Oxford ranks close to the top of SEC road trip bucket lists. The Grove, the Square, the food, the drink, the women, the casual racism, and the infrastructure of a 19th century Afghani village - it all adds up to a must-see, for just about any fanbase. After sitting in the postgame parking lot for over an hour Saturday evening, around midnight our traveling party decided to take the road less traveled and walk our way back to the house where we were staying. We figured Hertz could find the car at some point, plus, as always, we had put our rental on Doug Gottlieb's credit card.
As we made our way back to a decidedly downcast and muddy Grove, we happened upon what surely was the most beautiful and over-the-top tent to ever grace the area - complete with chandeliers, flower arrangements on every table, tasteful maroon and white accoutrement scattered throughout, and bottles upon bottles of the finest bourbons. We were clearly home. The crew settled in, only to find a rather stern argument breaking out at the table next to us. On one side was Cliff, an Ag Leadership major from Mexia who I had shared several Shiners with at the Chicken back in the day. On the other was Quinton, the 2007 Interfraternity Council president who never told me what city he was from, only assuring me that he was certainly born "inside the loop."
The argument appeared to be over what to do with the game that had just ended, a clock-expiring 41-38 Aggie victory. Quinton appeared incensed. "It's horrendous, the entire thing!" he exclaimed while cleaning his alligator boots of GroveMud. "Mark Snyder might as well be starting a secondary of four Jordan Petersons for as bad as they played tonight, and don't even get me started on Clarence McKinney. Number one, does our offensive coordinator even remember the 2nd half against Arkansas? Number two, does he remember that Trey Williams and Tra Carson exist?!? That was awful, all the way around, and some of those guys deserve to be fired come tomorrow morning."
"Are you serious?" I thought Cliff was going to spit his freshly-inserted plug of Copenhagen all over the table. "We just put up about 600 yards on the road in the S-EE-CEE, we've got the #3 ranked offense in the country and you want to bitch about playcalling? You need to get your head straight Q."
"ME?" You could tell Quinton was serious as he tucked his bangs behind his fraternity visor. "Do you have any idea what we left on the table tonight? Or worried our process might have some issues? Or any concerns that Tra Carson only got one - ONE - carry after complete domination against the Hogs? That five wide shit is going to get us killed down the road. I spent the entire 4th quarter updating my Bill Connelly app after every play and we were leaving, on average, 2.6 yards yards per play on the table according to his F/+ real-time calculations - 2.6! Even disregarding the advanced probabilities tha-"
Cliff cut him off with a resounding swig of expensive bourbon. "What the hell man? What on earth is a F plus, and who gives a damn? You wanna talk about process? Process is being 5-1 and ranked in the top 10 in the country. Process is the Sumdog being 16-3 since arriving in College Station last year. Did you even play football in high school?"
Quinton sighed heavily. "Yes, I was the backup holder at a prestigious magnet school for 2 years, and on the hands team if there was ever a left-footed onside kicker, thank you very much. And don't call him Sumdog."
"Just what I thought. You don't know a damn thing. PROCESS is you talking about that brunette over there-" Cliff pointed to an Ole Miss brunette across the way, a solid 7.5 out of 10 who meekly smiled and waved back while attempting to remove her 5 inch stiletto from a grassy soft spot. "Basically, the Ags took home that girl tonight and closed the deal, that's the process."
Quinton quickly nodded towards the girl on her left, a tall, leggy, stunning blonde wearing an LSU shirt who couldn't seem to understand why her iPhone wasn't edible, even after dipping it in barbecue sauce. "I've got a date with that chick on November 23rd. If I approach her the way you approached that Ole Miss girl, she might as well just punch me in the face."
"That date is in a month!" Cliff was getting pissed. "Tonight we took care of business on the road, and you need to learn to enjoy it." Quinton was clearly close to the end of his rope. "That game was coached atrociously. When we go 5 wide on 3rd and 2 with Kenny Hill next year in Tuscaloosa, I hope you enjoy the pounding that's about to commence."
Cliff was about to fire back when all of the sudden a tall, serious-looking man smelling of scotch and private airplanes arrived on the scene. "Boys, my name is Lowry Mitchell LeBlanc Zachary the 4th, and this is my tent. Number one, you're both right - we need to be a bit smarter in our playcalls, especially on offense, but any time you win a road game you need to enjoy it. Number two, please stop drinking my bourbon and get the hell out of my tailgate." And as I walked slowly away from the Grove towards Faulkner's grave, the brunette on my right and the blonde on my left, I realized the folly of trying to overthink the child's game of football, and instead decided to focus on the good author's famous words from The Sound and the Fury, most likely referring to Hugh Freeze: Once a bitch, always a bitch what I say.