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It’s almost game time and town is starting to jump. The tailgate will be back this week in full mutha-f’n effect. Not only are we welcoming Les “The Hat” Miles and his Bayou Bengals to town we have also decided to be the the official host of the Haley Lafontaine Family (take the time to read this and don’t forget comment #37 as it is possibly one of the funniest things. ever.)

The menu this week will feature Jambalaya prepared by our very own guest coon-ass person of Acadian Ancestry and one of the Board Members his contemplating something called Crawfish Monica (we might have dated her in high school). Other highlights of the weekend will be the new fan favorite jello shooters (typically available in Strawbery/Vodka and Black Cherry/Whiskey, which is surprisingly good). There has also been speculation that a Daqarui Mixer constructed from a gas weedeater will be present and operating (Sounds exciting and slightly dangerous). As always bring and appetizer or chips and dip and beer. Lots and lots of beer.

We’ll be in the usual spot by 9:00 with the TV going. It is fully expected that the Quad will be full this week with several patches of purple and gold disbursed amongst the Crimson. Needless to say its going to be crazy. It has been our experience that LSU fans are a lot of fun. They know and love the game and treat you like kings (or better yet family) when you visit their home. They do love to tease but it is 99.9% in fun so don’t get upset if you hear “Tiger Bait.” Of course we have been scared for our lives once in Tiger Stadium (once while in the student section clad in Crimson – insert dumb ass comment here- a girl screamed at us, “What the fuck are you doing here?” But all in all they are great hosts and our sincere hope is that they are shown the same respect here.

We’ll see you on the Quad.

Roll Tide Roll – Beat the Tigers!

LSU week has arrived and things couldn’t be any better. This is the game that folks have been waiting for all year, or more exactly since January 3, 2007; the day that Nick Saban became the head coach at the University of Alabama. It is understood that this Saturday’s game has been circled on the calendar of the LSU faithful since their former leader’s plane touched down at the Tuscaloosa airport. For proof of that one has to look no further than the signs held by fans deriding Saban at ESPN College Gameday’s two stops in Baton Rouge earlier this season.

Without a doubt the rivalry got bigger when Saban came to T-Town, a fact that Les Miles acknowledged himself when he refered to the team clad in crimson as “Fucking Alabama”at the Bayou Bash held on the day national letters of intent are signed back in February. (I can’t find the youtube video of the actual statement; any help would be greatly appreciated). You can sense the seething hatred of all things Alabama though in the following clip taken at the same function when Miles refers to the two recruits that came from Alabama. (Best part is about 3:00 in)

Is that Miles’ wife behind him? I thought Billy Jean King was way older than that? Further proof is the following video that started making the rounds last week.

Seriously?! If you’ve got to stoop to horrific Phil Collins redux (look french word!) songs to make a video then you’re stretching already. There were lots of clips of nice hits this season and several form last years Alabama-LSU game in Baton Rouge. You know, the one where Alabama’s pitiful Shula coached offense put up gawdy numbers on the vaunted Chinese Bandit defense. Noticeably absent were clips from this years Kentucky game. What’s up with that?

They also showed some clips of the beatdown from ’02. You know the one where Alabama shut them out. At home. Of course Saban was the coach of LSU at that time. That seems to be the point of this game to the Tiger faithful. It’s LSU versus Saban, not LSU  versus Alabama.

Well, here are the facts: The line opened at LSU -7.5. The game is going to be televised by CBS with a 4:00 kickoff. The weather is going to be perfect with clear skies, highs in the low 70’s and cooling rapidly as the sun sets (which will happen about half-time) into the 50’s.

The line is probably right as LSU should be the more talented team. ESPN is not coming to town which also makes sense as Arizona State at Oregon has more far reaching ramifications. But one thing is certain; this will be the biggest game in Tuscaloosa this year and with the favorable weather and good time slot, tailgating will be in full effect.

Check back all week as there will be a lot more to talk about this week.

Gene Hallman is the President and CEO of the Bruno Event Team, LLC which controls campus on days that the University of Alabama plays football.

“To ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Gameday experience…”.

Dear Mr. Hallman:

Thanks for screwing up tailgating on the quad. I am not sure how we could have ever continued without the decisions you and your crack team of event planners made. I can’t tell you how much the long walks from any available parking spot that doesn’t cost me $10 to park in and the gestapo of a crew you have working to control quad drop-off points are certainly making my gameday experience more enjoyable.

Parking has gotten absolutely ridiculous. I’ll give you credit, it was a good idea to keep people from parking on the sidewalks so that they could be used for their intended purpose of walking. Of course now, instead of having to dodge parked cars, I have to dodge the myriad of golf carts piloted by immigrant workers (who I am certain are all in possession of all proper legal documentation) and the other meth addicted support staff you have retained. That’s definitely improving my safety and enjoyment.

Is there fear of some terrorists group driving some destructive device onto the quad? That would certainly justify the three block clear zone full of empty parking spaces and more of your highly motivated, highly trained gameday personnel. Of course the road closures don’t affect the VIP vehicles that zoom pass me at 50 mph on University Blvd. Once again; safe and enjoyable.

Reserving the parking decks for students and “permitted vehicles” seems to be going well.Another great move Mr. Hallman. I guess they are filling up mere moments before kick-off because when I drove passed your SWAT caliber parking attendants 30 minutes prior to the Georgia game I was amazed to find them more than half-empty. There is tax money hard at work. It is good to know that structures designed to park vehicles aren’t doing that when the need is greatest. But hey, they’ve got to pay you for something, right?

Well maybe that’s why all the new lots have opened a convenient 1.2 miles from the stadium that only charge $10 to park. Surely that money doesn’t go to fund the “free” bus system that magically stops running about the time I’m ready to go get my car? I thought that there was good thought involved when I saw yellow tape up to keep vehicles off of the multitude of grass lots all over campus. I mean, we need to keep the grass pretty. Then I read that you’re parking cars on the three “grassed lots” you advertise on the website. Of course the yellow tapes clearly block off areas that unless your driving Big Foot you can’t park in anyway.

It was also a brilliant move to make tent set-up on the quad at 6:00 p.m. on Friday. That’s going well; unless you don’t care about set-up time like all the arrogant bastards from Georgia that came in and took over several spots. We’ve had the same spot for three years and not until this year when things are more regulated have we had people in our spot. Either mark off and sell spots (I’m so sure this is coming anyway) or don’t try to regulate it. Speaking of which I’m glad to see your regulations are working so well. There is never anyone set up before 6:00 and never a trailer on the quad and absolutely no stakes being driven in the ground. And all this set-up time business in the name of not disrupting students; something tells me that if any student out there is disrupted from going or coming to class because a few folks put tents on the quad Friday morning then they’ve got bigger issues to deal with. Let’s get this straight; it’s OK to do Jager Bombs at Gillete’s until 5:30 Friday morning but God forbid someone set up a tent too early. That might adversely affect the educational environment.

I’m curious as to when it got so bad that somebody came in and said, “Hey! We need to fix this.” I’m not sure that it ever was. Of course that was before LSU comes to town with death and revenge on their minds. You’ve got to remember that Louisiana is the region of the country that spawned Ed Orgeron, so you know they’re crazy. And now they’re pissed. I’ll be totally surprised if I don’t see a live farm animal, gang-raped, slaughtered, butchered, and roasted on a spit all on the Mound prior to kick off from these crazy bastards. It will be Baton Rouge North here next weekend. Most of the sons-of-bitches kill and eat their own food. Do you really think they care about your rule telling them they can’t have a generator. I’m not telling them to turn it off and I’m pretty sure that Skippy, the freshman majoring in Political Science and praying for a recommendation from you or Earl, the Wal-Mart greeter flunkie who got let go because his false teeth kept coming out and scarring the customers, who work for you are either. God help us.

Since you are the President and CEO of an event planning company, I assume you are a pretty smart guy. I understand that the Bruno’s Memorial Classic or whatever they call that golf tournament in Birmingham now is well put together. Of course hundreds of thousands of people flock to watch crusty old bastards hobble all over the golf course. Hell, most of those guys are two years away from being starters at their local public courses and yelling at me because I’m playing with a group of five or out of the wrong fairway. But you have been lauded for that, so kudos to you.

Note to Mr. Hallman: This ain’t golf.

I’m curious Mr. Expert; How many times have you woken up with three hours of bourbon induced sleep to pack the cooler and load the car? How many times have you drank a beer, just to get your buzz back to keep from puking up the Irish Car Bomb infused Krystal Steamer Pack you had at 3:45 so that you could put out the table-clothes in a manner that would make Paula Dean tear up? How may times, Mr. Hallman, have you had the first slab of ribs off the grill prior to ESPN’s College Gameday coming on, praying the whole time that the Excederin kicks in so that the putrid stink of Innisfree at 2:30 still on your shirt won’t make you gag? Hell, how many times have you set up a tailgate stone-cold sober and cooked all day so that your friends would have just a good of a time as you do before going in to one of the greatest spectacles in this great nation of ours?

Really? That’s what I thought.

You make me sick Mr. Hallman

I suggest that until you know something about tailgating, other than it is a way for you to put more money in your pocket, that you quit trying to make it safer and more enjoyable. I’ll give you some tips:

1.Lots of porta-potties- Is it a crime if there isn’t a 15 minute wait to pee?

2. Designated tailgate spots- I would gladly pay $100 a year to have the same spot without worrying about the family from Sylacauga who decided tailgating might be fun and then gets mad because we’re doing jello shooters at 9:30 a.m.

3. Open the parking decks and some of the closed areas near the quad- You can still have adequate access without taking up all the parking spots.

In short Mr. Hallman, you have fixed what was not broken to begin with and thrown the baby out with the bathwater. In short, you suck. Quit treating this like the Champions’ Tour and take care of those that are taking care of you(the University). It certainly isn’t rocket science. If they can successfully do it in Baton Rouge, Oxford, and Auburn, it can’t be that hard.

The UA Sports Information folks have announced that CBS will be showing the Alabama-LSU game at Bryant-Denny Stadium at 4:00 p.m. (central).

That is a great kick-off time and differs from the 2:30 kicks that have become standard fare from CBS. That allows for a lot of serious tailgating and guarantees that the game will finish under the lights.

Alabama 41 – Tennessee 17

This one will remebered for a long time. I don’t have a voice left, my calves hurt from jumping up and down all day, I’m tired, and I’m dehydrated from the victory drinks. In short, I hurt. But ain’t it a good hurt?

I’ll take a few days to enjoy this one and enjoy the coming weekend away from football as I take a family vacation in the mountains of, wait for it… East Tennessee.

The tailgate will be back in two weeks in full, effecient, operating mode for our vist from “the Hat” and LSU. This is gonna be fun.

Check back for updates.

First off, thanks for the comments and emails. The response these first few days has been outstanding…

It has reached the point on Friday afternoon when production has ground to a halt and all thoughts have turned to the game. There are a few prep items left like appetizzer production and beverage cooling but from this point on it’s all build up to walking through the other tailgaters on the Quad, down University Blvd, across the Walk of Champions plaza, up the spiral ramp and into my seat just in time to hear – “People ask me what I want to be remembered as and I tell ’em a winner, cause I ain’t never been nothing but a winner,” the sweet refrains of “Sweet Home Alabama (Roll Tide Roll!)” and now my new favorite, “Tide, get-ready-to-roll-Tide, get ready to roll!” There is the distinct possibility that I will burst a blood vessel and die as the team takes the field one of these days, but as much as I love The Third Saturday in October, it would be, as they say, a good day to die.

The RVs are here. The humidity has been drained out of the air and the sky is clear (thanks to the thunderstorms yesterday) and that intangible electricity is viscous in the air. What little bourbon induced sleep I get tonight will be filled with visions of Crimson and Orange and touchdowns and sacks and interceptions and… “Hey Vols!… We just beat the hell out of you, rammer-jammer-yellow-hammer, give ’em hell Alabama!”

The game plan is set. There is but one thing left to do…

GET LOUD!!

This Saturday, October 20, the third Saturday in October, has been circled on the calendar for a long time. Actually it has been circled on most of the calendars that I own for a long time. This game is special. It always has been, at least to me, and that is because on that date The University of Alabama Crimson Tide meet the University of Tennessee Volunteers in one of the grandest of southern traditions.

It is Tradition. It is Rivalry. It is the epitome of College Football. And I cannot get enough of it.

This is the game I think of in the off-season when I think of football, and that is quite a lot. It is the game that hurts worse to lose and brings more joy to win. Hearing Rocky Top during defeat is that much more painful or Rammer Jammer after a victory is that much sweeter. Everything builds to that one day and on that day, everything else stops.

Maybe I’m crazy to put such importance on one single game and one single opponent and there are certainly others in Crimson Tide fandom who disagree with me but it is the pinnacle in my book and in a few other’s books as well; Holly, an occasional contributer to EDSBS and of Ladies… fame, and unabashed UT supporter agrees with me and has said so(at least in print) before I did. This game means so much to some that they keep a whole blog devoted to it.

Why all this fuss? See, first of all you have to know a little about history. Auburn, who most people assume, and who certainly has a claim, to be Alabama’s biggest rival has not really come into their own only recently. Sure, they had a few good runs, but the two Alabama schools didn’t even play that contest for 41 years in the early part of last century and after Coach Bryant came on board the series got kind of lopsided for a while. Beating them wasn’t such a big deal. But it’s much more than that because while Auburn is across the state and bragging rights are important, the annual contest with Tennessee typically has had far bigger stakes, like conference or national titles. For the kiddies, Alabama has not always been the model of mediocrity that they have been for the last decade. A quick looks at the stats show that in the SEC, Alabama has been outstanding and our closest competition is the second team there in the conference title and win columns:Tennessee. Sure, recently, and this year especially, this game does not have the national significance that it used to, and all it takes to confirm that is that the “Daves” will be calling this one, but that doesn’t keep it from being a great game.

Other than actual recorded history, there is also my personal history with this game. The first one I went to was in 1995 at Legion Field. I was student at the Capstone at that time and we had not lost to UT in ten years. I was as fired up about a game as I have ever been. Well, in case you don’t remember, we lost that day. Peyton Manning threw for like 6,000 yards, most of which came on the first play.

I was sick. Like the way I am now after watching that again only many times worse and with a beer buzz. The next day, the mother of a friend of mine, who was a Vol fan, sent me a sack of oranges. I don’t even like oranges so as they sat there for a few weeks rotting it was a constant reminder about how sound that defeat was and how much it hurt.

Since that game I have only missed one and that was the next year in Knoxville. There were seven straight years of misery, punctuated with UT students taunting us as my pregnant wife and I left the ’00 game in Knoxville and the one we were leading going into the 4th quarter in ’01 which was and probably will be the only game I will attend with my Mother-In-Law (I mean that in a good way; I really love her. No, seriously, I do) and we sat in agony as Tennessee snatched away the victory. Winning there in ’02 was a highlight of my fan resume’ as was this jewel:

One of the things that has made the rivalry so interesting is the interactions with UT fans. I’m not joking. For the most part we have been treated well by fans in Knoxville (excluding the pregnancy game). The parents of a friend of ours are big Vol fans and they (I should really say her mom) kept it spicy for a while. When our first child was born they sent some white leather baby shoes with a big orange “T” embroidered on them. The attached note said “May his first steps be toward God’s Country.” Needless to say he never wore them. Then one year when we were adding on to the office she went to the Home Depot and had them mix a quart of Tennessee Orange paint, then she had a friend custom make a label with a big “T” on it. The note said, “I thought you might want this for your new office.” We’ve gotten UT cocktail napkins and sundry other UT paraphernalia and then after the ’03, 14 overtime calamity she sends huge blow up posters of her wearing the “Volun-tears” t-shirt I sent her the previous year holding a “before” before sign and another with her decked out in her orange holding an “after” sign. I’ve still got all the stuff. I think it’s great. That, my friends is how a rivalry is done with class. Miss Maxine, you’re the best, even if you are a Vol.

One of the other great things about the game is that you can tell that fall has definitely arrived. The air is usually clear, hopefully with a little chill (maybe not this year- Thanks Al Gore!) but it just seems like football weather. Driving through Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Alabama you can see most of the turning leaves are the same color as the Crimson and orange jerseys and helmets. It is also usually when I declare open season on bourbon after swearing it off in the hot, summer months. It’s just the best thing about the best time of year.

And so it is upon us again. While we throw words around like hate, I don’t know of a single true fan that really hates another person over a football game (Phil Fulmer is a definite exclusion). Sure we loathe the opposition on this day and will be quick with barbs and sarcasm but at the heart of it when civil conversation starts with another fan who loves his university as much as you, deep down, wouldn’t you rather be shaking hands, and complementing running backs or linebackers and campuses with someone who actually knows something about competition and winning? I know I do. I want the UT fans to enjoy our town, campus, stadium, and atmosphere and remember us as classy, gracious hosts. So do your part Alabama. But above all I want all the Vol faithful to leave here remembering one thing:

Roll Tide! Beat the Vawls! We’ll see you on the quad.

Orson is the first to post something that’s being discussed on sports radio. Coach Fran’s days are numbered in College Station. Yes, in the way of any scorned lover, we are ecstatic to hear of anything bad happening to him.

There was a general consensus that he might take Alabama to great heights after the horrid ending of the DuBose era and many a fan felt jilted when he dashed for Texas A&M. It has become apparent though that he was a Snake Oil Salesman and other than telling folks what they wanted to hear he never really delivered to goods.

Early speculation is that A&M will now go after Tub-of-Ears. I’m sure the Booger Eaters will be nervous until that position is filled. It’s not like his denying interest in the job carries any weight.

The Board of Directors decided to mix things up a little bit and a new assignment has been made to the post of Minister of Propaganda. We thought this might be a little bit easier to manage than multiple mass emails, although you still might get one or two. Feel free to check back here for info and updates on the tailgate.

We’re back in full SEC action this week with one of the biggest rivalry games in college football; It’s the Third Saturday in October and that means that the putrid orange of the Tennessee Volunteers will be infiltrating our beautiful campus. The corporate office has put it to us so we are the 11:30 Lincoln Financial Game. But hey, on the bright side, if your in the stadium you won’t have to listen to the Daves tell us what the “most crucial point in the game” is.

So it’s breakfast foods (beer is a breakfast food, right?), Mimosas, and Bloody Marys for the early set. Nothing is set in stone yet but we have it on good authority that there will be sausage balls, biscuits, a breakfast casserole, and other assorted goodies. There is also a high probability that there will be something burning on the grill after the game.

Same place (the west side of the concrete half-circle in front of the Gorgas Library; between the cedar tree and the lamp post – squatters be damned) and same deal: bring your booze and an appetizer type dish and we’ll provide some fine victuals and the TV, shade and entertainment. Speaking of which, Snider has promised to “Crank that Soulja Boy.” So that should be fun.

Also CBS Sportsline columnist (and Vol fan) Clay Travis will be in town to see the game and promote pimp his new book, Dixieland Delight: A Football Season on the Road in the Southeastern Conference. Clay has been invited to tailgate and since he snubbed us last year and by his own admission owes us a beer we’re hopeful he will stop by and say hello.

Click the following link for a map (pdf) if you need it.

Tailgate Map

We’ll look for you on Saturday. Roll Tide and beat the Vawls!

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