Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Book of Tailgate

Under The Banner of DFT
First, I would like to give major thanks to loyal DFTer and Eagle Tailgater BC Pops for his generous donation to this blog via the PayPal button in the upper right (hint hint hint). His contribution will be applied to my Betty Ford, Jenny Craig and legal bills after the season. See, this is why he gets his Tailgate pics in here on a regular basis.

This week the Tailgate took vacation time to soar into the Salt Lake State and catch a double header of sorts with my understudy, brother Brian. However, prior to the football frenzy, we decided to seek a spiritual connection with a higher being and spent a day communing and hiking in Bryce Canyon. If you have never been, I highly recommend it. It was almost as cool as an SEC or Big Ten Tailgate party.

Words can't describe this view

On Friday, the Tailgate made a repeat appearance at the University of Utah for an instate battle versus the Aggies from Utah State. This rivalry is called the Bee Hive Cup named after the State's nickname. Because I have been here before, I will only say a few thing about the experience. My last intrusion to the Ute Reservation was two years ago in September….in a snow storm. This time it was 90 degrees and sunny. We threw together a “tailgate in a suitcase” and wheeled it into a grassy area and claimed squatter’s rights. I recreated Mrs. Tailgate’s Chicken Burger recipe and tossed them on the grill.  We were clearly outsiders staring at the real tailgate tents from our low life vantage point like beggars in Times Square wishing for a better life.  In fact, at one point as I was wheeling the 50 lb. suitcase up-hill through campus, wearing my Griswold Christmas t shirt and holding a green solo cup with beer, I overheard a student say “Oops, I almost bumped into that Transient Man!” Nonetheless the stadium had a great patriotic atmosphere on the anniversary of 9/11 with Navy jumpers parachuting in with the game ball and American Flag. Utah won the in- state battle 24 -14. 

The rays from above shown down on our tailgate
Frog Jumper into the Ute reservation

Rice Eccles in all its pre-game glory

The appropriately attired duo

The anchor game for me to“witness”was the Boise State Broncos playing the BYU Cougars in Provo on Saturday night. Lavelle Edwards Stadium is a beautiful 63,000 seat Cathedral with the Wasatch Mountain range lurking behind it like Kilroy peering over a wall.
Kilroy was here!
The end zone seating areas have to be the largest in the country. The student section full of non-drinkers must have been hyped up on red bull and elmers because they were non-stop clean rowdy throughout the game. I will give the game atmosphere and stadium high marks. As far as tailgating goes, there is an old saying that states “Where there is no alcohol, there is no tailgate.” BYU being a Mormon school does not allow alcohol at their minuscule tailgate lot. Nuff said. To add insult to injury, my brother Brian was wearing his DFT t shirt with a big beer kegger on the back. The funny thing is, Brian is a non-drinker. 
Planting the flag in enemy territory
The student body was all in.

 BYU has a long tradition dating back forty years of outstanding football. This year’s team could be one for their faithful to remember for years to come. Just last week against Nebraska, starting QB and folk hero Taysom Hill went down with his third season ending injury in a row. He was replaced by freshman backup QB Tanner Mangum who coolly led his team to victory with a last second “Hail Brigham” pass in Lincoln achieving legend status of his own.
Taking it all in at Lavelle Edwards stadium

In a game that matched two stout run defenses, Boise had the Cougars on the ropes with a three point lead with thirty seconds left when for the second week in a row Tanner “Magic” Mangum heaved another last minute game winning Hail Brigham Pass to lead the Cougs to victory. This Kid is a 22 year old freshman coming off a mission for several years. As a senior in high school he shared honors with Jameis Crab legs at the Elite 11 QB competition. He is the real deal and will play on Sunday’s. BYU capped off Mangum’s TD with a final pick six blow. Boise’s offense is not the caliber that we have grown accustomed to. They lack a run game and a QB with a big arm. Where have you gone Kellen Moore, Doug Martin and Jay Ajayi? This weekend served my liver and brain well especially after the previous weekend in the state of Illinois. I will ween off the milk n cookies the next two weeks and reacquaint myself to tailgate appropriate food and beverage.

Around the country:

College Gameday made its way to East Lansing, MI for the big matchup between Sparty and the Dux. The DFT banner was hosted by my nephew, MSU Senior “Always Late for the Tailgate Nate”. In a battle of two top ten teams. Sparty bested the Quack Attack 31-28 announcing they are for real. Best sign at Gameday said “Oregon, 7,280 uniform changes, O national Championships! In other Michigan news, Coach Mom Pants Harbaugh gets his first win in Ann Arbor against the other school from Oregon in the PAC 12 in a convincing 35-7  victory. In celebration, the Maize and Blue boosters are chipping in for some more manly pants for Coach.
Nephew Nate repping the banner at a Gameday mock up in East Lansing

Best sign of the day in East Lansing.
The Fighting Irish went into the Commonwealth of Virginia for the first time ever and were heavily favored against the Wahoos. After losing starting QB Malik Zaire to a grotesque broken ankle, the Irish found themselves down by 1 with 12 seconds left. It took a bit of the luck of the Irish and a terrific throw by backup QB Deshone Kizer “Wilhelm” to All American Will Fuller for a 40 yard score to eke out the W in Hooville. The Tailgate will grace the town of Thomas Jefferson in 2 weeks for the Boise – UVA game. Here is the link to UVA sportswriter and old friend Jeff “Deer Hunter” White:

Arkansas Head Hog Brett Bielema must be taking tums, zantac and other antacids today from all the crow he had to eat Saturday. After bitching up a storm all week in the press about Ohio State having a weak schedule, he could not even beat one of the” little sisters of the poor” from the state of Ohio as Toledo embarrassed the hogs at War Memorial in Little Rock with a major upset win. Rumor in Fayetteville is they may give Coach B the Mussolini treatment in the town square.

In likely the most exciting game of the day, the OU Sooners backed up their brash smack talk and took down the rising Tennessee Volunteers in OT in Rocky Top after trailing 17-0 in the first half. Coach Stoops was even heard whistling “Good Ole rocky Top” on the flight back to Norman.

Neyland was all checkered out for the Sooners. Pic courtery of Sooner Anna Smith.
In Stark Vegas, the Bayou Bengals get a 2 point win over the host Bulldogs and All American QB Dak Prescott. In other SEC news, it took Auburn overtime to defeat FCS opponent Jacksonville State at Jordan Hare. This could have been the biggest upset since I lost that beer chugging contest to the kid at Boise two years ago. Florida barely escapes with a win over East Carolina and SEC Cellar Dweller Kentucky upends Stevey Superior and the Cocks from South Carolina. Lastly, 21st ranked Mizzou gets a 7 point win over powerhouse Ark State. My point here is, I love the SEC, but the fools in the polls that had 10 SEC teams in the top 25 last week need to open their retinas wider. Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Auburn, Mizzou and Miss State have no business being in the upper echelon as of now. In fact, we should not even have a poll until October. I would argue that a team like BYU has had two impressive wins so far and deserves a higher ranking than all of those schools I just named. Yes, the SEC does have some outstanding team’s year in and year out, but let’s have them earn it first before premature nomination happens again. There is a cure for this disorder, just stop listening to Paul Finebaum and David Pollack! Being a fair minded blogger gives me the innate ability to see through all conference bias and homerism and I will call it as I see it. My Top five teams as of right now are Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Notre Dame and Notre Dame.

Bieber Award – This week’s honors go to someone who’s name I don’t know but we have all seen him at a game at some point in our lives. In this case, it was a cretin resembling Larry the Cable Guy at the Utah – Utah State game Friday night. He was adorned in his Aggie Blue in a sea of Ute red. Apparently he did not get the memo that being inebriated beneath Promontory Point is a big Bozo no no. Even before the game began he decided to be that guy and tried to stir the pot with the polite Utah fans. At one point he let the crowd know he was #1 and also sounded out the words. Even his own daughter sitting next to him would not acknowledge her daddy as the Ute faithful booed him like HRC giving a speech on integrity or the Donald at a Hair Club for Men convention. Shortly thereafter Larry found himself getting a personal escort out of the stadium. Oh did I say this was in the first quarter? You my friend now can tell your grandchildren that you won the Bieber Honors on 9/11. We are all so proud of you.

Larry enjoyed the first quarter

Next week – The Tailgate will take the weekend off from live tailgating. Please send pics of your tailgate if you want them posted. The banner will be in Tuscaloosa for Gameday.

The SC Song Girls courtesy of Major Mark
 Happy tailgating!