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The Tailgate Chronicles: UTSA at Houston

Jay talks about his experience tailgating for the game between the Roadrunners and the Cougars and what the Houston tailgate scene is like.

Sunset at TDECU Stadium in Houston

Time flies, eh? The minutes fade into hours into days until the Earth’s cycle finds us right back at the most important time of the year – college football season. Ahead of us lies another year of experiencing the highs and lows of one of the most unpredictable games on the planet. Of course, one part of that journey includes the experience of tailgating and learning about schools firsthand from their supporters. With that goal in mind, we begin the second season of Tailgate Chronicles in the same city we kicked the series off last year – Houston, Texas.

The Den

The Den, University of Houston’s on-campus pub

Hand up, I kicked off the tailgate in a way that perhaps goes against the spirit of tailgating. However, in my defense, the temperatures of Houston in the month of September aren’t particularly enjoyable.

With this in mind, we elected to visit the University of Houston’s on-campus pub, The Den, to begin our pregame festivities. With air conditioning giving us a nice respite from the heat of the Bayou City we commenced our “tailgate”. Truthfully, other than being indoors – pregaming at The Den had the atmosphere of a tailgate. Televisions showed several college football contests and Houston supporters packed the joint. If you’re looking to beat the Houston weather at a Coogs game, I highly recommend it.

Actual Houston Tailgate Scene

After spending a couple of hours at The Den and enjoying the A/C while we could, we headed through campus towards the stadium. Along the way, we made a stop at the UTSA alumni tailgate where I got to chat with a fellow member of the Dave Campbell’s Republic of Football Family, Alamo Audible’s Jared Kalmus.

UTSA Alumni Tailgate at University of Houston

The Roadrunner faithful showed up in numbers to support one of the best Group of 5 teams in the country. With the classic tent and beer troth set up – the UTSA tailgate felt much more like the traditional pregame environment. I had a fantastic time chatting about the expected outcome of the game with a fanbase that I look forward to visiting on their home turf.

Speaking of home turf, while we didn’t pass a ton of tailgating from Houston supporters on the way into TDECU Stadium, I do have to admit that their students got after it. For a brief second, I considered getting into the thick of it but reality set in and I realized I am far too washed to partake in the undergrad style of tailgate.

In spite of the heat, the students turned up in numbers. With music blasting and beverages flowing, I think the student tailgates gave me the first real feel of a college football contest.

I’m also fairly certain that our path through campus from The Den didn’t take us by the best Cougar Alumni tailgating scene. However, it did come as a bit of a shock to me that the campus lacked some hustle and bustle that I’m used to. Again, the heat might play a role in that lack of outdoor activity.

The Game

As for TDECU Stadium, the crowd made their presence felt. The Coogs and Roadrunners turning out in force made for a packed house. Not every seat ended up occupied, but a solid chunk of the venue sat filled. For “third down in 3rd Ward”, the Cougar faithful stood up and made noise.

The contest lived up to the expectation as one of the better games in the Lone Star State for Week One. Though the Roadrunners represented the favored team per Vegas, Houston successfully defended their home turf. Albeit, not without struggle. Neither squad found solid footing on offense making for quite the defensive battle. In the end, the Coogs came out on top by virtue of three interceptions secured by their defense in a thrilling 17-14 contest. By the way, those classic jerseys paying tribute to the Houston Oilers? Absolutely mint.

This weekend, I head to Hondo for a dove hunt. Next weekend sees a return trip to Austin, a previous entry for the Tailgate Chronicles. After that, I’ll have another edition of Tailgate Chronicles – this time heading up to State College, PA to take in the scene of the Penn State White Out with the host of the Get Back Coach (Apollo’s College Football Podcast), Jake.

Thanks to my full-time gig at Pokatok, I’ve got a huge slate of college football games ahead of me this season so stay tuned for more content here at Apollo. Make sure to follow Apollo, Jake, and me on Twitter to stay locked in during college football this year.

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