Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 2 - Knowledge is Good

Tailgate Update
The Tailgate checked off another iconic stadium by making its way to Eugene, Oregon for the most anticipated non-conference match up of the year between the Ducks and the Michigan State Spartans. Most would believe that it was the magic and noise of Autzen Stadium that drew me to the Willamette Valley on Saturday, but it is much deeper than that for me. You see, in 1978 a young impressionable 15 year old boy was greatly influenced by one of the greatest classics of all time, National Lampoon’s Animal House. What does this have to do with Duck football you ask? The University of Oregon Campus was used as the fictional Faber College in the great cinema masterpiece. A large amount of the personality of that 15 year old boy today is nothing more than plagiarized lines from classic movies, with Animal House being one of his most quoted.  Who was that boy you ask?  Well, let’s just say Mrs. Tailgate has him on double secret probation in perpetuity when she discovered she married a fraud and not an original.

Our Tailgate crew at Faber
 I was joined this weekend by my faithful sidekick, Brother Brian “Rain Man” Donnelly and our nephew “Always Late for the Tailgate Nate from Michigan State.” As usual, Nate, an MSU Junior cut his travel razor close missing his connection AGAIN and getting into town on game day instead of the day prior as scheduled. Apparently his connection in Seattle left before his arrival from Detroit. Thus, he was Sleepless in Seattle Friday night awaiting an early Saturday departure.

ESPN College Gameday navigated its way to the Oregon plains for the 9th time in fourteen years. People thought Lewis and Clarke were studs for making it out here just once! Some folks have no clue. To pay homage to the great explorers Corso, Herbie, Fowler and Desmond we made our way over to Dean Wormer’s Faber College in the morning and were able to catch the last thirty minutes of the festivities. We met the guys that wave the Wazoo flag at every Gameday and learned this is the 149th straight game day that someone from their group has represented the Palouse. We even caught a close up glimpse of the great Sam Ponder. Corso put the Duck head on for his winning pick and the fans went redneck crazy.
DFT Crew at Gameday

The lovely Sam Ponder

The Wazoo Crew

The Sparty States of America?

I must admit, I was preconditioned to not like the Oregon football fans. They are known throughout the PAC 12 as the nuevo riche of college football having only recently becoming relevant. I had run-ins with a few Duck Jerseys during road games in the Bay Area that were not the most pleasant conversations. We also talked to others who had rough experiences with Duck fans. However, I could not have been more wrong as we found the Duck nation extremely friendly and hospitable to us outsiders. The Trusheim family who spent over an hour with us at our tailgate, Dr. Rich Hill whose office was the backdrop to our setup and the fans around us in Autzen and those in the parking lot after the game. Thank you all for a great experience, and yes Autzen is as loud as they say it is. Take a listen.

Our Tailgate menu consisted of ham & cheese on burger combo sliders, hot Italian sausages and a box of rolling rock.  All provisions including grill were picked up just minutes before Tailgate time at the local food king super center. This was the job of the pledge representative to the social committee. The weather was unreal for Oregon with temps in the 90 and clear skies. Very unusual for the foul weather Ducks. 
How dare you desecrate Duck property son!

The Trusheim family with Nate and Dan

Double R Bar DFT Burgers

That Boy is a P-I-G Pig!!!!
Necessities for a good time

The battle lived up to its billing pitting these two teams with contrasting styles against each other. Oregon’s speed and great offense and Sparty’s size and hard hitting defense. Heisman candidate Marcus “Cool” Mariota commanded the Duck offense and young Connor Cooke was at the helm for Sparty. Autzen was at capacity with the fan base at peak decibel level in anticipation of this match. Autzen is truly unique and looks like no other stadium that I have been to. Built in 1967 with an original capacity of under 40,000, Autzen now holds just a Trump comb over hair under 60,000. Phil Knight, CEO of Nike has put a ton of coin into this stadium and program. We learned that even their cheerleaders are on full scholarship. They should be, their talent is unmistakable. 

The game was played at a high level by both squads, however there were more mistakes and penalties than I would have expected. The contest consisted of multiple momentum shifts with Sparty taking what appeared to be a secure lead at halftime. Duck Coach Mark Helfrich was having none of that and brought in a motivational speaker as he felt his ducks were being stepped on. Watch how this genius works the locker room:

The third quarter had Sparty starting off strong before the Ducks ultimately grabbed the momentum and flew away from Sparty for a 46-27 victory. Plenty of big plays, big hits and big fun. The Ducks are for real because this blogger still believes that Sparty is a quality club. Post-game table gating took place at the local Buffalo Wild Wings with sensory overload abound on the 10 screens in our view to catch all the late game action.

This guy was Bieber honorable mention

Final Score

Around the Country

Big Ten – A rough day all around for the Big Ten with fourteen teams. Their big three all went down in flames and they ended up with zero wins.  I think they should start by learning how to count. Who calls themselves The Big ten when you have fourteen teams? I knew this common core crap would come back to bite us. Along with Sparty, “The “Ohio State University was shocked by the VA tech Hokies in Columbus in front of a record crowd. Michigan traveled to South Bend for the last time only to be shut out by the surprising Notre Dame Defense 31-0. Northwestern and Purdue were bested by MAC conference foes and several other teams struggled against lesser opponents.

ACC, Big 12 & SEC – all three conferences had a slew of patsy games really not worth mentioning because there were no upsets. Pitt bested BC, Kansas State over Iowa State and Ole Miss topped Vandy in the only conference games amongst the three. BYU trounced Texas in a mild upset and the Sooners stormed the Tulsa Hurricanes in non con action of note.

PAC 12 – secured a decent weekend but several teams such as UCLA, Arizona, Oregon State and Washington struggled against inferior opponents and Wazoo losing to Nevada did not bode well for the P 12 in challenging the SEC for supremacy. USC AD Pat Haden ensured the Trojans would not be denied victory on the farm in Stanford by lobbying the refs to see things his way. (See Bieber below)

In other action Navy and Army both won and Boise topped a resurgent Colorado State on the Blue.  

Bieber Award – Several candidates to choose from again: I was remiss in my duties last week as I overlooked Tailgate favorite Pete Carroll getting caught cheating again in NFL land for more transgressions. Other choices include Will Muschamp of Florida for his faux suspensions of two future Sing Sing regulars and the Biebs himself for getting arrested once again. It pains me immensely, but I have to give another USC Trojan the award: Athletic Director and CFB playoff committee member Pat Haden wins the honors. You see, our favorite Rhodes Scholar recipient lost his mind and decided to abort the confines of his suite he was sharing with fellow committee member Condy Rice for the purpose of accosting a ref during the Trojan- Cardinal game. It appears that Coach Sark texted Pointy nose Pat for help as he disagreed with the refs tossing a dirty SC player for an undisputable targeting call. Haden descended onto the sideline to go all Kanye on the head ref letting him know he could have his job and that the refs JC education does not match his SC and Rhode Scholars diplomas. Mr. Haden, have you lost your mind good sir? Just what were you thinking? Well you may be fined and removed from the aforementioned committee but know this, you are this week’s Bieber Award winner!

Next week – The Tailgate will be down on the Farm at Stanford when Army comes rolling into town to take on an angry Stanford game. And the Caissons go rolling along!

Happy Tailgating!

My Twitter activity from Saturday: