Tailgating is the crux of college football. Xs and Os? Only for the diehards. Marching bands? Only for the band geeks. Pep rallies? Only for Joe Paterno.
Tailgating is for everyone. Find one college student who doesn't like to eat and drink outside of Utah. It'll be like finding diversity in a J. Crew catalog.
I haven't been to nearly enough tailgates. Or enough that I can remember. UW's were fine -- they mainly consisted of drinking at a house, walking the 15 minutes down to the stadium, hi-fiving some alumni and maybe getting some smoked salmon. Let me tell you, smoked salmon would beat just about any other smoked food in a fistfight. Smoked andouille sausage is pretty fucking good. Smoked meat is good. But smoked salmon is like giving your taste buds a New Year's Eve party.
Cal has a cool tailgate tradition. No smoked salmon -- at Cal there are often other things being smoked. Hey-o! (That was the gratuitous Berkeley hippie joke.) All the frats, which are conveniently located RIGHT ACROSS THE FUCKING STREET FROM THE STADIUM! -- seriously, the architect who did the layout loved football and fraternizing -- open their doors to anyone and give away FREE BEER AND FOOD!
A 10-year-old wearing a Stanford shirt could get a beer and a burger. And the point isn't that the alcohol is free flowing and there is no regard for age and safety, but rather that they just open their doors to anyone. That's pretty fucking cool. Wanna hang out on a Saturday afternoon? Grab a group of friends and go over to Sigma Nu. Under 21 and need to find a party? Go Pike's the place for you. Have a Superbad scenario where you need to score some booze in order to, well, score? Go to the Beta house and steal their beer. (That might get you into some trouble. Stealing is bad. So is underage drinking. Tsk, tsk.)
When I was like 14 I went to Baton Rouge and had an SEC-style tailgate at LSU. It was a 7 p.m. game and we wanted to really feel the atmosphere, so we met up for a tailgate around 10 a.m. to really capture the scene. WE WERE FOUR HOURS FUCKING LATE! There are no clocks in SEC country. You can start drinking at 6 a.m. on College-Football-Saturday and you get funny looks if you AREN'T! And the gumbo. Sweet Mother Teresa the gumbo is unfuckingbelievable. I thought smoked salmon was the fucking balls. Homemade gumbo at a tailgate is like eating little spoonfuls of happiness.
I haven't seen too many other pre-game traditions and tailgates. What does your school do? If I were to go on a road trip, what tailgates do I need to go to? Sell me on your tailgate in the comments.
Where will you be tailgating Saturday? The couch is not a horrible option...
Games broken down on a one-to-four-bunny scale:
Four bunnies means: "Do not go out. Do not hang out with your girlfriend. Do not watch House re-runs. Turn the fucking channel to this game and watch it."
Three bunnies means: "Do not go out. Do not watch House re-runs. If spending precious time with the girlfriend will help the relationship, go for it...but it better be worth it. Like really worth it. Otherwise, watch these games."
Two bunnies means: Eh, if it's pissing rain and your girlfriend is shopping, it's not a bad option.
One bunny means: You've never touched a girl. You're allergic to the sun. YouTube doesn't do it for you. You wanna prove that you can, in fact, sit on your ass and watch college football for 12 hours.
Winners are made on Saturdays. All times Eastern.
No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 17 Miami, 8 p.m., ABC: There are a lot of questions surrounding this game. How's Bob Stoops' golf game? Does Randy Shannon ever make a joke? How many Mosses have played for The U? Those are really the only questions that matter.
Edit: The above was written Wednesday but I thought it was funny, so I left it. Sam Bradford isn't going to start. Landry Jones is. Landry looks like laundry but doesn't have a U. Oklahoma 35, Miami 21.
No. 4 LSU at No. 18 Georgia, 3:30 p.m., CBS: LSU being the fourth-ranked team is in some way similar to NCIS being the No. 4 show in the country. Neither LSU nor NCIS is very good, but right now there isn't much else that is very good, so by default, they are both in the top five of their various rankings. The No. 18 show is The Big Bang Theory, which, like Georgia, hits and misses. Something tells me that Georgia isn't going to miss this week. Georgia 31, LSU 27.
No. 7 USC at No. 24 Cal, 8 p.m., ABC: Two weeks ago this was the biggest Pac-10 game of the last 8,000 years. It still might be. Though that Stanford-Arizona game on Oct. 17 could be epic. USC 38, Cal 17.
Auburn at Tennessee, 7:45 p.m., ESPN.
Oregon State at Arizona State, 7 p.m., Versus? FSN?: The Rodgers bros do it all. Everybody else? Dead weight. Oregon State 24, Arizona State 13.
Washington at Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m., NBC. I've had enough of that Leprechaun and his devious ways. Harry the Husky isn't people-friendly. Watch out, man. This dog can bite. Washington 328, Notre Dame -6.
UCLA at Stanford, 3:30 p.m., ABC.
No. 15 Penn State at Illinois, 3:30 p.m., ABC.
Tailgate Beverage of the Week:
Dirt Cheap Beer
Hey, it's always a lot of fun with Dirt Cheap Beer. That doesn't really seem like the most responsible slogan, but gosh, if I want to have fun, I now know where to go.
"THE BEER FOR AN ECONOMIC DOWNTURN" would have been more timely.
Lou Holtz Pep-Talk Quote:
"r;ms;l[wø˚©dkaoKo√;a" (Protect the football).
It's Safer than Crack:
The game you should bet your paycheck on.
South Florida (-6.5) over Syracuse. I've lost this the last three weeks, which isn't good. [public service announcement] It also serves as a good reminder that gambling is very risky, illegal and a possible cause of cancer in Utah. [/public service announcement].
So now we actually have to analyze these spreads and it looks like the 4-0 Bulls, coming off a win over Florida State in Tallahassee, are only a small favorite over the Greg Paulus's. Take the Bulls in what looks like a no-brainer.
2009 Bet It Hard Record: 1-3
Pac-10 Player That I Want to Hang With a Fucking Jump Rope:
Stafon Johnson, RB, USC
What? He hasn't broken 70 yards rushing all season.
1. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
2. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
3. Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati
So long Jacory Harris. Was nice while it lasted. Hello Tony Pike, the best player on the best team that nobody is talking about. (I think that was once an SI headline).
Coach whose ass is burning:
1. Al Groh, Virginia
2. Paul Wulff, Washington State
3. Charlie Weiss, Notre Dame
4. Lane Kiffin, Tennessee
5. Dan Hawkins, Colorado
Fight Song that makes me want to be in a marching band:
Stanford's All Right Now
Jeez, they played this enough last week against Washington.
Babe of the Week:
Work casual at its finest.
Full gallery here.
College football, tailgates and girls. What could be better?!