Monday, September 26, 2016


The birthplace of college football
History states that the first college football game ever played took place on November 6, 1869 in New Brunswick, NJ on the Campus of Rutgers University. There were no reports of tailgating, corn hole and fireball from the event. Rutgers defeated their opponent Princeton University on that day 6-4. It is purported that the game was played with 25 men per side and probably looked more like modern rugby than football as we now know it. Nonetheless, this was the genesis of the greatest spectator sport in North America and is known as the birthplace of college football. Saturday would be the first time the DFT crew made the pilgrimage to this sacred hallowed campus for a cfb game. The last time I was here was in 1985 for a rugby tournament. Legend has it that our host that allowed our entire team to bivouac at his crib was evicted shortly after our stay. The opponent on this early autumn day would be the Hawkeyes from Iowa who we last saw in January at the Rose Bowl.

Rutgers University is situated in and around New Brunswick, NJ consisting of five campuses. Currently, the undergrad student body is approximately 48,000 with an additional 19,000 grad students. Originally known as Queens College, it was founded in 1766 and is the eighth oldest university in the country. The spot where the original field was is now occupied by a gymnasium. The current Rutgers stadium called High Point Solutions Stadium was constructed in 1994 on the same spot as the previous stadium that had stood for sixty years. Current capacity is 52,000 with a complete lower bowl and upper decks on the East and West sides. Six years ago during a game against Army, tragedy hit Rutgers stadium when lineman Eric Legrand was paralyzed on a kickoff. He is honored with his number affixed to the press box that looks like a red military guard house. Rutgers is now in its third season in the Big Ten and is coached by Chris Ash in his first year after being an important assistant coach at Ohio State under Urban Meyer.

The Frank Scarpa tailgate
I would be joined this weekend by family members, college and childhood friends and their families. I scored 100 on the deadbeat dad scale as I found out I would be missing the opportunity to walk my 8th grade daughter onto the field for her cheer leading homecoming game. With a noon Eastern kickoff, it meant the pre gaming festivities would start extremely early for me as I had just flown in Friday night from the west coast.  My circadian clock can’t tell time so no biggy as my first Bloody Mary was poured at 9 AM. At tailgate # 1 we had an assortment of brunch chow: egg sandwiches, stuffed breakfast pretzels, sausage and peppers, old bay chicken wings, meal in a cup Bloody Mary’s and other treats. It was a great group for me representing many eras of my life with much laughter as stories were retold. At 11 AM we departed for Frank Hundley’s “Friends of Frank” Tailgate in the yellow lot that was just awarded best Tailgate at Rutgers University. In route we were treated to the Rutgers Marching Band parading down the main campus road to the stadium. Frank’s theme for the day was Oktoberfest with German food, music and attire. I must say, the bar was one of the most stocked I have ever seen at any tailgate. After visiting with Frank and his crew while sampling some liquid and non- liquid goodies we made our way into the facility shortly after kickoff.

BT's breakfast in a cup concoction
Captain Lou leading us to battle

Hair club for men photo shoot

New Jersey's first couple

Frank's first place Tailgate....
..and his first place bar
The sign sez it all about my Jersey friends
The first half was a defensive struggle with Iowa scoring once on a pass play and holding a 7-0 lead going into halftime. Both defenses were bringing the wood and playing sound fundamental football. We were visited in our seats by another college buddy and Piscataway townie Larry Sporer who filled in the blanks on some important Rutgers facts like where the best tailgate lot is. The opening drive of the second half saw an 80 yard Iowa run for a score called back because of a holding call. Rutgers would tie the game up in the fourth quarter only to relinquish the lead for good as the Hawkeyes put up 7 more points. The student section was raucous and engaged the whole game and the band belted out song after song providing for a great college game day environment. Final score Iowa 14, Rutgers 7. After the Rutgers Alma Mater was played, the Jersey icon Bruce Springsteen’s Badlands blared over the loud speakers as we departed the venue. Back at the original tailgate spot we fired up the grill again and handed out cold Natty Bo’s and enjoyed the remainder of a beautiful afternoon.

Donnelly's From the Tailgate
Tribute to Eric Legrand
Frostburg State's finest trio of something!

Around the country –on Friday night after arriving at Captain Lou’s house in Jersey we witnessed the once mighty Men of Troy go down to the Utes beneath the Wasatch Mountain range. The drama continues at SC as they start the season 1-3. Maybe Nick Saban will hire Clay Helton? Okay enough rubbing it in as my Irish also fall to 1-3 after losing to Duke for the first time in over 50 years. The only good news is they had the sense to fire DC Brian Vangorder and his witness protection plan goatee. Boise State beats their second PAC 12 foe of the season chewing up the Beavers in Corvallis to go 3-0. The Michigan Wolverine’s trounced the Paterno State University Nittany Lions 49 -10. The LSU Tigers lost a thriller in Jordan Hare and Les Miles lost his job as a result. No more tiger grass for you mad hatter but you will be missed. Ole Miss tames the Bulldawgs in Athens with a severe beating. Stanford stays perfect behind Christian McCaffrey’s heroics by downing UCLA and loud mouth Rosen. The Badgers dominated Sparty setting up next week’s matchup with undefeated Michigan in the Big House. The Tennessee Vols come from 18 down to beat their nemesis the Florida Gators by 10 in Rocky Top. Trevor Knight looked like the T Knight of 2014 Sugar Bowl fame by directing the Aggies to victory over the Hogs in Jerry World.
The Badlands

Bieber – It pains me to do this to such a good buddy but this week’s Bieber goes to my college roommate Chip Hayden. You see, ole Chipper was in NYC this weekend, a mere 30 minutes from Rutgers and his college buddies. After making promises/threats that he would join us for the tailgate/the game/ the post game tailgate/and beyond he failed to appear. There were many calls and texts from us to join our celebration, but he still did not post up. It was rumored that he was spotted taking his betrothed into the matinee of Catz in Manhattan. I hope he got good seats and truly enjoyed the show. Well Chipper, you didn’t get to the Rutgers game but you can remember the weekend with your new Bieber hardware that will be mailed to you this week.

Chip circa 1985
Next week we will be attending the Monte Vista High School game Friday night and the T-Birds Pop Warner game on Saturday.  I am petitioning the league to at least allow tailgating for the parents of the eighth grade teams. The following weekend we will be in Arkansas for the big matchup with Alabama. There will not be a write up next week.

Dad of the year candidate
Happy Tailgating!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Blue Bloods

It is tradition that I visit my kids in college at least once per season… err once per fall semester. This past weekend I made my way back to the plains of Oklahoma for the third year in a row to watch what had been billed as the game of the year. “THE” Ohio State Buckeyes and Urban Meyer were bringing the scarlet and gray Buckeyes to play the crimson and cream Sooners in Norman, OK. Ohio State was coming in as the 4th ranked team in the land and Oklahoma was sitting at 14. These two teams are arguably considered two of the five “Blue Bloods” of College Football along with Alabama, Notre Dame and USC.  The two schools have combined for 15 National Championships, 82 Conference Championships, two of the highest winning percentages and 12 Heisman Trophies between them.

The passion and pageantry for the weekend would be one of the highest witnessed in Norman ever. Throngs of Buckeye fans started setting up shop in their RV’s as early as Tuesday in anticipation of this rare event. Aside from winning, both schools are known for spectacular Marching Bands, great game day traditions and two of the most loyal fan bases in the nation.

Friday kicked off with my annual pilgrimage to the home of the gold standard for pork Ribs; none other than Van’s Pig Stand in Norman. Friday night had me taking a tour of some of the many hot spots in Norman: Chimmys, The Mont (home of the famous Swirl), Jax, The Library, Logies and O’Connell’s. This was by no means my own doing as my daughter and her roommates insisted I see the sights of the town. Only later was I smart enough to figure out why, as my wallet (more on that later) was significantly lighter than it had been. It was a good thing that Saturday’s match up would be a night game. 

Boomer Schooner?
Saturday began with a batch of DFT traditional Bloody Mary’s. Then it was off to the Mullica Tailgate hosted by Lauren and Mike Mullica and attended by Mrs. Tailgate’s family and friends. Great BBQ from Billy Sims was the main course, pared with ice cold Schlitz and chased by a wee bit of Fireball. At approximately 4:30 PM, the heavens opened up and brought us a traditional Oklahoma thunder boomer with Noah style flooding turning our tailgate into the floodgate. Being under a tent and with the Dish Tailgater Satellite working it only made the scene more cozy and festive. A message was sent out that the game would be delayed 90 minutes due to the lightning. Oh darn, so I guess I just had to enjoy the tailgate a bit longer.

Bad Influences!
The hostess with the mostess
Gulliver and his minions

I'd keep playing if I were you...
I don't think the heavy stuff is coming down for a while yet!

This sez it all.
It turns out the ticket I had was a student ticket so I was prepared to do my best Rodney Dangerfield Back to School impression if I was questioned. Apparently my vigor and immaturity superseded my grey beard as there were no questions asked. So now off to the rowdy and wet student section to stand for the whole game and make noise. I was honored that my daughter and her friends wanted me to stand with them and partake in the festivities. However, no weekend is complete without me losing something and this time it happened to be my wallet. After searching and talking to “Authorities”, it was nowhere to be found. However my credit is now good in Pakistan and Singapore. It is a good thing I lightened the cash value of that money vessel the night before. No biggie, this wasn’t my first rodeo where this matter is concerned.

Back to school
Old School

The Sooners had decided to stripe their beautiful Gaylord Memorial stadium with every other section wearing either white or red. I wore gray to match my goatee. As an added bonus, OU had just completed the addition of the new South end zone that is now bowled in and topped off with a state of the art giant jumbotron.  It exceeded my expectations as I have been coming to the this stadium for 30 years and am always intrigued with the upgrades that have taken place,

As the Buckeyes took the field, the outnumbered but loud and boisterous Buckeye faithful made a big racket only to be drowned out when the Sooners took the field. The Sooners led by one of the most potent backfields in the nation behind QB Baker Mayfield and running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon would win the coin toss and take possession of the ball first. After an impressive drive stalled inside the 20, the OU kicker pulled a “Brotzman” and nailed the uprights.  The Buckeyes would take over and score and score and score again. The only bright spot for the Sooners in the first half was Mixon’s electrifying kick return for a touchdown. In reality, the score should not have counted as Mixon “Deseaned” it and dropped the pigskin before crossing the goal line for pay dirt. Urban Meyer’s Offense led by talented QB JT Barret were no match for “Screaming” Mike Stoops’s Defense. On the ground, up the middle, around the ends or through the air, the Sooners had no answer for the Buckeye machine. Coupled with two interceptions thrown by Mayfield and two drives that ended in only 3 points, the game was never close. This old student said his goodbyes with ten minutes left and headed to Uber world for the ride to the in laws to get in a four hour sleep before heading back home. Ohio State will most likely be playing in the final four and OU will now be playing for the Big 12 Title.

Me and Lil Tailgate
Around the Nation:
Not a good day for the DFT family as Notre Dame was soundly beaten in South Bend by Michigan State. My MSU Nephew is now out of my will. In fact, he will pay for my funeral. The two bright spots were Mrs. Tailgate’s Cowpokes beating Pitt in Stillwater and Texas losing to Cal.  Alabama got the Rebel Monkey off their back by defeating Ole Miss in Oxford for the first time in three years. Stanford and Christian McCaffery sent USC home with another loss.  Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend was Louisville’s trouncing of Florida State 63 -20. Army goes to 3-0 for the first time in modern history with the demolition of UTEP in El Paso and Navy keeps pace with a victory over Tulane. FCS powerhouse North Dakota State knocked off another ranked FBS opponent squeaking by Iowa 23-21. 

RTR!  Doctor Rector and daughter at the Grove
Flash Gordon and clan at PSU
Chris and Megan Razorback

Bieber Award – Many Candidates to choose from this week: Penn State for honoring Joe Pa perhaps a little too soon, any posterior crevasses in the country not standing for the National Anthem or the “walking deads” on ESPN supporting their actions, my cousin for allegedly being passed out on the couch at 1 PM on Saturday after watching his Bison win. But one school continues to be the gift that keeps on giving and that is my favorite institution known as the University of Spoiled Children aka USC. Yeah, I know half my readers are SC fans but you give as good as you get. This time it was the arrest of serial rapist Sophomore Osa Masina for allegedly raping the same woman after she was passed out in two different states, two different times. As a side note, former AD Mike Garret was also charged with sexual misconduct two weeks prior. What is in the water down there in Glitz City? Well there may be vacated Heisman and National Championship hardware in the trophy case but they have been replaced by numerous Bieber statues. These are much more permanent than ones that have been removed. It’s like a good foot fungus that won’t leave you.

Next week the DFT crew makes its way to the birthplace of College Football as Rutgers hosts Iowa. We will be joining the Tailgates of competitive chef Frank Scarpa and Rutgers most famous tailgater Frank Hundley. Happy Tailgating!