Ah, the tailgate — a preparation of the mind, body and soul for receiving the gift of football. Prior to every game this fall, WRNL will bring you a "Tailgate Preview." We promise to focus very little on the opponent or football in general and instead turn our efforts to how to get the most out of your tailgating experience. After all, it's common knowledge that Iowa State is more known for tailgating as opposed to its football prowess.
Any Cyclone fan worth their well-worn Seneca Wallace jersey knows that gameday is incomplete without the feasting, drinking and camaraderie of the tailgate event. In this recurring article we'll highlight the weather, a drink, a dish and something to keep you busy between sips. So sit back, pop a top or crack a bottle, and let your preparations for the weekend's tailgate begin.
Weather: Clear, Cool and Sunny
Ladies and gentlemen, October is finally upon us. This month, a personal favorite of mine, brings us many different things: conference play, playoff baseball (which will unfortunately include both the Cardinals and Cubs this year, meaning their fans will be even more unbearable than usual), perfect football weather and Halloween festivities. And we couldn't possibly forget that October brings the only thing that can make white women truly happy: pumpkin flavored everything.
Saturday's weather should be absolutely perfect for a football game, despite being a bit nipply early in the morning. So, if you're going to start your tailgate as soon as the sun's up, like most of our readers probably do, be sure to wear a jacket: the 7 AM temperature should be hovering around 40°F. By game time, however, the sun will be out and it will be about 20 degrees warmer.
The weather, though a bit on the cool side, is vintage fall football weather. I wait all year for about a month and a half of this type of weather, so you can be damn sure I'm going to enjoy it. And you had better do the same.
Specifically: The 7 and 7
Since it'll be a little chilly on Saturday, why not go with some whiskey to warm you up? Now, don't get me wrong, just because the morning will be cold doesn't mean this game will compare to the ISU Ice Bowl that happened the last time we played the Jayhawks in Ames.
Now then. Onto the whiskey. I've chosen whiskey to be your partner in crime for the weekends activities for many different reasons:
- Whiskey can be consumed in about a million different ways: on the rocks, from a shot glass, in a mixed drink (more on that later) or straight out the bottle Jim Lahey style. By the way, if there was ever a human being equipped with the tools necessary to be a lifelong Iowa State football fan, it'd be Jim Lahey.
- Since variety is the spice of life, and there are many different types of whiskey, that means whiskey is the spice of life, right? If you can't find a style of whiskey that you enjoy, then you're either the pickiest human being on the planet or you're dead and can't drink whiskey anyway. That or you had a really bad experience with it that one time and have sworn it off forever. If you don't fall into any of those categories, here's a handy chart to help you navigate the world of whiskey.
- Whiskey is also the key ingredient in many different mixed drinks: The Manhattan, whiskey lemonade, Mint Julep, Jameson and Ginger, etc.. For this weekend, I'm recommending you go the way of the prestigious Seven and Seven. Typically made with Seagram's Seven Crown and 7 Up, this drink is perfect for those of you who can't make a decent drink (don't worry, this one's easy) or will eventually be too drunk to remember how to make what you've been drinking. You can also use about any whiskey or lemon-lime flavored soda out there. To our more mature readers, that means you can class up your drink with a nice whiskey like Templeton Rye, Maker's Mark or Pendleton (my personal favorite), though few whiskeys go better with 7 Up than Seagram's. And if you're a college student, that means you can mix your favorite $10 bottle of whiskey with a 3 liter of off-brand lemon-lime soda from K-Mart.
- If you'd like a real drink recommendation, check out our Kansas game preview, where KnowDan gets to do what he does best: be a beer snob (love you, KnowDan).
Food: Tailgate Breakfast
Being an eleven o'clock game, chances are eggs and bacon will sound more appetizing than burgers or chicken wings to your drunk self on Saturday morning. Everyone says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And since a day of filled with heavy drinking requires a solid food foundation, that makes breakfast doubly important to your pregame festivities.
There are several different ways to prepare a tailgate breakfast. Breakfast casseroles and other dishes can be brought from home while staples like eggs, bacon and sausage can be made on site. If you have a generator and can bring a griddle along, life is easy. If not, never fear — nearly any food is possible to make on the grill if you try hard enough, and a few large foil pans or cookie sheets should be enough to enable you to cook up a killer breakfast. And if you would rather focus your energy on drinking, swing by your local Casey's and pick up a breakfast pizza.
Finally, if you're too lazy to do any of the above, you can always drink your breakfast instead. You can make up a nice Bloody Mary (check out the Iowa tailgate preview for Ted Flint's recipe), have a few mimosas (or substitute Natty for champagne to make a beermosa), or simply drink a few beers. I've always called heavy beers like Coors Banquet or Budweiser "pork chop in a can," so having a few of those will be like eating a pound of bacon, right?
If you want a real recommendation for a tailgate breakfast, here's a few recipes to get you started.
Game: Beer Ball
This game goes by many names, Murder Ball and Dodge Beer to name a few, and is perfect if you have one goal in mind: to get absolutely blitzed in a very short period of time.
This game is very simple and fun and is much better suited to the open confines of a tailgate lot than a basement or garage. Here's how you play: You have two cups full of a drink of your choice on each side of the table (BTW, you need a table) as well as two people on each side of the table. The first player will throw a ping pong ball across the table and try to hit another player's cup. As soon as contact is made — it's on. The throwing player starts chugging their drink, and the player whose cup got the business end of a ping-pong ball needs to chase down their ball and return it to the table. As soon as the ball is set on the table, the chugging player stops chugging. First team to finish drinking their cups is the winner.
Now, while this game is a lot of fun, it is quite the rough and tumble game, and this is where the wide open spaces of a tailgate lot will come in handy. Be sure to have a few extra ping pong balls, as they tend to get lost/broken/stolen throughout the course of a game. Oh, and to spice things up a bit, we usually play best-of-five matches. So be ready to drink.
Now, this game can be played with Solo cups like I mentioned above, or you can use a beer can instead of a cup. If you choose to go the Solo cup route, you can play with what ever drink you like. Choose wisely, as a cup of a weakly mixed drink or beer is probably better than playing with a 25 oz can of Lime-a-Rita.
The reason that beer ball is the perfect game for this weekends matchup is due to the circumstances surrounding the game itself. The Cyclones take on the Jayhawks in a game that is more of a pillow fight between two Big 12 basement-dwellers than a conference opener. If Iowa State wins by a wide margin, which they should, heavy drinking will make having a winning record in conference play for this first time since 2005 all the better. And if the Cyclones lose to the tire-fire-on-turf that is Kansas football... Well... Sitting through that game will require you to be drunker than Charlie Sheen on a four-day bender.
To recap, we obviously aren't fans of Cyclone football for a winning tradition. The reason we all make the trek to Ames season after season is for the friends, family and fun that comes with football each fall. The best way to celebrate this gathering of friends, family and complete strangers (who just happen to be fellow Cyclone fans) is to tailgate.
Let the party begin!
PSA: WRNL has a tailgate in lot G7, and you're welcome to stop by! We'll have a breathalyzer, plenty of booze and of course your favorite writers from this fine website.