Brats, Beers and Bullet Points, Week 15

Does anyone know how to say “too many bowl games” in French?

(Editors note: trop de matchs de bowl)

The Bullet Points

  • Bilingual obviousness aside, you’ve no doubt heard that Nevada accepted an invitation to the New Orleans Bowl on Sunday for a date with the Louisiana (NOT -Lafayette) Ragin’ Cajuns, kicking off ESPN’s Too Many Bowl Games Cluster(expletive). There are, in fact, way too many bowl games, but at this point, each new one is like tossing another bucket of water into the ocean, and complaining about them has all the venom of a Jay Leno monologue.

  • And if we’re going to be honest, Nevada still made out pretty well with this pairing. Back when bowl games were much less common, they were rightly viewed as a special reward for a great season. Flash forward to today and, compared to its peers, New Orleans is one of the few bowls the Mountain West is currently affiliated with still worthy of that description. How would you feel if you were Air Force — fresh off of an upset of nationally ranked Colorado State and sitting pretty at 9-3 after going 2-10 the previous year — being told to pack your bags for Boise? Or Utah State — one game ahead of the Falcons in conference play — getting shipped off to Albuquerque? Mercy, I do believe I’m gettin’ the vapors!

  • True, very few Pack fans will be in attendance, and the Superdome will be a “neutral site” only in name. But for all the different ways Nevada’s season could’ve gone totally pear-shaped at the end, a trip to New Orleans is not the worst thing they could’ve been tasked with. And don’t kid yourself: it could’ve gone really wrong had Boise State not been placed in a New Year’s bowl, or if Georgia Southern and Appalachian State had won their appeals to extend their seasons (I’ll eat my hat if NCAA president Mark Emmert can explain those decisions to both teams in person). I’ll have a more in-depth preview of the Cajuns in next week’s column, so for now, I must turn to other, sadder, bits of news.

  • Wolf Pack basketball is not looking good, and on the heels of frustrating loss number six in a row, much unkinder words than those could be said about them. From the maybe-one-third-full zombie student section to the team’s late lead evaporating just as the rest of the crowd feared it would, that game was a whole thesaurus entry’s worth of “sad.” Furthermore, a brief old man soapbox rant directed at students: I understand that finals are this week, and I’m even in agreement with your lack of enthusiasm and urgency regarding Nevada basketball right now. But as long as you’re actually getting out of the library and shlepping down to Lawlor for a game, simply taking up space while not making any noise is the worst thing a student fan can do short of running on to the court swinging a samurai sword.

  • Here’s the most apt metaphor of how I’m feeling about this team right now: there was a Cal heckler sitting one section over from my Dad and I who — between her various curse words and urgings of Nevada’s players to perform a certain anatomical act on themselves that is physically impossible — kept telling those same players to “go home.” I will repeat that: a visiting fan telling the HOME team’s players…to “go home.” Don’t think about that for too long, or grey matter will start dripping out of your ears. That should give you a pretty good idea of what cheering for this team presently feels like. I pray that Coach Carter has a plan for getting this team to play better fast, both for their sakes and for his.

  • Finally, even my most pessimistic pre-season guesses for how the Niners would perform this season didn’t include losing to the Raiders. The worst is still yet to come at Seattle. The playoffs, for all intents and purposes, are out of the question. Fans are beginning to film themselves burning Colin Kaepernick jerseys. His media interviews are increasingly tense. More and more opposing players are coming out of the woodwork to openly troll him. And you know it’s an especially bad week when Trent Dilfer’s advice to get a hug is the smartest thing you’ve heard. The pressures of starting at quarterback in the NFL are weighing on him more than ever. These are trying times with no easy solutions in sight, and my heart goes out to him, his family and his teammates for a rediscovery of that mojo we all know.

The Beer

Anchor Our Special Ale 2014 Edition (San Francisco, CA) — Anchor Brewing Company had a pivotal role in inspiring the first generation of American craft brewers in the 1970s and 80s. Fritz Maytag III — yes, that Maytag — used his personal fortune to singlehandedly transform both the brewery and its beers, becoming something of a godfather to the craft beer movement. Now Anchor is a force in the industry, and it remains one of the only breweries in the world that makes California common beer, better known as “steam” beer. Every year the company puts out a new Christmas ale, complete with a different hand-drawn label design and recipe, and 2014 marks their 40th such offering. This edition’s color is brownish mahogany and smells of ginger, plum, fig, and cinnamon. The taste includes all of that, along with bready malts, caramel, brown sugar and a little bit of tea. Because of the piney hop notes, this is one of the only beers I’ve tried that I could honestly describe as “sticky.” It tastes like you’d expect Christmas to taste in beer form, and it’s only real downside is not being well-suited to session drinking because of that stickiness. If you can get past the hipster-rific ad description, you’ll likely find a lot to enjoy. Outside of this one, the only other Anchor beers I’ve tried are their steam and porter, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for Christmas ale #41 next year. I give it four tipsy Wolfies out of five.

The Brats

Just send your hugs (virtual or otherwise) to the Kaepernick residence in Turlock.

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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