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EDSBS, CONSUMER WHORE EDITION: ORSON'S FAVORITE GAMEDAY ITEMS

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Enough preseason rankings and compulsive listmaking--or glazomania, for the wordy among you--it's time for the EDSBS Consumer Whore edition, where we talk about the goods you need to properly enjoy a game at home.

Yes, it's preferable to get to the game. But if you're not local--and if the only teams in easy driving distance are coached by Chan Gailey--you're going to be watching the game at home. This is a situation with its own advantages, of course. You can keep track of multiple games, which is hard to do even the wireless age when you're sitting sandwiched between Sweatass McFatty and a cymbal player in the North endzone. Toss in alcohol and you might not even have a clear idea of what's going on in your game, much less across the country. And the cold comfort of watching a devastating loss from home is that you can avoid the sour collective misery of thousands of people exiting a stadium looking for a beer and a fight. Unless that's your thing, of course, in which case we can't stop you from exiting your apartment and decking the first person in hostile colors you find. (Yes, we're talking to you, Brent.)

Beginning with the basics, which you can think of as "Orson's Favorite Things," which is kind of like "Oprah's Favorite Things" with one exception: we're not buying you shit.

We're like Oprah, but stingy, white, male, broke, and not having Li'l John's baby.

The basics...

Cable. We don't think the GamePlan package rates as an essential, especially since watching the whole thing, even selectively Tivoed, would completely destroy any semblance of a life outside of college football you may have had. (If this hasn't happened already. If it has, sit and watch every damn game in your dank, filthy living room surrounded by the pictures of people you once knew.) Cable, though, is an essential, since games are now spread across at least seven different channels, most of which are available only on cable. Stick to the pub-waves on opening weekend and miss BGSU at Wisconsin, Boise at Georgia, and Georgia Tech at Auburn. Simply unacceptable to the devoted fan, who will sell a kidney to watch every last drop of football while they can. We hear the Russian black market's great for that.

One life to watch football. Two kidneys. You do the math.

A good chair. Some prefer couches for this, but in tight games the last thing you want is potential contact with someone else. Sweat may also be an issue, especially in a rivalry game or sneaking trapdoor game on the road, which eliminates plush or other heat-sucking fabrics. Budget, too, may be a concern, as many college football fans are actually in college and therefore strapped for cash. Finally, decor may factor into the choice of chair, unless you're reading this in a house decorated by your wife in Tuscan/Laura Ashley/country kitsch. You're beyond rescue, and should resign yourself to your potpourri-scented fate as you place a coaster carefully beneath your beer.

After years of searching, we've found the best compromise of all these in one chair: the Target Video Rocker, $40.oo of ass-pleasing perfection for the hyperactive fan. A purely solo adventure, you won't have to share space with anyone when your OC calls a run in the teeth of a full blitz. It's a contoured rocker, allowing for bobbing back and forth for comfort when high anxiety kicks in following a blocked punt. It comes in several different colors, so compromise with roommates/spouses can coexist with the natural male instinct for "stunt furniture." (You know, bean bags, chairs that hang from the ceiling, papasan chairs and hammocks, etc...) It works especially well for you IKEA-types out there, since it looks like an easy chair stolen out of Captain Picard's living room, and comes in handy durable pleather, which means sweating on it or spilling a drink on it in a moment of frenzy is no big deal. It's even got pockets to hold your sweat rag or the tattered piece of paper gambling junkies have their bets written on. Finally, if you get angry following a loss and set it on fire with a Bic Lighter and the remnants of your drink, it's no big deal since you only paid forty bucks for it.

A perfect chair, even if you eventually set it on fire.

Drinks. You need the right alcohol, a deeply personal choice for most that should be approached with sensitivity and an awareness of each individual's needs. Some pile through beer like water, while others get bloated after two and head to the couch to lay down and de-gas. Some tinker with the genie of hard liquor and find themselves swinging by the ceiling fan by the third quarter. Nouveau types even drink wine during the game, a dangerous tactic since a nice red can have you heavy-lidded and nappy by the third quarter. We prefer to run the option during the game: a light beer base that can segue into vodka tonics at any point, or vice versa.

Beer: Miller High Life. Every beer snob reading this just spat on the screen. But thematic consistency is important here. A top-shelf beer for college football? We think not: you'd just look like a jackass drinking a twelve dollar Belgian lambic while watching OU/Texas or Ohio State/Michigan. Pick something classic, pleasantly crappy, American, and light enough to drink for extended periods of time without getting bloated or belligerent. If High Life hadn't secured that crown with its stylish label and fizzy, nearly hops-free taste, it won us over forever with its delightfully quirky commercials. If kept cold, it makes a great cruising altitude beer or lead-in to...

Vodka. Gin occupied this spot until an unfortunate Old Testament-degree hangover last December forced a switch. Clean, mixes to nothing with tonic, and comes without the "fightin' side of me" rowdy tendencies encouraged by the brown liquors. If done judiciously, vodka can either be a cruising beverage or pregame base for beer. A team player in beverages and a worthy addition to any gameday lineup, vodka also boasts one additional benefit: nearly zero hangover factor for us. Take Ketel One if you can get it, though Svedka or Skyy will do in a pinch in times of tight-wallet-tude or spastic frugality.

Vodka: it worked for Boris.

Snacks. Some prefer to introduce whole meals into the equation, but the kind of grub most people mingle with football can be enough to make the average fan founder like a thoroughbred who's had their feed switched, never mind staying awake for the whole game. A pound of ribs, garlic bread, baked beans with bacon, and garlic bread might have you unbuttoning your pants five minutes into the game and looking for the Maalox, so we go easy on the food and space out the real eating throughout the game with strategically chosen snacks.

Mixed nuts are the cornerstone of the regimen, especially the more-expensive non-peanut mixes. Good for nervous eating and not totally horrible for you, either, especially if you keep them further than arm's length away where you can't shovel them wholesale into your churning mouth. Avoid anything too sweet, as sugary foods will have your wife or friends tethering you to the couch by halftime like Mike Myers' old character Philp on SNL (I'm not supposed to have chocolate...) Chips, if done, should be done properly: Zapp's Hotter 'N Hot Jalapeno Chips, soaked in peanut oil and peppery, greasy tastiness. If you're going to assault the cardiovascular system, make it worth the damage with Lousiana's finest.

Hey, we're pimping your chips. Send us a case, mes amis!

Finally, continuing the spicy theme, wasabi peanuts are a great way to limit your compulsive munching, if only because you can only eat so many at a time without collapsing into a sobbing, twitching fetal position. The best way to cool off, of course, would be to drink beer, which cools the palate and allows for more spicy snack consumption, which necessitates beer, which plays into a grand feedback loop that should carry you well into the WAC game that'll be on at midnight on the Ocho.

Finally, you need a small dishtowel. Like Ford Prefect, we don't travel anywhere in the universe of college football without a small dishtowel like the kind chefs pile up by the dozens as part of their mise-en-place. What kind of slob needs this? Everyone, that's who. What else can sop up nervous flop-sweat, serve as a coaster, napkin, or emergency spill-saver all at once? Or be thrown at the television screen in a moment of anger without the negative potential consequences of tossing a shoe or drink instead? A television-bound fan necessity, the dishtowel reigns supreme in our book atop the list of must have accessories.

Don't go anywhere without a towel, even at home watching football.