Brats, Beers and Bullet Points, Week 4

Andrew Maurins brings us his weekly column of musings from the Nevada Wolf Pack tailgate zone. Nevada fans can rest easy for another week, as the Pack went into their game at Bye and absolutely, as you kids say, KILLED it.

Seriously, Bye didn't know what him them, did they? The Pack needed to go into that hostile environment, practice, rest up and not play an actual game, and doggone it that's EXACTLY what they did. Kudos to Coach Polian and his staff for what was clearly an excellent combination of pre-game planning and post-halftime adjustments that put the team on top. Elsewhere in the province of Packland in the Mountain West Kingdom...

The Bullet Points

  • A win at San Jose State on Saturday, while not stellar by most stretches, would nonetheless shed a couple of millstones from around the Pack's collective neck. Brian Polian would earn his first career road win and the team's first road win since November of 2012. A bowl game would also be much more attainable from the 3-1 stepping stone than that of 2-2, of course. Nevada is a little more sure of itself than San Jose State this week, but the road demons are real and have yet to be vanquished by this coaching staff. The Pack having been chopping for the last four weeks, and in my first bona fide prediction of the season, the initial tree is poised to fall: Wolf Pack 35, Spartans 21.

  • I'm being told my Man Card has been indefinitely suspended for referencing a French foreign film. My public relations specialist is drafting a trying-to-apologize-but-not-really-apologizing press release as I type this. Editor/Publicist Note: Not until I get some Brat's.

  • I'm now being told I do not, in fact, have a public relations specialist. Someone somewhere lied to me. I am sad, and my vengeance will be swift.

  • In the other division, Fresno State finally got their "For the love of all that is good and holy make the hurting stop" win, Hawai'i and the San ____ State twins were all de-pantsed at the hands of more power conference teams (with Hawai'i earning another "Yay for Trying!" badge) and UNLV's annual September Tire Fire of Suckitude is back in all of its smoldering glory. As of this week, Nevada is the only team in the west division with an FBS win of any kind. At this still-early point in the season, I'm not exactly thrilled to see the Pack leading their division as much as I'm relieved to not see them at the bottom of the division, if that makes any sense.

  • Checking in on non-conference opponents, Arizona and Wazzu attempted the rare Pull-a-Win-Straight-Out-of-One's-Own-Behind Twosome trick. Arizona succeeded, remaining undefeated, and Washington State did not. While their outlook is not nearly as dire as it was before, the fun, boozy Cougars still have a steep uphill climb to reach bowl eligibility. The unfun, booze-free Cougars at BYU, however, can start seriously discussing the possibility of an undefeated season after shaking off Virginia to also stay undefeated. Don't look too hard just yet, but Nevada's game in Provo -- situated between BYU road games at UCF and Boise State -- just might set up perfectly for a Cougar trap.

  • Lastly, the Fightin' Kaepernicks are in big trouble. And if not big trouble, then at least moderately worrisome trouble made worse by the fact that they share a division with the Seahawks and Cardinals. While Kap mostly played well enough to win -- 29 of 37 passing for 245 yards, a touchdown and no picks -- the rest of the team continued many of their self-defeating ways from last week. Even Brandon Marshall's new career-high 12 tackles weren't enough for Denver to prevail. Perhaps a road date at Bye is in order for both of them?

The Beer

Drake's Hefeweizen (San Leandro, CA) -- I was lucky to sample more than a dozen new beers on my trip to San Diego last weekend (perhaps a Beerapalooza is in order for the Aztec game in November?). I've also been told I attended a wedding, though I couldn't really tell through the bottom of my glass. Since this week's opponent is San Jose State, however, I had to go further back to another brew I tried the previous week. Hefeweizens are cloudy, unfiltered beers made predominantly with malted wheat instead of barley, and this one was hazier than Reno's smokey skies of late (I couldn't find any good smoked beers by my deadline -- wasted joke opportunity noted). The way a beer can take on certain distinct flavors just through the process of fermentation has always fascinated me. In the case of this beer, it's banana and clove derived from a particular strain of yeast, no actual bananas or cloves required. The result is subtle, just the right amount of sweet, a little dry at the end and very sippable. I give it four tipsy Wolfies out of five.

The Brats

Look, something shiny! *Runs away*

All fan mail (burning or otherwise), should be sent to:
Andrew Maurins
c/o North RV Lot
Campus of THE University of Nevada
Reno, NV 89557

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