It was dark and somber mood in the UMTailgate.com board room this morning, as the nearly 3000 page document outlining the coming season's tailgate themes circulated around for signatures while we watched the stirring images of Joe Paterno's 900-lb bronze statue being removed from Beaver Stadium. Not since the asterisk was added next to the Godfather's name on the UMTailgate.com Hall of Fame flag (after he attended a Notre Dame home game in lieu of attending a Michigan home game ) had such emotion swept over the group. I saw a single tear fall from the eye of Captain Michigan, who was equally dividing his time between paying attention to the proceedings and having his nose buried in Touched.
Bubba complained that the document was just too big to read, and that he was unsure of what it actually contained, but Stephy strong-armed him and the board, demanding that "we have to pass this tailgate theme bill so we can see what's in it." And so we did.
I enlisted the help of UMTailgate.com's page boy, Goody, to summarize the document for purposes of this post. You may not know it to look at him, but he is quite a reader. So in between his third pass through "Cat in the Hat" (he really wants to understand it) and "Where the Sidewalk Ends," Goody put the time in to dissect the bill. The results are as follows....
The 2012 UMTailgate.com Tailgate Themes:
Game 1: Michigan vs. Alabama (Arlington, Texas) 9/1/2012 8PM
No Theme Yet
This "neutral" site season opener will have the bulk of the group travelling to Texas, most by air. The tailgate scene and the parking options are still to be determined, so we will leave this one themeless for now.
Game 2: Michigan vs. Air Force 9/8/2012 3:30PM
This theme made it's first appearance in 2008, breaking the previous tradition of first game Luau themes because of what happened the first week of 2007. This year, we will celebrate the opponent for their service to the good ol' USA. Red, white and BLUE attire and decor will be on display, as will some classic American fare...think burgers, dogs, ribs and the like.
Game 3: Michigan vs. UMASS 9/15/2012 3:30PM
The Chappaquiddick Seafood Festival
Party like a member of Bon Jovi, drink like a Kennedy, and eat shellfish like you don't have an iodine aversion. Not a lot of attire options here, but bonus points for any hot chicks that show up in Marilyn gear, or if you arrive at the tailgate in an experimental plane. Food will be items that once swam or are considered bi-valves.
Game 4: Michigan at Notre Dame 9/22/2012 7:30PM
Party at The Godfather's
There will be themed T-shirts. There will be vodka-red bull shots. There will be more drinking than ever. All of it is a prelude to Notre Dame trying to copy the magic that Michigan's night game created last year. If you are reading this and wondering if you are invited to this exclusive soiree let me assure you....you're not.
Game 5: Michigan at Purdue 10/6/2012 4:00PM
The Possible Winnebago
Michigan fans travel to the Big Ten's worst stadium to gaze upon West Lafayette's Biggest Drum. This may or may not be our 2012 Winnebago trip. I'm currently gauging interest, so please contact me if you want to sleep in uncomfortable places with a bunch of smelly dudes.
Game 6: Michigan vs. Illinois (Homecoming) 10/13/2012 3:30PM
The Old School and Churrasco
Wear your high school colors (but bring some Michigan gear to change into for gametime of course), and bring your old photos, yearbooks, home movies, underwear with holes in it....basically anything that we can use to determine your age without asking. This theme is used to reminisce, to look back to a better time, and most importantly, to study the mistakes of most of the old people at the tailgate so the youngsters can avoid similar pitfalls. Food will be a take on Brazillian Steakhouse BBQ, or Churrasco. Lots of meats, lots of good side dishes, lots of meats. Did I mention that there would be meat?
Game 7: Michigan vs. Michigan State 10/20/2012 Time TBA
First appearing just two seasons ago, The Bacon Tailgate is just what it sounds like. We will celebrate all things bacon. Bacon attire is a plus, but plan on getting some stains on your digs as you get knuckle-deep in a variety of bacon-laden cuisine before we send Sparty home without Paul Bunyon.
Game 8: Michigan at Nebraska 10/27/2012 8PM
No Theme Yet
It's a long way from home, a new stadium, and a new group of dipshits to deal with. Unsure of our surroundings, parking, etc....we'll play this one by ear.
Game 9: Michigan at Minnesota 11/3/2012 Time TBA
No Theme Yet
Again, a long way from home. Again, a new stadium. Fortunately, we're dealing with a broken fanbase and a team that we beat 58-0 last year. But we don't know where we'll end up, so stay tuned.
Game 10: Michigan vs. Northwestern 11/10/12 Time TBA
Theme: The Sweet Home Chicago
Somebody call Fry Daddy Frank, because we're gonna need some Portillo's. Food will include Italian Beef sandwiches, Chicago Style Dogs, and anything else you can think of from the heart of the Windy City.
Game 11: Michigan vs. Iowa 11/17/12 Time TBA
Theme: The Turkeys
After a year off from frying some birds, we will celebrate the arrival of the Hawkeyes by dropping some flavor-injected birds in boiling oil. Traditional Thanksgiving sides will likely make an appearance.
Game 12: Michigan at Ohio State 11/24/12 Noon
Theme: The Survival
Haven't won in Columbus since 2000. Haven't been in Columbus coming off a win since 2004. The bee's nest has been kicked, and this will effectively be their bowl game. All of that adds up to a morning spent parking far away, avoiding eye contact and flying poo. Should be great.