Sunday, November 18, 2018

Week 12 - Snowflake Sighting in Texas

Dan and his hatchlings

I embarked upon my annual philanthropic journey of entertaining Snowflakes AKA Millennials for a weekend of DFT. The location that was chosen was Austin, TX for the UT v Iowa State game. I would be joined by my #1 and #2 daughters and a gaggle of their fellow flakes. But first, I attended a bonus game on Thursday night to watch perennial All American Ed Oliver and the Houston Cougars take on the Tulane Green Wave. After soaring into Houston, I jumped in my rental car and met up with Matt “Sooner” Bolt for some light pre game activity at a campus establishment called The Den. After surveying a fairly low key tailgating scene we made our way into the stadium.
Sooner Matt chaperoning me in Houston

TDECU stadium was built in 2014 on the campus of the University of Houston. It is a spectacular compact cathedral with all the bells and whistles that seats 40,000 people. With the Cougars coming off a loss, coupled with a cold night and students gone for Thanksgiving, the crowd was sparse at an estimated 15,000. Our seats were 19 rows up on the 30 yard line. Much to my chagrin, we learned that Ed Oliver would not be playing due to a knee injury, or was he simply saving himself for the draft as he could be the #1 overall pick. However, he did make some noise on the sideline as he had a dustup with Head Coach Major Applewhite over him wearing a parka when it was against team rules. So, in a sense, Oliver did see action that night. The Cougars started strong and finished strong dominating the play from the middle of the first quarter all the way to the final whistle. Cougar QB D’Erik King was running roughshod over the Green Wave until he went down with an injury. Backup QB Clayton Tune picked up the reins and continued with the onslaught. Final score Houston 48, Tulane 17.
The spirited band was ripping it up in Houston!

After a slew of grown up work stuff on Friday, I engaged with half of our crew and we made our way out to the world famous establishment called The Oasis on Lake Travis for Happy Hour with the Hanna family. We did the obligatory toast with the bell ringing at sunset. My last time there was 30 years ago and it has changed quite a bit, but the view is still spectacular as the sun sets upon the massive lake. We vectored into West 6th street for a continuance of our celebration and connected with the rest of our troupe. I played the role of bodyguard for my daughters and their friends as aggressive males were trying out there cheesy lines only to be met with disapproving Dad stares. Against better judgment, our evening concluded much later than I had envisioned.
Most of us did not sprint out of the gates Friday night but the king of the flakes has to learn,

Saturday morning, we awoke and had a batch of those fortified vitamin mixtures of “get the hell up” called Bloody Mary’s at the hotel. Eventually, we wandered over to our Hosted Tailgate put on by Horn Ball Tailgaters Via Tailgate Connect at 2 pm. With a kickoff of 7 pm, we had plenty of time to tailgate Texas style, and tailgate we did! Ryan Lepper has been running Horn Ball for 19 seasons. He has had as many as 2,000 people for some of his largest tailgates. He is able to reserve a 10,000 Sq. ft. parking lot within a 3 wood drive to the stadium. There is a general admission tent and a VIP area. One price, all-inclusive with an open bar, food truck, ice luge, Twin Peaks Girls pouring shots, Corn Hole tourney area, big screen TV with a viewing section, Jenga, DJ, dance floor, disco lights, misters, port a potties and just a damn good overall time. There was even a bachelorette party taking place. By all appearances, they were feeling no pain. Horn Ball is so popular, spirits companies jockey to donate their goods to each home game. The chow from the food truck was top notch featuring sausage wraps and tacos. The Horn Ball group puts a homemade touch to this tailgate regardless of how big it gets and makes you feel a part of it. Ryan went out of is way to ensure we had a great time. In fact, there are rumors circulating of a guy that looks just like me doing ice luge and fireball bag shots along with dancing with his future ex son in law.  I implore any of you that love a great tailgate to go through Tailgate Connect™ and sign up for a Texas Tailgate next season. You are guaranteed a great time.
Gotta love Twin Peaks!

Our host at Horn- Ball Ryan Lepper

Part of our crew.

I am so proud of these girls.

The Snowflake Poster Children

Making friends with the DJ. Look closely.

Having a great time at the Tailgate.

The eyes of Texas are upon you!
We stayed at the tailgate until 7 pm when we begrudgingly left to catch the other reason we came to Austin which was the game itself. By the time we ascended to the top of the stadium to our seats, the game was already well underway. This was my second trip to Darrel Royal Memorial stadium. The facility is gargantuan and legitimately seats 100,000. Capacity was nearly full and the crowd in burnt orange after a long day of pre gaming was simply rowdy and raucous. It must have been the altitude of our seats as recollection of the game itself is a bit foggy. However, with a shot at the Big 12 Championship, #15 Texas brought their A game and the #16 Iowa State Cyclones forgot to get off the bus. The action was thoroughly dominated by Texas with a balanced run/pass game and a stifling defense. The Clones behind much heralded freshman QB  Brock Purdy were anything but their namesake and were simply a storm that fizzled out. The Texas QB tandem of Sam Ehlinger and Shane Buchele led the Horns to a final score of Texas 24 – Iowa State 10. The halftime performance by the 500 strong Alumni Band was absolutely spectacular. 
An iconic view of the UT Tower from the east side of the stadium.

A mix of Horns up and Horns down hand signs.
Longhorns playing some D,

With the game winding down in the fourth, we departed back to the hotel. I as the grown up in the crowd, opted to remain at the hotel watching the late games on TV while the snowflakes once again trudged back over to 6th street for post-gaming. I was very impressed with the endurance of those that went strong all weekend.
Planting the flag at UT.

Around the country - In baseball action or so it looked like, Notre Dame in pin striped pants put a solid whipping on Syracuse in Yankee Stadium winning 36-3. If Notre Dame beats USC next Friday, they will in all likelihood secure a spot in the 4 team playoff. In other baseball action played at Fenway Park, Harvard beat Yale in their ancient rivalry of Yacht Club kids called The Game. In College Park, MD, the Terrapins almost did the unthinkable of beating Ohio State but came up short in OT. MD freshman running back Anthony McFarland ran for 298 yards against ESPN’s 2nd favorite team. Speaking of ESPN, College Gameday went to the campus of UCF in Orlando as the undefeated Golden Knights were hosting 9-1 Cincinnati. UCF provided a thorough beat down to the Bearcats helping to galvanize the opinion that they should also be considered for a playoff spot. Gardner Minshew and the rising Cougars of Wazzu put up 65 points on the Arizona Wildcats. Minshew is now firmly in the thick of the Heisman race with a 7 TD, 490 yard performance. The fighting Mullets from Stillwater pulled off perhaps the upset of the day by beating the flying combovers from Morgantown, WV. It was a real hair raising experience. 
Captain Mullet

Colonel Combover

In the game that is simply called The Rivalry, Lehigh defeated Lafayette 34-3. My Alma Mater Frostburg State won their first round game of the D3 playoffs continuing their perfect season of destiny. Next up for the mighty Bobcats is John Hopkins University on Saturday.
Navy Tailgaters

Spot 9 Tailgaters at Michigan and Mike Doyle and friends.

Mr. OU visiting Terry and Melissa Long in Norman.

Ginger – Keeping with the Snowflake theme, the “Master Mullet” Mike Gundy is always a great interview as you can’t predict what will come out of his mouth. This week’s coach’s presser was not only unpredictable and funny but was spot on in a message directed at Millennials and Generation Zers. Gundy essentially took exception to players who quit on their team and transfer if they don’t earn a starting spot. He went on to say how these two generations are very entitled and that he firmly believes in the snowflake. Snowflakes in college football are no different than the snowflakes we make fun of in our every day world. It was refreshing to see a college coach not cow to these entitled kids and call them out. This is another fallout of the “participation trophy and helicopter parenting” effect on society. Coach Gundy, I got the best trophy from OK State in your classmate Mrs. Tailgate, but your presser was badass and you are this week’s Ginger winner. Take a listen to the abbreviated version:

Bieber - Any other week I would have given former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith the award for his bizarre meltdown on twitter calling out former cohort and current Texas coach Tome Herman for doing bad things. However, I have to do my annual gripe on the following issue: By definition, the term Power 5 Conferences insinuates that these conferences are the mightiest and better than all the others in college football. They are the only ones with a clear shot at the prestigious college football playoffs along with Notre Dame. The SEC, the so called best of the Power 5, in particular has a weak end (hehehhe) every year (this past one in fact) where the majority of the team’s scheduled, what Gordon Gee (Bieber HOFer) would call “games against little sisters of the poor”. Five SEC teams played against FCS (D1AA schools) and three other schools had games against intimidating opponents consisting of mighty Rice, UMASS and UAB. And we all want to know, what in the name of Jiminy Crickets was Bama playing the Citadel for? This is ludicrous and the game should not count statistically or toward any W-L record. I am sure that eSECpn network will turn a blind eye to this crime and RPIs and SoS will not be impacted. In fact, Power 5 schools should be dinged in the polls for scheduling these shams of a game. No disrespect to the FCS schools as they have many fine programs, but they are FCS, not FBS, indicating an expected difference in ability. Simply put, Power 5 programs should not be able to compete with FCS schools. I hereby set forth the decree that Power 5 schools should no longer be able to play FCS schools. Don’t give me that crap that is it is good for those schools, as they get a big payment for playing these Goliaths. If that were the case, I would go out and take a million dollar payday to have Connor McGregor kick my ass once a year. These games are boring to begin with, and typically very one sided. They often result in injuries to the FCS team putting a damper on the rest of their season. I also don’t want to hear the argument that “Oh our conference schedule is brutal and we need a down week,” Well if that is true, take a damn week off.  You Power 5 programs who do this annually want to be treated special on one hand but want to play these so called “Guaranteed Games”. So, to the NCAA and CFBP Committee, take heed of my plea and set it into motion. Also, please send me the shipping addresses of all Power 5 schools who have played FCS schools this year so I can send them their newly earned hardware.

Next week – Putting up the Griswold Christmas lights, Thanksgiving, Birthdays and Anniversary will be celebrated, High School playoff game. CFB Games will be watched from DFT World HQ in smoky Cali.

Happy tailgating!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Week 11 - Bedlam, Simply Bedlam!

First and foremost, Happy Veterans Day to all of you who have served your country. We wouldn’t be here without you.
That's right Ice Man, I am dangerous!

Last year, I had made the decision that I would come back to Norman, OK for the Bedlam game between OU and OSU. My #2 daughter had recently graduated from OU and moved to Oklahoma City to try out the grown up thing. (More on this later in the Bieber Section.) The game nicknamed Bedlam has been played for 108 straight years and 113 total games and has been thoroughly one sided with the Sooners dominating the Cowboys with a record of 88 -18 -7. However, that doesn’t stop the fans from getting as fired up for this as any other big rivalry contest. Once upon a time this game was dubbed  “A House Divided” at DFT HQ as Mrs. Tailgate ran with Mike ”The Mullet” Gundy and Barry Sanders back in the day in Stillwater. Once our investment started being made in #2’s higher education at OU, and with the cougar crush Mrs. TG had on Baker Mayfield, she did a Benedict Arnold and switched allegiances. Now we have a house united. However, much of her family and extended family wore the orange and many more donned the crimson and cream. It always makes for good smack talk in her family’s circle.

I rolled into OKC Friday night like Thunder (see what I did there?)  leaving the smoke of California behind for some sights, sounds, spirits and burgers to get things going. I was babysat by Mrs. Tailgate’s cousins Doc and LaurenLu Eichinger. I behaved well and was not put in time out once. Normally I get carted around the college bars of Campus Corner in Norman but this time we went where the grownups were. They were in their 30s. On this night, I was back in my hotel room before 10 to watch the Friday night CFB action.
Bloody Mary bash and Fireball mission at the Colonels!

On Saturday morning, after a proper Bloody Mary bash by the oldest living cowpoke alive, my father in law, Colonel T Boone Peters, we made our way to the beautiful campus on the plains of Oklahoma. The scene was electric as folks dressed in orange and white and crimson and cream dotted the lots and fields. I have never seen the campus with so much energy as tailgate tents were erected in every nook and cranny with music blaring, grills smoking and libations being quaffed. Laughter was abundant with an occasional Boomer-Sooner/Texas Sucks chant being belted out. The skies were blue and the air was crisp with temps in the 40s most of this perfect late autumn college football Saturday. We were invited to stop by the Sooner Football Fans Podcast Tailgate and partake in some beverages and chili. I have been a guest all season on the Sooner Football Fans Podcast on their Wednesday night segment ( Terry Long, the main voice of the podcast and his wife Teresa were our hosts and showed us true Oklahoma hospitality. Many of Mrs. Tailgate’s extended family and daughter #2’s besties came by to visit. It was great catching up with them all. I also met some of the other folks that we do the Sooner podcasts with and people from our college football Twitter world. Very cool meeting these folks and other new friends for the first time. As is customary, The Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band paraded past our tent on Jenkins avenue with the Sooner fight song being played. We concluded the tailgate ritual with a Boomer Sooner chant and the obligatory shot of Fireball. 
Gardner Minshew upper left, the Bolts upper right and the divided Eichingers on the bottom.

When your daughter stands you up you adopt new ones!

Now that is some BBQ!

Terry Long providing instructions on the art of two fisted drinking!

Mrs. Tailgate's Cousins, the Eichinger Sibs and Matt Bolt.
The Podcast and Twitter Celebs.
No wonder these guys had a mishap during the game!
Get ready!
It was now time to head into the Palace on the Prairie, Gaylord Memorial Stadium for the main event; the BEDLAM game. Luck continued to be on my side this week as I scored a $30 lower bowl ticket from a fellow guest and fellow Army Vet at our tailgate. Street prices were between $150 and $250. Oklahoma came into the game heavily favored despite having a defense as formidable as France during WWII. The trick is to score more points than the opponent. That is something that the Sooners can do as their offense is littered with future NFLers. Oklahoma State is young this year but still coached by that offensive master mullet Mike Gundy, the greatest coach in Poke history. With Veterans day approaching Monday, OU rolled out the red carpet to honor Veterans throughout the game. We were even treated to a pre-game flyover. Not one person out of all 88,000 sat for the National Anthem either. This was truly a great college football day interlaced with patriotism.

Our Seats were to the side of the south end zone 44 rows up in the OK State section. However, there were more Sooner fans than Cowboy fans in our AO. The crowd was buzzing…literally and figuratively (good tailgates have that effect). Each offense had no problem moving the ball and scoring at will. Defense was apparently optional. Unheralded OSU QB Taylor “Corndog” Cornelius threw for 501 yards. OU Heisman hopeful Kyler Murray threw for 350 measuring sticks and the Sooner ground game racked up another 350 yards. When all was tallied up, there was almost 1400 yards of total offense and close to 100 points were scored. OK State would not back down as they responded to each Sooner score with one of their own. In fact, they even took the lead and appeared to have the momentum for a chunk of time. The difference came on a missed OK State extra point early in the fourth quarter that would have made their lead 8 pts. As the game was winding down, the Pokes found themselves down by 7. As was customary on this day, they blew through the token OU defense and scored a quick touchdown with a little over 1 minute on the clock. They were down by 1 point and would tie it with the extra kick. However, Master Mullet showed intestinal fortitude and opted to go for 2 in an attempt to get the win in regulation and head back up to Stillwater on the party bus. Epic fail, on an attempted pass for 2, and OU DB Tre Brown finally made a big play and swatted the pass away. OU ran out the clock and narrowly and fortunately escaped with a win. This victory won’t help them win over the SEC Big ten loving pollsters and rightfully so. They have to figure out their defense really quick to have a chance to make the CFB playoffs once again. Final score Oklahoma 48 - Oklahoma State 47. A win is still a win. One of the most exciting moments of the game was when one of the OU Ruff Neks was dragged out of the back of the Sooner Schooner after an OU score. We tailgated with those guys so that might explain a few things. After the game I retreated back to my in laws quarters for chili, cocktails and the late games on TV.
Kennedy Brooks running behind his massive O-line.

Enjoying the game action.

Around the country - ESPN College Gameday descended on “The Heights” of Chestnut Hill, MA as #22 Boston College was hosting # 2 Clemson and their pretty QB Trevor ” Don’t Call Me Sunshine “Lawrence. Our friends Pops Leblanc and Rick Gagne were too busy having mimosas and egg white quiche at the yacht club to make it to Gameday. BC starting QB went out of the game with an injury after the first series never to return. This seemed to stymie their offense into a game of ineptitude. However, their defense was stout as they gave the high octane Tiger offense fits all night. Final score Clemson 27 – BC 7. On Thursday night in Raleigh, NC in perhaps the most exciting game of the week, Wake Forest upset #14 NC State on a game winning TD drive. In Big Ten Country, The Ohio State Buckeyes had perhaps their best game of the season taking down Sparty easily in East Lansing. In the SEC, Bama won again against Mississippi State in a shutout, Other SEC offenses are not that exciting and their defense is just too good. In the PAC 12, Wazzu and the Stache continue to roll on as they are the only hope for the Pac 12 to get into the playoff at this point. It pains me to report to you that USC lost again in smoky LA to the Cal Bears. In group of five action, Boise upset #22 Fresno, Friday night on the Blue. How about UAB improving to 9-1 and securing a spot in the Conference USA championship game? Just two years ago they didn’t even have a program. In recognition of Veterans Day, Army and Air Force won their games and Navy gave undefeated UCF all they could handle in a tough loss.
Perennial Bieber nominee John Maddalon at Dad's day tailgate in Boulder

In D3 action, my Alma mater took on their hated rival from the other end of the state of Maryland, Salisbury State U in what is dubbed “The Regents Cup”. With Frostburg ranked # 6 and Salisbury # 16, this would be one of the most meaningful matchups in state history. Tailgate Bill Donnelly was there to report on the action from the frozen crests of the Appalachian Mountains, however he earned Bieber points for leaving early as his estrogen froze. The Burgers beat the Steaks in OT to put them in a great spot for the upcoming D3 playoffs. Also, a shout out to St. Johns of Minnesota as they are ranked # 5 and remain unbeaten. A special nod to a former player there and superfan Bill the Monsignor Walsh to get well soon and get back on your horse!
Bobcat Stadium at Frostburg State courtesy of Bill Donnelly

Ginger – This one is well in advance of it actually taking place, but I was so impressed it needs to be awarded now. As many folks know, I am a bit…. shall we say “Type A” when it comes to planning these football weekends. As such, our East Bay DFT crew selected LSU as our road “Anchor Game” for 2019. This of course comes with a Thursday night in NOLA along with the weekend in Baton Rouge and possibly a Saints game on Sunday. If that ain’t badass enough, check this out;  One of the younger members of our group who shall go by the name “Snowflake Timmy” is set to get married next September. Timmy in my view, is the captain of the Snowflakes and will some day run DFT. The move I am about to tell you he made will solidify that vision permanently. With everyone concerned that the dates of October 9-12 were too soon after his wedding and his honeymoon, we were convinced he would be on the disabled list for this one. When questioned where his loyalties lie, he responded with this “ Let’s F&%#ing go! When asked how he would get away with this so soon after the big day, he stated simply “Lay the foundation early. Hard to move later!” It is amazing that this young man has this mindset as it clearly was not passed down from his neutered Papa whose name shall remain somewhat anonymous. Alas, I feel I may have had some impact after all on today’s youth. This also proves to me that there is hope with the Millennials now as the fortitude is strong with this one. For your brazen badass position on this, you my friend Snowflake Timmy are this week’s Ginger awardee.

Bieber -  This week’s Bieber goes to daughter # 2 as hinted about above. It seems my Suma Cum Laude brilliant Sooner graduate may have missed a course on how to read calendars. We already knew she can’t tell time as she is consistently late for everything. As mentioned previously, last year I coordinated with #2 on coming to the Bedlam game and planned that we would have a swell time like Buddy the Elf and his Dad when I came to town. In September, I again confirmed with her on a Tuesday night once more by asking if she was still going to be in town. Her response was a simple “duh daddy, I would not miss Bedlam with you”.  With this knowledge confirmed, I moved forward mobilizing all my assets to meet me in Norman for Bedlam. That Saturday, I got wind of a rumor that her boyfriend invited her to go see his parents for a weekend sometime in November. Upon inquiring as to when, much to my surprise, you guessed it, same weekend as Bedlam. With my heart crushed, and after doing the sobbing dork walk 1,000 times, I slowly got over the pain and anguish of being so insignificant that she would forget about our special weekend. You see, this was a legitimate hall pass too, as Mrs. Tailgate and #3 would be out of town at a dance convention. You don’t just waste a golden opportunity like that. So, after two months of trying to figure out what to do, I opted on Tuesday to burn some airline points and go to Bedlam after all. At least her roommates thought enough of me to stick around and tailgate with me. Oh well, she got her trip to Colorado and she has some new hardware awaiting her under the Christmas tree. Well-earned dear daughter!

Next Up – Big week…Monday night I will be attending the Monte Vista v San Ramon Valley High School playoff game as it was moved from Saturday due to the smoke. Tuesday is #3’s high school dance show. Thursday, University of Houston home game. The weekend, Austin, TX for the Iowa State v Longhorn game and a massive tailgate with the Horn-Ball Tailgaters and a big DFT Snowflake crew.

Happy Tailgating!