Pregame Orange Bowl Blog

So we at The Bootleg somehow managed to tear ourselves away from ESPN and all the will-he-stay-or-will-he-go coverage we're finding on sports sites online, and are reporting live from the Orange Bowl. The plan is to blog pregame and by the quarter, so keep coming back for all the latest.

Pregame: What a great last 24 hours I've had here in South Beach. I've run into the Stanford Band performing on Ocean Drive on South Beach last night, and then about five times as they wandered back and forth and then back again across the tailgate parking lot in the hours leading to kickoff. (Seriously, folks, pick a direction and stay with it.) Despite the $12 per drink, a highlight was a late-night Sunday party at a club, Nikki Beach, on South Beach last night. As seemingly ever alum under 30 was there, plus the standard South Beach glitterati crowd, it felt like I was back at Kappa Sig all over again, except of course with lots of extra really hot people and $12 drinks. A good number of recent Stanford football alums were in the building as well, and after all the pain they went through, they deserve to live it up.

One thought as I make the awkward transition from student, someone who really belongs at Stanford events, to an alum, someone who really belongs at alumni reunions at South Beach bars, but doesn't belong at most Stanford events as much as he used to: current students, if you have a significant other, tie her down. Put a ring on it! Yes, I'm being hyperbolic, but I'm only half-joking, as lots of the recent dude alums I talked to have realized how great Stanford girls were… only about three years too late. All the complaints us students made over the years that there aren't good looking people on our campus is garbage too – or my eyes were really deceiving me last night -- and is a byproduct of the same flawed logic that suggests intelligence and good looks are as fundamentally incompatible as intelligence and good football. Don't fall for it. (Of course, I don't think it's only the guys who feel that way, as I said "Hi, how are you?" to a woman from my freshman dorm, and the first words out of her mouth were "Yes, I'm single." She must have misheard me thanks to a drink or seven, but still, we hear what we want to hear, right?) Okay, Cosmo corner's over, onto more manly topics…

Walking around on South Beach, it was probably 5-1 Stanford fans last night. Now of course I tended to congregate with my fellow flock of Cardinal, and VT fans are more likely than us to RV down the day of, so I thought VT might still have a fan advantage come Orange Bowl time. Well, here I am 45 minutes before kickoff, and admittedly it's hard to tell because two thirds of the seats are orange anyways for the Dolphins and two thirds of the seats are still empty right now, but I'd guess it's 70/30 Stanford folks right now.

8:00pm: Loudest cheers of the night as Stanford walks down toward its end zone (fans thought the Cardinal were leaving). Whitaker hits a warmup extra point and a 27-yarder, and then David Green booms a punt out of the end zone, then it's a players-only huddle and cheer near midfield, and finally Stanford is off to the locker room. Loudest cheers of the night thus far, indeed. I think this should be a friendly crowd tonight, but we'll see how the Stanford Band, now on deck, is received.

8:06pm: VT fans are just doing a "Hoh – keys" chant, while Stanford's band is cracking some probably funnier but definitely inaudible jokes about LeBron James. (Guess now that they're banned at halftime per MSNBC, they're just playing the LeBron show pregame?) Formations included "DECIDE" "ALREADY" and the state of California. Someone will have to post a transcript though – I've missed the rest as have 70,000 of my closest friends here.

8:20pm: Okay, now that VT's band is on the field, and we can fast forward through the inauguration of Dave Rimmington and Benny Blades into the Orange Bowl Hall of Fame (Really? An Orange Bowl Hall of Fame?) and turns out those two-thirds of empty seats have been all but filled, mostly with VT folk just coming in liquored up from their tailgates, from the sound of it. "Let's go Hokies" chants ring out, with nothing comparable from us Stanford partisans. We'll be even-strength at best in the larynx competition, but we've played darn well on the road thus far, and really, who cares if their fans are a smidgeon louder? It's time for football, and I'm confident No. 12 could do a great job of shutting up half of this crowd pretty quickly.

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