Game 7: Ohio Bobcats @ Buffalo Bulls
|GAME # 7
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Ohio Bobcats: 6-3
This is another mid week trip to a game that I probably would not even watch on TV, but here we are flying to Buffalo for a MAC contest. This game actually means a lot to Ohio as they are contesting for a MAC Eastern division title with Temple (Ohio would go on and beat Temple and go to the MAC Championship game). Yes, that Temple. To Buffalo, the game means let’s try not to finish in last place.
The trip actually gets off to a rough start as Al forgets to bring his passport. Actually, forget is generous as he purposefully didn’t bother to look for it since he didn’t realize you need a passport to go to Canada. Therefore, on our way to the airport, we had to turn around and go back to get it. This gave Al the opportunity to change his mind and pack some clothes, but alas Al decides again to go to Buffalo for a night with only the clothes on his back. If he tries this on a trip lasting more than a day and a half he is getting his own car and room.
The flight to Buffalo was a nice and short 50 minutes, we picked up the rental car, and were off to campus. Parking near the stadium was very confusing and a tip of the cap goes out to the campus police officer who let us park in a lot we were not sure we could park in. He even called in our plate to dispatch so we wouldn’t get a ticket. Thanks.
University at Buffalo
Despite a guard on duty at the stadium, we were able to walk in and kick field goals from the Sportexe Momentum artificial surface that is UB Stadium. The security strategy must be “keep your head down and leave by 3pm”. Al and I suck at field goals and would not win any student contest to become the field goal kicker. I think between us, we did not make a one. Al blamed the ball since he hasn’t added air to it in years. I just think we suck. Initial stadium observations were that it is not very big and we guessed capacity at less than 20k for Al and 24k for me. Actual is 29,013. They must be seating some people on laps because there is no way they can shoe horn 29k into there.
After field goals we walked around campus. The campus has that nice (sarcastic) mid 1970’s institutional look to it. This was not a very nice campus and I cannot imagine anyone wanting to attend school here. Even worse once you factor in weather. Memo to the school, it defeats the purpose of having enclosed passageways if they are the same temperature as the outside. On a brighter note, we got to see the hottest girl ever on campus, as rated by her girlfriend quite loudly. We did the obligatory campus shopping. Although, we were directed to one store that only sold jocks and speedos. I don’t know what that was about. Note to UB bookstore, you need to sell soft footballs for kids.
After wandering around campus, we hopped into the car and headed to downtown Buffalo. This is where the school begins to look like Shangri-La. Downtown Buffalo is very run down and did not seem like a place you want to be after dark or even in bright sunlight. We did have a very nice lunch at the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery. We tried to get into the Buffalo Bisons stadium but were not successful. Much better security there as they lock the gates. We also went to city hall and went up to the observation deck. This was a self guided tour as we went all the way up to the top, spent 15 minutes up there, and came down without encountering another human being. I guess they do not get a lot of visitors up there or in Buffalo.
We attempted to drive back to campus, and stumbled onto the South campus. This was a little nicer than the North campus. Going back to North campus Al’s navigation skills (or lack thereof) led us astray. Once we broke out the GPS and realized we were 8 miles off track (nice job Al) we got back. We parked, walked around, made Al’s second trip to Starbucks, and killed time until game time.
Before the game, we had a nice discussion with a security officer who usually works Bills games. He had some great stories of weapons attempted to be brought into the Bills stadium. Nice. He also thinks that UB games should be renamed as Girls of the Mid American Conference and produced by playboy. Not sure I agree, but to each his own. The game did not start out cold, but it got very cold, very fast. We had tickets in the first row on the 50 yard line. These could have been good seats, but they were not elevated and there is a track around the field which put these seats about 25 yards away from the field. Therefore, we could not see jack. Good thing there were plenty of other seats to choose from, so we moved back to right under the Ohio coaches box, where they were very warm being inside. We were also near an ESPN camera. The camera was vintage 1980’s yet had an HD label glued onto it. Didn’t know there was HD in the 80’s. There were about 50 UB students at the game. There is absolutely no way that there were 13k at this game which was the announced attendance.
The game started with Ohio driving the length of the field and fumbling on their way into the end zone. I maintain that if not for that fumble this game would have been a blowout. But the game was close at the half, 21-14 Ohio, despite the fact that it seemed Ohio should have been blowing Buffalo out of the stadium. At halftime, we went out to the car to get hats, gloves, etc, despite there being a no re-entry policy. But there was no security or even ticket gates. UB students take note…it appears you can get into UB games for free if you wait until after kickoff when they take down the ticket gates. After halftime, Ohio could do no right. Buffalo came back from a 10point deficit and trailing by 3 was driving to win the game at the end (or at least tie it). But it was not to be as Buffalo threw an interception and Al takes another tough loss in our contest of picking games. My record stands at 4-2, while Al is 1-5. How did Ohio not win this game by 50 and how did Buffalo not pull this out in the end?
After the game, we headed to Canada to gamble. Needless to say, we used the GPS. On the way we passed a casino on the American side. I did not realize you could gamble on the American side and had I known, we probably would not have been heading for Canada, but we decided to continue on. By the way, why do you need to pay to get into Canada? We checked in and were gouged by the Hilton Fallsview. We did not have a reservation and they jacked up the rate, even jacked up from the amount they quoted us when we called en route. Why we decided to stay could only be chalked up to it was late and we wanted to gamble. The room was the nicest so far. It had a great view of Niagra Falls and even had a fake fireplace. It might even have been worth the jacked up rate. But mental note has been made; Hilton gouges you without a reservation.
We headed down to the craps table. First, you need to convert your American dollars into Canadian dollars. They also gouge you with the exchange rate. As if there is not enough of a house edge in the gaming, they need to take a house edge at the cage too. However, the casino was smoke free. That just might be worth paying an exorbitant amount in currency conversion. But, Canadian casinos do not give free alcohol. You get with one hand while the other takes away. We went to the craps table and I experienced a first, as I was involved in a videotape incident. I had placed a Whirl bet on a come out roll. The dealers paid out as if the roll was a three. I maintained and was backed up by my half of the table, that the roll was a two. The floorman said let’s go to the tape which upheld my position of a two. This was the first time I was involved in a tape incident in craps, plus I came out on the winning side. You may ask why tape is needed on the simple matter of what was rolled on the dice. This brings up the overall question of why the craps dealers at this casino were so poor and made so many mistakes. First, it must be said that craps is an extremely difficult game to run and I could never do it. There are so many odds to know and chips fly all over. That being said, the Fallsview Casino really needs to improve their training and/or hiring. Overall, it was not a successful venture at the craps table for either one of us. Sleep began to become a very attractive option.
Back to the U.S.A.
The next day, we woke up and headed to the breakfast buffet at the Macaroni Grill, which daylights as a hotel buffet. We then went down to Niagra Falls. We had to do the tourist thing and go down to the falls, take some pictures and go back to the hotel. It took five minutes. Back in the car, we headed back to the U.S. to do some U.S. gambling. Getting back into the U.S. proved quite time consuming because the man in charge of border crossing lane #3 was mentally ill equipped to do his job. His line moved at least three times as slow as all others and he was clearly on a power trip to justify his existence. I understand the job he has to do, but he was clearly not one to do it well. There should be an express lane for U.S. citizens with nothing to declare.
When we arrived at the Seneca Casino we went right into trying to make up for the day before; Al at craps and Jarrett at blackjack. Not much success in either game. We then went and taught Al how to play Pai Gow Poker. More losses. We made one last desperate attempt to win some money back, known as the Jody Hail Mary, go to roulette, place a large amount on red or black and accept your fate. Fate was unkind to me. Al managed to have his prayers answered by #20, twice. He managed to get even; I continued my slide into the abyss. I suck at gambling and should not do it anymore, but that isn’t going to happen!
We filled up the rental car with gas and headed to the airport. I thought NY banned the use of the latches on gas pumps so you do not need to hold down the handle. Apparently, that is not the case in Buffalo. We got to the airport with just enough time to make the 2.12pm flight back but alas in a show of incredible JetBlue efficiency, the 2.12 actually left at 2.04. We had to wait for our regularly scheduled flight.
Other Random Observations
> Buffalo has a lot of Tim Horton’s. Isn’t this a Canadian chain or is Buffalo really south Canada?
> Are all girls at Buffalo from Long Island?
> The campus does not have a convocation center.
> The cold makes you stupid was reinforced repeatedly.
> Note taking after the trip for use in these write-ups is very difficult as we forget a lot. We are ultimately able to end up ok, but this is a difficult process. Next trip we need to make this much easier and will make use of our cell phones to keep notes as we go along.
> My kids can’t go here because I would never want to visit.
> It is not good when the best thing you can say about Buffalo is that it is close to Canada. Generally, it is not good when the best thing you can say about a place is its proximity to someplace else.
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