I sense among the Bulldog fanbase a tendency to view the Mean Green as a cupcake. But I think that's a bit dangerous. This is a team that opened the season by beating the Idaho Vandals 40-6. Just last week they came back to beat a decent Ball State squad 34-27. Sure North Texas is only 7-17 in two seasons under former Iowa State coach Dan McCarney. But this team has so far looked a good bit better than the 3-9 squad of last season.
The Mean Green are led by senior QB Derek Thompson, who has completed 71% of his passes on the season for 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions (both in his team's loss at Ohio). Talented senior running back Brandin Byrd is averaging a nifty 4.7 yards per carry. He's a compact 5'10, 217 pounder who's shifty enough to shuck lazy tacklers, and quick enough to break outside and hurt you. He runs behind a veteran offensive line led by juniors Antonio Johnson, Mason Y'Barbo, and Cyril Lemon, who have each started 27 games for McCarney.
These guys were not 5 star recruits, but they're big (all 310 pounds+) and seasoned. They played last season at LSU and at Kansas State, both losses. But they weren't blown out of the stadium in either game. They won't be intimidated by a noonish start in Sanford Stadium.
Which brings together the point of this little soliloquy. We have an early start, against a better than you'd expect opponent, coming off a bye week, with a big one on the horizon. That is the classic recipe for a trap game. The best that you can hope to do if you're Mark Richt is to come out and deliver a knockout punch as quickly as possible.
I'm not saying the Red and Black are going to lose to the boys from Denton. But I am saying that if they let those guys hang around too long it could turn into a real fight, which is not what we need going into next weekend's big showdown with LSU.
So what should you drink for a noon game which sets up as a classic trap game but which you hope is instead a quick punchout? How about a classic punch that will get you drunk really, really quickly?
If that sounds like your thing, mix up some St. Cecilia Society Punch. It's an old Charleston recipe, which nevertheless relies on staples that are not hard to come by in a modern American bar or kitchen. You'll need:
1 lb. sugar
1 fifth brandy
1 fifth peach brandy
1 fifth of dark rum
1 quart brewed green tea
2 bottles of sparkling white wine (the original called for champagne, I prefer prosecco, but to each his or her own)
1 bottle sparkling water
Slice the lemons thin and cover them with the brandy. Let the mixture steep for at least 12 hours. 3-4 hours before serving slice the pineapple in with the lemons, then add the sugar, tea, rum and peach brandy. Stir well and cover. Add the sparkling water and wine just before serving.
Note: this recipe makes a metric ton of hooch. Like, enough for your tailgate, and the tailgate next to yours, and everyone who happens to wander by. You can certainly cut the recipe down some, and change the proportions if you'd like, but this is the recipe I have and it makes about 60 glasses.
So make a batch, share it with everyone you come in contact with, and hope for the Bulldogs to come out fast and put this one in the books.
And remember that this also serves as your open thread for tonight's ACC showdown between Clemson and NC State in Raleigh. Until later . . .