I got a tweet earlier this week from a fellow who called himself the “Tulsa Food Guy” telling me that if I came to his OSU tailgate on Saturday that he would fix me whatever I wanted. His avatar was a cartoon of a dude with a goatee who was wearing big sunglasses and holding a piece of chicken in one hand and a cold one in the other.
Obviously, I was intrigued.
The TFG tailgate was in a car lot owned by Jim Gill, a former OSU wrestler in the 1980s. He told me a couple stories about occasionally running into Barry Sanders on campus and how Sanders was just as unassuming and humble in person as he was on the field. Not that any OSU fan would be surprised to hear that.
This is the poster that greeted me when I pulled into Gill’s lot.
And this is the TFG in the flesh. His real name is Tyson Caldwell.
Caldwell is an OSU grad who moved to back to Oklahoma (Broken Arrow, specifically) from Los Angeles in 2007. When he arrived, he started his site, http://www.tulsafoodguy.com/blog/ , where he finds and reviews the best local food joints to in the Tulsa area. His specialization? Manly food. Also known as food perfect for tailgating.
What’s on the menu:
Brats, hot links and polish sausage. I had a brat. Very tasty and good flavor.
Wings, wings and more wings. These were still cookin’ when I had to check out and come to the stadium. Bummer.
Much like the group I visited last Thursday, these folks had an OSU-themed canopy. They also had a satellite TV, which sometimes worked and sometimes, well, didn’t. The only real game action I saw during my stay was that Notre Dame was pounding Michigan State early in the fourth quarter.
Here were their five questions heading into OSU’s contest against the Golden Hurricane:
How will the Cowboys’ defense handle a mobile quarterback like G.J. Kinne?
This will be a test for OSU, as Kinne can make plays with his legs when necessary. Once again, the Cowboys’ front seven (especially the defensive line) against the opponents’ offensive line will be a matchup to watch. Getting pressure without blitzing will be huge, so the linebackers can stay home and plug the middle of the field in case Kinne decides to take off.
How will this game compare to last year’s 65-28 blowout win against the Golden Hurricane? And how will this game compare to OU’s performance against TU two weeks ago?
On paper, it looks like a similar result is in store. TU’s defense is ranked 104th in the nation through two games, giving up almost 450 yards per game, while OSU’s offense is the second-best in the nation so far (630 yards per game). As far as comparing it to OU’s 47-14 victory, I’d assume the score would be similar. I predicted 56-20.
Will Joseph Randle or Jeremy Smith score more touchdowns?
I won’t bet against Smith getting into the end zone, since he’s scored in six consecutive games. But I think Randle will score twice, including his first receiving touchdown of the season.
Will kick coverage improve?
That’s been an aspect of special teams that Mike Gundy has singled out as something he has not been too happy with so far, which makes me think it will be better tonight. The coverage team cannot expect Quinn Sharp to boom every kickoff into the end zone time and needs to stay in their lanes and make tackles.
What the heck is a Golden Hurricane?
I had no idea, either. Here’s an excerpt from the TU official athletic site.
A hurricane in Tulsa?
“After a remark was made in practice one day about “roaring through opponents,” and because of their new jersey colors, he thought of Golden Tornadoes. However, he quickly found out that the name had been taken by Georgia Tech a few years earlier. From the tornado, he evolved meteorologically to the hurricane. A few days before the team left for a game against Texas A&M, Acher asked the squad to vote on the name, and thus “Golden Hurricane” was born.”
So, there ya go.
Next week will be my first real edition of my “On the Road” blog, where I will try to discover what makes each college football environment unique. I know, I know…this was technically a road game for the Cowboys. But the “Tailgate Blog” theme just fit because of the number of OSU fans in the house and the close proximity.
A trip to College Station should set the bar pretty high for “On the Road.” I’m really looking forward to it.
Enjoy the game tonight…or, at least, stay awake!