The off-beat preview: Wisconsin at Maryland

If you are looking for hard-hitting analysis, yeah, this ain't it. But if you want a fun, entertaining read, you've found the right place. For more of Brandon Rifkin, please head to his blog or follow him on Twitter.

I think Corey Clement just made a loud statement about his value to this team. We kinda spent most of the year wondering if the running game sucked because of the O-line, the backs or both. Without jumping to conclusions (because Rutgers), I think we can safely say the issue was squarely on the backup running backs. I don't mean this as a slight to Dare and Deal, but they were backups for a reason.

So here we are. 7-2 (4-1) in a season where we've had injuries at literally every position on the roster. A transition year with a new coach (albeit a familiar coach) and a young team . . . and yet, 7-2. That's actually pretty damn impressive when you consider everything that's gone wrong so far.

My excitement for this team is increasing. Something about them gutting out wins despite being in shambles is kinda fun. Like the German sub in "U-571" that was all messed up, but the Americans took it over and kept battling on it and eventually sank a giant German destroyer with it after Trigger drowned while fixing the leak in the torpedo system. Out with the "Remember the Titans" season metaphor, in with the "U-571" season metaphor. WHAT MOVIE THAT'S ON HBO EVERY WEEK IS NEXT?

PS -- OMG, Trigger from "U-571" was SMALLS from "The Sandlot"? That's amazing. And a few years ago he was arrested because he head-butted a cop after he was told he was too drunk to get on an airplane? You just never know where the Internet is gonna take you.


1) Ohio State, 8-0 (4-0). I feel like Minnesota/OSU SEEMED like a huge game before the season. I can see that. But it's gonna be a rough one on Saturday night for the Gophers. Primetime, woof.

2) Michigan State, 8-0 (4-0). And your other primetime game in the B1G this week? 3-6 Nebraska fresh off a loss to Purdue hosting MSU. It's a good night to be drunk and not care about football.

3) Iowa, 8-0 (4-0). As I'm writing this, "The Voice" episode of "Seinfeld" is on -- hands down my No. 1 episode. I say that as someone who is probably as good at Seinfeld trivia as anyone you know. But it's a perfect episode: vintage Costanza (scooping water from Jerry's glass/Play Now rebellion), Jerry actually funny (HELLLLOOOOOO LA LA LAAAA), Kramerica/Darren the intern, PUDDY. It's got it ALL.

PS -- The dean at Darren's school has the most outrageous hair:

That's like two heads mashed together into one. Horrendous. Egregious. Preposterous. Capricious. Arbitrary.

PPS -- "Mr. Thomassulo picked the WRONG MAN to hire because he was fake-handicapped!" George once again proving he is the core of this show.

4) Penn State, 7-2 (4-1). Speaking of which, the first 3-4 seasons of Seinfeld are terrible. That's a fact.

5) Wisconsin, 7-2 (4-1). Alright, hoops quickie: if you don't know Ethan Happ by now, you need to. He redshirted last year, so he's got a year in the program battling Frank, Sam and Nigel. He only redshirted last year because . . . we had Frank, Sam and Nigel. There simply wasn't enough playing time to go around. This year, he will be UNLEASHED. I fully expect him to content for the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award, and he will be our third option after Nigel and Bronson.

Beast in the post, good size, good footwork . . . only going to get better and better as he gets more experience. Remember the name. #HappForHeisman

6) Michigan, 6-2 (3-1). I didn't watch the game, but apparently Minnesota's interim coach had an ominous debut. I don't blame him -- clock management is HARD. Ignore everyone on Twitter ripping coaches for not using their timeouts correctly (I do this too): it's WAY different to be on the sidelines while all of that shit is happening and every second counts. Not easy.

7) Northwestern, 6-2 (2-2). A co-worker went to a Northwestern volleyball game this week and we were talking about places to eat in Evanston. We discussed the standard go-tos (Buff's, Edzo's, Mustard's Last Stand), but she heard about one I've never heard of named Bat 17. Two things we need to know:

The pretzel bun on this burger looks like a crown and they HEAVILY endorse onion strings (the best s--- in the world). And:

Toilet paper for DAYS. Every bar gotta have that one thing that makes you different than the other 3 bars on the street, and I like to think they held a brainstorming session one day to come up with their differentiating factor. I don't even wanna KNOW how bad every other idea was if their winner was having 50 rolls of TP in the bathrooms. "We can be . . . that bar with all the toilet paper!" POOP 17timesitsoktheresenoughtptogoaround

8) Indiana, 4-4 (0-4). Blah blah blah, I'm surprised they haven't accidentally won a game yet in the conference.

9) Minnesota, 4-4 (1-3). Michigan catches a huge break getting Minnesota on their interim coach. So annoying.

10) Illinois, 4-4 (1-3). The Wisconsin Hangover: had nothing in the tank after giving us their best shot. We buttered them up for Penn State like Bania riding Jerry's coattails.

11) Maryland, 2-6 (0-4). The other night I ate one of those Midnight Milky Ways and I legitimately convinced myself it was healthy because it had dark chocolate in it. Red meat gives you butt cancer, but dark chocolate probably balances it out. Gotta start eating dessert after every burger so I can live forever.

12) Purdue, 2-6 (1-3). OMG PURDUE

Rutgers) Rutgers, 3-5 (1-4). They are . . . who we thought they were.

14) Nebraska, 3-6 (1-4). LOL purdue! YOU LOST TO PURDUE!


This is probably all you need to know about Franklins:

Located in the heart of historic Hyattsville MD, Franklins is Prince Georges County's first microbrewery, and the only combination restaurant, brewery, and toy store in the world.

You're telling me I can get drunk on local brews, have a delightful meal, and THEN I can go in your toy store and look at a bunch of sweet toys? All in the same place? That's the kind of genius that you can't craft. That genius comes from within. That's natural born genius.

My new game might be picking what I'd order from the menu if I were actually there. This time it's a no-brainer:

The Vulcan Mind Meld --€“ hot pastrami and corned beef, Swiss and Provolone, slaw, hots, pickles, skinny fries, Thousand Island dressing, and tomato on rye

Whatttt about that doesn't sound incredible? The tomato. The tomato sounds terrible. One Vulvan Mind Meld with negative tomatoes, please. Bang. Done.

PS -- Man do I appreciate good websites, and their website is perfect. It's not the best website in the world, but for a brewery/restaurant/toy store, they have the exact kind of website I'd like to see. I'm sure they farmed that out to some web design firm, so good job Snogren.

PPS -- Hey Snogren, you use up all your good ideas on Franklins? Your own site could use a refresh.


Brandon's Undivided Attention to Football vs. Brandon's Unrelenting Desire to Shift to Hoops Season. I'm not being fair to the football team. As I mentioned, they've been pleasantly good at winning games despite a multitude of injuries. And now they're getting their horse back for the home stretch -- so things are really trending up. But . . . all of this uncertainty about Bo Ryan's future has me soaking up every drop of UW hoops. Every. Single. Drop. And it's not like I wasn't already a freak who was a little too obsessed with Bo's teams -- it's just in overdrive now. Any season could be his last, and there's zero guarantee that we'll be a great/elite program once he's gone.

I'm going to live in the now and be grateful for what he's done. No matter when he leaves, he's been a damn wizard.


Shh. Did you hear that?

Squeaking shoes on the hardwood

Bo Ryan is back


Hey Shin Lim, don't know how to break it to you but you might be a witch. There's no other way to explain all the voodoo he just displayed. I have very little idea how he did pretty much anything in this trick. By "very little idea," I mean I'm absolutely befuddled.

Why don't I watch this show? I loved magic as a kid, and apparently I still love getting my brain jimmies twisted by ungodly slight of hand.


I'm going to level with you: I can't tell you with any certainty what was on that sandwich. I know it was on a croissant, and I know there was an egg in there, but the meat thing is a bit of a mystery to me. It may have been breakfast sausage stuffed in a piece of pork. I think that's what it was. I DO know that it was absolutely delicious, and it was exactly what the body needed after shooting 18 at the Course at Wente Vineyards.

Why do golf courses always serve the best food? Is it just because you're tired and hungry (and probably drunk) and you just wanna sit down and CHEW? Not sure, but I'm going to open a chain of golf course clubhouse style restaurants with a fake 18th hole to look out over while you eat, and I'm going to be a BILLIONAIRE. Golf attire REQUIRED.


#WinningUgly #KeepWinning #WinningUglyBeatsLosingPretty THE PICK:

WISCONSIN 29, Maryland 6