This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.
Saturday's in the fall are a sacred thing. For a few short months, our lives collectively rearrange around college football. I wake up earlier than usual on Saturday. Why? To watch Gameday from start to finish. Seriously, don't tell me there's a kids birthday party during the fall on a Saturday. Do it Sunday. Don't tell me you're planning a wedding in October. That's a massive unvitation. If you are getting married in the fall, you'd better be sure it's a bye week. Or, you'd better have a TV behind the priest. Even if you do, chances are I've got the flu.
Is anything worse than a non-football event in the fall on a Saturday? The audacity of some people to get married on Saturday in September! That's what the NBA season is for! God didn't create the day after Thanksgiving for standing in line at Circuit City. It was created for leftovers and college football.
After watching Gameday, of course, a typical Saturday can look something like this....
1. Breakfast at Bonnie's
Right on North Mesa, a few blocks from UTEP, is the excellent Bonny's Cafe. For early games, when tailgating isn't realistic, nothing beats a late breakfast or early lunch at Bonny's. The decor is random, it has 50's themed diner look, but the food is exceptional. I usually get a Chile Colorado Burrito. For about $5, the burrito is literally the size of my forearm. The salsa is great, and the torta's are almost comically huge. It's a great place to get some pre-game grub that is worthy of El Paso's tradition of ridiculously good Mexican food at ridiculously cheap prices. Bonny's doesn't have a web page, but you can find a link for additional information on their Yelp page.
I love it. That's the only way I can describe tailgating. Does it get any better? When the season schedule comes out, the first thing I do is look to see what time kickoff is at to know what time the tailgate can begin. I tend to follow the following tailgating rules:
Don't Go Cheap on the Beef:
Nothing wrong with having plenty of hot dogs, but the key to a successful tailgate is having lots of variety in your proteins. Brats, carne asada, fajitas, burgers, are always good places to start. As food goes, just makes sure someone is bringing some potato salad or chile con queso.
Condiments Aren't a Luxury
Few things are worse than grilling a brat, burger, or dog and not having any mustard, ketchup, or relish. The days of tailgating with a package of hot dogs, some tortillas, and charcoal are happily past me.
More Cheap Beer is Better than Less Good Beer:
This might not be the most popular decision in the room, because as I get older, I realize there's life past Bud Light. But, I stand by this rule. You are going to be outside for a long time and you will be tempted to give beer to strangers, friends, and even fans from the opposing school. That's part of the fun. You can always have a private stash of something stellar, but I always have lots of Bud Light. You always need to have an adequate supply of suds for halftime and/or the post game celebration tailgate.
Nowadays, a TV is almost essential at a good tailgate. I gotta have one out, connected to my car battery, for viewing of the day games. The creation of the TV Digital Converter makes it possible to have a good quality picture without a satellite connection. Also, I like to have external speakers set up. It's just better to be able to drown out your neighboring tailgaters from NMSU who are playing the Backstreet Boys.
Don't Forget the Games
A tailgate without a football, frisbee, or washer board is downright un-American and I refuse to be a part of one!
3. Post Game Chax
In my younger days, post games were meant for bar-hopping. Now, they're for slowly recovering after a day of fun in the sun. As we're packing up, and yes I realize we've spent the day eating, I always call in an order at Chico's Tacos and get it for a post game meal to enjoy while watching highlights from across the country. Saturday is a day full of fun, friends, family, and football. Saturday night, for me, is about recharging my batteries for a Sunday full of more football- even if it's not college. I can't wait. What do you love about gameday?
Fellas, we're getting closer...... 60 days. We are officially 2 months away from Game 1 against Arkansas- Pine Bluff.