Thursday, January 22, 2015

at Michigan

You know what? Embarrassing Iowa like that was FUN! I know, crazy! But I can't say how much I love beating them. They're not our biggest rival. They're never our biggest threat to the crown given that they're never a threat to the crown. But their coach is a complete shithead, their players are gingers or dirtbags or both, and their fans somehow equate Iowa in football and hoops to Wisconsin. SO SILLY

And that's why that 32 point beatdown was such a pleasure. They were all talking about how it was going to be a statement game, and they even tricked me into thinking it was gonna be close just because the last handful of UW/Iowa games have been close. FOOL ME ONCE, Iowa.

So you can keep on gouging eyes and elbowing skulls and throwing little #frantrums on the sideline like it means a damn thing. We'll just beat your ass and get ready to do it all over again a week from Saturday.

PS - I had a handful of Iowa fans chirping at me during the B1G football championship. Funny how quiet they've gotten since we beat Auburn and then beat them so badly in hoops that it might actually be illegal to embarrass a school on national television like that. Clownshows.



CHICAGO BADGERS: Saturday Badger games against solid teams? HMMMMMMMMMMMMM



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: ESPN

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Nebraska & Iowa

THIS FEELS LIKE IT IS ALL MY FAULT. That's how I'm taking it. That's how I'm processing Frank having a SNEAKY concussion, Traevon fracturing his foot, Dekker disappearing, Gasser missing free throws, and Wisconsin losing to RUTGERS. I am 100% dead serious when I say I didn't think we'd lose to Rutgers in hoops OR football for at least the next 14 years. I was stunned and ashamed and CULPABLE. This is what I get for talking about running the table and never believing we're going to lose. This is what I get for only knocking on wood a few times instead of finding a sledgehammer and destroying my nightstand. THIS IS WHAT I GET.

HOWEVER, with all of that dramatic crap said, I'm still TEEMING WITH OPTIMISM. Allow me to explain:
  • Enter Bronson Koenig. I've been waiting for him to take a leap, and this would be a PRIME opportunity for him to do so. He's gonna start, he's gonna play 30+ mpg, and I think he's gonna seize the opportunity. If you remember, Trae was thrust into action when the George Marshall experiment failed. There were some growing pains, but Trae came out a much better player in the long haul as a result. I expect similar growth from BK, and given his absurd skill level, I think we'll see the fruits of the labors sooner rather than later.
  • Frank should be back, and a team with Dekker/Frank/Nigel should still win the B1G. That's big time big boy basketball, and on most nights against most teams those guys will carry the load. I'm willing to guess that Bronson, Gasser, and Duje will each have a night where they hit big shots and lead us to victory. That's a recipe for a title in my eyes.
  • All the Trae haters are either gonna have a giant heaping of crow to eat, or they'll be vindicated. One way or another, looking forward to some closure to this one. So annoying. I also don't think I know what the word 'vindicated' means, so hopefully this was solid usage.
  • Trae should be able to return before the B1G Tournament. If he can get a game or two in before the NCAA Tournament, I'd expect him to be able to contribute at least 20 minutes a night. Put him in for crunch time and let him do this thing.
  • The goals haven't changed. Win the B1G. Win the B1G tourney. Win the whole fucking thing. Those are the goals. 3 trophies. And now we go from the team everyone's expecting to do big things, the team with the bullseye on its back... to the team some people are gonna start doubting. The official hashtag of the season is #MakeEmBelieve, and now this team gets a chance to do EXACTLY that.
  • Above all else: Bo Ryan. He's still the coach last time I checked. We good.
Losing to Rutgers sucked. Losing Trae for an extended period sucks even more. But I'm not gonna doubt this team. And you shouldn't either.



CHICAGO BADGERS: Hey, LAWYERS. Can you tell me the laws about who is responsible for shoveling sidewalks in front of buildings? Home owners? Businesses? The city? Shouldn't it be ILLEGAL to just let snow pile up in front of your house/business/building until it gets super compacted and becomes a DANGER ZONE to walk on? Yes, it should be. If my alderman is on Twitter, I'm gonna BLOW HIM UP.



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: ESPN2


TV: ESPN



Thursday, January 8, 2015

at Rutgers

EAT IT, AUBURN. You can keep your SEC Speed. Bet you wish you could recruit some B1G GUT:



AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL. I wrote this back in August and couldn't be more thrilled with how it turned out:



End result? 19/22 on field goals, including drilling his last 14 attempts. And the last 2 ended up tying the game against Auburn and then winning the game in overtime. I don't think it's remotely lame to be this excited about a kicker. And we have him LOCKED IN for the next three years! #GAGLIANONE4EVER

But what a fun game that was. MGIII gave us one last performance of GREATNESS. The O-Line was in beast mode all day, even after losing their center. The defense was up and down, but boy were they good when we needed them most. And Sunshine overcame a real rough game to lead us to the tying and go-ahead field goals. Barry gets to (hopefully) end his coaching career in the 'W' column, and Chryst takes over a team coming off an 11-win season with a chance to beat Auburn and Alabama in consecutive games. YAY

And then there's Bo Ryan and the hoops squad. They are KIND of good. 15-1, clicking on all levels, ready to abuse the rest of the conference before going for some hardware. Not too difficult to transition from football to basketball when you say goodbye to an 11-3 team and turn your attention to the 4th ranked team in the country. GOLDEN AGE



CHICAGO BADGERS: It seems a little crazy to make plans for every hoops game, especially given that there are like 20+ games left this year. My recommendation is always to take advantage of the big ones and the Saturday games.



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: BTN
WEATHER: IN YOUR FACE WINTER




Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Outback Bowl vs. #19 Auburn

What a long, strange trip it's been. A season that started out with the perplexing McEvoy-over-Stave decision and ensuing LSU chokejob has ended with a new coach and a somewhat familiar date with an SEC opponent on New Year's Day. I'm not sure how we'll look back at this year down the road, but I do know that ending with a victory over Auburn will put a MUCH more positive spin on things. STRONG TAKE CITY.

But regardless of the outcome on Thursday, I enter the football offseason BRIMMING with optimism. GA - for all his faults - assembled a pretty impressive recruiting class this year. And almost all of them have reaffirmed their commitments in the wake of the coaching turnover. The staff will come together nicely, and frankly as long as they get a few guys who can recruit, it won't really matter much. Chryst and Aranda represent two of the most gifted coordinators we've seen. Offensive guru head coach with strong Wisconsin ties inherits young badass defensive whiz who has quickly established his system in Madison. That's a thing of beauty.


So enjoy the game on Thursday. The basketball team will take the spotlight starting on Sunday, but it's a long, long time until we can all gather around a bucket of curds to watch Sunshine sling us to victory. Offseasons suck. Let's have fun Thursday.




CHICAGO BADGERS: I know. I already feel the pain you feel. It's an 11 am game the morning after your respective New Year's Rager. No one ever said having fun was easy. But you're gonna suck it up. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, remember my IRONCLAD method to conquering a hangover:

  1. Slam water before bed. This is a must. Multiple glasses. Just do it.
  2. Take a scorching lava hot shower when you wake up. Roughly 10-10:15 am on Thursday should do the trick.
  3. Eat something magnificent. Fuck cereal. Bananas are BORING. You need real food and you need it immediately. If it's not bacon or something that could conceivably have bacon on/in/around it, then you need to rethink EVERYTHING.
  4. Listen to some Sugar Ray with extreme prejudice. I prefer a little 'Fly'/'Every Morning' medley.
By now you should be feeling more than good enough to get to Will's before kickoff and muscle that first giant beer down. Once you get the first bucket of beer in your gullet, it's all downhill from there. I feel like 'it's all downhill from there' has a negative connotation, but if you think about it, it's SO much better than it all being uphill from there. I'll gladly coast down a hill guzzling beers into the wee hours. Sounds like fun!




WHO/WHERE/WHEN



TV: ESPN2 THE DOS
WEATHER: 75, KINDA CLOUDY, I CAN DIG IT



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pre-Outback Bowl Mailbag

No shortage of things to talk about. Let's dive right in. Thank you for your questions.


***

Alison S:
What is wrong with Wisconsin?! My million dollar question is who will be our next head coach? Hopefully Aranda.
Well it was SUPPOSED to be me. Got my application and résumé in to Barry before the deadline, but I never heard back. Since Paul Chryst has already been announced as the 30th coach in Wisconsin football history, here's the application I sent Barry's way:
Mr. Alvarez, 
My name is Brandon Rifkin and I’d like to formally apply to be the next head football coach of the University of Wisconsin football team. What I may lack in actual football knowledge, I more than make up for in SPIRIT and the ease at which I would assimilate myself in the Madison culture. 
My football experience is vast and plentiful. Here are the highlights:
  • 1997 Camp Ojibwa Pineapple Football Champions. My responsibilities included snapping the ball (not between my legs, seems really hard), wrapping up (form tackling – flags are always moving), and trying not to cry when a power tripping 19 year old from Highland Park yelled at me for failing at wrapping up.
  • Two time Bayside Middle School/Maple Dale Middle School CHAMPION. This was basically the Wisconsin/Minnesota rivalry, minus the axe/plus puberty. NOTE: If you do a background check and hear about the kid who got shot in the neck with a firework at one of these games, I was TOTALLY not involved in that. NOTE #2: I rumbled on the O-Line, #Sconnie4Life
  • Made a really sweet one-handed interception in a UW-Madison intramural game one time. And it was my LEFT hand.
  • Dominated a pick-up football game on the front lawn of the Kohl Center while waiting for basketball tickets. Wasn’t even sober. Ran like the wind.
  • December 3rd, 2011. Wisconsin vs. Michigan State in the first ever B1G Championship. 4th quarter, 2nd and goal at the 5, down 6. I told EVERYONE I knew sitting by me that we were gonna run the shovel pass. I LOVE THE SHOVEL PASS. And what did Russell do? Ran a pitch-perfect (get it?) shovel pass to Montee. Six.
But there’s so much more to coaching football than football itself. How can you adequately evaluate me unless you really know me? And there’s no better way to know a person than to ask them what kinds of movies they like. So, let’s keep this relevant. Coach Rif’s Top 5 Favorite Football Flicks:
  1. Remember The Titans. I’m all about diversity, and moving players around to find their best position, and STRONG SIDE
  2. Sleepers. Not a football movie, you say? OH HO HO, I challenge you to find a more satisfying victory than the boys beating the guards and Rizzo giving his LIFE for victory. That’s the kind of motivation I aim to employ.
  3. The Blind Side. I start to salivate thinking about what we could do with a kid like Michael Oher. GOTTA COME TO O-LINE U, KIDDO.
  4. The Replacements. I have an idea for a new movie. It’s called: THE WALK-ONS. And it’s all about how we’re gonna own the B1G with the best walk-on program this side of MILWAUKEE.
  5. Jerry Maguire. You see how much Jerry loved his players? And how, in turn, they believed in him and achieved success they could only DREAM of? Yeah. Let’s do dat.
As you can see, my heart and mind are in the exact right place to lead Wisconsin back to glory. Pound the rock on offense, Blitz B on defense, Wisconsin forever.

Regards,

Coach Rif

PS – Can’t call myself Coach B for obvious reasons, people don’t forget.
Also had to update the old résumé:


After submitting, I realized I missed a letter in 'pizza'. Gonna assume UW handles résumés the same way the rest of the world does: grammatical mistake = automatic rejection. I'll be kicking myself over this for years. YEARS.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

B1G Championship vs. #5 Ohio State

I'm a big fan of callbacks. I love when some seemingly unimportant detail from the past is suddenly relevant and takes on a whole new meaning. Perhaps I'm being vague. Let's use an example:



That's a tweet from 2 years ago from some guy named Cardale Jones. At the time, he was just a no name idiot on the OSU football team tweeting out something funny that sports blogs used to fill the page during the day. Now? Now he's starting at quarterback for Ohio State in the B1G Championship Game.

That just kind of sums up this game, though. I have no inside information, but I firmly believe athletes at Wisconsin actually have to take care of the student part of student-athlete. I know several recruits they really wanted had to go elsewhere because they couldn't even get accepted at Wisconsin. I'm going to assume it's not the same kind of operation at Ohio State. Feels like we're going up against a football factory.

And that's what will make it all the sweeter when we emerge from Indy with ANOTHER B1G title. 4 in 5 years would be downright stupid. Wisconsin fans are for sure going to be outnumbered in Indy - OSU is still alive for the playoff - but that won't be the first time that's happened. And we've done alright in Indy in recent years.

Now let's go beat the shit out of the Buckeyes and grab some hardware.



CHICAGO BADGERS: THREAT LEVEL MIDNIGHT NIGHT GAME ALERT. I LOVE NIGHT GAMES! And this one is great because we get to watch the UW hoops team STOMP Marquette during the day, rest up, and THEN we all gather at Will's to rage for another B1G Championship. CAN'T WAIT. See ya there.



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: FOX
WEATHER: WE GON' BE INSIDE, HIDE YA KIDS




Thursday, November 27, 2014

#18 Minnesota

Kind of unfortunate that Thanksgiving and #HateWeek have to coincide. Last thing we should be doing this week is hating, but Minnesota is coming to town and this is the biggest UW/Minny game in at least a decade. That requires proper hating. I'm sorry, Swiftness.

#HateWeek

Sure, I could point out (again) that the last time Minnesota beat Wisconsin in football YouTube wasn't invented yet. I could probably google up a bunch of fun little facts like that. But let's let the flagship @UWMadison and official @UWBuckyBadger Twitter accounts handle the burnage.



Okay I'm also distracted with the cuteness. NEEDS MORE HATE



Nothing better than grabbing some logs and building a nice fire this week. Eat it, Goldy.



Oh man, I love that for like a million reasons. Poor Kelsey Finger (terrible name) didn't even mention @UWMadison, and yet they came flying in out of nowhere to roast her brain. That's excellent hustle.

PS - Admittedly, all the alumni/alumna/alumnae/alumnus stuff is really confusing. Part of me felt kinda bad for Kelsey Fingerlinger but then the other part of me went back to laughing at this girl's mentions when the hot fire burn got retweeted like 200 times in her eyes.

PPS - Not a lot of love for Minnesota in the Google Game:



PPPS - I don't know if you've heard, but they're changing up the Axe procedure on Saturday:
The axe, a longtime symbol of the rivalry, will remain in the UW locker room until late in the game. Once it becomes clear which team will win, the axe will be placed in the end zone nearest the locker room of the winning team. UW's locker room is near the north end zone; Minnesota's locker room is near the south end zone.
This all stems from the game last year, when the Badgers (obviously) won and then went to chop down some Gopher goalposts - AS IS TRADITION. They waited for Minnesota to sing their lame ass fight song and then tried getting all lumbersexual on the field... only to have the pathetic Gophers HOLD THE LINE and prevent them from chopping. This is stupid. Things started getting heated, and it was about to be a full-on riot if some coaches didn't get in there and de-escalate.

So I'm guessing after we win on Saturday, we'll stand around and let the proper amount of time pass, allow Minnesota to go in the locker room, shower, board their bus, and then we'll gets to the chopping.

Fucking with tradition when you really don't need to. Not a fan.



CHICAGO BADGERS: Oh, hello Mr. 2:30 Game, nice to see you again. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving makes it tough to round up a crew. I'm sure people have retreated to their home bases. Enjoy your weekend, peoples.

IT'S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR: LAST CALL FOR MOVEMBER DONATIONS. True story: my boss was shocked and upset that I had more money raised than him. So if you donate, you can help me beat my boss! Wait, this sounds like the opposite of what I should be doing. You can donate HERE.



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: BTN
WEATHER: 30'S, KINDA CLOUDY, 95% CHANCE OF GOPHER TEARS