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Butter Burgers and Whirling Badgers: Welcome to Wisconsin Week!

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The B1G Potluck Parties On With the Wisconsin Badgers

Howdy friends! July is hurtling along at breakneck speed, an especially sad situation for those of us in education, but presumably a bit of a bummer to all of us. Summer is on its downhill slope, your lawn is getting kinda crispy, the days are getting shorter, and you’re tired of sweating every time you step out of your house.

Speaking of declension, ruin, and sadness… it’s Wisconsin week! Last season was not bad, per se, with the Badgers finishing 8-5, and closing with a resounding victory in their bowl game. But given where the Badgers started the season (ranked 4th in the pre-season poll, lol) and the success of the 2017 season, it was hard for Wisconsin fans to feel anything but disappointment about how the season panned out. The biggest concern for the Badger-inclined, of course, was the alarming development of not simply rolling through the West unopposed, as had been the case for a number of years. Instead, Wisconsin got pushed around by Northwestern at Ryan Field, and then, a far greater horror, they LOST THE AXE. I cannot emphasize this enough--you guys remember that Minnesota beat Wisconsin last year? It was the first time since Jesus walked the Earth or something like that, so it was a big fricken deal. It’s also worth noting that they lost it in Madison, and not by a little bit--it was a lot, 37-15. WISCONSIN LOST TO MINNESOTA, 37-15.

It was not great.*

So what does this season hold for Wisconsin? Will the removal of lofty expectations nationally allow the Badgers to barge back into firm leadership of the West and a resumption of their regularly scheduled loss in the CCG? Was last year a blip? Or, has the landscape of the much-maligned B1G West changed, and the Badgers are going to have a much harder time fighting off their improved western brethren?

Find out this week on… As the Badgers Whirl!

*Yes WSR, I know. Perspective matters.

Food

A burger for when you have no shame and are out of f*cks to give.
Dave Szymanski/Thrillist

Now, Wisconsin does not have a reputation as the most health-conscious region of the nation (even with Madison’s otherwise kinda crunchy vibe), and this reputation has been well-earned. Their state food is a fried ball of cheese, after all. But today we turn our attention to an invention that takes a food already kinda dripping in fat… and adds a whole lot more dripping fat to it. Enter, Solly’s Butter Burger -- a delicious cheeseburger with the addition of a whole pat of butter on it.

Just look at it for a moment. Listen to your arteries scream as you consume it with your eyes.

Anyway, would you eat this thing, life-shortening consequences be damned? And what’s the most needlessly-fattening addition to a meal that YOU do?

Dead Read: Not gonna look at it. Would probably eat it - provided there isn’t any cheese on it.

MNW: I would and I have. But I would go “light” on the butter next time--which is an option. All first-timers should get the regular about of butter, though. It is a shock to the system eating that much butter, but it makes the burger taste so interesting. Solly’s itself is also a really cool restaurant, with kind of a diner-counter section to it that makes it extra enjoyable.

I don’t know that I do it per se, but my wife likes admonishing me not to eat the fat when I eat a steak. When there’s a huge vein of it running right along my porterhouse, though? You bet your sweet ass I am cutting some off and including it in each bite of that thing. I’m not even sorry.

Andrew: When in Rome, participate in the bacchanal. I’ll have the opportunity to try it for myself in a few months. I try to be half-assedly healthy, but there’s no getting around using a solid, sodium-laced taco seasoning recipe in place of a few simple spices, and I still do baked shells brushed with oil - but hey, now I use olive oil and turkey meat in place of beef, so my tacos are basically a health food.

DJ: Where has this been all my life? You’re goddamn right I would try this. Look - my wife essentially cooks like she is Paula Dean with butter so let’s be real I could use less. That being said, I pretty much workout to counteract that delicious food that she makes but the hell if I’m giving it up.

Candystripes: Well, I’m the weirdo here, because while I would totally eat this, I’m not a huge fan of cheeseburgers, thus I would eat the butter burger sans cheese.

Jesse: So uh… full disclosure, I used to make stuffed burgers - a la our Minnesota friends - with cheese and butter because the butter made the cheese melt about as perfect as you could hope for. So yeah, I’d eat this because I’m already there.

As for wholly unnecessary additions of fat, it’s bacon for me. I use bacon fat as my general ‘fat’ component for everything. Tonight, for example, I was trying to use up all the vegetables in the fridge, so obviously it made sense to start with bacon. I just tell myself it’s no worse than butter and move on.

Boilerman: A younger, dumber me would’ve been all over that. Now, notsomuch. Honestly, though, there are plenty of ways to get a great tasting burger without slathering it in other forms of fat. First and foremost, stop using the absolute leanest cut of beef.

Thumpasaurus: I surprisingly do not find that very appetizing. If I’m gonna hear my arteries scream, it’s gonna be with the pound-of-bacon BLT at Tony’s I-75 Restaurant. I’ll settle for a regular butterburgy like any other Culvers-loving American.

WSR: Oh hell yes. I would absolutely crush one of those, then immediately start clutching my chest like I was on an episode of Bill Swerski’s Superfans. Ooof, so worth it. And as far as pointless fattening things, the only thing on my menu right now is peppermint mocha coffee creamer. It’s not needed and it’s definitely not good for me, but I’m enjoying some right now and I’m OK with this indulgence.

MC: Health-conscious Wisconsinite checking in. My spirit not only would eat this but also is confused by why this is considered a question. I on the other hand would not touch this. The amount of work in the gym to cancel that thing out makes me angry. What needlessly fattening thing do I add? Well State Fair is coming up so basically anything besides fasting within those confines.

LPW: I really should not be eating stuff like this.

BrianB2: Yes, I would definitely eat that. Every once in a while, when I am feeling up to it, I will make myself chipped-beef gravy for breakfast on the weekend. I don’t really needlessly add anything to it, but the whole practice is just one big unhealthy mess. In an effort to trigger some people, I do sometimes dip my pizza crust in ranch dressing.

Creighton: While I appreciate the presumption of self control, there’s nothing in the world that would keep me from eating that burger if it was placed in front of me. As far as needless additions to already unhealthy foods? I’ve occasionally put maple syrup on things just to see if it works, and folks: it usually does. Make a turkey sandwich with some arugula and a splash of maple. You’ll thank me later.

Stew: Yes, I would eat that. I mean, duh. I’m with Jesse and MNW, where I will 1. Add bacon to anything that needs some fat/insulation. Got some sirloin kabobs, wrap that shit in bacon. Making a burger indoors? Use a castiron skillet to fry up some bacon first, then cook the burger in the bacon fat. Making some potatoes? Throw some bacon in, too. Mostly it’s about adding fat to things, because fat is flavor. So don’t trim those ribeyes, leave a good layer of the fat cap on the brisket. You’ll use it later.

Beez: I’d absolutely eat that burger and I’m sure I have, repeatedly. It can’t be THAT bad so long as you only have it for like 10 of 21 meals each week. Every time a recipe calls for butter (optional) I absolutely add it. Butter is delicious and if it’s (optional) that means it’s gotta go in there, right? Side note: I need to lose about ten pounds.

BRT: I’m certainly not opposed to butter—one doesn’t get to be 6’8” and 403 lbs without a bit of butter, after all—but I find the soggy-looking bun that appears to be a natural consequence to be pretty off-putting.

One of my more piggish habits has to do with how I eat waffles—I like to eat them with chocolate chips. There must be one chocolate chip in each square. That ends up being quite a lot of chocolate chips, usually.

Poll

Butter Burgers: Good idea or bad idea?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    I have, and would again
    (50 votes)
  • 3%
    I have, and once was enough
    (5 votes)
  • 38%
    I haven’t, but definitely would
    (54 votes)
  • 22%
    I haven’t, and have self respect and treat my body like the temple it is, and I probably also hate fun
    (32 votes)
141 votes total Vote Now

Football

Annoyingly, Wisconsin has had an excellent run in football over the last number of years. Additionally, under AD Barry Alvarez, they have also had good to great men’s basketball teams, and an incredibly strong volleyball program. It’s no exaggeration to say that they’re one of the most solid athletic programs in the Big Ten.

But Alvarez is getting old (he’s 72), and as last season showed, the football success is potentially waning. So what do you think about the future of the Badgers? Has Wisconsin peaked? Who would be the next Wisconsin AD? Does a former football coach makes a good AD? And who would be your choice for the next Athletic Director at your school? (Iowa fans don’t need to answer that last one, we know you love Gary Barta.)

Dead Read: It is my understanding that a young up-and-comer, Shawn Eichorst, might be available. I think he would be a great choice as the next Wisconsin AD. Snatch him up, Sconnies.

I don’t know if Wisconsin has peaked or not. Part of me thinks that Alvarez might be Wisconsin’s Bill Snyder - achieving unprecedented success, but is the only person with the secret key to the kingdom. The other part of me thinks he unleashed the erstwhile latent potential of a large midwestern state school, uncovering a formula that many others could follow in his stead. In either case, he has been great for Wisconsin, and I both respect and loathe him for it.

MNW: When we talked about the Big Ten Mount Rushmore the other week, someone brought up Barry as a nominee. Now, I’ll be damned if I let that happen on my watch, but it’s not without merit for the athletics department he’s built.

When the time comes to replace Barry, though, you know it’ll be someone with in-state connections. I’d bet on it being one of the two names the guys over at B5Q came up with (NIU AD and former Alvarez deputy Sean Frazier or former OL and current deputy AD Chris McIntosh). It seems very on-brand for a program that’s essentially turned into Alvarez’s fiefdom--for better or for worse.

And, in all honesty, if another couple years go by and the football and basketball programs have slipped back to the pack in the Big Ten West and conference in general, I think Barry should look at retiring and handing the reins off to someone who can bring a more dynamic approach to the program. The state has a creepily-nationalistic attachment to these teams in large part because of Barry’s single-handedly dragging them to relevance in the 90s, but continued stagnation (and not wanting to look too closely at what happened to Bo Ryan)--to say nothing of the hit in reputation the university’s academics have taken by virtue of the [/coughs] certain people being raging dicks to faculty--would make the badgers just another Big Ten program.

At Northwestern, now that Jim Phillips will not be Big Ten Commissioner, he will remain King until Pat Fitzgerald retires and becomes AD. Next question.

Andrew: lol you think Barry’s retiring before they find his ice-cold corpse in his office one day. Barry or not, it will be hard for a non-blue blood like Wisco to maintain their recent level of success, and I wonder if we might already be seeing them fall back to their true selves a bit with last year’s results in both football and hoops. Wouldn’t that just be tragic?

Picking a new AD at MSU is kind of a thorny issue. The current guy, Bill Beekman, took over after Hollis resigned in disgrace, at a time when the job couldn’t have been attracting many top-flight candidates and the top of the university was in even more disarray anyway. I can’t imagine there’s a desire to destabilize things any further by tossing Beekman as long as no additional bullshit pops up relating to the department. That means Beekman, a completely unknown quantity, is probably going to be the guy to replace Izzo and Dantonio. The odds he finds as good of a successor to either is minimal. Yeah I don’t want to talk about this anymore please.

DJ: I’m not sure Alvarez has some magic formula he can teach to others. He might just be good at what he does. That being said, I’m not sure if they’ve peaked in football but they may have certainly peaked in basketball. I’m in wait and see mode there but replacing an Ethan Happ inside is not an easy task.

Maryland has a new AD, so this isn’t really relevant for me until Wallace Loh (President) finally retires. Damon Evans is very football focused coming from Georgia, and apparently does not like Mark Turgeon, so it will be interesting to see what happens if Turgeon doesn’t live up to his expectations. His first focus is to somehow attempt to fix football attendance, both student and alumni/fans. If he doesn’t fix the cash cow it won’t matter how he does anywhere else.

Jesse: I am with my esteemed colleagues in reiterating that Mr. Alvarez is not going anywhere until he literally cannot do the whole AD thing. I mean, look at him when they let him coach football. He takes EVERY opportunity to do things. As for him being tied to Wisconsin’s success, it’s hard to say. Once you get a good infrastructure and any amount of booster ties, things can go well. I don’t know enough to say who should/would be next, but MNW seems to have done the homework.

As for peaking, well, I am going to go ahead and say yes… But, that’s because it’s been a good run. Final Four runs, talk of the CFP almost every year - last year notwithstanding, and amazingly competent to great non-revs. It’s good to be a Badger right now. That can go away, you know? Oh man, there are like eight questions in this potluck question. I’m sure I missed some.

WSR: It’s never been a matter of wisconsin’s success. The North Dakota State-light run of the badgers has been due to nothing but blatant incompetence from everyone around them, and they’ve done an outstanding job of taking advantage of the void and filling it like so many empty Miller Lite cans in the back of a pickup truck on a cross-state drive. So unless the next AD is a goddamn genius, our friends are in a bit of trouble going forward. Even the great Barry has had a very strong run of bad hires in Andersen, Chryst, and Gard. If it wasn’t for Granato (who he’ll probably need to replace shortly because for some reason the NHL keeps thinking he’s a promising candidate), you’d have to go back to Kelly Sheffield and Bret Bielema (WHOM HE DIDN’T EVEN HIRE AS AD!) to find his good hires. Nothing at all to worry about, eh? But as plenty of badger fans have reminded me, everything will be fine because the AD brings in a shitton of money. I’m sure giving some schlubs from wisconsin a winning lottery ticket has never backfired before and led to a lift kit and gun turret being put on an F-350 that’s incapable of moving, right?

I don’t even want to think about Minnesota getting a new AD, because Mark Coyle’s getting his feet under him and doing a very good job. For the first time in my life, I don’t need to worry about our AD moving from an on-campus stadium to the Metrodome, or building a boathouse instead of basic needed upgrades to the baseball field, or sexually harassing beat reporters and staff from the University President’s office. Whomever the next AD is needs to be like Coyle: Smart, reasonably well-connected, not a fan of being in front of big crowds or in front of the camera (LIKE A GOOD MINNESOTAN!), and determined to get the damn job done. We can discuss my compensation later.

MC: I would not say Wisconsin has peaked, they are recruiting better than they ever have and have a stable staff in place. The conference overall is getting more competitive so it’s far to expect more variance, but there is more to be accomplished than a conference title and Rose Bowl appearance. This program has been and is still capable of a Playoff appearance if it puts everything together. As MNW mentioned I would imagine McIntosh will ultimately take over for Barry. I really don’t see the wheels falling off when Barry leaves unless whoever takes over tries to go their own way. Above all else, Barry figured out what works with this program and the blueprint is there for someone else to run with.

Thumpasaurus: It doesn’t matter what I actually believe, last year when everyone finally stopped predicting the long-awaited step back for Wisconsin and instead said they had the deepest Wisconsin team ever ended up being a big step back. Knowing this pattern, I’ll go ahead and say that Wisconsin goes 15-0 from here until the end of time because Barry will only improve with age (although do you really age if you’ll never die?)

LPW: I like wisconsin being on the losing side when they play Northwestern. The B1G west is a hard division to win, and if they’re on a downswing, then it’ll make division play more fun. I figure they’ll promote internally to replace Barry. Sometimes a football coach makes a good AD, sometimes it faceplants like Jon Pont in NU’s dark ages. I think Fitzy should be NU’s next AD after Philips hangs it up.

BrianB2: I mean, in regards to basketball, the safe bet would be to say the Badgers have peaked. Maybe I am just being hopeful though (Not that I really hate Wisconsin basketball...Happ is finally gone, right?!?) Wisconsin basketball history is pretty much limited to “the Bo Ryan years”, so I am more interested to gauge Gard’s success now that he is in year 4. I imagine Wisconsin will still maintain a pretty consistent football program even if/when Alavarez decides to hang em up.

The AD situation at Maryland isn’t the greatest to say the least and I do not think Ralph Freidgen is un-burning his Maryland diploma any time soon to take over the reigns, who is also, coincidentally, 72 years of age. I know a lot of Maryland fans pipe dream is to have Gary Williams run the athletic department. I remain skeptical that would actually work out well, but hell it would be fun while it lasted.

Creighton: “What if Barry Alvarez got too old and retired?” they asked, minutes before he named himself god-emperor of wisconsin.

I think former football coaches probably make pretty decent ADs, but I doubt Iowa will ever find out because our next one is almost certainly going to be appointed as a political favor to someone.

Stew: Me. wisconsin should hire me to be the AD. I would do a fantastic job. I promise.

Beez: Basketball has deffo peaked, and it did with their title game loss to Duke. Bball recruiting has showed zero improvement on the “basically every great player doesn’t come here” stance, and that’s absolutely not going to change until Wisconsin gets away from its long-running offensive system.

Football has nowhere near peaked. Recruiting is getting better across the board and is become far more consistent. College football teams live or die with their QB play and their defensive speed. The latter is something I truly think Wisconsin is improving on, or at least learning to mitigate by running a 3-4, and the former seems like a near-total crapshoot unless you’re a blue blood program.

Who’s going to be Wisconsin’s next AD? I’d gladly nominate WhiteSpeedReceiver, because he’s shown himself to be so incompetent and unknowledgable about college sports that the “hilarious” “bad” moves he’d make on Wisconsin’s behalf would actually turn out to be really good moves. It’s just that he’s so awful and knowing what’s good and bad in college, he’ll accidentally continue Wisconsin’s dominance over the division. And at least then his “lol all conference talent at every position” proclamations will come true. <3

Poll

Who should be Wisconsin’s post-Alvarez AD?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Shawn Eichorst
    (16 votes)
  • 0%
    Sean Frazier
    (1 vote)
  • 9%
    Chris McIntosh
    (14 votes)
  • 22%
    WhiteSpeedReceiver
    (34 votes)
  • 36%
    Cryogenically Frozen Barry Alvarez
    (55 votes)
  • 20%
    Bret Bielema
    (30 votes)
150 votes total Vote Now