Sunday, October 29, 2017

Week 9 - Don't Rock The Boat!

Husky stadium has been standing in some semblance for almost 100 years now. Six years ago, it underwent a major transformation from a dilapidated dump, surrounded with a spectacular view to an impeccable palace with the same spectacular view. Location and appearance wise, this is one of the most magnificent cathedrals in all of college football. Husky Stadium sits on the edge of the University of Washington campus on the banks of Lake Washington for an incredible picturesque setting. The lakeside location has lent itself to a form of pregaming called “Sailgating” where boats of all shapes and sizes drop anchor or tie up to a dock within view of the stadium. On the decks of the boats the parties take place with all the elements of a ground based Tailgate. This is another must do experience for all college football fans. There are only two other colleges that boast Sailgating next to the stadium, Tennessee and Baylor.

Seven years ago, I attended a rainy, cold night game at UW before the renovations and with no tailgating ( ). This would be a well needed do over for me as I felt I did not get the true Husky football experience on that trip. For this year’s rendition, we rented a house with the Dons of Danville (Gervolino, Desimone, Quilici) and a few normal named guys such as Campbell and Duncan. Leaving the lodgings to anyone other than myself always makes for some surprise sleeping arrangements. We caught a Friday afternoon flight up to Emerald City and joined the other half of our loyal DFTers who were well into their cups. We reconnoitered the “Grunge Capital of America” Friday night for proper houses of worship and philanthropic endeavors in order to be better mentally and physically prepared for game day on Saturday. The night ended with a bag of healthy cheeseburgers from Dicks.

A rare weather report calling for warm sunny skies in the Evergreen State and an early kickoff time of 12:30 called for an Oooooo dark thirty revelry and a convoy to our disembarkment dock. Our ship captain for the day would be Steve Baird on the SS Fireball, or so it was renamed. Major props to the NW DFT Chapter President, Timmy “Snowflake” Desimone for organizing the boat trip.  Timmy’s posse of fellow Cal Poly Millennials joined us on our Sailgate through Seattle Harbor and onward to Husky Harbor on Lake Washington.  The temperature was in the high 40’s and the cloud layer and fog were very low as we pushed off and headed out. Homemade Bloody Mary’s and other libations were served to get the boat rockin and the blood warmed. An amazing stack of muffuletta sandwiches were handed out along with a killer frittata. The adults in the crew were mature and well behaved as the Millennials worked on a handle of Fireball. Actually, there may have been a few adults that partook in that ritual as well.

Our arrival into Husky Harbor was commensurate with the fog touching all the way to the water. With visibility low, we continued the on-board soiree with gusto. After a few minutes, the fog lifted and yachts, boats and other water craft appeared everywhere. The magical Husky Stadium popped out like a slow-motion magic trick. Blue skies and sunshine replaced the cool misty scene and the celebration was now in full swing.  Tales were swapped, spirits imbibed and desserts were consumed. As the clock struck 12, we hailed the water taxi down that would take us to shore at the steps of the stadium. One more stop before the stadium to watch the Millennials and one of our crew have a shotgun contest.  
Boys being boys!
 The view from the stadium on this gorgeous fall day was beyond words. The Huskies were hosting PAC 12 rival UCLA and their cocky QB Josh Rosen. The Dawgs took the field to music of Jimmy Hendrix’s  Purple Haze as the crowd of 70,000 was electric. UCLA would get on the board first with a field goal. It would be their last lead of the day as Washington matched that field goal and kept on scoring behind running back Miles Gaskin until they hit 44 to UCLA’s final tally of 23. Of course, when things were not going well, Sally Rosen decided her hangnail was too much to bear and so she departed the battle and left her team to fend for themselves once again. A real leader would rub some dirt on the wound and get back out there. He is lucky that there was another Bieber on this day that he was not worthy to walk in the shadow of, otherwise Rosen would be a repeat Bieber. The Huskies were dominant in all phases of the game as the defense showed signs of looking like the group from last season. After the final whistle, we headed to Tavern 12 sports bar in University Village to watch more CFB and the World Series.

Around the country

Notre Dame continues its season long resurgence with another win over another top 20 team as they dismantled the NC State Wolfpack in South Bend 35 -15.  In dreary Columbus, Ohio, the Buckeyes came from 15 down in the 4th quarter to edge the Nittany Lions 39-38.  The Iowa State Cyclones are for real under Coach Matt Campbell as they bested their second top five team in a month taking down TCU 14-7. The fans in Ames stormed the field in Celebration. Too bad Coach Campbell will probably be coaching at some place like Florida next year as I hear there is a house for sale in Gainesville now. Speaking of which, the Gators were humiliated by the UGA Dawgs in the battle at the world’s largest cocktail party in Jacksonville. Death threats or no death threats, the Gators game was simply dead. The OK State Pokes win the shootout with the Mountaineers of Morgantown, WV. The Cowpokes set themselves up for an ESPN Gameday slot in Stillwater next week as they host their in-state rivals Oklahoma for the Bedlam game. Speaking of which, the Oklahoma offense was unstoppable in a big victory over Texas Tech and pretty boy Cliffy K. Washington State fell for the second time in three weeks to the much improved Arizona Wildcats whilst surrendering 58 points in doing so.  Michigan State suffered a defeat at the hands of the boys from Northwestern. Miami and Wisconsin remain unbeaten by beating absolutely nobody.  Columbia suffers their first loss of the season and Frostburg continues its winning ways. 

DFT siblings and nephew at Stevenson College Tailgate

The 3 Amigos in chilly Norman
Bieber  This week’s awardee is a Hollywood actor moonlighting as a stadium security guard. For those of you that are fans of the movie Superbad, one of the main protagonists “McLovin” must be hard up on cash as he was working the UW game. A member of our crew who’s name shall not be spoken or written made the mistake of “allegedly having a flask and being spotted by McLovin. Too make matters worse, our teammate actually handed the said flask to McLovin thinking he was one of our crew. The yellow jacketed guard taking his job way more serious then he needed to be, confiscated the flask and insisted on our boy to accompany him to the security office to be ejected. However, our elusive teammate was able to shake McLovin in the bowels of the stadium and return to his seat. Ten minutes later Superbad reappeared with his bad ass yellow jacket and screamed out “Sir. Surrender your liquor and come with me”.  After much dialogue, our friend agreed to leave and began the perp walk. An extra ticket was handed to our guy by one of us as he was escorted away. McLovin, feeling full of authority and power first escorted the accused to the EMT tent where he was greeted with laughter by the EMTs. McLovin shrugged off the humiliation and proceeded to the security tent. Our perp was searched and his ticket was taken and he was escorted to the exit. However, with another ticket in hand he reentered the stadium and spent the second half in the beer garden area having a swell time while McLovin had no clue he had been outfoxed again. McLovin continued his vigil in watching our group with his crime fighting eagle eye throughout the rest of the game. We felt safer knowing he had overwatch for us.

McLovin and his Doppelgänger

Next week – Next up will be Florida at South Carolina in two weeks for “Railgating”. CFB binge watching, life balance exercises and high school football are in store for me next weekend.
Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Week 8 - Me, Myself and I

A party for one

When one goes into self-imposed solitary confinement for a mid-season sabbatical, he must find ways to stay entertained and sane. With my first weekend off from attending a live game this season, I was looking forward to a day of couch potatoitis and recharging the batteries. I isolated myself from all humanity and liquids that are calibrated by their intoxicating contents. I lived vicariously through my friends and family who were attending games across the country and I watched multiple games all weekend on the tele. So, enjoy the brief write up and the many pictures that were sent to me.

Around the country – All teams that I have a rooting interest for swept the weekend. I can’t remember a time when this has happened before. For starters the mighty Monte Vista JV Mustangs defeated the power house De La Salle Spartans for the first time in 20 + years I am told. That violent sport of Cheerleading had my youngest sit this one out, as she is under concussion protocol. I hear Will Smith will be doing a movie on it soon. Marshall University (the school all three of my brothers attended at one point), won on Friday night against Middle Tennessee in a Conference USA showdown. Army (my branch of service) won in a thrilling victory over Temple on the banks of the Hudson. Mrs. Tailgate’s Oklahoma State Cowboys took down the Longhorns in OT deep in the heart of Texas. Next up the Oklahoma Sooners (my middle spawn’s school) slipped out of Manhattan, KS with a win. Baker Magic Mayfield did it again throwing for over 400 yards. My Alma Mater Frostburg State won their homecoming game 62-3 and improved to 6-1 and are still a top 20 Division III team. I received multiple facetime calls from classmates exchanging pleasantries with me for not being there. The Columbia Lions (my Dad played there way back in the day) moved to 6-0 by beating Dartmouth and now own sole possession of first place in the Ivy League. The Fighting Irish (my birthright team) annihilated the birth control vessels from USC at night in South Bend. Lastly, my eldest’s alma mater Boise State won on the cold wet blue over Josh Allen and the Wyoming Cowboys.

Frostburg friends enjoying the Homecoming Tailgate

Now enough about my spoils and other games of note. Miami remains unbeaten with another close win over Syracuse. Watch out for Scott Frost and the UCF Golden Knights as they remain perfect after a hard-fought battle with Navy in Annapolis. Butch Jones is one step closer to the unemployment line as the wheels have fallen off the Vols bus as they were humiliated in Tuscaloosa again. In the ABC game of the week in Happy Valley, PA, the Nittany Lions dominated the fighting Harbaughs in a blow-out win. The Tailgate had briefly planned on going to that game last week but had to bail for grown up things. If anyone saw the Cal game, you are probably asking the same question we all are, why did they go for 2 in the second overtime when they didn’t need to? Well they lost to Arizona because of that miscalculation. And how about those Nerdwestrn Wildcats getting a win at home over Iowa? Okay North Carolina is irrelevant, but I must mention that Virginia Tech destroyed them by a margin of 52 points which is the largest in an ACC matchup.
Sis and the Eagle Tailgaters pre-gaming in Charlottesville,VA

The Carluccis in Miami, Josts in Austin and Elf and crew in Naptown

The Bridgham- Bostics and friends in Happy Valley

Bieber – With my constant calling out of Bierberlicious acts the past few years, we seem to be having an effect on eligible candidates keeping themselves in check. However, the world will never be eradicated of Bieber 100% and there will still be periodic outbreaks. This week’s honors go to Rashaan Gaulden of the sinking Tennessee Vols. With Alabama winning 28 – 0 in the second half, Tide QB Jalen Hurts threw a 97-yard pick six to one of Gaulden’s teammates. Gaulden in his excitement followed his conquering teammate into the end zone and let all the Bama fans know who was number one. In fact, he showed them using sign language gestures with both hands. Very talented this kid. Not sure Gaulden is a math major because the scoreboard clearly said 28-7 = 21. By the end of the game 28 became 45 and 7 never changed. Young Mister Gaulden may have left Tuscaloosa with a loss, but he has his kodak moment for the ages and his Bieber hardware to cherish forever.

Next week – The Danville crew invades Seattle for a weekend of UW college football and “Sailgating “on Lake Washington outside of Husky Stadium. I will take my dramamine so I don’t feed the fish too often.

Happy Tailgating!


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Week 7 - Horns Down!

Horns Down in the Big D!
The Cotton Bowl was constructed on the Texas State Fairgrounds in Dallas and was completed in 1930. The venerable old stadium played host to its namesake bowl game for over 70 years until it moved to Jerry World in 2010. It also was the home venue for the SMU Mustangs for 40 years and the Dallas Cowboys for the first 11 years of their existence. In fact, when SMU played it’s home games there in the 1940s, it was referred to as “The House that Doak Built” after “All American" Doak Walker. It is one of the most iconic and recognizable cathedrals in all of college football. Perhaps it is best known for the Red River Shootout or the more politically correct Red River Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas. It has been the home for this rivalry since 1932. The Cotton Bowl sits literally halfway between the two campuses of OU and Texas. Current capacity is at 92,000 and the playing surface is real grass. 

The Shootout takes place every year during the Texas State Fair. The fair is well renowned for having food vendors that fry everything including beer, butter and ice cream. Yeah, you heard that right. This year would mark the 112th edition of the rivalry with Texas holding the lead 61- 45 -5. These are two of college football’s blue bloods with multiple National Championships, All Americans, Heisman winners and too many players that have matriculated to the pro level to count. The shootout is considered one of the top three rivalries in all of college football and regardless of team records, the outcome is never guaranteed. I made it as far as the parking lot outside of the fairgrounds in 1987 and was unavoidably detained by a good time and never made it into the game. Therefore, this one has been on my bucket list for 30 years!
Pre game festivities at the Texas State Fair

Bobby, Jr Ewing, Pamela and Sue Ellen picked me up in their private limo to take me to Southfork for the weekend. Oh wait, that was a different time when I was here. This time I linked up with my Sooner daughter and her entourage.  We were also joined by OU graduates, the Eichinger siblings, Lauren and Brian. Friday night activities included a group outing to The Rustic and then a pass-through McKinney Street in Uptown. Saturday morning started very slowly with the obligatory Bloody Mary at the hotel and then public transit over to the Fair Grounds.  Upon arriving, we were swept up in a tidal wave of crimson and burnt orange with the best pre-game atmosphere I have ever seen. Fans from both schools shouting out in unison their respective chants followed with either “Texas Sucks or OU Sucks!” We took pictures with Big Tex, sampled a few liquid refreshments and made friends with the opposition.
Big Tex looking over us

The DG girls and the old folk showing Texas the proper hand signals.

The sun was scorching for the 2:30 kick off with temps in the 90s and not a cloud in the sky. As the Sooners took the field with the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band belting out Boomer Sooner, “I felt this thrill going up my leg” (Thank you Chris Matthews). The OU half of the stadium was on the south side, with no respite from the solar rays. The first quarter belonged all to OU, as All World QB Baker Mayfield spun up some magic leading the Sooners to a 10-0 lead. The boys from Norman scored another touchdown to start the second quarter to go up 17-0. Then Mr. Mo entered the grand old stadium wearing the color of burnt orange. Texas would score 24 points over the next two plus quarters to OU’s two field goals to take a 24-23 lead. Just when it looked like the Sooners would fall further behind, they answered back with a Mayfield to Mark Andrews 59 yard pass to take the lead by 5 after missing the 2 point conversion. Each team had several more possessions with the final one belonging to Texas. OU’s defense was up for the challenge as they thwarted the Longhorn final attempt and left the Cotton Bowl victorious. My assumptions are that someone put an electronic jammer on Mike Stoops’ mic and his advice was ignored in the fourth quarter. You could not have asked for a better game, and I could not have received a better outcome. Back to the hotel for the night games and a victory meal from Streets Fine Chicken. (The chicken is endorsed by Chickenhawk so it must be delicious.)
Mrs. Tailgate's Cousins with DFT

Action on the field

Around the Country –  Perhaps it is clichĂ© to say that something was amiss on Friday as it was Friday the 13th in October, but then how do you explain Saturday? With that said, this was the weekend of major upsets with four top ten teams falling to unranked opponents. For starters, #1 Clemson went up to lowly Syracuse on Friday night and got the orange squeezed out of them by their “brothers in color” the Syracuse Orangemen. Down goes Clemson! Then out to the West Coast in the Peoples Republic of Bezerkely where we witnessed Mike Leach and the #8 Wazzu Cougs getting mauled by the Cal Bears 37-3. Perhaps something was in the air. On to Saturday, #10 Auburn went down to the suddenly resurgent LSU Tigers in the sweltering Bayou heat. Late at night  in Tempe, the Sun Devils lit up the #5 UW Huskies 13-7. Other ranked teams fell including San Diego State losing to Boise State, Navy losing to Memphis and Texas Tech going down in Morgantown. Four nail biters for the ranked saw USC escaping with a 1 point win over Utah, Miami slipping by Georgia tech in the rain, Michigan needing OT to dispose of the Hoosiers  and Michigan State over Minnesota by 3. Perhaps this was the most exciting weekend of the season so far so sez me. Frostburg State returned to its winning ways with a 59-7 win over William Patterson and Columbia moved to 5-0 to sit atop the Ivy League. That’s right I said Columbia.
The Keusters pre-gaming at San Diego State

Navy Tailgaters undercover at a Maryland game

Bieber – This week’s accolades go to a not so subtle guy named Ernest Suttles from Memphis. On Friday night, as the Memphis Tigers were preparing for their matchup on Saturday against 25th ranked Navy, Mr. Suttles had other ideas of how to pre-game and decided to partake in some unwanted extracurricular activities. Memphis Po Po were called to an off-campus residence at 3:00 AM where Ernie was charged with rape. Ernie was a starter for the Tigers and was immediately kicked off the team and missed the Tigers upset win on Saturday. If these charges hold true, Mr. Suttle will have the opportunity to get pay back plenty of times over the next 15 years whilst staring at his Bieber trophy for comfort.

Next Week – The Tailgate will take a break for the first time this season from live action due to work and family commitments. We will not be going to New Mexico or Penn State as had been previously planned. Next up will be Sailgating in Seattle for the UW game in 2 weeks.

Happy Tailgating!