Thursday, October 30, 2014

at Rutgers

Observations from Madison:
  • CRANES EVERYWHERE. I love the people that cry about the city building itself up a little. 'GONNA LOSE THAT SMALL TOWN CHARM I LOVE'. Dumbest thing in the world. If you don't modernize, in 15 years every building looks like that really shitty little house that used to be across the street from Riley's/420. You do not want a city full of that shitty little house that used to be across the street from Riley's/420. Madison is all CUTTING EDGE with small town charm. That requires some new, hot looking buildings with rooftop pools and additional BBQ restaurants. Fucking love Madison 2.0.
  • One time not long ago I remarked that I loved when girls wore all those red/black flannels on gamedays. Someone quickly pointed out how absurdly Sconnie it is to find that look supremely attractive compared to the 'standard' gameday getups around the country. Touche. But still, hellllo.
  • The KK is still exactly what the KK has always been. A dungeon that people trick themselves into believing is the best bar on the planet. I'll never fully understand it. But I at least went with the flow and enjoyed myself because of the company, not because of the location. Plus, anytime two large people are basically having sex at the bar at like 7 PM, you can sit back and smile:

FYI her hand is up his shirt there. That giant man has a shirt held together by the two middle buttons, which is some kind of sorcery. It's also in the most visible part of the KK (front bar, right by the entrance). Eventually one of her friends came by and gave her the 'I think you're really drunk and should go home before you accidentally have sex on top of the bar and people take Snapchats of it, k hun?' speech. That's both the best and the worst friend possible. We may or may not have booed her.
  • Everyone knows that the REAL KK is the Karaoke Kid. I could not speak on Sunday or Monday because my voice was thrashed from belting out 'Sex on Fire', 'Since U Been Gone', and a million other hot jams. Karaoke Kid is just a strange little spot. It's basically a hallway of a bar that I think sells sake bombs and is owned by an old Asian lady (PERHAPS THE ASIAN FROM RILEY'S? perhapsnot) and has killer karaoke. Great way to be drunk and act out and not feel completely psycho.
  • Is it me or does every place with a parking lot now do OFFICIAL gameday parties? The fucking HONG KONG CAFE was throwing DOWN in their parking lot. Rocky's was one-in one-out just to booze there, let alone chew. I've never seen this before. Maybe I never walked down Regent in a sober enough mindset to appreciate it, but it's absolutely beautiful and glorious and Wisconsin that any property with a square foot of pavement is selling beer and playing music.
  • Speaking of music, fully on board with T-$wift Shake It Off. I don't think she's really that good of a singer, but if she can write hooks like that song then it doesn't even matter. Fucking danced my face off to that song all weekend at every opportunity possible. I wanna release a remix of it that just does the chorus again instead of the brutal white girl rap part. Damnit Taylor. Don't you remember what happens when you try to look too cool?



Oh fuck me, I'm hate hate hate hate hate hating aren't I? I'M SORRY T-$WIFT
  • The food at Camp Randall still sucks. Boring hot dogs. Plain brats. I finally found the ONE different stand that sold some sausage sampler platter and drunk Brandon was EXCITED. Meh. It was 3 interesting mini sausages on buns with no fun cheeses or sauces or toppings and oh god I just need Hot Doug's back in my life. Anyway, for a fucking state FAMOUS for the kind of food made for stadium concessions, Camp Randall gets 0 curds out of 10.
  • Asian Kitchen, still fire.
Good times, as always.

PS - If you think I've been doing anything other than listening to Shake It Off while shakewriting this entire section then you're out of your damn mind. If my friends from Will's are reading this, I think we know what the new pre-game song has to be. TIMBER OUT. T-$WIFT IN. #ONSHAKESCONSIN



CHICAGO BADGERS: Post-Halloween 11 AM gamedays really separate the men and women from the boys and girls. Don't be a boy or girl. Be a man or a woman.




WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: ESPN
WEATHER: 40s, RAINY, SWEET WEATHER YOU GOT THERE RUTGERS




Thursday, October 23, 2014

Maryland

So I'm going up to Madison this weekend. I'll probably end up at Camp Randall for the game, and I'm sure I'll drink a million beers regardless of where I go. But on an email chain planning out the weekend, one of the guys tossed out going to L'Etoile Friday night for dinner. Couple problems with this in my mind:
  1. I've literally NEVER been to a restaurant with a name I can't pronounce and enjoyed myself.
  2. When I think of all the beautiful booze I could buy with that money, I start to tear up.
  3. I know for a fact that I would be SIGNIFICANTLY happier eating at Rocky's than I would eating at Frenchy McFrencherville's.
I'm aware that I'm in the minority for that. Everything dictates that because this is a really nice, fancy place with a chef that people have probably heard of, the experience would be OUT OF BOUNDS. But I don't dig on that. I'm also a firm believer that when you have a group of 8 bros, you don't need to spend every waking second of a weekend trip together. I have zero intention of preventing the group from feeding each other pan-seared scallops with asparagus puree and a sprinkling of deconstructed zucchini pasta HAND-CRAFTED by Chef Moinsoreé. If you get down on that, power to you.

But I'll be much happier with a fine Sausage pizza thrown in the oven by Chet, the sophomore from Janesville working the Friday night shift at the Rocky's on Regent. You can get fancy Maine lobster with buttercup squash beurre blanc ANYWHERE. Rocky's sausage is UNIQUE and not available in Chicago and therefore I WANT.

PS - It used to be 'How do you know you don't like it? You've never tried it!' Yeah well I've started trying all this fancy shit and I just don't like it. #TeamRockys4Life

PPS - Pretty sure for $20 you could eat like a king at Rocky's and drink like 5 beers. I don't know how anything could make more sense.

3xPS - If I make it through this entire weekend without getting Rocky's, I will be MOST
disappointed.



CHICAGO BADGERS: I think the LOFOMO (Law of FOMO) should make me want everyone to stay home and be boners since I'll be gone. But that's crazy. Go get your Wills on.



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: BTN
WEATHER: 66, SUNNY, LATE OCTOBER SUNBURN HERE WE COME



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Illinois

UGH. Every inch of that game was exactly the miserable experience I expected. It wouldn't be a trip to Evanston without shitty weather, a sloppy game, overeager nerds, and a final score that makes you wonder how it was all possible. How does a team with Melvin Gordon rushing for 259 yards on 27 carries only score 14 points? How does a team that rushed 25 times for 50 yards the week before go off for 203 yards against what was a stout Wisconsin defense? How did Gary Andersen and Andy Ludwig watch Tanner McEvoy throw the ball during fall camp and decide that HE would be the starting quarterback? Oh, I know the answer to that last one! "We want a mobile quarterback who can make plays with his feet."

WELL THEN MAYBE YOU SHOULD CALL PLAYS THAT UTILIZE HIS ABILITY TO MAKE PLAYS WITH HIS FEET. Read options, options, rollouts, bootlegs... you know, plays where a mobile quarterback can actually be lethal? Why don't we do any of that? Instead, we get a mobile quarterback with 1 rushing attempt for 8 yards and 10 passing attempts for 24 yards. That is on the coaches. It's not McEvoy's fault that he can't throw the damn ball. It's Andersen's and Ludwig's fault that they put him back there and asked him to be a standard pocket passer. NOT HIS STRENGTH. Here's what I saw in that Northwestern game (I was drunk and haven't re-watched it and have no desire to do so):

THE GOOD:
  • MGIII would be a top 3 Heisman contender if Stave was named the starter before the LSU game. I STILL maintain we would've beaten LSU, and no way were we going to lose to Northwestern if Stave had 4 games and 5 weeks of practice with the 1's, as opposed to coming in cold off the bench at halftime after being mentally mind-fucked by one of the worst decisions Wisconsin coaches have made in a long time. I have no idea what other kinds of mind-fucking there are, but this was a deep mental mind-fuck on Stave. Regardless, MGIII has 871 rushing yards with 7 regular season games to go. To get to 2,000 yards before a hypothetical B1G Championship Game (LOL) or mid-card bowl game (SEC boning, coming right up), he'd need to average 161 yards a game. Illinois/Maryland/@Rutgers/@Purdue/Nebraska/@Iowa/Minnesota. I'm not betting against it.
  • Stave's 4th quarter touchdown drive. Small victory, but he made two throws that McEvoy would stand no chance of making. Given how rusty he is, those two throws alone are enough to confirm what I've known for a while: Sunshine gives us our best chance at winning football games.
  • Schoolbus drinking. Big ups to Will's on filling TWO schoolbuses, allowing for maximum schoolbus drinking. Haven't been wasted on a schoolbus in a long time. Felt good.

THE BAD:
  • That Gaglianone field goal attempt. You might think it should be 'ugly' given how badly he missed it, but attempting a field goal from that distance, on that field, in those conditions... well, it was just a stupid plan to begin with. And if you want to call Gaglianone ugly, then you're an idiot.
  • In the second half, with Stave at the helm, we won 14-10. Maybe this should be under 'good'!

THE UGLY:
  • 4 Wisconsin turnovers, 0 Northwestern turnovers. That we almost came back and stole that game was incredible. You literally never deserve to win a game with the turnover margin that lopsided. Stave's goal line pick was one of the single worst decisions a quarterback can make. The playcalling was probably worse: 1st and goal from the 3 and you have the best running back in the country. Give him the rock. 4 times in a row if you have to. And if you ARE going play-action, then the call is either 'dump to the wide open guy or THROW IT THE F AWAY'. Everything about that sequence was god-awful.
  • Speaking of turnovers, our quarterbacks get ZERO help from their receivers. Stave threw some decent deep balls, and even McEvoy's pick wasn't that bad (idk, again, drunk). But if the receivers are content sitting there waiting for the ball to get to them, then they're also content watching the other team make plays on the ball and making me want to cry. Get up there, high point it, and make a damn play. Big area of concern coming into the season being validated right in front of our sad eyes.
  • The rushing defense. Just, ugh.
  • Playcalling balance. Any time MGIII racks up 260 yards on 10 yards a carry, YOU SHOULD NOT BE THROWING THE BALL MORE THAN YOU'RE FEEDING HIM. In what galaxy do you expect to get 10 yards per passing attempt with this offense? I don't care about time or situation: if you have no passing game to speak off, then you feed your Heisman-caliber running back who was in the midst of ripping their defense apart, one first down at a time.

There are probably 17 more 'uglies'. I'm over this game. Hate it. Done with it. Don't like its face.



CHICAGO BADGERS:
 I'm sure the turnout at Will's for an 11 AM game on the heels of the debacle in Evanston will be super. This is my yearly reminder that yes, even as shitty as they look, you'll YEARN for these gamedays once they're gone. Don't let a silly little thing like a hangover hold you back. Chug water, pass out, scalding hot shower, greasy food, Sugar Ray, BOOM, no more hangover. It's worked for centuries.



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: ESPN2
WEATHER: 50s, MOSTLY SUNNY, SMALL CHANCE OF TEARS BECAUSE I WILL LITERALLY CRY IF WE LOSE TO ILLINOIS


Thursday, October 2, 2014

at Northwestern

Who's ready for a QUARTERBACK CONTROVERSY?
"I feel a lot better than I did about a month ago," [Stave] said. "Obviously, everything around that time was pretty emotional for me. I was upset and frustrated and everything that goes along with it. That's something that I had to work through, but I feel like I did a good job with that."

...

"He's starting to look like the old Stave getting his confidence back," Badgers wide receiver Kenzel Doe said after Tuesday's practice. "You definitely see him in more team reps. You can tell he's starting to get that confidence back, and he's starting to throw the ball like he used to."

...

"If things start to go bad or Tanner gets hurt, through this whole thing I've prepared mentally like I always would," Stave said. "I've watched film, taken notes and done what I need to do to feel like I have a good enough feel for the defense. So just continue to do that. If my number is called, then I'll be ready to go." (via)
I AM I AM I AM.

Listen, we've seen the Tanner McEvoy show. It IS pretty cool having a 6'6 quarterback who can run and juke and take a hit. But it's kind of a lot cooler having a quarterback who can throw the ball with at least a TINY chance of hitting the receiver. Too many times we've seen McEvoy miss WIDE OPEN receivers. That's probably the most frustrating part: those 'layups' that Andersen is so adamant about completing are being missed with glaring inaccuracy. I will ALWAYS believe that if Stave was named the starter for the LSU game, he never would've gotten the shanks, and we would've won that game.

That's why I'm hoping Stave can get his head on straight and work his way back up the depth chart. This offense will NOT be able to thrive against Nebraska, Iowa, and maybe not even against Northwestern this weekend if it's purely one dimensional. Our running game is our bread and butter, but without the play-action throw as a viable threat, we're going to hit troubled waters. I do not like troubled waters.

So keep on keepin' on, Stave. It may be cloudy now, but the sunshine will poke through soon enough. Please.



CHICAGO BADGERS: Well, how about that? Will's IS providing bus transportation to the Northwestern game this Saturday. The tentative plan is to leave Will's around noon, get dropped off near the stadium, and then bus on back after the game. Price will be $25 and include beer on the bus. If you're interested, send me names. Also, if you have extra tickets to the game itself, let me know.



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: ESPN2
WEATHER: DON'T WORRY IT'S GONNA BE OKAY i hope



Friday, September 26, 2014

South Florida

Let's start with this:



Hmmmm. Okay:





So we're clear: Auggie Sanchez is convinced that the South Florida Bulls are going to come up to Madison and silence 82,000 fans. And he's convinced this will happen in South Florida's first road game of the year (they've played 4 home games), after they lost two home games in front of crowds slightly larger than the UW student section.

Idk, but maybe we shouldn't jump to conclusions. WHO IS Auggie Sanchez?



Woof. But you know what? Actions speak louder than pictures. I bet Auggie is an integral member of the machine that is the South Florida football team. LET'S INVESTIGATE:



Nope. Perhaps when you grew up in Florida, and you're a redshirt freshman fullback, and there's not even any evidence that you've gotten on the field yet this year, and you've never played in a D1 college football game outside of your home stadium... you should keep your mouth shut on media day.

For the record, I am not oblivious to the fact that I am kinda running my mouth from the comfort of my keyboard. POINT STILL STANDS

PS - Auggie? Is that short for August? Agusto? No way Auggie's the birth name.



CHICAGO BADGERS: Who all thinks Will's should get a school bus to transport people to and from the Northwestern game in two weeks say YEAH

(They should.)

(I really like boozing on school buses. Is that weird?)

(School bus should be one word.)



WHO/WHERE/WHEN


TV: ESPNU DAMNIT
WEATHER: 78, MOSTLY SUNNY, BOTTLE IT UP AND SAVE IT FOR JANUARY


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bowling Green & Mini-Mailbag

"WHOA HEY, why wasn't there a mailbag last week?"

VALID QUESTION. And since I don't embrace excuses, I'm going to work the solution. MINI MAILBAG before we get to Bowling Green. VAMOS


Marissa R:

How many spiders do you think there are in the world? 
Oh, fuck you. Do you REALLY want to know how many spiders there are in the world? Or do you just want to inject nightmare fuel into my brain by forcing me to google every inch of the interwebs? SPIDER PUN.

You know the first thing I learned?





I feel like Morpheus when Neo told him the prophecy was a lie. I DON'T BELIEVE THAT.

But I dug deeper. Deeper into the spiderhole. WORST HOLE EVER. According to some dude who loved spiders way too much back in 1973, there was an average of 130.8 spiders per square meter. Okay, now we're getting somewhere. There's also 148.94 million square kilometers of land on earth (we're ignoring the 70% of the earth covered in water since everyone knows that a spider in water is just an octopus). But wait, shouldn't we subtract out Antarctica and the North Pole since Penguins and Santa would never fuck with spiders? Oh, we can't do that because there are these alleged SEA SPIDER MONSTERS that live in those places.


I tried converting square meters to square kilometers, and that sucked. And then I tried going from 148.94 million square kilometers to square meters, and THAT sucked even more. Google's giving me numbers with an 'e' in it. Do you really think I remember how to use 'e's in numbers? I DO NOT.

CONCLUSION: At any given time, on any piece of land in this world, LOOK OUT THERE'S A SPIDER ON YOUR FOOT. THERE ARE ELEVENTY BILLION SPIDERS ON EARTH and 12 of them live in your apartment; I hope you can't sleep at night. You shouldn't eat after 8 PM, and that includes the 14 spiders you eat in your sleep every year.

PS - 'I don't get why people hate spiders; they eat other bugs!'

-The worst person in the conversation, every time



Danny G:
Situation: Your job gives you 1 year off work, with pay. The only stipulation is that you need to spend all 365 days living in Madison, WI. What do you do to take full advantage of this situation? I’m looking for where you choose to live, what your weekly agenda looks like, etc. FYI, you are the only one who gets this 1-year sabbatical, so you can’t just bring a bunch of your Chicago friends with you.
Let's get the obvious out of the way: I'm immediately getting season tickets to basketball, football, and hockey. Being in Madison for a year without my friends means I'm gonna need any and all forms of entertainment. Plus I could go to the football games early and try to give Stave advice on how to get rid of the shanks! 'QUIT THINKING ABOUT THE GIRL, JOEL. IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD'

As far as a living situation goes, I want to strike that balance of close to everything cool... but far enough away from students that I don't feel old as shit every day when I walk out my door. I wouldn't live down by the Capitol, since that's TOTES an old person move. And that's far as fuck away from Camp Randall. Maybe somewhere like Regent and Charter? That's in between the Kohl Center and Camp Randall, not on the main stretch of campus, and ROCKY'S. Rocky's proximity might trump everything else. That's clutch proximity.


The weekly agenda gets tough. I don't really have any friends when I start this sabbatical, so I think the first step is to join some clubs so I can meet some people in the 26-30 bucket. Is there like a beer drinking, sports watching, terrace sitting club? Adult Hoofers? Should I go to Epic and pretend to work there just to see where they all go? This is really the most important part: without some friends, shit would be boring. Don't get me wrong, AMAZING boring, but still boring. So that would be my top priority.


I can get cute and tell you that I would go to the arboretum or do other adulty nerdy things, but I'd probably just drink and eat my way into an early grave. A one year paid sabbatical in Madison is a DANGEROUS thing for a single guy with a big appetite.



RealSectionX:

Shirt tucked in or not?
I think the older you get, the more likely you are to tuck your shirt in. This is problematic, because the older you get, the fatter you get. And nothing makes you look fatter than tucking a shirt in. That's it. That's the #1 way to look fat. Forget all that nonsense about horizontal stripes. Unless you have a flat stomach (die), tucking in your shirt just screams out 'HEY LOOK AT MAH GUT'.

Obviously, you have to tuck your shirt in in SOME situations. These are mine:

  • Any shirt with dress pants, but NOT with khakis
  • Playing soccer or basketball, for the first 5 minutes until you realize you don't care because you're playing a sport
Wait I think those are literally the only times I ever tuck my shirt in. If it's a button down shirt with dress pants or during an organized sporting event. I never tuck my shirt into jeans. That's insane. I think if Obama came to my office on a day when I was wearing jeans and a button down, I would MAYBE think about tucking. But then Barack would know I was fat. CONUNDRUM.

SHOULD I have been tucking my polos in to my khakis all these years? Probably. But that shit's uncomfortable. It traps heat. It bunches. And you can't forget a belt and get away with it if you're a tucker. What happens that one random day you forget to wear a belt? You just go untucked? How do you explain that to people? Better to go untucked 365 days a year, so that on that fateful Tuesday in October that you leave your apartment beltless, NO ONE KNOWS.



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Western Illinois

I have absolutely no idea what's going on.

As I sat down to start writing this, Andersen called a press conference to address Joel Stave's status. Is he hurt? WAS he hurt? If he's not hurt, why isn't he playing? Is he shut down? The answers to all of these questions have varied. He was practicing leading up to the LSU game, so he couldn't have been hurt. But then reports came out saying that he WAS hurt, and that his shoulder was bothering him. But NOW we're being told that he's NOT injured, and he just has a wicked case of the shanks.

In other words, this was our quarterback in practice last week:


And this was our quarterback warming up before the LSU game:



I'll spare you a thousand words on the Tanner/Roy McEvoy connection. Allow me just to say that I'm depressed that I had to use TWO Tin Cup videos for such dire circumstances.

But this wasn't all just limited to Sunshine. I haven't even mentioned the MGIII debacle. His is similar to Stave's, just kind of in reverse: first he WAS hurt with a little hip flexor thing, then he WASN'T hurt and just had some kind of misunderstanding with the coaching staff, but now maybe he does have an itty bitty hip flexor thing? CHRIST. What in the fuck is actually going on in Madison?

I like Gary Andersen. He seems like a genuinely good guy. He seems like he really knows football - especially on the defensive side of the ball. He seems like he's a pretty good recruiter, and it even seems like players enjoying playing for him. But I no longer trust him. There's simply not any good reason to believe the words that come out of his mouth going forward. It's really not that damning of an indictment - coachspeak is a thing for a reason. Coaches have all sorts of motivation to be coy and play games of semantics. I understand that. And if he was doing it to protect his players, then I suppose it's rather admirable. I guess I just thought we had a straight shooter at the helm. That is no longer the case.

With that said, here's what I saw in the LSU shitshow:

THE GOOD
  • MGIII ain't afraid of SEC speed. Averaging almost 9 yards a carry is impressive against Southeast Oklahoma Tech A&M. Doing it against LSU? That's damn near incredible. The 63-yard scamper was a thing of beauty, but also a sign that perhaps he was a little dinged up. True, he didn't take the best angle, but I have a hard time believing a fully healthy MGIII gets caught from behind that easily. Minor quibble - when he was in the game, he was a force.
  • Reggie Love is making me look smart. I've whiffed on my breakout players for like 4 straight years, so you'll have to excuse me if I'm momentarily a little proud of myself for giving Love some... love here. That Jet Sweep was executed PERFECTLY.
  • That rebuilt front 7 actually looked pretty good while it was healthy. In fact, they looked REALLY good while healthy. LSU didn't really have much cooking on offense. They burned us deep on one play when our true freshman safety took a brutal angle, but otherwise LSU really didn't do a damn thing offensively on us... until the injuries happened. Zags and Herring went down, and THEN the Tigers started moving the ball with conviction. I remain optimistic on this defense.
  • Michael Caputo is a monster. He made every single tackle AND recovered a fumble. The defense still has some question marks, but he is not one of them. HUGE year coming.
  • #GAGLIANONE. I tried to tell you how much you were gonna love this kid. I have a feeling el gato is now officially out of el bago. Forget for a second the 51-yard field goal that he KILLCRUSHED. Let us enjoy:


#GOLAZO

Man. I can't get enough of that. What a marvelous individual.

In fact, let's see that again, in SLOW MOTION:


HIPS DON'T LIE