Game 19: Clemson Tigers @ Wake Forest Demon Deacons
|GAME # 19
Thursday, October 25, 2012
#18 Clemson Tigers: 6-1
We got an extra 20 minutes sleep on this trip as the flight was 6:15am instead of 6:00am. So a 3:20am wake up call was in order.
I would now like to call your attention to our rankings page where JFK Terminal 7 makes an appearance on the worst airport list. First off, why is USAirways in what certainly seems like an international terminal? Secondly, why is an international terminal so small? Do they realize that international flights use larger planes which carry more people? Yet, Terminal 7 is smaller than a Manhattan studio apartment. Thirdly, could the TSA checkpoint be any longer or slower? Again, I point out that international flights are larger, why are there less TSA checkpoints than Gate 1 in the Delta terminal? Fourth, Terminal 7 has the slowest McDonald’s in the history of Western civilization. Four people took 15 minutes! I must quote Al, “Terminal 7 rivals the Central Terminal at LaGuardia”. That is not good company to be in.
I must also point out that it is really creepy taking off in an airplane before the sun rises. I am used to landing in the dark, but taking off as the sun rises just feels strange to me. Ultimately, we arrived in Charlotte for the 90 minute drive to Wake Forest University. I am permanently banned from ever telling anyone how long of a drive we have from the airport to our destination. For some reason, everything is a 40 minute drive to me, even if it is really 90 minutes. Other than being behind because I really did think it was only 40 minutes, no real issue there.
All right, so we are on the road to Wake Forest. Unfortunately for Al, he is on the sunny side of the car as we were heading north. But the next road would be according to Al, “A different kind of North”, so maybe he would be out of the sun. If that makes sense to anyone other than Al, please let me know. Also, it must be pointed out that this drive began Al’s regular, every 5 minutes, checking of the weather forecast of a storm named Sandy. As I took notes on the trip, I have a lot of jokes about Al’s ridiculous weather checks. But as I write this in the middle of November, without having power or heat after 13 days and counting and Al is picking up the remnants of his house which was directly on the waters of Long Island, the jokes do not seem quite as funny. I tend not to fall for the over hype that our news media tends to push in their quest for every single ratings point that they can manage. Every storm is the storm of the century. I guess you can get cynical after they repeatedly predict a Nor’easter will drop 3 feet of snow only to get an inch. But this one they got right, as it truly was the storm of the century (or at least the last two years). So I will skip over any weather related jokes as they just do not seem as funny anymore.
Since the last trip, I decided that we need a more planned out itinerary for our trips. Not that we want to plan out the whole trip, but more of a rough sketch of what to do when might be a good idea. This will probably last as long as our idea to take a picture together in each stadium lasted, which was one game. But we shall see. In any event, the decision was made to head to campus for a quick bite, then head to downtown for a more substantial meal before the game.
Wake Forest University
We arrived at Wake Forest University and were faced with one of the more beautiful campuses that we have seen. WFU has two large quads, despite being a small campus. This was exactly what you would picture if I said “…a tree lined campus in North Carolina.” What you would have in your head is what you would see in front of you. Each building looked liked it belonged, despite the fact that they were built at different times. You would think that it would be automatic, but we have been to some schools where you can tell that the buildings were built at different times. Not so at WFU. It all fit together. It should also be pointed out that we ran into a gentlemen who was fully decked out in Florida Gator gear and drove a car with a North Carolina license plate with a Gator head on it. Nice! My kids can definitely go to school here. Great campus!
Why am I at a Mall?
If you have been following these trip reports, you can probably guess that it has to do with Al’s iPhone. You would be right. After discovering that the Radio Shack we thought we were going to was really a Laptop Shack and thus did not have an iPhone charger, we went to a mall. I really try to stay out of malls all the time, but here I am in Winston-Salem to see a football game, and I’m at a mall. But at least now Al can charge his iPhone in the car, since a single charge lasts for 10 minutes. My wife would like to add that going to a mall sounds more fun to her than anything else she reads about in these reports.
After seeing the campus and a brief stop at a mall, it was off to downtown Winston-Salem. You have to love $2.50 for four hours of parking. I think $2.50 in NYC gets you 30 seconds of parking. Time constraints did not allow us to see all that downtown had to offer as I had done extensive pre trip research on Winston-Salem and had a number of things that I wanted to see, but sometimes that is the cost of these quick mid week games. We were able to walk around and see that this was a very nice downtown area with many bars and restaurants that seem like they would be popular with the university students. I did notice while we were on campus, that the school runs a shuttle to downtown that operates well into the night. That’s a mighty fine service.
We sat outside at Foothills Brewery and had a beer. Pumpkin beer sounds like it would be a strange brew, but it was quite good. It was one of the better beers that I have had in quite some time. After a beer, it was getting time to grab an early dinner before heading back to WFU for the game. We got up and headed for Sweet Potatoes, a southern food joint that my research indicated was a do not miss stop. But alas, we would have to miss it as they are open for lunch and open for dinner but not in between. And as the game was at 7:30, we needed an early dinner. Instead, we headed for our second choice, 6th and Vine. Which incidentally is not located at 6th and Vine. Something we found out the hard way. To further our disappointment, 6th and Vine was only serving off the lunch menu which was more limiting than dinner options. I opted for a Steak and Cheese sandwich. Have I reminded you recently of how well we eat on these trips? I was bitterly disappointed. The flavor was really good, but I do not think they could have found a piece of steak with more fat on it. I had to eat essentially a cheese sandwich. Pre trip research indicated a lot of popularity for 6th and Vine, but I don’t see it. I recommend a pass.
It was now time to head over to BB&T field for the game. But at what point do we do a trip without a pit stop for Al at CVS. Really, he gets sick more than my kids put together.
We booked a hotel within walking distance to BB&T Field. So we parked at the hotel, checked in, and headed out to BB&T field. It was a quick walk over and then we spent a little bit of time surveying the tailgate scene. It was only a little bit of time. There really was not an extensive tailgate. We walked through Tailgate Town, which reminded us of Knight’s Alley at Army and Vandyville at Vanderbilt. It was roughly the same size as well. I am not sure if it was the Thursday night or if this was the normal case, but tailgating seemed somewhat subdued.
We did one final walk around the stadium and discovered the student tailgating section. This had much more life to it. It should be noted that WFU is unofficially the third smallest D-I football school, behind Tulsa and Rice. So, the student section will not be very large, but they did have a decent student turnout for tailgating, and they get their own tailgate section. The scenery in the student tailgate section was quite nice. This could possibly be the best dressed student population as 99% of the female students were wearing small black dresses and most were wearing them with boots. I know some of the Southern schools also have well dressed students, but to date, this was the best dressed student section we have seen.
It was time to enter BB&T Field. Before finding our seats, we wandered around the concourse. This is a very nice venue. It is quite small at 31,500, but quite nice. The new Deacon tower looked very impressive. There is also a grassy area in one of the end zones where you can sit on the lawn and watch the game. Unfortunately, you need a ticket to enter Deacon Hill. But all seats at BB&T Field have backs on them. That is a nice touch.
We went to our seats in the 56th row, in the corner, up against the wall. We found pom-poms on our seat for the game. But are they pom-poms or shakers?
As game time approached, we took a look around and saw far more orange than black. It was getting to be a Clemson is already up 70-0 crowd. It was all orange. The game announcer pointed out that they are shakers. Thanks for that.
Before the game, Al & I both picked Clemson. This was not one of our more difficult picks. Plus it was a black out, so according to Al’s rule about always picking against a pick your color out, he was locked into Clemson anyway.
I normally include some details on the game, but this report will include very few details, because we really did not see too much of the game. It was not very riveting and we came up with a fun new game called …Where in BB&T is Sam Steele? It took Clemson 10:57 to score. What the hell took so long? The 1Q ended at 7-0 Clemson. Could we be in for a game? No! First play of the 2Q, we went to 14-0. The exodus was apparent when we went to halftime at 35-7 Clemson after Clemson jumped to a 35-0 lead. We spotted Sam Steele a lot during the 2Q.
At halftime, we moved over to the student section which was on the opposite side of the stadium. This was a very good move. More excellent scenery in little black dresses. It was clearly black dress and boots night at BB&T. We did not see too much of the 2H as the events in the crowd were more interesting to watch than the game. And when they weren’t, we were closer to the field in the 2H so playing “Where is Sam Steele?” was more fun. We were told the 3Q ended 35-13.
Ok, now let’s play you are the Head Coach. Here is the scenario…you are down 22, in the 4Q, 13 minutes left, ball on opponent 43, it is 4th and 7. What do you do? Congrats, 99.9% of people would go for it, because what exactly is the down side? But no, Wake Forest decides to punt. It was and remains a very curious decision. In any event, the game ends 42-13 Clemson. But we stayed to the very end along with about 10 students and 10,000 Clemson fans.
After the game, we headed back to downtown Winston-Salem to Finnegans Wake for some late night food and drink. In complete contrast to our earlier meal, this one was excellent. I am not sure if it was the time of night or the pumpkin beer, but the meatloaf sandwich, while heavy, was tremendous. A perfect meal for 1am.
The Day After
The next day, it was breakfast and off to the airport. Breakfast was at a place called Breakfast Of Course. The food was good but the wit was better. Al walked in and asked “You’re open, right?” The response in classic southern fashion was “The door’s unlocked, ain’t it.” And with that, Al was put into his place. Classic!
After a quick pit stop with some friends Al knows outside Charlotte, it was off to the airport and the quick trip back to NY.
This game was supposed to be a prelude to the big year end game at Ole Miss. Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Sandy, we had to postpone the trip to Gainesville and to Ole Miss. As I write this trip report for Wake Forest, I am still without power and heat and Al’s house is in ruins. We are both living with our families in temporary places completely outside of normal. This report probably lacks my usual wit and sarcasm as I am quite tired. But I did want to write it before my memory of the trip faded. So with that, the Wake Forest trip report will be a reminder of what was to come and did come…Hurricane Sandy!
Wake Forest would finish the year at 5-7 and therefore was ineligible for a bowl game. The Demon Deacons lost their final 3 games and 4 out of their final 5. But they did finish ahead of Maryland and Boston College in the ACC Atlantic Division.
Clemson would finish the regular season at 10-2, 7-1 in ACC play. But the lone ACC loss was to Florida State, which prevented Clemson from winning its division. They would go on to beat LSU 25-24 in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl to finish 11-2 and ranked #11 in the final AP poll.
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