If tomorrow is a football Saturday in the Classic City, then this must be the Friday Tailgate. It's Free Form Friday's moderately more focused, significantly more employable, and somewhat less likely to steal your fine china and sell it for Sugar Bowl tickets cousin. More after the jump, including the first tailgate mix of the season, which is full of Irish whiskey and rage, like Lou Holtz in line at Chipotle Grill (How many times tho I have to tell you people! No avocathos!!!!).
I certainly don't want to harsh anyone's mellow, but I do want to say that the start of this football season is a little bittersweet for me. It's the first one of my life without my beloved grandmother, who we lost after a brief illness back in May. She went by many names, including "The Big E", perhaps the best possible nickname ever bestowed upon a women who weighed 100 pounds only after a double barbecue sandwich. In addition to being the epitome of a southern lady, she was also a staunch Bulldog fan. As a kid, in the days before every SEC game was on television every week, I remember listening to the Bulldog Radio Network on the hulking 400 pound radio/record player/entertainment cabinet in her living room. With the exception of one game in which I remember my father jumping up and down in front of the TV screaming "Go Herschel! Go! Go! Go!!!!!!!", those were my earliest Bulldog football memories. I never remember really rooting for another team.
I won't say she was a rabid Bulldog fan, because I don't know that my grandmother was ever a rabid anything, save perhaps a rabid Methodist, to the extent that such a thing is even possible. But I do know that she and my grandfather enjoyed many of their first dates in Sanford Stadium. Later she would tell me that my grandfather stood by the contention that Frank Sinkwich was the best player to ever don the red and black. I know that they raised a house full of Bulldog fans, one of whom raised me. I owe my Bulldog fandom in no small part to her, and it's on a long list of things I'll never be able to thank her enough for.
On a lighter note, and for reasons totally unknown to me, our cable company last week decided, unbidden, to quadruple our DVR storage capacity. In so doing they saved last season's Auburn game from being deleted, and probably secured my business for all time.
Judging by the 600+ comments in last night's open comment thread, I think it's safe to say a lot of you joined me in watching South Carolina/ Vanderbilt open the SEC football season. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think we learned the following: Steve Spurrier wants to kill Connor Shaw for reasons only the Head Ball Coach knows. The New Vanderbilt, like the old Vanderbilt, is a safe bet to crap the bed against any ranked opponent. But they're doing it with attitude, man. I bet South Carolina fans aren't so antsy to play Georgia in the second week of the season now. Seriously, what did Connor Shaw ever do to Steve Spurrier? And Marcus Lattimore looks better than many thought he might in his first game back from injury, but not as good as he'll need to for South Carolina to win the SEC East. Oh, and if someone would block for him, that would be nice too. Finally, the South Carolina secondary looks a little vulnerable, as long as they aren't allowed to physically bind receivers in duct tape to prevent them from making catches. SEC officiating! It's fantastic!
Our own Vineyarddawg and Tim from Bull Run already brought you a taste of what you'll see from the Buffalo Bulls tomorrow. For my part, I like to preview games with rampant speculation. That's why I'm bringing back one of our favorite features as part of today's tailgate. I ask you Bulldog fans, over or under?
Christian Lemay will take 9.9 snaps tomorrow.
Hutson Mason will take 0.9 snaps.
Todd Gurley will carry the football 6.9 times.
Keith Marshall will carry the football 6.9 times.
Jarvis Jones will notch 2.9 sacks.
Georgia will run the dive on 3rd and 5 or longer 1.9 times.
Freshman kicker Marshall Morgan will boot 1.9 field goals.
Bulldog radio announcers will explain why the home crowd is booing when Ken Malcome gets the ball 0.9 times.
Malcolm Mitchell will snag 0.9 interceptions from his cornerback spot.
Feel free to discuss the above projections, your thoughts on last night's SEC opener, or whatever else strikes your fancy in the comments below. Until later . . .