johnny Head Case threw for a school record 464 yards, it was not enough as Bama racked up 49 to his 42. In Bamaville, all is right again in the world with this revenge win. The other team from the great state of Alabama, War Damn Eagle goes to 3 -0 under Gus Malzahn with a conference win over Mississippi State.

Big 12 – On Thursday night, Cliff “Pretty Boy” Kingsbury and the rejuvenated Red Raiders of Lubbock, TX squashed the Horn Toads from Fort Worth 20-10. It is rumored that Mac Brown was spotted on 6th street in Austin strumming a guitar with a tip jar and a sign asking for coin.  You see losing to Ole Miss is not considered to be the proper world order for Longhorn fans. One more loss and Mac will be a memory. In Norman, the start of the “Belldozer” era began with a Sooner win over interstate foe Tulsa.
Mac Brown strumming it on 6th street in Austin

Big Ten v PAC 12 – The PAC 12 continued to impress the doubters by racking up three out of four wins over the Big Ten on Saturday. After falling behind 21 -7, UCLA scored 34 unanswered points against Nebraska in Lincoln to post a 41 – 21 drubbing on the Huskers.  The Huskies came out on top over the Illini, and in one of the most exciting games of the day, the resurgent Arizona State Sun Devils thrilled the fans in Tempe with a two point win over Weezsconnnnnseen. The only blemish for the PAC 12 on the day was the beat down the Buckeyes put on the Cal Bears in Berkley. Cal Coach Sonny Dykes did promise to deliver a lot of offense when he took the job. He just didn’t realize he would be responsible for his opponent’s offense as well.

In other PAC 12 action Jane Kiffin retained her job for another week by slowing down the BC Eagle attack in the Coliseum aiding and abetting the Trojans to a 34 -7 win.  Oregon State pulls out an overtime win against Utah in the Wasatch Mountains. OSU Star player Storm Woods was carted off the field and immobilized from a hit to the head. Prayers go out to you young man. I am going to go out on limb here and say that Oregon is even better this year without Chip Kelly.  Not only are they putting up those gaudy offensive numbers we have come to expect, they are holding solid teams to very few points.  This time they rained down fiddy nine on the SEC’s Tennessee Volunteers.
The BC faithful enjoying sunny California

Others – Boise State earned a solid victory over the low flying Air Force Falcons Friday night on the Blue with Joe “The Stash” Southwick connecting on 27 of 29 passes. Kellen Who? Army gave Stanford all it could handle at the Point surrendering 34 points to their 20.  In the Big Ten, Brady almost Ch-Hoked as Michigan was lucky, very lucky to come away with a win over the Zips of Akron. Notre Dame squeaks one out over the Boilermakers in a win reminiscent to many of their wins from last year. It’s about time Louisiana Tech honored its greatest Quarterback of all time on Thursday night during their game against Tulane. We have seen this guy’s face on TV for a number of years not on the field of play but in another capacity, and they finally showed him the respect that he deserves. That’s right I am talking about that guy with the quirky sense of humor, funny hairdo, unique personality…..that’s right you guessed it, the one the only, the Patriarch of Duck Dynasty himself, Phil Robertson. Some bald dude named Bradshaw was there too.
LA Tech's greatest QB and some dude named Bradshaw

R Lee Ermey Rant:


·         Smaller conferences have become completely irrelevant. We now have two tiers of Division 1 A FBS football. This was an intended consequence of the new playoff system and a carryover from the BCS sham. Yes, you heard me right the first time; Intended! You see, only the 6 Automatic Qualifying (AQ) conferences are guaranteed a shot at the new playoff season starting next year. The ACC, Big TEN, Big 12, PAC 12 and AAC are the gene poll winners here. The other four conferences: MAC, Mountain West, Conference USA and the Sun Belt lose out once again. There is any number of teams from each of these conferences that could knock off many of the bottom half of the “power conference” schools most years. Here are just a few examples:

o   Boise State (MWC) v. Kentucky (SEC)

o   Utah State (MWC) v Maryland (ACC)

o   Toledo (MAC) v Indiana (Big 10)

o   Tulsa (CON USA) v Kansas (Big 12)

o   BYU, Notre Dame and Navy could beat 50% of the power conference schools most years.

Don’t get me wrong, I love watching the power conference teams battle it out. However, there is some great football being played in these non AQ Conferences as well as the Independents. I have been to several MAC, Sun Belt and Conference USA conference games and a plethora of MWC games. I have been to all the Service Academies as well.  I would argue that the MWC has been on par with the ACC most years in the past decade and far better than the current AAC. Most years, teams such as  Boise, Utah State, Fresno State and San Diego State can play with those schools and have done so in the recent past. The PAC 12 and Big 12 adhered to the philosophy of “if you can’t beat em have them join you” by bringing Utah and TCU into their conferences and taking them from the MWC. 

A true solution is to give all conference champs a playoff spot and have 6 at large selections for a 16 team playoff. All other bowl eligible teams would still get their bowls. Otherwise, we might as well set up another level of NCAA Football called “D1 almost A” or “BCS Bowl Sub Par Division”. I have been ranting about this for years (See my December 2008 post).  There is no argument you can throw at me that I will not defeat and humiliate you by sticking up for the status quo.

Okay, my plan is nearly identical to the one sports writer Dan Wetzel proposed 5 years ago and the one in the book titled Death To The BCS: I proposed a 16 team playoff.  Today, after the regular season, only one game matters.  Next year only 2 games will matter. The rest are just beauty contest for the runners up. A 16 team playoff would make every game and every conference championship meaningful. So many teams would be vying for a playoff spot all the way through the season. Not only would this be fun for fans, the revenue would increase nearly tenfold. All playoffs would be played at the home stadium of the higher ranked team. Screw these venues that have no affiliation with college football. There is nothing better than a good campus game day atmosphere in the elements.

Public Service Announcement: Due to lack of participation, the weekly T shirt contest is being discontinued.

Next week the Tailgate will venture down to Fresno State for the Friday night game against Boise State. On Saturday we will be at Stanford for the ASU game.  Tickets were $6 on Stub hub, kind of hard to pass up.

Happy Tailgating