Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 13 - The Long And WInding Road

                               My seven week road trip has come to an end
I began my seven week gauntlet in early October at the University of Oklahoma for Homecoming weekend and ended it this past Saturday in Tallahassee, FL, the land of Prince Jameis and Chief Osceola. Seven straight weekends away from Tailgate HQ and my fatherly/husbandly duties. I was joined on this trip by the notorious Eagle Tailgaters of Boston College fame: the Leblancs and the Gagnes. This would be my fourth year in a row to connect with this crew for a game. Anyone that prepares lobster tails at a Tailgate will be high on my list annually to tag along with. Besides, how could I pass up an opportunity to be a fifth wheel on their little couple’s getaway to Florida for the weekend? I felt a little like super creepy Rob Lowe for the weekend watching other couples.

Since I don't have DirectTV I like watching other couples Tailgate on Saturday
FSU had just experienced a horrific cowardly act early Thursday AM when a deranged dirt bag entered the school Library and shot and wounded three people. He himself met his demise when the police showed up and used him for target practice and turned him into a lead blanket. We were not sure what the vibe and mood would be based on this recent tragedy. We proceeded with cautious respect.

We rolled into Tallaharassment on Friday evening for a BC Athletics’ Department Soiree at the Governor’s Club.  I packed my Ted Knight Mariner’s jacket, mahogany pipe and practiced my Thurston Howell brogue in the event it was a high brow event and I needed to be a yacht club poser. It wasn’t that at all as BC Athletic Director Brad Bates hosted the small dinner and provided a forum for great football banter. Many in the room had played ball for BC and later became successful in the private sector. All are very active in helping BC get to that next level. This is a very passionate program with high academic standards putting the emphasis on student first and athlete second. It was a remarkable kickoff for the weekend festivities.

Based on weather reports for Saturday, we donned our cargo shorts, T shirts and sun screen and loaded up the Eagle wagon to make the 50 mile trek from our hotel in Perry, FL to Tally.  Only one problem, we never saw a lick of sunshine all day and experienced nothing but the heavy stuff from tent up to tent down. The National weather service earned Bieber considerations for the week. Nonetheless, with this famous advice from Carl Spackler at Bushwood CC, we played on:

Upon unloading our wagon and setting up in a prime piece of real estate next to our parking garage, we had our first man down of the day before the libations were even flowing. Depth perception is a bear when you achieve senior citizen status and Captain Pops Leblanc failed to realize the lawn chair was really right next to his feet. Boom Boom Pow! A little dirt and a crown infusion had the captain hosting his gate in no time. Get well Pops, we need you back on the active roster and so does BC.
The creepy old dude will do anything for sympathy!
The Fearsome Foursome of Eagle Tailgater fame

Cilla Gagne putting the Tail in Tailgate

We were also joined by my college roommate Chip “Shrek” Hayden and his family. I like taking pictures next to him for many reasons. Don and Sheila Therrien of the BC Gridiron club also joined us. In honor of Jameis, Co-Captain Rick Gagne rustled up some cakes with JW’s favorite meat product; crabs. We also feasted on the most incredible Lobstuh Beesk (As the Bawstonians pronounced it) I have ever had. The lobster chunks out-massed the liquid. We were surrounded by Florida State fans who could not have been any more hospitable and kind to us outsiders. Pared with the chow were the famous Bawstun Pops Bloody Marys complete with shrimp, bacon, cucumbers and garlic stuffed olives. This was a meal in itself. We mostly huddled under the tent and visited neighboring tents to avoid the rain drops falling from the sky for the majority of the tailgate.
Eagle Tailgaters
Bawstun Pops Marys

Eagle Tailgaters and DFT combine forces

Shrek, the wounded Eagle and Dan
Eagle Up in the rain.
Upon entering the stadium we were able to witness the one of a kind ritual of watching Chief Osceola on his faithful steed “Renegade” ride on to the field with his flaming spear. The entire stadium was doing the Tomahawk chop n chant (as they did for the next 4 hours). The Chief handed the spear off to Burt Reynolds, the honorary captain and former Seminole footballer to plant it into the turf at midfield on the logo. The Seminole nation went crazy. I have been told that I remind people of Burt back in his day. Take a look and let me what do you think?

Burt copying my pose
The original pose

Bowden field at Doak Campbell Stadium (Known as the Doak) is one of the most iconic cathedrals in all of college football. With the structural beauty of the outside facade to the history that has been made on the field, this one has been high on my list since the days of the wide right games against Miami. I will say that the stadium felt smaller to me than what I thought it would from watching games played there on TV through the years. It holds 83,000 fans but felt more like 60,000. The rain kept a number of people away but it was still a pretty ample gathering. The old girl has seen its share of epic battles throughout its 65 year existence.

The Chief getting the crowd fired up
The BC Folk at the Doak.
FSU boasts several national championships,  three Heisman trophy winners, and all time greats former coach Bobby Bowden, players Deion Sanders and Lee Corso just to name a few. They are coming off a National Championship and a 23 game unbeaten streak. Boston College under Coach Steve Addazio is one of those teams that will play every down as hard as they can and they will never quit. I got to get me some of what that guy is doling out.  Coming in facing the undefeated reigning National Champions, BC fully expected to come out with the win. FSU behind famous Jameis got off to a quick start with a touchdown on their first possession. The Eagles responded with a field goal showing the Noles that they were not intimidated.  And then the clouds opened up with the heavy stuff for the remainder of the game. FSU took a 17 -10 lead into halftime but had to earn every inch they gained.

The fantastic FSU Marching band known as the Marching Chiefs put on an entertaining halftime performance blaring out songs other than the Tomahawk Chop music. While FSU dined on crab legs in their locker room at the half and Jameis stood up on a table to shout things at people, BC Coach Addazio fired his troops up to play some Dude ball. To open the 2nd half, BC behind Florida Gator transfer QB, Tyler Murphy took control of the time of possession and pounded the ball up the middle and on the edges. The Noles D had no answer for the Eagle ground attack. With 12 minutes to go in the fourth, the Eagles mounted a clock eating drive only to miss a go ahead field goal that sailed wide right. De Ja vu all over again in this stadium Yogi? As has been the case all year, our anti-hero Jameis Winston mounted a drive to put FSU in position to kick the game winning field goal which they did.  The BC faithful can hang their heads high as they gave the title holders all they could handle. Final score FSU 20 – BC 17.  This was easily the best game I have been to all year. We loaded up the Arc and made the trek back to Perry for post gaming with Lobster rolls and college football on the telly.

Around The Country- ESPN College Gameday was at Harvard for the 130th game between Harvard and Yale in Cambridge. Harvard came away with the win to end their regular season undefeated and positioning themselves for a good seed in the FCS playoffs.  In a game where not many cared, Stanford eked out a win over Cal in the Big Game. UCLA annihilated their cross town rival USC in the ABC primetime matchup. We no longer mention results of Notre Dame games at the Tailgate unless the outcomes deviate from the current course. Coach Jerry Kill and the Minnesota Gophers are quietly having a great season with another win over Nebraska. In Norman, Oklahoma during a monsoon while one unnamed freshman was in her dorm watching it on TV, another freshman across the street was breaking the NCAA single game rushing record. OU Sooner true freshmen Samaje Perine broke Melvin Gordon’s week old record by racking up 427 rushing yards in a blowout over Kansas. This is a very humble young man, and we should be happy when good things happen to good people. Give me a tweet #32 if you are looking for a future father in law. Most of the SEC took the week off from real competition and scheduled JV scrimmages. However, Ole Miss was throttled by SEC West bottom feeder Arkansas. In the Mountain West, Boise State scored the minimum retirement age on Wyoming in Laramie high up in the altitude. Yes, I still follow Boise and they cracked the AP top 25 for the first time in weeks after this weekend.

Bieber – Former TTU DC Matt Wallerstedt was accused after last week of giving away defensive signals to TTU opponents this season. If you recall, back in September he was unceremoniously dismissed from the team. There were rumors of alcohol/substance abuse as the catalyst for the reason. Either that or he was caught with a poster of a shirtless Cliff Kingsbury in his home with hearts all over it.  Of course Mr. Wallerstedt denies this accusation, however there seems to be enough corroborating evidence from multiple sources that this is true. How could you do this to the kids you used to coach? Are you still sniffing the Elmer’s stuff? Mr. W is now at Louisiana Lafayette as an assistant coach. His future in coaching may forever be in doubt but what is not is the fact that he is this week’s Bieber boy!

Next week – And so begins my Familial re-entry program. With Thanksgiving, Mrs. Tailgate’s Birthday and our Anniversary, the Tailgate will be grounded and will get reacquainted with his family. I hope they remember what I look like.

Happy Tailgating!
The Bloke at the Doak

Two and half men at the UVA - Miami game

Major Mark sent this picture of pageantry from the Rose Bowl
Rick making the Lobstuh Beesk