I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Ohio State Buckeyes nabbed a pretty big transfer in the off-season.
Not much controversy though, as far as I can remember.
As we march on with Ohio State Week, analyzing whether the Buckeyes can stay atop the heap in the Big Ten East or whether Michigan finally catches up to the Scarlet and Gray, we’ve got to dive just a little deeper and assess the playmakers who make it happen for OSU. It stuck out in the Big Ten Championship against Northwestern—just as it did against wisconsin before them—just how big a talent and speed advantage the Buckeyes have over so many of the rank-and-file of the Big Ten.
But how will they use it? How can they deploy such talent under a new coach? And why does it feel like, with the scales already tipped in the Buckeyes’ favor since I was just Dreikäsehoch, we just have to sit there and take it?
So grab a plate of Midwestern comfort food, put on some leather trousers, and let’s deal with our Weltschmerz and hope for that Schadenfreude that will never come.
Kummerspeckzeit: Spätzle, Sauerbraten, und Schwarzbier
In our beer-brewing Midwesternness, we’ve got to appreciate those who came before us. In Ohio, that is Cincinnati’s German community. Marking the southeastern corner of the German Triangle of immigration to the Midwest (Milwaukee and St. Louis are the other vertices) and the fourth-most “German city” in the U.S. behind the latter two plus Minneapolis-St. Paul. With neighborhoods like Over the Rhine, Cincy is home to breweries like Rheingeist and a host of German restaurants like the Mecklenburg Gardens, founded in 1865.
Columbus, too, had the German Village, part of a city that at one point was a third German.
So we ask: What’s your favorite German food, and where’s the “German village” in your locale? (Feel free to give German restaurant recommendations, please!)
LPW: My favorite place for German food in Chicago is the Berghoff! This restaurant has been around for over a century, and it’s right in downtown Chicago. I love to get Sauerbraten or Wiener Schnitzel, capped off with beer brewed on-site.
WSR. GASTHOF ZUR GEMUTLICHKEIT! Goodness, if you travel to Minnesota for a game during Oktoberfest you need to go to Gasthof. Just trust me. Get ready to be stuffed full with some of the best German food you could ever have outside my Grandmother’s kitchen, to drink plenty of beer, and to lose to seemingly old, small, and uncoordinated people at hammerschlagen. It’s just how it works.
My favorite German food is, has, and probably always will be Schweinebraten. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water a bit, and I may need to convince one of the older folks in the family to host a little shindig shortly so I don’t have to try to make the dumplings myself (My continued failure to be able to make them is one of my greatest sources of shame).
Candystripes: There’s not actually a proper German village in central Indiana that I’m aware of, though Indianapolis does have the Rathskeller Restaurant, which I’ve heard is quite good. The only time I’ve ever been, I wasn’t impressed, but that was over a decade ago, and I’ll admit that high school me didn’t have the most enlightened taste in food.
And on tangentially related topics, I have actually been to Columbus’ German Village, and the main attraction there for me was a sprawling new and used bookstore called the Book Loft, which is both very interesting to walk around in and absolutely a deathtrap if it should ever catch on fire. Don’t let that stop you from visiting, though.
Boilerman: My favorite German food hands down is Roasted Pork Knuckle (properly known as Schweinshaxe), Bavarian-style. The fat must be roasted to a crisp so when you peel it off, the meat below just falls off the bone. A close runner-up is a Bretzelburger which I’ve enjoyed multiple times during trips to Berlin.
Fort Wayne has a fairly heavy German heritage and they host a Germanfest every summer complete with all the wursts you can eat and a traditional tapping of the keg. As far as a German restaurant though, they’re lacking in that department.
BrianB2: In general, I would say that my go-to German food is (beer) sauerbraten, but I pretty much like it all. I can even handle the sauerkraut at some nicer German places, particularly the red cabbage variety, that shit from the jar that people put on their sausages at your standard cook-out is absolutely repulsive.
In Hagerstown, MD there is a little restaurant called the Schmankerl Stube and it is pretty much the only place I go in the state for German cuisine. That about ends the list of reasons anyone should go to Hagerstown (okay, Cushwa Brewing is also pretty darn good) Last summer, while at Epcot, my fiance and I went to the German beer hall/buffet thing in “Germany” for dinner and while it was hilariously expensive, if you find yourself stuck in Epcot, I might suggest it.
Jesse: Give me a big plate of spaetzle with an unhealthy amount of sausage. I’m not sure what the goto is but I always enjoyed Blatt in Omaha who had some fun German style dishes.
Handschuhschneeballwerfer Beez: I’m not convinced there is anyone of German descent in North Carolina, but if there is, they don’t have any restaurants or bars as far as I can tell. I am a big fan of spoetzl for some reason, plus any kind of sausage.
MNW: Northeast Minneapolis’ Gasthof is excellent, as WSR notes, but get out of the city and head down—not up, the central Minnesota Germans are no fun—to south-central Minnesota and check out New Ulm.
A statue of Herman the German towers over New Ulm, which is also home to the August Schell Brewing Company, Minnesota’s oldest and America’s third-oldest family-owned brewery. Come for Oktoberfest, stay for the high quality of life, amazing German food and language at every turn, and people who talk like me [I’ve been told my accent is charming].
My answer for food, similar to WSR’s, is dumplings like my dad’s mom used to make. These were unhealthy, stick-in-your-gut, doughy balls of delight that I miss so much. We’ve got the recipe but haven’t been able to replicate exactly how she made them. Maybe someday.
Best German food?
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Wurst of some kind
Why are we talking about all this German food when there’s beer RIGHT THERE?
Fine, which German beer is best?
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Zweite Frage: Ohne Erbsenzähler, Noch Erfolgreich?
Early reports from full-contact Buckeye scrimmages, though, depict the offense as being a little turnover-plagued (while conveniently not mentioned who turned the ball over). With a rebuilt offensive line, as our friends at Land-Grant Holy Land have noted, with only LT Thayer Munford (who admittedly is very good though missed the Rose Bowl with injury) returning, transfer QB Justin Fields and RB J.K. Dobbins will rely on blockers like former Rutgers captain and transfer LG Jonah Jackson to create some time and space.
And the receiving options remain strong—while GF3’s favorite WR Parris Campbell is gone along with Terry McLaurin—TE Luke Farrell is an NFL Draft almost-surety, hybrid-back K.J. Hill returns 885 yards and 6 TDs of production, WR Austin Mack saw significant time, and Chris Olave emerged as a significant threat with three touchdowns against Michigan and Northwestern.
So tell us, writers: How good can the Buckeyes offense be in the wake of Urban Meyer and Tate Martell departing and Ryan Day and Justin Fields taking the reins? Where should there be the most continuity, and where should there be cause for concern?
Bonus: What’s your [/tugs collar] moment in player eligibility history? Anyone who you can definitively say shouldn’t have suited up for a game/season?
LPW: I think OSU will just reload, and they’ll be fine.
WSR: I’m not really concerned about anything at tOSU either, except for Justin Fields. I’m really torn on him because he has all the potential in the world, but he just didn’t seem like a good fit with Kirby Smart at Georgia and he didn’t exactly have a strong spring game in Columbus (SHUT UP I’M BEING POLITE). I’m convinced that part of that was due to the fact that QBs that can run never look that good in a controlled (DON’T TOUCH THE QB) scrimmage, but 4/13 is approaching Billy Cockerham 0-fer Gopher numbers.
If Fields is the real deal and Day is some sort of QB whisperer, then the offense will be just fine. You can hide a lot of flaws behind a great RB in the B1G, there’s plenty of talent waiting for a chance at WR and OL, and the Buckeyes will be facing quite a few pretty unimpressive defenses or reloading defenses this fall.
JWS: I think the offense will be steady, and not as explosive as years past. If turnovers really are an issue, OSU could be headed for a Michigan-level plummet from the top ten. Joe Bowserman. I am not sure if that is how you spell it, but it is still too painful to look it up.
BrianB2: It is considerably more fun to discuss German food than it is to speculate in what facets of football Ohio State might struggle.
Short answer, they won’t struggle. Maybe they’ll turn the ball over three times in a 43 point beat down of Miami of Ohio, which will send Buckeyes fans into a tizzy, saying things like, “this team will never get past NEBRASKA with this piss poor ball security”. But in reality, they will coast to an 11-13 win season.
Jesse: Lawrence Phillips shouldn’t have played again. Let’s just move on now.
OSU is loaded at the skills positions and of course you’re hearing early murmurs of problems, but until that much talent proves to be ineffective, I’m chalking them up for a lot of wins and impossibly good stats that people will scoff at because they aren’t as good as they could be.
MNW: Day’s been with the offense long enough that I’m not worried about his side of the offensive equation. And Fields can’t be Bauserman-levels of bad.
But if teams can force him to make plays with his arms—and I have no doubt that Luke Fickell’s Cincinnati will try to make him do exactly that—we’ll see how well Ohio State replaces its oft-maligned wide receivers. If anything, though, my brilliant plan of forcing Fields to make plays with his arm will no doubt lead to a breakout season for Chris Olave, probably for the first real time in a fourth quarter comeback over Northwestern. Cool.
Beez: There’s no chance the OSU offense is as good or explosive as last season, what with a somehow underrated Haskins leaving after setting all kinds of records. Could this be the year that OSU finally remembers where it’s located and what conference it’s in and gets back to running the ball every once in a while? Maybe!
In short: less explosive offense with a lower ceiling, but better able to control the clock and be more consistent.
Danny Davis playing near the beginning of last season made me a little queasy. If his now-acquitted teammate Quintez Cephus ever plays again, that will also be weird. But the OBVIOUS answer is either Tanner McAvoy, not because he should have been ineligible but because he blew ass.
How will Ohio State’s offense finish?
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Best in the conference, transfer rules are meaningless, lol at your shit teams
Top-tier, no noticeable step back
Above-average: Slow to rev up and possibly reined in against the Big Ten’s best
Average, and that’s a problem