Tuesday, December 12, 2017

America's Game

This week's recap is a slide show from America's Game. Turn up the volume and go to full screen.

Happy Tailgating!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Week 14 - When Champions are Crowned (sort of)

DFT HQ flying the flags proudly

After being contacted by the University of Tennessee to become their next head football coach, with much consideration I have opted to pass on the offer and continue as your dutiful blogger. We took the weekend off from attending live games to focus our full attention on all the conference championship matches on TV. Of course we tailgated, it just happened to be in the cozy confines of my family room. Friends contributed a 13 lb. smoked brisket, pigs in a blanket, chicken wings, mac n cheese, homemade guac and chips, fine wine, fireball and cold beer.

Around the country -  By now, we all know who is in the playoffs, nonetheless here are your conference championship results:

·        ACC – Clemson 38 – Miami 3 (resounding win)
·        American -  UCF 62 – Memphis 55 (wild finish and Coach Frost leaves for Nebraska)
·        Big Ten – Ohio State 27 – Wisconsin 21 (Not enough to pass the CFB eye test)
·        Big 12 – Oklahoma 41 – TCU 17 (Baker solidifies the Heisman)
·        Conference USA -FAU  41 -  North Texas 17 (The Lane Train rolls on)
·        MAC – Toledo 45 – Akron – 28  (Rockets away)
·        Mountain West Boise 17 – Fresno 14 (Don’t lose on the blue!)
·        PAC 12 – USC 31 – Stanford 28 (Darnold outperformed Mr. Love)
·        SEC – UGA 28 – Auburn 7 –( Dawgs rule Cats drool)

The Browns at the PAC 12 Championship

Storm the Blue!

Your next Heisman Trophy Winner
The college football playoff has Clemson #1 playing Alabama #4 in the Sugar Bowl and Oklahoma # 2 versus #3 UGA in the Rose Bowl. The winners will play in Atlanta on 1/8/18. Here is a link to all the Bowl games:

Frostburg State’s Cinderella run came to an end against mighty Mount Union in the Elite 8 for DIII. Good things in store for the Bobcats next year.

Bieber – This will be a rare award as it is not granted to a human for the first time in years. For those that watched the Big Ten Championship game you experienced a very unique 10 minute delay. The interruption was caused after Wisconsin scored a goal line touchdown run and in the process the turf in Lucas Oil Field tore away from the ground on one of its seams. Carl from Caddyshack was called on to come and repair the seam for the players’ safety. The poor guy worked feverishly as 80,000 sets of eyes live and millions more on TV were squarely on him. You could see the sweat on his brow and his heart rate accelerate as his hands worked magic for many minutes. Finally, another assistant greens keeper came out with a rake to help get the job done. Not sure what the hell he did other than provide moral support. After 10 minutes, the repair job was satisfactory and Carl left the field to rousing applause. Great job Carl. However, a very Bieberesque performance by the turf in this high profile game by getting all tore up on national TV. 

Come to Carl Mr. Gopher!
Net week – We will be heading back to Philly for the Army Navy game to meet up with many old friends and family members. The next write up will be after Christmas for a mid-bowl season report. We will be attending the Foster Farm Bowl in Santa Clara and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Week 13 - Welcome To The Hotel California

As part of our family get away to sunny San Diego and the Hotel Del Coronado for Thanksgiving weekend, I ensured that our priorities were in check. The kids drove off to Disney for the day on Friday while I expressed my love for the birthday girl, AKA Mrs. Tailgate with a trip to the San Diego State game. The Aztecs were hosting the New Mexico Lobos out of the ABQ and Breaking Bad hood. Both teams are long time members of the Mountain West Conference. Aztec football has been played since 1967 at Qualcomm stadium, formerly known as The Murph and was shared with the Chargers until they moved to LA this year. It was also originally constructed as a baseball stadium and was home to the Padres until they relocated downtown to their new digs a decade ago. Qualcomm has been the host site for three Super Bowls and is the venue for the Holiday Bowl and now defunct Poinsettia Bowl. The stadium sits five miles from campus and is not known for having great student support. Given that this was Thanksgiving break, students would not be a big part of this game regardless. The stadium holds 70,000 but a typical Aztec’s game will have around 30,000 fans. As we walked around the empty cavernous concourses and stairwells, it dawned on me that a triple homicide would go unnoticed here. I am hopeful that San Diego State will someday soon build an on campus cathedral to provide a true college football atmosphere. Although, rumor has it, if a new stadium is to be built, it will still be off campus. 

A little history involving self and SDSU: In the summer of ‘83, I came out from Maryland to stay with my sister who was a student there. I joined the SDSU summer sevens rugby team and had a blast. I worked out on campus daily and rode a moped all over San Diego like Lloyd Christmas and even considered transferring. Best move I never made as Frostburg had bigger plans for me! The birthday gal and I started our day with breakfast in a cup at McGregor’s sports bar along with chicken wings and fried raviolis. McGregor’s is only a mere few steps from the stadium parking lot. As is typical, I was nursing another mysterious knee injury and it took us 30 minutes as a hobbling DFT was passed by numerous Walmart hoverrounds and cane assisted seniors.

The Aztecs are coached by Rocky Long who happens to also be the former long time coach of their opponent on this day. Under Coach Long, the Aztecs have been relevant in the Mountain West title chase for the past seven seasons. They have also produced several outstanding running backs during his tenure, NFLers Ronnie Hillman and Donnell Pumphrey.  Current stud Rashad Penny leads the nation in rushing and is well on his way to a pro career. On the other side of the coin, the Lobos are coached by former Notre Dame head man Bob Davies who has run into some Bieber Karma as of late. Since he announced he was so proud of his players for taking a knee during the anthem in their game versus Air Force, the Lobos have not won again. In fact, they are having an outright disastrous season.

The stadium was empty on the sunny side with the exception of about 500 brave fans, as most folks crowded the shady half. 28,000 fans paid for a ticket on this unseasonably warm late November afternoon. I have to give high marks to the Aztec Marching Band as they were very noticeable throughout the afternoon. We even got a private concert after the game outside of the stadium. San Diego state behind the brilliant running of Rashad Penny and a stout Defense held the Lobos scoreless in the first half while the Aztec Offense scored two TDs. New Mexico showed some life in the 3rd quarter by kicking a field goal and scoring a touchdown to tighten up the scoring delta. However, Rashad Penny would run for 200 yards while topping the 2,000 yard mark on the season, while leading the hometown team to a 35-10 victory. Back to Coronado Island we went to continue the birthday celebration and at her insistence, we watched the night games.

Is there a better way to say happy birthday?
Around the Country
Saturday, my Sooner daughter and I found our way to an Oklahoma watch bar, The 710 Beach Club in Pacific Beach. There, we were joined by 200 other OU fans to watch the Sooners and Baker Magic shred the Mountaineers 59-31. Great chicken wings, Labatt’s blue and wait for it….. yes Fireball. We also saw the #1 ranked Crimson Tide get rolled by their bitter in state rival Auburn in The Iron Bowl. Bama was not the only top four team to lose on the weekend, as Miami would be upset by lowly Pitt on Friday in a shocker, creating mass playoff chaos. Also on Friday in the War on I 4, the UCF Golden Knights bested USF in one of the most exciting games of the year. I sincerely hope Coach Scott Frost does not leave until after their bowl game. In The Game, Urban outdueled Harbaugh in the Big House keeping the TOSU win streak alive against the maize and blue. Stanford eliminated any hopes The Irish had for a playoff spot by showing them too much Love, as in Bryce Love running all over them in the fourth quarter for a convincing Stanford win. Clemson cut down the Gamecocks in the Palmetto Bowl in Columbia assuring them of this week’s number 1 ranking. Washington dominated their in-state foe Wazzou in the Apple Cup knocking the Cougs out from the PAC 12 title game. In the Mountain West, Fresno upset Boise setting up a rematch next week for the conference championship.  And yes, I am happy to announce that Frostburg thoroughly dominated Washington & Jefferson in the second round of the D3 playoffs. For their reward they get to play Mount Union in the quarters. Too many coaches have moved or been removed, hired or fired over the past few days to comment yet as the dust is nowhere near being settled. A few surprises and many that were expected.

The Iorio clan at Notre Dame, PAC 12 John and new Bestie, Brian, Laurie and Steve O at the Maryland debacle.

My evil daughters enlightening me to day drinking at the 710 Beach Club. Bartender is a walking advertisement!
Bieber- I take a lot of heat from my OU hating friends on supporting Baker Mayfield despite his lapses in judgement. Regardless of what he did, he is a competitor with a heart that has perhaps never been seen in college football. He is a teammate’s teammate and the ultimate warrior. That being said he will not get the Bieber, nor will he ever get it. Instead I want to award it to a long overdue candidate before he abandons his team for good to prepare for the draft. This week’s Bieber was solidified as Josh “Jay Cutler” Rosen once again quit on his team as he was getting “wuffed up by dose big buwwies”. His shirt was torn by a player from Cal on a normal football play. He used that as an excuse to once again fake concussion symptoms and quit on his team. This has been a pattern since he arrived in Westwood as he only cares about himself. He is not a leader. He is not a teammate. He is not worthy of a top draft pick. Look no further than Jay Cutler or Jeff George for what you will get with Prince Rosen. He is only concerned with his own well being. He is uncoachable as well, as this was first pointed out by Trent Dilfer five years ago at the Elite 11 QB camp. He has a very high opinion of himself even though he led UCLA to three years of mediocrity resulting in his coach getting fired. Yes, he has a big arm and can show signs of brilliance, but not consistency, tenacity or esprit de corps. For these unforgivable attributes, he now not only earns this week’s Bieber but has been granted by special vote, entry into the Bieber Hall of Fame. In fact, there is discussion on the DFT Board of starting a new award called the Rosen given to players that exert selfish one-way behavior.

Next Week – We will be watching the conference Championships from DFT HQ. Next live game will be in two weeks as Army takes on Navy in Philadelphia for the greatest rivalry game in college football.

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Week 12 - Cupcake Saturday

The Causeway Classic

The Causeway Classic has been played 64 consecutive years between UC Davis and Sacramento State in the FCS, D1 AA level of college football. The genesis of the name is due to a causeway that connects the town of Davis to the city of Sacramento, thus the name of this rivalry.  Davis holds a large lead in the series 45-19, however it is the type of rivalry that brings out all the spirit and festiveness one would expect in college football from two teams within the same area code. This year’s rendition would be played at Hornet Stadium on the campus of Sacramento State. Hornet Stadium was constructed in 1969 and has a seating capacity of 21,000. With the track around the playing surface, it gives the appearance of a large high school stadium. I was joined by one of the Dons of Danville, Dave Quilici for the 90 mile trek up the road. We enjoyed another postcard perfect California Saturday afternoon with a 2:00 PM kickoff and a 12:00 expedited tailgate. 

The atmosphere outside the stadium during the two hour block allocated for sanctioned tailgating was vibrant and spirited. The home green and yellow and the away blue and gold tents lined the parking lots outside of Hornet Stadium. A live band belted out tunes. Meats were grilled and spirits swilled.  Despite the limited time and ample rules on tailgating (I thought of giving the Sac State Administration the Bieber for their politburo like tailgate rules, see Link: ). We did the literal “tailgate thing “ by lowering the tailgate on my F150 and putting a cooler of refreshments and a bag of pretzels on it. We were joined by one of #2’s old friends who is a student at Sac State and tolerated us seasoned vets. As far as chow goes, we waited to hit the food trucks inside the stadium where we had mac n cheese and bacon slider burgers.

UC Davis is now coached by former Boise State and Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins. Davis has climbed back into respectability under his guidance. They have several notable alumni including former Jets QB Kenny O’Brien, Bo Eason and current UW coach Chris Petersen. Sac State is also experiencing one of their strongest seasons in years. Notable Alumni for the Hornets include Joh Gesek who played in two Super Bowls and current 49er McLeod Bethel -Thompson. This year’s victor would have an outside shot at an invitation to the FCS playoffs (it turns out they did not get the invite).
Sights and sounds of The Causeway Classic

The game was one of the most exciting matches I attended all year. The first half belonged to Sac State behind the arm and feet of UNLV transfer QB Kevin Thomson. Thomson’s precision passing and ability to run were reminiscent of Baker Mayfield, sans the crotch grabbing. The Hornets inspired by their largest crowd of the year, raced out to a 17-7 first quarter lead. In addition to Thomson’s contributions, the Hornet run game was stout as three backs shared the load and were equally successful. By halftime, Sac State held a 38-14 advantage. Speaking of halftime, we were treated to performances by both bands with UC Davis doing a tribute to Led Zeppelin. Their clarinet player killed it! The UC Davis Aggies started clawing their way back into the game by winning the third quarter and narrowing the gap to 52 -34. The Davis pass and run game was in full force as the momentum clearly shifted in their favor. In the fourth quarter, the Aggies would score two more touchdowns to pull within 5 points. Star wide receiver Keelan Doss would lead the way with 13 catches for 173 yards. With less than 2 minutes remaining and possession of the ball, the Aggies had a chance to take the lead. However, it was not to be as the Hornet Defense made a critical stop on fourth down and held on for a 52-47 win and the (916) bragging rights.

Around the country – while many of the power five conference schools scheduled guarantee games or faced lesser opponents, there were several games of note that took place: College Gameday found itself back in Mad Town as the Badgers hosted the Meechigan Wolverines. The Badgers remain perfect on the season defeating the Wolverines 24 -10 under the guidance of their outstanding coach Paul Chryst. Notre Dame squeaked by Navy in rainy/windy South Bend 24-17. The biggest upset of the day took place in Stillwater as “Ancient Bill” Snyder and the K-State Catz knocked off the OK State Cow Pokes. Virginia gave Miami everything they could handle for all but the last few minutes of the game as the Canes pulled away and won at Hard Rock. In The Rivalry, Lehigh topped Lafayette and in the process won the Patriot League in the FCS. Yale beat Harvard in The Game and won the outright Ivy League crown for the first time since 1980. Columbia finished their finest season in decades by beating Cornell and finishing 8-2. Out west in The Big Game Stanford prevailed over Cal to keep their Pac 12 North title hopes alive. In the most colorful game to watch on TV, Sam Darnold and the USC Trojans scored more points than Josh “Cutler” Rosen  and UCLA resulting in the firing of Coach Jim Mora.  Oh, and I would be remiss without mentioning that my Frostburg State Bobcats dismantled Wittenberg 35-7 in the first round of the Division 3 playoffs. Next week they play Washington & Jefferson. 
Navy fans at Penn. Mooch Byom and gang in Mad Town.

Joltin Joe Rogers in Knoxville. The Ingrams in Bloomington.

#2 and friends at Camp Randall. Frostburg pride!

The Desimones and friends at The Big Game.

Bieber – Tennessee State Criminal Justice Major Latrelle Lee may get an opportunity to use his future degree sooner as opposed to later. During the middle of the Tigers game versus SEMU last week, apparently Lee was agitated that the “get back coach”, TJ Greenstone told him to move away from the sideline as he was too close to the playing field. Lee opted not to comply with the command and proceeded to punch Coach Greenstone twice in the head knocking him down. Greenstone did not fight back, although he looks like he could have if Lee was not a student. So, for Mister Lee’s actions he gets the triple whammy: 1. Kicked off the team 2. Kicked out of school. 3. Faces potential felony charges. However, wait for it…….he does get to brag to his future cell mates that he has a new trophy in the image of a troubled pop star from Canada. 

Next Week – We will be celebrating Mrs. Tailgates 29th birthday at none other than a college football game at San Diego State as the Aztecs take on the New Mexico Lobos! I have not forgotten the kneeling Biebers from UNM as promised earlier this season.

Happy Tailgating & Happy Thanksgiving!