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Michigan Record Predictions // B1G 2019, Potluck 4

How will the Wolverines fare in 2019? Grab your favorite summer ice cream-based drink of choice—and our Maize and Blue friends have a local recommendation—and take a look at this schedule.

Big Ten Football Media Days

Have you enjoyed Michigan Week?

We’ve made it! HATE Friday is tomorrow—usually a dreadfully dull affair, as far as Michigan is concerned—so we remind you that if you’d like to spray the Wolverines with your Spartan or Buckeye or Nittany Lion or other rage: HATE FRIDAY POSTS ARE OPEN. If you’re interested, go to the Fanposts, type out your screed, and we’ll front-page it as long as you’re vaguely appropriate about it.

Anyway, Michigan Week marches on for one last go-round of local food/drink, Michigan football questions, and all the terrible takes from your writers that you can handle.

Join us, won’t you?

Question #1: What’s a Boston Cooler doing in Detroit?

One of those “Michigan things” that I never really understood and just kind of shrugged off was the existence of Vernor’s.

While it’s now boring and part of the Dr. Pepper brand, Vernor’s ginger ale is olllllld, having been created in 1866 by Dr. James Vernor of Detroit. Originally using ginger and vanilla, and reportedly aged in oak barrels, its recipe and taste have apparently changed over the years, but remain a timeless Michigan flavor.

So let’s take Vernor’s and, for a little Michigan twist on a summertime classic, might we recommend the Boston Cooler?

While some put a couple scoops of ice cream in a glass of ginger ale like a root beer float, the Boston cooler--apocryphally named for Boston Boulevard in Detroit--is Vernor’s ginger ale and vanilla ice cream blended together and served like a milkshake.

Simple enough, right? So, writers: (1) Would you do—or have you done—a Boston Cooler, and (2) What’s the proper drink to make using ice cream?

Bonus: Tell us about a regional or local pop that you enjoy—ginger ale or otherwise.

Andrew K: I most certainly have done Boston coolers; drop a couple shots of vodka into one on a hot day and you’re well on your way to a good night. Vernor’s is the correct way to do this, but as I’ve preached on before, Detroit is also home to Faygo, which offers a flavor of pop (soda to you heathens) for any palate. As good as ice cream is in ginger ale, put it in Faygo’s Rock N Rye if you have access to it and thank me later.

Brian: Vernors. It’s what we drink around here, right? Of course, Founders is brewed for us. I like Vernors … but advantage Founders.

(Editor’s note: Despite living on the west coast for longer than I care to admit here, I still qualify for the “we” and “us” classifications)

MC: I like ginger ale. I like vanilla ice cream. I have trouble with the idea of breeding them. This is one of those things I would need someone else to commit to buying so I could test drive. It also sounds like something that you either want to drink four of or immediately ask for your money back with no middle ground. The proper drink to make, though, is obviously a root beer float and I’ll say no more on that.

Talking regional, the obvious choice is Sprecher, whose root beer and cream soda or must-haves for anyone. For a hidden gem, Dang! and Point each have some good options too. Pour one out for Black Bear, a childhood staple that sadly ceased production a couple years ago. And definitely pour it out if it’s Black Bear, because you’ve got yourself a mighty flat drink there, friend.

Creighton: Yeah I’ve made a Boston Cooler. It’s fine. Vernor’s is a terrible ginger ale and it’s pretty light on the ginger flavor. I’d rather have a root beer float. As for local pop? I don’t think Iowa has anything specific, but in Virginia (where I’m currently located) we have Cheerwine, a southern favorite. Cheerwine is god awful and you should never try it. It’s supposed to be cherry flavored, but I would describe the flavor as “Someone left an expired bottle of Dr. Faygo next to a pile of cherry pits”.

BrianB2: ^^Cheerwine is bad Dr. Pepper, and that’s saying something. To build on that, the southeastern fried chicken chain Bojangles has a “Patio Red Cherry Soda” which legitimately tastes like carbonated cough syrup.

Anyway, I have definitely seen Vernor’s before, but the only time I really sip on ginger ale is when I am sick, and I don’t really even do that any more. Overall, would I try a ginger ale and vanilla ice cream milkshake, sure, why not, I might be pleasantly surprised. Can we add booze do it? Sure we can add booze to it! If you haven’t tried a “beer-float” before, get on it, at least once. A good chocolate stout plus a scoop of your favorite ice cream equals good times for all.

In Maryland, we take after Homer Simpson and always reach for our famous, patented “Crab Juice”. It’s two parts flavorless La Croix, two parts V8 Bloody Mary Mix, 1.5 oz of Chesapeake Bay water, and 3 oz. of sugar-free Red Bull. It is shaken neat and strained through a Maryland flag, then served in an Old Bay rimmed turtle shell (removal of tortoise optional) and garnished with raw backfin. It tastes horrible and is guaranteed to make you violently ill, but we love it, because we are all morons. Am I making this up? Maybe. Come to Maryland and find out!

Beez: I love ginger ale, and Vernor’s is one of the best (non-Blenheim category). I would absolutely put ice cream in a glass of Vernor’s at eat it blended or on the ice cream rocks. As far as ice cream drinks go, it’s hard to beat a good root beer float, but I’ll also take a Banana Pudding milkshake from Cookout...assuming they actually use ice cream which I’m pretty sure they don;t.

Cheerwine has been discussed and blasphemed by those above me. Cheerwine is f’ing delicious and you should absolutely have some. The two proper ways to have it are (a) out of a glass bottle (because that’ll mean it’s made with cane sugar instead of artificial sweeteners), or (b) in a styrofoam cup at a barbecue restaurant where they have those ice cubes that look like extra large Dippin’ Dots.

MNW: Yeah wait, who’s ripping on Cheerwine?! Fuck right off, you. It’s diabetes in a glass, sure, but it’s not like you’re going to Cookout for your health. And it’s delicious.

I go pretty simple on the root beer float front—give me some 1919 Root Beer and three scoops of vanilla in a glass. Don’t blend it, don’t do any of that other nonsense. Just a nice, simple, refreshing dessert. And for that reason, I’m not wild on the Boston Cooler—I don’t really see ginger ale and vanilla being a combination I’d enjoy.

Speaking of 1919 Root Beer, it’s the Minnesota answer to the wildly popular (and, admittedly, delicious) Sprecher brand from Milwaukee. As my dad hails from Sleepy Eye, in south-central Minnesota, no trip to the grandparents’ farm was complete without a six-pack of Buddy’s pop for each of us kids. While they reportedly make orange and strawberry flavors, we were grape ‘til we die. Both those grandparents are dead now, but every time I’m passing through southern Minnesota, I pick up a sixer of Buddy’s Grape for each of us kids.


Boston Cooler?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Had it, love it, would have it again.
    (33 votes)
  • 2%
    Had it, not for me.
    (3 votes)
  • 48%
    Never had it, but would gladly try.
    (60 votes)
  • 22%
    Never had it, not really interested in trying it.
    (28 votes)
124 votes total Vote Now


Regional pop of choice?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    (31 votes)
  • 29%
    (38 votes)
  • 6%
    (8 votes)
  • 17%
    (22 votes)
  • 3%
    (4 votes)
  • 18%
    Other (comments!)
    (24 votes)
127 votes total Vote Now

Question #2: Record Predictions!

Friend of the Empire 97allstars projected yesterday that the Michigan Wolverines could, in 2019, be a better team but finish around the same 10-3 record. And, looking at the schedule, it’s perhaps easy to understand why:

That’s a nice, manageable open to the season—if two of the three crossovers provide the tricky MANBALL that Harbaugh likes to play—before the Wolverines turn the page to a miserable backstretch characterized not only by the meat of Big Ten East play, but a visit from Notre Dame as well. And even Maryland and Indiana, while still rebuilding/Indiana, are on the road.

So tell us, writers, how the Wolverines finish in 2019.

Andrew K: 10-2, most likely. And one of the two is Ohio State which means, once again, no division title, and this is your daily reminder that historical Big Ten powers Nebraska and Northwestern both made the title game before Michigan did.

Brian: 9-3 sounds about right. With a home slate that includes Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State, and a road schedule that includes trips to Wisconsin and Penn State, if Michigan can record a ten-win season—it will have earned it.

Creighton: I’m going with 8-4. I think they finish with losses to Ohio State, either Notre Dame or Sparty, and two of Iowa-wisconsin-Penn State. Army is a low key trap game too.

BrianB2: I think there’s potential for 11-1, but I am going to play it safe and say 9-3. Losses to Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Ohio State. This will still be good enough to win the East though, somehow. I really should start going back to past potlucks to see how many of my predictions have started to contradict one-another.

Boilerman: Definitely think 9 wins is the floor for this team. If Harbaugh releases the clamps on the offense, 11 isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Too many land mines in there to go undefeated. This just might be the year Michigan makes it to the B1G CCG.

Beez: 11-1. They’re either FINALLY beating OSU and losing to some shitass team like Iowa, or they’re running the non-OSU table.

WSR: 10-2, because I won’t believe that they’ll win over Ohio State until after they win over Ohio State and Notre Dame is going to be a pain in the ass. I think this team will be better offensively than they have been in the past because, well, it’s not easy to be much worse when you look at the talent they’ve accumulated. And the defense will still be good enough to win the division but not good enough to drag the rest of the team there.

MNW: Don Brown’s defense is made to play teams like wisconsin and Iowa, who will slowly suffocate against the Wolverines’ pressure with a lack of speed and playmaking. That presupposes, of course, that the Wolverine offense gets moving, but that’s the one thing with this team I’m not terribly worried about. So there’s a 6-0 start, and a College GameDay visit to Happy Valley ahead of Michigan-Penn State.

The wheels, as usual, come off just enough in the back half. Give me 2 losses to the four biggies on the back end, made more disappointing by the fact that the Wolverines get arguably their three biggest tests at home.

That or, I mean, 11-1 Michigan is getting left out of the College Football Playoff, and I’m very here for that, too.


Michigan in the Big Ten goes...

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    9-0, B1GCG appearance
    (50 votes)
  • 15%
    8-1, B1GCG appearance
    (41 votes)
  • 13%
    8-1, left out of the B1GCG—AGAIN.
    (35 votes)
  • 2%
    7-2, miracle B1GCG appearance
    (8 votes)
  • 34%
    7-2, no B1GCG
    (92 votes)
  • 13%
    (36 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    4-5 or worse
    (5 votes)
267 votes total Vote Now


Michigan’s overall record:

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    (27 votes)
  • 23%
    (58 votes)
  • 27%
    (69 votes)
  • 27%
    (70 votes)
  • 8%
    (22 votes)
  • 2%
    7-5 or worse
    (6 votes)
252 votes total Vote Now

What more boring experts are saying:

  • Noted SBN traitor Bill Connelly says 9.0 wins, while FPI says 10.5 wins.
  • FanDuel gives us an O/U total of 9.5 wins, with O -168, U +142.
  • WagerTalk has the Wolverines at 5/2 (+250) to go to the College Football Playoff
  • OddsShark’s aggregator puts the Wolverines somewhere in the +1400 National Championship range.
  • Bovada gives us Shea Patterson at +2500 for the Heisman Trophy and the Wolverines at +215 for the Big Ten Championship.


We’ll give you $100 to place a bet. Which you got?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    +215 for B1G Champions
    (26 votes)
  • 27%
    -168 over 9.5 wins
    (50 votes)
  • 43%
    +142 under 9.5 wins
    (79 votes)
  • 9%
    +250 College Football Playoff participants
    (17 votes)
  • 4%
    +1400 National Champions
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    +2500 Shea Patterson Heisman (note: full season, not September only)
    (2 votes)
183 votes total Vote Now