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The infinite Syracuse football road trip diary: Connecticut

Hoya Suxa is aiming to attend 7 of Syracuse’s 12 regular season football games this year. He’ll be filing short travelogues from his journeys.


“Let’s face it: I needed the money. Seven years of bass drumming school doesn’t pay for itself. I’m on LinkedIn, liking every bass drumming status update I see, and all of a sudden there’s a headhunter in my inbox, pushing an opening for ‘Personal Bass Drummer — $!$!$!$!$.’ A personal bass drumming gig? And one that has five dollar signs next to it?! That’s the dream, man: If someone has the scratch to pay for a personal bass drummer, you know that you’re about to make some serious bass drumming bank.

“So I apply, go in for the audition — crush it; nobody plays the same bass drumming note over and over again like me — and get the job. I quit my job — I used to bang beats in the underbelly of a ship while political prisoners rowed in rhythm across the Atlantic (look: work is work — don’t judge me or the penal system of various despotic regimes that are putting hardworking bass drummers and meddling idealists to work) — and before I can even consider what it’s going to be like to be a thousandaire I meet my new boss: Otto, a genetic experiment gone horribly awry, born in a laboratory on a university campus and the reason that I’m seriously thinking about ending it all by crushing my bass drum over my head.

“Do you know what it’s like being the personal bass drummer for an orangeoid? It’s hell. I have to follow this butthead all over the place: Field hockey games, hospitals, weddings for people that look like jerks. And the whole time he’s riding my ass, sarcastically clapping at me — ‘1! 2! 3! 4!’ — like I can’t find the beat. Guess what? I went bass drumming school for seven years; I learned all four numbers, ass. I don’t need this in my life, following around a boss that can somehow pull his arms inside his body and thinks that he knows the first thing about bass drumming. But here I am — bang, boom, bang, boom like a schmuck.

“My wife doesn’t even respect me anymore. She’s all, like, ‘I can’t believe that I’m married to the only bass drummer on the planet that can’t get a decent job like following around an elephant at the circus.’ We haven’t had sex in months and I see her liking snare drumming statuses on Facebook. My kids? They’re all, ‘You eat Otto’s pee!’ I definitely don’t eat Otto’s pee; I don’t even think Otto can pee. But how do you tell your kids that you work for something that can’t even pee? I think they’re telling their friends at school that their real dad was murdered.

“I swear to God, if I have to do one more ‘Let’s go, Orange!’ whack-whack-whackwhackwhack I’m going to actually murder my kids’ real father. Otto knows I hate it, but he still makes me do it while he stares at me — dead still without an ounce of compassion — with his cold, lifeless eyes. Staring at me: Do the ‘Let’s go, Orange!’ beats; do the ‘Let’s go, Orange!’ beats. ‘Let’s go, Orange!’ doesn’t even mean anything to me anymore.”


It’s 275 miles from Storrs to Syracuse. At 20 miles per hour, that’s about a 14-hour drive on an agricultural tractor. I’m guessing that the length of the trip was the reason why we didn’t see many UConn fans.


I had been looking forward to this tailgate since August: During a trip to Philadelphia to visit some pals, we made a stop at DiNic’s in Reading Terminal Market to stuff our faces with delicious roast pork sandwiches. The signature sandwich from DiNic’s probably deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom due to its important contribution to making bellies happy, and it was a travesty that, over the last few seasons, we’d failed to consider these sandwiches as a tailgate option. This would change in 2018, and the Connecticut game was our launchpad: With a late afternoon start, we were afforded a far-too-infrequent lunch tailgate, and the absence of roast pork sandwiches in our life would be rectified.

Look at this damn beauty:

That sonofabitch was roasted to near perfection the evening prior to kickoff, and we set aside some sharp provolone, broccoli rabe, and au jus for the sandwiches on Saturday. Some easy heating on the grill and we were shoving one of the few non-angry things from Philadelphia into our tummies. We’ve done dozens of different delights at our ‘gates and this might be my favorite. How can you not want to make sweet, tender mastication to this work of art:

Also! Appending an extra hour to our pregame ‘gate, we got feisty and decided to make popcorn on the grill:

A novelty, yes, but what’s the point of throwing a tailgate if you’re just going to cross a well-worn path every week like a goober heading to Pizza Hut for the same, sad personal pan pizza on Thursday night?

Closing the show was dessert — shoefly pie cupcakes:

They were very good and helped me in my quest of slowly dying with the world’s biggest grin on my face.


Games Attended: 3

Syracuse’s Record in Games Attended: 3-0

Miles Driven: ~1,024

Miles Flown: ~416

Next Syracuse Game: Clemson/Pittsburgh

Next Syracuse Game I’m Attending: North Carolina

Previous: Wagner; Florida State