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Beers. Barry. Badgerstar Galactica.

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It’s Day 2 of Wisconsin Week, and we’re talking good beers and mediocre QBs.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 27 Pinstripe Bowl - Miami v Wisconsin
Behold the speed and agility.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hey are you guys tired of talking about beer yet? No? Good. Because we’re at that well again today. Give us a break—fourteen teams is a lot to talk about.

Many things leap to mind when you think of Wisconsin. Cheese. Being tantalizingly close to Canada. How much their mascot looks like a rodent sitting in an old-timey box of popcorn. And most of all, inebriated fans.

Now, credit where it is due: Wisconsin has a serious and legitimate claim to some great beers. New Glarus’ Serendipity has a forever place in my heart as one of my all-time favorite beers. But let’s be real, that’s probably not what has amped up the average Wisconsin fan who is yelling slurs at you when your team visits Madison. No, that kind of energy is probably powered by something a little less fancy. We’ve recently outed ourselves as fans of the surprisingly drinkable “Naturdays”--so we ask you,what’s your go-to cheap beer? Can a macrobrew like Miller Lite be a “good” beer? Or does macro brewing steal something from the soul of beer, forever condemning it to shittiness?

MNW: It is Grain Belt for show, Mich Golden Light for go, Hamm’s for “shut up and drink this.” And Schmidt’s for the collectors’ cans. Minnesota has given us the best in cheap light beer (I am aware of where Hamm’s is brewed now; thank you), and wisconsin has given us the meh that is High Life, Schiltz, and Blatz; the trash that is [/deep breath] Miller Lite, Old Milwaukee, La Crosse Light, etc.; and the CERTAIN DEATH that is PBR and/or Old Style. Fuck PBR and Old Style.

Macros are a perfectly cromulent thing for ballgames, tailgates, boat rides, and other outdoor activities where you’re going to be consuming to excess. And most people believe this, I think! It’s one of those things when you say--because you really believe--that “I think macros are ACTUALLY GOOD” is a HOT TAEK and everyone around you is like, yeah, dude. No shit. Your takes aren’t hot. Put some more disgusting mayo on your sandwich and get on with your shitty life.

Anyway, macro beer is fine. NO shit. And most macrobreweries (including Miller) employ union labor, which is A Good Thing.

Andrew: Founders’ Solid Gold is a crushable macro, but if it’s around, Short’s Local Light is even better. If I’m away from civilization and really don’t have any choices beyond the gas station cooler, I’m hoping to find Molson. If I can’t even get that, I’ll drink whatever; any port in a storm. Mass-produced beer is like mass-produced anything - it’s bound to have a certain appeal, or it wouldn’t be accepted by enough consumers to be mass-produced. But very few things scale up to the level of Bud or PBR or whatever without sacrificing quality. As MNW said, drink your shitty macros and refuse to try anything complex if you prefer. If that’s your approach, you don’t deserve to live a life full of varied and complex experiences anyway.

DJ: I feel like we are all regional on this one. Natty Boh for me, and yes I know they have since moved from MD as their brewery. I’m not sure I could actually put better words to this than MNW did above. Except mayo. Fuck mayo, get that shit out of here.

Boilerman: Drink and let drink. There’s more than a few macros I won’t buy. But hand me one in a social setting and I’ll absolutely drink it. Hell, enough peer pressure made me buy a six-pack of Naturdays. There’s not much more I can add that hasn’t already been said. So I’ll close with this: Shut up and drink your damn beer.

Townie: When it is “surface of the sun” hot in Florida, cheap beer is a staple. Our typical guzzle is Coors Light or Bud Light. Served out of a pile of ice, those draughts keep us refreshed and not too buzzed, as we watch our children dodge sharks in the surf.

Thumpasaurus: Tell you what, in a pinch I like a 40 of Olde English or Mickey’s just fine. Not Steel Reserve though. Never Steel Reserve. If you think it tastes bad now, wait till you get to the last 12oz or so and it’s not cold anymore. The best beer, however, is the one that’s available to you to drink right now. Beer me.

MC: Regional through and through, I’ll always go with a High Life if it’s available and looking for a cheap option. Great beer for hot days. Maybe MGD if I see it just because it doesn’t seem to be out in the wild much. Otherwise, kind of a curveball but sometimes Trader Joe’s makes some decent affordable brews. They used to have a dunkelweizen that was a steal, but I haven’t seen it in a while.

WSR: It’s Grain Belt. Or Grain Belt Nordeast. Or Grain Belt Light, if I need a light beer. Or Grain Belt Cervevza because it’s actually pretty good. I won’t give anyone grief for whatever their cheap beer choices are, but I’m probably quietly judging.

Creighton: Back in Iowa I was a huge fan of Schlitz. It’s amazing. In lieu of that I’d go for a Grain Belt, High Life or PBR. I can’t get Schlitz or Grain Belt in Virginia, so PBR is sort of my go to now (yeah yeah, millennial or whatever). Yuengling sucks and is overrated.

BRT: I don’t bother with cheap beer very often. I don’t drink to get drunk, and consequently, if I’m drinking those calories, I want to enjoy them. However, I will own to really enjoying Naturdays during our recent taste test.

Yell about your favorite macros in the comments.

Football

Recently, a noticeable weak spot for the Badgers has been at quarterback, where the talent can most accurately be described as… okay. Given the Badgers’ other strengths, it’s been hard to not conclude that if they had a great quarterback, they’d be pretty damn hard to beat. But they don’t have that. With the departure of experienced and left-handed Alex Hornibrook, who took his talents to Tallahassee for his final year, they have… Jack Coan, I guess? In any event, there’s nothing to make Badger fans too excited. Here’s what Bucky’s Fifth Quarter has listed as possibilities:

  • Jack Coan, junior; five games played (four starts) in 2018; 60.2 completion percentage, 515 yards, five touchdowns, three interceptions
  • Danny Vanden Boom, redshirt sophomore; three games played in 2018; 100 percent completion percentage, three yards, one touchdown
  • Chase Wolf, redshirt freshman; did not play in 2018
  • Nate Carter, redshirt freshman (walk-on); did not play in 2018
  • Graham Mertz, true freshman; earned Elite 11 status, Opening Finals participant, 2018 Gatorade Kansas state football player of the year, 2019 All-American Bowl MVP; threw for 3,886 yards and 51 touchdowns as a high school senior

So, what’s Wisconsin’s game plan for working with one of these gents? How much (if at all) will it hurt them to have a merely “okay to good” quarterback at the helm?

Bonus: What’s the one piece of your program’s offense that is constantly “one step away”?

MNW: Like the last two seasons, the badgers will be able to hand the ball off 50 times against USF--stopping the Bulls is the question, in my mind--and Central Michigan to ease whoever wins the QB job into the role. Having an “okay to good” quarterback has not truly hurt wisconsin in something like 7 years (and even that year, Nebraska shitting the bed in the Big Ten Championship allowed the badgers into the Rose Bowl), so I see no reason that’ll start now. If WSR’s wildest fantasies were to come true, though (who I am kidding, I’d enjoy the shit out of it too), I could see Jack Coan being the Danny O’Brien to Graham Mertz’s Joel Stave if Paul Chryst does give Coan the ball out of the gate.

I think most Northwestern fans would say that the offensive line has always been “one step away,” but as we’ll talk about later than any other Big Ten West team--because, remember, the totally-fraudulent Northwestern Wildcats went 8-1 and won the Big Ten West--we’re optimistic that’ll change this year with the addition of OL coach Kurt Anderson.

Andrew: The long-term play here is obviously Mertz, so the question is just whether the future is now or not. Fortunately, Chryst can try him out without burning eligibility, and nothing in the non-con should be so strenuous that they risk losing by playing Mertz. Otherwise, this is a guy with a subpar track record and unknown quantities with less potential than Mertz.

DJ: I wasn’t aware that Wisconsin actually needed QB to do much of anything other than hand the ball off. My guess is that Jack Coan is the starter and Wisconsin has the long play of redshirting Mertz to preserve as much eligibility as possible. I don’t agree that they’ll play Mertz early to see what he does other than at most giving him garbage time in the three non-con games to give him some experience with the new NCAA redshirt rules. This only happens if they really think he is the true backup QB they’d go to for the remainder of the season. If they don’t think that then we see Vanden Doom or someone else taking these reps for the experience for the backup.

Thumpasaurus: If I’m Wisconsin, I’d want to enter the season with the idea that I’m redshirting Mertz. Start Coan, but get Mertz some early reps against South Florida if you want to see him in game action. Hopefully there’s four games so winnable that you can put Mertz in with no worries. Wisconsin usually doesn’t ask too much of the quarterback, so if Coan is enough of a liability that he’s costing you a game, have a short leash on him. I’m curious to see how this shakes out as well.

Dead Read: Based on what I have seen, all I can say is this: If the Badgers start Coan all season they are going to be in trouble. He is a “game manager” who cannot “manage” the “game.”

Boilerman: Wisconsin rose to relevance but running the ball and passing just enough to keep the other team from stacking the box with 10 guys. It’s no secret. Even today, their offense just needs a QB who can get the ball to the running back. Coan starting likely gets them back to their comfortable bowl eligible status but probably not much else.

Townie: I think they have to start Coan unless one of the other guys consistently beats him in practice. Experience is critical, even bad experience.

Our offensive line hasn’t been ideal over the past years. My personal lament is that while we had Barkley, we had a traffic cone, two scarecrows, and a caution sign blocking for him. For every great run, he had three TFLs because our guys whiffed on a block.

Watching this year’s Blue White Game, I saw the same shitty behavior, a kid takes a play off and gives up a TFL. I’m not sure if it’s kids or coaching, but we win a lot more games if the offensive line plays better.

MC: I’m not sure I believe this all the time, but I’ll bite and predict that Mertz gets the job and we see Coan transfer after the season. A number of ifs have to go a certain way, but if Mertz shows enough, I think they know what they have in Coan and may be willing to take on some growing pains to unlock what they think Mertz will be. Just please don’t do the two-QB thing again.

WSR: This Mertz movie is going to be much better than the one we saw before with Bart Houston starring as the QB THAT SAVES US! It doesn’t matter. The OL as a whole wasn’t that impressive last year (and then lost the “talent” that these guys couldn’t beat out), the receiving targets are poor (because who knew that college kids that could catch wouldn’t want to go run block 98% of the time before releasing on play action?), and the only thing they’ve got that most teams in the West would want is Taylor. The best bet would be to let Mertz sit while they figure all that other stuff out, but they haven’t really figured any of it out and Coan is a QB right out of the Jerry Kill mold of “guys who are listed as QBs because technically you need one on the field” but doesn’t really worry any defensive coaches. If anything happens to Taylor or he decides at any point to stop taking hits before getting paid next year, this offense is in deep shit and I’m 100% ready for it.

Creighton: I’m 73% sure you made up Danny Vanden Boom, but if not that man should be the day one starter. None of this matters, wisconsin never has a good quarterback and they don’t really need one to hand the ball off 50 times per game. Inevitably they’ll lose two or three games because they’ll have to throw the ball and won’t be able to, but ç’est la wisconsin.

Poll

Who should Wisconsin start at QB?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Jack Coan
    (33 votes)
  • 9%
    Danny Vanden Boom
    (19 votes)
  • 4%
    Chase Wolf
    (8 votes)
  • 1%
    Nate Carter
    (2 votes)
  • 32%
    Graham Mertz
    (62 votes)
  • 26%
    White Speed Receiver
    (50 votes)
  • 9%
    Pete Mote
    (18 votes)
192 votes total Vote Now