Monday, January 22, 2018

2017 A Season in Review

An epic season by all accounts for the DFT Nation. Let’s take a peak back at a year that consisted of tailgating, sailgating, railgating, failgating, a shootout and a weekend trifecta in an RV.  My season kicked off in the dust at San Jose State in week zero with friends from Danville. Labor Day weekend was the RV extravaganza hosted by Cousin Eddie with stops in Bloomington, Dekalb and Iowa City. Only a fool would continue a season of tailgating after that outing. Lucky for you all, I am just that fool. A game at Cal Berkley with Mrs. Tailgate against Weber State was the low-key outing required after Labor Day. The following weekend had me connecting with my brother Brian for a stop in Athens Ohio to watch the Bobcats dismantle Kansas followed by an evening game at Marshall University. The next three weekends were spent at Cal, Stanford and San Jose State with family and friends. Mid October had me officially attending the “Red River Shootout” at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas between OU and Texas with #2 and her Sooner crew. A weekend off was followed by the incredible “Sailgating” experience at the University of Washington with the Dons of Danville and the Snowflake Brigade. Another weekend of recharging was in store as it was followed by “Railgating” with my high school crew and the Deutchkis on a Cockaboose at the University of South Carolina.

As the end of the season was nearing, we landed in Sacramento for the Causeway Classic between Sac State and UC Davis for an amazing FCS contest. Mrs. Tailgate and I celebrated our anniversary in San Diego by watching the Aztecs destroy New Mexico at The Murph. On December 8, with over 100 family and friends in attendance, we braved the snowy elements of Philadelphia to watch one of the most exciting Army Navy games in recent history. The annual trip to Santa Clara for the Foster Farms Bowl was followed by perhaps the most exciting Rose bowl of all time as we sadly watched our Oklahoma Sooners go down in defeat at the paws of the Georgia Bulldogs. Season over for us. 

·        17 D1 A games attended
·        1 D1 AA game
·        9 new cathedrals added to the quest (I still have many more to hit)
·        6 JV High School games
·        1 Varsity High School game

DFTer of the year goes to Mrs. Tailgate as she attended a record 6 games with me. She even improved her in-game questions and commentary to sound slightly knowledgeable.

Enjoy the brief slide show:

We also launched a new business called Tailgate connect, a service that connects visiting tailgaters with host tailgates. We will need all of your help in getting the word out before next season as we are seeking more hosts and more guests:

Congratulations to the Dynasty that is the Alabama Crimson Tide for winning another FBS Natty by taking down the Dawgs in a thriller in Atlanta. 

Next year’s planned road trips:
·        Labor Day Trifecta at Purdue, Illinois and TBD
·        Kansas & Kansas State or Minnesota and Saint John’s double header.
·        Utah State Thursday night game
·        Ohio State at Penn State
·        Columbia Home game with the Donnelly Brothers in honor of our Dad
·        Texas A&M at Mississippi State
·        South Carolina at Florida
·        Army v Navy
·        National Championship game in Santa Clara

Final Bieber – STOP TRYING TO MAKE DILLY DILLY HAPPEN! It aint happening. It’s stupid. It’s weak. It’s annoying and I am going to make the next person who sez it or writes it a Bieber HOFer. Got it? You have all been warned!

In recognition of the passing of the late great Keith Jackson, I will sign off with his words:
Goodbye to all of you, God bless and good night!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

The Granddaddy of them all
My most sincere apologies for the one week delay in doing the Bowl season recap. You see, as Poison Front Man Bret Michaels sang “ Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, that was the case for me after the 104th rendition of The Rose Bowl. The wounds were too deep and too fresh for me to put pen to paper to provide a joyful write up. After finding inspiration in Ireland’s finest liquid, I have regained enough self esteem and courage to provide this recap. 

At this point, the only humans alive that don’t know the outcome of the Rose Bowl are still hiding from civilization deep in the rain forest of the Amazon or have the last name Kaczynski and live in a 200 -square foot cabin in Montana. Nonetheless, here we are, and I shall share my musings with DFT Nation and curious lurkers. We loaded up the F150 on 12/30 with all the elements to host a successful tailgate for the Rose Bowl matchup between our Oklahoma Sooners and the Georgia Bulldogs. At 0500 hours on 12/31 the sleepy Griswolds piled into my rig, and away we went for the 320 mile trek down south. Fueled by a quadruple espresso and an air guitar, Captain Clarke W. Griswold broke the land speed record and pulled into Wally World in Santa Clarita in four hours and 12 minutes. Rusty, Audrey and their friends went off to Wally World, AKA Six Flags Magic Mountain for the day as I rested up back at the hotel for the big pending event the following day.

New Year’s Day started for us before the clock struck 0600 hours. We were in place on the Brookside Golf Course which doubles as the Rose Bowl parking lot by 0725. Tent erected, satellite TV fired up, bar established, and bacon infused Bloody Mary’s served, all by 8 AM. As most of the eastern half of the country was under a deep freeze, we were treated to clear skies and 70 + degree weather. I was joined by Mrs. Tailgate, #2 and # 3 and their BFF’s Nicole and Lauren, the Eichenger siblings Brian and Lauren, the Gervolinos, the Sovells, the Glassys and long- time buddy from Rockville, MD Johnny Harper. Many others joined us including the McElwee clan from UGA who were parked next to us. Tailgate games were played, fireball toasts were abundant, and the chow was top notch. We grilled up sliders and sausages, and breakfast burritos and mac and cheese were also consumed. Beer funnel racing and shot guns provided us with spontaneous entertainment. We had a near private performance from the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band as they played a mere 50 steps away from our tent. The tailgate lasted until 1 PM but seemed like it was less than hour long. That is a sign of a great time. Our first Bieber candidate failed to attend the tailgate, more on all Bieber entrants below.
Getting into the stadium is always a challenge as an under-trained security staff had no idea how to process 90,000 people through four entrances. I even gave them some verbal encouragement to perhaps actually improve their work performances and not stand around chatting with other yellow jacketed sleuths. Regardless, we got to our seats in time to see an amazing Stealth flyover and patriotic pageantry that united the OU crimson and Bulldog red parts of the stadium as one America.

I will not recap the game but will generalize by saying OU dominated the first half behind Baker Mayfield and Rodney Anderson’s tremendous play. UGA won the 3rd quarter with a defense that was inspired and a run game that could not be stopped. The teams battled to a draw in Q4 that led to OT. (The first OT in Rose Bowl history). UGA won in the second overtime on a Sony Michel 25-yard run for glory. Neither Defense did much to stop the other team’s Offense with the exception of UGA stifling OU in Q3. Final score UGA 54 – OU 48. We witnessed what I am told is one of the most exciting games neutral observers and UGA fans have ever seen. We felt otherwise and departed in record time back to our hotel to nurse our wounds. Bieber entry number two sat behind us. Dawg fans barked through the night celebrating their big comeback win. For their reward, they get Bama in the Natty as the Tide rolled the Clemson Tigers in the Sugar Bowl.

                                               Enjoy the Rose Bowl slide show 

As a bonus, I co-hosted a Tailgate along with Drubaca, John Maddalon and the Duncan family at the Foster Farms Bowl on 12/27 in Santa Clara for the Arizona v Purdue matchup. We were joined by many friends and visitors throughout the three- hour tailgate. Grilled chicken, fried chicken, tri tip, beer brats, egg rolls and an assortment of appetizers and sides were served. Bieber entry number three visited our bar in a most profound way and Bieber numero quatro was fired up at the tailgate. Purdue won the game 38-35 and Rich Rodriguez is no longer coach of the Wildcats.

Celebrating Foster Farms with the Colonel
Clockwise - Bieber Maddalon, the Duncan crew, puke girl, Lamont and Dan.

In other “New Year’s Six” Bowl action, UCF defeated Auburn going undefeated and making a fictional claim on being National Champions. Notre Dame defeated LSU, Penn State bested Washington, Wisconsin blew the Hurricanes off the field and USC went down hard to Ohio State in Jerry World. Overall bowl records by conference:

AAC - 4-3
ACC -  4-6
Big Ten -  7-1
Big 12 - 5-3
CUSA – 4-4
Independents – 2-0
MAC – 1-4
MWC – 3-3
PAC 12 -1-7
SEC – 4-5
Sun Belt – 4-1

Loyal Cydia Garrett supporting a helpless cause.

Ken Reinke Pre-gaming for the Vegas Bowl.
Congratulations to North Dakota State for winning it’s 6th FCS title in 7 years with a hard fought win over James Madison. Texas A&M Commerce and Mount Union are this season’s Division 2 and 3 champions. 

Bieber – The first Bieber goes to our Rose Bowl tailgate guest Pat’s girlfriend Laura for missing the tailgate and only attending 20 minutes of the game. It seems she is a bit out of practice and forgot to pace herself the night before. Oh well, I drank her fireball and ate her sliders! Bieber # 2 is awarded to the UGA fan seated behind us in Section 25 row 15, seat 12. Yeah, he is that fan that can make you loathe a team. After listening to this stain scream profanities and essentially try to ruin the Rose Bowl experience for the Sooner fans around him for an hour, he and I had a little talk. Let’s just say we did not hear much from him after that. It is apparent that this Bieberite never played sports and is basically an angry jilted little man who probably went back to his TSA job at Hartsfield International or some other meaningless career role the following day. Bieber #3 is bestowed upon the random girl who showed up at our Foster Farms tailgate, demanded a shot of tequila, complained that there were no lemons, and proceeded to regurgitate her daily intake all over the bar. Bieber # 4 goes to repeat winner John Maddalon for knocking over the sterno can and catching his clothes and the serving table on fire with the sticky napalm like substance. 

My season is sadly over and I have already set the anchor weekends for 2018. I will do a season recap next Sunday night.

Happy Tailgating!