Monday, September 30, 2019

Logan's Run

Under the ominous skies of Northern Utah stood two brave souls or fools.

After several failed attempts to hit the school that Merlin Olsen built, I finally made the trek to the promised land of Logan, Utah. The Utah State Aggies were hosting the Colorado State Rams in a Mountain West Classic matchup below the watchful eyes of the Wasatch Mountain Range. I landed at SLC and was picked up by Danvillian and long-time buddy Irish Mike Iorio who happens to be an Eye Tallion. With 100% chance of thunderstorms and cold temps, we were well prepared in the clothing and liquid provisions department. We made a quick detour to the tailgate lot at the University of Utah to visit our Tailgate Connect Host, the legendary Pig Bus Tailgate as they were starting up for their game against Wazzu. We chatted with Ryan Lufkin and Wubby, the two main organizers of the Pig Bus. They have a legit setup and I can’t wait to return and hang out for a day with them.  We were then on our way for the 90- minute run to Logan. 
With Ryan Lufkin of Pig Bus fame
But before I get to that, Friday Night Lights had me watching the mighty Monte Vista Mustang Defense hold the Livermore Cowboys to a mere 3 points and less than 50 yards of total offense with a 26-3 win. Next up for the Stangs is national power De LaSalle this Friday night in Danville, CA.
Now back to the land that Joseph Smith envisioned, and Brigham Young secured.  On this cool, wet early fall day under the banner of heaven, football was meant to be played and tailgating was meant to happen. Or in our case, the lightning and thunder forced us to dash-gate in Mike’s truck for a little pre- game heater. Kickoff was delayed 30 minutes, so more time for liquid courage. Among the three D1A schools in Utah, USU has the second biggest LDS influence with the party scene for tailgating being very mild compared to Utah which is raucous and entertaining. 
Dash gating, planting the banner, modeling big n tall wet weather gear and wide eyed cfb fanatics
Merlin Olsen field at Maverik Stadium (formerly Romney Stadium) was built on this location in 1968. Merlin Olsen is not only considered the greatest Aggie to grace the gridiron in Logan, he is one of the greatest players ever in the history of the NFL and he went on to star as Father Murphy for years on TV. The stadium is horseshoe shaped with an athletic facility bordering the north end zone and press boxes and chair back seats on the west side. The east side of the stadium is built right into the mountain. Current seating capacity is 25,500. On this chilly night with steady rains, 20,000 + braved the elements to cheer on their Aggies. The student section and band were most impressive as they were visible, loud and energetic throughout the whole game. Our seats which we chose not to sit in were on the east side upper level, however we poached a much nicer view. Stadium concessions included Chick fil A and hideaway flasks of Woodford Reserve. They paired nicely together as the Elders frowned down upon us.

The mystical Father Murphy
Although the Rams of Colorado State were decidedly underdogs, they came out firing on all cylinders in the first half. Their defense was stout with two interceptions and one of them for a pick six off of USU QB Jordan Love. The teams traded scores throughout the first half with the Ram pass defense leading the charge for CSU and stout USU running back Gerold Bright running roughshod over the Rams. The Aggies nudged ahead in the cold steady rain to take a lead into halftime 24-21. By the second half with the rain coming down harder, the Aggies buckled down on defense and held the Rams to one field goal while their own offense kicked a field goal of their own along with scoring a touchdown. Final score Utah State 34, Colorado State 24. Back to our lodgings in Brigham City to endure one of the worst pizzas ever prepared (Pizza Hut tweaker pizza) along with a few suds to watch the very late games.
The venerable Maverik Stadium
Up and at it at O dark thirty on Sunday to head to Denver to complete my tri-level trifecta weekend of attending a high school, college and pro game. Irish Mike, who is Italian if you forgot kicked me to the curb at SLC international and away I flew through ominous skies over the Wasatch and Rockies for the next stop on the tour to Denver. Former neighbor Craig scored free tix to the Broncos v Jaguars game improving upon what we originally thought would just be going to a great tailgate. We Ubered into Lot N on the south side of the stadium to partake in another Tailgate Connect tailgate with Mike Koele and the Sons of Mile High Tailgate.

Host extraordinaire Mike Koele presenting me with the Fireball cup
What a time we had and what a set up they have. Mike has a trailer, a bar, a party bus, multiple tents and games such as Buzzball, D Darts and Dual Ring Daddy along with Beer pong and the Beerzilla contraption. The chow for the day consisted of multiple pots of different types of chili with all the fixings and bags of fritos, cheetos, chips, and the chili was put directly into the chip bags and mixed up. Not only is this a great idea, it was absolutely delicious. I had three helpings along with several Tecates, a jello shot and fireball from the shot ski. We met a family from Australia that found the tailgate through my Tailgate Connect website. I even played Dual Ring Daddy with their 10 year old kid.
Mike and his crew are well known in the Mile High City and throw an outstanding tailgate. There was even a bachelor party in attendance via Tailgate Connect. After several hours of meeting new friends, playing all the games and reveling, we trekked into our seats in the shade in Empower Field at Mile High Stadium. 
The Fireball tent, King Craig in his throne, Buzzball and the Aussie family

Fireball shot ski, WWF legends, pre-gaming with Gardner Minshew and Chili in a pouch
The Broncos were coming into the game at 0-3 and the Jaguars were 2-1 led by the newest NFL sensation, QB Gardner Minshew, AKA Uncle Ricco (from Napoleon Dynamite). On this amazing Indian summer afternoon, the Broncos were up to the challenge in the first half by dominating all facets of the game. Only to relinquish the lead in the second half and ultimately the game when Uncle Ricco led the Jags on a game winning drive resulting in a field goal. Jacksonville stud running back Leonard Fournette ran for over 200 yards on the day. Post- game transport was one of the most exciting things I have done in a while outside of tailgating; I experienced my first electric scooter Lime ride from the stadium back to my hotel three miles away. Thus I became an honorary snowflake and will soon be sporting a man bun and hanging out in coffee shops. Much to what most people would have predicted, I made it home without a scratch or an accident. Now as for the people that had to dive out of my way along the route, they were not as fortunate.
I feel the need..the need for a man bun! 

Around the country
IN ESPN’s over hyped game of the week, they forgot that Nebraska today is not Nebraska of the Tom Osborne era. Totally outmatched, they experienced a thunderous beatdown at the hands of The (not trademarked) Ohio State Buckeyes in Lincoln. Notre Dame did not fall into the proverbial trap game trap, and handled their business against the visiting UVA Wahoos in South Bend. The Irish Defense is for real this year. Out west in Seattle, the UW Huskies took care of the USC Trojans and their latest starting QB 28-14. Oklahoma and a deadly Jalen Hurts absolutely destroyed Texas Tech. Almost as impressive as Jalen is Oklahoma’s Defense holding the high powered Red Raiders Offense to sixteen points. Despite what the mindless talking heads are saying, Mac Brown made the wrong decision when UNC had a chance to take Clemson to overtime. Instead of kicking the extra point to tie, forgetful Mac for whatever reason went for a two-point conversion and the win in regulation and failed. He could have played the percentages in overtime and knocked off the nation’s top ranked and might I say overrated team. Lowly Arkansas nearly knocked off another overrated team in Texas A&M in a neutral site game at Jerry World in Arlington, TX. 
Pops Leblanc back off the IR in action with Rick Gagne and the Eagle Tailgaters of BC

The big ugly Brian Donnelly with the Penn State Big Uglies 

The lovely Suzanne Castelein with her new hometown team Vanderbilt
Bieber- D’erika Queen- Our latest ittle Diva has emerged on the stage of snowflakedness in dramatic fashion. Houston Cougars starting QB D’erika Queen, aka D’ Eriq King has decided after four games to quit on her teammates in her senior season and put into play the newish dangerous redshirt rule that allows you to redshirt after playing up to four games. Not only has the Queen decided to utilize the rule, she was first rumored to be transferring to another school for her fifth year as a graduate transfer. However, after much heat, she along with her top wideout have stated they will be back next year. Why, just because you started the season 1-3? No amount of defending this situation will sway me. This is purely and simply the most selfish behavior a so-called team leader can exhibit. He quit on his team and in doing so is stating they are not good enough for him.  This new redshirt rule should be limited to freshman and players with injuries. This is a dangerous precedent and the copycats will soon follow. I do not get nor will I endorse or sympathize with this prickish, selfish act just because things were not going her way. I challenge you to change my mind! Well you selfish, entitled little lady, enjoy your Bieber hardware!  DO NOT CALL LINCOLN RILEY, NO VACANCIES AT THE INN!
Ginger - (Badass) - This one is easy. It borders on stupidity, but after much elaboration, the award goes to Mike Iorio and me for being the only idiots that would drive into the stormy mountains of northern Utah to brave the nasty, miserable elements and watch a game with two random teams. We had a damn good time doing it and we felt badass in our four layers of clothing enjoying the cold rain bouncing off us. Mrs. Tailgate says it best below in the screen capture.

Next Week - Another tri-level; College game at the University of South Alabama at the historic Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile on Thursday night, Monte Vista High School at home Friday night and the Cleveland Browns at the San Francisco 49ers Monday night. This is to properly prep for the following epic weekend at LSU.
Happy Tailgating!

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