I love the smell of tailgate in the morning! Nothing better than it. Well, except maybe the smell of two tailgates in one day. We decided to kick off the season with a two-for-one, a two-fer, just four hours south of our NYC base, in Maryland. We’d have breakfast with the Buckeyes and a nosh with Navy outside their noon game in Baltimore. Then double-dip, cuz that’s how a true Tailgate Fan rolls, by driving 40 mins south to College Park, to tailgate Terp-style, at the U of Maryland before their 3:30pm game with James Madison. The day was like eating a Maryland blue crab; a lot of work to get to that meat, but once you crack that shell and get in there, it is worth the work. Salty, sweet and uniquely enjoyable. C’mon! Everything’s better with Old Bay on it, right?
The OSU/Navy tailgate presented a slight familiar problem; it suffered a bit from neutral site-itis. Bowl games, rivalry showdowns and kickoff classics are a blast to watch and attend. But from the party perspective you lose some of what makes campus throwdowns so great. Geography gets in the way, producing fewer students on-site, fewer rigs that can make the trip. Those in attendance are always psyched to be there, and a lot of fun to hang with, but the set and decor isn’t quite the same. Much respect to those who did make the trip in. Those Buckeyes love to travel and represent. And they have the sweaty backseats and beverage-soaked party wagons to prove it.
But what OSU/Navy may have lacked, Maryland made up for in no time. Gorgeous little campus. Good-looking people hungry for football, food, frosty beverages and fun. The move from ACC to the Big 10 is huge both on and off the field. And the excitement shows. We tried desperately to get into a several thousand student-strong Greek Life party, but were denied. Argh! My kingdom for a wristband! Where was the guy who made my “college ID” when I needed him! Alas, we had good times, and finally a crab boil. Word to the wise — be ready for said meal’s essence to stay with you for a few days.
It was so exciting to have football, and pregame party season, back in our lives, again. It made everything that much more ridiculous and delicious (deliculous?) Next stop on the tour: Auburn, for a chance to hang with the national champ runners-up, who I hear are hard to beat before kickoff. War Eagle!