Sunday, November 2, 2014

Week 10 - From The Halls of Montezuma



When plans fell apart for the annual Men of Laurelglen San Jose State Tailgate this weekend, the Tailgate Travel Department scoured the schedule seeking a convenient venue for DFT to enjoy the weekend action. It was determined that fellow CFB addict and USC diehard Major Mark  Rodrick was heading to Pullman, WA for the USC – Wazoo game. The Major having been a 20 year Marine Helo pilot and Gulf War 1 Veteran was seeking a wingman to accomplish this mission. I was an easy target so off we went to conquer the area of Eastern Washington known as The Palouse. It’s not easy for an Army guy who is a Notre Dame fan to tolerate a Marine /USC fan, but somehow our mutual addiction for college football makes it work for us.

A tribute to my Co Pilot for the weekend

We swooped into Spokane semi International airport and began to deploy south. But first we made a pit stop at the spectacle that is known as the “Red Inferno”, the football field at FCS power Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA. After a few Selfies, Instagrams , facebook posts, Tweets and snap chats from the burning turf, we continued on our primary mission; Pullman, WA.

DFT hits the red inferno

Once on campus we reconned the recently renovated Martin Stadium, the brand new football building, and the RV lots that were active already pre gaming for Saturday.

For billeting, a DFT first occurred as we took up quarters through an organization called Bed Finders where you rent rooms out of a local resident’s house. Not knowing who our host would be, we were not sure if we would be axe murdered during the night or become a re-creation of the Stephen King movie Misery when Kathy Bates held James Caan hostage and tortured him with brutality. Given that it was Halloween night, anything was possible. So the good Major and I devised a tactical plan to take shifts pulling guard duty throughout the night with a mop as our weapon of choice if we felt it was needed. However, that was not the case as Bonnie, a grandmother of 4 and a local iconic school teacher took us in and made us feel like it was our home.
This was not what happened but it was imagined
We proceeded to sample the finest food and spirits that Pullman has to offer on a Halloween Friday night. We first dropped anchor in the legendary Campus bar called the Coug near Fraternity row.  After dining on some killer Coug burgers for chow and tasting several pints, we found ourselves in a townie pub called My Office until we called no quarter. When will I ever learn? The bivouac that evening at Camp Bonnie was uneventful.
On game day, after an All American breakfast prepared by Bonnie, we low crawled over to Campus for pre-game festivities including a return to the Coug for Bacon infused Bloody Marys.

Breakfast of Champions
We then wandered over to the Field House next to Martin Stadium for an indoor tailgate due to the inclement weather for these soft California boys. The Cougar Marching Band and Cheerleaders graced us with their presence as did Assistant AD John Johnson.

Just a harmless old dude with the Coug Cheerleaders

The Major and Lt Dan representing the DFT at the Wazoo Tailgate

The Band gets the sparse wet crowd fired up
True CFBaholics
 Martin Stadium, named after a former Governor of Washington is one of those awesome mid-size venues nestled right in the middle of campus. There is nothing better to me than a setting like this with the campus surrounding the magical castle on football Saturdays. Martin just underwent a renovation that added new luxury suites and a beautiful football complex in the South End Zone. This was a quintessential cool, wet, foggy, gray Saturday in the Northwest providing us a great backdrop for some real college football weather. Okay, you’re right I am a soft Californian and would prefer the sunshine and warmth of the south, but not every weekend can be like that.

Wazoo is coached by former TTU head man Mike Leach and are in the process of turning around a program that had struggled mightily since the departure of Coach Mike “Roll Tide” Price in the early 2000’s.  Washington State has produced a slew of NFL QB’s including Drew Bledsoe, Mark Rypien, Jeff Tuel and Ryan “Bieber” Leaf. They have had periods of success throughout time and have been much more competitive under Leach, the Ole Pirate the past two years. The Coug faithful had been packing the 40,000 seat Martin all year, but on this nasty day, it was only about half full at game time. Wazoo Starting QB Connor Halliday leads the nation in passing yards and has posed problems for most defenses he has faced all year. However, on this cold wet day, the Trojans behind All American receiver Nelson Agholar were too much for Wazoo to handle. Along with Agohlar’s spectacular day, the Cougs lost Halladay to a leg injury early in the match. USC won going away 44 -17. We stayed with the other 100 brave souls or morons to the bitter end.
Not many fans left by the 4th Quarter
We were hoping to pull a double header as the University of Idaho, a mere 8 miles away in Moscow had a home game as well. But as fate would have it, the games were only 30 minutes apart. Not enough time to do it effectively so we aborted that mission.
Around the Country – Is Jameis Winston the new Captain Comeback? Say or think what you will about the kid, but in the second half of so many games this year, he has been unbelievable. Clearly FSU is not as talented as they were last year and they are squeaking by instead of demolishing teams. Still they find a way to win. I predicted them to lose on Thursday night but they found a way to come from 21 down to defeat the gray clad Louisville Cardinals at Papa John Stadium. Cardinal Coach Bobby Petrino was spotted riding off on his Harley with his Assistant after the presser. Add insult to injury for Ole Miss as they not only lost to Auburn on an apparent touchdown that was fumbled into the end zone, they lost their All American receiver Laquan Treadwell to a gruesome leg injury on that same play. In Morgantown, WV, the fans got their money’s worth in a great battle that had TCU pull out the victory with a game winning kick as time expired. I suppose it’s okay as there was nothing left to burn in Morganhole after last week anyway. Notre Dame was able to outlast a pesky Navy squad at Fedex Field and ASU secured the W over the Utes in OT to set up an epic matchup with the Irish in Tempe next week. We will be there. Oregon continues their impressive play by getting the Stanford Tree Monkey off their back. The Bruins corralled the Wildcats in the Rose bowl for a badly needed win. In the game I originally intended to be at, SJSU was knocked off by CSU at Spartan stadium 38 -31. Will Muschamp survives to coach another day as the Gators upset the Dawgs at the World’s largest outdoor cocktail party in Jacksonville. #1Mississpi State played down to the level of their opponent and barely held on to beat a bad Arkansas team 17-10. I will make the controversial proclamation now that the top half of the Big 12 (TCU, Baylor, KSU, OU and WVU) and the Pac 12 South plus Oregon are as good a conference right now as the more heralded SEC West. Yeah that’s right, I can say this as I am conference agnostic and enjoy teams from everywhere. I also believe Michigan State right now is as good as any team in the country. So I encourage you all to take your conference blinders off and see the entire field in front of you. It is pretty liberating to do so I must say.

Bieber Award - The Trill is gone in Bryan College Station as self - proclaimed Kenny “Trill” Hill was benched in favor of a guy who did not give himself a nickname at Texas A&M. Kenny has been on the Bieber watch list all season ever since he nicknamed himself and filed for a trademark on his nickname. In most courts of public opinion, that in itself is offensive enough to earn the Biebs honors. How self-aggrandizing is that?  To top it off, it turns out Kenny Trill has done Zil lately. Moreover, Mr. Trill did something even more egregious to find himself suspended for two games by coach Sumlin. Details have not been released yet as to what the infraction was, but we do know that Kenny Trill Hill is this week’s Bieber award winner.

Next Week - The Tailgate will meet up in Tempe with the Sunned Devil hizzelf, Kevin “OC” O’Connor and his band of Satan worshippers while I will be representing for the Catholics. There is an outside chance we will make the drive to Tucson for the UoA night game against Colorado. That will be a game time decision.
PS. If you are heading to College Game day and want to get pics with the DFT banner let me know and I will mail it to you. I now have two flags courtesy of BLR Signs.

Happy Tailgating!
The Mendez clan in the Grove for the Ole Miss - Auburn game

Navy Al and Son and CFB's hottest item Brother Brian and Laurie