Pigskin Pursuit

An eight year odyssey across the backroads of America during the ultimate College Football roadtrip.

Tag: Austin

Texas vs Texas A&M – A Texas Turkey Day Tilt

While many of you were lounging around with a five thousand calorie turkey hangover, I was diligently behind the wheel on my way down to see the most heated rivalry in Texas College Football. Unfortunately, all my favorite barbecue haunts were shut down for the day so in lieu of the turkey dinner, I opted for a chicken sandwich at the Whataburger during the three hour jaunt down to Austin. Ah, the untold glamour of the Pigskin Pursuit.

 

 

This was the first game of a three game, three day odyssey during Thanksgiving weekend that would take me to Austin, Texas; Lincoln, Nebraska and Columbus, Ohio. That’s Texas, Nebraska and Ohio State for those of you following at home, not a bad way to spend rivalry weekend. Beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

 

Dating back to 1894, the Texas vs Texas A&M matchup is the third longest running rivalry in College Football. Although Texas owns dominance of the series with a 75-36-5 record, this is a heated rivalry that in the state of Texas has undoubtedly caused more than its fair share of family Thanksgiving dinner table squabbles over the last 116 years. In fact, in both school songs “Texas Fight” and the “Aggie War Hymn” each school makes a point to denigrate the other in the lyrics. You may recall our trip down to College Station for this game last year, and you can freshen up on it here:

 

 

http://www.pigskinpursuit.com/2009/12/normal-0-microsoftinternetexplorer4.html

 

 

While the Aggies have struggled against the Longhorns the past couple of years, this year set up to be something different. A&M was ranked in the top 20, held a formidable 8-3 record, and a win would put them in contention for the Big 12 Championship Game. Texas on the other hand, has stumbled this year, hampered by an interception prone quarterback, revolving door at tailback and unusually porous defense. Prior to the matchup they carried dismal 5-6 record into the contest, and a loss would knock the Longhorns out of bowl contention for the first time since 1997. Patience is growing thin with the Burnt Orange faithful in Austin, and fans are quick to forget their team played for a National Championship not even a year ago.

 

On an unusually chilly night in Darrel K. Royal stadium, the game lived up to the hype as both teams were embattled in a defensive standoff until late in the second quarter. Aggie running back Cyrus Gray then broke the game open with an explosive 84 yard touchdown run to knot the game at 7-7 heading into halftime. Gray would be a one man highlight reel on the day, as he would later scamper for another 48 yard touchdown run while racking up 223 yards on the ground. Between Gray and injured starter Christine Michael, the Aggie backfield will remain quite formidable for another year. On the Texas side of the ball, the Longhorns struggled to put together any momentum or sustain drives. Predictably, maligned quarterback Garrett Gilbert tossed a pair of interceptions, one of which was a critical game ending pick. Even the Longhorn crowd was discernibly flat on the night, reluctantly cheering meekly for the Horns and routinely being drowned out by the exuberant Maroon faithful and internationally famous Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.

 

 

This was my second year in a row spending Thanksgiving at the Lonestar Showdown, and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than under the lights of some premier College Football in Texas. Though certainly not as rewarding as sharing the day with family lounging around a crackling fire, you’re never alone surrounded by 100,000 or so other rabid college football fans. It’s what the Pilgrims intended.

Special thanks again to my friends Jared and Kimberly. It’s always a pleasure to meet up with them and their family for Longhorn games, and hopefully next year will be better fortunes for them in Austin.

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University of Texas: Longhorns vs Bruins

This post will be rather short, because I’m starting to get geared up for the LSU trip this weekend, and because you’ve already seen a handful of posts from me about the Texas Longhorns anyway. I shouldn’t have to tell you that Austin is one of the premier College game day destinations in the country, and I certainly don’t need any motivation to head down there on a fall Saturday. This past weekend, the Longhorns were looking to avenge their last meeting with UCLA which came way back in 1997, when the Bruins mauled the Longhorns 66-3.

Unfortunately, this outcome was largely similar to the last meeting as UCLA scorched the burnt orange to the tune of 34-12. It really wasn’t even that close as UCLA dominated Texas on both sides of the ball, and handed them an extremely rare home loss during the Mack Brown era. Sloppy play would be an understatement for the Longhorns, as the offense coughed the ball up five times, while the nations alleged #2 rushing defense was stampeded to the tune of 264 rushing yards. It was an embarrassing performance for the Longhorns that Mack Brown and about 100,000 other folks would rather forget.

On another note, when it comes to tailgating, I’d have to put UT fans up there in the elite echelon of places that I have visited. Some of you may think you have this tailgating thing nailed because you show up with a hibachi and slam a few Hebrew Nationals and hockey puck burgers on there. Or perhaps your wife makes her famous cheddar dip and potato salad served on matching team color plasticware?



I have two words for you. Trailer. Smoker.


There is neither rival nor substitute for the meat that comes from a smoker, and until you have one of these, your tailgate is amateur at best. Trailer smokers like the one pictured litter the parking lots in Austin on gameday. They are everywhere, and decked out in all kinds of custom Longhorn colors and accessories. All these smokers puffing away lend a remarkably unique scent to the tailgating scene outside Darrell K. Royal Stadium, and there are few aromas more appetizing than gentle plumes of hardwood smoke chugging out of blackened steel chimneys.




Special thanks to our friends Jared and Kimberly, who are always a pleasure to hang out for any Texas games. Further thanks to her sister Karen for the Austin hospitality and their father Steve for generously helping with tickets to the game.

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The Eyes of Texas are Upon You….

The University of Texas was our kickoff to the College Football Tour of 2009, and what better way to get the season started than to watch the Longhorns stomp one of their perennial early season patsies.
In fact, it had been over two years since my inaugural trip to Texas Memorial Stadium and I was curious to see how some of the newly completed renovations looked.The answer was simple: enormous.This place has become absolutely enormous, and with capacity now over 101,000 you can pack a lot of burnt orange into the place.The beefed up capacity (101,096 on this night) coupled with the “Godzillatron” (the 134ft behemoth HD scoreboard-formerly the largest HD screen in the world) make this place a truly imposing facility. The words “everything’s bigger in Texas” never rang more true.

The game itself was, shockingly, never really competitive from the start.Louisiana Monroe was expectedly physically outmatched at nearly every position, readily evident as the Longhorns imposed their will on both sides of the ball.Despite the disparity, Heisman hopeful Colt McCoy managed only two touchdowns against a foolish interception.While LAM had a few periodic outbursts to keep the 2nd string Texas defense honest, it was never really a game unless you count keeping it within the 34 point spread “competitive”.
The lopsided matchup turned out to be a blessing in disguise, however, because after a few quick beers in the UT Alumni center during halftime, we returned to the stadium midway through the 3rd quarter to discover a glut of empty seats. Evidently some of the diehard Texas fans were more interested in getting a jumpstart on traffic than staying until the last whistle.As is usually the case, the most “ardent” fans always occupy the first and second rows, and we were able to slide ourselves into a vast desert of empty seats that put us close enough to make out the waist size on Mack Brown’s khakis.We enjoyed the rest of the game in front row seats right behind the Longhorn bench!

Final score: Texas 59 Louisiana Monroe 20

Hook em!
Special thanks to our friends Jared and Kimberly for showing us what Longhorn Football is all about!

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Snow’s BBQ

There are precious few things that I like to wake up at 6:30 in the morning for.There are even fewer that don’t involve massive piles of eggs and generous slabs of bacon.And despite my undying devotion to it, BBQ isn’t on that exclusive list of things I routinely wake up at sunrise for.Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, TX shattered all of that.
For those of you unaware, Snow’s BBQ was recently rated the #1 BBQ joint in Texas by Texas Monthly Magazine.In this upset for the ages, Snow’s usurped such perennial favorites as Kreuz Market and Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, long considered the stalwarts of true Texas cue’.
http://www.texasmonthly.com/magazine/bbq
Adding to the lore of Snow’s, the place is only open on Saturday’s, and they typically sell out of food before 10am.As if that weren’t enough, Lexington is about 60 miles from anywhere you might be inclined to visit.As such, any visit to Snow’s requires some dedication to BBQ, and can be considered a venerable notch on the belt of any BBQ aficionado.
http://www.snowsbbq.com/

 

 

I’m here to tell you first hand, this is the best brisket I have ever had in my life.Period.

Many other BBQ websites can do a far better job of going into excruciating detail explaining why.Brisket can be the most difficult of meats to smoke properly and consistently. This brisket stands above the rest because every single piece is uniformly perfect.Suffice to say, this brisket is otherworldly out of the smoker, and was still amazing eaten as a leftover, 5 hours later and cold.It is that good.

 

 

Of course both their ribs and local homemade sausage are first class as well, and on par with anything you will find at the traditional BBQ powerhouses. But if you only had stomach space for one protein here, the brisket is a runaway winner.

 

 

Here we are with Tootsie herself, the 70 year old pitmaster who has been smoking some of the best BBQ in Texas for almost 50 years.

 

 

I’ve eaten more than my fair share of BBQ in Texas, so trust me when I say it’s worth your time and effort to get to Snow’s, and I would happily roll out of bed at the crack of dawn to join you.

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