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!