Game 36: Colorado Buffaloes @ Stanford Cardinal
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Colorado Buffaloes: 5-2
Travel – this section is duplicated here and in the California trip report
The California / Stanford trip is an extra day trip. Going out to California for two games requires an extra day, so it was an early wake up call on Thursday morning. I would be traveling solo on this day as The Director of the Road Less Traveled, Al, decided that he could not make the trip until Friday. Something about being away all week and having to go home for a night and then “having” to go to Vegas for “work” after this trip or something like that. Al would like to add that at the time of booking this trip he knew he had a Vegas conference the week after and was trying to merge the trips together. Unfortunately several other recent cross country flights to LA and Seattle and an unplanned local offsite dinner for work killed what could have been a well thought out plan. He further states that he is still paying for the amount of time he was away in terms of sleep, etc. Ok, some people may buy what he is selling, but moving on…Target, our former intern (Beth loves that title), would be making his way from Akron and arriving Thursday night and for the record, Al doesn’t care about anything related to ex-interns on the Quest. So a solo cross country flight it was, just me and 180 other passengers. JFK to SFO on a single aisle plane. Thanks Delta, fun times!
Upon arrival at SFO, it was off to the Silvercar rental. This is a rental car company that I have been wanting to try for some time. It has simply been that they are not in any locations that I have been to recently. But I have referred others who have been quite happy. Here is the deal; they only rent Audi A4’s, they fill the gas tank and only charge you for the gas used plus $5, they give you a toll pass and only charge for actual tolls, all cars have navigation, they pick up and drop off at the terminal, and everything is done via the app, meaning no rental car counter. In other words, hassle free car rental. Of course you pay a premium, but sometimes less hassle is worth it.
Well, off to Silvercar. SIlvercar is not able to pick up and drop off at the terminal at SFO, only at the rental car area which is an air train ride away. In other words, this was Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Off the plane, airtrain to rental cars, Silvercar shuttle van, and finally the Audi. But once there, very hassle free. They took a photo of my license, I used the app to open the car (very cool), and then I was off.
Well not quite. The navigation took a bit of figuring out, then realized it did not have real time traffic data, so I went back to using my phone and google maps. What I would come to learn is that real time traffic data in California is critical. Then it was off to Stanford.
In mapping out this trip, I realized that with a noon game on Saturday, it would be difficult to fit everything in at Stanford that I wanted, so I decided to spend Thursday at Stanford, Friday at Cal, and Saturday back at Stanford. So like I said, off to Stanford.
When I figured out that Thursday would be spent at Stanford, I signed up for the public athletic facilities tour. This is not the same facilities tour that we have gotten used to having. This tour was run not by the athletics department, but rather by the visitors center, which means that the tour went around the outside of the facilities and not inside them. Still, it was worthwhile and quite enjoyable.
I learned that Al could play in the Stanford Band. It is a student run band and all that is required to be on the field during a game is showing up at two practices the week prior. You do not even need to know how to play an instrument. Yes, that is correct. Show up at the two practices and you can go out onto the field and pretend to play an instrument. See, Al could join. Had Al known this prior to the trip, he would have been performing at the game. Beth quips, “So true!”
As an aside and to all tour leaders at Stanford, do you know why Stanford wins the Director’s Cup every year? Stanford has won every year except for the first year when they finished second. This is in no way meant to diminish the Stanford athletic program which is top notch and very deserving of all of its accolades, but Stanford participates in more sports than any other school and the Director’s Cup is a cumulative award, not an average. So Stanford has a built in advantage. Not that there is anything wrong with them doing so and actually kudos to them on fielding more sports than any other school, but just saying. Florida and Stanford are the only schools to finish in the Top 10 every year. Florida has 8 consecutive Top 5 finishes and Florida is the only school to finish in the top 10 of the last 33 national all sports standings awards. Just saying. Al chimes in with “Stop saying, you shouldn’t be bias towards anything Florida except Burrito Brothers.” This line makes me quite sad, as Burrito Brothers has closed its doors on February 4, 2017.
After the tour, it was a quick bite to eat on the Stanford campus before heading over to Hoover Tower. Hoover Tower is a 14 story 285 foot tower in the middle of the Stanford campus. It offers stunning views of the Stanford campus as well as the surrounding San Francisco / Silicon Valley area. I highly suggest checking out the photos in the photo album as it was truly some of the best views we have seen from an observation deck, and strangely we have seen quite a bit of those. Hoover Tower reminded me a lot of the tower at the University of Texas, only with much better views. And it was well labeled as each view from the tower had a picture next to it with all the relevant landmarks and buildings labeled so that you knew what you were looking at. Very well done!
After Hoover Tower, I headed over to the bookstore for the usual shopping. I decided to play advance scout. I knew we would be back to the bookstore on Saturday as Al and Brett would need to do their part, but I had some time to kill and no time like the present, so I got my usual purchases out of the way.
It was then back to the visitors center for the campus tour. This is not something we do at every stop. We used to do the official campus tour at most Quest stops, but they are mostly about academics, for prospective students and we have been lucky at getting other types of tours. But this was something I wanted to do at Stanford for some reason.
The tour was quite nice and hit all the stops. FYI, there are 25 fountains on the campus at Stanford. Bet you did not know that. Now you do.
I think this would be a good time to share that I have not seen a more beautiful campus. I came with the expectation that this would be the nicest campus and isn’t it nice that even the loftiest of expectations can be surpassed. The only school that is in the same discussion is a school we have not yet “officially” been to yet, but I have been to otherwise, and that is Duke. But Stanford is still nicer. I can not do it justice in any way via this report, so please check out the photos, not that those do it justice either.
I was also very impressed with the entire environment and not just the campus itself. The way housing is done with all kinds of on campus options; dorm, apartments, suites, coop houses, and full scale houses with a chef and housekeeping. It just seems like they have thought of everything and if they have not, would rapidly implement whatever is missing. If I could have gotten in and was thinking with my 40 year old brain, it would have been very tough not to come to this school. But I would not have gotten in so it does not matter. Beth felt the need to add, and you would not be who you are today and you would not bleed orange and blue with a dog named Gator.
Target was due to arrive at 8pm at SFO, so I decided to do the honorable thing and pick him up as SFO was on the way from Stanford to Berkeley, which where California is located and where we would be spending the night. So it was dinner in Palo Alto.
Palo Alto has a very charming and quaint downtown. Thanks to Alex, a good friend and Al’s good friend who won’t change the scoring system, who works for a Mountain View based tech company that will remain anonymous (but how many Mountain View firms do you know), I had a good list of recommended restaurants. Nola, a New Orleans themed restaurant in downtown Palo Alto was the choice. It was quite good but the thing that struck me was the coffee. It was fantastic, and I am not a coffee snob. I normally do not pay it much mind other than not liking the elitism of Starbucks, so it is strange for me to have noticed the coffee, but that should tell you something about it.
After dinner it was off to SFO to get Target. Al is embarrassed Jarrett went to pick up Brett, considering Al took Uber from the airport the next day. As Beth reads this, she must be thinking “that’s right, he went to pick up Brett, not because he is family, but because he would get lost.” And Al knows Beth reads every word. Beth adds, “Yep!”, just to confirm.
California in General
This is a good time to mention that California traffic sucks. Palo Alto had the worst traffic of any town I have been in for its size. Once outside Palo Alto, the traffic did not improve. All stereotypes about California traffic are true. It took 90 minutes to drive the 25 miles to the airport at 7pm on a Friday.
I should also note here, that Cali has the worst drivers anywhere. I say this not just based on this trip, but a trip a few weeks back to LA. I used to think Massachusetts had this locked up, but Cali wins, easily, and Beth, who is from Massachusetts is very glad. Do drivers plan to drive 40mph next to each other across all 5 lanes in a 65mph zone or is it an accident? Slow to the right is something foreign in California. As is paying attention to the road and what you are doing. Worst and most oblivious drivers ever!
Anyway, Target was picked up, albeit late, and we headed to the hotel for the night.
This trip report continues in the California trip report and picks up again below when we head back to Stanford on Saturday morning.
We awoke early as the Stanford vs Colorado game had a noon kickoff. That’s not going to be good for anyone. After a nice breakfast of waffles at the Hampton Inn, it was off to campus. After expecting the worst due to traffic conditions on Thursday, we breezed right into our assigned parking lot. Thank you welcoming committee.
Target, in a feeble attempt to make up for the B&B he booked at Western Michigan, arranged for a tailgate location. He still has a ways to go to make up for the Stuart Avenue Inn, but you have to start somewhere.
So once parked, Brett headed off to buy beer, and Al and I headed off to the bookstore, on the other side of campus. I played tour guide for Al, having done this on Thursday. As usual, my timing was off, but Al did his usual bookstore thing, buying his typical Al shirt. Then it was off to tailgate.
The tailgate was a wide open wooded area, with cars backed in off the main road leading into campus and the stadium. Lots of generators, music and food, all of which are good things are tailgates. There were some insects, however a few drinks cured that annoyance. We are not exactly sure of the details of the relationship to the tailgate we were at, but they were quite welcoming and very chatty. Tailgates at Stanford start early, regroup at halftime as most people leave the stadium to get some of their own free drinks, and then catch up again after the game to wait for the traffic to lighten (or get more drunk).
After spending some time at the tailgate, we headed into the stadium. Noon kickoffs do not give much time for pregame tailgates. Unless you start at 7am.
Colorado at Stanford
We entered Stanford Stadium and headed down to get the usual field level photos. Al was able to wrangle one pass, so he went onto the field and got our usual field photos before we went to our seats in the corner, 1st row, upper deck. Al remains confused what type of person offers one pass or one invitation when there are two people? Kind of like going to a club in NYC with your girlfriend and the bouncer only lets the girl in. I’m guessing because there is a better party outside for the guy??? Yeah, no.
Before we get to the game, a few words on the stadium itself. This stadium is absolutely beautiful. It is tough to describe but built in such a way that the outside of the stadium is mostly obscured by the surrounding nature and you see very little concrete. Tunnels lead you through the landscaping into the lower bowl and steps along the landscape lead to the upper bowl. The inside concourses are built around tree lined walkways. The seating area is average, but the way it is built incorporating the landscape and trees both inside and outside makes a beautiful stadium. Please check out the photos as this description does not do justice to it.
Via secret ballot, Al picks Stanford and I pick Colorado, not thinking that Stanford could score with Colorado’s offense. Colorado won 10-5. And yes, the game was every bit as ugly as that score indicates and then some. Colorado missed 3 FGs and had a touchdown called back on a clear offensive PI call. Stanford turned the ball over 4 times yet Colorado’s offense managed 10 points. Stanford’s offense generated a lone FG despite Christian McCaffrey’s return. And the safety, was an intentional safety that Colorado took at the end of the game. The Colorado Buffaloes reward for the win was becoming bowl eligible and a trip to In-N-Out Burger as the coaching staff took the team on the way to SFO. I now gained two games on Al on this trip. By the way, Al heads to Vegas tomorrow. Having waited forever to finally edit and add comments to this, all Al can remember from Vegas was he got hammered……in every aspect of the word. He believes it was the worst deposit he has ever made at the Venetian in 20+ years. He is still recovering. This was a long trip for Al, being a doubleheader football weekend then a long week in Vegas “working”. Beth adds, “He better hope Alexis never opts to read these!”.
Some other game observations:
Upon the end of the game we headed back to the tailgate and hung out for a little while.
A guy with the tailgate next to us after the game, as he was “packing up his car to drive home presumably”, pawned off his awesome bbq and food to our group (all fresh and yummy), in exchange for beers. Yes, those all important “I am already way drunk and just need a few more totally unnecessary beers before I drive home” beers. Yup, totally familiar with this situation, and surely it didn’t end up well. But either way, the food was perfect for post game, so thanks stupid drunk alchie! It was also at this time we noticed “Rhonda”….for lack of better name or even knowing her name. Rhonda was a 70 year old, maybe 80 pound soaking wet lady, who was an absolute PreFontaine-ish track star. She was running laps around the tailgate area for the entire day it appeared. Couldn’t figure out her lap progression and course, however she just kept coming by and then disappearing into the woods. Forrest Gump’s daughter? Al was entertained.
Then it was time to head into downtown Palo Alto for some dinner. We had waited enough time after the game such that traffic was not that bad. Hah you bought it. There were not enough people at the game to generate traffic.
Anyway, we got to downtown Palo Alto and in a classic case of we never learn our lesson, we let Target pick the dinner spot with the help of Yelp. He opted for a Thai place. Not good at all. He is banned from picking food. This time I mean it. “Sounds like my parenting style. Poor target.”, Beth adds.
We dropped Target at the hotel as he was tired and headed to downtown Mountain View. Alex confirms that everyone in downtown Mountain View works at that tech company located there. After he spilled the beans on the secret handshake, we were golden.
After a few drinks, watching LSU beat Ole Miss and Penn State beat Ohio State, I insisted on the must stop of the trip, In-N-Out burger. Al did not put up much of a fight but this side trip was not going to do his stomach any favors. Two cheeseburgers and fries later, it was back to the hotel for bed.
Sunday – this section is duplicated here and in the California trip report
Al had an early wakeup for his 7am flight to Vegas. He would be poolside before I took off for NY. Perks of the “job”.
After a quick breakfast at the hotel, and not checking out with the front desk due a long line moving very slowly, Target and I set out for SFO. Finally, no traffic in Cali. At 8am on a Sunday morning.
We brought the car back to the Silvercar warehouse, the car was scanned, and we were on the shuttle van back to the airtrain. On the way, I received the Silvercar receipt. Two things stood out; one good, one bad. On the negative side, Silvercar can not track miles driven on a rental. This is standard that all car companies do, but Silvercar does not. This is important for no reason other than I track Quest miles (see the footer on this page). No big deal, I can do it manually, just felt strange to me. On the plus side, I was billed for gas immediately. Remember how I said Silvercar charges $5 plus the actual cost of gas to fill the tank for you? Well they tap into the car’s computer to instantly know how many gallons were used and the amount shows up right on the receipt. That is very cool technology, but they still can not track mileage?
Target went off to wait for his flight to Akron and I off for my flight to NY. Delta had equipment troubles so they had a larger plane for my flight than planned. Hello to a two aisle plane and an empty middle seat. Much more comfortable. Of course, once we got out to the runway we had to return to the gate for more oil. But we still landed on time thanks to the larger plane having more fuel which meant we could fly faster. Yes, planes can go faster, they just don’t because of fuel economy. But aren’t I still paying a fuel surcharge despite the fact that oil is down to $35 per barrel? Just saying.
I landed in NY and arrived home to a very happy dog and somewhat ambivalent wife and kids. Just seeing if you are paying attention Beth as we know Alexis does not. Al adds that no one knew he was even gone. Beth would like it noted that she is still paying full attention and did read this paragraph.
Beth Demands – – this section is duplicated here and in the California trip report
The Cal and Stanford trip report was done in one go numbering 15 pages. At the end, Beth has written that she would like a raise and a promotion. In her words…
These write-ups are like reading a term paper and it is about time that I get a big bonus! And I want an intern! And just for the record, aside from my liking the Quest Directors and their beloved intern Target, these write-ups have not at all made me want to attend Quest trips. Yes Jarrett, a win-win for you. And I want more recognition and a raise!!!
To which I will only say…I would double your salary from $0 to $0x2, your title will now be “Senior Your Kids will Read This Editor” and you are free to share or even have Target as your intern.
And I will close with…Crisis averted.
Colorado had an unexpected and excellent season winning the Pac 12 South with an 8-1 conference record and a 10-2 overall record. The Buffs would end the season with a loss to Washington in the Pac 12 title game and then to Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl to end at 10-4. This would be because they were not a good team, Al adds.
After losing to the Buffs in this game, Stanford would win their final 5 games to finish at 9-3. The Cardinal ended the season beating North Carolina 25-23 in the Sun Bowl ending the year on a six game winning streak. This makes Al think that North Carolina should be moved to the subdivision or 1AA whatever it is called and play teams like Liberty.
For our Stanford photo album, Please click here. You can view as a collage or run as a slideshow. There are comments to explain what is in the photo but most are self explanatory. Thanks to Google, I can no longer embed the slide show with comments.