It’s that time of year again, and I’m not talking about Uggs, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, scarves, and yoga pants.
I’m talking about when the air gets crisp, marching bands play, barbecue and bourbon scent the wind, and girls in chevron dresses and cowboy boots look over their aviators at boys in frat cleats and embroidered pants, smile sweetly, and then yell something along the lines of “Rocky Top!” or “Roll Tide!” or as was the case this past weekend, “Hotty Toddy!”
Y’all it’s football time in the SEC.
October- that magical time of year when all the SEC boys have mostly finished their out-of-conference games and they get down to the business of beating the snot out of each other.
So forget Uggs and Pumpkin Spice Lattes, this is serious business. We’re talking boots and bourbon here folks.
I have been a Tennessee Vol fan all my life. Neyland Stadium is my mothership and “Rocky Top” is my siren song.
However, I have
been forced decided to make an effort to appreciate the traditions and folklore of my SEC brethren because it might be a while before The Volunteer Football Program is restored to its full glory.
We went to Oxford, Mississippi, to see Ole Miss play Texas A&M this weekend. More importantly, we went to The Grove.
I have heard about The Grove since I was in junior high; I had a friend who spoke of it like it was Camelot.
I’m not going to lie, it sort of is.
We’ll discuss The Grove later this week. But you need to know that my pimento cheese received lauds of praise at a tailgate, so I feel like I won that particular part of the day. It was only later that things went off the rails a bit.
We need to talk about the football game. Specifically, we’re going to talk about defense. I know some stuff about some things. I am married to a coach. More specifically, I am married to a defensive coordinator. That means he oversees the defense and calls the defensive plays.
That’s going to be important. It’s also going to be important that you know we went with two other couples. The head coach and his wife, and the running backs coach and his wife. So, I was at a football game with 3 football coaches.
I wasn’t really excited about the game so much as I was all the tailgating, and people watching, and general fun-having.
Until the second half.
For many reasons which include, but are not limited to a Manning frenzy, a sugar rush, and outstanding stadium music, I developed some VERY STRONG OPINIONS about the Mississippi defense.
VERY. STRONG. OPINIONS. About ALL the defense.
So I developed some opinions and decided to share them with Coach. And listen, what I lacked in knowledge, I made up for in volume and repetition.
“Why don’t they tackle Manziel?… He’s tap dancing and doing karaoke back there!…Good Lord, I could get to him from here faster than that guy!…Defense isn’t hard!…It’s simple math…and physics…Seriously…It’s 11 on 11 – it’s not hard- just pick a guy and knock him down…Coach, why are they so dumb?…Manziel is walking his dog in the backfield!”
Coach looked at me completely straight-faced and asked, “Are you suggesting that Mississippi play man-to-man defense against A&M?”
And I said, “NO. I’m simply saying if each guy on defense picks a guy on offense and knocks him down, then the job is done. It’s not hard! Simple math and physics. See?” And y’all- I have never been more convicted about anything in my life than I was of that theory at that moment.
And he said, “Yes, that’s dumb. You have to have 11 thoroughbreds to play man to man defense against A&M. It’s not easy. It’s also not math or physics. It’s football. And you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
And because I was not willing to concede to my defense-coordinating husband, I took my case to a higher court.
The head coach.
And I unleashed an opinionated fury that lasted all the way back to the car. I made my case. Then Mr. Head Coach patiently, and with great restraint, concurred with Coach.
So clearly there was a conspiracy. And that is when I stated that if I had five minutes with the Mississippi defense I would have fixed that Manziel problem. Johnny Football would not be whistling Dixie in the backfield anymore.
No sir. I was going to get that sewn right up.
And they laughed at me. And mocked me.
Coach laughed at me again while talking about complexities of defense, and offensive tendencies, and who even knows what else, and how silly I was to think I could fix a defensive scheme in five minutes.
I never said anything about fixing a scheme. What I said was I needed five minutes behind closed doors with those boys.
Because y’all, there was going to be a RECKONING.
I’m talking a tent-revival in the middle of July RECKONING. That is just what they needed to get themselves straight. Hell hath no fury like SEC fans on the losing side of the ball.
“You don’t even like Ole Miss! You’ve never even mentioned them until the second half of this game. As a matter of fact, you talked and talked about how excited you were to go to a game you weren’t emotionally invested in. You said it would allow you to enjoy the game since you ‘wouldn’t have to worry about losing.’ You aren’t even making sense. And seriously? A reckoning? That’s how you’re going to take down Johnny Football? A reckoning? That just proves you don’t know football.”
And that is how I finally out-kicked my coverage in The Department of Coach’s Patience.
Then he suggested that I just stick to making pimento cheese and pies and leave the football to the boys.
So now there will be a reckoning of a new sort.
But would you all like a recipe for Bourbon-Fudge Hand Pies? It makes the losing a little more palatable.
- 16 mini pie shells
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon of Cocoa
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of flour
- 2 and 1/4 cup of sugar
- 18 Tablespoons butter (melted)
- 6 eggs
- 4 Tablespoons Bourbon
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
Heat oven to 350. Place the pie shells on two baking sheets. Mix dry ingredients together. Add butter, eggs, bourbon, and vanilla. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop batter in pie shells. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. (You want them gooey in the middle).