Last weekend sucked. The Aggies lost, again. And my mood bailer-outer, the Dallas Cowboys, also lost the next day. Oh, I suppose I could be excited that the Dallas Stars beat the Blue Jackets or Mark Cuban didn't get voted off of Dancing With the Spares, but c'mon. Maybe it is because they only play once per week or maybe it is because it is just the bestest most coolest thing on earth, but those of you that are football fans know that nothing compares to a football win by your team. Except for the exacta when your college and pro teams win. Some of you with kids (or no life to speak of) may pull off the trifecta with High School, College, and Pro. That is the stuff that dreams are made of. Oh well, I've gotten used to it. I will say I had a great time hanging out with a lot of readers and partaking of some awesome tailgating, but more on that later.
Texas A&M 27 – Texas Tech 14
What an incredible game. The Aggies bring their vaunted running game into Jones Stadium and ram the ball down the Raiders' throats for their first win in Lubbock since 1993. The Aggie defense forced Tech to keep the ball on the ground themselves, which frustrated Mike Leach into several confusing playcalls. A&M won the time of possession 45:26 to 14:34 as they threw two passes the entire game. Tech scores a couple of late touchdowns against an all walk-on defense to make it closer than it really was, and Jorvorskie Lane comes out looking like a genius. That's what SHOULD have happened if Fran would have stuck with his opening game plan. Here's what actually happened…
Texas Tech 35 – Texas A&M 7
The Aggies set the tone early as they forced Tech to go 3 and out, then pounded the ball into the endzone on ten straight running plays. Then they held Tech to 3 and out again, stunning the crowd of more than 55,000. But like a tuning fork, the tone quickly faded as a couple of missed field goals and a late hit on the quarterback rejuvenated the Raiders on the field and in the stands and Tech scored 35 unanswered points en route to a rout. Nobody knows why Coach Franchione inexplicably decided he needed to start passing. Tech wasn't stopping the run. At all. This spurred a battle in the stands as my Tech brother began yelling "Throw the ball! Throw the ball!" trying to bait the Aggie coach into taking to the air. Meanwhile, one of our buddies, and A&M graduate, began the chant of "Hell no, we won't throw!" in a vain attempt to get Dennis the Menace to do the right thing. But then again, if he could game plan, he wouldn't have thousands of Aggies calling for his head. I don't know what is more troubling, the fact that we lost again or the fact that I am so numb it doesn't bother me anymore.
Texas 56 – Iowa State 3
Meanwhile, Texas finally gets off the Big XII schnide, roughing up the poor Iowa State Cyclones 56 – 3. Iowa State coach Gene Chizik had to be at least a little proud watching his former defense hold his new team to a mere 3 points, even though his current defense melted down and allowed 56. That's got to be like watching your ex-wife's kid tear your kid a new one in the spelling bee. A-B-Y-S-M-A-L. Might want to start practicing that one.
Kansas State 47 – Colorado 20
Up in the Big XII North, Kansas State roughed up Colorado 47 - 20 to pull into a tie for second in the division behind leader Kansas. Both teams piled up about the same amount of yardage, but Colorado fell victim to 4 turnovers and 91 yards in penalties that ultimately cost them the game. Both teams still have #16 Missouri, Iowa State and the suddenly pedestrian Nebraska Cornhuskers on their schedule. But while Colorado still has to deal with #13 Kansas and #24 Texas Tech, K-State has unranked Oklahoma State and Baylor left, which may give them an advantage if Kansas stumbles. This one isn't funny because I got tired and plagiarized it from my other column which is all stuffy and serious. I suppose I could use this as an opportunity to take a shot at my former former boss, who probably quit reading this paragraph when it got too "footbally" for him. Just in case he is reading, "Hey Doug, you know those season one Heroes DVDs I let you borrow so you could catch up on it? Peter blows up at the end." Suck it.
Kansas 58 – Baylor 10
Kansas continues to prove they are the real deal as they gobble up another cupcake, albeit a conference cupcake, Baylor to the tune of 58-10. The high-power Baylor offense was set on defrost (which I still can't get my frickin' microwave to do) as they were held to a mere 202 yards and only 154 of those in the air. Still, regardless of the competition, Kansas continues to win. And with only one ranked team remaining on their schedule, the regular-season ending showdown with #16 Missouri could very well decide which team goes to their first Big XII Championship. Meanwhile, Guy Morriss will no doubt be told to hit the showers after his last regular-season game. Who else is in that shower is anyone's guess. As if it couldn't get any worse for Baylor, their offensive line coach was indefinitely suspended for urinating on a bar in Waco. I'm still waiting for the secondary coach to announce he likes dressing up in furry animal costumes and cruising Albertson's.
Oklahoma State 45 – Nebraska 14
In other "we hate our coach" news, Nebraska continues their downward spiral, as they get blown out by Oklahoma State at home, 45 – 14, their second devastating loss in a row. The only problem is that Callahan just signed a 5 year contract, no doubt a reward for winning the Big XII North last year. The Nebraska higher-ups must feel like a parent who, after rewarding their son with a Corvette for making good grades, watches him get real good and liquored up on Boone's Strawberry Farm, pick up a couple of tranny hookers, and drive head first into a daycare. Meanwhile, the Cowboys and their 40 year old man-coach win at Memorial Stadium for the first time since Psycho (not me, the movie) graced American movie theaters, putting them square in the logjam atop the Big XII South.
Oklahoma 41 – Missouri 31
And finally, in the marquee game of the week, #6 Oklahoma outlasted #11 Missouri, 41-31 in a battle of quarterbacks where the Sooners pulled away in the end. While the signal callers took the spotlight, it was running back Chris Brown whose three rushing touchdowns in the second half sealed the game, allowing the Sooners to push forward into a chaotic top 5, where it looks increasingly likely that one-loss teams will do battle for the national championship. Missouri still controls its own destiny in the North, which isn't saying much after only two conference games. Still, they could be Iowa State, which is fortunate the NCAA isn't like those soccer leagues or they might get relegated to the Sunbelt Conference.
Even though the outcome of the game completely blew, I did have a lot of fun. When I was a student, I never even considered tailgating. We usually just showed up in time for the game, and went to the bars afterward. As an alumnus, I had season tickets for a few years, but living 3 hours from College Station, we typically drove in just before game time and drove home right after. I think that is why I never saw much tailgating at A&M. I'm sure it exists, but we have a lot of "commuter fans".
Then there's Lubbock. You don't just drive in and out of Lubbock from anywhere, except maybe Amarillo. This forces you to stay overnight at least once, and if you are there for a couple of days anyway, you may as well spend it doing what you love. And that ain't drinking the water. I'm talking about eating good food, drinking good beer, and hanging with good friends that you've never really met and call things like "ManWithNoName" or "RWoody03", or "Dunkman00", or "ChunkyLover53", the guy that nobody invites but he shows up anyway and eats all of the ribs while people try to avoid eye contact.
So, based on my limited tailgating experience and my penchant for belaboring the obvious, I am going to tell you some of the things you need for a good tailgate.
First, you need good food. My first ever tailgate was 4 years ago in Lubbock. I was so proud of myself as I toted out my propane-fueled George Foreman grill and cooked up some store-bought hotdogs and preformed meat patties. It was only after I looked around and saw all of the man cooking implements (I don't mean implements for cooking men, that's flippin' nasty) like the smokers and the charcoal grills that I realized I was way out of my league. I felt like the little kid from Oliver as I approached strange men and asked them if I could try their meat (which was also a bit uncomfortable, I must say). Not being a cook, I soon realized I would have to barter at future tailgates.
The second thing you need is good beer. Tailgate beer breaks down into two categories. The beer you drink when you are thirsty, and the beer you drink when you want something good. Sure, it is easy to grab a twacker (that means a twelve-pack, what is it with me today?) of light beer, stuff it in a Styrofoam cooler and head out. When the sun is beating down on you, and you are really thirsty, a light beer goes down well. But when you are eating some good food, you want something that pairs with it. A real beer. If it is homebrewed, that is even better.
Finally, yours is not the only game on that day. There are a ton of other games on, and the better your setup, the better your tailgate. AM radios with foil on the antenna don't cut it anymore. Now, a super tailgate will have an HDTV and a satellite dish, preferably with the College Gameplan package.
And so, this weekend, I showed up at the Smokin' Grills Gone Wild Raiderpower Tailgate with nothing but a cooler full of light beer. I ate some of the best smoked brisket I had ever tasted, thanks to ManWithNoName, and promptly ditched my Bud Light for some of RWoody's "Squeeze Nut Ale" homebrew. Even though he was clearly making fun of Aggies with the title, it was some of the best beer I had had in a while. Then, I sat in someone's chair and watched the Oklahoma – Missouri game on their TV. All I ended up providing were some smart-alec comments and a photo op for some chick's scrapbook. So this is what the world would be like if the Democrats ran it. I can hardly wait until '09. I just might show up in underwear and barefoot. If any of you wear a size 15, let me tell you about a great tailgate you must go to…
(5) Oklahoma at Iowa State 11:30 AM on FSN
Why to watch: Hey, it's a top 5 team. And it's FOOTBALL.
Why not to watch: The Cyclones blow. See what I did there?
(22) Texas at Baylor 11:30 AM on Versus
Why to watch: You really miss the old SWC days.
Why not to watch: You actually remember the old SWC days.
(24) Texas Tech at (16) Missouri 2:30 PM on ABC
Why to watch: Definitely the game of the week in the Big XII. Two top quarterbacks duke it out in what promises to feature a lot of offense and some pissed off defensive coordinators.
Why not to watch: Seeing people eat their own boogers grosses you out.
(13)Kansas at Colorado 4:30 PM on ESPN
Why to watch: Is Kansas the real deal? Can Colorado pull another upset? Will Psychoag just keep asking questions because he really has nothing of substance to put here?
Why not to watch: Seeing people who look like boogers grosses you out.
Texas A&M at Nebraksa 1:05 PM
The battle of sucky coaches about to be fired in order to determine which coach is suckier and about to be firedier.
Kansas State at Oklahoma State 6:05 PM
A potentially good game that isn't on TV because someone figured that people would rather watch Iowa State and Baylor get beaten like rented, red-headed stepmule drums. I have no idea what that means.
Well, that's all I've got, folks. If you want to send me an email, you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org Be sure to put WEAKLY RETORT in the subject line so I can find it if it gets stuck in the SPAM filter. I really appreciate your feedback and if you ask a question (about anything at this point) I will answer it in next week's column.
Random Shout Out: This week's random shout outs go to TechHatchet, ManWithNoName, RWoody, NOLA, RaiderAficianado, MicahDitmore, Good Ol' Jimmy, coogman, and all of the other tailgaters I forgot while drowning my sorrows. (Email me and I will hook you up next week.)
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The Weakly Retort