Archive for October, 2012

30
Oct
12

road trip.

Let’s see: I’ve been to games at Purdue. Indiana. Pitt, in buildings old and new. Miami (the one in Ohio). Michigan State. Cleveland Browns Stadium. And two miserable visits to The Big Hole in Ann Arbor.

With the exception of those two visits to AA, I’ve always enjoyed my college football trips.

But I can’t imagine what it would take to have a better trip than the one Mrs. Crappy and I took to State College on Saturday.

Our friends Kelly and John got themselves their first season ticket package at their alma mater earlier this year, and they immediately offered their extra two tickets to the Ohio State game to us. That’s not an offer we would turn down.

The plan: Head out to State College early — early — Saturday morning, see the town, eat, visit a couple tailgate parties, have our own, watch the game and catch some rest at a cheap motel in Altoona before heading home to Pittsburgh.

How’d we do? Here’s a look:

We got out of the car in our parking lot, looked to the south — and there is Beaver Stadium. Let me be clear about this: one of the things I was most excited about was sitting in this building during a white out. It’s always been one of the most impressive — and intimidating; just ask the 2005 Buckeyes who lost during a Beaver Stadium white out — displays of college football fandom I’d ever see on television, and I couldn’t wait to see it in person.

After a quick stop to see one of Kelly’s old professors, we headed to another lot to see Lauren — and The Bus. A friend of Lauren’s bought the old team bus on eBay — the first such retired bus to be sold that way by Penn State — and turned it into a tailgating machine.

They pay attention to every detail.

We were there early enough that the Blue Bus crew was just getting started. But even in the morning, the spread was impressive.

One of the stops on our campus tour was the Millennium Science Complex, a stunning L-shaped set of buildings joined by a triangular cantilevered roof, covering a courtyard. Penn State’s campus is dense and compact, especially for a school of its size, more like OU than Ohio State, but while it doesn’t feel crowded, the courtyard is a beautiful oasis in the middle campus.

The aforementioned courtyard. See?

We walked downtown to look for some Penn State gear — uh, for Kelly and John — and get some lunch at the Corner Room, which had this sign posted outside. The point? Everyone was nice. The entire day, I heard just one muttered shitty comment, from a student who was drunk enough at lunchtime that he was going to be passed out before the game started. Over and over, we were welcomed to Happy Valley by people who seemed genuinely happy we were there. We heard plenty of comments about the upcoming game, but all were good-natured, and once we set up our own tailgate party, we chatted with a guy from Pittsburgh that Kelly had met before a local half marathon. Old college football games, the Browns-Steelers rivalry (back when it was a rivalry) — great stuff to get in the right frame of mind for the game.

We walked back towards the lots, which were filling rapidly. Had some beer, some of the snacks that Mrs. Crappy brought along and an amazing beer-bratwurst-cheese soup Kelly had prepared. I’m hoping she’s going to get together a guest post about that soon, because it was too good not to share (a note — if you had the soup we made for last year’s Michigan game, you’ve had one of Kelly’s recipes. Good stuff, right?)

As we walked around the stadium to our gate we passed the corner where I left a buckeye at the feet of the Joe Paterno statue days after he died in January. I was expecting to see a crowd there; I wasn’t expecting to see a person, in bronze makeup from head to toe, posing as the statue. Very cool.

Inside. Teams are warming up. And the student sections, directly across the field, were already full. The building doesn’t look especially big — I guess I’m used to the concrete on the banks of the Olentangy — but there are a lot of people in there … 107,000-plus on Saturday.

That’s us, with Kelly and John. The fun is about to begin.

Ohio Stadium is loud. And while there may have been games in Columbus that were close — USC in 2009, Michigan in 2002 or 2006, or Penn State in 2002, which I still remember as one of the loudest games I’ve ever attended — I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything as loud as Saturday’s first half in Beaver Stadium.

And being in the middle of a white out is an awesome thing.

We’ll talk about the actual football in another post. Let’s say I was happy to be able to join in the postgame Carmen Ohio when it was over.

We were even close enough to see this.

We had an interesting night at our hotel in Altoona — I can’t say I’d recommend the Econolodge there for pretty much any reason — but we had an awesome breakfast at Tom and Joe’s Diner, a place Kelly found, before heading home.

It was a short trip, and a very long day — we were up at 4 and didn’t get to bed until late — and I wouldn’t change a thing. Kelly and John were great hosts, and I hope they don’t mind if I thank them one more time for a fantastic day. I hope we can return the favor in Columbus next season.

And. State College, you do it right. I hope we’ll be back soon.

I originally referred to the bus as one that took members of Penn State’s marching band to the stadium; Lauren pointed out that the bus was actually used to transport team members to Beaver Stadium. Sorry ’bout that.

 

26
Oct
12

chart.

I’m pretty much beside myself over tomorrow’s trip to State College. We’re going to have an awesome time — even if the weather isn’t quite so awesome — and the game promises to be one of the best ones of the season.

Part of the fun is going to be seeing a patented Penn State White Out in person. And that should work out well for those of you watching on TV, especially if for some reason you want to see Mrs. Crappy and me.

It should be pretty easy, actually, especially with the white out. This shot is the same angle that you’ll be watching at home. The red star is our approximate location — and we should stick out like sore thumbs (bright scarlet ones) in the sea of white.

We’ll be sure to wave.

22
Oct
12

anticipation.

So. Guess where Mrs. Crappy and I will be on Saturday?

Photo source.

21
Oct
12

eight.

One of my favorite moments of the Purdue game came after the comeback, after the overtime touchdown and after Christian Bryant successfully defended the Boilermakers’ fourth-down pass in the end zone. Mrs. Crappy and I watched the celebration and were still in our seats — actually, standing on our seats, I think — when the team assembled in front of OSUMB.

Most of the guys had already locked arms and started swaying, as they do when they sing the post-game “Carmen Ohio.” But as the noise of the crowd died down in the South Stands, a figure, in a white jacket, appeared in front of the team. It was Urban, doing one last pump-up job before the band did its thing.

You’ll see him briefly in front of the team; you get a better look if you’re watching the scoreboard.

I don’t have any doubt that the previous head coach had emotional moments like this; in fact, I remember seeing a couple in person in Tempe almost 10 years ago. But this is not something the previous head coach would have done, ever, and I have to say that I’m enjoying the hell out of watching the new head coach and the enthusiasm he wears on his sleeve.

19
Oct
12

seven.

Hi. It’s been a while. Let’s get caught up, shall we?

  • By a narrow margin, we have decided that Ohio State plays in the Pork Division. Excellent decision, you guys.
  • Boy, the Nebraska game was fun. I didn’t feel like there were huge defensive lapses — in spite of Nebraska’s 38 points — and the offense … hooboy, the offense. The weather was gorgeous, the halftime show — that was the video game theme show, the one that went viral in the days that followed the game — and with the exception of Mrs. Crappy’s absence for illness, that was a great time all the way around.
  • Boy, the Nebraska tailgate was, uh, even funner. We had a huge crowd for the all-day party, and we had two excellent meals. Suzanne was the star of the lunchtime show; her Mexican tarts — known to Juan as “our special guests” — were delicious, and the corn I made to go alongside turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. For dinner, we went through about 18 pounds of the family sloppy joe mix. Everyone went above and beyond the call of duty in bringing along snacks and sides, and our other special guests — all part of Lovely Rita Meter Maid’s entourage — were awesome people to hang out with all afternoon.
  • We got home from the night game and finished unpacking around 2 a.m. Sunday. I love night games, but I’m glad they happen just once a year.
  • Recipes? We have recipes. Specifically, the recipes for Suzanne’s tarts and my corn will be coming soon.
  • Bud and Pat visited Pittsburgh for my birthday weekend, which meant we watched the Indiana game at home, accompanied by pizza from our favorite local place. That part was good; Ohio State’s defense was not. But I knew that might be the case when I saw a tweet from Tim May, who saw that Zach Boren was warming up with the linebackers. My folks went to bed with about five minutes left in the game, and joked about me coming to get them if Indiana came back. And they didn’t believe me when I told them the final score on Sunday morning.
  • If you’re ever looking for pizza on Pittsburgh’s North Side, look up Pizza Pescara. Seriously.
  • And now we’re in Columbus, watching the weather and eyeing an early bedtime, so we can be ready to do it all over again in the morning. It’s a little difficult to believe that there are just three more home games this season, but there you go … Purdue, Illinois and our bowl game for the season against the Team Up North. That’ll make for a good finish, boys and girls, even without postseason play — and it’s time to get ready for the 2012 Pork Division Championship.
02
Oct
12

a good trip.

You should expect going into a season with a new head coach — even one with a excellent reputation — that you’re going to see some rough edges, some things that aren’t quite clicking on Saturday.

And yeah, we’ve seen those. Uneven, inconsistent offense. A defense that looked to be soft on the edges. Awful, awful tackling. And even some glaring special teams errors.

What should we expect to see as the season progresses? Improvement.

And that’s what we saw on Saturday.

We still have a problem with relying too much on Braxton Miller to carry the offense, and that resulted in a couple of scares; he wasn’t on the field when Ohio State scored its first-quarter touchdown, after he was run into an equipment box on the sidelines, and I thought his second-half injury — the one where he also fumbled — looked especially scary.

But Miller is getting his arm dialed in, and in the second half, he seemed to do a better job of making a quick read and following that with a quick decision; if he’s able to cut back on indecision, we’re going to see fewer plays where he’s running for his life.

Even better: the offensive line was outstanding. Pass protection was solid, especially in the face of nearly constant blitzing, and the run blocking — especially in the second half — was better than we’ve seen all year. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that the O-line won us the game in the second half, as Ohio State’s run game held the ball and ran the clock.

But the best part was the defense. It was pretty clear that shutting down Michigan State’s monster tailback Le’Veon Bell was the focus … and Bell had no space to run all afternoon long. And the pass defense, while still suspect, didn’t give up the kinds of big plays that allowed Cal and UAB to stay in games they shouldn’t have.

And then there was the tackling. Yes, there was one horrible play, when attempts to strip the ball instead of making a solid hit and wrapping up Keith Mumphery, who scored on the play (Mumphery’s run was an outstanding effort, by the way, one that should be acknowledged). But after spending several weeks of griping about poor tackling, that was pretty much Saturday’s only lapse.

Improvement.

We’ll need to see more on Saturday. Relying too much on Miller is still a concern. And Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez has improved his throwing motion and can make defenses look stupid when he pulls down the ball and takes off.

Ohio State can get better. And will. Week by week. As we’ll see on Saturday.

Photo source.

02
Oct
12

instructions.

Yep.

01
Oct
12

heat.

We’ll talk more later this week about the specifics about what needs to happen in Ohio Stadium Saturday night when Nebraska visits.

But to begin, we’re going to take a cue from Urban Meyer. Prior to the Cal game, he was asked what he expects to see once Ohio State’s offense starts clicking. His response:

I expect the stadium to be an inferno.

Done:

Order now, boys and girls.

01
Oct
12

oink. moo.

A couple weeks ago, I announced that here at Killer Nuts Tailgating, we would no longer recognize the Big Ten’s chosen names for its two football conference divisions, as they are stupid.

I also said the B1G’s chosen names would be replaced here by Beef and Pork, appropriate, I thought, for our solidly Midwestern culinary sensibilities.

I am standing by those two assertions.

However. Over the weekend, I began to reconsider the third part of the re-naming equation, which stated that Ohio State plays in the Pork Division. It was the notion that Minnesota and Iowa, both members of the other division, play annually for the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy, pictured above. I thought about Wisconsin, a member of our division, and its reputation for dairy farming. I thought about the pastures that dot northwest Columbus, all owned by Ohio State, and the hundreds of cattle that peer through those fences at traffic on Kenny and Sawmill roads.

And I thought about a delicious, juicy double cheeseburger. (I had been sick all week, and was dying for something other than soup.)

When I announced that we were members of the Pork Division, I immediately got some pushback from other KNTers. I stuck by my pronouncement at the time … but I’m now reconsidering.

So now I’m asking. Are we pork, or are we beef? And you guys get to decide.

A few things to consider:

  • Pork is inherently, and infinitely, more fun.
  • White Castle, which claims to use 100 percent beef in their hamburgers, is based in Columbus.
  • Two members of the other division, Nebraska and Iowa, are among the Top Five beef-producing states.
  • Bacon.
  • Four of the five states represented in our division — Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois — are among the Top 10 pork-producing states.
  • But so are Iowa and Nebraska, members of the other division.
  • Carnitas.
  • Wisconsin, a member of our division, is second only to California in dairy production.
  • Steak.
  • Without pork, there would be no stuffed pork chops.
  • Without beef, there would be no double cheeseburgers.

So what’s it going to be, boys and girls? Poll closes at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

Photo source.

 




2014 schedule

Aug. 30: vs. Navy at Baltimore, noon
Sept. 6: Virginia Tech, 8 p.m.
Sept. 13: Kent State, noon
Sept. 27: Cincinnati, 6 p.m.
Oct. 4: at Maryland
Oct. 18: Rutgers, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 25: at Penn State, 8 p.m.
Nov. 1: Illinois, 8 p.m.
Nov. 8: at Michigan State, 8 p.m.
Nov. 15: at Minnesota
Nov. 22: Indiana
Nov. 29: Team Up North
Dec. 6: Big Ten Championship

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