On this week's edition of Grandpa Gotta Eat, we go inside the meals and the big games they've accompanied over the last couple of weeks.
Are there any college football fans in the house?
I don't think this holla is a thing anymore. Middle age white guy trying to be cool and failing alert.
Sports brings people together, be it in a stadium, an arena, at a pub or sports themed bar or restaurant, and of course, in the comfort of the host's own home.
I've watched sporting events from the stands and I've watched them from the perch of my recliner, and by in large, I prefer the latter.
One of the reasons is pizza. It's hard to beat when trying to feed several adults and children, and also trying to keep the cost down. It can be bought already baked, or it can be brought home and finished up in one's own oven. I've done both, and it really depends on what you like and which of two things is driving the purchase:
A frozen store bought pizza will probably cost you the same as a discounted medium-sized Domino's pizza with two toppings—somewhere in the $5.99 range. But neither of those are big on what they give you in toppings, are generally more crust than anything, and probably aren't that high on the delishometer.
Thankfully, there are more local pizzerias and smaller pizza chains that make a great tasting pizza, but you will end up paying more for it, making that option less desirable week after week.
For most of this football season, the go to was Domino's. It's hard to beat the medium, two topping special for $5.99 USD each. We would typically get three pizzas, which meant for under $18 USD, we were feeding anywhere from four to seven adults, plus a couple of grandkids. I might have actually bought a fourth pizza if there were seven of us just to make sure there was enough. Still, $24 USD is not bad.
A couple of weeks ago, I actually switched to Papa Murphy's, which is a take and bake pizza place. They prepare the pizza, wrap it up, and you take it home to cook it at your leisure.
When our favorite college football team, the Oregon Ducks, played Arizona State two weeks ago, we had three large pizzas that averaged $12 each, or $36. I consider Papa Murphy's a step up in quality and taste, and so the additional $12 over what I would have done with Domino's was worth it, even though I added an additional 40 minutes worth of baking (as opposed to eating it immediately upon arrival).
Against Oregon State last week in the annual Civil War game, I went back to Papa Murphy's but bought four family-sized pizzas for a few more cents than I had the previous week for three smaller pizzas.
Well, Honey, which is an in browser add-on that crawls websites looking for the best deals and coupons, found a 50% off discount for pizzas bought at full-price. That dropped my pizza bill from over $63 to just under $37. That's not quite half, but one of the pizzas was already discounted and so was not apart of this other deal.
That meant four family sized pizzas for an average of a little over $9 each.
The image above is of one of the pizzas I bought for the Civil War game—a family sized stuffed crust pizza, where most of the good stuff is on the inside rather than on top.
This was loaded with ground beef, mushroom and cheese, with a smattering of it and some sauce on top.
In the center of the pizza you can see that it inflated. At one point a few minutes before I took it out of the oven, it was much higher and resembled an under-sized and lopsided sombrero. Fortunately, it went back to looking like a pizza as it cooled.
Each pizza was cut into 12 long pieces, for a total of 48 slices. That means each slice cost somewhere around 75¢. Not too shabby, and everyone seemed to enjoy the pizza.
In case you missed the Civil War outcome, Oregon continued their dominance over their in-state rivals, 24-10.
Tonight, the Ducks played the Utah Utes in the Pac-12 Championship game. Because Oregon had previously lost to Arizona State, 31-28, they were knocked out of contention for a potential National Championship playoff berth. However, on the line for them in tonight's game was the possibility of playing in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day, while the Utes were now playing for the potential National Championship playoff berth with a win.
The Utes were favored by a touchdown going into the matchup, and at 11-1, were pretty dominant in most of their games, especially over the latter part of the season. Their only loss came to USC earlier in the year when some of Utah's key players were either sidelined or hurt. The Ducks also played the Trojans and more or less blew them up.
Because of Oregon's lackluster outings the last few games, most of the money was riding on the Utes to take care of business and stake their claim for a playoff berth. They couldn't do it alone, however. One of the top four teams—LSU, Ohio State, Clemson, or Georgia, would have to lose in their own conference championship games, and then drop out of the top four for the Utes to be in.
The most likely scenario would be a Georgia loss, since they play LSU tomorrow for the SEC title. A loss by Clemson in the ACC championship game against Virginia would probably do it, too, but Clemson is favored by 28 points in that game, and so Virginia winning is the least likely outcome. LSU or Ohio State losing might drop them a notch or two, but based on their strength of schedule and dominance in most of their games, they're likely to remain in the hunt, no matter what happens.
Confusing? That's college football rankings and playoffs in a nutshell. It actually does start making sense, though, the more you watch and pay attention.
For tonight's game, I think most everyone was pizza-ed out, but that meant I needed to find a low cost substitute, and that's not easy to do. Cooking was an alternative, but who wants to do that before the big game only to turn around and have to clean up afterward?
Well, I ended up being bailed out by my daughter-in-law who suggested to my wife that we get Costco hotdogs. Anyone who is familiar with Costco will know what I'm talking about. Here's the deal. You get a much longer than normal hotdog, in a much longer than normal bun, and a medium sized drink for $1.50 each. My youngest son and I were tasked with purchasing seven hotdogs, and then he and I decided to get a huge slice of cheese pizza each, for an additional $1.99.
That meant hotdogs, sodas and pizza for five adults and one child (the daughter-in-law wanted two dogs), for the low, low price of $14.88.
That's right. I paid less than $15 USD to feed five grownups and a two-year-old.
Okay, that hasn't been a thing since the early 2000s. The woots, not saving money.
Now, I'm not a big fan of hotdogs, but when you're hungry, they're pretty good and filling. I'm also not that much into Costco pizza, but when it's hot out of the oven, it's also not so bad. We're not talking gastronomical delicacies here. We're talking quick, filling and cheap, cheap, cheap.
My son and I were able to navigate the Costco parking lot and food court in record time, make it back and essentially eat our pregame meal before the contest started.
Then, we were able to root for our Ducks with maximum vim and vigor, celebrating the high points and suffering through the lows.
Fortunately, there were plenty of highs, and only a middle stretch where the game was in doubt. The Ducks jumped out to an early lead and were up 20-0 going into halftime, but the Utes scored 15 to Oregon's three to come within a touchdown and a two-point conversion at 23-15 heading into the fourth.
Finally, the Ducks were able to pull away by adding two more TDs on long run plays, a 70-yarder and another that was 30-plus to seal the victory at 37-15.
The fact that the Ducks were the underdogs, that the game was nationally televised on ABC, and that Utah is quickly becoming an arch rival, though not quite at the level of Washington yet (in my book, it's already there), made it a very satisfying game.
The Ducks are now Pac-12 champions again and will head to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California to take on whoever the Big 10 Conference ends up sending. The most likely opponent are the Wisconsin Badgers who play Ohio State in their conference championship play.
If so, this will be a rematch of a fairly recent Rose Bowl game (2012) where the Ducks prevailed in the fourth quarter to win a nailbiter, 45-38.
It would be kind of cool to get tickets and watch the game in a huge stadium like the Rose Bowl. However, it's not likely to happen. Not this year. Which means I will be once again rooting for the Ducks from the comforts of my own home, and will also need to come up with something to feed the crew.
Fortunately, I've got nearly four weeks to come up with something.
Thanks for reading.
Until next time...
Images courtesy of Glen Anthony Albrethsen
This edition of Grandpa Gotta Eat is published in conjunction with @foodfightfriday, a weekly contest all about food. Everyone is welcome to participate. To enter, simply write about food, use the tag #fff, post it on a Friday, and then head over to the tag to search for other entries. Winners are selected by their peers. The top three receive differing but generous amounts of STEEM.