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All-star tailgates: big on flavor - and tradition.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS about tradition, from The Axe to the Apple Cup, from a cross-state rivalry that preceded statehood to shared remembrances of hallowed quarterbacks, coaches, games, and plays.

Part of that tradition is tailgating. It's around bountiful tailgate spreads outside the West's college stadiums that the tales of yesterday's heroes live on and the flames of excitement over today's heroes are fanned like briquets on the hibachi. It's oral tradition: beer, wine, soft drinks, and a regional, seasonal, movable feast. It's Sixkiller and salmon, Brodie and beef, Curly Culp and Chili-Cheese Triangles. It's college football heaven.

Here, we share nine recipes inspired by some of the most ardent tailgaters in the West. These offerings are as likely to win fans among your family and friends as they have among the Cardinal, Husky, and Sun Devil fans who shared them with us.

Cardinal tradition: garlic steak barbecue down on The Farm

Rob Christopher's family grows garlic around Gilroy, California. In fact, they grow more fresh garlic than any other grower in the United States. After Rob (pictured at left) went off to Stanford University in 1972, his dad, Don, decided he'd host an annual tailgate party: for The Big Game versus Cal, when it's played at Stanford, and in alternate years, before the USC game.

But this is no ordinary pregame party, unless you consider a country-folk band, 12 running feet of barbecue grills, and upward of 400 guests typical. Fans who have been lucky enough to sample the Christophers' signature sandwich, featuring the stinking rose, of course, hold it in the same regard they afford John Elway, Jim Plunkett, and Frankie Albert.

Christopher Ranch Garlic Steak Sandwiches

2 large (about 1 lb. total) green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into thin strips

2 large (about 1 lb. total) red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into thin strips

1 large (about 1/2-lb.) onion, coarsely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

Garlic butter (recipe follows)

1 flank steak, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds

8 crusty sandwich rolls (each about 6 in. long)

In a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat, combine peppers, onion, garlic, and 2 tablespoons garlic butter. Stir often until vegetables are browned and onions taste sweet, about 30 minutes; keep warm.

Lay flank steak on a grill 4 to 6 inches above a solid bed of hot coals (you can hold your hand at grill level only 2 to 3 seconds). Turn meat to brown evenly until it reaches desired doneness; allow 10 to 14 minutes total for rare.

Meanwhile, cut rolls in half lengthwise and brush cut sides with remaining garlic butter. Lay rolls, buttered side down, on grill, and toast until golden brown, about 1 minute.

On a board, slice steak thinly across the grain. Fill rolls equally with sliced meat, any juices, and the pepper-garlic mixture. Makes 8.

Per sandwich: 350 cal. (31 percent from fat); 20 g protein; 12 g fat (5.1 g sat.); 40 g carbo.; 436 mg sodium; 43 mg chol.

Garlic butter. Mash together 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature, and 4 cloves minced garlic. If making ahead, cover airtight and chill up to 1 day.

Per tablespoon: 105 cal. (100 percent from fat); 0.2 g protein; 12 g fat (7.2 g sat.); 0.7 g carbo.; 118 mg sodium; 31 mg chol.

Grilled Ratatouille-Cheese Sandwiches

As an alternative to beef, here's a meatless sandwich that's surprisingly hearty. Thread vegetables onto metal skewers at home and carry to your outing to grill. You'll need six to eight skewers, each about 14 inches long.

1 medium-size (about 1 lb.) eggplant, stem trimmed, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 medium-size (2/3 lb. total) zucchini, ends trimmed, each cut diagonally into 8 equal slices

2 large (about 1 lb. total) red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed

1/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves

6 medium-size (1 lb. total) Roma-type tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise

1 long loaf (1 lb.) flat Italian bread (ciabatta) or sourdough bread

3 cups (3/4 lb.) shredded fontina cheese

Fresh basil sprigs (optional)

Thread eggplant, zucchini, and bell pepper pieces separately onto skewers. Combine garlic, oil, lemon juice, chopped basil, and marjoram. Lightly brush vegetables and tomatoes with some of the oil mixture. If making ahead, place skewers and tomatoes in a 10- by 15-inch pan, wrap airtight, and chill up to 6 hours. Pour remaining oil mixture into a leak-proof container and hold at room temperature up to 6 hours.

In a barbecue with a lid, place skewers on a grill 4 to 6 inches above a solid bed of medium coals (you can hold your hand at grill level only 4 to 5 seconds). Cook 12 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place tomatoes, skin down, on grill. Turn skewers, as needed, until all vegetables are very tender when pressed, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer vegetables to a platter; remove skewers.

Meanwhile, cut bread diagonally into 3 equal pieces, then split each piece horizontally. If needed, trim crust so bread sits steady. Brush cut sides with remaining oil mixture. Place bread, cut side down, on grill until toasted, about 3 minutes. Off the grill, top toasted sides equally with cheese, then vegetables.

Set bread on grill, cheese up; cover barbecue, open vents, and cook until cheese melts, 3 to 4 minutes (be careful not to scorch bottom of bread). Garnish with basil sprigs. Serves 6.

Per serving: 595 cal. (47 percent from fat); 24 g protein; 31 g fat (13 g sat.); 57 g carbo.; 911 mg sodium; 67 mg chol.

Husky tradition: fans and salmon arrive by water

Where else will a university's water taxi pick you up from your yacht and ferry you to the dock just outside the stadium? Taking a cue from the remarkable waterside setting of University of Washington's Husky Stadium in Seattle, we present a recipe for grilled salmon that comes to us from a UW alumni barbecue cookoff held at a recent Rose Bowl. We also share a pear salad which uses one of the state's favorite crops, and a hearty apple and pork stew that should satisfy football fans from schools on both sides of the Cascades.

UW Alumni Grilled Salmon

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup dry vermouth

1 boned salmon fillet with skin, about 2 1/2 pounds

1 small (about 1/4-lb.) onion, very thinly sliced

2 lemons, very thinly sliced and seeds removed

Cucumber sauce (recipe follows)

Salt and pepper

Pour lemon juice and vermouth into a 1-gallon-size plastic food bag. Add salmon, onion, and lemon slices to bag; seal. Rotate bag to mix well. Chill at least 20 minutes or up to 1 day.

Mound 24 charcoal briquets on firegrate of a barbecue with a lid. Ignite coals.

Drain and discard marinade from bag. Set salmon, skin side down, on a slightly larger piece of heavy foil; fold or trim foil to fit outline of fish. Lay onion and lemon slices on top of fish.

When coals are dotted with ash, in about 25 minutes, push half of them to each side of the firegrate. Set grill 4 to 6 inches above coals. Set salmon with foil in center of grill (not over coals).

Cover barbecue and open vents. Cook until the thickest part of salmon is opaque but still moist-looking (cut to test), 25 to 30 minutes. Supporting with foil and spatulas, transfer salmon to a large platter. Serve hot or cool. If making ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to 1 day. To transport cold salmon, wrap airtight and keep it cold in an insulated container. Accompany with cucumber sauce; add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.--Delaware Valley Chapter, University of Washington Alumni Group

Per serving: 207 cal. (38 percent from fat); 27 g protein; 8.7 g fat (1.3 g sat.); 4.4 g carbo.; 62 mg sodium; 74 mg chol.

Cucumber sauce. Peel, seed, and finely chop 1 large (about 1/2-lb.) cucumber. Mix cucumber with 1 cup light (reduced-calorie) or regular sour cream and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill. If making ahead, cover airtight and chill up to 1 day. Transport sauce in an insulated bag. Makes 2 cups.

Per tablespoon: 13 cal. (69 percent from fat); 0.5 g protein; 1 g fat (0.5 g sat.); 0.7 g carbo.; 0.4 mg sodium; 2.5 mg chol.

Washington Pear Salad

1/3 cup hazelnuts

1/2 cup balsamic or red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger

8 small or 4 large (about 2 lb. total) firm-ripe Bartlett pears

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Leaf lettuce, rinsed and crisped (optional)

Pour nuts into an 8- to 9-inch pie pan. Bake in a 350 |degrees~ oven until nuts are golden brown under skin, about 20 minutes. Pour nuts from pan onto a clean towel. Rub briskly with towel to remove as much of the nuts' papery husks as possible; discard husks. Coarsely chop nuts. If making ahead, store airtight up to 2 days.

Mix vinegar, honey, and ginger for dressing. If making ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days.

Cut pears in half, core, and immediately brush cut sides with lemon juice. Arrange pear halves on a platter with lettuce leaves. Spoon dressing and nuts over the fruit. Serves 8.

Per serving: 139 cal. (22 percent from fat); 1.1 g protein; 3.4 g fat (0.2 g sat.); 29 g carbo.; 4.9 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Northwest Apple and Pork Stew

1 1/2 pounds fat-trimmed and boned pork shoulder or butt, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

3/4 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled

1 large (about 1/2-lb.) onion, chopped

4 cups regular-strength beef broth

1 cup regular or hard cider

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon caraway seed

2 pounds firm, tart-sweet apples (such as Fuji, Granny Smith, or Golden Delicious), cored, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water

Minced parsley

Salt and pepper

In a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat, combine pork, sausage, and onion. Cover and cook until meat gives off juices, about 15 minutes. Uncover and boil over high heat until juices evaporate and brown bits stick in pan. Add 1/2 cup broth, stir to free browned bits, and boil until liquid evaporates. If possible, drain off and discard any fat.

To pan, add remaining broth, cider, lemon juice, peel, and caraway. Cover and simmer until pork is very tender when pierced, about 1 1/4 hours. Add apple chunks; cover and simmer until apples are tender when pierced, 10 to 20 minutes. Stir cornstarch mixture into stew; stir until bubbling.

To transport hot stew, cover and carry in an insulated bag, or put into a large (at least 1-gal.) thermos. Serve within 3 hours. Sprinkle with parsley, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.

Per serving: 328 cal. (41 percent from fat); 24 g protein; 15 g fat (5.2 g sat.); 24 g carbo.; 358 mg sodium; 81 mg chol.

Arizona tradition: rival schools catch tailgate fever

Long before Arizona was a state, Arizona State University (then Tempe Normal School) and the University of Arizona began battling: their first match was in 1899; the Copper State became number 48 in 1912. Given the ancient--and intense--relationship between the two schools, it's remarkable they got together to celebrate one thing they do share: a love of tailgating.

Susan Shaffer, who works in the ASU football office, collected recipes from coaches and their wives, serious tailgaters, and other football friends at Arizona schools. These recipes are published in Tailgate Fever Cookbook (Golden West Publishers, Phoenix, 1992; $9.95; to order, call 800/658-5830). The first two recipes we present, "Whip Them Cats" Salsa and Chili-Cheese Triangles, were adapted from the cookbook. The third, Sun Devil Squares, is our own creation featuring two of Arizona's tasty exports--pecans and oranges.

"Whip Them Cats" Salsa

Remove seeds from jalapeno and serrano chilies if you want to tone down the fire.

1 can (28 oz.) ready-cut tomatoes

8 fresh medium-size (about 7 oz. total) green jalapeno chilies, stemmed

4 fresh large (about 1 oz. total) serrano chilies, stemmed

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 small (about 6-oz.) onion, chopped

1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies

2 tablespoons minced fresh or 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves

Salt

Drain tomato juices into a blender; whirl with jalapenos, serranos, and garlic until smooth. Pour tomatoes into a 4- to 5-quart pan; add pureed chili mixture, onion, canned chilies, and oregano. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil rapidly, uncovered, until reduced to 4 cups, 8 to 10 minutes; stir often. Let cool; if making ahead, cover airtight and chill up to 5 days. Season to taste with salt. Makes 4 cups.

Per 1/4 cup: 20 cal. (5 percent from fat); 0.8 g protein; 0.1 g fat (0 g sat.); 4.7 g carbo.; 265 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Chili-Cheese Triangles

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine, melted

1/4 cup milk

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies

1/4 cup finely chopped green onion

In a bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, and chili powder. Add butter, milk, and egg; stir just until moistened. Press mixture in an even layer in a buttered 9-inch square pan. Bake in a 350 |degrees~ oven until cornmeal mixture is lightly browned at edges and begins to pull from sides of pan, about 25 minutes.

Mix cheese, chilies, and green onion; spread over hot cornmeal bread. Bake until cheese melts, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Serve warm or cool. Cut into 6 equal rectangles, then cut each piece diagonally across to make triangles. If making ahead, cool, wrap airtight, and store at room temperature up to 6 hours. Makes 12.

Per piece: 167 cal. (53 percent from fat); 5.9 g protein; 9.8 g fat (5.9 g sat.); 14 g carbo.; 199 mg sodium; 45 mg chol.

Sun Devil Squares

3 cups pecan halves

Cookie crust (recipe follows)

6 large eggs

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1 tablespoon vanilla

Place pecans in a 9- to 10-inch pie pan. Bake in a 325 |degrees~ oven until nuts are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle nuts evenly over cookie crust.

In a bowl, beat to blend eggs, sugar, orange peel, and vanilla. Pour over pecans.

Bake on the lowest rack of a 325 |degrees~ oven until filling jiggles only slightly when pan is gently shaken, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool; if making ahead, cover airtight and chill up to 1 day. Cut into 48 squares.

Per piece: 122 cal. (53 percent from fat); 1.9 g protein; 7.2 g fat (1.8 g sat.); 13 g carbo.; 32 mg sodium; 36 mg chol.

Cookie crust. Beat 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature, with 1/3 cup sugar and 1 large egg until well mixed. Stir in 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. Press dough evenly over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of a 9- by 13-inch pan. Bake in a 325 |degrees~ oven until pale golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Use warm or cool.

Peach Cobbler with Almond Topping

If you want ice cream for the cobbler, make some before the game, using an old-fashioned ice-and-salt crank freezer; or pack purchased ice cream.

9 medium-size (about 3 lb. total) firm-ripe peaches

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Almond topping (recipe follows)

Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Immerse peaches in boiling water to cover for 2 to 3 seconds. Lift out, cool briefly, then pull off skins with a knife. Pit and slice peaches into a shallow 1 1/2- to 2-quart casserole. Add sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch to peaches; mix gently. Sprinkle fruit evenly with almond topping.

Bake in a 350 |degrees~ oven until topping is browned and center is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes.

Serve hot or cool. If making ahead or to transport, lightly cover (so topping won't steam); keep at room temperature and serve within 6 hours. Scoop into bowls and top with ice cream, if desired. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Per serving: 243 cal. (26 percent from fat); 3.8 g protein; 6.9 g fat (0.7 g sat.); 44 g carbo.; 3.6 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Almond topping. Crumble 1 cup (7 oz.) almond paste into a bowl. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Rub with your fingers until well blended. Squeeze mixture together, then break into about 1/2-inch chunks.

5 College towns that score big

Fresno State University

FSU's 13-year-old Bulldog Stadium was built for tailgating. It's ringed by fenced lawn that's thrown open to rabid red-frocked fans 4 hours before each game. Pickups towing their barbecues are the hub of the most elaborate tailgate parties; since games are played Saturday nights, lanterns, table lamps, and portable generators are de rigueur. Grape prunings from local vineyards give a regional flavor, literally, to some of the grandest barbecues.

Ambience, spirit. All those red shirts are as likely to be emblazoned with the logo of an agricultural supply outfit or church group as with a bulldog. The aura is more local pro team than hometown college, and the Bulldogs are the biggest show in town.

The battlefield. Think of a gimmick, and 41,031-seat Bulldog Stadium has it: skyboxes, big-screen television for instant replays and commercials, even a golf cart shaped like a giant Bulldog helmet. The elite seats (for season ticket holders) are between the 20-yard lines on both sides of the field; they have their own concessions, their own rest rooms, even their names on the seats. Have a beer to wash down the stadium's signature treat, sunflower seeds.

How about those 'Dogs? This whole setup is clearly meant for something bigger, and the Bulldogs are getting there; just ask USC (victims of the 'Dogs in last year's Freedom Bowl). Why go to Norman, Lincoln, or College Station when there's Fresno?

The 'Dogs are clearly stoked about having switched conferences last season from the Big West to the Western Athletic Conference. They certainly have a wide-open WAC offense; the first play from scrimmage against Utah last year was a halfback option for 92 yards. Junior QB Trent Dilfer is back for '93, and they're talking Heisman Trophy in Fresno. Dilfer, a second-team All-American, directed the nation's highest-scoring offense; his 21 TD passes placed him fifth nationally.

Extracurriculars. At the intersection of Shaw and Cedar avenues, the Bulldogmania shop is open game nights for any last-minute sweatshirts, sponge fingers, or pompons fans might need.

Take some delectable local Armenian cuisine to the game: George's Shish Kebob, 4081 Blackstone Avenue (just south of Ashlan Avenue), will pack to go its namesake dish or anything else on the menu.

Portland State University

Two great things about PSU football are the wonderfully weird stadium where it's played and its downtown location. An easy walk from the campus, the rest of downtown, or the Nob Hill or Northwest neighborhoods, old Civic Stadium is virtually ringed by a prodigious number of fine watering holes, among them the Bullpen, the Driftwood Room, Goose Hollow Inn, The Kingston Saloon, and The Ram's Head. Better to share a pitcher of Henry's, check up on other games in progress, and play a little state-sponsored video poker within the cozy confines of The Kingston than to stand in the cold and the dark for the $3-a-head pregame fete in a parking lot across from the stadium.

Ambience, spirit. This is a serious school; 1992 homecoming highlights included all sorts of seminars and a lecture by National Public Radio reporter Susan Stamberg. Nevertheless, PSU always ranks among the top-drawing NCAA Division II colleges (12,000 average attendance last year). Why? The team is good (five playoffs in the past six years), and the place is wacky.

Sure, there are the usual cheerleaders and mascots. But the "band" is a combo that plays Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song as the rallying riff; it also does a fine rendition of Low Rider. The National Anthem was played as a trumpet solo in fine lounge lizard form.

The battlefield. Make no mistake: this is a baseball stadium, and a fine one at that, despite the plastic turf. It's as though Pacific Coast League baseball lives on through autumn as PSU football. Summer supporters of the Portland Beavers may well supply the bulk of fall Vikings fans.

The 50-yard-line seats in the left-field bleachers are 60 yards from the sideline. Over the right-field wall (the south end zone), the fitness buffs in the posh Multnomah Athletic Club watch the game through picture windows while working out on treadmills and StairMasters. The 18-foot-long Jantzen lady still swims over the left-field wall, though she looks a tad cold on November nights. Between them on the outfield fences, it's billboards, billboards, billboards. The old stadium really echoes. Sit in the upper deck and you'll stand a fair chance of looking around a post.

How about those Vikings? A perennial Division II powerhouse, PSU looks to make the play-offs again this season, the first as an independent in a decade. Quarterback-of-the-future Bill Matos got early experience at the end of last season, when star John Charles's college career ended with a broken wrist. PSU has a rich history of record-setting signal callers; recall Neil Lomax throwing eight TD passes to lead the Vikings to a 105-0 victory over Delaware State in 1980.

Extracurriculars. All of Portland is at your feet, so go wild! The stadium, just off main drag Burnside Street, is just up the hill from the lively downtown.

Washington State University, Pullman

In the heart of the Palouse wheat fields, Pullman is a true land-grant college town. Its population of about 7,000 swells to 24,000 during the school year, and on Saturdays Martin Stadium hosts a 4-hour population averaging 32,000 (or its 40,000 capacity for big games). Fair-weather teams fear playing the Cougars around Halloween: the "curse of the Palouse"--and the fickle weather--has helped the underdog Cougars triumph inexplicably too many times to ignore.

Ambience, spirit. The atmosphere is idyllic, wholesome, 1950s; you almost expect Ricky Nelson to be playing at the Compton Union Building (CUB) after the game. CUB is right next to the stadium (its balcony looks down into the stadium); it hosts a variety of pre- and postgame events.

The battlefield. Adding 12,500 seats to Martin Stadium back in '79 made it more intimate; workers lowered the playing field 16 feet and removed the track, expanding inward. The enlargement also meant the big games stayed at home instead of moving up the road to Spokane.

How about those Cougs? Drew Bledsoe is a hard act to follow; the first pick in this year's NFL draft leaves his WSU quarterbacking duties in the hands of Mike Pattinson, who has waited four years for his shot in the Pac 10. If the Cougs stay true to their long-standing form, figure on another 4,000-yard season and an average 25 points per game; a little defense and the team should find itself bowl-bound again this year. WSU always seems to surprise someone; the hated Huskies fell 42-23 in a Pullman blizzard during last year's Apple Cup. Will the curse befall UCLA or ASU this fall?

Extracurriculars. Cheese tastings, featuring the cheddar-like Cougar Gold produced by WSU's creamery, are set up near the deli in CUB. A Taste of Washington, held in CUB's Carey Ballroom, offers an elegant pregame sampling of eastern Washington bounty, from wines and produce to grilled lamb and freshly baked breads ($8 worth of samples should amply fortify an adult).

Ferdinand's, whose name and decor were inspired by the flower-sniffing bull, sits out on the campus fringe in the Food Quality Building, next to the food science and nutrition building. There, you can get a scoop of Cappuccino Crunch or 13 other flavors of student-made ice cream. Or buy a can of Cougar Gold to go. Ferdinand's is about a 5-minute walk from the stadium and is open 3 1/2 hours before kickoff.

After the game, follow the band to Hollingbery Fieldhouse (next to the stadium) for what is always hoped to be a raucous celebration (pregame food and festivities are also offered at this hangout). If it's a chilly day, stop by Lewis Alumni Centre, the converted campus dairy barn, and warm yourself by the roaring fire.

Arizona State University, Tempe

Tempe's historic Old Town district, in the shadow of Sun Devil Stadium, becomes one giant party during football season. Most of the action takes place on Mill Avenue between University Drive and First Street, just west of the stadium. In the restaurants, bars, and shops here, fans can warm up before the game and celebrate afterward well into the wee hours.

Ambience, spirit. With a crowd so large, you'll find just about every kind of fan, from the hard-core motorhome contingent who still wish Frank Kush was coach (he left in 1979) to the students who are more interested in passing each other up the bleachers than in who wins. Games begin at 7; starting any earlier would be torture for players and spectators alike.

The battlefield. Literally blasted out of the two buttes it sits between, 73,656-seat Sun Devil Stadium is an imposing edifice about 12 stories high. You enter the stadium from the north or the south; the east and west sides are still solid rock. Upper-deck seats afford a view out the horseshoe-shaped stadium's south end, where you can watch the sun setting over the Valley of the Sun.

For a few years, the stadium was sold out, but not lately. Second-season head coach Bruce Snyder is hoping to change that.

How about those Sun Devils? Luring coach Snyder from Cal put ASU's rebuilding program in motion, and this Pac 10 team got a big boost last year, when the Sun Devils won five of their last seven games and wound up their season by beating favored archrival Arizona 7-6 in Tucson. The Devils may be in the hunt for the roses this year. Heisman candidate Mario Bates was averaging 7.6 yards per carry at tailback last year before he blew out his knee against Nebraska just three games into the season. Fullback-turned-tailback George Montgomery was averaging 6.6 before he blew out his knee two weeks later--on the same pitch play. Both are back and, presumably, ambulatory; let's hope that play isn't.

Extracurriculars. Bandersnatch Brew Pub on Fifth Street starts filling up 4 hours before kickoff; patrons spill out from the pub onto the adjacent volleyball court, enjoying kielbasa and ale in the mild night air.

Along Mill Avenue, Stan's Metro Deli is popular for New York-style sandwiches; Balboa Cafe, Mill Landing, and Paradise Bar & Grill offer fuller menus, with entrees ranging from hamburgers to fish and steak.

After the game, many of the shops and smaller restaurants are closed, but Mill Avenue hosts a lively bar scene. Fat Tuesday, with its New Orleans ambience, is popular with the late crowd, as are Bandersnatch and the bar at Balboa Cafe. For a jolt of java, The Coffee Plantation is elbow-to-elbow with a young and colorful crowd. Kelly's Cafe & Bakery, a bit farther north on Mill, offers espresso and, often, live music on the patio.

Some hotels and restaurants in metro Phoenix offer private buses to and from games; Aunt Chilada's restaurant at The Pointe Hilton Resort at Squaw Peak uses an old English double-decker.

Brigham Young University, Provo

It's not your ordinary campus. With 27,000 students, BYU is the largest private university in the country. With 97 percent of those students Latter-day Saints, the school is the Mormon Church's preeminent institution of higher learning. Cougar football is unique, too. BYU boosters regard coach LaVell Edwards as they might regard the Wasatch mountains that loom so spectacularly over Cougar Stadium: a force of nature, magnificent and immutable. After all, in a career where job tenure is frequently measured in nanoseconds, Edwards has served as head coach here for 22 years, winning 15 Western Athletic Conference titles and one national championship, and helping vault QB Ty Detmer to the 1990 Heisman Trophy.

Ambience, spirit. Sure, "Clean, Sober and Insufferable" was how Sports Illustrated once headlined an article on BYU football. But attend a game here and you'll probably be won over. BYU crowds are proof positive that you don't need alcohol to fuel good times. Let the frat boys and sorority girls from less earnest schools throng around beer kegs. At BYU, gamegoing students line up for ice cream made right on campus. And when mascot Cosmo Cougar dances across the field, fans' yells seem to echo up Mount Timpanogos and back down again.

The battlefield. First things first: 65,000-seat Cougar Stadium is, by common agreement, one of the world's most beautifully sited stadiums, its mountain backdrop inevitably leading the mind to contemplation of higher things, like Ty Detmer's passing record (15,031 yards from '88 to '91). For the best alpine view, aim to sit way up on the west or south side. Provo lies at 4,500 feet, so autumn afternoons can be crisp: you might think about wrapping yourself in a Cosmo Cougar sweatshirt, because coffee is nowhere to be found.

How about those Cougs? When aren't these guys good offensively? Most backfield players return, including potential All-American Jamal Willis--at running back! John Walsh is the likely starter from a trio of good returning quarterbacks. Cougar fans are near rapture about Notre Dame coming to Provo for the first time on October 16; tickets have been sold out since last winter.

Extracurriculars. Provo (population: 86,000) is probably best known for being headquarters of computer company Novell and for placing number one in Money Magazine's list of best American cities a few years back. But a howling postgame party town it isn't. After the game, you'll find a lot of Cougar fans driving immediately back to that sophisticated, daring metropolis to the north--Salt Lake City. Still, Provo supports a diverse range of restaurants, perhaps because BYU students come from 100 different countries and because many of the native Utahans have served on missions abroad. Try The Torch on University Avenue for Cuban food, or Osaka on W. Center Street for Japanese. For elegant dining, head up scenic Provo Canyon to the Tree Room at Robert Redford's Sundance Resort, where steaks and seafood are served in an atmosphere of woodsy luxury.
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Title Annotation:Tailgate Traditions; includes related article on college football; recipes
Author:Hale, Christine Weber; Crosby, Bill; Fish, Peter
Publication:Sunset
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Words:5203
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