Brats, Beers and Bullet Points, Week 8

When you get used to repeating some variation of "close, but no cigar" in this space, what do you say when you actually get the cigar? "Smoke 'em if you got 'em"?

The Bullet Points

  • In the interest of full disclosure -- lest you mistakenly view me as some paragon of unquestioning devotion to Nevada -- I didn't think the Pack had a win like Saturday's in them. Or rather, IF they had a win like Saturday's in them, it wouldn't come against BYU on the road. A part of me had lobbied and convinced the rest of me that for the remainder of the year, anytime the Pack would find themselves behind heading into the fourth quarter, there would only be reopened wounds and another inevitable loss to follow. So much was this the case that I even passed on a chance to attend the BYU game in person. I had just moved into my new house, and I reasoned that money was going to be tight from now on. I was, for lack of a more apt description, a sub-optimal fan. Or "financially prudent," if you're willing to give me the benefit of the doubt.

  • With that out in the open, any of you who still believed Nevada would win that game -- particularly at halftime -- can now treat me to your "I Told You So!" dance, and I will gladly sit through it without complaint. Heck, even if you didn't think they'd win, I'll sit through said dance just because I'm in a dandy mood and I'm nice like that. Not unlike last month's game at San Jose State, the Pack were out-classed across a wide assortment of statistical categories that should've resulted in a loss. And for most of the first half, it looked as though that loss was exactly what would come to pass, maybe even to the tune of a slow, agonizing ground-to-powder blowout. The offense couldn't get more than a sliver of their opponent's traction, and the defense managed to make Christian Stewart look more like the Steve Young he was replacing than the Elvis Grbac he really was.

  • But after halftime, you know the rest of the story: offense finds itself (again) after having lost itself (again); defense continues to get gashed, but only surrenders seven more points and forces three equally timely and crucial turnovers; team finally completes comeback on third attempt in as many weeks, and there's no joy in Cougartown on Saturday night. Don't even start with the "BYU was hurting" stuff, either -- I won't have it, Coach Polian won't have it, and none of the walking wounded on Nevada's roster will have it, either.

  • Dusting off my preseason guesses, they've now lost a game I figured they'd win (Colorado State) and won a game I figured they'd lose (BYU). The football gods have moved past hating us and (for now, at least) seen fit to give us a little rain after a drought of heartbreak. It's not a buzzkill to say there are still very real concerns about this team heading into their final five regular season games (don't tell me you didn't think they were headed to overtime on BYU's final drive). They're still behind the proverbial eight ball in the West Division, and I remain skeptical that they're a championship-caliber team. But for all the legitimate worries we still have, there's no getting around the feeling that Saturday night might be the long-awaited result of some very persistent chopping. They now have their best win of the season to date (sorry, Wazzu), and their best road win of the Polian era (admittedly from a list that's still very short). Now they have to refocus themselves for a very different kind of challenge, but it's one that would be looking a whole lot harder with three straight losses dragging behind them. Wolf Pack 30, Rainbow Warriors 23.

  • Team Kaepernick finally gets a bye this week, and their de-pantsing at the hands of the Broncos on Sunday night was indicative of just how badly they need it. Kap had a decent first half before the whole team's wheels came off shortly after. But even amidst all the turmoil plaguing the Niners right now and inevitably having to play second fiddle to Peyton Manning's record night, Kap has arguably improved as a pocket quarterback, and will likely continue to get better. I predicted 11-5 for the Niners before the season started, and I'm sticking to that.

The Beer

Maui CoCoNut PorTeR
(Lahaina, HI) -- No, that's not a formatting mistake and it was not typed out by a teenage girl on AOL Instant Messenger in the 90s. It is, in fact, how this Hawaiian brewery spells the name of the beer, because WacKy cApiTaliZatiOn Is cOoL, yO! It's the first canned beer I've reviewed this season, and I had it at the bar at Heritage inside the Whitney Peak hotel, though I've seen six-packs for sale at various places around town. Right from the start, when you pour this beer out of the can, see the head form and take that first sniff, you know you're about to enjoy something uniquely delicious. Toasted coconut is the main attraction here, and pretty much the whole beer can be described as "nicely toasted." From the malted barley and hops to the subtler notes of coffee, chocolate, almonds, caramel and vanilla, the coconut ties everything together in a creamy, just-sweet-enough balance. Best of all, at 6% ABV, it's perfectly sessionable and nowhere near as heavy as it sounds. I could easily see it becoming one of my favorite dark beers out there...even if the name is still silly. I give it four tipsy Wolfies out of five.

The Brats

We just won, OK? Why must you ruin the mood with your insistence for cooked meats? Editor's note:I like cheesy brats! With deepest sympathy, Water Buffalo.

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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