clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Good, Old-Fashioned Defense

And defense of a good Old Fashioned

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 27 Pinstripe Bowl - Miami v Wisconsin
Chose this solely because his last name is “Wildgoose,” which is amazing.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

More alcohol today, because we’re in Wisconsin, I guess.

Today, we turn our attention to an… interesting… tradition in Wisconsin: making Old Fashioneds with brandy instead of bourbon. This proclivity has been described in terms ranging from “silly” to “abominable” by our staff. So let’s keep this short and sweet today: where do you stand on this? Is it innovative and delicious? Or does something named “The Old Fashioned” sort of inherently reject elaboration on the norm? Bonus: What’s your go-to cocktail?

MNW: No it’s terrible, and wisconsin should feel bad about itself.

I like a nice glass of scotch with a cube or two of ice unless it’s really smooth, or a dirty martini.

Boilerman: If it’s not made with bourbon, it’s not an Old Fashioned. Anyone who disagrees can die in a fire.

My go-to is pretty much the same as MNW. Single Malt Scotch or a nice Kentucky Bourbon. 1-2 cubes. Sip and let the haze begin.

Andrew: Look, it’s not like they’re calling a casserole “hotplate” or whatever; in most cases booze is malleable enough to allow for some tweaking for taste. For example, I strongly recommend a Back Nine - Arnold Palmer plus simple syrup and bourbon - with gin instead. Go ahead, make that face. Then make yourself nine of them at your next summer wedding and you’ll be the belle of the ball.

Townie: You may not know this about me, but I’m a bit of a curmudgeon. Particularly when it comes to drinks. Don’t fruit my beer, please use rye in my sazerac and don’t take bourbon out of my old fashioned.

That said, some poor sap in Milwaukee probably ran out of bourbon and just said to hell with it and dumped in brandy. Like they give a shit what the booze is...really.

I have a few cocktails I like. I am a big fan of a good old fashioned (please use flame on the orange rind). My summer cocktail right now is Hendrick’s gin, elderflower liqueur, fresh lime juice and a touch of simple syrup. But I will often ditch the Hendricks and elderflower for a good rum. Either way, put the mix in a shaker with ice and serve up in a cold cocktail glass.

Creighton: Brandy in an Old Fashioned should be a jailable offense. If I’m drinking I usually stick to beer and/or scotch, however I do enjoy a good martini (very dry) or something with bourbon (like an old fashioned not made by a serial killer)

BrianB2: Brandy is disgusting, bourbon is not. What the hell were they thinking? Now to totally discredit any opinion I may have about liquor, I generally stick to beer as I find it easier to maintain sobriety that way. I used to drink my fair share of rum and coke though, classy. In college we would mix blueberry Burnetts with powdered Country Time, classier. One time, the power went out at my apartment in August and it was ten thousand degrees and I found myself sipping on room temperature Firefly Iced Tea vodka in an effort to fall asleep...classiest. If I am out, at the beach or something, and it is a special occasion, I love a good mojito.

Beez: Old Fashioneds are a disgusting drink no matter what liquor you decide to use. Whiskey sour or GTFO.

Ray: +1 Beez. Old Fashioneds are like passing the ball at Wisconsin. You don’t want it and when you get it, the result is usually pretty gross. So, I’d say anything to deviate from the disgusting norm is a win here.

WSR: Yeah, my cocktails of choice are either a martini of some sort or an Old Fashioned. And an Old Fashioned has bourbon. It should be simple, but never underestimate the ability of people from wisconsin to make the incorrect choice.

MC: Seems like an appropriate time for Lewis Black to offer his periodic, obligatory thoughts on the matter. (NSFW language, because duh, Lewis Black)


I prefer...

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    (54 votes)
  • 22%
    (26 votes)
  • 30%
    No Fashioned
    (35 votes)
115 votes total Vote Now


Wisconsin’s defense has often been a strength of the team--not “offensive line of doom” strong, but stout enough. So what does 2019 hold for the Badgers on this side of the ball? Can they do a good enough job to keep Jack Coan from seeing too much playing time? Will it improve, or take a step back this year? Bonus: What vaunted unit for your team was, in your opinion, slightly (or really) overrated?

MNW: As I’m sure beez and MCClap discussed at length this morning (I’m writing this on Tuesday; I definitely read it by Wednesday), the injury bug really depressed the wisconsin defense in 2018—but oh man, did these defensive stats damn near bottom-out, as far as wisconsin’s usual standards are concerned:

[insert table]

[Ed. Note: But there was no table. It was an empty promise of something good, that in the end, disappointed. Was this a metaphor for Badger defense, that promised serviceability and instead gave up 37 points to Minnesota in a rivalry game? Or merely the deluded ramblings of a frustrated historian promising much and then under-delivering later? No one would ever know.]

(thanks for the heads-up, BRT. here you go:)

badger defense rankings by year

badgers d 2015 2016 2017 2018
badgers d 2015 2016 2017 2018
DCoord. Aranda Wilcox Leonhard Leonhard
SuccessRt 10 19 7 54
IsoPPP+ 23 30 44 57
Rush 5 8 10 59
Pass 10 19 13 58
StanD 6 12 11 56
PassD 11 24 10 50
Def S&P+ 4 7 4 29

Now, two of the major injuries hurting the badgers’ push up front—DEs Isaiahh Loudermilk and Garrett Rand—should be back and healthy, and in having to use almost every DB on their roster, wisconsin’s got players who have at least seen the field. I’m not particularly fearful, though, of the post D’Cota Dixon badger secondary. But maybe Eric Burrell and Scott Nelson are better safeties than I’m giving them credit for.

Now, with Andrew Van Ginkel, T.J. Edwards, and Ryan Connelly—three linebackers who constituted something like 30% of the badgers’ tackles in their base 3-4 defense—all off to the NFL, where will the production come from? Can OLB Zack Baun and a cast of backups from 2018 get the job done? I think if Jim Leonhard keeps the defense at its 2019 levels it’ll be a success for wisconsin; and I wouldn’t be surprised if things regress.

Andrew: Listen to the podcast. We discuss it there.

Townie: While last year’s defense wasn’t great, it planted the seeds of improvement for 2019. Wisconsin has a young, high motor defense with some playing experience. Last year these youngsters got thrown in out of necessity, particularly on the line. This year they come in with game experience.

I’m looking for Chris Orr to be a great player for Wisconson this year. He’s a beast at middle linebacker. He’ll make it hard to run up the gut on the Badgers. But they are going to need him to be healthy all year.

That said, they are thin up front, thanks to injuries and inexperience. And the secondary is young. There isn’t a single senior in the defensive backfield for Wisconsin. That doesn’t mean they’ll be bad, but there is a lack of experience back there.

Beez: I wrote about this earlier today! Health, especially on the D Line, will be the biggest difference between 2018 and this season. Plus, despite Wisconsin’s seemingly mediocre defense last year...the defense was still pretty good nationally! I expect Wisconsin to get back into the top 20 of all defenses nationwide by S&P+. I expect the linebackers to shine again, as the D Line will do a much better job allowing LBs free run at the offensive backfield. I’m a little bit worried about speed in the secondary, but I think the DBs will do a pretty good job in coverage.

BrianB2: Just speaking about my questionable adventures in drinking from the past have made me far too disoriented to speak coherently about college football. I feel at Maryland, as is probably true for a lot of the middling schools, we think our “star” players are a lot better than they actually are. Most people consider our running back group to be the most vaunted, but I wouldn’t say, yet, that they are overrated.

Ray: Blah blah blah. Another year, another overperforming Wisconsin defense. Can you guys just play down to your talent level and let some of us underachievers shine a little bit. Yes, the Wisconsin defense will be good, obviously. Eyeroll.gif

I hated Harbaugh until he came out with this gem about the “ridiculous” Rutgers kick coverage team. Yes, they were pretty good last year, especially going into Michigan week (#2 in the nation in yards per return), but that was due to an incredibly small sample size (we didn’t score much) and not a lot of touchbacks (only 25th in success rate). Still, we gotta take the wins where we can get them and Teams was pretty great last year relative to the rest of the team. Good follow-up question.


And as for what’s been overrated for my team, well that would be Glen Mason’s running game. In big games, we’d regularly either get shut down entirely, or would need to face adjustments in the 2nd half and the result would be predictable: The TV camera would show a shot of Glen with that stupid smirk that was a combination of “I have no idea what I’m doing” and what appeared to be constipation. While we’d run up huge numbers against crap teams, when it came time to take care of business against middling opponents we’d be screwed.


Wisconsin’s defense will be best described as:

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    (19 votes)
  • 34%
    (44 votes)
  • 3%
    (4 votes)
  • 26%
    [insert table]
    (34 votes)
  • 21%
    They’ll give up 56 to Minnesota this year
    (28 votes)
129 votes total Vote Now