Game 42: Utah Utes @ Washington Huskies
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Utah Utes: 5-5
The cross country flight to Seattle is not at 6am but at 7:15am. Ahh, to sleep in. It was seemingly good news as the Alaska Airlines departure was at JFK and not LGA. But it was not to be. We park at Terminal 4 as we will be coming back on Delta, but head off to Terminal 7, which is now where Alaska departs from after the acquisition of Virgin America. Terminal 7 is a bad move, real bad.
Terminal 7 at JFK sucks. It is a shithole that reminds one of the central terminal at LGA. First, there is no precheck line. You get a stamp on your boarding pass and then have to wait on the general line. When you do get to the front, the TSA “expedites” you through the non nudie x ray machine. What the TSA does not realize is that your bags are still behind everyone else, so this is not really expediting. But I guess the TSA lives in an alternate reality anyway so they really don’t care, and it shows. And electronics still need to come out your bag. So no precheck and the TSA checkpoint at this terminal is a shit show with bags flying all over the place as the bag scanner personnel have no idea what they are doing.
Second, the food options at Terminal 7 are dreadful. We both ordered a sausage, egg, and cheese croissant. Al was smart and didn’t eat his. I ate half and that was half too much. Dreadful. And note to staff at the counter, it defeats the purpose of wearing gloves if you wipe your nose on the gloves and use them to fix equipment and then keep on those same gloves when preparing food. Food Grade = C, or at least it should be, if the health department ever visits.
Third, the boarding gates are small and cramped with very little seating. It’s a dump.
In continuance of a disturbing pattern, our flight to Seattle is delayed. This time it is a jet bridge problem. Well not exactly, more like a parking problem. Apparently the plane was pulled too far forward and thus the jet bridge did not line up with the aircraft. No one noticed this until they attempted to move the plane to another gate. This was a new one for me.
The jet bridge issue, combined with a long boarding process had us over an hour late for push back. I now need to say a few words about boarding a plane. Alaska has a long process and there certainly appeared to be more people lined up to board than would actually fit on the plane. But people, let’s act like we have done this before. Can’t you prepare to stow your stuff before getting to your seat or on the plane. It is really annoying to everyone when you get to your seat and then take 5 minutes to take off your coat, lift your bag into the overhead, adjust your clothes, etc. Get to your row, stow your stuff, and sit the hell down, so the people behind you can do the same and we can get boarded and leave. People suck. And not to mention incredibly dumb. Do you really need to walk down the aisle asking where 18F is? It is row 18 seat F. There are signs and use some damn common sense.
We now embark on the 6 hour cross country flight and Al forgot his headphones. That makes a long flight longer.
Yes, target is going to get his own section, because I did not know he was coming on this trip. I think deep down he might have told me, but I really did not remember. I think it was because he might have been coming with someone else so he did not factor into the hotel plan. So when I looked at the hotel reservation when we moved hotels, I saw he did not have a bed so just assumed he was not coming. It is a good thing that Al and Target have the same conversation the week before each trip in which Brett asks what we are doing and Al relays the Friday afternoon agenda. Then Target asks where and when dinner is, where should we meet, do we have tickets, etc. Al responds that we don’t know, text when you get in and we will figure it out. We never plan that part out because we never know what Friday will bring.
Well, we arrive in Seattle and take the light rail to our hotel in downtown Seattle. Al wanted to stay in Bellevue, but when he looked at the Saturday surprise, we made a switch and stayed downtown. With the light rail running from airport, downtown, and to the school, we ditched the rental car in favor of the light rail system. And I have to say it was convenient (with the exception of after the game). Trains ran fairly frequently, were mostly clean, and were free. Not really, but I will have more to say on that later in the trip report.
University of Washington
After checking in and getting settled, we head out to UW for a tour. We met up with Bryan, at Graves Hall and set out on a tour. I will say that this was one of the best, most comprehensive tours that we have received.
The tour began at Alaska Airlines arena, not to be confused with Alaska Airlines Field. This is the basketball arena and I guess Alaska Airlines wrote a big check to sponsor both. The basketball arena is definitely on the older side, as it has that gym look. But I will say that it certainly appears as if it could get real loud.
We continued on to Husky Stadium. The Huskies have a very nice weight room and NFL wall. The press level is really high and there are seats just outside of it. I would only make it up those steps one time per game if at all. But they were not bad seats. This may be the highest and steepest stadium we have been in. Husky Stadium has a variety of types of club levels which are quite nice. There are of course suites, but also different types of clubs, including touchdown terrace which are patios at field level in the end zone, not to be confused with Florida’s touchdown terrace. This was a concept we first saw at Ole Miss, but Washington did it with an entire end zone. It was really nice and a great place to see a game. Plus since it’s small, the inside club by these patios was not crowded and no bathroom lines. We also toured some of the trophy areas and saw the National Title trophy from 1960, led by the infamous Bob Schloredt, who also won the MVP in consecutive Rose Bowls, the only player in history to do so. The coaches offices are located in one of the end zones and they have great views looking out onto the field. Rumor has it that Coach Petersen plays video games on the big board. I am not sure if Bryan was kidding or not. I will also note that Washington is very proud of its beer gardens located throughout the stadium, one of which you could actually see the field from.
We saw the softball stadium from atop Husky Stadium and could clearly make out the 2009 National Championship note on the outfield wall, where UW beat my Gators. And yes, I do remember watching that series as I really thought the Gators would win their first title after losing in 2008 in the semis. It was not to be as UF lost the series to UW 2-0 and would have to wait until 2014 to win their first title but would go back to back winning again in 2015.
The tour continued onto tennis and then onto rowing. It is always exciting to see sports that are not as common and I will say that rowing fits into that category. Washington is very proud of its rowing program and it is easy to see why. The rowing facility is awesome and of course right on the water, as are many of buildings on this campus giving great views when looking out onto the water. The rowing facility has a gold medal from the 1936 Olympics when a USA rowing team from UW upset the Nazis to win gold. It was really cool to see, the medal not the ‘36 Olympics. And in case you are wondering, no they don’t have the boat from 1936.
After making a quick stop to watch a bit of baseball practice, we hopped into a golf cart and went on a campus tour. We stopped at Red Square and went into the library to see the famous reading room. It was nice, but I will say that it did look like other large reading rooms we have seen. But I will admit that I am not a reading room connoisseur. We also made a stop at The Quad, which according to our guide, the Cherry Blossoms bloom for a week or two which makes The Quad uninhabitable as it fills with tourists. I am sure it is nice, but on a November day, just looks like barren trees. But it’s a nice Quad.
After a truly awesome tour, we said goodbye to Bryan.
After the tour, we headed to the bookstore for our usual spend fest, and then to a local Vietnamese noodle shop for a quick snack. It was not good. We then headed back to the hotel to meet up with Target. It was a light rail ride back to the hotel and I think one of us paid $5 for this ride while one of us did not pay. We have yet to figure out this Orca Card thing and we are at least marginally intelligent. And no, the signs with instructions did not help. We easily figured out what we needed to do and how much the ride should be, but the tap screen kept giving us very confusing info and different amounts. Very confusing.
Anyway, we get back to the hotel and meet up with Target. After a bit of rest, we head out for dinner at Din Tai Fung, a place both Al and Brett knew about. We had a very nice dinner and mojitos and headed back to the hotel.
It is here that I will note that Seattle in November is cold. Who the hell came up with The Quest schedule this year. We are supposed to be in the south in November. Seattle is a September stop. We did not do a good job with that this year. We both came packed and prepared because of some of the earlier cold stops. Al’s motto for this trip….#notgoingtobecold.
Off to bed.
For those geographically challenged, Seattle is in the Pacific time zone. That means that college football begins at 9am local time. With a game time of 7:30pm, this leaves a lot of time to watch college football. The problem with that is where. Most restaurants/bars don’t open that early. So it was a lazy morning around the hotel until Yard House opens at 11:30am.
The afternoon was spent at the Yard House eating, drinking, and watching football. Is anyone out there sensing a pattern to our trips? I had never eaten at a Yard House. It was a tad upscale and the food was very good. I would go back, which Beth will tell you is very high praise from me (Beth concurs). I liked it. Too bad there are none on Long Island, but Al has confirmed there is one in Vegas, at the Venetian, and thus another trip to Vegas should be planned. Soon.
Quest with a Quest
We did eventually have to leave to go stock up on tailgate supplies. I will leave you in suspense a tad longer but Al arranged a special event for tailgating. But we did have to get supplies. This means drink, snacks, and a bit of food, which we were inclined towards deli. Without a car, we were limited to the immediate vicinity of the hotel and Yard House. Would you believe that in downtown Seattle this was quite the challenge? We all used our phones to search and could not come up with anything. The wine shop only sold wine. Al did find one possibility but it turned out to be a restaurant. We were striking out.
Then we passed a Target and thought maybe beer. So we went in. Living in NY sucks, because Target (the store which is not to be confused with Target the person) in Seattle sells beer, wine and alcohol. NY liquor laws are such that purchasing beer, wine and alcohol in NY requires 5 different stores. But Seattle has moved beyond prohibition and we could get it all at Target. No deli, but plenty of snacks and other supplies. So a few 6 packs, Pinnacle whipped cream vodka, Coke Zero, plastic cups, etc. were purchased and we were stocked.
We then headed out for an Uber ride to the docks.
Al’s awesome idea for this trip was to get a boat to take us to the game and tailgate. There are only a few schools in the nation where you can dock at the stadium. Washington and Tennessee head that list. Major kudos to Al for making this happen. We constantly have ideas for things to do on Quest trips and sometimes we manage to make a few of them happen. Lots of times we don’t (see UNLV on Sunday). But Al made this happen and despite it being November in Seattle, it was an excellent idea and execution.
Al even managed to wrangle a local that he knows via work, Keri, to join. Keri got off to a good start by meeting us at the boat with Dick’s, a Seattle institution. There can be very little wrong with a burger, fries, and a shake. But alas Keri, I still prefer In-N-Out Burger, but it was very appreciative of the thought and mindfulness to bring food for the trip and to bring something original, not something like….say…..Jimmy Johns. BTW, Keri’s dad…..yeah…..is legendary QB Bob Schloredt, mentioned earlier..
We set out from the pier before dark on the Riviera, for a boat tour of Seattle. It was a bit cold but an awesome ride. We got some great views of the city and some famous sights. The mountains and the city were breathtaking (so is Elaine). We passed multiple bridges that people have jumped off of, or so say our tour guides. We even passed a Google office that Alex has been to. Words can not do this ride justice, so all I can say is check out the photo album. Well not all that I can say because I will add, Target has shitty taste in music. Also, yes I did the Titanic pose despite never having seen the movie. And an additional yes if you have looked at the pics, the boat does hold 30-35 people and it was only the four of us plus two crew. Oooh, wide lanes.
The sun set, it got colder, and we arrived at Husky Stadium, but not before Target snuggled up to Keri under her wooly mammoth of a blanket wrap. Watch out Brett, Beth wants more details. I will say that the Seattle cold is different. While cold, it was not that bitter raw cold that you get in NY. In all seriousness, it was not that bad and we have been in far worse. We took in the whole boat scene at Husky Stadium which was quite awesome. Of course it is far more crowded in September than in November as our captain told us, nobody does this in November. The Quest does! Al would like to add that he was most decidedly, NOT COLD.
We did a bit of tailgating in the boat at Husky Stadium. It was a great view of the stadium, which is really really high and steep. You could see that clear as day even at night. But eventually the time did arrive where we had to leave the boat and head inside. We hopped onto the tender and into the stadium.
Husky Stadium – Pre Game
We did our usual pre game scouting and picture taking down on the field. It was a bit of a different feel given the uniqueness of the stadium with the covered sidelines and steep stands. I could see this place getting raucous and loud. We watched the Huskies come out of the tunnel in a sea of purple smoke. We heeded the advice given the day before to stay in the opposite corner which also gave us a great view of the Utah Utes entering the field. Eventually, we found our way into the Touchdown Terrace club for kickoff.
The Game and Our Wandering
The game got going a tad slowly as Washington went four and out followed by Utah going three and out. Washington then got the scoring going by going 32 yards on 7 plays for the opening score. After the PAT failed, Washington led 6-0. Utah answered with a 79 yard drive and a 7-6 lead. The 1Q finished this way and we headed out to find a snack and seats as standing in the Touchdown Terrace got old.
We got to the vicinity of our seats in the end zone after grabbing some snacks in the sideline club. The initial drive of the 2Q ended with a Utah field goal and a 10-6 lead. UW answered with a TD and a 13-10 lead. Right before the half, the teams traded field goals and we had a 16-13 UW lead at the half. We went inside to warm up.
Utah took the opening possession of the 3Q all the way to the UW three yard line, but had to settle for a field goal and a tie game at 16. UW responded with an 11 play drive to the Utah 13 yard line, but missed the field goal. Ten plays later, Utah takes a 23-16 lead on an 11 yard TD pass. I believe the crowd felt the momentum now turning to the Utes. It was getting a bit restless. But it took only two plays and a 76 yard TD pass from Jake Browning to tie the game at 23.
The 4Q opened with a Utah response to the tune of a 12 play TD drive and a 30-23 lead. Washington answered nicely driving down to the Utah 13 yard line, but was stopped on a 4th down play. This drive consumed 6 minutes of game time, so there was only 4:31 on the clock on the 4th and 8, where a Jake Browning scramble came up two yards short. Correct decision to go for it? I think so, given the kicking woes UW has displayed in this game. UW was able to keep Utah pinned and the Utes ran 5 plays before having to punt. UW takes over with 2:03 left on their own 39. No problem. Nine plays later we are tied at 30.
This is where things get really interesting. Utah takes the ball with 58 seconds left on their own 25 yard line. A rush out of bounds and an incomplete pass later, it is 3rd down. Utah fumbles but recovers and UW calls time out. Utah punts. UW takes over on their own 28 with 29 seconds left only needing a field goal. But UW is content with overtime and runs the ball. Utah senses opportunity and calls time out. But they only have one timeout at this point so there is no way to get the ball back. This time out made no sense as they did not have enough timeouts to get the ball back, so just go to overtime. I think this pissed off Coach Petersen as he was not content with overtime any longer and two Jake Browning passes and a spike later, UW is at the Utah 21 with 4 seconds left. Field goal is good and UW wins 33-30. The Utah timeout made no sense and cost them the game. Can anyone explain this to me?
We have finally seen a good game on The Quest. It has been a while. So good, that this game could be a top 5 best game ranking. I will have to evaluate.
We left the boat for good before the game as it was dark and there was no need to take the boat back to the pier and Uber from the pier. We decided we would take light rail back to the hotel. That was until we saw the crowd. Were they not prepared for this? Most fans left early and it was still jammed after the game. Are they not running extra trains?
Anyway, Uber it was. That is until we waited for what seemed like a very long time and the Uber driver was no closer to the pick up point, which was quite the hike up the hill from the stadium. But the ride sharing pick up point was at least very well done and organized. After an unsatisfying conversation with the driver gave us no confidence he knew where he was going, we cancelled and tried Lyft. It took awhile, everybody else had left, and all the signage was packed up, but he finally arrived. By then all traffic was gone and we breezed back to the hotel and bed.
This was a good College Football Quest day.
We awoke and headed out to breakfast at Cycene, a spot that came highly recommended by @jaimiwrites. I was expecting something a bit different, but that does not matter. The menu was straight out of Oxford, Mississippi with an extensive selection of grits. It was pulled pork grits and cornbread pudding. It was most excellent, especially the cornbread pudding. That is something I will crave.
After breakfast, it was a short walk down to Pike Place Market. We wandered aimlessly like a bunch of tourists checking out the various stands and ending with the famous fish tossing booth. It was exactly as advertised. Nothing was purchased. A few things caught my eye, but nothing that I thought was up to the 6 hour flight back to NY.
After some great views of the city, it was back to the hotel to pick up the luggage before the light rail train back to the airport. We still have no idea how this train system charges for rides. The screens when you tap are very confusing and there is no enforcement that you actually tap to pay. I think we were vastly overcharged on some rides. Some rides we only tapped one way and some none at all. This was all in an effort to figure out how this thing worked. We failed. After arriving home, I tried to go online and see the activity, but you need an account to do this and I was not giving up my first born to create an account. So we will remain with no idea of what the hell is going on with this system. But Seattle wins as there is no way we spent the money that we loaded onto the card and that balance will remain with Seattle. I should say that we did not spend this amount based on listed prices. We do not know if we actually have a balance because the tap screens do not show your balance and there were times where I think we were double charged. I would love for someone from Seattle to explain this system. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travel back to New York was uneventful. We even got lucky as arrival at JFK terminal 4 could leave you with a 30 minute walk from the plane. We came in at a gate that was not all the way at the end, so our walk to the car was much shorter than usual. Plus arriving into JFK at midnight left an easy ride back home.
This concludes the 2017 College Football Quest schedule. We have already started discussing trips for 2018. Beth comments, “Can’t wait. One more year down, 50,000 more to go!” Stay tuned.
Washington would win ten games going 10-2, tieing Stanford for the Pac 12 North title but losing the tiebreak after losing to Stanford during the season. This earned the Huskies a Fiesta Bowl bid where they would lose to Penn State 35-28.
Utah would finish 6-6 and earn a Heart of Dallas Bowl bid beating West Virginia 30-14.
For our Washington 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.