Just A Little Taste

It's been a long autumn.  If you missed the trip to Minnesota (which based on the crowd there, you did) then your last viewed sliver of positivity as a Michigan fan came on September 27th.  That's a long time ago.  And this just in...you've got the longest wait EVER for a chance to peek at victory again.

This fanbase is starving.

This night for me, for the better part of a decade, has meant airplane reservations, hotel reservations, and citysearching for the best steakhouse.  The BCS selection show has come and gone, and Michigan was unmentioned.  The other bowl selections have come and gone, and Michigan has gone unmentioned.  The reality should have sunk in weeks, even months ago.  But for me, it didn't.  It took a full fledged pasting at the hands of the Buckeyes to show just how far away we are, and effectively shut down this blog for the better part of two weeks.

Enter the smelling salts....

Far be it from me to attempt to find solace in one sport through another, but it's important to recognize that while every Michigan Football fan is not necessarily a Michigan Basketball fan, every Michigan Basketball fan IS a Michigan Football fan.  That's why on Saturday, the Maize Rage gave Yankee bleacher style recognition to Rich and Rita.  That's why the arena cam found its way to Lloyd and Laurie, resulting in a raucous standing ovation.  That's why, as a group of athletes wearing maize and blue did the unthinkable, and the court was smothered in joyous celebration, it was impossible to make the comparisons/assumptions between our two West Virginia bred coaches.

But we shouldn't make this about football today.  Michigan knocked off Duke on Saturday for the first time since 1997.  On that day 11 years ago, we were just two weeks removed from rushing the field after beating the Buckeyes and completing an undefeated regular season.  We knew exactly what to do when we knocked off #1 Duke...we rushed the court.  That night, Charles Woodson won the Heisman trophy. It was a great weekend.  This, my friends, was also a great weekend.  What it means with regards to the remainder of the season and hopes of a tournament birth remains to be seen, but what it means right now is not in question.  National recognition...recruits in attendance...a sold-out Crisler arena...two victories over top-5 opponenets...Michigan Basketball is back on the map.

The Victors Walk

A new tradition begins this year with a weekly "Victors Walk" prior to each home game.  The team will be delivered via bus from their Friday night hotel a few hours before game time.  The players and coaches will be led from their busses to the locker room by the Michigan Marching Band and anticipate large crowds waiting to greet them and "fire" them up.  This is a popular tradition at many schools and I think it is a great idea.  Not sure if many of us will make the jaunt to the drop off point at Crisler Arena from the UMTailgate location but I am just keeping you informed.

Weekend Roundup, IT'S GAME WEEK!!!! Edition: August 24, 2008

The largest grill ever to adorn the tailgate has been assembled.  If I can drag it behind my car, I'll have no problem getting it to the corner of Stadium and Main.  I can't even figure out how to properly dispose of the packaging.  Can't wait for Johnny Cleveland and The Hammer to life it into the Sequoia.

In other news, the addition of the Big Ten Network to Comcast is the bain of my existence.  I can't turn it off.  This afternoon, I watched Michigan State's last victory in the Big House (circa 1990), and despite already knowing the controversial outcome, got pissed all over again...just like I did in 8th grade.

Anyway, here's what happened this weekend while I fired up 8 burners with two propane tanks within my apartment....

Back to Business

There's been some requests for tailgate theme information, which was previously posted back when we had the spring meetings, but probably should be summarized and become a part of the front page. So, here you go (permanent link now on top of the page under "Schedule and Themes"):

Utah: August 30th, 2008

  • Time: 3:30pm

  • TV: ABC

  • Theme: All American

  • Attire: American flag stuff

  • Food: American classics like hamburgers and dogs would suffice, but I think were looking at a corned beef hash breakfast...baby backs, cornbread, and baked beans for lunch.

  • Music: Real American (Hulk Hogan entry music) on repeat


Miami of Ohio: September 6th, 2008

  • Time: 12pm

  • TV: ESPN or ESPN2

  • Theme: The 80's Tailgate

  • Attire: Collar popped... anything that you've seen the Godfather wear.  Get creative and dig out your old Rose Bowl gear from 1981.

  • Food:  Looking for ideas here outside of pop rocks and coke.

  • Music: Jesse's Girl, Come on Eileen, etc etc


At Notre Dame: September 13th, 2008

  • Time: 3:30pm

  • TV: NBC

  • Theme: Party at the Godfather's

  • Attire: Anything other than a t-shirt from previous parties

  • Food: FryDaddy will be doing it up in Stevensville


Wisconsin: September 27th, 2008

  • Time: TBA

  • TV: TBA

  • Theme: German

  • Attire: Lederhosen

  • Food: Kraut and what not...reuben egg rolls???

  • Music: Polkas


Illinois: October 4th, 2008 (Homecoming)

  • Time: 3:30pm

  • TV: ABC

  • Theme: The Carnival

  • Attire: Clown costumes

  • Food: State fair food

  • Music: Circus instrumentals


Toledo: October 11th, 2008

  • Time: TBA

  • TV: TBA

  • Theme: Western Theme

  • Attire: Cowboy gear

  • Food: Chuck wagon favorites

  • Music: Country


At Penn State: October 18th, 2008


  • Time: 4:30pm

  • TV:ESPN

  • Theme: Winnebagoes

  • Attire: N/A

  • Food: TBA


Michigan State

October 25th, 2008

  • Time: TBA

  • TV: TBA

  • Theme: The Formal Tailgate

  • Attire: Formal attire. Suits, dresses..Sunday best.

  • Food: TBA


At Purdue: November 1st, 2008

  • Time: TBA

  • TV: TBA

  • Theme: TBA

  • Attire: TBA

  • Food: TBA


At Minnesota: November 8th, 2008

  • Time: TBA

  • TV: TBA

  • Theme: TBA

  • Attire: TBA

  • Food: TBA


Northwestern: November 15th, 2008

  • Time: TBA

  • TV: TBA

  • Theme: Wild Game, Soups and Stews

  • Attire: Hunting gear

  • Food: Uhhhh...Wild Game and Soups and Stews

  • NOTE: POSTGAME BANQUET AT DAMONS


At Ohio State

  • Time: TBA

  • TV: TBA

  • Theme: Survival

  • Attire: Nondescript clothing that won't get you killed

  • Food: TBA

Profiles in Tailgating Excellence: Bacon

Bacon.  Just the word sets off the pleasure portion of your brain.  Smoke-filled, crispy, fatty, meaty deliciousness.  It is the face of breakfast, and on brisk pre-game morning that finds you cracking a beer or swilling a bloody mary, nothing is better.  When you look upon a neighboring tailgate and you see that aromatic steam rising up over the sizzle of grease, you have no choice but to be filled with envy.  It goes well with everything, from vodka to ice cream.  Bacon preparation, however, is a delicate matter.  You want it crispy?  Soggy?  Burnt?  So many options.  Knowing when to pull the meat from the skillet is the key.

You can cheat the system if you don't mind bacon of a slightly lower quality.  

Pre-cooked bacon is available to heat and eat.  Not the best for straight ingestion, but great piled on some crusty bread with lettuce, tomato, and mayo...or a with some good cheddar and eggs on a breakfast croissant.

But the real thing is, well, the real thing.  It's what you want to wake up to...and it's what you CAN literally wake up to.  Pile it on a plate next to some pancakes in the morning...or put it in your pancakes.  Caramelize it and drop it in your martini for lunch.  Wrap it around a scallop and slap it on the grill for dinner, and your life will change.

But the best property of this tailgating essential?  You can get creative with it. Don't be afraid.  Chicken frying it or chopping it up and adding it to your peanut butter sandwich shouldn't make you flinch.

So...embrace it, celebrate it, wear it...hell, get some pork belly and make your own.  And in 15 days, prepare to eat it at the All-American themed tailgate before we kick Utah's ass.