7:15 p.m. After paying someone ten dollars for the privilege of parking in what was until a few minutes ago a homeless encampment under the overpass, I run into the Georgia Dome for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl sweaty and late. Bob Griese stands in a tuxedo waiting for the press box elevator. This conversation ensues.
Me: I feel underdressed.
Bob Griese: Well, it is New Year’s.
He says this like he would have worn it even if New Year's meant drinking some Andre Cold Duck while watching the ball drop on the flat screen in the rumpus room alone. It's New Year's. Of course I'm wearing a tux. What are you doing, Johnny Hobopants? We then ride awkwardly up to the box.
7:30 p.m. We’re on ESPN! We’re on ESPN!!! Everyone in the Georgia Dome gets really loud because they’re on television. If you wonder why ESPN's games always seem to break into a moment of orgiastic noise inside stadia at football games, it is because they are told to freak out for the cameras. Other shocking news: Lou Holtz and Mark May don't actually hate each other!
7:32 p.m. Georgia Tech takes the field. Zombie Nation cranks on the loud speakers and the Chick-Fil-A blimp disgorges a load of coupons and tiny toy Holsteins wearing Eat more Chikin placards and falling with miniature parachutes.
Four or five of them settle on the wired overhead camera and its guide wires; it runs frantically up and along its tracks trailing the tiny bovine paratroopers in an effort to shake them off before kickoff. Surreal does not begin to describe two Chick-Fil-A cows who appear to be levitating in midair above the crowd.
7:41 p.m. LSU scores, 7-0. Georgia Tech appeared to be spotting them polite holiday points, but Jordan Jefferson seemed sleepily at ease behind LSU’s line.
7:48 p.m. Georgia Tech opens the game by passing...twice. Pretty sure this is illegal in Paul Johnsonvania.
7:55 p.m. Michael Johnson annihilates Michael Johnson on a sack. Johnson is 6’7”, 260 pounds, and built like someone made of pure muscle who eats only other people made of pure muscle. If you missed this live, just replay any of the scenes in Predator where the Predator ices one of Arnold’s men, and you’ll get the right scene in your head.
8:15 p.m. Applause in the fan section below for the guy who looked under his seat and found the sticker indicating free CFA for a year. Georgia Tech is so excited for him they commit an offsides penalty and then rough the passer for another 15. We all have different ways of celebrating. Free food winner will offset financial gains of not paying for food by having to invest in new huge pants.
8:19 p.m. LSU QB Jordan Jefferson, under pressure, heaves an improv shovel pass forward that Brett Favre would describe as “ill-advised.” It works anyway and a play later LSU takes advantage by scoring to go up 14-3. (Hint: this will be the theme of the night.) Everyone’s handing out coupons: we got three free chicken strips, LSU got 20 free yards and a touchdown.
8:24 p.m. Josh Jasper didn’t need a face, anyway. LSU pulls an onside, gets it, gets their placekicker concussed when a Tech guy hammers him helmet to helmet, calls a trick play on the next down for naught, fails to convert, and then...Les Miles’ 2007 surplus karma suddenly kicks in as Tech drops a punt and gives the Tigers a layup TD.
8:27 p.m. A fact sheet lands on the laptop, handed out by a media wrangler. According to this, 24 Chick-Fil-A Cows participated in the parade. That number is beyond "mascot staff" and getting dangerously close to "private militia." Alert the FBI.
8:40 p.m. Fake punt from your own 20something? Oh, sure, why not Paul Johnson. It's only a football game. It is 28-3, LSU now, and it’s time to start making your own entertainment in the pressbox. Why not have a fifth cup of coffee? Or begin sailing paper planes into the stands from the pressbox?
8:51 p.m. Best play by Tech tonight comes from invisible linebacker George P. Burdell, who trips Trindon Holliday when it appears the quarkback has a beeline (Get it? Huh? Yeah?) on a TD punt return.
8:56 p.m. Georgia Tech’s fanbase sheds its least necessary layer of fans as LSU goes up 35-3 and drives a few fans in gold and white to the exit. At this point the only real amusement comes from watching Paul Maguire’s garland-festooned camera cart buzzing back and forth on the sidelines. Maybe he’ll fall out! The pain of which would only be a fraction of the agony Georgia Tech has inflicted on itself tonight!
9:16 p.m. RUN!!! IT'S COMING RIGHT AT YOU!!!
9:21 p.m. What’s awesome? A 1000 member high school band playing Cameo’s “Word Up.” What’s sad? No Larry Blackmon codpieces as part of their costumes.
9:27 p.m. LSU re-enters for the second half of this game up by 32 points. I credit them for wearing pants and not walking onto the field eating hot dogs and swilling champagne to begin the half. They could, and would still walk out of here with a victory barring an 2006 Insight.com Bowl-level meltdown from LSU. (And considering Glen Mason’s lack of involvement here, there’s little danger of that.)
9:33 p.m. Paul Maguire keeping himself entertained by wearing helmet made of garland. Jock Arute -- Jack Arute’s evil twin brother, the one with a goatee -- is earning his money the hard way now, as there’s nothing to talk about now but the smoking crater where Georgia Tech’s football team used to be.
9:39 p.m. I was joking about the paper planes. The people in the stands are not. A steady drizzle of paper planes now descends from the upper stands, most likely folded in precise creases by Tech engineers using the project as distraction from their offensive line collapsing, their defense's inability to defend the run or the pass, or their overall total team collapse tonight.
Though LSU has the ball at 8:41 in the third, Yellow Jacket fans are cheering “GO! GO!” -- not for the defense, but for one very well-thrown and well-built craft that rides a course from the upper deck directly into the butt-seam of a Tech trainer’s shorts. To be fair, if Josh Nesbitt had thrown any of his passes with that kind of precision tonight, we all wouldn't be cheering for the inventive origami-aeronautics instead of watching what is becoming a hideous blowout.
9:46 p.m. Georgia Tech fans receive their only satisfaction of the night as a paper airplane travels from the upper deck to the junction of the sideline and the 34 yard line.
10:02 p.m. These must be engineers: a paper airplane lands right next to me in the press box from above despite the lip of the upper deck beginning at least fifteen feet in front of my seat. These are the people who put men on the moon.
They are also the ones losing by 35 right now after LSU kicked a 53 yard field goal because everything is working, and why not try a ridiculously long field goal when everything else has gone for points? They now have only a quarter to successfully pull off a hook and lateral, flea-flicker, fake field goal, and Statue of Liberty play. At this rate, all will result in scores.
The ESS-EEE-SEE chant cranks up from the Tigers section, the device allowing obnoxious SEC fans from any team to take credit for other conference teams' accomplishments. It's one of the conference's finer inventions, and is right up there with barbecue nachos and the garter flask in the list of southern-fried football innovations.
10:16 p.m. Georgia Tech turns the ball over on downs on a dismal 4th and 7 play. The stands begin hemorrhaging fans of both sides. Tech fans leave because they have run the numbers, have determined that they are now mathematically eliminated from even the most outlandish of comeback scenarios, and are now calculating the most efficient routes out of the stadium.
LSU fans are leaving because the beer isn't working anymore, and the brown liquor is out in the trunk of their cars in the parking lot.
10:29 p.m. Les Miles puts on his Scream mask, grabs a knife, and calls you on a phone that is INSIDE THE HOUSE by calling a fake punt in the fourth quarter of a 38-3 blowout. Hey, the fans decided to spend New Year's with you: give 'em some freakin' fireworks, even if you happen to be pointing that lit Roman Candle directly in the face of Georgia Tech.
10:42 p.m. Georgia Tech manages to fumble away its final chance to score a touchdown with 2:37 left in the game. It's an extraordinary accomplishment in futility, but not as spectacular as the achievement of an LSU fan below me who somehow managed to get kicked out of the game for bad behavior with only three mintues left in the game.
Moved by either this significant accomplishment or hallucinating from the intense suck of his team's performance, Paul Johnson calls a timeout for no reason whatsoever on the ensuing defensive series.
10:50 p.m. Another incomplete pass puts the final bullet in the head of his miserable sick beast of a game. LSU looked wickedly motivated and prepared. Georgia Tech requests a hard reboot and erasure of these files from the hard drive.
The Tigers are leaning with it and rocking with it in the end zone; champagne will follow shortly, and rightfully so. Pop them bottles, Tigers. The bubbly is on on the chicken guys tonight. They do that when you beat your opponent by 35 points.
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.