Sunday, December 1, 2019

Rivalry Weekend

L 2 R, Maddalon, Campbell, Zoe, Maureen, Mihailo, Dan, Ashley , Mike, Amy
The moniker of “Soft Californians” was on full display this Saturday as our tailgate of originally 50 people dwindled to a mere dirty dozen due to a few sprinkles and sub 50-degree weather. Not only was our tailgate a reflection of the softness, but the Stanford stadium for the Notre Dame game had less than 20,000 people in attendance. Most were rooting for Notre Dame. Regardless of the size, we had a feast of egg and bacon sandwiches prepared on my new 3-in-1 breakfast station, Italian Chili, meats and cheeses, bloody Mary and Mimosa bars and an assortment of fresh fruit. Tents and heaters kept the elements at bay as it only lightly rained for an hour. For the Dirty dozen that showed up, you have my undue respect! This was my 9th time attending this game since 2001 having only missed the 2017 game. Most of the years we have been with the Iorios for the event.

The fellas, Maddalon terrorizing the kids, Amy and Maureen

The Panoviches, the kids, our Bloody Mary Sponsors, and the obligatory shot ski

The chicken dance, the Campbells, crazy Alan manning the bar, lucky socks

Alan & Amy, the fellas talking shop

Dan & Mike as the architects, my breakfast station and the ladies
Notre Dame was gunning for its third straight 10-win season while Stanford is mired in their worst season in the David Shaw era. However, in the first third of the game the script was flipped. Stanford dominated the action as the Cardinal (a tree that a dog urinates on) stormed out to a 17-7 lead. And then the gravitational forces rotated. The tide turned in a big way as Notre Dame QB Ian Book started finding All World Receiver Chase Claypool for a few scores and a runaway performance. Notre Dame would run off 38 more points to Stanford’s 7 for a final score of 45-24.
Empty Stanford stadium
Around the Country, Rivalry Games

Auburn bested Alabama 48-45 in the Iron Bowl, knocking the Tide out of the playoffs for the first time since the four-team format was created in 2014. Oklahoma took care of little brother Oklahoma State in the Bedlam Series game, keeping their chances alive to make the playoffs. In “The Game” in Ann Arbor, Harbaugh got bullied again by the Buckeyes which raised more questions about his future. Wisconsin beat Minnesota in the snow to not only win Paul Bunyan’s axe but also a spot in the Big Ten championship game. Elsewhere in rivalry games:

·       The Governor’s Cup – Kentucky takes down Louisville 45-13
·       The Egg Bowl – Mississippi State 21- Ole Miss 20 (Ole Piss, more on this later)
·       The Palmetto Bowl - Clemson destroyed the other USC 38-7
·       The Commonwealth Cup – Virginia beat VA Tech 39 -30 to advance to the ACC Championship game
·       The Apple Cup – UW topped Wazzu 31-13
·       The Civil War – The Ducks scored 24 and the Beavers 10
·       Clean Old-Fashioned Hate –  UGA annihilated GA Tech 52-7
·       Sunshine Showdown –  Florida beat Florida State 40 -17
·       Territorial Cup –  The Sun Devils torched the Wildcats 24-14

Bieber – In a game filled with sheer hatred for one another, the Egg Bowl which pits Mississippi State against Ole Miss, has a history of getting testy at times. With seconds to go, Ole Miss found themselves down by seven points. They engineered a drive resulting in a touchdown pass from QB Matt Corral to Elijah Moore to make the game a 21-20 contest with an extra point still pending. In his celebration after scoring, Moore crawled on all fours to the back of the end zone and raised his leg mimicking a dog taking a leak. Immediately, the referees threw a flag at him for unsportsmanlike behavior. This moved the PAT back 15 yards. No longer a chip shot, the Ole Miss kicker lined up his kick and pulled it wide right resulting in a 1-point loss. The loss was not the kickers fault, the result lies squarely on the shoulders of the peeing dog Elijah Moore. This has to be one of the biggest bone-headed on-field acts that I can recall with a meaningful game on the line. Young Elijah, you lost the game for your team. You lost the Egg Bowl. You lost the respect of Ole Miss Nation. Your coach was fired after the loss. However, you won a Bieber award and a new name for your team, Ole Piss!

Unemployment Report –
·       Matt Luke out as HC at Ole Miss
·       Charlie Strong out as HC at USF
·       Texas fired its OC and DC
·       Barry Odom ousted from Mizzou
·       Clay Helton rumored to be fired to make room for Urban Meyer at USC
·       Steve Addazio bounced out at BC
·       Chad Morris out at Arkansas
·       Willie Taggart fired from Florida State
·       Chris Ash sacked at Rutgers
·       Bob Davie took a knee for New Mexico
·       Tony Sanchez makes no more bets for UNLV

Next Week -  I will be attending a wedding on Saturday while watching Conference championship games on my phone at the reception! In two weeks, I will return to the city of brotherly love for the Army-Navy game. It is always a special event as we tailgate with people from all stages of my life.

Happy tailgating!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Guns up!

It is said that a road less traveled is a road worth travelling. Thus, I made my college football pilgrimage to Lubbock, TX, this weekend for the first time to watch the Texas Tech Red Raiders spar with the Kansas State Wildcats. Lubbock sits in the middle of West Texas cotton and cowboy country, a good five-hour drive from Dallas/Fort Worth. I would be joined on this segment of my journey by daughter #2 and her beaux. We would link up with Lubbock locals: my brother-in-law, his wife and daughter. Texas Tech plays in the Big 12 Conference, and once upon a time they were part of the now defunct yet notorious Southwest Conference. Legendary players such as Patrick Mahomes, Zach Thomas, Michael Crabtree, Danny Amendola and Wes Welker graced the gridiron of Jones (AT&T) Stadium. Friday night consisted of dining at Cap Rock cafĂ© on Bison burgers and playing pool (very poorly I may add) at Crickets on Broadway street, the campus bar area.
Friday Night Sights!
Saturday was a prototypical cool, crisp, sunny West Texas big sky kind of day. We walked the famous Key on campus where there was plenty of public tailgating with family-friendly activities and a live concert. We were invited to attend the Matador Mafia tailgate in lot C4 on the NW side of the stadium. I was connected with the primary host, Chris Evans, AKA Captain America via social media. Chris played at TTU back in the late 80s under legendary coach Spike Dykes. Chris went on to ride bulls professionally and has the medical records to prove it. We were introduced to his crew, of which every other person seemed to be named Chris including my brother-in-law. Chris Evans prepared smoked brisket chili that was simply world class. My brother-in-law’s homemade top-secret recipe jerky made its first appearance at one of my tailgates as well and was devoured quickly. We all swapped stories and toasted a few cold ones. As the sun began to set, we said our goodbyes to yet another group of people who will remain friends on this incredible tailgating and football journey that I am on. Onward into the magnificent stadium we strode.
Hanging with the Matador Mafia!
FireIceball? Forced to do the K State Claw for a pic, ladies of the tailgate, Me and #2 daughter.

Fun at the tailgate!
Jones stadium was erected in 1947 and has a current seating capacity of 60,000+. It is immaculately laid out with gradually rising seats as opposed to a steep incline. Plenty of concessions and beer were served inside. It was once said that Texas Tech has the best home field advantage due to its passionate fans. I considered wearing some Baker Mayfield schwag just to poke the bear a bit, as he started his college football journey here before transferring to OU for his legendary career rise. Needless to say, Baker is not loved in West Texas. I digress. Texas Tech had a great pre-game show and player entrance to the field as the sun lowered into the horizon beyond the western bleachers of the stadium. We chose to purchase seats on the 40 in the upper level of the East side. The Red Raiders have been in the midst of mediocrity ever since the great Mike Leach was run out of town by Fake News trumped up by Bieber HOFer Craig James. New head coach Matt Wells has a big challenge competing against the likes of OU, TX, TAMU and TCU for the state’s top players. The Red Raiders were sporting a record of 4-6 coming into Saturday’s contest. Kansas State under first-year Coach Chris Klieman has had several signature wins this year against Oklahoma and Mississippi State and came into the game bowl-eligible at 6-4.
Weekend at Bernies? The TTU Band, the DFT banner serving as warmth and the Lone Rider doing his thing.
Texas Tech’s “in game pageantry” and traditions are unparalleled in college football. Chants of “guns up” with fingers mimicking a pistol and shouts of “wreck ‘em Tech” can be heard throughout the game. The masked rider will take the field on horseback after every Red Raider score. The most interesting tradition is the throwing of tortillas throughout the stadium for certain on-field situations which I am not entirely clear about. The first half seemed less like a Big 12 game and more like an SEC smash mouth game as K State was only able to muster up two field goals to Texas Tech’s one for a 6-3 halftime lead. At halftime, we were treated to a Christmas song medley performance by the 400+ member “Goin Band from Raiderland.” Both offenses kicked into gear in the second half as K State QB Skylar Thompson led the Cats on four scoring drives for an additional 24 points. Texas Tech hung tough behind QB Jet Duffey for 25 points. So, doing the math, you see that K State won 30-28 in a well-played, hard fought match. We stayed until just a few minutes remained on the clock when it was apparent the outcome would not be altered. We journeyed onward to Chick-fil-A and back to the hotel for a night cap and viewing of the late games. If you have not been to a Texas Tech game, plan on an excursion out to Lubbock for a fantastic college football experience.

That look when your future ex son in law comes back from the bathroom without a beer for Dan!
Around the Country - In the marquee game of the day in Columbus, Ohio, the Buckeyes raced out to a 21-0 lead over Penn State in what appeared to be a runaway game. Penn State however, showing the pride of the lions that they are (see what I did there?), clawed back into the game with 17 unanswered points in the second half. The Buckeyes behind Heisman Candidate Justin Fields would score once more to secure a 28-17 victory. Out west in the PAC 12 in Tempe, Squirming Herman Edwards and the Devils pulled off the upset of the day by silencing the Ducks and taking them out of playoff contention. In other PAC 12 news, SUC knocked off ACLU in the battle of LA LA Land. Over in the ACC, Florida International must have been offended by being Miami’s homecoming opponent so they took it upon themselves to embarrass and beat the Hurricanes. In the battle for the Vatican, the Catholics from South Bend defrocked the Catholics from Chestnut Hill 40-7. Navy ended SMU’s hope of a New Year’s Six Bowl by corralling the Stangs in Annapolis in another nail-biter Naval victory. In other Group of Five action, Boise, Memphis, Cincinnati and App State all kept their hopes alive to win the honor of playing in a New Year’s Six Bowl game. In “The Game,” Yale beat Harvard in double OT. More on this in Bieber. Lastly, the Monte Vista Mustangs ended their 2019 campaign in a loss to national powerhouse De La Salle. A shout out to the graduating seniors on this team, for many of whom it may have been their last game. Hope to see the rest of ‘em playing on Saturdays the next four years!

USF Cheer squad courtesy of the Major.
Uncanny resemblance between TTU OC David Yost and Harry Dunne
Bieber –  There were a lot of choices this week for Bieber honors such as the annual SEC cupcake week, Tom Hermann head butting his helmeted player pre-game, my brother in law leaving the Texas Tech game in the first quarter and me not coming to Norman for the OU v TCU game. However, the award goes to a bunch of knuckleheads in New Haven, CT, on Saturday. At halftime of the historic Harvard-Yale game, a group of entitled, misinformed, hypocritical students from both schools organized an on-field protest regarding something called “Climate Change.” First and foremost, do your research. Natural disasters such as volcanoes and forest fires do far more damage to the environment and the ozone layer than thousands of years of man-made usage of fossil fuels. Debate me – I dare you to prove me wrong. Second, how do you think these future Antifites got here to the game? Did they walk, ride bikes, horses, Flintstone cars? No, they rode in fossil fuel-generated transportation like cars, trains, planes or motorcycles. And don’t forget, electrical plants are powered by fossil fuels. It’s not entirely the students’ fault as they have been brainwashed by people even less intelligent than them who should know better. “If you tell a big lie enough times it eventually becomes the truth” so said the biggest monster in the history of the world. Nonetheless, there were about 150 students who occupied the field and delayed the second half by an hour. The game was in danger of being postponed as there were not lights at the Yale Bowl for this event. With the sun setting at 4:30 and the protest taking so long, this was a real crisis. Eventually, security cleared most of the unwashed from the field and arrested two dozen playdough-squeezing whiners and incarcerated them for a few minutes. So, little Gen Xers, since you probably love Justin Bieber, this may not be much of a slam to you, but us Boomers want you to take your Beebs award and go to your crying rooms with it. Enjoy it Snowflakes!

Ginger – Nothing too over the top this week, but the award goes to injured Youngstown State QB Nathan Mays who was basically carried onto the field by two of his teammates so he could take his last official snap of his career. Nathan, a red shirt senior, had a serious season-ending leg injury three weeks ago. He really wanted to suit up for his final collegiate game. He had decided that if his team was up big, he would approach coach Bo “the Nose” Pellini and make the request. They were, and he did, and Bo said yes. After his teammates helped him onto the field, he was able to hop on one leg to the line of scrimmage, take the snap and then take a knee with the help of two teammates. His dad was in tears in the stands seeing this. It was a brave badass act, but also good sportsmanship shown by opponent Illinois State to allow this to happen. Congrats Nathan, and good luck to you in your future endeavors.

Next week  I will be co-hosting a tailgate with Irish Mike Iorio at Stanford when my Fighting Irish come to town. Game time is at 1:00 p.m., tailgate starts at 9:30 a.m. We will have a brunch spread and a Bloody Mary and mimosa bar going.

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Time out Saturday

This Saturday consisted of me being in College Football Jail. This time, the timeout was self-imposed and not Mrs. Tailgate initiated. Original plans called for a group of us to go to the Laney Junior college game and attempt to get ourselves on the Netflix series Last Chance U. Laney and their opponent are so bad this season that we opted to scrap those plans and call a homegating audible for Saturday. We of course would make a giant pot of chili with all the  trimmings and share it with friends  We did however get to attend one of the more exciting high school games I have seen in some time on Friday night. Our Monte Vista Mustangs sought and attained revenge against our cross-town rival San Ramon Valley by winning  on a field goal with four seconds left in the NCS playoffs. And yes, I did storm the field with the other kids. Next up for the Mustangs…….the #10 team in the country, the De La Salle Spartans.
Friday Night Lights in Danville, the Stangs celebrate the big win, Mrs. Tailgate storming the field and #3 cheering them on
Around the country – College Gameday traveled to Waco, TX for the battle of the Big 12 with one loss OU visiting the undefeated Baylor Bears. This game was also the ABC game of the week. Baylor Jumped all over OU from the opening bell all the way up until intermission, at one point leading by as many as 25 points. The score was 31-10 and Baylor dominated all facets of the game. Then the ghost of Bud Wilkinson must have entered the Sooner locker room at halftime and given them one helleuva speech. OU was a completely different team in the second half, having their way on offense and bottling up the Bear offense that was so fluid in the first set. The Sooners ran off 24 unanswered points to go up on Baylor and hold the lead for an improbable 34-31 come from way behind win.  Most likely these two teams will meet next month for the Big 12 championship. 
Jalen living the dream with my girl Maria Taylor
Elsewhere in the Big 12 Iowa State kicked a game ending field goal to make the Horns go down again. In the SEC, UGA traveled to the Plains to take on WAR Damn Eagle of Auburn. After taking a 21-0 lead, the Dawgs held on for a 21-14 win twice denying Auburn on potential game tying drives. In Stark Vegas, MS, the nation witnessed the final play of Tua’s career as the Bama QB dislocated his hip. In the Big Ten, undefeated Minnesota traveled to Iowa City still on a high from knocking off Penn State last week. Perhaps they left some of the emotion back in Minneapolis as the Hawkeyes were able to take the Gophers down severely damaging their chances of making the college football playoffs. In the ACC, Louisville continues to have an impressive season with a win over NC State making them bowl eligible. In the Pac 12 a resurgent Oregon State wins a squeaker over ASU in Corvallis 35-31. Navy suffered a bombardment in South Bend at the hands of the Irish dropping their second game of the year. Boise, Memphis and App State all notched victories keeping their New Years Six Bowl hopes alive as the top Group of Five teams. Last, my Alma mater, the Frostburg State Bobcats completed their inaugural season at the Division 2 level by going 8-3. This is after decades of playing at division III level of the NCAA.
The Bolt/Munding clan travel to Wco from Norman for the game of the week

Sammy G,out kicking the coverage at Cal, the Brothers Donnelly at West Point, Frostburg Classmates Billy Burton and Sandi Bodmer Almond

Bieber – Co-Biebers this week go to Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns and Colin Kaepernick, who is unemployed. By now, we have all seen what Garrett did Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a fit of rage, he ripped off the helmet of Steeler QB Mason Rudolph and then swung and connected with the top of Rudolph’s head. A melee ensued. Garrett has now been suspended for the rest of the season and perhaps more time off and possible criminal charges. Garrett is the Browns best player so this will hurt well beyond his own pocketbook. The other Ass Hat of the week, Colin “I want back in the NFL” Kaepernick begged for and was granted a workout by the NFL at the Atlanta Falcons facility this past Saturday. Apparently 28 teams were sending representatives to the workout. From the onset of the invite by the NFL, it was clear that Kaepernick and his camp had no interest in a legit tryout. The real reason was so Kaepernick could film another commercial for Nike. The NFL acquiesced to most of his demands all the way up until two hours before go time. This is when Camp Kaepernick decided  not go to the Falcons camp as designated by the NFL. Yet instead, he went to some high school in Atlanta and decided to YouTube his workout with people he chose to throw to. Oh, and his Nike people were there too.  Only eight teams ended up sending representatives. To make matters worse, he wore a shirt displaying the words Kunta Kinte insinuating he was a slave for the NFL. Steven A Smith of ESPN was so disgusted he said Kap’s stated desire of returning to the NFL is over. He wants to be a martyr, not a football player. Kaepernick has no interest in doing anything other than making misinformed public stances on issues he has does not have the full story on. This is not a political blog, so we will leave it there, but he screwed the pooch on his chances. So, both Mr. Garrett and Kaepernick may not be playing football anytime soon, but they will be marveling at their Bieber hardware.

Ginger - Colorado State running back Josh Griffin. Josh happens to be a 33 year-old active duty combat veteran in the Army. He has been assigned to Special Forces and Ranger units in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is attending Colorado State, completing a program within the confines of the ROTC department. While stationed at Fort Carson, CO, he was invited to a tryout at Colorado State University. It had been 13 years since he put the pads on as a high school senior. He was getting plenty of looks from colleges that year and then he tore his hamstring and was a forgotten man. After a year of attending college, he went to work for Uncle Sam. Through persistence, he joined the team last season as a practice squad player while sorting out his NCAA eligibility. This year, he is the senior statesmen on the team referred to as Pops by his teammates. Although he does not see much playing time, the kids look up to him and marvel at his physical condition. He is living his dream while also unselfishly serving his country. Sergeant Griffin, for your persistence and patriotism, you are a true badass and have the distinguished honor of being our Ginger awardee this week.

Next Week – I am heading to Lubbock, TX as the Kansas State Wildcats will be visiting the Texas Tech Red Raiders. This will be another first-time venue for me. I will be joined by daughter #2 and other relatives for the festivities

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Ski U Mah!

The Minnesota Golden Gophers adopted the saying “Ski U Mah!” over 100 years ago. Legend has it that a Minnesota rugby team lost a canoe race to a group of American Indians. The Indians won the race and shouted out “Ski U Mah” in celebration. The ruggers inquired as to what it meant, and they said “victory”. So, the Minnesota rugby team adopted the slogan and it was not for another 20 years that the football squad started using it. Therefore, much like Alabama’s “Roll Tide Roll”, Penn State’s “We Are,” and Oklahoma’s “Boomer Sooner”, the Gophers have a saying of their own that most of the country outside of the Big Ten Conference probably weren’t aware of. So now  you know the rest of the story!

The # 4 ranked and undefeated Penn State Nittany Lions came to Minneapolis to take on the #17 ranked and undefeated Minnesota Golden Gophers. I was quite perturbed last week that ESPN College Gameday did not pick this setting to attend. Minnesota is coached by PJ Fleck, now in his third year and recently signed to a seven-year contract extension. Fleck came from Western Michigan University where he took that program to a New Years’ Six bowl game before migrating to Minneapolis. He brought his own slogan of “row the boat” with him from Kalamazoo. Simply meaning, ”all oars in the water”. Minnesota has had several years of being decent but never great since 1941. Their greatest player was one Bronko Nagurski who was a warrior for them almost 100 years ago. The atmosphere in town, campus and stadium would be electric for this matchup.

I was joined by two of my close college friends and teammates, Jim Tubby Devine and Chip Shrek Hayden. The three of us have had many colorful memories together over the past 40 years. We did the customary familiarizing ourselves with local establishments Friday night and ensured that proper Benjamins were distributed to multiple houses of worship. The only knock I had was an Irish bar errrr church that ran out of Guinness at 7 PM on a Friday night. The Bieber committee is giving this one serious consideration.

With a kickoff of 11 AM local time, the Bronkos Boathouse Tailgate commenced libation pouring and chow line at 8 AM. For some reason though, we arrived a bit later than 8.  Dan Lusk and Geno, their wives and Dan’s daughter, Maria all made us feel very welcome and regaled us with stories of their tailgate and Minnesota football. Bronkos Boathouse is a Tailgate Connect® affiliate and their own slogan is “We have never lost a tailgate”. I would agree, as we most certainly left there feeling like winners. The bar they use was constructed to look like the front of a boat. There were many decorations around the 4 -tent spread with Bronko Nagurski pictures, boat oars and of course the Bronko Boathouse crest. Breakfast for us consisted mainly of spicy tomato juice with vegetables in a cup and some other light -colored liquid. We did a customary Viking toast “SKOL” of something resembling a blue dart that is their spirit of choice. Our tailgate hosts were instrumental in bringing back tailgating to the University of Minnesota as there was a time when it was outlawed. They were part of a group that petitioned the university and persuaded them to allow tailgating again. Not all heroes wear capes! We were treated to Army parachuters jumping into the stadium from the vantage point of the tailgate lot. After being re-awoken and fed, we made our way into the beautiful TCF Bank stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota. TCF was built 10 years ago giving the Gophers their own facility for the first time in decades after sharing the old Metrodome with the NFL Minnesota Vikings. Capacity is about 55,000 but the seating is plenty spacious, and it could easily hold 15,000 more if they wanted to squeeze people in like some other stadiums who boast of having so many seats.

Bronkos Boathouse Tailgate

Rowing the boat!

From the onset of the game, the atmosphere was off the charts. Most of the fans were decked out in their Minnesota maroon with a smattering of Penn State white. There had not been this much anticipation for a football game in the state of Minnesota since the days of Fran Tarkenton when he played for the Vikings. Even with an early start, the fans had plenty of time to get primed for this marquee matchup. The Gophers scored on a 65-yard pass play just two and a half minutes into the game on a toss from QB Tanner Morgan to Rashod Batemen who would hook up repeatedly throughout the day. Penn State responded with a score of their own on a 45-yard run. Minnesota would score again, and hold serve for the next three quarters. Oh, and don’t worry, the Minnesotans are a hearty people and as such, ample beer was served in the stadium. On the final drive, PSU QB Sean Clifford was picked off for the third and final time of the game as the Nittany Lions were attempting a game winning touchdown. That interception secured a huge upset win for the Gophers and puts them in contention for the college football playoffs now. 

Larry, Moe and Curly

The majestic TCF Stadium
The students, along with thousands of other fans and two guys in their fifties hopped over the wall and stormed the field. The Gophers have not been this happy since that time when they escaped Carl from Caddyshack’s attempts to exterminate them from the Bushwood country club golf course. In the midst of it all, l ran into last week’s Ginger awardee, 5- time cancer survivor Casey O’Brien and slapped him on the shoulder pads congratulating him. We made our way off the field, out of the stadium to the Buffalo Wild Wings across the street for the Bama v LSU game.

Let the celebration begin!

Around the country – In what was being billed as the latest “game of the century”, the #2 LSU Tigers traveled to Tuscaloosa to take on the #3 Alabama Crimson Tide. President Trump and our First Lady Melania even attended this monumental battle and were warmly cheered by the fans. Three weeks after having ankle surgery, All American Alabama QB 1 Tua Bangyourdrumslowly was back in action to lead the Tide. He would face current Heisman Front Runner Joe “Nuke Laloosh” Burrow and the explosive Tiger offense. LSU thoroughly dominated the first half of the game all the way through the middle of the third quarter. Then suddenly, Big Mo entered the stadium and its color was crimson. Tua and the Tide battled back valiantly only to fall short at the end. Final score LSU 46, Bama 41 and Epstein didn’t kill himself. 
Nuke Burrow?

The Big 12 had plenty of action as Baylor and OU both squeaked out wins to set the stage for the main event in Waco next Saturday night. Illinois came from 21 down in the fourth quarter to upset Michigan State. The Illini are now bowl eligible. In the Group of Five, Boise scored more points than Wyoming did on the blue smurf turf even without their star QB Hank Bachmeier who missed another game due to injury. Boise is now in the driver’s seat for the GoF New Years’ 6 bowl game. In the ACC, Wake Forest may have been looking ahead to next week’s match with Clemson and dropped their second game of the year to those Hokies up in Blacksburg, VA as they honored their longtime outgoing Defensive Coordinator, Bud Foster. In the PAC 12, USC soared into the Devils den in Tempe and forked them over by beating the hell out of ASU, and thus saving coach Clay HELLton from getting fired for now. Sun Devil coach Herm Edwards was heard screaming in Tillman’s Tunnel after the game “Hello, you play to win the game!!!”  In Service Academy news, Army rolled over UMASS (Please leave D1A, you are a horrible program). Yankee stadium was the scene of the top two undefeated Ivy League teams as Dartmouth came out on top of Princeton. This game was to celebrate Princeton as one of the two teams in the first college football game ever played 150 years ago last week. The winner of this year’s biggest little game in America between Williams and Amherst was Williams by a score of 31- 9.

The Koreivos in Austin

Alabama Al showing off his fashion sense.

Perennial Bieberite, neighbor John at the Colorado game.
Bieber –  A rare occasion, we have no acts egregious enough to be Bieber worthy this week. The Bieber award is taking a week off! Although we have some usual suspects such as PAC 12 refs, Ohio State cheating again, neighbor John just being himself and brother Brian going to another random game all by his lonesome. The Bieber committee thought it best not to cheapen the award with mild infractions or stainworthy behavior.

Ginger – Boston College “Eagle Tailgaters” stalwart, US Navy Veteran and friend Rick Gagne is sailing some stormy seas of life right now. He is battling the awful C word and has been put on the tailgating IR list for the season. Rick as an avid sailor and Navy Vet has certainly navigated many challenging waters in his life which has helped prepare him for this battle he is taking head on now. I have tailgated with Rick in many cities and he is just a one of kind great guy and one of the best tailgate chefs you will meet. He has prepared everything from lobster tails to prime rib at some of the games we have been at together  We have shared numerous stories over his favorite beer, Bud Light. Well Ricky, you are one badass in life and you will set your navigational beacon on beating the damn C word and getting back in action as soon as you can. You are this week’s Ginger recipient buddy!

Death Valley, SC
Rick on the right with Pops Leblanc and myself

Next Week – High School playoffs Friday night. Most likely will not be going to a college game on Saturday but instead doing some couch crunches and remote-control hand exercises while watching all the action on my big screen.
Happy Tailgating.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Mountain West Battle in the Silicon Valley

DFT Boise Tailgate Crew

The question was not “do you know the way to San Jose?” but rather how the hell am I getting home after tailgating and watching the game until after 11 PM?  Thank goodness for designated drivers with more common sense than me. The local DFT crew, Boise State chapter, set up another epic tailgate in Spartan Village outside of CEFCU Stadium in San Jose for the Boise/San Jose State game on Saturday. Several newcomers had their initial DFT experience joining many veterans. Beautiful weather in the high 70’s on another postcard perfect day complimented an already awesome setting. As is the case when we host a tailgate, we had a surfeit spread consisting of chili, chicken teriyaki bowls, tamales, meatballs, sausages, Asian noodles, cheddar jalapeno muffins, a wide variety of chips and cookies, brownies and of course ample amounts of adult beverages. The jet pack was fueled with more Deep Eddy Vodka flavored products, the shot ski had many Fireball runs and tailgate games and football were played.  Tailgate TV theater worked perfectly as we were able to watch multiple games while communing and harassing one another. We even had an exchange student from Spain who was enjoying his first college football game at our tailgate. After a good four hours of tailgating, it was time to break down and haul the gear to our trucks about a ¼ mile away to get into the stadium in time for kickoff.
Fireball ski runs
A visit from Buster and the Boise Cheerleaders humoring the old guys
My favorite Bronco, daughter #1
Drubaca sighting, Big O, our Queen for the day, Greg Vella, Buster and Dan, the kids and those silly phones.

Ollie and the Deep Eddy Jet pack

Hot mommas, SJSU Band & Cheer squad, the happy couple, sizing up the competition
Boise was ranked #21 in the nation after experiencing their first loss of the season two weeks ago to BYU. San Jose State is in the midst of their best season since the days of Coach McIntyre. They had high hopes of shocking the world by beating Boise as they have wins against Arkansas and Army already this year. Boise’s sensational Freshman QB1 Hank Bachmeier would be back after missing the BYU game with an injury. Young Hank is the best QB Boise has had since Kellen Moore. CEFCU stadium has commenced with its four-year renovation plan leaving the entire east side of the stadium without seating. In fact, a grass hill now sits where bleachers once stood. The crowd was fired up with an estimated attendance of 19,000 which is well above average for SJSU. Kickoff was set for 7:30 PM with much of the nation already tucked in for the night.

The barren field, the men and their ladies, Boise players leaving the field victorious, Dan & Bybee
The Spartans jumped out early and often on the Broncos who looked asleep to start the game. San Jose State QB Josh Love was having no problem picking apart the Bronco secondary with precision pass after pass gaining huge chunks of yardage. After falling behind 14-0, the Broncos got on the board with a score of their own on a 66-yard punt return. The teams would trade blows until halftime with the Spartans of San Jose holding a 24-17 lead. The second half was a different story as Bronco running back George Holani would run freely over the Spartans scoring three second half touchdowns in addition to one in the first half while gaining 126 yards on the night. Despite San Jose State’s QB Josh Love having a career night with 438 yards in the air along with 2 TDs, Boise State proved to be too strong in the end. In an offensive showcase of over 900 combined yards, the Broncos prevailed 52-42. We stayed until the Boise players left the field after slapping hands with all the Boise fans. Bieber considerations for all in our crew who left early! Prior to departing for home, a subset of our group met back at my truck for what looked like a feeding frenzy from The Walking Dead and a few more beverages. 

Around the country – ESPN Gameday made it’s first appearance in Memphis, TN, and oh what a scene it was on the world-famous Beale Street. By my estimate, it was the largest Gameday crowd I have seen. The Memphis Tigers were hosting the SMU Mustangs, who were the last undefeated Group of Five team. The nation was rewarded with an excellent game and a Tiger win by a score of 54-48. Out in the PAC 12, Utah had an exciting come from behind win over the Huskies of Washington in Seattle. In Big 12 action, Baylor remains undefeated by scoring 3 more than West Virginia Thursday night in Waco. Don’t look now, but Indiana (the basketball school) is 7-2 after dominating Northwestern 34-3. In the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party in Jacksonville, FL, the UGA Bulldawgs bested their rivals from the University of Florida 24-17. In the ACC, in a game that used to matter, Miami beat Florida State 27-10. The following day, FSU head coach Willie Taggart was fired and was paid out an obscene amount of money for essentially sucking at his job for less than two seasons. Notre Dame bounced back to edge Virginia Tech by one point on an Ian Book TD with less than 30 seconds left on the clock. In FCS action, Dartmouth scored on a last second “Hail Mary” bomb against Harvard, securing a win and a share of first place in the Ivy League. In local high school action, our Monte Vista Mustangs lost in double OT to cross town rivals San Ramon Valley. A few controversial calls are still being discussed, but credit goes to the victors for the win.

The battle of Danville
 As happy as I was that ESPN Gameday went to South Dakota State and Memphis the past two weeks for something new, I am equally disappointed at their choice for next week. With the Minnesota Golden Gophers enjoying their best season since Bronko Nagurski graced the gridiron there, it was hoped that ESPN would choose Minneapolis for the first time ever. The gophers are 8-0 and ranked 13th in the nation. They will be hosting Penn State who is also 8-0 and ranked #5 in a classic Big Ten battle. Coach PJ Fleck even threw out a suggestion to ESPN last week to come to the twin cities for this game. But as predictable as a Pavlovian dog, ESPN chose for the 1,000th time to return to Tuscaloosa for the Bama v LSU game. No disrespect to either program as they are both having excellent seasons, but the nation has Bama fatigue and the Bama fans probably don’t care much that Gameday will be there. Why not go someplace new that would be excited about it and bring out huge crowds? I will go out on a limb and predict that this will be one of ESECPN’s smallest crowds of the year. So, ESPN as a consolation for your poor choice you get some shiny new Bieber hardware to put with your Emmys. Minnesota, as your consolation, you get me and a few of my Frostburg State cronies. We will be at Bronkos Boathaus Tailgate at 8 AM Saturday morning in the 18-degree weather preparing for the 11 AM kickoff.

Ginger – This week’s Ginger goes to the funniest coach in college football history. If you have never heard of Bob Green, legendary former coach of the Montana Tech Ore Diggers you will now. His quotes are simply badass and deserve proper recognition. Montana Tech plays in the NAIA division of college football. Green was their coach for 24 years and led them to a 140 -116-1 record. He was even a far better interview than Mike Leach and Mike Gundy combined who are entertaining to say the least.  Here is a brief snippet of some of his best quotes:

Historical note –This Wednesday marks the 150th anniversary of the first college football game ever played which pitted Rutgers against Princeton. The game was played in New Brunswick and the home team, Rutgers squad, won the match 6-4. It feels like to many Rutgers fans it has been 150 years since they had a relevant season! As such, I encourage you all on Wednesday between 5 PM and 8 PM Eastern to a hoist a beer in honor of the greatest game ever invented. The DFT crack research team is looking into the first documented tailgate ever. Stand by for results.

Next Week -  I will be freezing my gizzards off in Minnesota for the game with Penn State. When I thaw out, I will recap the weekend. As they say in Minnesota Ski U Mah!

Happy Tailgating!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

I want to know, have you ever seen the rain...coming down

Outlined against a blue-gray October Sky of Ann Arbor, MI, in rode the eight horsemen of the apocalypse: Pestilence, Death, Famine, Destruction, Flatulence, Breath, fungus and Repulsion. Otherwise, this group is known as my gang from Seneca Valley high school, Class of 81 plus one. 
The 8 horseman of the apocalypse

This would be the 6th such year this group or part there of it have assembled for a weekend of college football, tailgating and rehashing old tales that are probably 20% accurate. Newcomer Garth AKA Death for the weekend, was on his inaugural trip with us and received adequate hazing despite his size. He once knocked out a Penn State Linebacker in Ocean City, Maryland with one punch. True Story, I was there and encouraged it.  I have known him the longest since we started elementary school together and played on every childhood sports team available to us. Alabama Al, Tennessee Tony, Maryland Mayer and Michigan McCabe, LTC Jonny Quest and Vegas Timmy also mustered for the occasion once again. The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame would be visiting the Big House of Michigan for the first time in several years. This has been a historical matchup dating back to when Christ was a Corporal. After varying modes of transportation and arrival times, all eight of us assembled Friday afternoon at The Little House, two blocks from The Big House via a Rent Like A Champion weekend rental.  A tight fit for eight grown men, some more grown than others but it made the event even ….shall we say more entertaining.

Friday night, we ritualistically consumed locally purchased beverages and health food from Toarmina’s Pizza watching the World Series and college football on TV. This is the first time we never actually made it into the houses of worship in a college town on a Friday night. Is age catching up with us?  After a night of being awoken by the continuous prostrate parade, as the john was connected to my room, we arose in time for College Gameday on TV. We were treated to another one of Chef Jonny’s masterpieces of a breakfast consisting of fully loaded egg pie, SOS, bacon and potatoes. 

Geezervile USA
After cleanup, we made the one- mile hike in the rain to our tailgate for the afternoon. Upon entering the tents, I was greeted by my nephews Tailgate Nate and ANTIFA Alan and his lovely wife Emily. We would be hosted by Spot 9 Official Tailgate via
Tailgate Connect®, run by the Mortiere family who threw out a polish style spread with the likes that I have never seen before: Pirogis, stuffed cabbage, fresh Kielbasa, meatballs and much more accompanied by a trash can of beer and a bar serving many spirits. The location was just off the south end of the golf course adjacent to the stadium. The torrential rain kept us inside the tents for the most part which were spacious enough but cozy. Toasts were made, shots were poured, anthems were sung, football was watched on TV, and good natured ribbing was directed at me, the lone Notre Dame fan at the tailgate.  Mike Keehan from Frostburg along with his son Kevin and brother Pat met up with us at the tailgate. After hours of brewfesting (as we called it back in high school) and stuffing our faces, two of us trekked over to the Big House for the game past the golf course, which doubles as a tailgate lot on game day. The other apocalyptians biebered back to the house to avoid rain drops and probably sip on some hot chocolate and watch Lifetime movies.

At an ANTIFA gathering with my Nephews and Emily.
The Spot 9 Tailgate. Even they believe in horns down. Flag that Tom Herman!

The Keehan boys on top, never too young to tailgate baby and the Rockville boys.

The Brothers Mortiere holding me upright while doing the horns down!
The Irish came into the game ranked #8 in the country with one loss and Michigan had just experienced it’s second loss of the year the previous weekend at Penn State and was ranked #16. Kickoff was at 7:30 PM Eastern which gave the fan base ample time to get in the spirt of things. With Coach Harbaugh of Michigan under fire for not winning big games, it was imperative that his squad show up on this ridiculously rainy and brisk evening. On the other side of the field stood coach Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish with hopes of still making the four-team college football playoff. The Big House as Michigan Stadium is called, was surprisingly packed despite the inclement conditions. Michigan and Notre Dame have two of the most storied programs in the history of college football and quite the rivalry dating back more than a century. From the opening kickoff until the final whistle, the Fighting Harboogians of Michigan completely dominated all facets of the game. Michigan QB1 Shea Patterson and a stable of running backs amassed over 300 yards on the ground. The Michigan defense limited the Irish to under 200 total yards of offense. Notre Dame’s MVP of the night goes to their Marching Band who had an outstanding halftime performance dominating Michigan’s Band. I hate to admit but a combination of the miserable weather, fatigue and a lackluster Notre Dame performance drove us to the exits shortly after halftime to return to the cozy confines of our rental house. Final score: Michigan 45, Notre Dame 14. I will be working on de-clogging my arteries after this weekend.
Most excellent Midwest football conditions

Around the country It was a bad overall day for me as not only did my beloved Irish get thrashed, Oklahoma was upset by Kansas State dropping their first game of the year and hurting their playoff chances. Additionally, Army lost to a resurgent San Jose State. My only saving grace was my Alma Mater Frostburg State who picked up their seventh win of the season and secured a spot in the D2 playoffs.  LSU held on to win over Auburn in a rare day game in Death Valley. In my view, LSU deserves to be #1 at this stage based on the quality of their wins.  Wisconsin has been eliminated from playoff talk by dropping their second game in a row to the Buckeyes of Columbus, OH. In the ACC, Louisville improved to 5-3 while dropping the Wahoos of UVA to the same record. I hear the tailgating by the Collision Course Crew was off the hook as usual. Oregon and Utah remain in the hunt for an outside shot at the playoff by both notching victories out west against Cal and Washington State. SMU remains unbeaten by gutting out a hard-fought win over Houston on Thursday night in Houston to lead the group of five schools. In fact, ESPN College Gameday will be at Memphis this Saturday when SMU comes to town.

Brady's Navy Tailgate. Nice "shants" the guy in the black jacket is wearing.
Ginger - Four-time cancer survivor Casey O’Brien on the University of Minnesota Gophers football team wins this week’s top honors. During his Freshman year of high school, Casey was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. He had multiple recurrences of this awful disease with 14 surgeries along with chemo, only to beat it each time. After his first bout in high school, he switched from QB to placekick holder, to minimize the potential for injury while still being part of a team for a game he loved. Two weekends ago against Rutgers University, he entered a game for the first time and held for not one but two successful PATs. His team mobbed him after the first kick. This is a real life Rudyesque story that will bring a tear to the hardest man’s eyes. He also visits the same hospital in Minneapolis where he spent over 300 nights for treatment. But this time his visits are to be an inspiration to young cancer patients. Damn proud of you for what you overcame and for being so darn badass!

Bieber – Hard for me to even write the words, so better to put the link here for you to read the brief story. Let’s just say that this week’s winner, University of New Mexico QB Sheriron Jones wasn’t just holding Bieber hardware!

Next Week – The Danville DFT crew will be hosting a tailgate at San Jose State when the Boise State Broncos come to town this Saturday 11/2 Tailgate starts at 3, game is at 7:30. We will be in Spartan Village, spot 1. I still have 6 tickets for $80 total. Friday night will be the battle of Danville between our Monte Vista Mustangs squaring off against the San Ramon Valley Wolverines.

Happy Tailgating!