Archives for posts with tag: tailgating

College football’s first month gives fans a lot of dreck– let’s be honest.  September should be sponsored by Georgetown Cupcake…as FCS and non-power 5 FBS schools fatten their athletic department budgets with guarantee games.  But the beauty of having 129 Division I-A schools is that they can’t all be playing directional state schools…setting up the occasional showdown of ranked teams.  And we can ignore Auburn-Jacksonville State very easily while focusing on the games we actually want to watch.  Last week Alabama exposed Wisconsin as a pretender… this week the mantle of the battered Big Ten’s pride falls on the shoulders of #7 Michigan State.  The Spartans got roasted last year at Oregon–this year the #5 Ducks come to East Lansing.  This is one of those games that used to be a potential Rose Bowl preview…only now it’s a potential playoff tiebreaker.  With the College Football Playoff’s emphasis on eye-test and strength of schedule, in theory these intersectional matchups will thrive.  But just think–if they expanded the bracket to include all five conference winners plus three wildcards, we’d probably see more of them.

Alma Mater Update– the Orange resort to “quarterback plan B” with starter Terrel Hunt sidelined for the season.  Eric Dungey was worrying about who he’d take to the Harvest Dance last year at this time… this weekend the true freshman suits up against Wake Forest.  I’m praying it’s not a scoreless tie after four quarters. 

Maryland vs Bowling Green– the Falcons come to College Park fresh off putting 30 points on the scoreboard against Tennessee.  Matt Johnson threw for 427 yards against the Volunteers–can the pass rush build off last week’s four sack effort against Richmond to make his life uncomfortable?  One would like to see the passing game take off after an inconsistent afternoon against the Spiders–will Perry Hills settle down and deliver a sharper effort now that he has his first start in three years under his belt?  Regardless, expect running backs Brandon Moss and Wes Brown to be licking their chops after watching BG cough up almost 400 yards in week one.  Terrapins triumph, 34-22.

Virginia vs #9 Notre Dame–  after succumbing to UCLA freshman phenom Josh Rosen, UVa has to deal with Malik Zaire…who’s fresh off a 19-22 for 313 yard performance against Texas.  Not encouraging for a defense that struggled against the Bruins.  The Fighting Irish also handcuffed the Longhorns–allowing just 168 yards and 3 points.  Matt Johns needs to get the offense into the endzone before the 4th quarter this week.  As befits any game featuring Notre Dame, this game is on national TV.  ABC…and not the ABC Family Channel…although quite a bit of their programming has this “created to be pre-empted” quality to it.  On the bright spot, my happy go lucky tailgating pals Kippy and Buffy are back in Charlottesville!  Tailgating as UVa fans can only do with the finest wines and cheeses!  This weeks pick:  Conundrum white (blend of 7 to 11 grapes depending on the year) with sharp cheddar on captain’s wafers.  Cavaliers collapse, 33-13.

Virginia Tech vs Furman– those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.  Just five years ago the Hokies lost to #3 Boise State on Labor Day before falling to James Madison five days later.  And that was the Virginia Tech that was racking up Coastal Division titles– not the recent editions that have seemingly scraped their way to the postseason.  Plus, they’ll be going with Brendon Motley–14 career pass attempts–at quarterback thanks to Michael Brewer’s broken collarbone.  What’s encouraging is Motley is an effective runner and should create some breathing room that was limited by Ohio State’s D.  Can the defense after allowing 28 second half points to the Buckeyes regain its swagger?  The Paladins did score 35 points against Coastal Carolina last weekend, but junior quarterback Reese Hannon is making his first career Division I road start.  After the fumble recovery on a Buckeye punt return the other night, is it too much to expect a little more BEAMER BALL! from the special teams?  Hokies hold on, 26-10.

Georgetown tops Marist, Howard loses at Boston College, James Madison edges Lehigh, Richmond beats Hampton, Towson tops St. Francis.

Last Week: 8-0.  Should I retire now?

College football fans–especially those west of  the Rockies–cursed Thursday evening when the unbeaten Oregon Ducks suffered their customary November loss to Stanford (I think it’s almost written in the schedule).  The world has been waiting for the fast-break Ducks to face Alabama for the title and provide a college football spectacle two wrap up the much-maligned BCS on a triumphant note.  Now Bama, Florida State, Ohio State and Baylor try not to blink over the next four weeks.  Looking at the remaining schedules– the top rated Tide play at 4-5 Mississippi St, host 8-2 Chattanooga and then visit 9-1 Auburn.  The tilt with the Tigers cold be the BCS-buster.  The second ranked Seminoles have an easier path–5-4 Syracuse, 1-9 Idaho and 4-5 Florida.  Ohio State?  The underbelly of 3-6 Illinois, 4-5 Indiana and a 6-3 Michigan team that’s dropped three of four.  Baylor has the toughest road:  8-1 Oklahoma State, 4-6 TCU and 7-2 Texas.  Which means plenty of scoreboard watching for one-loss teams like Stanford, Oregon, Clemson, Auburn AND Missouri.  Not to mention Chattanooga.

 

Alma Mater Update– it’s never a dull day watching the Orange play…even when they’re misfiring on both sides of the ball and racking up penalties like frequent-flier miles.  Terrell Hunt didn’t lose the game (which is always a possibility) and SU did just enough to stay on track for bowl eligibility as Pitt and Boston College are a combined 4-6 in the conference.  Pregame shenanigans involved brats and chips and dip–with Dave Keil winning MVP honors by bringing Sal’s Sassy Sauce.

 

Maryland let another chance to become bowl eligible slip through their fingers in a 20-3 loss to Syracuse.  And let’s just say there were plenty of windows of opportunity for the Terrapins to leap through– the Orange were called for 12 penalties (115 yards)…and on their lone scoring drive 35 of the 48 yards gained came from flags.  After a third straight loss…can this team bounce back?  Six wins never seemed so far away.  Terrapin Triumphs– Amba Etta-Tawo caught 6 passes for 109 yards… the defense held the Orange to 3 of 12 on third down…Sean Davis led the team with 11 tackles (8 solo stops).  Terrapin Troubles– on 13 drive-opening plays the team gained a combined 13 yards.  CJ Brown was sacked 3 times…tossed 2 interceptions and fumbled away a snap.  The defense coughed up an 80 yard march (over 7:54) to open the game.  A missed 42 yard field goal didn’t help.  Next:  Saturday at Virginia Tech.

 

Virginia not only got blown out 45-14 by North Carolina, they lost to the Tar Heels backup quarterback (Bryn Renner out of commission after shoulder surgery).  The Cavaliers not only dropped its 7th straight, but they also missed their last best chance to avoid going winless in the ACC.  And not only is the season lost, but UVa gets a bye week to think about it a little more.  And just to show that Syracuse isn’t the most penalty-plagued team in the country, UNC was whistled 13 times for 102 yards in the rout.  Cavalier Congrats– Kevin Parks notches his first 100 yard effort in almost a month… Anthony Harris notched his sixth interception of the season…Alec Vozenilek averaged over 40 yards a punt and placed a pair inside the 20 (yes– it’s so bad were scraping the punting barrel for positives).  Cavalier Concerns– allowing 162 yards on the Tar Heels’ first two drives of the game set the tone (and a double digit deficit)…the offense had five 3 & outs (with another drive ending in an interception on 2nd down)…one of Vozenilek’s punts that landed inside the 20 was returned 85 yards for a TD.  Next: November 23rd at Miami.

 

Virginia Tech salvaged its season with a 42-24 win at Miami…a school unbeaten two weeks ago and now behind the Hokies in the ACC Coastal (four teams have 2 losses, making the next few weeks more nailbiting than usual).  Third things first:  VT won this game on the decisive down (moving the chains 8 of 14 times while Miami went 3-12).  Hokie Highlights– Logan Thomas threw for 366 yards and 2 touchdowns… somebody else besides Thomas led the team in rushing (thank you Trey Edmunds)… and the defense shut down the run (48 yards on 21 carries when accounting for sacks).  Hokie Humblings– beware the big play-two of the Hurricanes TD’s came on pass plays 80 yards or longer…11 penalties for 71 yards leaves a lot of cleaning up to do…and knowing VT doesn’t own the tiebreaker with Duke if the two schools win out.  Next:  Saturday vs Maryland.

November is “Closing Month” in college football…after they show us in September what to like and fear, and then move in or out of position in October, a team has that chance to close in on its preseason goals–or reach the new goals set after the bottom drops out .  By this time you know what your team has or doesn’t have to offer–as the strengths and concerns of September become amplified in October.  Virginia Tech knows it really can’t run the football–and Logan Thomas can’t do it all. Virginia knows it won’t be bowling again this year–and their quarterback question has given them the wrong answer again.  Maryland knows it has problems staying healthy–as the Terps have another shot at monopolizing the All-ACC Injured squad.

Alma Mater Update– rising from the ashes of a 56-point beatdown… the Orange blank Wake Forest 13-0.  I’m shocked, stunned and amazed this team was able to get its head in gear.  SU enters Closing Month at 4-4…with a chance to secure consecutive bowl appearances for the first time since the 20th century.  Can they win at a rested Maryland?  I’m not betting Sal’s Sassy Sauce.

Virginia Tech kicked off closing month by just about slamming their ACC Coastal Division window of opportunity:  a second straight defeat to a school they’ve owned recently, this time at 34-27 loss at Boston College.  VT resembling less the unit that rolled off six straight wins… resembling more the team that staggered through sixty minutes to notch each victory.  Hokie Highlights– Logan Thomas threw for 391 yards and led the team in rushing as well…freshman Joshua Stanford caught 6 passes for 171 yards…the defense held BC to 2 for 12 on third down…Cody Journell connected on a 56-yard field goal.  Hokie Humblings– FOUR turnovers, including a pick six…the running backs gained just 17 yards on 9 carries…and another slow start forced VT to play catch-up for most of the game.  Next:  Saturday at #14 Miami.

Virginia began its three game homestand with hope:  Duke and Georgia Tech were far from unstoppable and with two wins the Clemson game wouldn’t necessarily be crucial.  Instead, an 0-3 run has the Cavaliers on the outside…looking out for more carnage after a 59-10 loss to Clemson.  Turns out the tilt with the Tigers was crucial– dropping UVa to 2-7 and off the postseason precipice.  Cavalier Congrats– the defense held Clemson to 14 points on their first 7 possessions thanks to a fumble recovery, an interception, two 3 & outs and a turnover on downs…they actually had won the time of possession battle…and Kippy and Buffy’s pals from Clemson (Cooper and Clarissa) read my “it’s not guacamole, its wasabi” comment before it was too late.  Cavalier Concerns– hey, nobody outside of Florida State has contained the Tigers this fall– but Tajh Boyd goes 24 for 29?  Meanwhile, the David Watford/Greyson Lambert duo combine for a  19-46 afternoon.  And once again, Cooper and Clarissa brought plenty of Nachos and Natty Light (not to mention knowledge).  Next:  Saturday vs North Carolina.

Beware the Mid-American Conference.  Usually cannon fodder for the Big Ten in September, this plucky league has earned a reputation as upset-inducing in October– knocking off Big East unbeatens Cincinnati (Toledo triumphing at the Glass Bowl-do you think Huggins would allow his Bearcats to go on the road non-con this late in the season?) and Rutgers (Kent winning in Piscataway thanks for participating in big boy football, Scarlet Knights).  Perhaps revenge for the Big East taking Temple back in the offseason?  But just to show the MAC doesn’t care who’s unbeaten, the league ate one of its own this past weekend– as Miami handed Ohio its first loss of the year.

Additional Carnage– two other unbeatens fell as Oregon State slipped to Washington and Florida fell to Georgia.  This leaves five unbeatens from four conferences plus Notre Dame (as the Irish will never leave their Independent wife but remain content to shack up with a convenient mistress for non-football sports).  Closing month could bring more calamity with Alabama-LSU on the plate this Saturday.

Alma Mater Update– SU played a tale of two halves against South Florida… eventually storming back for a 37-36 victory.  The key– two quick scores to start the second half against a sluggish Bulls bunch.  I’m still concerned with their ability to tackle and while Ryan Nassib looked okay at times, he zipped more than a few darts downfield in key situations.  Two recommendations for Tampa tourists:  Bahama Breeze for lunch, Chart House for dinner.

Maryland lost another heartbreaking ACC game to a team behind it in the standings– this time a 20-17 defeat at Boston College.  For the second straight Saturday the Terps lost their starting quarterback for the season to a torn ACL.  This means the team has to move to Plan E– which even with a fully stocked team would be a challenge, but this fall that means true freshman Shawn Petty (who had been a linebacker until last week) with true freshman Brian McMahon (a tight end until last Tuesday) next in line.  Terrapin Triumphs– Stefon Diggs (11 catches, 152 yards and a TD) continues to enjoy an incredible freshman year…while Caleb Rowe after a rough first half (6 punts and 2 interceptions in 9 possessions) to complete 10 of 15 second half passes with 2 TD’s and 1 INT…the defense held BC to 8 yards rushing and 3 of 13 on third down… as the duo of Joe Vellano (1.5 sacks) and AJ Francis (2 sacks) set up the back 8 well.  Terrapin Troubles– a missed 35-yard field goal by Brad Craddock preceded a changing of the placekicker;  hopefully Brendan Magistro will fare better (he made his lone attempt– a 28 yarder– plus 2 extra points)… the defense that dominated the second half (78 yards on 5 possessions, 3 three and outs plus 1 fumble recover) coughed up 85 yards for a game-winning score when they needed a stop the most… and is there anything that can be done for ACL injury prevention?  More broccoli?  Bubble-wrap?  We’re taking calls. Next Up:  Saturday vs Georgia Tech.

Virginia and Virginia Tech both enjoyed necessary weekends off… the Cavaliers are in full free-fall (2-6 and 0-4 in the ACC) while the Hokies aren’t much better having dropped 3 of 4.  But Frank Beamer’s bunch could actually still win the Coastal Division with a 3-1 October (Miami is 4-4, BC and VA are both 2-6).  Thursday VT begins it’s Closing Month with a trip to Miami, Saturday Virginia starts a rough November (none of the four opponents have losing records) by battling NC State.

Last week I asked you to submit “ACC tailgating tandems” to complete the group that already has “Matt and Stacia” at Maryland, “Kippy and Buffy” at UVa, “Meredith and Peyton” at UNC and “Tommy and Cricket” at Duke (although Tommy’s on thin ice after asking hitting on Buffy during the UVa-Duke game).  After too many suggestions to count… here’s the consensus couples with food and beverage recommendations…:

Virginia Tech– Ray and LuAnn.  Milwaukee’s Best with Smoked Turkey Legs.

Wake Forest– Albert and Victoria.  Night Train wine with overcooked burgers.

NC State– Elmer and Louise.  Mickey’s Big Mouth with liverwurst (not on crackers- straight from tube).

Clemson– Cooper and Clarissa.  The “N” in Clemson stands for Natty Light, Nachos and Knowledge.

Ga Tech–  Joe and Deanna. Grey Goose and tonic or Basil Haydens on the rocks with buffalo wings and chili.

Florida State– Dewey and Irlene.  Bud Light and bottomless shrimp cocktail with shrimp casserole.

Miami– Gregory and Autumn.  Sazeracs and sushi.

Boston College– Sully and Smitty’s sister (the one with the hat).  Sam Adams and Clam Chowder.