Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week 13 - All the leaves are brown

As Jennifer Lawrence got over her uh uh uh uh gas problem prior to the release of “Catching Fire” (thank goodness), there was serious pigskin being played around the nation. But first on a more somber note, this was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. As it turns out, JFK was quite the College Football fan and was known to be in the hip pocket of the Navy football team led by Roger Staubach in 63. He was a Naval Academy graduate and felt a close affection for that team. There was a book written titled President’s Team by Michael Connelly regarding this subject.

The King of Camelot making sure the coin toss goes Navy's way
While most of the country was under an extreme cold snap, shoveling snow and wearing their parkas, the Tailgate was concerned about finding sun screen and staying hydrated. A few of my friends had something to say about it:


Friday night found the Tailgate in the familiar confines of the Stadium lot at San Jose State.  Joining the Tailgate were Rowdy Randy Habrl and Ken from Ken and Barbie fame.  A great pre game tailgate we had here, with Sis’s beer brats, red hots, beans, bourbon and beer! My ears are still ringing from Disco Jonny across from us in the lot sharing his noise with all to hear via his gang banger speakers at F-18 fighter jet decibel levels. As usual the Cheerleaders stopped in to say hi and spread their cheer.  A former SJSU All American from the early 70’s visited our tent as well as a group of Navy fans adjacent to us. As a matter of fact Rowdy Randy made friends with about anyone who walked by so we met all kinds of new peeps.

Ken and Rowdy Randy living out a fantasy
The boys manning the shop

Burning up animal product
 Navy dropped anchor at Spartan Stadium and would do battle with the Spartans on this beautiful California night in the city of invention. The crowd was almost half Navy with 17,000 in attendance. The game itself was a three overtime thriller with both offenses racking up massive yardage.  SJSU’s golden boy QB David Fales threw for over 400 yards and 5 TDs. Navy QB Keenan Reynolds ran for 240 of his team’s 432 yards on the ground. The second half had numerous lead changes and momentum shifts as each team would trade off go ahead scores. With 9 minutes to go, Ken who happens to be a Cal season ticket holder got a text from Barbie insisting he come home now to take her shopping. We told him this is not a Cal game, we actually stay to the end because this is what competitive football looks like. Humiliated, he stayed to avoid further ridicule from the Spartan crowd. The difference in the end being that SJSU had no answer for Navy’s potent triple option offense. Navy wins 58 -52.

Saturday morning we vacated DFT HQ and rolled over to Palo Alto for the “Big Lame” between Cal and Stanford. This would be the 113th time these two rivals met on the gridiron. Barbie let Ken out for the second Day in a row and his handler Downtown Gilly Brown was in the entourage. Tomato juice product was sampled along with a very brief Tailgate. Stanford stadium, originally built in 1921 was demolished after the 2005 season and was completely rebuilt in 10 months. It had been one of the biggest dumps of all the college stadiums. It is now one of the nicest stadiums in the country.  Everyone has a real seat, not a bench and there is not a bad view in the house. Current capacity is 50,000. That being said we happened to have tickets in the same row as the weeble family who did not want to share space with us. The game was a lopsided blowout with Stanford winning 63 -13. Stanford’s Ty Montgomery scored 5 touchdowns in the first half helping the Cardinal climb back into Rose Bowl consideration.

Ken and Gilly hosting a true Tailgate
The Entourage

Around the Country – In MACtion on Wednesday night, NIU and the Lynch Mob hung up big points on Toledo and stays perfect for the year. In Conference USA action, another smart school is quietly having a great year; the Rice Owls. Who gives a hoot one might ask? Well I do and let’s give them props as they beat UAB for their 8th win of the year. In the Mountain West Fresno State and the Carr Show breaks bad with a win over Heisenberg and Pinkman’s boys from the ABQ. Did anyone see the UNLV game at Colorado Springs on Thursday night? Had to be the coldest looking game of the year. Brace yourself folks, with that win the Running Rebs are bowl eligible. Yes I said the Running Rebs. Only a few brave cadets managed to stick around to watch.  In the American conference, the Cincinnati Tubbervilles get the best of the Cougars from the Lone Star State for their 9th win of the year. Teddy Bridge “over troubled” water and the Louisville Cards barely beat the lowly Memphis Tigers.

On to the power conferences: In ACC action apparently infamous Jameis Winston had an ineligible receiver down field and a yellow flag will be thrown at him shortly. Yes, I hear about the timing of this accusation being suspect, and it is. Nonetheless, if these charges are true he has the movie The Longest Yard to look to for inspiration. Mean machine, Mean Machine! I guess FSU does in fact stand for Felonious State University just like the old days. However, Rape is a lot more serious than some of the crap they got away under Warden Bowden. The Tailgate will not judge this kid just yet. We will let the legal system play this one out. 

Jameis Sandler?
In the ACC on field action, Duke notches their 9th win of the year against Wake and BC sez “Fear the Eagle” in College Park against Edsel’s Turtles. DFT loyalists were at that game repping both teams. 
Fear the TerpEagle!
Out on the left coast, Oregon doesn't fare well in the desert climate as Ka’Deem Carey and the Cats drowned the ducks 42 -16. Duck Soup for the losers Soul? ASU takes control of the PAC 12 south with a hard fought victory over those gutty little Bruins in Pasadena. UCLA said you don’t know Jack and ASU said we don’t care to, holding Miles to a pedestrian 86 yards.  Let’s give an atta boy to that lecherous Leach in the Palouse for making the Cougars Bowl Eligible after only 2 years at the helm of one of the worst teams over the last decade. Leach and the Cougs took the Utes to the Wood shed….. err equipment shed? 

ESPN College Gameday made its way to Mrs. Tailgate’s Alma Matter on Saturday. It has been said that one should never poke the bear.  The Dancing Gundys of Stillwater did not heed that advice as they poked and poked and poked and ultimately humiliated the previously 3rd ranked Bears on the plains of Oklahoma 49 -17. Coach Briles was given an Art lesson that he will never forget. That song by John Denver about “Almost Heaven” just really irks the hell out of the Cowpoke faithful even more now. Remember the massacre in Morgantown?  Oh hell, just teach me how to Gundy would you?

Lauren Lu a Sooner in disguise spying on Ok State

In the Big Ten on the frozen tundras, Wisconsin Kills Jerry and the Gophers and Iowa rallies from 2 scores down to deliver the Wolverines another L at Kinnick stadium.  It will be Ohio State and Michigan State in the Big Ten Ship in 2 weeks.  Down South in the SEC, FCS school Georgia Southern swamps the Florida Gators in the swamp making Will Muschump the odds on Vegas favorite to be the first SEC firing of the year. Johnny Drama ate lots of Tiger grass in Baton Rouge as the Bayou Bengals delivered a big bowl of shut your mouth soup to the A&M Aggies. Mizzou goes into the Grove down in Oxford and comes away with the win and the SEC East title in their sights. In the war of theology, the Catholics’ prayers were answered as the Novena proves to be more powerful than the looking glass of Joe Joe Smiddy. Deciphered this means Notre Dame beats BYU.

Bieber award - goes to DeAnthony Thomas of Oregon, AKA The Black Mamba. Just two weeks ago he ran his mouth and said the Ducks would put up 40 or more on Stanford. Not sure that worked out very well for him. This past week Mr. Mamba was quoted saying that the Ducks are not interested in the Rose Bowl. “Been there done that” he said.  Well guess what BM, your wish is granted. Have fun at the Godaddy instead of the Granddaddy of them all.  Be careful what you wish for, it's all about perspective.
Snoop Doggy Deanthony

This week – The Tailgate will join forces with the Iorio clan to host the biannual Notre Dame  - Stanford Tailgate down on the farm in Palo Alto.

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Week 12 - War Damn Eagle!

Tailgate Update – On a cold blustery night in Northeast Ohio, I along with just a few other brave souls ventured to snow dusted Kent State University to witness the lowly Golden Flashes take on the even lowlier Miami of Ohio Redhawks (FKA Redskins) in a MAC conference contest. Kent State University is best known nationally for the incident on May 4th, 1970 when the Ohio National Guard fired on a group of radical college protestors wounding nine and killing four. CSNY later released a song titled Four Dead in Ohio that further memorialized the events of that fateful day.


I was able to do the May 4th Memorial Walk on campus prior to the game. It was a seminal moment in our nation’s history at the peak of the counter culture movement during the Vietnam War. Protestors and professional poop disturbers gathered to demonstrate against President Nixon’s recent admission of invading the nation of Cambodia.  During a four day long protest, the demonstrators had set the campus ROTC building on fire and rampaged through downtown Kent. The Governor called in the National Guard at the behest of the mayor of Kent. On Day 4 of the protests, 28 members of the Guard fired 60+ rounds from their M1 rifles striking 13 people of which four would die. Many view the Kent State incident as the day the Vietnam War came home and was also the flashpoint for the Watergate scandal and ultimately Nixon’s resignation.

The iconic Kent State photograph
Both Kent State and Miami have produced a number of NFL stars and future HOFers, none bigger than Jack Lambert from Kent and Ben Roethlisberger from Miami. Kent was coming off of the MAC conference championship and a Bowl appearance last year; however they along with Miami have been mired in a tough season. Not much of a Tailgate as the subfreezing temps kept even the heartiest of Ohio fans indoors for the 8 PM kickoff. I engaged in text gating with friends and family as I popped open a couple of icy cold 40s in my rental wagon in the stadium lot. This way it ensured I was not pre gaming it alone. 

The saddest attempt at Tailgating yet
Dix Stadium was opened for business in 1969 and currently seats 25,000. I question that stat as it is one of the smallest Division 1 A (FBS) stadiums I have been in.  Or maybe it was the fact that there were less than 2,000 fools joining me on Senior Night for the Golden Flashes. Heck probably half the crowd were the families of the players. Nonetheless, it was an entertaining game as Miami gave Kent everything they had in the first half. That was the problem, they should have saved some of it for half two! Kent State has a nice running game with a power back and a speedster sharing the carries. Kent ended up winning 24-6. I had the pleasure of talking with an 81 year old super fan named Clay who attends all the Golden Flashes’ home games. He was the other guy in the stands along with me.

Kent State's stadium

Big Crowd

Frozen Blogger

The main event for the Tailgate was perhaps the game of the year in Auburn on Saturday. The Tigers (War Eagle) were facing off in the South’s oldest rivalry against them Dawgs from Athens, Georgia.  This would be the 120th time the two have squared off. I was joined for the weekend by my college roommate  Chip “Supersize Me” Hayden.  Much to the chagrin of his wife, he was allowed to come out and play for the weekend. The planning and communication in arranging  Chip’s weekend pass was much like the poor guy in the State farm commercial talking to Jake in his Kakis on the other end:

After a night of philosophizing, sampling distilled spirits and regaling each other with exaggerated tales of our lost glory and youth, complimented by a UFC cage match in the hotel room, we arose to the noise of jackhammers in our heads. There is a reason most sane souls avoid their roommates from college as they mature. We rolled into Auburn and stopped at a pub called 1716, named after the score of one of the most famous Auburn victories over Bama in 1972. The Tigers were down 16 – 3 when they blocked 2 successive punts and returned them for scores to win 17 -16. We would be meeting up with our Tailgate Host Doctor Matt Sheffield shortly, but taking his medical advice we engaged in a bloody mary revival session at 1716. Our situations improved dramatically. 

Doc and his crew have been tailgating in the same spot for years and have a wonderful catered spread brought in. The funny thing is, Doc is a UGA alumni but his daughter is an Auburn student now, and his high school kids will be attending both schools next fall. Talk about a house divided. The chow line included jambalaya, chicken wings, steak and chicken sliders, meatballs and about 20 other things I can’t pronounce.  Of course no Southern Tailgate is complete without bourbon that was provided by Doc’s brother in law Anderson. Doc had told me that “you know Dan, Tailgating is an art form in the SEC.” Word! Heck, they write books about this stuff. The campus was amazingly festive as there were tailgate tents set up on every piece of grass available as far as the eye could see. Music playing and chants of “War Eagle” could be heard at every gathering. This is one of those perfect unfettered Tailgate campuses without storm troopers making revelers miserable. 
Dan, Doc, Chip & Anderson

Auburn has a tradition rich history in football with two national titles, numerous SEC championships, three Heisman trophy winners and too many All Americans to count.  The two most famous football alumni are Cam Newton and Bo Jackson. Okay on a mere technicality of earning a diploma, Cam Cam is not officially an alumnus. 

We scored tickets from a fine upstanding young entrepreneur in front of legendary Jordan Hare stadium. Our seats were west side upper deck on the 10 yard line. Jordan Hare is named after legendary Auburn coach Shug Jordan and Clifford Hare who was a member of Auburn’s first football team. The cathedral was built in 1939 and has a seating capacity of 87,000+. It is as beautiful of a stadium on the inside as I have ever been too. Auburn has an incredible tradition where they release a live Eagle in the upper deck of the stadium fifteen minutes before kickoff. The Eagle soars around the stadium and lands in the middle of the logo at midfield with 87,000 people all chanting “War Eagle” upon the landing. The faithful were charged up for the 2:40 PM Central time kickoff. Both bands at full strength were belting out tune after tune. One Tiger fan behind us blurted out “I’d rather have an aneurysm than be from Georgia!” That should give you an idea of how serious these folks take their football in the SEC. This would be a game for the ages.
Where's Waldo err Baldo?
In Jordan Hare Stadium
Auburn quickly took control of the game and dominated both sides of the ball in the first half. Georgia QB Aaron Murray and All World running back Todd Gurley were rendered completely ineffective. Auburn took a 27 - 10 lead into the locker room. The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter and then things got interesting, very interesting. Georgia behind the aforementioned  Murray and Gurley and a rejuvenated defense made a ferocious comeback. With 1:49 left in the game, on 4th and goal Murray scored on a controversial go ahead touchdown.  You could feel the air being sucked out of the stadium. Georgia now had a 38 -37 lead. The obnoxious Georgia fan wearing his womanly visor five rows in front of us was just having a grand old time now.  However, he forgot there was still ample time on the clock. Auburn, with their backs against the wall on fourth down from their own 27 yard line had their prayers answered. What is now known as the Immaculate Deflection or the Prayer in O’Hare, Auburn QB Nick Marshall released a poorly thrown ball down field into double-coverage. Two Georgia defenders deflected the ball up in the air only to have it snatched up by streaking Auburn receiver Ricardo Louis for a 73 yard touchdown.  The eruption in Jordan Hare could be measured on the Richter scale.  Visor boy was suddenly quiet. 
And those twins!!!!!

The twins behind us in unison with the band started singing Bon Jovi’s   Living On A Prayer.  Did I say “And those Twins”? Georgia had one last shot only to be denied by Auburn. Final score: Auburn 43 – Georgia 38. 


As is the Auburn tradition after a win, we headed to Toomer’s  Corner where the students toss toilet paper into the old oak tree. However the tree is no longer there (Thank you Mr. Updyke) so they rolled anything else they could in the vicinity of where the tree once stood.   

Around the Country - On Wednesday night while I was chilling at Kent, the nation got to see Northern Illinois and their star QB Jordan Lynch match up against Ball State in a MAC conference heavyweight fight. Jordan Lynch is the real deal and NIU deflated Ball in the final set to win by 21. In Death Valley, SC on Thursday night, the Clemson Tigers put up a double nickel on the Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech. Friday night, UCLA was impressive in reining in the Huskies in the Rose Bowl. If you have not seen the latest sensation, check out two way UCLA freshman Miles Jack. The kid is a beast. These were all fantastic week night games leading into the main act of College Football Saturday. On to Saturday in the ACC, Duke upsets Miami for their 8th win of the year. Duke takes control of the ACC Coastal Division with the win. Will we see the Cameron Crazies grace the gridiron now? Cutcliffville perhaps in Durham? BC becomes Bowl eligible with a win over NC State and the Terps knock off VA Tech in a mild upset. In PAC 12 action, USC upsets a lethargic Stanford in the Coliseum. Pat Haden, please take Coach Ogre’s resume seriously.  He has the men of Troy playing ball again. Arizona State bedevils the Beavers with their 8th win of the year. The Ducks bounce back with a paddling of the Utes.

In Big 12 action, the Oklahoma State Cowboys lasso the Steers from Austin in grand fashion. Baylor outshoots the Texas Tech Red Raiders 63 -34 in Jerry World. In the Big Ten, Sparty goes to 9-1 by shucking the Huskers. These boys can play some defense. Ohio State continues to roll over the lowly Illini. I say lowly because the Illini Student section could not even complete the letter I in the stands:
Pretty sad sight for the Illini
 Down in the SEC Bama slugs it out in Stark Vegas with a pedestrian 20 -7 win over the other Bulldogs. The Gamecocks and the Ole Head Ball Coach score another win against his alma mater and former employer from the Swamp. Boise wins their final home game of the year setting themselves up for a rematch with Fresno State in the conference Championship next month. Teddy Ballgame and the Cards shutdown the Cougs from Houston in an AAC brawl.

Beiber Award –for no other reason than the sheer ridiculousness of the dude’s rug in the picture below. Unfortunately I think Mr Updyke from Bama also poisoned this guys roots and this is what he is left with. As I was getting chilly,  I thought about snatching it off of his head and wearing it to warm up a bit.

Dude, there is something crawling on your head.
Next week the Tailgate will drop anchor at San Jose State for their battle against Navy Friday night.

Congarats to Joey Kernan of Hamden Sydney for wining their big rivalry game against Randolph Macaon
 Happy Tailgating!