Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week 11 - Happy Veteran's Day

First of all I would like to thank all Veterans and Active Duty Military Members for serving our Country. It was nice to see so many Universities taking the extra steps to honor our Nation’s finest heroes this weekend. 

Northwestern's tribute unis for the Military
 Boomer Sooner – As our offspring enter into the ritual of leaving the nest for their four year journey of brainwashing by idealistic scholars and distinguished academia, it is necessary to provide guidance in choosing the proper institution. With my first born, that ritual occurred over three years ago landing her on the blue smurf turf of Boise State. That has turned out to be an outstanding selection by all accounts. With daughter number two enjoying her senior year of high school, we have spent countless hours, dollars, and nights of lost sleep in helping her choose the right path. Regardless of her initial desire to play division 1 college soccer and attend a school with the most rigorous academic curriculum, we had to help guide her in the perfect fit for me…I mean her. In young number 2’s case (her real number on the field is #3 and she is # 1 in the hearts of her fans!) the choice was simple. She was accepted by and will attend Oklahoma University in the fall of 2014 and become a Sooner.  Let’s review the selection criteria: 

Good Football Program
Good Tailgating
Good Football Program
Good Tailgating
Good Football Program
Good Tailgating

So as you can see, Oklahoma University met the strenuous 6 criterion that constitutes a proper education for young # 2. In addition to my criteria it has an outstanding  Journalism program  which she will be majoring in. So, the Tailgate is looking forward to attending such rituals as the Red River Rivalry and Bedlam starting in the fall of 2014. This is not new territory for the Tailgate as there was a time when I was based in the Sooner state working for Uncle Sugar. The Tailgate attended numerous games during that era when Barry “Mink Coat” Switzer was running the show and Brian Bosworthless was roiding up for his pregame ritual. There is also some divisiveness that this selection has created, as Mrs. Tailgate and Grand Dad Tailgate attended rival Oklahoma State. We will have our own family version of Bedlam around the Thanksgiving dinner table. Oh and of course, I look good in Sooner red. 

Boomer Sooner Baby Girl!
 Tailgate Update – I was in the land of Swamp People once again for work this week on bidness.  As such, Thursday night while most of the country was tuning into the Baylor – OU and Stanford – Oregon games, the Tailgate attended the best game of the night:  A Sun Belt Conference classic taking place in Lafayette, LA between the University of Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns and the Troy University Trojans at RC Field.  It was pointed out to me that ULL as it is known by outsiders, simply likes to be called UL. The area of the state where Lafayette is located, is known locally as Acadiana. Famous alumni include Brian Mitchell and Jake Delhomme. Joining me was first time DFTer Quent “Q Dawg” Hanna and his Cajun buddy “Tailgating” Travis Carter who we kidnapped from the asylum for the day. Rajin Cajun Field was built in 1970 and current seating capacity is approximately 31,000 with a hill in each end zone for additional numbers.  There are plans in the near future for upgrading the facility and increasing capacity further. The stadium sits in a bowl mostly below ground and is surrounded by ample parking lots for pre-game tailgating. The venue is known as “The Swamp”. I think some of the stars from Swamp People were spotted air boating through the lot pre game hunting gator.

UL Ragin Cajun Fans
 Pre game festivities consisted of a free Tailgate put on by a local business that served phenomenal meat products: Andouille Sausage, beef brisket, Chili dogs and frito pie. I also was introduced to a fantastic smeat product called Bouidin (pronounced Bo- Dan). A traditional French – Cajun boudin may only contain pork meat, fresh whole eggs and milk, and cannot contain any bread crumbs or flours. Ample beverages were flowing, a Cajun band was rocking out, the marching band, cheerleaders and players all made their way through the tailgate lot to add to the elements. The atmosphere was very festive for a week night game.  ESPNU televised the match and the school called for a white out so we obliged and purchased white Rajin Cajun shirts to go incognito. Not Richie incognito, more on that later. 


Another first for the Tailgate, a sideline Press Pass! Tailgate Travis’s friend Troy Wingerter is the Director of Football Operations for UL.  He set us up nicely to watch the game from the Cajun’s sideline.  What an incredible experience.  We were able to spend time with Troy prior to the game and got his perspective on the game and the program. 
Travis, Troy and some bald dude
Once the game began, Travis, feeling his liquid courage, became Coach Travis rooting on the boys vigorously, slapping their shoulder pads when they came off the field, shagging errant balls that rolled out of bounds, strategizing with the strength coach, revving up the crowd, doing some sort of ritual that resembled a dance, shouting at referees and even riding the players stationary bike!  The man was fired up. Don’t worry, we returned him safely to his padded walls later that night.

Show those moves ole boy

Notice the law looking on at him

 UL is coached by rising star Mark Hudspeth who in three years has completely turned the culture of the program around. The year prior to his arrival the Cajuns had lost 9 games. In his first two years, Hudspeth led his team to consecutive 9 win seasons including two bowl game victories.  Rumor has it that if Les Miles down in Baton Rouge gets run out of town, Hudspeth would be on the short list to fill his shoes. Both teams are known for explosive offenses but defenses that give up ground as if Sherman himself were cutting a swath through them. UL came into the game with a 6-2 record good enough for first place in the Sun Belt. The teams did not disappoint. UL raced out to a first quarter lead of 21 - 6 . The second quarter had the men of Troy climbing back into the game with a flurry.  At halftime the score was 35 - 26 .
With Cayenne the Mascot

During the halftime festivities, UL honored all Veterans and active duty Warriors.  A two star General from the Louisiana Guard honored a wounded Afghanistan War veteran and his wife at mid field. I was fortunate to shake hands with the General on the sideline. When the marching band played our branches’ song, we were encouraged to stand up. So we did, on the player’s bench, removing our caps to expose our beacons of baldness for 25,000 people to witness.  It was a very moving moment. They even had fireworks to commemorate the occasion. I think Travis served on the Merrimac in the War of Northern Aggression! 

God bless America

Each team traded punches in the second half with UL finally stopping Troy on fourth down on their last drive. Final score UL 46 – Troy 40. Great atmosphere, great game, high on any Tailgater’s D1 A mid major must see list.  As I stated earlier in the season, there is some great football being played in conferences like the Sun Belt, MAC, Con USA and MWC. I speak the gospel on this matter. This is why the monopoly of the five power conferences needs to be blown up with the implementation of something more like March Madness, the greatest playoff format of any sport in the world.

Dan and Q Dawg on the field

Larry, Moe and Curly

On Saturday, the Tailgate totally redeemed itself and pulled off the previously cancelled Men of Laurelglen and Friends Tailgate. San Jose State was hosting the Aztecs from San Diego State on Saturday night at 7:30 Pacific.   

Although I have been to Spartan Stadium numerous times here is a little history on it I need to convey: Spartan stadium was built in 1933 with an original capacity of just 4,000 seats. It currently holds 31,00 rear ends and unfortunately it rarely ever sells out. Construction will be under way soon for the new Vermiel - Walsh Athletic Center being built into the north end zone that will provide state of the art football facilities. San Jose State is the oldest public institution in California and has had a rich history in football. In the mid 1970’s trough the 80’s, I am told by the locals that SJSU had some fantastic teams in the old Pacific Coast Athletic Association and Big West conferences. Former coach Jack Elway and players Dick Vermeil, Bill Walsh and Swervin Mervin Fernandez are just a few names of note to have graced the sidelines at Spartan Stadium.

 The Tailgate was up and running by 3:15 PM. Smoked brisket and ribs that were underway at 4:30 AM slow cooking for the day were served along with spirits and suds and other sides. Our Band of Brothers was 13 strong. More food and beverages then we ever assembled at SJSU. New Iron Chef Craiggy Flay will cook for all future SJSU shindigs. The eleven pounds of brisket was out of this world.  Not a crumb was spared. Tailgate Theater was assembled for other games to be viewed (mainly Bama – LSU). 
Tailgate Theater
The chef carving up the kill
Our team recruiter “The Gutty Little Bruin” was quite successful in enticing over 500 coeds to come and challenge the AARP flip cup team over and over again.  We won some we lost some, but we played the game with honor, dignity and a bit of creepiness. He even attempted several arranged marriages between Shrek and his potential Fiona to no avail. Sparty and the Cheerleaders visited our Tailgate numerous times. Tickets were provided courtesy of the SJPD and the game was also free for all Veterans. 

Love those Spartans

The gutty little Bruin and his new pal

Don't you spill girl

Shrek tipping one back

Watch the veteran carefully

Band of Brothers
 The attendance was large by SJSU standards with 18,000 well lubed fans rocking the house. San Jose came into the game needing one more win to become Bowl eligible with a 5-3 record.  The Aztecs were  at an even 4 - 4. San Jose raced out to an early lead over SDSU behind the arm of David “Never” Fales. Sparty went into halftime holding a 20 – 12 lead. The second half was a different story as the Aztecs took advantage of the SJSU corners repeatedly who clearly need to learn how to tackle, especially #21 Bene Benwikere who was abused more than Tammy Faye’s makeup artist. The Aztecs scored 22 second half points and left the Silicon Valley with a 34 - 30 victory. 

Abuse of the cruelest kind

Are those ear muffs? Potential Beiber award candidate
  Around the country - two of the biggest draws of the week were played out Thursday night featuring a Baylor Bear butt thumping of my soon to be Sooners in Waco, TX. This will now be known as the Mistako in Waco. Baylor passed its first real test of the season with flying colors by besting the #10 Sooners 41 - 12. With the Ducks being slaughtered on the Farm in Palo Alto by the politically correct Cardinal (FKA Indians) and Hogan’s Heroes, the BCS picture was thrown for a loop. No more Duck Dynasty in the PAC 12. Baylor moves into the frame along with Ohio State, Florida State, Alabama and one loss Stanford. The other marquee matchup pitted the serious Nick Saban and defending National Champion Alabama against that grass chewing hat wearing affable dude Les Miles and his LSU Tigers. Bama, as was predicted by most pundits won relatively easy by this rivalry’s  standards.  If FSU stays unblemished, we could be looking at an incredible National Championship matchup. 

Elsewhere UCLA wins a close one over Rich Rod and the Wildcats down in the desert. Taylor Kelly and the Sun Devils pitched a W in the Wasatch Mountains against those pesky Utes. Fresno State stays perfect with a lassoing of the Wyoming Cowboys.  Johnny Turnover throws 5 TD’s but is picked more than the zits on his face, nonetheless the Aggies ring the Cow pies from Starkville 51- 41. Three mild upsets of the day: Pitt Panthers claw out a win in the fight with the Irish, Hokie nation shuts down Hurricane season early, and Kansas State and their Octogenarian coach best the Red Raiders and their Metro GQ coach showing once again that age is before beauty.

Auburn crushes Rocky Top and Mizzou rolls one in the Blue Grass State. OK State pushes Charlie Front Butt one step closer to a new career and the Cornhuskers belittle their hosts in the Big House. The Gophers win another one for Coach Kill and the Badgers out claw the Cougars at Camp Randall.

Beiber Award
goes to the National Media and especially the pundits at ESPN for being Judge and Jury on Miami Dolphin Richie Incognito and crucifying him without having any facts other than hearsay. I am not saying Richie is a choir boy, in fact he could also be eligible for a future Bieber Award if he takes his  shirt off in a bar again and rants like an idiot. Richie is an animal with overflowing testosterone and possibly some PEDs, but he is a football player. There is a culture in football that doesn’t fit the world’s politically correct perception of the little needle nosed nerds of the media that they will never understand. In fact they don’t get the culture of most sports behind the scenes. What is most disturbing is the witch hunt that ESPN and guys like Tom Jackson spearheaded.  Jackson played the game for a long time in the NFL.  He accused Incognito of being a racist and a bully and going too far in regards to Jonathan Martin. Most people don’t condone calling another person a racially insensitive name, but I know for a fact this stuff goes on in jest both ways behind the scenes in sports. Even his black teammates stated the guy is not a racist. Tom Jackson, please step forward and take a freakin bow if you have never used a racial or sexually insensitive term toward someone.  Crickets, that’s what I thought. Get over it people and stop being a bunch of girls about it. Football is a man sport. It is not to be handled with kid gloves. This sport is violent and dangerous. It is the modern day gladiator arena, and that is why it is so revered in the U.S.  Jonathan Martin broke the code and went crying to the media and his parents that he was being bullied and couldn’t hack it. This is akin to a kid involving his Mommy to step in for him in a school yard altercation. This is simply the kiss of death for any kid to ever be considered “Cool”.  Same goes for Martin. He may never play the game again.  Incognito was a leader on the Dolphins and was in his own way trying to toughen the kid up. The Dolphins should also be ashamed for suspending him and cowing to the media on this issue. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of bullying and am not defending it. I am a victim of daily bullying myself as I am intimidated and mentally tortured by my house of estrogen. I am forced to take the trash out daily against my will. I am told there will be repercussions if I leave the toilet seat up. I am ostracized for making certain noises. I have to ask for a weekly allowance. But, I keep this in house and choose to deal with it silently.

Coaches’ Hot seat – With the season starting to wind down, the annual coaching carousel is upon us. We have already had several in season regime changes with the most recent being the EMU coach for saying the same thing Jeff Spicoli said in Fast Times at Ridgemont High calling his players a bunch of Fags! 
Hey Bud, what's your problem?
Here is my list of those that are under fire and could be using an EBT card next fall: Bo “The Nose” Pellini – Nebraska, Mac “The Knife” Brown – Texas, Will “ I AM Not” Muschump – Florida, Dan “Moon” Mullens – Mississippi State, Charlie “Cheeseburger” Weiss - Kansas,  Rich “Hit the dusty trail” Ellerson – Army and  Norm “See you later” Chow – Hawaii.

Next Week – The Tailgate will make a mid-week stop to Kent Sate for their Wednesday night game against Miami of Ohio. On Saturday, the Tailgate will possibly return to the State of Alabama to indulge in the Auburn culture as War Eagle hosts Georgia. Good buddy Alabama Al now considers me a trader for collaborating with the enemy.

Happy Tailgating!