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THE TAILGATE: A Graphical Preview of Texas A&M vs Clemson

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I’m christening this one The Battle of the ‘Bos. LET’S TAIL-HATE


LET’S TAKE THIS ANALOG

[rubs CBD oil on temples] Good morning, class. Mr. Davis is on sabbatical in Greece forming Athenian Aggie game-watch parties and teaching the international nerds in youth hostels how to do the Oklahoma Drill. [sits backwards in chair, casually] So you’re stuck with me as a substitute. My name is Mr. Gardner but you can call me Jimmy.

Y’all listen here. We’ve got a shiny, gorgeous stadium that cost half a billskie to build.

And no one is afraid to play in it. No one.

That changes Saturday night.

On Saturday night, we’re taking this shit analog. What do I mean by analog? I mean we’re taking Kyle Field back to a time when it was one of the most brutal places to play for visitors. We’re taking things back to when the Aggie Spirit ran the show at the Hate Barn. Pre-twitter. Pre-gotdamn smartphones. Pre-humans as feudal serfs under monolith BRANDS. Sponsors pay for the chandeliers in the suites and the coaches’ buyouts, but they can’t afford the spirit of YOU – the Fightin’ ass Texas Aggie – or your soul.

On Saturday night, the 12th Man needs to be PRESENT. No selfie vanity projects on Instagram. No pushing your emotions into #AggieTwitter from the stands. Nah. None of that shit. Put the phone on Airplane Mode. The college football world will have their eyes on College Station on Saturday. Your head, ass, and heart need to be in Aggieland at full tilt.

It’s time to block out all that meaningless, digital noise and get back to the noise of 100,000 Aggies making a concrete fortress shake to the core. You know that burning sensation from a day of nipping off tailgate whiskey and yelling your ass off? RELISH THAT FEELING.

When the Aggie fam is out tailgating on Saturday, I want to hear loud, guttural HOWDYS, dammit. Hug the hell outta your fellow Ags. We’re fellowshipping like it’s the olde days and we’re about to beat the wheels off the Longhorns.

Ask an Olde Ag about the days of yore when the 12th Man caused opposing offensive lines to flinch and twitch like they were tweakers in a feather factory. We’re bringing that back on Saturday. Saturday night is going to be HELL for the Clemson offense.

Look, I know that Vegas and the experts have already decided who is going to win this game. The blowhards in the media already have Clemson slotted in the playoff. To hell with all that.

To paraphrase a hockey legend… Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that's what you have here on Saturday, Ags. That's what you've earned here. One game. If we played 'em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not Saturday. On Saturday, we run with them. On Saturday, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! On Saturday, WE are the greatest football team in the world. You were born to be Aggies. Every one of you. And you were meant to be there on Saturday. This is your time. Their time is done. It's over. I'm sick and tired of hearing about what a great football team Clemson has. Screw 'em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it.

This is college football. I hope you love it.

Gig ‘em. Beat the ever living hell outta Clemson.

Aggies - 32
Tigers - 31


A rule for the comments: it’s the biggest home game of the year. You need to bring savagery and hate in the ‘mments. Puns are Baylor freshmen sitting in the dorms watching Napoleon Dynamite before musical practice. Hammer Clemson. We can smoke pork just as well (often better) than they can but if the only meat left on earth were brisket and a South Carolina man had to cook it, well, we’d all be vegans.


CAST OF CHARACTERS

Keep your head up, #42. Try some retail therapy, possibly at Target (see if Donovan Wilson wants to join you!). Don't hesitate to eject yourself from any negative conversations. Remember: use your head when making plays. Just not the crown of it.

Clemson features possibly the best front four in college football. McCoy is routinely praised as one of the finest centers in the SEC. This will be a great chance for him to shine against elite competition.

The Tigers will be well aware of this newfangled tight end business, so this is where #2 can step up and become the #1 receiver in this offense. Big frame, physicality, and great hands are the perfect combination to help this offense control the ball on crucial downs when Sternberger is blocking or double-covered.

PROS: is not the swarthy, brooding Irish leading man. CONS: is actually one of the most decorated Clemson defenders in school history after only two seasons. On second thought, maybe that first one is a CON. Time to see how Jace's blocking stacks up.

Because one preseason All-American on the defensive line just wasn't enough. If he gets tired of playing on Sundays for whatever reason, he's got a real innate talent for exotic dancing to fall back on.

No, it's not a fiery 19th-century dueling enthusiast/Senator from South Carolina or an upscale Charleston shoe outlet. Dabo has announced he's still rolling with both signal callers this weekend. Both are fairly phenomenal in their own rights, so should be fun.


MILLERTIME

I don't want to get off on a rant here, but this could be the biggest non-conference home tilt since Raymond George's #10 squad took down Bud Wilkinson's #4 Sooners back in '51, babe. Look, I don't care if it's Jimbo's first game with a young QB and largely untested offensive line and Clemson's front four makes The Wall in Westeros look like The Maginot Line, mmkay? We need to get this building LOUD. I'm not talking Johnny Oil n' Gas Sitting In His Suite Tweeting About How Tame These Students Are Loud. I'm talking Reach Down, Grab Your Voice And Drag It Violently Through Your Entire Torso And Scream Until You Nearly Black Out And Are Left With Nothing But A Raspy Whisper For a Voice The Next Day Loud. So stand up, put your phone back in your pocket, quit bitching about some mild periphery amongst all the shiny and largely unnecessary distractions that adorn Kyle Field, disconnect your Wi-Fi, cup your hands to your mouth, and scream like Sam Kinison just got his balls clamped in a mousetrap. Until you get back to that primal and exhausting level of engagement at a football field, well, you're just a gallery spectator at the live filming of a television production and not an actively involved member of a sporting audience.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.


WHAT TO WATCH FOR

SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE

The Aggies have never won a Gameday game they hosted when they were underdogs (currently +13 against Clemson). Then again, Clemson has never won a football game in College Station. Heck, even Dennis Franchione beat the Tigers in Kyle Field. Look for Jimbo Fisher to hold himself to the same standard as his 2004 contemporary, or alternatively look for the opposite to happen like the rest of the world assumes.

GOT A LITTLE STORY FOR YA AGS

Well Ags, a few years back ol' Rock the good Ag was in Clemson, SC. Apparently them Carolina boys were under the impression that pork BBQ was something to be served in polite company and not reserved for prisons and Waco. Well, he showed them boys how to slow smoke a brisket, in fact he must have smoked that brisket so slow it took him about 18 hours, so he spent quite a while getting familiar with the town. Well them boys sure did appreciate that delicious BBQ, and while they were chowing down ol' Rock asked them about this football team that they thought was so great.

"We got ourselves a tradition here. See there's a rock up in the stadium called 'Howard's Rock'. We call it that because coach Howard told his players 'If you're going to give me 110 percent you can rub that rock. If not, keep your filthy hands off it.' So when you see the football players rub that ol' rock you know they're gonna give 110 percent."

Ol' Rock nodded and said, "Well then I got good news boys, cuz if last night is any indication your co-eds are gonna give about 2003 percent."

COMING OF RAGE

An unranked Aggie team with a big name hire coach is battling the #2 team in the country under the prime time lights of their $450MM shrine twith College Gameday in town. If Aggie fans want the rest of the country to believe that Kyle Field is the home field advantage weapon that it once was, they will never have a better opportunity to make that statement than this weekend. Get rowdy. Get angry. Get as thunderously loud as you are uniquely capable. And someone get this license plate, which is confirmed to still be available. If you put this bad boy on your truck and tweet me a photo I will bring the Lone Star to drink on your tailgate, that is a promise.


ELSEWHERE IN THE SEC

#18 MISSISSIPPI STATE @ KANSAS STATE

[extremely David Attenborough voice]

"The bulldog is a confident predator, wandering the Great Plains with the self-assured gait of a creature who has never had his superiority challenged. That is, of course, until he arrives in Manhattan."

[cut to shot of wildcat waiting silently behind a Culver's]

"Blissfully ignorant and still bloated from devouring a sickly lumberjack earlier in the week, the bulldog never sees the wily old cat coming. Never able to take down larger and more defensively sound prey, an encounter with a wildcat is still mortally dangerous to smaller, clumsier creatures that happen into the area looking for delicious jayhawks."

[wildcat pounces, cartoon like fight cloud ensues with much hissing and growling]

[Ed Orgeron turns the hose on both animals yelling "GO ON, GIT!"]


HOTREELZ


ROI'd RAGE

One game into our investment and so far so good! Yes yes FCS opponent blah blah blah but hey, when people expect you to devour a cupcake sometimes it's nice to actually do it. That said, prize fighters don't get paid for sparring, and Jimbo won't expect more than a casual bump on the meter for the coaching equivalent of getting his time sheet done before Barbara runs payroll. The needle is moving in the right direction, Jimbo, but you start earning that check this weekend.


PLACE YOUR BETS


BEST CASE / BESTER CASE

BEST CASE

Jimbo has the team amped from the get-go. The offensive line looks respectable, the ground game works effectively, and Mond remains calm and in control. The defense tackles well and is in position most of the time. The game is tight and meaningful all the way to the end and we emerge hopeful and optimistic based on a very valiant effort against the second-best team in the nation.

BESTER CASE

Lee Corso dons the '80s Old Sarge head during GameDay picks. Darrell Dickey calls one of those flawless, ascendant offensive plans that looks like a video game the way he did in Memphis. The defense scores twice. LaCamera clinches it with a 60-yard field goal. Jimbo is given a five-year extension on the field by Scott Woodward. Kyle Field concessions sell plastic flutes of champagne for $12 a pop. The Twelfth Man does not rush the field or tear down the goalposts after the upset because we are CLASSY, gig 'em and godbless.