Minnesota Week is almost done.
And with this, my involvement, mercifully, ends.
We made it, everyone.
Today we’re talking college bar deals that lead to bad decision, dumb adult life-hacks for the cabin weekend to come, and why it’s anyone’s best guess where the Gophers could go in 2021.
Food: Coin Flips and Life Hacks
Definitely not a proud moment in my life, but during my gap year undergrad and grad school, I’d occasionally visit friends still in school at the U. Since they were seniors and had stopped trying—and I only had a bank job I didn’t care about—we’d frequent Burrito Loco on Sunday nights for the horrors that awaited us on Flip Night.
- Order a drink.
- Bartender flips a coin.
- You get it right, drink’s free. Get it wrong, full price.
I’m sure I was an absolute asshole and failed to tip on half my wins, but I definitely lost more than I won, so it all came out in the wash.
Since I’ve continued to find stupid ways around paying for stuff AND I’m kind of mailing this one in from the cabin in the Northwoods, here’s another chance to share your life hacks.
We got to the cabin and I made coffee...problem was, we had no creamer, since the in-laws haven’t arrived yet and, though they were here on Tuesday, they refuse to leave even creamer in the fridge in case it spoils. While my solution was to put vodka in my coffee, apparently that didn’t work for the wife.
Enter our brilliant new stirring stick:
Just a simple chocolate-covered ice cream bar, some hot coffee, and a delightful drink.
So with all that in mind, writers:
(1) Have you been to the U? Any bars you’d go to?
(2) What was one “Flip Night-esque” deal at a campus bar that usually devolved into an absolute shitshow?
(3) Since it’s the Fourth of July weekend, give me your cabin life hacks—whether it’s an ice cream bar in your coffee, one of those “Iowa fireworks” that’s a rubber hose in a copper tube, or something in between, help us help ourselves this weekend.
MNW: B-Loco and the Library were my two go-tos, and for gameday it’s Stub and Herb’s—though my parents do love Sally’s, for some reason.
The only other B-Loco experience I vaguely remember was being there the night the Gophers bombed out of the NCAA Tournament in...let’s say 2013. Eliot Eliason was at the bar and, for some reason, we were talking. He told me how much he hated playing Northwestern and Bill Carmody and the “fucking zone”.
Miss you, Bill.
Northwestern and the City of Evanston were still engaged, while I was in school from 2009-2012, in the slow process of running anything good out of town. (RIP TKOE.) We in the sousaphone section would walk to Giordano’s after rehearsal on Wednesday nights, because Gio’s had a deal for 40% off your pizza and $1 domestic pints with your NU Wildcard. That was a HELL of a deal.
Other than that, our go-to shitshow—that I only managed once, I believe—was the $20 McGee’s Friday night special down in Lincoln Park. For $20, all-you-can-drink Bud Light, Goose Island Green Line, Shock Top, and rails, plus a nasty pizza bar and stuff. I met then-Sippin’ on Purple head man Rodger Sherman there once. I don’t think he was amused to meet me. I also blacked out and was in a cab home by about 11pm. Not my proudest.
O’Malley’s was the diviest of all the dive bars in Campustown. It was in the basement of a mixed use building, so you could literally take a dive down the dimly lit stairs going in. On Monday nights, they had dime beers. You could order whatever you wanted, but all the taps were hooked up to MIlwaukee’s Best on Monday. They had trays that would hold 16 cups, so I’d lay my $2.00 on the bar (leaving the generous $.40 tip) and proceed to fuel up on bad decision making juice.
O’Malley’s was known for two other customs. First, every night at midnight, they played American Pie by Don MacLean and everyone would stop and circle up and sing along with a few edited lyrics thrown in. The other was a contest known as drinking the wall. There was a list of pretty much every drink they served and if you drank them all in one night, you got a tee shirt to commemorate the occasion.
If you have electricity at your cabin, have a fan blow where you hang out at night. Mosquitoes are weak flyers (like most B1G QB passes) and will not be able to approach. If you don’t have electricity, scented geraniums, cloves, and lemons give off natural mosquito repelling scents. As a bonus, lemons go pretty good with cheap beer.
RU in VA: I like the concept. There’s a place called Bar A up in north Jersey that has a concept where the beers start at .50 for the 4-5PM hour, then go up a dollar every hour after that until they reach their natural price.
As a mid-30 year old, that practice should probably be illegal. But whatevs, sounds fun.
I wasn’t really old enough to go to bars that much (17 and in college woooooo), but normally the frats that didn’t have letter you recognized and massive juice heads hanging out there were absolute units. Cats rappelling out of windows, throwing small appliances at cars, getting shut down every month or two... ahh, college.
I guess it’s not really a hack, BUT BUY A HEADLAMP. It’s one of the most useful things you can possibly own outside.
Kind of...: 1) I’ve spent some time at bars near “the U” and/or U sports stadia, but most of it a couple of decades ago. The two that stand out from lo those many years ago are Sally’s and Sparky’s. I can’t remember which is which, but my understanding is that one was demolished to make way for...um...somebody told me once, er, the new hockey arena? Pretty fun evening. (Must be Sparky’s based on MNW’s comment above.)
2) As far as drink deals go, there is a thing called “Double Bubble.” Not everybody has heard of it, so maybe it’s a Wisconsin thing. But basically it just means 2-for-1 drinks. Now you might say “that’s no different than half off,” but it does mean you’re going to drink an even number of drinks that evening, and it’s always the sixth (or eighth) that gets you.
My favorite drink deal, though, was called “knowing a bartender.” When this deal is in place, you order a mixed drink called a “_____ special” where the drink is named after the bartender (let’s call him Jim). Both of you understand that a “Jim special” is whatever he wants it to be, but it will be potent. Win-win.
3) I grew up not camping but have become friends with many people who do camp. To me even the basic shit hits me like a life hack. I have nothing to offer other than if you invite me camping, I’ll pay a disproportionate share because I’ll feel useless.
WSR: Miss you, old Sally’s. And Mourn ya till I join ya, Campus Pizza.
Football: Predicting the 2021 Gophers Season
It...uh...it could be just an elaborate series of coin flips?
There’s a lot of hay to be made in the mushy middle of the Gophers’ schedule—after an opening loss to Ohio State, there’s no almost-sure loss on the Fightin’ Flecks’ schedule until November 13 kicks off a brutal three-game finish.
With a pair of MACtion dates, though, and coin-flippers for the whole month of October and into November, Minnesota could be right back to the plus side of the column both overall and in the Big Ten. I’ll believe they can beat Iowa or wisconsin when I see it, and Indiana should be a frisky test on the road in November, but given that Michael Penix, Jr., will probably be a coin flip health-wise by then, too...
Tell me, writers:
(1) Has your team played a Big Ten conference opener on the first week of the season yet? Has it been worth it, either as an invested fan or as a neutral?
(2) Tell us the next time Minnesota will win a rivalry trophy game—and the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy doesn’t count.
(3) How does Minnesota finish up in 2021? Give us your Big Ten and overall predictions. Bonus points for what bowl game they go to.
MNW: In 2018 the ‘Cats opened up at Purdue, spending one half not having any clue how to stop Rondale Moore and another...well, stopping Rondale Moore. It was a silly way to start the season and I doubt it brought any additional eyeballs to the conference.
Something like Minnesota-Ohio State, though, is worth it on two levels:
(1) It’s on a Thursday night, since Minnesota loves that State Fair Thursday night slot and will bring eyeballs through both Peejus’ self-promotion and Ohio State’s name brand, and
(2) Something tells me Ohio State fans hate it, which means I love it.
Honestly, unless Minnesota goes full 2014 Virginia Tech on the bit and C.J. Stroud isn’t ready, it won’t be good...but nothing ventured nothing gained, and honestly it’s probably better to catch this Ohio State team early rather than late, when they’ve figured out how best to use their 2348 5* athletes. Feels like it should be illegal to have that many, but here we are.
I’ll give the Gophers their 2022 Big Ten opener, hosting Iowa. Seems like that’ll be it.
That, of course, is already three losses for the Gophers’ 2021 Big Ten campaign, then. Who knows what Ralphie will look like, but let’s say the Gophers go 2-1 in the non-conference. Hard to row at altitude, unless Peej takes them to Lake Titicaca for an off-season team-building trip.
(There’s an idea, isn’t it? Harbaugh takes Michigan to the Vatican, Peej takes the Gophers on an Inca rope course and rowing on Lake Titicaca. Then, after a visit to Macchu Picchu, he invents K.H.I.P.U.: Knowing How Important is Practicing Unconditionally. He is then sacrificed to Viracocha.)
Anyway, 3-2 in that middle stretch, and I’ll give the Gophers a win over Indiana because we’ll need someone to fill the Redbox Bowl or Cheez-It Bowl. Why not Peej? 6-6 (4-5).
RockyMtnBlue: Last year I assumed all ‘matchup’ games at the end of the year were 50/50 on general principles. I feel like that would be a good approach to take with West Division teams since I don’t watch them much, don’t care about them at all, and can’t be bothered to improve on either of those statements.
Nonetheless, here’s your guaranteed-to-be-accurate-highly-analized-not-at-all-rectally-extracted win percentages
Minnesota Win Percentages
|vs||Ohio State||0||This really is the time and way to meet OSU. It won't matter.|
|vs||Miami||90||I saw the schedule above and I swear I thought this was Maryland. Probably still would if they didn't also have Maryland on the schedule.|
|@||Colorado||100||I'm going to this game, and will be rooting for CU out of general OTE spite. This insures Minnesota will get an OOC P5 win.|
|vs||Bowling Green||90||Peej used to own the Mac. Still does.|
|@||Purdue||60||Should be a really fun game to watch. You know, as long as you don't like defense.|
|vs||Nebraska||70||I'll believe this is the year Frosty puts it all together when I see it.|
|vs||Maryland||60||Feels very coinflippy. Minny with the home team bump.|
|@||NW||50||I'm probably cheating Minnesota, here. This is, after all, an odd-numbered year for NW.|
|vs||Illinois||70||Peej vs Bert. Worth tuning in for that alone.|
|@||Iowa||20||The second lowest percentage on the list, because as a Michigan fan I'm convinced only Iowa can win at Iowa.|
|@||Indiana||30||How much does it suck that Minnesota pulls Indiana as a crossover just as Indiana is becoming the 2nd best program in the East.|
|vs||wisconsin||30||Wisconsin is the annoyingly, consistently good team I wish my team was.|
Looks like 7-5, 4-5.
HWAHSQB: Nope, but we will this year. I’m not a big fan of these early season games although I probably should be. They are more likely to produce random weird results and since my team is only favored against B1G teams coached by Hazell or Ash, we need random weird results to get wins.
As far as there being a trophy in the Twin Cities, probably after Fleck rows his boat gently down the stream. When Illinois has a coach who loses every year to Wisconsin and Iowa, we do the right thing and fire his beard. Minnesota will probably go 7-5 (4-5) and take a trip to the (fill in the blank with crappy game around Christmas) Bowl.
Kind of...: 1) Not counting last year (because it doesn’t really count...except for the Axe game), UW hadn’t opened vs. a conference team since 1982. I think it’s dumb and goes against the whole concept of a having a NON-CONFERENCE schedule, and this year UW opens with PSU and the powers that be settled on a noon kickoff. Wonderful. This feels totally worth it.
2) Minnesota is good enough that I won’t take for granted a win at TCF this year, but I sure as hell am not going to suggest that UW will lose that game, so I’ll say the Gophers end their Floyd streak in next year’s conference opener.
3) 6-6 or 7-5 seems like a strong possibility, but I don’t have a good feel for the Gophers this year. I respect Fleck and his strategic approach. Minnesota just seems like a team that was put together according to a plan. But the personnel is limited in spots. On the one hand, Fleck delivered the best season in almost 60 years. On the other, the PSU win is still his only B1G win against a ranked opponent, and there’s a chance they close with three of those this year. Ugh, fine. 7-5/4-5. Is that good enough to send Minnesota to the Pinstripe Bowl and a showdown with, um, Pitt? Let’s say it is!
WSR: 1) Not yet, and I’m not looking forward to it happening this fall.
3) If everything goes right, 11-1. If things go horrifically off the rails, we could end up at 6-6 or worse. Thankfully, we’re still allowed to have 3 non-conference games and have Nebraska, Purdue, and Illinois on the schedule. It’ll be somewhere between the two, and I’m expecting about a 9 win season with the return of Mo, the entire OL, and a few other new & key pieces.
How will Minnesota finish in the Big Ten in 2021?
This poll is closed
2-7 or worse
7-2 or better row the boat ski u mah go gophers i’ve been drinking
How will Minnesota finish overall in 2021?
This poll is closed
3-9 or worse
9-3 or better