Thursday, December 26, 2013

Capital One Bowl vs. #9 South Carolina

Absolutely brutal stretch here. The football team's been off for weeks following that Penn State debacle, and the hoops team is mired in the middle of a two week break. I AM NOT ENTERTAINED.

But things are looking up. The basketball squad is back in action Saturday (and here in Chicago Thursday), and we close the first chapter of the Gary Andersen era on Wednesday in Orlando. I know, I know, I say this every year: Where the hell did this season go? I swear we were getting hosed against ASU, like, a week ago. Now it's almost 2014, there's one game left on the calendar, it's -5 degrees out every day, and Saturdays lose all of their gameday flavor. SO SAD.

I guess it's not all doom and gloom, however. With a win against South Carolina, Coach Andersen will wrap up his maiden Badger voyage with a 10-win season and a resume-building victory over an SEC opponent. Could this team have flown higher? Of course. But ending on a high note in Orlando will give the program some real momentum as GA continues to make this program his.

Plus the basketball team is kind of amazing. But we'll focus on them in a few weeks. For now, let's talk South Carolina.


1) Take off work on 1/2.
2) Go to Will's for the game; don't worry about being miserable at work the next day.
3) Go to Evanston Thursday night to watch your undefeated hot-ass basketball team thump the nerds.
4) Go to Buff Joe's after the game for incredible wings.
5) By now you're just playing with house money. Congrats.

OH LOOK, A QUICK PLUG FOR MY DAD'S BLOG: He has a new post up on vulnerability. Everyone could learn a few things reading it. Check it out.

I HAVE TO LINK TO HIS BLOG OR HE'LL KICK ME OFF THE FAMILY PLAN: I'm staying on that family plan until I DIE.

BECAUSE I KEEP GETTING ASKED: I'll switch over to basketball in two weeks. So I will continue assaulting your inbox right up until Game of Thrones returns. At this point, I'm pretty sure Spring has been replaced by Game of Thrones Season. Winter, Game of Thrones, Summer, Fall, repeat.


Because truthfully, I know next-to-nothing about the school. Or the state. It's all a giant mystery to me.


Back in 8th grade, my school did your standard Washington D.C. trip. We grabbed a meal in the food court of some mall and had some time to kill before heading out, so we did a little unnecessary shopping. Next thing I know, I'm the proud owner of a South Carolina hat. Why did I buy a South Carolina hat?

Oh IDK probably because I was 13 years old and kind of a moron? My genius plan was to throw it on for our class picture and then laugh for eternity because COCKS. Right when the photographer was about to take the picture he stopped, looked up, and yelled, 'Hey kid in the cocks hat, turn it around NOW'.

The COCKS hat did not make the 2000 Bayside Middle School 8th Grade Washington D.C. picture.


Can I point out that I'm 28 years old and now laughing at the fact that their mascot's official name is Cocky? Plus, the detailed stories behind these mascots always crack me up:

The current version of Cocky made his debut at the Homecoming game of 1980. He was portrayed as the son of Big Spur, a large barn yard rooster that had been attending games since 1978 as a mascot of the university. Big Spur had been introduced as a fraternity pledge class project headed by student Chuck Eaton. Eaton served as the mascot from 1978 until 1980 when the role was taken over by USC student John Routh. Big Spur was seen as too large and unwieldy. Therefore, Cocky, Big Spur's "son", was brought in to replace Big Spur. At the introduction of Cocky, he was originally booed off the field by students and fans who thought he was not "dignified enough".

I'm DYING to know what Big Spur was doing that he was deemed too 'unwieldy'. And color me COMPLETELY surprised that a giant, cartoon version of a fighting rooster was not very dignified. Based on my extensive experience with cockfights, dignity is a requirement:

PS - More Cocky:

The original Cocky was John Routh, 1980-1982, who later became Billy the Marlin for the Florida Marlins. Charlie Fitzsimmons followed in 1983-1985. Tommy Donavan portrayed Cocky in the early 90's and later became the Carolina Panthers mascot, Sir Purr. Ironically, Routh and Donovan appeared together in 1991 at the Japan Bowl in Tokyo, an all-star football game...Donovan as Cocky, and Routh as The Miami Maniac, the mascot of University of Miami baseball. Jamie Ballentine is perhaps the longest-serving Cocky at four years from 2002-2006, during which he won Capitol One's Mascot Bowl.

Are some people... mascot lifers? What are the most desirable mascot jobs in America? Did I laugh at the line, 'longest-serving Cocky'? So many questions, and only one thing to do: MASCOT PERFORMANCE POWER RANKINGS

1) The Raptor skates and derps into infamy. We've all seen this before. This is the PEAK of mascot performance art:

2) Swoop, AKA Polly, learns the hard way that if you come at the Pet Detective King, you best not miss. IDIOT!

3) The Oregon Duck humps Shasta The Cougar's face. Easily the best part of these videos is that no one really knows when it crosses the line from 'Oh look at the cute mascots playing together!' to 'Wait I think Sparty just shanked Brutus, call an ambulance'. Look at that woman trying to separate them - she's smiling the whole time! IS SHE IN ON THE ACT?

4) Some Sort of Mutant Chicken vs. A Devious Stegosaurus/Barney The Dinosaur Combo. We're reaching the point where if one mascot pulled out a gun and shot another mascot, I would probably still be on the fence about laughing or showing genuine concern. It's not my fault they keep that same, stupid-happy look on their face.

5) The Goofy Elephant covering his eyes in The Sweetest Thing. GUILTY PLEASURE ALERT: Probably my favorite chick flick. And this is hands-down the best scene in the movie. Something about that giant elephant covering his eyes, as if that will actually keep him hidden, gets me real good. BTW, kinda NSFW. CLICK IF YOU DARE

PPS - Not really sure why I like this movie so much:

Oh wait I remember, Smokeshow City.

PPPS - 1) Selma Blair, 2) Christina Applegate, 3) Cameron Diaz, 4) I don't care if you disagree.


Wilson Casey, columnist, author, Guinness World Record Holder. Sounds like a pretty cool guy, right? Let's check that world record:

He earned two Guinness World Records (trivia marathon and radio broadcasting) for a thirty-hour live, continuous broadcast on radio station WKDY-AM on January 9–10, 1999 in SpartanburgSouth Carolina. During the 30 hours he asked and identified the correct answer to 3,333 questions. Casey is regularly called and labeled "The Trivia Guy".

Okay, cool, so he's Ken Jennings but without the millions of dollars and Jeopardy fame and his pre-marital sex wasn't limited to soaking. Got it.

Also, it offends me that these are officially sanctioned world records. Do I hold the world record for most Badger Previews ever written? There should be 100 official world records that everyone in the world tries to break. No more of this 'coming up with your own stupid record just to get your name in the book' stuff. Limit it to the normal records like holding your breath, maximum bench press, and popping your eyeballs out of your head:

PS - Don't Google Image search 'eyeball popping' if you want to eat in the next 3 days.

Alex Daniels, stunt coordinator for Borat. Of all the movies in the world, I think Borat is the last one I'd want to coordinate stunts for. He had to be VERY hands-on in the whole Borat/Azamat naked adventure scene. And being hands-on with a naked Azamat does not sound like a good time. I'm guessing Daniels didn't make a hand-party for WEEKS after his involvement in that debauchery.

Hootie & The Blowfish, probably the best band ever. "Hold My Hand", "Time", "Only Wanna Be With You", and "Let Her Cry". Boom. You cannot do better than that. That is musical perfection. Nothing they do with the rest of their lives matters because they cannot top writing those 4 songs for the same album. If Darius Rucker cured cancer tomorrow, his tombstone would still read, 'Here lies Darius Rucker, the man who changed the world by writing those 4 badass songs.'

Don't ever ask me to rank those songs because that's legitimately more ridiculous than asking a parent to rank their children.

Marva Smalls, executive vice president of public affairs and chief of staff for Nickelodeon. And here I am being an idiot thinking I'll never get to be a chief of staff because I'm way too real for the political world. I had no idea you could be the chief of staff at a company like Nickelodeon. This changes EVERYTHING.

South Carolina EASILY has the worst famous alumni. If you dream big, better go somewhere else for college.




UW QB Joel Stave vs. Wide-Open Jared Abbrederis

In big games, I always put my EXPERT ANALYST hat on tell you to watch for a few certain things: turnovers, special teams, time of possession, etc. These are typically the factors that determine if you're going home to celebrate or drink your own tears.

But I'm not doing that today. No, I'm going to tell you right now that if Stave can't consistently hit Abby when he's open, we're in for big, big trouble. From the second Andersen was hired, he's said that this offense will remain run-first, but they'll look for big plays out of the play-action. And that's great! Well, it's great assuming you can actually, ya know, hit those play-action bombs.

Unfortunately for Wisconsin, Stave hasn't been hitting those play-action shots at a consistent level. Too many times he's underthrown a wide-open Abby streaking down the field. Sometimes Abby can bail him out and make a good catch, but he has to do so at the sake of gaining extra yards/scoring. This can't happen when you're playing quality competition. Against IU and Minnesota? Sure, you can afford to make those mistakes. But with a formidable SEC opponent on the other side of the ball? You're simply not going to get enough chances to blow the ones you have.

If you wanna look ahead, this is a really, really important game for Stave's future. He's had a decent season, but it doesn't take a sports genius to hear Andersen talk about the need for a more consistent passing game and infer that Stave needs to hit his throws more often. The competition will be open in the Spring, but Stave can do himself a world of help by at the very least, making the throws he should.

USC DE Jadeveon Clowney vs. Giving A Fuck vs. UW Offensive Line

TRIPLE THREAT MATCH(up). Here are three facts:
  • Clowney is one of the most supremely gifted and talented athletes in the world.
  • Clowney went through the motions and gave zero fucks this season.
  • Clowney is still capable of this:

Maybe he was worried about his pro prospects. Maybe he got tired of having to pretend he was a STUDENT-athlete. I have no idea. But for him to finish with 3 sacks a year after notching 13 is nothing short of ridiculous.

And as a Badger fan? I'm terrified. He's heard all the bad press. He knows what his coaches think. He knows what the NFL scouts think. And he knows that with one good performance against a very good offensive line, he can ease the concerns about him at the next level. I'm fully expecting a fired-up Clowney to show up in Orlando, so it will be interesting to see how Andersen, Aranda, and the UW defense handle him. Do they try to contain him one-on-one? Do they bring running backs, fullbacks, and tight ends over to help on him? I'm not sure, but I can promise you that significant practice time will be devoted to devising a plan to keep Clowney in check. Otherwise, I fear for Stave's health.


Uh oh, I'm throwing some NEW (for me) music into the mix this week. Don't need any help from my 'experts'. And I'm gonna start with this catchy track from Cage The Elephant.

I have no idea what genre this qualifies as. Really Good Female Singer? Is that a genre? If so, this song is a perfect example of the Really Good Female Singer genre.

This song has grown on me. I feel like it's right on the cusp of being a true hit, but it's not quite there. And yet, I keep listening to it. What do I know.

Every time I listen to 'Still Into You', I like to think that Hayley is singing about ME. I also refuse to ever type a negative thing about her in the off-chance she googles my history once we start dating. NOTHING BUT LOVE HERE

Only because it's about damn time that Led Zeppelin is on Spotify. I have no clue why record companies and bands would prevent Spotify from using their music. Here's how I look at it: With Spotify, I will gladly pay $10 a month to listen to music. Without Spotify, I will gladly pirate any damn song I want and not spend a dime on music. I do not think I'm alone.


Last game for Borland

I just might shed a few tears

End it with a win


When you're watching a game at a bar that you don't really care about, this is exactly what you're hoping for. For 30 seconds, I cared about the Southeast Missouri State/Memphis game. It brought me joy. It made me feel like I was watching something worthwhile.

And then 10 seconds later I stopped caring again. Perfect!

Man I love this stuff. Strap a GoPro on a ref and suddenly a 10 minute video of an AHL game becomes worth watching. I'm eternally fascinated by what refs and players say to each other during games, and this gives a great glimpse into that. He also tumbles over backwards towards the end of the video, and watching people slip on ice is ALWAYS a good time.

Score 1 for the 'every country song sounds the same' crowd.

I love daydrinking.


PIZZA FRIES! Oh, sweet, sweet pizza fries... you make me want to give up on life and eat you by the pound until I can pizza fry no more. DEATH VIA PIZZA FRY is how I want to go out. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to add Pizza Fries to the menu at Pepperoni Toni's get ready for the cash to pour in.




A totally RAD sunset in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. And a reminder that we're in that time of the year when Instagram is loaded up with pics of people skiing or hanging out in Florida. While some of us are stuck in the Midwest. I don't like these people. Take me with you on your travels.



All I can think of:


My prediction game is ice-cold right now. I was tempted to go with the reverse-jinx strategy here, but that's failed miserably in the past. So I'm just going to go with my gut. Until we start winning close games against good teams, I have a hard time confidently telling you we're going to win. These last few years, it really feels like we either win by a million or lose by a touchdown. Given that South Carolina is a good team, winning by a million seems like a longshot. Oh well. Here's to being wrong. THE PICK:



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