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Hitting The Links: July 4th Cookout

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Hey bud, you're invited over today for a real chill time. We're going to fire up the grill and drink some brew dogs. Should you bring anything? Not necessary, compadre. Actually, just bring a good time.

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Hey! Glad you made it.

Potato salad? Aw, you shouldn't have. That's so nice of you. I knew I forgot something. The food's not quite ready yet, so let's get this in the fridge. Sure, there's room. No worries.

I've got some burgers and dogs ready to go on the grill. Got some chicken soaking up this nice marinade, so they can hit the grill shortly. The marinade has got a kick, but it is not too spicy. Just enough to wake up your taste buds. Oh that? Yeah, I'm smoking some ribs, too. Ever since my brother-in-law got the evite, he's been saying this a barbecue. I was just planning on grilling and didn't have the heart to tell him, so I figured, what the heck. Plenty of mouths are invited to grab all this deliciousness.

We have another grill going over here. This one is grilling up some veggies, portobellos, some vegan kebabs. Sure, you can stack the shrooms on burgers. Just wanted to keep the meats and veggies separate for some of my dietarily restricted guests.

Nah, I couldn't do brats this time. Not with my buddy Carlos coming down! That dude is the brat king. He keeps it simple, but somehow he gets the most out of those sausages. He sent me a recipe, but I can never get them like he gets them. I'll forward you the deets.

Are you thirsty? We got colas and brewskis in the fridge in the garage. Microbrews, macrobrews, you name it. Tried to keep it low ABV to keep up with the heat. If someone does have one too many, we have plenty of coach space and I already made extra waffle batter for Sunday morning. So help yourself.

I hooked up some speakers for the patio and they're pumping a playlist from inside. This tune's called "Powerful Man" from this really great Philly band. I'll make you a mix. Feel free to go on in and add songs to the playlist. The only playlist rules are the jams have to either be chill or funky.

Hey, friend, you like college football, right?

You see that thing on SI about college football brands? If I had a brand, I would hope it to be "king of having a good time and chillin'." Maybe king of grilling too, but I'll let you all be the judge of that.

A cool thing I saw was that all Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference televised games will have band performances aired on ESPN3. Ain't nothing better than the heart of college football. Didn't you used to play the sousaphone? Bet your traps ached after tooting that horn all day.

It is a shame about all those NFL stadium games for college openers. But, I am interested to see that new College Gameday line-up in action. Where do you think they will end up opening week?

Are you a Stones guy or a Beatles dude? I could never choose. Saw Mick and the boys were playing NC State and the school tried to sell some season tickets to the Stones' fans. Not sure if the fans had anything on their mind other than Keith's sweet guitar licks.

Is it me or does that Harbaugh fellow seem like he woke up on the wrong side of the hammock? Speaking of hammocks, that Cowherd bro could probably use a nap.

Honestly, the only expansion I care about right now is expanding my palette by digging into that famous potato salad you brought. You think there's a way to split up all the college teams equally? Wonder if we can split up the portobellos between my veg friends and the meat-eaters who love the extra umami.

Yeah, my friend Ryan sent me this song. It's got more of a nighttime vibe, but hey, you can't predict where the shuffle will take you. It's always a great journey.

Your team is the Irish, no?

I heard they got a pretty big recruit out of Florida. What's that? Two guys from Florida this week? Make sure ND puts on a high SPF with all that incoming sunshine.

How's the rest of their recruiting going? Looking at QBs and RBsDefensive b'sLine b'ersD lineBig guysQuick guys?

Yeah, Frannie, of course we have some frisbees. One sec.

Sometimes it seems like rooting for a team is a love/ hate relationship, right? You check out that high quality perspective One Foot Down put together last week? You gotta check it out bro!

How do you think this year will shake out for Coach Kelly?

While I do love football, I've been trying to get into hockey more since the Cup final, so I've been getting these free agent alerts on the phone. Saw some Irish guys were getting nice deals from the ol' NHL.

Have you seen Inside Out yet? Pixar nails it again.

Oh this? Just one of those step-tracker things. It's supposed to track sleep too, but I always forget to turn it to sleep mode. Brian Hamilton had an article in Sports Illustrated about some of the advanced stuff going on with conditioning tracking  by CFB programs and OFD went into some deeper detail about the want for more exercise data from athletes.

I think it's time to get this food onto platters. Can you lend a hand?

Thanks pal. I really appreciate it.

Not sure if you are a big podcast head. I can't get enough of them. Daniel Jeremiah was glowing about Jaylon Smith on Bruce Feldman's pod this week. It's a great listen for an Irish fan.

Oh yeah, you know it isn't a party mix without a little Wilco.

Saw that the South Bend tribute put a preview of their preview magazine online with a big story on KeiVarae Russell. It'll be nice to see that guy back in action. I'm interested to see what's up with Ishaq Williams, too.

Alright, we should be good to go. Food is out, plates, utensils, and condiments set up. Always have to go heavy on the napkins with this crew. Later, we're all heading to the beach for fireworks. It's not an "official" display but our neighbors over there always know how to put on a show. Oh man, this potato salad is a revelation. Job well done, buddy.

Happy fourth, bud. Cheers.