IT IS GAME WEEK.
I like game week. Game week means the days of 95% humidity are drawing to an end. Game week means oh my god why am I even trying to get cute with this; we have a fucking football game on Saturday. And it's not just ANY old football game. Wisconsin football season openers, last 10 years:
2005: Bowling Green
2006: @ Bowling Green
2007: Washington State
2009: Northern Illinois
2010: @ UNLV
2012: Northern Iowa
Every year, we've eased into the season like an old man into a nice warm bath. But did that collection of weak games temper our excitement? Of course not. And if we got worked up over Bowling Green and Northern Iowa, well, you can probably guess how things are gonna go on Saturday when we take the field in Houston against an SEC powerhouse. I don't think I'm being hyperbolic when I say this will basically be a bowl game atmosphere wherever you're watching. Simple math:
Night game + season opener + elite SEC opponent + hot garbage schedule for the rest of the season = this is it, folks.
Don't even bother trying to pace yourself. If you're planning on saving up for some future gameday, you're going to regret it. The hype machine is working overtime and it is completely justified.
CHICAGO BADGERS: If you show up at Will's after 6 pm and get frustrated about a line, you have no one to blame but yourself. Settle in early, have some dinner, guzzle a few beers, play some games, live the high life. Literally nowhere else you should be or anything else you should be doing.
I STILL WANT YOUR REFERRALS: Is this your first time reading the BP? Have you just been lazy before and not emailed me with your friends' email addresses? I don't embrace excuses. Send 'em over.
WEATHER: GULF MONSOONS BUT I THINK THEY HAVE A ROOF
THE DOWNLOW ON LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY
MIKE THE TIGER LIVES BETTER THAN 99% OF LOUISIANA
LSU Athletics is represented by its mascot, a live Bengal tiger named Mike the Tiger. LSU is only one of two institutions of higher education in the United States to have a live tiger as their mascot; the other is the University of Memphis. The tiger was named after Mike Chambers, LSU's athletic trainer in 1936, and was bought for $750 from the Little Rock Arkansas Zoo.Important things first: $750 in 1936 is a little under $13,000 today. That still seems pretty cheap for a real tiger. Tigers should cost around a million dollars in my mind. If you're gonna buy some rare, verge-of-extinction jungle cat, you should need boatloads of money. Wisconsin should be able to get a clan of real live badgers for like $800 according to this logic. Maybe LSU just FLEECED the Little Rock Arkansas Zoo. For some reason, I do not have much faith in whoever was in charge of sales at the Little Rock Arkansas Zoo in 1936. I'm pretty sure humans were wrastling bears for entertainment in those days. Could probably buy a bear from the LRAZ for $50 and tickets to a silent picture.
Also, a quick google search reveals that there are not many animal sales positions in zoos these days. FOR SHAME
In 2005, a new $3 million Mike the Tiger Habitat was created for Mike between Tiger Stadium and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Its amenities include lush plantings, a waterfall, a flowing stream that empties into a wading pond, and rocky plateaus. The habitat has, as a backdrop, an Italianate tower - acampanile - that creates a visual link to the Italianate architectural vernacular of LSU's campus.
- Do jungle cats wade?
- When Mike VI dies, will they change it to classical Greek architecture if Mike VII thinks the Italianate architectural vernacular is a little much?
- Is everyone comfortable with nothing but some batting cage nets keeping a jungle cat from eating their faces?
- That get-up really cost $3 million?
NOTABLE LSU ALUMNI
- Nic Pizzolatto, novelist, writer, and creator of HBO series True Detective. Well I suppose all those beautiful shots of country Louisiana make a hell of a lot more sense now. Is anyone else very low in confidence for season 2 of True Detective? Clearly we're gonna watch it, but I have minimal optimism. I don't really get how you can take away your two main characters who carried the show and come back without fucking it up. The rumored leads for season two have become almost a joke at this point. Vince Vaughn? No thanks.
- James Carville, chief political strategist for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign.
- Shaquille O'Neal, former NBA star and one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players. We will always fondly remember Shaq for making TOUT relevant. It was SO relevant for a minute there. Literally ruined what was otherwise one of the best athlete Twitter accounts.
- Lolo Jones, 2008 and 2012 Olympic hurdler, track and field. This girl's a sham. Somewhere out there is a woman who dedicated her life to bobsledding, and then Lolo comes over and boots her out of the Olympics. That's garbage. If I were that girl that got bumped for Lolo, I'd pay some goons to throw a bobsled through Lolo's living room window.
- Christina Cuenca, Miss Louisiana USA 2006. Shocker.
- Jennifer Dupont, Triple Crown winner, Miss Louisiana Teen USA 1998, Miss Louisiana USA 2000, Miss Louisiana (America) 2004. Absolutely no clue what the difference is between Miss Louisiana USA 2000 and Miss Louisiana (America) 2004 other than the 4 years. I am going to assume this is not the first thing people think of when they hear 'Triple Crown.'
- Amanda Joseph, Miss Louisiana (America) 2007. Starting to notice a trend.
- Elizabeth McNulty, Miss Louisiana USA 2007. These are literally their most famous non-athlete alumni. WAIT. Amanda Joseph won Miss Louisiana (America) in 2007 and Lizzie McNulty won Miss Louisiana USA in 2007? Someone please help.
- Ali Landry, Miss USA 1996. So LSU is just a training program for Miss Louisiana winners, got it.
For the record, I've been doing this 'notable alumni' stuff for non-B1G opponents for a couple years now. The only school I can remember with a worse batch of notable alums is Tennessee Tech. The most powerful business owning alum from LSU is the woman who started Ruth's Chris, and I still to this day do not understand that name.
HELP ME DECIDE WHAT GOES HERE
As some of you may know, each year I do a season long countdown of something Madison related. One year it was bars better than the KK (SPOILER: all of them), the next it was the best meals in Madison. Last year we did the #UltimateMadisonBucketList.
This year, I'm stumped. I'd like to do something about Madison, but at this point I have no ideas better than a generic 'Best Drinking Games' list. So, I turn to you. What can I count down all season right here? Help me, help you. Please don't make me resort to the best drinking games list. We can all do better than that.
BIG TEN FEAR RANKINGS
1) Michigan State, 0-0 (0-0). They are still the hunted. Even more so after Braxton Miller's shoulder disintegrated the other day. I fully expect MSU to lead the East to Indy for the B1G title game. I hate this school.
2) Wisconsin, 0-0 (0-0). MGIII and Clement running behind another mammoth offensive line should give opposing defensive coordinators some real rough nights in the film room. 'So they can jet sweep it to Gordon, but sometimes they FAKE the jet sweep and just hand it to Clement up the gut, so we can't crash on the sweep, but if we don't rotate over and contain, then he takes it 80 yards to the house, and oh yeah, sometimes they're going to play action out of it and throw, and what? Now they have a quarterback who was starting at safety for them last year?'
Okay, maybe it's not as unstoppable as that. But it sure as hell sounds like it's tough to gameplan against. #JETSWEEPLIVIN
PS - It's a damn shame Dayne didn't run the jet sweep, because I'd be ALL OVER that #JETSW33P hashtag. I basically just retroactively invented hashtags 15 years ago.
3) Ohio State, 0-0 (0-0). Without looking, I'm guessing Braxton's backup was a 4 star recruit that won 7 state championships in high school. That's why I'm not buying all the 'season is OVER' crying about the Buckeyes. This team is still LOADED with talent. They still have scumbag extraordinaire Urban Meyer at the helm. They're going to be really good.
4) Penn State, 0-0 (0-0). Based on how they worked our defense last year, I'm assuming their starting 11 on offense were all drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. That was a DEBACLE.
5) Iowa, 0-0 (0-0). Vodka Samm gets sober and Iowa is no longer the top party school in the country. Coincidence? HMMMMMMMMMMM
PS - I think Vodka Samm is a top 10 celebrity I'd like to get drunk with. Chris Farley would be #1 on that list if he were still living in a van down by the river. I'm too lazy to flesh that list out now, but I can promise you Charlie Sheen is nowhere near it.
6) Nebraska, 0-0 (0-0). I have nothing nice to say about Nebraska. And if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all and show a GIF of a baby cheetah reacting to a new blankie:
Lots of jungle cats this week
I am not buying any of it.
8) Illinois, 0-0 (0-0). 'Hmmm, I really don't feel like putting Michigan in here yet. Yeah, sure, Illinois, why not.'
-Me, 30 seconds ago
9) Michigan, 0-0 (0-0). Michigan is living proof that recruits going to schools because of 'prestige' is nothing short of foolish. Yeah, Michigan used to be a force! I wanna go there! I'm just going to ignore that they've been mediocre at best for a while now and probably won't make me a better player. But the helmets are BADASS!
10) Minnesota, 0-0 (0-0).
"They were just trying to get our goal posts again and we didn't want to have it," Gophers safety Cedric Thompson said Monday during the Big Ten media days. "We were tired of them chopping down our goal posts. We just were not having it."I enjoyed that quote. The Gophs seem really intent on taking the axe back this year. I am very intent on making a billion dollars next year and marrying a supermodel that went to Wisconsin and has impeccable grammar.
11) Purdue, 0-0 (0-0). Um. Purdue football. Let's see...
Here's a picture of a really old lady using an old lady puppet to feed a squirrel:
13) Maryland, 0-0 (0-0). I do not fear the unknown. And I really know shit about Maryland and Rutgers football these days. Maryland wears the weird uniforms sometimes, I know that. They also gave us Danny O'Brien, and that worked out 0%.
14) Rutgers, 0-0 (0-0). I don't hate Rutgers the most, but I think I despise their belonging to the conference more than any other school. Like, Michigan/OSU/MSU all infuriate me, but I wouldn't want them to leave the B1G. Rutgers is just a mistake. They're a terrible athletic school with idiots in charge that are vomiting statements out of their mouths at any given chance. Delaney's east coast cash grab comes at the expense of adding a worthless school like Rutgers. Ugh.
RANDOM MUSIC WE'RE DIGGING HARD THIS WEEK
MATCHUP TO WATCH
LSU Running Back Leonard Fournette vs. Revamped UW front 7. The hype on this kid is kind of impressive. So far, I've seen him compared to:
- Adrian Peterson
- Michael Jordan
- Tiger Woods
- Several natural disasters
- 'He's so good you wouldn't even understand'
I'm willing to bet on the UW coaches having their boys ready. Fournette will have some nice runs, but I think the UW defense will somewhat kinda maybe keep him in check.
Oh god please somewhat kinda maybe keep him in check.
THIS WEEK'S GAME IN HAIKU
We're off to Houston
A playoff spot on the line
KIND of a big game
I have to say... obnoxious, but brilliant. I've literally never seen or heard someone honk while driving over a speed bump, and given that Chicago has some SERIOUSLY annoying speed bumps, I'm pretty disappointed. Street justice at its finest.
PS - LOOKIT THE LITTLE GUY
EH JABBA NO WANGA
Boss threw a BBQ the other weekend and it did NOT disappoint. I think there was like 25 POUNDS of pulled pork. Someone brought cornbread with cream cheese and red peppers in it. There was even some spicy Indian cornbread that I thoroughly enjoyed. But the prize attraction was RIBS. That is just one big, beautiful, perfectly smoked rib right there. I much prefer the more vinegary BBQ sauces, so I doused it with some Memphis Magic and went to town. The ribs came out last, so I already had way too much of everything else fortified in my gut, but when fresh ribs come out of the smoker, YOU FIND ROOM. Look how meaty that damn thing is. I WANT it. Again. Right now. I want it again right now in or around my face is what I'm saying.
PS - I kinda Costanza'd that hand modeling there. Perfect form.
I don't know how you would've missed it, but there was one HELL of a sunset Monday night. It wasn't one of those sunsets where it's all concentrated on the horizon and you need a perfect Western-facing view to get it good. The entire sky was GLOWING with skypornographic goodness. Don't just take my word for it, though. Here's Nick Ulivieri's view:
Absolutely gorgeous. I've plugged him before, but he's a must follow in Chicago.
Well. I spent half of last week's season preview going #ALLIN on Stave. What happened the next day? Word leaked that Tanner McEvoy 'won' the starting job. I guess we might see both of them during the game? I mean, it's not something we haven't seen before: Stave came in for one play during the Rose Bowl against Stanford a few years ago and threw a perfect pass that Abby dropped. A more 'mobile' Curt Phillips handled the rest of the game.
And I thought that was stupid. But GA has made it clear he wants a mobile quarterback. And to that I say: why? Is McEvoy gonna rush for more than 50 yards in a game this year? Is his ability to scramble once or twice a game really enough to give him the edge over Stave? Don't forget that when McEvoy goes under center on Saturday, he'll be taking his FIRST D1 snaps as a quarterback. Stave, for all his faults, at least had some good experience to his name.
I don't know. This is all pretty surprising. The only thing I can say is we're going to run the hell out of the ball, and the quarterback really only has to pick his spots and make a few throws each game to keep defenses honest. If McEvoy can do that and scramble for a few first downs, wonderful. But if he comes out missing the freebies, or if he throws a bad pick or two... well, Andersen and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig are gonna have some questions to answer.
So what's gonna happen Saturday night in Houston? Every inch of logical thought in my head says we're going to lose. An SEC team in front of what should be a pro-LSU crowd, with elite talent all around the field, and a track record of DOMINATING non-SEC teams should give a relatively young Wisconsin team a lot of trouble. But fuck that. Sometimes I just feel like being a bit of a homer. And we have a secret Brazilian weapon. THE PICK:
WISCONSIN 23, LSU 20