[text-blocks id=”ad728″ plain=”1″]

GAME #31
Thursday, November 5, 2015

Buffalo Bulls: 4-4
@ Kent State Golden Flashes: 3-5

Dix Stadium
Kent, Ohio

Trip Dates 11/5/2015 – 11/6/2015
School Kent State University
Visiting Team Buffalo Bulls
Pre-game Record: 4-4
Home Team Kent State Golden Flashes
Pre-game Record: 3-5
Game Time (ET) 7:00 PM Eastern
Weather 66 Calm & Partly Cloudy
Attendees Jarrett, Al, & Brett
Jarrett’s Pick Buffalo Bulls (19 and 11 record)
Al’s Pick Kent State Golden Flashes (15 and 15 record)
Attendance 10,379
Capacity 25,319
TV None
Length of Game 2:55
Seat Location Press – 1H in end zone on the field 2H – Pres Box
Miles Traveled 1,502
Photo Album Click here for the Kent State Photo Album

You all know how this starts, another 3 am wake up for a 6 am flight to Akron via Philadelphia. And yes, I am done complaining about our wake up calls, at least for 2015, despite there being one trip left.

After parking at my new find at LaGuardia, we were waiting for the shuttle bus, when we met a guy, a guy who commented on my Florida jacket. We started talking and he was embarking on a four games in four days trip; Mississippi State @ Missouri, Temple @ SMU, Auburn @ Texas A&M, and Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys. That’s a nice trip! And wait for it…he was meeting his daughter at the airport for the trip and she had the tickets. There is some background as he went to Temple and his kids went to Missouri, but that is still an impressive lineup. And by the way, not a single home team on that trip won. I have no idea what that means.

We arrived at the former US Airways terminal at LGA…Not the worst terminal at most definitely the worst airport. But what the hell is that food hall in the terminal. Just who exactly do you think will be shopping there? I do not know anyone who buys dishes or groceries at an airport. I’m just saying.

Another inquiry, could the World Bean coffee stand have any more employees standing around doing absolutely nothing despite the long line? I left what would have been my breakfast on a stack of boxes just out of principle.

After walking out to the plane, yes the plane was too small to get a gate, I find my seat. And what should be next to me but a large woman who thinks that since her bag would not fit in the small overhead bins, it would fit underneath the seat in front of her. Not so much the seat in front of her, but the seats in front of us. This was going to be the longest short flight of my life. Neither she nor her bag would fit in its intended space. Yes, I made her move the bag. She was not happy and had to put her feet on top of her bag as she no longer had any room on the floor in front of her. But the best part was, after doing that, I moved to an open row. I hope she was really pissed off and I had my morning entertainment.

Our next flight from Philadelphia to Akron was just as empty and I had another empty row. We did make the 30 minute connection in Philly with about 29 minutes to spare.

Akron Airport Enterprise Rent-A-Car Location
Yes, Enterprise is going to get its own section in this trip report and that is never good. This Enterprise location had every scam going, and I mean every single one. This was a text book lesson in how to try to scam your customers.

Enterprise: Would you like to upgrade to this awesome car we have, it’s only $20 more per day and I am not sure we have a car in your class available?
Me: No, I think I will take what I reserved.
Them: But it’s an awesome car and great for your drive to Kent. You football guys need a bit more space.
Me: Nope.

Them: How would you like to protect this car?
Me: Excuse me?
Them: I mean when you drive to these football games, how do you protect the car?
Me: I am not sure I follow.
Them: Well, we offer insurance.
Me: Oh, now I understand, I am good, no insurance.
Them: But what happens if the car is damaged or you get in an accident.
Me: I am covered.
Them: Well, you better not let anything happen to the car or we are coming after you for at least the deductible. {Nice threat}

Them: Do you want to prepay for gas?
Me: No.
Them: But it’s much cheaper than in town. {It wasn’t}
Me: I doubt that. No.
Them: Ok.

Them: Alright, we have a Hyundai Veloster for you. It is a 3 door car.
Me: But I reserved an intermediate.
Them: This is an intermediate.
Me: It sounds small.
Them: It is but we classify based on MSRP not size. We still have the other car for just a bit more.
Me: No, give me the Veloster.

Me (after looking at receipt): The rate is wrong.
Them: Are you sure?
Me: Yes.
Them: Do you have any paperwork?
Me: Yes (I show them my receipt).
Them: Oh, it could be that you have a pick up for 11:30am and its only 10.
Me: Yes, but it is 2 days regardless.
Them: Maybe your rate does not include the airport taxes.
Me: Yes it does.
Them: Ok, we will just credit the difference.
Me: No, because that will make me pay higher taxes because of the higher rate.
Them: We can’t do anything else.
Me: Ok fine, just do it.

What an ordeal that took about 20 minutes. They hit every rental car scam there is.

P.S. – The rate was right when I returned the car.

P.P.S. – There is no way a Hyundai Veloster is an intermediate car. The car is tiny and yes there is a third door on the passenger side that I think my kids may fit. I called Enterprise afterwards and yes they consider a Veloster an intermediate car. So, no more Enterprise on the Quest because I do not want to find out that a compact car is a bicycle. By the way, the Velostercrao has three doors….and we don’t mean a 2 door hatchback. It actually has 3 doors; two for the front seats and one on the right side of the rear row. There is no door on the left side. Shitty seat if there is a need for an emergency exit huh?

Kent, Ohio
After the 30 minute drive from Akron to Kent, we stopped by the hotel in an attempt to check in. As it turns out, the football team stayed at our hotel the night prior, so not only were no rooms available at the time, but check in would be delayed since the team had a late checkout. Hopefully not too late because the game is at 7 pm and I would imagine the football team needs to get there a bit earlier.

So, we left and embarked on a quest to find a Taco Bell. Today was the “Steal a Base” promotion whereby Taco Bell was giving away a free A.M. Crunchwrap since a base was stolen in Game 1 of the World Series. Luckily, there was one directly across from campus. I had a sausage crunchwrap and it was very good. I am a Taco Bell fan but have never tried their breakfast. The promotion worked on me, since I am now much more apt to go to a Taco Bell for breakfast knowing it is quite tasty. But what can be bad about sausage, egg, cheese, and hash browns wrapped in a tortilla.

Kent State University
First stop was the usual trip to the bookstore. I easily found my shot glass and Nike Dri-Fit tee shirt and then it was off to the May 4 Visitors Center.

The Kent State shootings occurred on May 4, 1970. A bit before my time, but it is just one of those things that you learn about through history class and the general impact that it had on society. I will not go through the events in great detail, but it is enough to know that on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard fired 67 rounds in 13 seconds killing four students and injuring nine others, who were protesting the expansion of the Vietnam war into Cambodia. The students were unarmed, although there is debate over the danger that was being posed to the National Guard. The events directly after the shooting could have been much worse as faculty advisors were able to convince the protestors to disperse before the Guard opened fire again. The school closed for the remainder of the semester to later reopen in the summer.

The response to this event has had an impact in America as to how these kinds of protests are handled and in how America viewed the Vietnam war. More details can be found on a variety of web sites and I include just one below.

Historical Accuracy

Well, enough history and back to present day. I think that Kent State and many others involved have done a very nice job to honor the events of the day. There is a May 4 Visitors Center containing a few exhibits discussing the lead up, the day, and its aftermath. The center then leads to a walking tour around the grounds with markers of significant points of geography. The exact location of the four students killed is marked on the ground and surrounded by lights. This is smack in the middle of a parking lot. It was a bit surreal to see a parking lot full of cars with a few empty spaces marked a bit like grave sites.

All that is left to say is that if you are in Kent, Ohio, stop by and see it for yourself. I am not a history buff, but I do find significant events in history interesting and try not to let opportunities to experience some of it pass by.

Ok, onto more upbeat and festive activities….a most excellent tour provided by Kaitlyn, Special Assistant to the Athletic Director. Al certainly struck gold in connecting with Kaitlyn, who served as a most excellent host. What did we not see on this tour? Kaitlyn was very generous with her time and it was very much appreciated.

We started with a quick look at the basketball facility, which had a nice wall of fame of the athletes that have passed through Kent State. There are many more than you think. Go ahead, google it. To name a few; Antonio Gates (who only played basketball there), Josh Cribbs, Lou Holtz, Ben Curtis, Jack Lambert, James Harrison, Gene Michael, Julian Edelman, and Thurman Munson. If you do not know who Jack Lambert and Thurman Munson are you are very young and you have some googling to do.

After basketball, Target finally joined us as he had some flight issues which delayed his arrival.

The next stop on the Kent State Athletics tour was the baseball facility. The Golden Flashes have a nice history in baseball, including a trip to the College World Series in 2012, where they beat my beloved Gators. They have a very nice indoor training facility with some nice memorabilia including a locker for Thurman Munson. And a thank you for the baseball swag that we received.

Then it was out to the golf facility, and what a facility it is. The golf training facility at Kent State is befitting a top golf school in the nation. And the Golden Flashes are that. It is easy to see why. Herb Page, the Director of Golf and the Head Men’s Golf Coach, is one of the more engaging people that you will meet. Over the course of about a 30 minute conversation with him, we discussed the following:

  • The state of college athletics
  • Budgets at non power 5 versus power 5
  • Revenue from the ESPN contract with the MAC and how it does or does not help his golf program
  • Does playing football mid-week on ESPN contribute to the Flashes brand and does that help in Olympic type sports?
  • His playing on the football team with Jack Lambert
  • His trying to get Lou Holtz to use a Golden Flashes head cover
  • His missing every kick in the Flashes Tangerine Bowl appearance
  • His hockey career
  • Kicking in the CFL as a Canadian

Coach Page’s passions are clear and it is very easy to see why kids want to play for him. I should also mention that Kaitlyn is incredibly knowledgeable about all aspects of the Kent State Athletic program which made for a very interesting discussion on the above topics as well as many more.

If you are a top recruit with an invitation or scholarship offer to Kent State, you owe it to yourself to go check it out and meet with Coach Page. It is something you will not regret. But if you also have a scholarship offer from Florida, go to Gainesville and ignore all my previous comments. Go Gators! Certainly, don’t go to Iowa ☺

After golf, it was onto the football facilities. The tour of the football facilities led to the quote of the trip courtesy of Kaitlyn. Some background first…Kaitlyn had explained that the locker room had recently undergone some upgrades and that financing came from donors as the athletic program is not self-sustaining and the University did not contribute so it was not as robust an upgrade as was wanted or needed, so Kaitlyn uttered…”It is like putting lipstick on a pig”. Gotta love it! Al has used this in two board meetings since the Kent State trip, true story.

Well, with that our tour concluded. An incredible thank you to Kaitlyn for being an excellent host and providing us with a thorough and informative tour. It was very nice to get to know Kaitlyn, who was very knowledgeable about KSU Athletics as well as college athletics in general. I am sure that one day, we will be calling upon her as an Athletic Director. We expect the same kind of tour and red carpet treatment when you are AD at Eastern Michigan.

After the tour, it was back to the hotel to check in. We could only get one room because the football team had not checked out yet. Looking at my watch and knowing game time was 7 pm, I began to become convinced that Buffalo would be the right pick tonight. Too much lounging around the hotel for the Flashes.

After a quick R&R respite, we headed to Ray’s Place for dinner, a Kaitlyn recommendation. And it was a good one. Ray’s had a nice beer list (including my preferred Sam Adams Cherry Wheat) and some very interesting items on the menu. I opted for the Mustard Seed sandwich; roast beef with onions, cream cheese, and a house made mustard seed dressing. Quite good!

It was now time to head to Dix Stadium.

Crisis Averted – The Game
Ohio in November was a risk. After the first few years of the quest, we learned a very valuable lesson…you start in the North in September and go south as you get into late October and November. This year, we went against that with two trips to Ohio in November. Well, crisis averted on the first one as it was 68 degrees and beautiful. As Kaitlyn put it, a perfect night for a game as the weather is better than it typically is for day games in September.

The Buffalo Bulls would take the lead on the fourth drive of the game, 6-0 (missed PAT). Over the course of the 2Q and 3Q, the Golden Flashes would score 17 unanswered points to take a 17-6 lead. The Bulls opened the 4Q with a 13 play TD drive and a failed two point conversion, 17-12. After a few traded punts, Buffalo embarked on a 12 play TD drive and another failed two point conversion; a drive included a pass interference call on Kent State on a 3rd and 24. After a Buffalo kickoff, KSU threw four incomplete passes and would not see the ball again. Final Score: Buffalo 18 Kent State 17.

That result means that I gained a game on Al in our Quest long picks. I am now 19-11 versus Al’s 15-15 for a 4 game lead. At this pace, I will finish the Quest with a 17 game advantage. Just saying! FYI, Target does not yet have game picking privileges, although in his own fantasy world (with tiny leprechauns jumping up and down) he is undefeated. Crack. This is the same person that thinks Teddy Bridgewater is “elite” and was mathematically eliminated from our fantasy football league.

I should also add that at halftime, Kaitlyn came and found us on the field and invited us upstairs to the President’s club level, where we were introduced to a gentleman who was on his 17th game this year. Needless to say he is a bit older and retired. He has been driving around and just showing up at games. He has the same mission as we do and is on game number 60 or something like that and with his pace, will clearly beat us. But as we have said, we are in no rush and are quite comfortable with the way we are doing this. It was very nice to have met him and we traded some good stories about places we have each been and what stops we have liked more than others. Good college football comradery. Yes, we did get to meet the President of the University while there, oddly making that the second President we met this year. Target, can you name the first?

The Morning After
We never saw Target the next day. Brett was off before the crack of dawn to get back to NY so he could do some meeting that he had. We think.

Breakfast was at the Kent State University Hotel & Conference Center. I guess we have been spoiled by the Hyatt House, as we just could not get excited by the continental breakfast. Plus, I think it is a bit strange to have a continental breakfast but then put down a menu of hot items. Even stranger is when things available at the continental breakfast are on the menu with a price next to them.

Before heading to the airport, it was back to the KSU campus for some sign pics and an Al Starbucks stop. Not me, I am still pissed at Starbucks for messing up a few orders in a row. That’s a few hundred bucks I will never see again.

On the way to the Akron airport, we made a pit stop at the Fannie May / Harry London chocolate factory which unbeknownst to us, is located next to the Akron airport. We did the tour, samples, and purchases. I know that Beth was very happy with this stop. Although, I wish I knew that she likes their Mint Meltaways as she typically likes her chocolate somewhat plain. Apparently they are known for Mint Meltaways and she likes them. Beth states it was delicious anyway and I should keep them coming. What are the chances that I remember this when we have to come back to Akron for the Akron Zips? Not good.

Akron Airport
I love an airport that takes under a minute to get through security. As for food options, Al had pretzels for lunch, but they were hot so there is that. But what Akron is known for is the Akron Airport Games. This is a once in a lifetime gathering of questers competing at random activities to pass the time in Akron.

First, we had escalator races, for that time when you see two escalators going in the same direction. I won by a nose.

Then we had the periscope events. How many views can Al get on periscope by showing random events at the Akron Airport? The answer is less than ten but more than I ever thought possible. Who the hell is watching this crap?

But the best event was will she or won’t she. The scene is the airport bar in Akron. Two patrons are seated, one male, one female, with one open seat in between and others seated at various points in the bar. We thought for sure the guy was trying to pick up the girl until he mentioned his wife. Although it could have just been a bold exit strategy for afterwards. Then it appeared she was after him. Clearly something was going on. Another couple approached and took a single seat between the girl and another patron. This left the man standing although there was a seat in between the two flirts. All the girl had to do was slide over one and everyone could sit together, but she resisted. Why? We tried to subtly get this to happen, but failed. Turns out, she was waiting for a friend who took the open seat in between. I bet the guy was upset he brought up his wife now. He could have had the twofer. Akron Airport Games!

Charlotte Airport
I could not close this trip report without relaying the following conversation overheard at the Charlotte Airport….
Kid: Where’s Daddy?
Mom: Somewhere not being helpful. (Beth loved this line.)

Other than the bout of, I could see Beth saying that, it was quite comical. Two divorce lawyers just got excited.

Oh and another thought about Charlotte, I really do not like California Pizza Kitchen, but Al does not allow me any more Quest boycotts or vetoes.

And who the hell booked a return trip from Akron to NY via Charlotte?

Other Random Thoughts

  • Kent State has a lot of commons, quads and monuments
  • Kent has an incredibly nice downtown area
  • The Hyundai Veloster is a not good car (I am being nice)

This was the Bulls last win of the season as they finished with a record of 5-7.

The Golden Flashes finished the season with a 3-9 record.

Not much else to say.

Photo Gallery
For our Kent State 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.

[text-blocks id=”ad728″ plain=”1″]