At around 3pm last Saturday, I was settling in to watch some incredibly mediocre daytime college football. There weren't any good games on, Michigan was playing at 7pm on HALLOWEEN, and Gameday was at... Temple?
I made the wise decision to R-E-L-A-X and just kind of be outside on one of the few remaining beautiful Saturdays of the year, which, after spending most of my evening glued to my couch, was absolutely the right call. Michigan made what could have been an easy win over a rudderless Minnesota team into a nailbiter - it's clear juju actually matters in college - and then Temple played their little hearts out against the Big Bad Irish. Even Mike Leach, perennial favorite human of this blog, nearly beat Stanford.
Did I just say juju matters in college? Over in Durham, Duke had just put the icing on the cake of a "program-defining" victory. A comeback win against a feisty (not so great, though) Miami team that cemented them in the ACC conversation, whatever that might actually be.
But then this happened.
I texted Dave after this one saying just "stanford-cal" and holy cow, this is the closest thing to that I've seen in a long time. What an end to a game. My first reaction was honestly a little bit of "ughhhh this almost happened to M two weeks in a row" - but in the moment, it was spectacular, and everything college football should be. On a day where the daygames weren't so great, a couple of evening games made us all remember why this sport is the best.
Fortunately, this week should be pretty solid. Consider the day's slate, particularly at 3:30. Michigan's got Rutgers at 3:30, so you're obviously watching that.
16th-ranked FSU travels to the Swamp to take on top-ranked Clemson, where a loss would literally cause Dabo Swinney's head to permanently turn the color of Boise State's field when the first postgame question is "Clemsonning, eh?" #8 TCU plays #14 Oklahoma State in a game where defense will surely be optional. Then in the night games, you've got State at Nebraska, which, whatever, but then LSU-Bama is going to be must-see TV. It's always easier to root for LSU against Alabama, especially this year.
A day like this surely requires an appropriate amount of appropriate beer, right? So skip the noon games and have some fun with food or beer or whatever. But then buckle up, because your 3:30 onward will be just right. Save Spectre for Sunday, or tonight, because I hear it's just meh. (I'm going to see it anyway).
Your Beer Of The Week: Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest
I try to recommend beers that are outside my chosen pallette (read: IPAs and pilsners) every once in a while, and generally I'd say the hop-forward Sierra Nevada brand fits into that category. But it's still in the seventies outside (nuts) and you need a solid beer that has multiple layers of flavor to get you through the seven-plus hours of football on tap. This one fits the bill.
I've written ad nauseam about Oktoberfest beers/maerzens before, and they are my very favorite, but this one's got a little bit of an interesting twist to it. Most oktoberfest beers fit the mold of Sam Adams - a very drinkable beer with hints of fall flavors, a little darker, but still basically an amber with hints of hop. But Sierra's is different - very hop-forward, but not with the usual Cascade-hop suspects. This uses a bunch of German hops and ends up tasting like peppery toasted caramel. Apparently they worked with Brauhaus Riegele on this one, which makes a lot of sense - this is a lot closer to a German oktoberfest beer than anything you might expect from Sierra. And at 6%, it fits right into a beer you can sip throughout the evening without jeopardizing your night games or your pets.
Until next week, Cheers, Michigan Faithful!