Game 28: Oklahoma State Cowboys @ Central Michigan Chippewas
|GAME # 28
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Oklahoma State Cowboys: 0-0
Travel by Air
It is 2015 and we have yet another early wake up for CFQ. This is more of a routine than an exception, but it is all in the name of getting the most out of each trip and spending as much time at each location as possible. So the 2015 CFQ begins with a 3:30 wake up. But this trip has us at Islip’s MacArthur Airport. Only Southwest flies out of ISP and it is farther than JFK or LGA, but it is so much easier. With a 3:30 wake up and my having to pick up Al (which was completely out of the way, by the way), I think we were at the gate by 5 am. Not quite, but at 4:30 in the morning it only takes 20 minutes to get to ISP and there is no line at security. There are no people at security. Kudos to ISP for finally getting actual TSA PreCheck lanes as opposed to just a card that you carry through the regular security line. Starbucks note of the morning; ISP has the worst Starbucks in the country.
The Southwest flight to Grand Rapids took us via Baltimore. It was good to know that the flight at 6:15am had libations according to our “funny is his own mind” flight attendant. Although by the strictest definition of “libation”, we could be in for a bumpy flight. Go ahead, google it. I will wait. Oh, and by the way, I managed to have the only row on the flight where all three seats were occupied. Not a good travel start. But at least SouthWest figured out how to “count”. Al notes that he was the only person with “football wear” on the Baltimore flight.
The layover in Baltimore introduced us to the concept of Auntie Anne’s breakfast. I did not know such a thing existed, but picture breakfast sandwiches on pretzel rolls. Can things on a pretzel roll be bad? Well, yes it can, but these were actually pretty good. I wonder if it is only an airport thing.
And for the “Danger, Will Robinson” caution alert from the trip, Al informs me that he has notes from the flight while I was sleeping. Ruh Roh! Not to mention Al’s scam of the hour involving Southwest Airlines bar codes. Bail money anyone!
We did actually manage to fly from Baltimore to Grand Rapids without incident. Al notes that there were 6 college football school tee shirts represented on this flight. Yes, he was bored.
Travel by Car
A special mention must be made of the drive from the Grand Rapids Airport to Mount Pleasant, Michigan. First, you know that you are in the middle of nowhere when you have a 2 hour drive from a regional airport to your destination. This is not necessarily bad in and of itself, just that you really are nowhere.
And secondly, we, without a shadow of a doubt, passed more churches on the road than we did other cars or people. This is not up for debate and was not even close. Is each congregation one person? Has to be.
Further, the drive was partly on dirt roads with visions of tornados in our head, and in the distance. Needless to say, this was not a comfortable drive. Did I mention the driving rain storm? Also, if you are driving anywhere in Central Michigan and you use AT&T, you are screwed.
Central Michigan University
Al and I met up with Target at the hotel. This only occurred after Al and I walked into the wrong hotel. Not good street signage for the Fairfield Inn nor the Comfort Inn which we had to physically walk into, to realize we were in the wrong place. But I digress yet again.
Target, in his infinite wisdom, decided to fly in the night before to a different airport. To be fair, Target was not coming from New York, but rather Quincy, Illinois (this is a story unto itself). In his brilliant and logical thought process, he decided to fly into Detroit and rent his own car and drive to Mount Pleasant in the middle of the night, instead of just staying near the Grand Rapids Airport and having us pick him up on the way. This would not be the first travel related issue for Target on this trip (see WMU trip report). Let’s just leave it at… Brett is not good with travel and he is the reason why travel agents still exist as HE SHOULD BE USING ONE. But somehow this ended up my fault, at least according to my wife.
Anyway, we headed to the CMU campus. Being quite hungry at this point, we proceeded to the student union for some lunch. On the way, in a moment of premature assessment, Al declares “beefy”. This would prove quite inaccurate. But I digress even more, back to lunch. I will have to say that we were quite impressed with the selection within the small cafeteria. We opted for the pasta bar which was choose your pasta, vegetables, protein, and sauce. It was unexpectedly very good. Not quite Cagle Steaks, but for a cafeteria lunch, quite impressive.
While eating, Brett remarked that the cafeteria was “all girls”. Other than the fact that we could not figure out why this was a problem to be remarked upon, we did engage in a guess the male to female ratio at this school discussion. For the record, it is 56% female which is quite a wide disparity, so Target was not too far off the mark.
After lunch the usual donation to the local economy was made via the CMU bookstore.
And then the rains came. Hard. Monsoon like. So we waited it out in the student union. I should point out here, and I will say this in a way that minimizes the amount of trouble that I will get into, that the rankings will have a new entry in the talent category, at least for me. The one observation that I will make in this respect is that the wardrobe of the female student body consists entirely of yoga pants. I believe that it must be an entrance requirement. And I will leave it at…this was not a bad thing. No more on the subject shall be mentioned. Beth, did I do this with enough grace and finesse? “Yes”, Beth has added.
Anyway, the rains were bad enough that the normal walk around campus was not to be had. We waited a bit at the on campus Starbucks (Al was very happy), but we eventually had to leave campus to wait out the rains in the hotel. Must it really rain at each stop on the Quest. Quite frankly, it is getting very annoying.
After waiting for the rain to slow to a mist, rigorous debate was had on dinner and tailgating and what to do. The hotel was walking distance to the stadium, so we opted to walk and get a light bite and heavy drinks at The Olive Garden. If you stick to just breadsticks and salad, The Olive Garden can be “not horrible”. And there is a bar. All Beth adds is “Yuck!”
Completely counter to my earlier statements in the paragraph above about sticking to breadsticks and salad, we opted for some apps with our salad, breadsticks, and drinks. It was good thing because the salad never came. We still do not know why. Anyway, we left in a sufficiently libated (yes, I am still allowed to make up my own words) state. Time to head to Kelly Shorts Stadium.
We toured the surroundings and as you would expect, we were not particularly impressed with the tailgating. A lot of Michigan gear and tents. Ann Arbor is 130 miles to the Southeast.
Let me just start this section by saying that field level access never gets old. We appreciate the hospitality shown by the CMU athletic department. The press box was quite full given the status of the opponent, Oklahoma State, and thus we did the wander around the stadium thing for the game. This is something I do not mind and quite enjoy. We watched some of the game from the “Northern Illinois and Vanderbilt Driving Rain Storm Seats” and some from my preferred end zone seats. I much prefer to sit in the stands with the fans than the press box, but the press box is advantageous in inclimate weather. But we did get lucky as it did not rain much during the game. Just threatened.
As for the game itself, it was surprisingly close. The first half was very uneventful and Oklahoma State led 10-6. CMU opened the 2H with a 7 play, 75 yard TD drive to take the lead 13-10. OSU topped that with a 5 play TD drive to take the lead for good at 17-13. OSU would add a 12 play, 83 yard drive in the 4Q to close the scoring at 24-13. It was evident that OSU just wore down the Chippewas, but the Chipps did well to hang in and if not for penalties that stalled CMU drives and if they were able to convert FG’s into TD’s instead, the outcome could have been different. But OSU just wore the Chipps out, holding the ball for more than 10 minutes in the 4Q.
Just a quick note on the crowd, it was a bit disappointing. It is not every year or decade that a MAC school has a power 5 conference team in their building. I was expecting a near sell out with a rowdy crowd. We did not get that. It seemed very subdued and not at all near capacity.
As a side note, the reason OSU was visiting CMU, was this was the first game of a three game series that will have CMU visiting OSU in 2016 and 2018.
After the game, we were faced with a) going out for food b) going out to drink or c) gambling. The hope was that if we opted for (c) we could do (a) and (b). So it was unanimous, gambling it was. These votes always seem to be unanimous for gambling. Perhaps we have a problem?
We arrived at Soaring Eagle Casino, a casino that my pre trip research indicated was a real casino. Our entrance proved it was only a slot and bingo parlor. I was certain there were table games, and after asking, we realized we were in the original building and what we wanted was across the street. I guess that is what happens in a new town at 11pm. We are not very good at finding places on this trip; first hotels, then casinos.
Financing the Trip
After playing around with some blackjack and Target astonishingly winning some money at roulette, we all converged at the craps table. I hit my limit right before the dice made its way to Target. Bad for me. Target proceeded to roll for like 15 minutes winning enough for himself and Al that I think this years worth of trips have been financed, at least for them. Not quite, but let’s just say that the people at the end of the table who were betting purple chips in the Field, threw Brett a few black chips for his efforts. We estimate they made $20k. A nice roll indeed.
The answer to the CFQ trivia question, “Where will our CFQ car magnet be stolen?” is Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Yes, believe it or not, our magnets have withstood all other previous stops, but one was stolen outside our hotel at CMU.
A second trivia question, “After these two Michigan games, in which State will the CFQ guys have seen the most games in?” Answer…still Texas.
This trip continues in the Western Michigan trip report.
The CMU Chips finished the regular season with a 7-5 record, 6-2 in the MAC which was good enough for a four way tie atop the West division. This was parlayed into a Quick Lane Bowl appearance where they lost 21-14 to Minnesota.
OSU started the season 10-0 and then dropped their last two games to Oklahoma and Baylor. The 10-2 record was good enough for a Sugar Bowl appearance where the Cowboys lost 48-20 to Ole Miss. From 10-0 to 10-3.
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Bonus Video: Opening Kickoff