The off-beat preview: Wisconsin at Nebraska


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.

Listen, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend Joel Stave played well. He didn’t. He played pretty damn poorly actually. But you need to consider a couple of facts before you start checking to see if he has a Twitter account to harass (he doesn’t) or calling for D.J. Gillins to be the starter (ain’t happening for 1,000 reasons):

• Our top WR (former walk-on) got concussed

• Our other starting WR is a quarterback-turned-safety-turned-wide receiver

• Both of our top TEs were banged up

• Our starting running back was 9,000 miles away getting German surgery

• His backup is a former cornerback who dropped a pivotal screen pass

• Our offensive line is inexperienced and, quite frankly, not as talented as previous groups

• The skill position players that were healthy and out there were about as bad as any group I can even remember at UW

That last one would be true even IF Alex Erickson, Austin Traylor, Troy Fumagalli, and Corey Clement were healthy. Hands down, this year’s team had the worst group of running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends I’ve ever seen. Blame recruiting failures by previous coaching regimes. Blame poor development of wide receivers going back to Bret Bielema’s era. Blame MGIII for leaving early — actually wait no don’t do that.

Blame whatever you want. But if you’re going to sit here with a straight face and tell me we lost that game purely because Stave sucked then I’m going to sit here with a straight face and tell you you’re an idiot.

He was awful. We all get that. But his supporting cast is not only awful from a talent standpoint, but they were miserable from an execution standpoint as well on Saturday.

Everything about that offensive performance was painful. Let’s move on and hope things can’t get worse. At least the D is as nasty as we hoped. Yay optimism!



1) Michigan State, 5-0 (1-0). Barely beating PURDUE? How?

2) Ohio State, 5-0 (1-0). Any other year I’d be all over IU trying to pull off that upset. But it’s easier to tell all the #IUforGameday fools they were wrong with an OSU win.

3) Northwestern, 5-0 (1-0). We’d lose by 50 in Evanston this year. Good thing we are not playing a single second in Evanston this year.

4) Iowa, 5-0 (1-0). They’re not even good. We were just bad. I refuse to give them credit.

5) Illinois, 4-1 (1-0). Illinois picked an amazing year to be better than terrible. Lots of crappy teams in the conference that would normally paste them, but are for one reason or another down this year.

6) Michigan, 4-1 (1-0). Back-to-back shutouts and now a surprisingly intriguing matchup with Northwestern. Fascinating.

7) Indiana, 4-1 (0-1). A co-worker asked me if I was good at math. F YEAH I DO MATH. He showed me the problem from his like 6-year-old’s homework:

What the hell is this? Is this how they’re teaching kids to do math now? What happened to having 16 bananas and taking away 9 bananas and asking how many nanners ya got left? Now you need two additional . . . addition equations to solve on subtraction equation?

I’ve looked at this for at least 15 minutes and I’m still baffled. If you can explain this to me, please hit me back. I just got done tutoring the math ACT section and this was legitimately more confusing than anything I saw on that test.

8) Penn State, 4-1 (1-0). Very sneaky playing Army when everyone else is beating up on each other. You’re not fooling me, though.

9) Wisconsin, 3-2 (0-1). I will fondly remember last year’s basketball team and pretend they still exist. Oh look, the Kentucky Final Four game is still on my DVR!

10) Minnesota, 3-2 (0-1). Oof.

11) Nebraska, 2-3 (0-1). Double oof.

12) Maryland, 2-3 (0-1). Got totally busted messing with Snapchat’s new filters at work:

Whatever. Puking rainbows hasn’t stopped being fun yet. I think I was zooming all the way into my face with the hopes of zooming out into a rainbow puke. Plan 10/10, execution 1/10.

PS — Snapchat filters, RANKED:

5) Exploding purple eye hearts

4) New mouse with fat face with crumbs

3) Yellow stoned guy sticking his tongue out

2) Fat face with crumbs

1) Rainbow puke

13) Purdue, 1-4 (0-1). LOL purdue

Rutgers) Rutgers, 2-2 (0-1). #ExpelRutgers



When in the lovely land of Lincoln (not to be confused with Illinois), you must find your way to PLOUGHSHARE BREWING COMPANY. I love that name! Do you know what else I love?

Ploughshare Brewing Co. uses a traditional British pub system.  Sit where you want. Order from the bar.  Stay as long as you like. You won’t find any TVs in our establishment because we are all about enjoying good beer while relaxing with old friends, or perhaps meeting new ones. After all, beer IS the great unifier. Periodically we bring in bands to add to the fun. Check Shindigs for an up-to-date calendar of events.

They’re not joking. They literally call their ‘events’ page on their site ‘Shindigs’:

That’s brilliant. That’s also something so stupid that I would do it. LOVE calling parties anything other than parties. I don’t even understand half of the links on that navigation menu. WHAT ARE THE VITTLES? Lowdown? DOWNLOW, NO DOUBT.

PS — You can only get away with the no TVs thing if make incredible food and/or beer. Kuma’s pulls it off because their burgers are obnoxiously good and the beer is on point. Not sure if the suds and vittles and Ploughshare are at that level.



Joe Schobert’s Condominium Complex In Your Backfield vs. Nebraska’s Eviction Attempts. Want something positive to focus on right now? Joe Schobert has legitimately turned into one of the top defensive players in the country. Anytime you see a quarterback or running back going down behind the line of scrimmage, Joe the Show is there. It’s one thing to be disruptive. But to consistently get the guy down and register that TFL? That’s special.

Gonna put up some crazy numbers before this year is over.



And speaking of sucked

How bout that Iowa game?

Can’t be worse this week



I’ve never been very religious, but it appears this man from Zimbabwe has communicated with Jesus himself. And odd how you can hear Jesus shuffling out of the room before the cameraman pans and sees the door ajar. Jesus, not so sneaky.

PS – Pretty dope house. Pays to be a Zimbabwean air-walking prophet.



I’m instituting a new policy: when in #foodporn doubt, ROCKY’S. Safest thing I can do. Damn shame there’s not a Rocky’s between here and Kenosha (or so I think).



As I’m writing this "Remember the Titans" is on and Sunshine just showed up for the first time and delivered a STRIKE to the back of Bertrier’s head. It appears while fiction can be fun, fiction is still fiction. Also, Bertrier was kind of a raging homophobe despite being the first to cross the racial line. Gotta crawl before you can walk I suppose. Oh god that’s TERRIBLE. THE PICK: