Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week 6 Under the Banner of Heaven and a winter storm

Tailgate update  - Business delivered the Tailgate to the Great Salt Lake State, the land of Big Love and  the Angel “Boney” Maroni affording me the opportunity to have multiple wives,……..errrrr I mean multiple games in a 24 hour span. Realistically, most of us can barely handle one wife, why would you want to be nagged at by more than that? In all seriousness, the Mormons are a very good group of folks that show respect to other people and the game of college football. I am just not very well versed in political correctness. Joining me Thursday night was UCLA Alum, Touchdown Tailgate Tony at the Yard ( for the Bruins versus The Utah Utes matchup in Salt Lake City. You ask what in the hell is a Ute? Let Vinny answer that for you:

Pre game festivities for the Tailgate were a first for me as we participated in a dash – gate, where all necessary elements of a tailgate are placed on the dashboard of your rental car. With hail and snowflakes falling we pulled into our parking stall and were joined by James son. James son provided the necessary warmth and comfort one would need to brave the elements that were in the air for the evening. With lots of laughs and TUI (Tailgating Under the Influence) dialing colleagues and friends, it was reminiscent of our High School days of cruising and boozing from the cozy confines of our automobile. Except we were parked and not operating a vehicle under the influence. We did get the opportunity to wander through the designated Tailgate Party lot and let me tell you, although limited in size the Ute Nation was partaking in traditional Tailgate rituals and were quite spirited and amped up for the big match.

Fired up at the fire truck.

Rice Eccles Stadium on the Campus of the University of Utah was built in 1998 and has a capacity of 45,000. The stadium was sold out and the Ute Faithful were pulling a blackout wearing all blacks. Our seats were in the sliver of the UCLA section in the far southwest sideline. The freak winter storm blew in just for us and made the playing conditions a little rough for the California boys.  Many were saying that the Prophet Joseph Smith had ordered up the wind and the rain to give his descendants a slight edge. Snow dusting the Wasatch range, the cold temperatures, the wind, and periodic drizzle would surely favor the homeboyz. The fan base was loud and passionate about their Utes. The student section, 6,000 strong known as MUSS (Mighty Utah Student Section) were eager in anticipation of an upset win. The match was tight throughout with neither team truly establishing themselves offensively.  The Utah QB Travis Wilson threw a horrendous six picks (not pick six) and the UCLA star QB Brett “Hot Rod” Hundley was not in Heisman throwing form either. With 3:30 to go in the game, Hundley ran it in from the 35 for a UCLA 10 point lead. Utah closed the gap with a field goal and nearly tied the game with a catch just outside the pylon in the end zone. Final score UCLA 34 -27.

Tony Soprano and Pauley Walnuts

The black out at Rice Eccles
 On Friday afternoon, I was scheduled to make the solo trek up to Logan, UT to watch the host Utah State Aggies take on perennial in state rival BYU. This would be another Tailgate first going solo to a game. Unfortunately, this blogger woke up with the sniffles and called an audible and flew back home Friday afternoon. Yes, I can hear the chatter now from the DFT audience, and well deserved I must concede. The deciding factor was that the next two weekends are too important to me to be on the IR and void the Clemson and Ole Miss home games due to my sniffles. So, I went home to Tailgate HQ and ordered chicken soup from Mrs. Tailgate and slipped into my Snuggie to wrap up in on the couch and act like a pathetic man with a cold. It was a good game to miss as BYU lambasted the Aggies and knocked their talented QB Chucky Keeton out for the season.

Me on Friday
 Saturday morning, now feeling remarkably better, I veered over to the People’s Republic  of Bezerkeley with K Squared and “Downtown” Gil Brown for a Deck Gate at the Paragon club of the historic Claremont Hotel to enjoy a few pre game IVs and vitamins. I think Lovey and Thurston Howell III and Mitt and Anne Romney were at the table next to us. I am told I don’t always have to be Danimal From the Tailgate, and partaking in more refined outings is good for my well roundedness. The view from the deck of the Paragon spanning the San Francisco Bay was spectacular with temps in the mid 70’s and not a cloud in the sky. People travel from around the world to get this postcard picture. This is highly recommended for a pre-game option at a Cal game. In fact, we were enjoying our festivities so much we missed the first quarter.

Lovey and Thurston being seated
What game?


The Cal bears were hosting the much improved Wazoo Cougars from the Palouse of Eastern Washington. It has been reported that Coach Leach is not allowed to have an equipment shed near the practice facilities for “teaching purposes”. Craig James should be quite smitten with that 411.  Memorial stadium was at 60% capacity as students and alumni chose to be elsewhere on this Chamber of Commerce day in in the Bay Area. We opted to not sit on the sunny side of the stadium in our assigned seats and poached more choice seats on the West side in the shade. The Cougs Junior QB Connor Halliday and Cal True Freshman QB Jarred Goff  threw for almost ¾ of a mile in an offensive explosion.  Cal’s Hardy Nickerson Jr. seemed to make every defensive play for the Bears in an otherwise lackluster performance. Cal’s youth, injuries and lack of effort led to another disappointing loss for the Bears as the Cougs left the PRB with a 42 – 22 win.

Cal Memorial half empty.
 Around the Country: Now there is nothing funny in the eyes of the Bama faithful about starting DB Ha- Ha Clinton Dix (real name) being suspended for accepting a loan over the summer from a strength coach. However, I find his name hilarious and he joins my all name team along with Munchie, Barkavious, Baccari, Rantavious, Pig and Pork Chop, and the 300 guys named Shack playing CFB. In a live look in at this week’s soap opera As the Longhorns Turn, Mack gets help from the zebras in Ames to keep his job, his Bestie and boss, AD Deloss Dodds announces he is resigning leaving Mack with no backup, Earl “skoal brother” Campbell sez Mack must go and former Texas great James Street heads for the big stockade in the sky. ESPN College Gameday nestled itself on the picturesque lake front Evanston, IL campus of Northwestern, Just a mere 10 miles from the murder capital of the world. Well-deserved for NW, as Coach Fitzgerald does things right much like Coaches Shaw at Stanford and Franklin at Vanderbilt. These are all highly prestigious academic institutions that are playing incredible football at the highest level even with their strict academic entrance requirements. The game of the week on the high turf in Evanston lived up to its billing. The smarty cats had the Buckeyes on the ropes throughout the game only to lose in the end by a final of 40 - 30.  However, the final 6 points scored by Urban’s boyz were on the last play of the game and were only to satisfy the odds makers in Vegas who had the Buckeyes by double digits. Stanford - Washington was an epic match of two West Coast heavyweights punching and counter punching  all night with the Cardinal being 3 points better. Is the SEC having a down year? You tell me. With lowly Tennessee and Pig Williams wearing their smoky gray unis nearly knocking off the mighty Georgia Bull Dawgs, one must question the legitimacy of their claim to the top conference title. After all didn’t that Duck team from the inferior Pac 12 put up 60 on Rocky Top? Didn’t Clemson from the dreadful ACC knock off the Dawgs when they were ‘fully healthy”? Inferior Miami chomping down on the Mighty Gators? Now to my SEC friends, don’t go all Fienbaum on me and declare jihad and have me checking the under carriage of my car with a mirror each morning. It is a legitimate question. This writer tends to think that the top 4 teams of the PAC 12 and ACC are every bit as good as the top SEC teams at this point.  Please comment below with your thoughts. Another misguided Irishman Kevin O’Connor came out on the wrong side of a bet with me when his Sun Devils flamed out against the Fighting Irish in Jerry World in the Big D. The other game in Dallas with the Brother’s Manor in attendance had Rutgers pulling out a triple OT win over the SMU Stangs. Randy Edsall proved that you need more than good politician hair to win against the Seminoles. Losing to Famous Jameis and the Noles is no dishonor.  Losing 63 - 0 when you are a top 25 team is an absolute disgrace! Recall Edsall now. Never mind, the Ford Motor Company already did that in 59 with their Edsel. I have to give props to Al Golden and the Canes for knocking off a good Georgia Tech team yesterday and going 5 - 0 for the first time since they took those fancy escort cruises with Nevin Shapiro aka “Captain Stubing” and the boyz last decade. Boomer Sooner kissed the Horn Frogs goodbye in Norman going to 5-0 and OK State gets back on track with a narrow win over K State in Stillwater. In the Military Academies, Navy sinks Air Force in Annapolis and Army is outgunned by BC in Chestnut Hill. No flyovers due to sequestration but it is comforting to know that Congress and the Senate keep their pensions intact. In Grand Rapids Michigan, Grand Valley State trounces Michigan Tech 49 - 3. Why did I post that random score you ask? Sis and her brats cooked some braaaaaaats and had a family tailgate at GVSU. Two of her little tailgaters attended these two schools.

Brainwashing is a crime

The Dork and the Doak at SMU.

Sis and her lil tailgaters
 This week’s Beiber Award - Beiber at the wall, I need not say anything. Just watch and enjoy.

R Lee Ermey Rant of the week “Backs against the wall”

Commentary – Declaring a National Champion

One of the obstacles that defenders of the status quo will throw at you when you state you want to get rid of the current bowl system or the hybrid +1 for next year is that it is tradition. They believe that a National Champion was always decided after New Year’s Day prior to the BCS “Shamogarchy”. Well they are just plain dead wrong and ill informed. Prior to 1965, all National Champions were determined by the competing AP & UPI polls after the regular season.  The Bowls including the then Big Four of the Rose, Sugar, Cotton and Orange were more ceremonial and celebratory to reward teams for having a good season. They did not determine the subjective crowning of a National champion. Yes, there were some obscure math systems that waited until after the Bowls to coronate their Kings, but they were not viewed as legitimate. In 1965 the AP (Associated Press) poll voted after the bowls crowning Alabama while the UPI (Coaches) voted at the close of the regular season tapping Michigan State and Bubba Smith as their Champ. The AP went back to the old way for 2 years until 1968 when they permanently went with a post Bowl game decision. The UPI finally got on board in 1974 and waited until after New Year’s day to pull their dangling chads for a tally. So from 1974 until 1995 when the BCS was rolled out, you had your post Bowl Game champions decided.  Hell I have been around a lot longer than 20 years,  which is a mere cow’s belch in a stockyard in the big scheme of Father Time.

After the BCS was created there still was no single BCS Championship game. For the first 12 years, on a rotating basis one of the four BCS Bowl venues (Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta) would get the Championship game.  They would not have a separate bowl on top of that as it is today. It was not until 2007 when the current system went into place. So hopefully, the investigative reporting from the crack DFT team has enlightened you and will allow you to think a little differently.

Next weekend the Tailgate will be in Clemson South Carolina joining the Matriarch of the Tailgate family Patricia, BC Barney, Brother Brian and BC Pops and his crew for the BC- Clemson game. The Tailgate is very much looking forward to this experience as Death Valley, SC has been on the bucket list for a long time.

Happy tailgating !


FLAME OUT? I think not. The Sun Devils put on a very entertaining show at the Jerry Dome and had they not come out in the 3rd quarter failing to compete with the Frightin Irish they would have won the game. The statistics favored the Devils as they outgained the Irish 427-424. While Captain Tailgate was getting over his "sniffles" Lot 11 in Jerryville was packed with hardy ASU Alums, battling the 52 degree mist outside the spaceship built by Jerry (and I suspect Sir Richard Branson). We enjoyed Texas sized staples of "Babes" Fried Chicken, Frito Pies, and lots of Shiner Bock (thats manly beer for the Californians that have never enjoyed real beer). Joining us at our tailgate was non other than the self proclaimed "Mayor" of Casa Grande Arizona, Barrister Red Fitzgibbons and his son that could be John Belushi's twin. We also were treated to a visit by some strange looking Leprechauns appeared to have a wee bit of a crush on my nephews. 

 The Mayor has offered to host a tailgate at Sun Devil stadium next season. Perhaps November 8th, 2014 when the Sun Devils will get their revenge against the Irish?

Once inside the "toasty" Jerry Dome, we were treated to a terrific game by both the Irish and the Sun Devils. The game was back and forth until Notre Dame's Dan Fox picked off an ill advised Taylor Kelly pass from deep in Sun Devil territory putting the Irish up by 10 with 1:08 to go. Any of you that have not been to AT&T stadium should get there at least once. It is truly an amazing place to watch a ballgame. As for the Sun Devil fans, we will be ready for Notre Dame next year and perhaps after that DFT will put the Sun Devils into the "vote for your favorite team" along with the mighty Frostburg State.....WHAT????

Kevin O'Connor