Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE
Whether you'll be in Lexington for the game, Athens for the Goat Roast, or in front of your TV, it's time to start tailgating before another weekend of college football.
Maestro, the sound track:
There's a decent amount of good football to be watched this weekend. Of course at the 3rd Annual Dawg Sports Sacrificial Goat Roast, happening tomorrow evening at the Blind Pig Tavern on Baldwin St. in Athens (hint, hint) we'll be watching the Georgia/Kentucky contest. And the Florida/South Carolina matchup is must see TV.
But one game that really bears watching is the Vanderbilt/Auburn contest that will kick off at noon. Why? Why is a noon matchup between these two such a big deal? Because a Vanderbilt win salted away by 3 p.m. might mean that Gene Chizik can get home and catch the folks at U-Haul before they leave the office. There's been considerable heat on the guy this week, and it's beginning to look like he might not survive the season. Of course, firing your head coach in the middle of the season is usually not a great idea. But then fans, especially Auburn fans, facing down a 1-6 start aren't likely to clamor for rational decisions.
If Chizik gets the Tony Franklin treatment (see a pattern here?) there's been some speculation that former Arkansas skipper and motorcycle aficionado Bobby Petrino might get the first crack at the job. I for one think he'd be a great fit. I mean, who better to keep the lunatic fringe of the Aburn booster community on the honest up-and-up than Petrino. A man of principal. A man who says what he means, most often in a memo left by an equipment manager in his players' lockers while he's already on a flight out of town. It's kismet.
Going back to that UGA/Kentucky tilt, I'm not asking for much. I just want the Bulldogs to begin the process of getting their mojo back. I would like to see the 'Dawgs put away the 'Cats by the end of the 3rd quarter, but I'm not holding my breath. I expect there to be some rust and sluggishness. Let's not panic when that happens.
Let's not overlook Kentucky. But let's also remember that by the time our game kicks off we should know whether the depleted South Carolina Gamecocks were able to withstand the Florida Gators. I truly despise Steve Spurrier for putting me in the position to have to root for his alma mater. But logically, if I want to see the red and black in the Georgia Dome in early December, it is what I must do.
Winning the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is its own reward. But if doing so meant dashing Florida's national championship hopes and re-establishing control of the SEC East, well, that would be even better. Florida will arrive in Jacksonville on the heels of two very physical contests against top 10 competition. It's hard to get up and stay up for three of those. I'm not saying, I'm just saying.
On a nonfootball note, I'd also like to say that I highly recommend you stop by 2 Dukes & More Barbecue in Americus. One of the occupational hazards of my job is the need to travel to court appearances and other similar events throughout the state of Georgia. When I'm on the road I make a point of stopping in at a local barbecue establishment. It beats the heck out of another Big Mac every time.
Recently I found myself in Americus around lunchtime and just happened by this relatively new BBQ establishment. The "And More" part of the name worried me a little. I don't generally like places that serve other items in addition to 'cue. It's just too hard to do smoked pork and ribs right when you're busy perfecting your burger and pot roast recipes. But I threw caution to the wind on this point when I saw several promising signs. First, the restaurant shared a building with what appeared to be an indoor/outdoor flea market, a promising sign. I parked on the side of the building, right in front of a stack of pecan wood. Promising sign number 2. I walked in and found seating for no more than 20 people. Every seat was full, and the line for takeout was to the door. And that's when I knew that I'd probably made a good decision.
My order confirmed my suspicions. I got a chopped pork sandwich, slaw and baked beans. The slaw was creamy and sweet, not what you'd necessarily put on a sandwich but great as a side. The beans were among the best I've had. Sweet, but savory too, making me think they must use some of the pork drippings to flavor them. And the sandwich. Let e tell you about this sandwich. It was about 50% bigger than I expected, and included several good chunks of chewy bark. There was an identifiable smoke ring in the larger chunks, and it was unbelievably tender. Not mushy. Tender. You BBQ fans know the difference, and so apparently do the folks at 2 Dukes.
Apparently the "And More" I was so worried about includes an assortment of sides you don't usually see at a 'cue joint, things like mac and cheese, vegetable casseroles, and the like (in addition to some good looking desserts). I didn't try them, but if they're anything like the BBQ, get some to go. I know I will when I get back to Americus. When that day comes, I'll definitely be back at 2 Dukes.
If you're in Athens for the Goat Roast I'll see you there. You can't miss me, I'll be the guy in red eating a cheeseburger and drinking a beer. Should only be one of us right? If not, have a great weekend, and . . .