Sunday, October 15, 2017

Week 7 - Horns Down!

Horns Down in the Big D!
The Cotton Bowl was constructed on the Texas State Fairgrounds in Dallas and was completed in 1930. The venerable old stadium played host to its namesake bowl game for over 70 years until it moved to Jerry World in 2010. It also was the home venue for the SMU Mustangs for 40 years and the Dallas Cowboys for the first 11 years of their existence. In fact, when SMU played it’s home games there in the 1940s, it was referred to as “The House that Doak Built” after “All American" Doak Walker. It is one of the most iconic and recognizable cathedrals in all of college football. Perhaps it is best known for the Red River Shootout or the more politically correct Red River Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas. It has been the home for this rivalry since 1932. The Cotton Bowl sits literally halfway between the two campuses of OU and Texas. Current capacity is at 92,000 and the playing surface is real grass. 

The Shootout takes place every year during the Texas State Fair. The fair is well renowned for having food vendors that fry everything including beer, butter and ice cream. Yeah, you heard that right. This year would mark the 112th edition of the rivalry with Texas holding the lead 61- 45 -5. These are two of college football’s blue bloods with multiple National Championships, All Americans, Heisman winners and too many players that have matriculated to the pro level to count. The shootout is considered one of the top three rivalries in all of college football and regardless of team records, the outcome is never guaranteed. I made it as far as the parking lot outside of the fairgrounds in 1987 and was unavoidably detained by a good time and never made it into the game. Therefore, this one has been on my bucket list for 30 years!
Pre game festivities at the Texas State Fair

Bobby, Jr Ewing, Pamela and Sue Ellen picked me up in their private limo to take me to Southfork for the weekend. Oh wait, that was a different time when I was here. This time I linked up with my Sooner daughter and her entourage.  We were also joined by OU graduates, the Eichinger siblings, Lauren and Brian. Friday night activities included a group outing to The Rustic and then a pass-through McKinney Street in Uptown. Saturday morning started very slowly with the obligatory Bloody Mary at the hotel and then public transit over to the Fair Grounds.  Upon arriving, we were swept up in a tidal wave of crimson and burnt orange with the best pre-game atmosphere I have ever seen. Fans from both schools shouting out in unison their respective chants followed with either “Texas Sucks or OU Sucks!” We took pictures with Big Tex, sampled a few liquid refreshments and made friends with the opposition.
Big Tex looking over us

The DG girls and the old folk showing Texas the proper hand signals.

The sun was scorching for the 2:30 kick off with temps in the 90s and not a cloud in the sky. As the Sooners took the field with the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band belting out Boomer Sooner, “I felt this thrill going up my leg” (Thank you Chris Matthews). The OU half of the stadium was on the south side, with no respite from the solar rays. The first quarter belonged all to OU, as All World QB Baker Mayfield spun up some magic leading the Sooners to a 10-0 lead. The boys from Norman scored another touchdown to start the second quarter to go up 17-0. Then Mr. Mo entered the grand old stadium wearing the color of burnt orange. Texas would score 24 points over the next two plus quarters to OU’s two field goals to take a 24-23 lead. Just when it looked like the Sooners would fall further behind, they answered back with a Mayfield to Mark Andrews 59 yard pass to take the lead by 5 after missing the 2 point conversion. Each team had several more possessions with the final one belonging to Texas. OU’s defense was up for the challenge as they thwarted the Longhorn final attempt and left the Cotton Bowl victorious. My assumptions are that someone put an electronic jammer on Mike Stoops’ mic and his advice was ignored in the fourth quarter. You could not have asked for a better game, and I could not have received a better outcome. Back to the hotel for the night games and a victory meal from Streets Fine Chicken. (The chicken is endorsed by Chickenhawk so it must be delicious.)
Mrs. Tailgate's Cousins with DFT

Action on the field

Around the Country –  Perhaps it is cliché to say that something was amiss on Friday as it was Friday the 13th in October, but then how do you explain Saturday? With that said, this was the weekend of major upsets with four top ten teams falling to unranked opponents. For starters, #1 Clemson went up to lowly Syracuse on Friday night and got the orange squeezed out of them by their “brothers in color” the Syracuse Orangemen. Down goes Clemson! Then out to the West Coast in the Peoples Republic of Bezerkely where we witnessed Mike Leach and the #8 Wazzu Cougs getting mauled by the Cal Bears 37-3. Perhaps something was in the air. On to Saturday, #10 Auburn went down to the suddenly resurgent LSU Tigers in the sweltering Bayou heat. Late at night  in Tempe, the Sun Devils lit up the #5 UW Huskies 13-7. Other ranked teams fell including San Diego State losing to Boise State, Navy losing to Memphis and Texas Tech going down in Morgantown. Four nail biters for the ranked saw USC escaping with a 1 point win over Utah, Miami slipping by Georgia tech in the rain, Michigan needing OT to dispose of the Hoosiers  and Michigan State over Minnesota by 3. Perhaps this was the most exciting weekend of the season so far so sez me. Frostburg State returned to its winning ways with a 59-7 win over William Patterson and Columbia moved to 5-0 to sit atop the Ivy League. That’s right I said Columbia.
The Keusters pre-gaming at San Diego State

Navy Tailgaters undercover at a Maryland game

Bieber – This week’s accolades go to a not so subtle guy named Ernest Suttles from Memphis. On Friday night, as the Memphis Tigers were preparing for their matchup on Saturday against 25th ranked Navy, Mr. Suttles had other ideas of how to pre-game and decided to partake in some unwanted extracurricular activities. Memphis Po Po were called to an off-campus residence at 3:00 AM where Ernie was charged with rape. Ernie was a starter for the Tigers and was immediately kicked off the team and missed the Tigers upset win on Saturday. If these charges hold true, Mr. Suttle will have the opportunity to get pay back plenty of times over the next 15 years whilst staring at his Bieber trophy for comfort.

Next Week – The Tailgate will take a break for the first time this season from live action due to work and family commitments. We will not be going to New Mexico or Penn State as had been previously planned. Next up will be Sailgating in Seattle for the UW game in 2 weeks.

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Week 6 - The calm before the storm

With Mother Billy and his son Joey in town we patronized the incomparable grounds of San Jose State once more. Since Tailgating has been relegated to a John Steinbeck like dust bowl with only a few hardy fans partaking, we opted to pre-game at Stanley’s sports bar across from the stadium.  A brilliant blue California sky and the golden hills of San Jose formed the perfect backdrop for yet another late afternoon picturesque South Bay game. The Spartans would take on their in-state rival from the (559) Central Valley, the Fresno Bulldogs.  Two of CFB’s bottom dwellers put on an entertaining contest that kept us in the stadium until late in the fourth quarter. Although San Jose woke up and played a spirited second half, they fell to the Jeff Tedford led Dogs 27-10. The halftime show had the Spartan band dressed in hippy attire performing a tribute to the counter culture movement in California from the 1960s.

Around the country - I have begun filing the paperwork for my #2 to leave the plains of Oklahoma after the Sooner's demise against the Cyclones Saturday. I am looking into Alabama and Clemson as my top two choices. She has let me down for the last time. In Annapolis, the mighty Midshipmen won a thriller in the last seconds against the Falcons from Air Force Academy. It was reported that not one person was caught kneeling in the stadium during the National Anthem. In Ann Arbor in front of 112,000 fans, Harbaugh stained his mom pants once again by being bested by the Spartans from East Lansing. On Thursday night, NC State knocked out Louisville from ACC title contention and Lamar from repeating as the Heisman winner. Coach Ogre got back on the winning track with the Bayou Bengals taking a bite out of the Florida Gators. Coach O was part of a hit song last week after his LSU team lost to Troy. Take a listen and enjoy:

In Fort Worth, the Horned Frogs shot down the Mountaineers by 7 points in a hard fought contest. Down South Beach way, the Hurricanes chopped down the Seminoles 24-20. The Crimson Tide had their hands full in College Station but were able to leave victorious. Bryce Love and the Stannerd Cardinal continued their winning ways in the Wasatch range by taking down the Utes. In FCS news, My Dad’s Columbia Lions improved to 4-0 for the first time since Christ was a Corporal. I would be remiss in my duties if I did not mention that the Monte Vista High School Junior Varsity advanced to 5-0 by winning their homecoming game against Dougherty Valley.
The Rogers Clan at Kentucky and the Maddalons in Boulder

The Millings and friends in Jordan Hare
Carlucci Jr and Pals in Miami and the Deutchkis at South Carolina

The Donnelly siblings and friends in Annapolis
The Bodners at College Gameday in Fort Worth
Bieber – I have bit my tongue long enough on this one, but the “Idiot Brother” Mike Stoops, Oklahoma’s Defenseless Coordinator takes this week’s accolades. Now with the air cover of brother Bob gone, “Screaming Mike” has been left to his own devices, and let’s just say they aren’t functioning correctly. It was bad enough two weeks ago when the Sooners gave up 500 yards to lowly Baylor and almost lost. Now with the loss to the Cyclones, Magic Mike has been exposed like a flasher on the world stage. His pass defense schemes look like something out of Pop Warner at best as his DB’s get burned more times than 2 AM toast at a Waffle House. As Mike’s men continue to get embarrassed on the field, he proceeds to scream the entire time in his coach’s box from up above. If you don’t prepare your troops for battle before the action occurs, you have no right to scream at your soldiers. To add insult to injury, OU kept him instead of Brent Venables, Clemson’s DC and the best one in the country. Screaming Mike, you will lose your position but you have new Bieber hardware to scream at.

Next Week – “The Tailgate will take its talents to the Cotton Bowl” for the Red River shootout. This will be the first of three road games in a row and four out of the next five weeks. The Tailgate is tanned, rested and ready for the challenge.

Happy Tailgating!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Week 5 - Down on "The Farm"

The first couple of Tailgate on another romantic date
A third of the season is already over and I just completed my 9th Division 1A game of the year not to mention 4 high school JV games! So much for dialing it back like I planned. Mrs. Tailgate and I loaded up the F150 (Ford Tough) and headed over to “The Farm” in Palo Alto, AKA Stanford University. This was her third game this season with me, so I am clearly racking up some serious hall passage. It was a beautiful California early autumn day with blue skies and temps in the high 70s.  We linked up for the tailgate with Kevin and Beth O’Connor of ASU Sun Devil fame and their friends Billy, Kathy and Brittany Roberts. Bloody Marys were mixed and Mrs. Tailgate made “man candy”, beef smokies, wrapped in bacon, caramelized in a brown sugar glaze. Brats, brew and other treats were served up as well. Beer imbibing contests were held live on Facebook for pure entertainment purposes. The Tailgater Dish was up and running as we watched other live action on the tele. Of course, no tailgate is complete without that parting shot of Fireball. 

Fun down on the Farm
Kickoff was 1 PM pacific so onward into Stanford Stadium we went. As is typical at Stanford when they play someone other than Notre Dame or USC, the crowd was paltry. No excuse when you have a good program, a beautiful campus for tailgating and an outstanding stadium. Regardless, we witnessed one of the best single game efforts by a running back as Stanford’s Bryce Love ran like Forest Gump over ASU over and over again. He set a Stanford record with 301 yards rushing. The game was competitive but Stanford controlled the tempo and were never really threatened. Stanford emerged as the victor with a score of 34-24. We did have to endure the joke of a so-called band during their geek infused halftime non-performance along with their insensitive mascot, the Tree. Personally, I was triggered by the mascot as they are clearly disrespecting trees. These are living creatures for crying out loud! I expect better from the smart people of Stanford to not be so politically incorrect! 

Some people refuse to grow up
Around the country – Perhaps the biggest upset of the year so far was witnessing the mighty Men of Troy (Not USC, really Troy University) take down the Tigers at Death Valley in Baton Rouge. Couldn’t really understand the mumbling of Coach O’s baritone musings in his post-game presser this week. See more below in the award section on this. Staying in the SEC, Bama punished another victim for the second week in a row showing they are one of the nation’s best teams. Georgia looks to be for real as they hung 41 on the Vols in Knoxville who responded with zip, zero, nada, nothing. Butchy boy is in deep caca. Bama has their toughest challenger in the SEC West just down the road and in state at Auburn where the Cats whipped the Dogs from Mississippi State 49-10. Out west on Friday night in the Palouse, we saw Mike the Pirate Leach take down the other mighty Men of Troy (not from Troy, but from USC) 30-27.  In the battle of two of the best group of 5 teams, the Aztecs of  San Diego State bested the Huskies from Northern Illinois. In the Big 12 Oklahoma State bounced back from last week’s loss to TCU by outgunning the Red Raiders in Lubbock. In the Big 10, Wisconsin outsmarted the Nerdwestern Wildcats with a 9-point win. However, I lost an expensive bet as the Badgers did not cover the spread. Michigan State might be back as they took down a tough Hawkeye team in East Lansing. In the game of the week in Blacksburg, VA, the Sandman did not fully enter the venue as Clemson looked strong in taking down the Hokies. Nonetheless, the atmosphere was electric and the “Enter Sandman” tradition was epic.

DFTers Brian and Laurie and friends at ECU v USF game
John "legend" Deutchki having a happy moment in happy valley
Cowboy Chris Peters rooting on the Pokes in Lubbock.
Bieber – LSU gets consideration for paying Troy one meeeeeelion dollars as a guarantee game and losing. However, as a Veteran with many family members who served in combat, I am disheartened by what several players on New Mexico did. New Mexico was hosting the Air Force Academy Saturday night. The young men and women from AFA will go on to put their lives on the line after they graduate. Apparently, the New Mexico team captain had the bright idea to play “me too” along with a few other morons and drop to a knee during the anthem. We won’t get into the overall debate about the why’s of this protest, however I will state strongly that the “where” was the absolute wrong place to do it. You knuckleheads did this as the Cadets in fatigues and players in uniform stood saluting or holding their hands over their hearts. Real nice gratitude to these future patriots. What are you going to do for your country? Join Antifa and live in your parent’s basements when you don’t make the NFL? Whatever your grievance is, what you just did is inconceivable to me. Karma in the form of me is coming to watch you play in 3 weeks. I will be easy to spot in the stands as I plan on being vocal and I know your numbers. Oh, I will also be at your game in San Diego in November. Last time I checked there are a lot of active duty and retired Military personnel in the 619. I will be sure to let them know you are coming.

Next week will be my third week in a row in the Bay Area as I will be joined by mother Billy at the San Jose State Fresno game.

Happy Tailgating!