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 cliché 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!