Each week, during college football season DPB’s Kyle Magin and Andrew J. Pridgen pour on the prose with Pints and Picks™. Who to wager and what to drink while doing it. Here, the boys are talking about Mormons gone Hollywood, Randy Newman’s
ironic love for LA and how that microbrew you’re drinking is made in the same vat as that Colt 45—works every time.
Here, ready to throw for 4,200 (words)…Kyle Magin
Sit down and strap the hell in. College football embarks on its first real batshit weekend of the season Saturday. In a microcosm of the sport itself, the week 3 punctuation mark lands in the Rose Bowl with BYU’s visit to UCLA.
It’s pretty intoxicating for the city to be the epicenter of college football–USC is home against Stanford, meaning two top-10 teams and three top-25 teams will play in LA Saturday. As the NFL closes in on the city, it sort of feels like one last garden party before the new, tricked-out pool with a swim-up bar and loud music comes to the back yard. Even if it’s stupid nostalgia and the football factories in Westwood and South LA are every bit as greedy and consuming as any pro franchise, it’s comforting to know the city’s best will be lacing them up for coeds and aging alums in historic venues rather than CEOs and brawlers in a Jerry World knockoff.
And, AJ, speaking of coeds, Song Girls or the UCLA cheer squad? I’ve been studying photos all week and can’t decide. I have a natural antipathy to SC because they’re SC–home of drunk Sark and OJ and the Bush Push and, maybe worst of all, SC fans. This will require at least a few more hours of deliberation. I’ve ordered some posters to enter into evidence.
In the meantime, my only real bitch about week 3 is the slow start. The 9 a.m. PST games are a bore–the kegs n’ eggs matchup in College Station between A&M and Nevada might hold the most interest with Wolf Pack headman Brian Polian returning to take on his mentor in the Aggies’ Kevin Sumlin at Kyle Field. That’s a stretch though. I know they’re competitors, but do CBS and NBC really need to run Auburn-LSU and Georgia Tech-Notre Dame opposite one another in the 12:30 PST slot? Game theory, gents, Game Theory.
Alright, AJ, over to you…
I was going to hit you with my Newmanesque (Randy, not Paul) love for LA and why it is the center of my sporting universe, but instead—a housekeeping item:
The prominent pachyderm in the place comes in the form of mostly ignoring the pints section of this featurette thus far this season (both on the page and in the podcast). Also apologies for the alliteration. To me the whole craft brew age has, like the city of Yorba Linda, been swallowed up with corporate intent and now suffers under the tyranny of greed. Beer fanboys who started brewing in their kitchens as far back as the early ‘90s are now seen as cash cow saviors for the shrinking macro-brew industry.
Last week my hometown brewery Lagunitas, once famous for its Undercover Investigation Shut-Down ale—named after a 2005 marijuana bust at the local plant during its legendary Friday afternoon tasting/release parties, not only announced it’s opening a second plant, LA and a third, Chicago, by 2017—but it’s also doing so after having partnered with a foreign skunk beer baddie. More on that in a sec. Lagunitas produced 600k barrels of beer last year, up from 400k in 2013 and will eclipse a million next year. They are the sixth-largest “micro” in the US and so…it was only a matter of time before the brewery that has sponsored every last trip to the bar at the end of the wedding reception—Heineken—would jump at a chance to merge.
While the macro-brew industry has shrunk about 5 percent each year for the past decade, mega craft brewing has swelled about 25 percent year over year for the past half decade. It is currently a $20 billion enterprise domestically and the big guys are no longer eschewing IBUs and hand-drawn labels.
Whether it’s 10 Barrel Brewing Co. in Bend (InBev snapped up ‘em last year) or surfer-bro-crafted Saint Archer out of San Diego (MillerCoors gulped them down in August), the foamy fringe is getting scooped up faster than drunk girls outside the club at 2 a.m. by a recently dumped Uber driver.
Others, Utah’s Uinta (The Riverside Company), Atlanta’s SweetWater brewing (TSG Consumer partners) and Colorado’s can-generation OGs Oskar Blues (Boston’s Fireman Capital Partners), went the private equity route.
My current backyard big craft player, Paso Robles-based Firestone Walker Brewing Co., New York’s Ommegang and Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing all recently fell to Belgium’s Duvel Moortgat.
Add ‘em up and you’ve got very few options left on the store shelf that are still in classic single proprietor/beer-lover/maker mode.
Lagunitas owner Tony Magee, self-appointed spokesman of the basement bro brewer generation, once decried similar sell-outs. “If you look at the biggest American brewers, they are owned by bankers now,” he said last year in an interview.
Now he and his craft ale—are part of the problem.
Kyle, other than New Belgium (employee owned), Eugene, Oregon’s Ninkasi which recently told Anheuser-Busch to fuck off, and a handful of plucky winners: Alibi in your own four-season playground comes to mind as does BarrelHouse on the Central Coast and Point Loma-based Modern Times—there isn’t much left that isn’t brewed in the same factories and vats as your pop’s old Michelob in the sexy curvy bottle with the enticing gold foil.
That’s why, in honor of my father and every macro-micro brew this week, I am going to kick it full-time live with some good old-fashioned Michelob Lager. The Lincoln to Budweiser’s Ford, it’s smooth and malty sweet. You can drink a dozen and avoid a hangover with a handful of 3 a.m. Totino’s Pizza Rolls and you will never, ever—get a sideways glance for rolling up your sport coat sleeves and belting out the fact that tonight, tonight, tonight…it’s on when there’s a Michelob in your hand.
Fear not, the pints part of us will never go away, intrepid window monkeys. Drinking foamy malted goodness goes with gambling and good decision-making like Johnny Depp goes with guyliner. So, as good book placement goes, we’ll never be too far from the taps at the bar.
OK Kyle, cheers to that. And I’ll see you on the other side of this swill with my marquee pick: Cal v. Texas.
And a hearty cheers to you. TBH, I’m not a great beer expert, so that may be why the ‘pints’ portion of our eponymous post pales in comparison to the picks (I see your alliteration and raise you.) I have recently been inundated with Founder’s All Day IPA at multiple summer weddings. It’s perhaps the most accurately-named microbrew in existence and doesn’t rely on any fart-sniffing punnery to get it done. You can literally drink All Day from cocktail hour to last call before you scamper off to the bathroom because they’re playing a slow song and you’re too sweaty to convince another wedding guest to slowly turn in circles with you. The offering from Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Founder’s brewery combines the things you really like about an IPA–a little bitter with a nice citrus pop and light flavor–without any discernible aftertaste. That’s exactly what makes it dangerous, it’s buttoned-up enough to make you think you’re safe, then you’re teaching your mom and aunt how to whip it and nae nae on the dance floor. Celebrate All Day, but in moderation and carefully-chosen company.
Speaking of carefully-chosen, that’s pretty much exactly the opposite of BYU’s schedule (I give that transition a 6.5) this season. Look at this and tell me a half-hearted masochist didn’t put it together:
@Nebraska, vs. Boise State, @UCLA, @Michigan, vs. UConn, vs. East Carolina, vs. Cincy, vs. Wagner, @San Jose State, @Mizzou, vs. Fresno State, @Utah State.
No sane coach would purposefully schedule his lads to play four bowl contenders (without a bye) including three on the road to open the season. No respectable program would force its fans to watch four straight snoozers at home to follow that up. The back third of the schedule is the only part that kinda makes sense once you get past defending SEC East champs Missouri taking a whack at the Cougars late in the season. I’d launch into my ‘going independent was a roundly stupid decision by Mormon U’ screed but it wouldn’t land because through two games the Cougs have played the schedule like a harp. They took on a B1G west division contender (in fairness, a little girl and her bunny rabbits would be a dark horse there) and came out with a Hail Mary win, then did the same in Provo. Winning two games in the first four looked damn near impossible at the start of the season, and now the Tanner Mangum-led Cougs are a respectable loss away from being a slight dog to a slight favorite in Ann Arbor in two weeks. Hell of a sport.
Now, I realize that ‘respectable loss’ is anything but a guarantee. UCLA is likely this win away from being the most-buzzed about team in the country and could roll over BYU to make the point with panache. That said, the Cougars have seen it before. They went to Lincoln. They took out a Boise team under the lights with a redshirt freshman leading the way. UCLA owned an increasingly-desperate looking Virginia Cavaliers team at home and then shot over to UNLV to roll up the Rebs in front of a pretty Bruin-friendly crowd. If BYU’s fans show up like they’re saying they will in the Rose Bowl, the pressure will rise on true freshman QB Josh Rosen. Let’s do this…
UCLA -17 vs. BYU
Mangum v. Rosen. Mormons v. Hollywood. Throw out those storylines. What this game is really about is a contender in UCLA getting tested for the first time this season and BYU’s ability to draw penalties, bottle up the Bruins’ rushing game and continue to do big things in the pass game. The Cougars’ pass defense has broken so far this season–opponents have done most of their damage against the Cougars through the air with 616 yards and four TDs of the 7 the team has allowed this season, in addition to passes accounting for 29 of the 42 first downs BYU has allowed. Their neat trick has been staying just ahead of their opponents through the air, averaging 15.3 yards per catch to 12 for opponents. Part of that is the two Hail Marys, but part is Mangum and his predecessor’s ability to find the open man underneath. Staying ahead of Rosen won’t be easy, though. The Bruins have allowed just 147 yards per game through the air this season. They’ve allowed only one through the air, and exactly none on the ground. Opponents convert just 21 percent of their third downs, and only 1 red zone trip has resulted in an enemy touchdown. If you score on UCLA, keep the ball, because it hasn’t happened often this season. A lot in me wants to say 17 is a helluva lot of points to cover for a team who hasn’t seen much competition this season against a team that’s seen nothing but. However, I think the Cougars’ number comes up in the Rose Bowl this weekend. Rosen may be the bark, but his defense, led by linebacker Miles Jack, is the bite.
Alright AJ, before I take a look at the action in South Bend, Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa, I believe you have some very definite thoughts on the action in Austin?
People forget that Cal once featured Aaron Rodgers under center. Cal once had Marshawn Lynch bringing his Beast Mode science project from Oakland Tech and adding signature dredlocks just up the road at Memorial Stadium. Cal’s DeSean Jackson and Keenan Allen ran post patterns all the way down to Fat Slice, handed their change to the guy on Tele and Haste busking Dylan to a hip hop beat and made it back up to the stadium in time solve the Bears’ perennial 3rd and 23 woes. All Nnamdi Asomugha did was change the DB position forever and put a ring on Kerry Washington. And GOAT TE Tony Gonzalez once posted up for PG Jason Kidd and caught out routes in blue and gold. Your Golden Bears have informed or at least provided about a half dozen names for the backs of the NFL Shop’s top jersey sellers for the better part of this millenia and yet, the program gets about as much love as Chaz Bono at a Chick-fil-a.
Why dredge up the past you may ask Kyle? It’s because exactly NONE of the above and their respective Cal squads would’ve been given less than double-digit underdog odds marching into Darrel K Royal. And being on the minus side would simply have been…oh, about as likely as winning as many national titles as they have Nobel Prizes.
Indeed, these are heady times for the Golden Bears.
Cal -6½ @ Texas
As the Bears board Southwest for Austin, they are 6½ -point favorites which is more than enough to hang the cost of a case of Shiner and a pound of brisket on. But before I dive into the match-up, I should also disclose that Cal has been my horse since pre-season when I picked Sonny Dykes’ squad to win more than their predicted 6½ before the leaves in Strawberry Canyon change.
I took the Bears game one and two and they’re perfect against the spread thus far. When I glance down the remainder of their 2015 dance card, I don’t see a major test till Oct. 22 at UCLA. So, I think with the spread less than a touchdown—even on the road—bookmakers are still trying to figure out whether Cal is for real.
The answer: yes.
- Cal players are all kinds of bought-in to Sonny Dykes’ approach. Dykes falls from the gnarled Mike Leach (Texas Tech) and Mike Stoops (Arizona) branch of the coaching tree so he’s equal parts innovation, hubris and unapologetic. He’s probably the coach Oregon needs and Stanford wants but wouldn’t (pun not intended) stoop to. What the Bears get is a fearless and borderless recruiter and a little bit of a bullshitter. It’s not necessarily a sustainable model but it’s the model you want when you’re trying to a) turn a program around through recruiting b) graduate some kids (Cal, the most venerable public institution in the US, had the worst athlete/graduation ratio in the land as recently as 2013—Dykes was charged with changing this and succeeded) and c) have a game-day motivator. He’s also very level-headed and complementary to the opposition but in a back-handed way the way most Pac-12 coaches (who are either on their way up or down and are mostly on the spectrum) are not. Dykes this week on Texas coaching staff and redshirt QB Jerrod Heard: “They have a lot of good football coaches and bright minds on their staff. They made the switch to Heard; he’s a dynamic playmaker, very fast in the open field. You have to do a good job keeping lanes, pursuing, maintaining leverage.” Dykes is a master at using that coaches trick of giving more credit than where credit is due. But, again, his players BUY into that kind of bullshit. It’s like he baits them into thinking they’re the underdog all week and switches it up in the locker room at game time. That’s some SEC-style motivation right there, a first from the confines surrounding People’s Park but a welcome respite from the dreary culture of losing that has thrived in the shadow of the Campanile for the last decade.
- Goff is starting happen. Junior Cal quarterback Jared Goff is starting to get the inevitable Aaron Rodgers comparisons. Kyle, I’ll take full credit for first placement of this reference from our last podcast and though it’s not quite there yet, at least Vance Bedford, UT’s seasoned-as-a-salt-lick defensive coordinator is prepping for the second-coming this week. “This young man is the real deal. This young man exceptional.” Indeed, Goff has NFL draft boards shuffling as he completed 41 of 56 passes for 630 yards, six touchdowns and two interception thus far this year. More importantly, he dug Cal out of a minor funk against San Diego State last week to dominate the last three quarters of play. Coming from behind is an increasingly less-familiar task for Goff who finally has the front five protection he was missing in his first two campaigns. If he makes a splash in that sea of burnt orange, look for Cal to suddenly start finding their schedule loaded with TBAs, especially during those back-to-back LA matchups at the end of October.
- Texas is still marinating. I don’t buy the line that Texas is in a transition year as much as they seemed to be in Notre Dame. However, they do still need some extra time for those burnt ends to come up just right and the Craigslist post for a new AD this week is proof of this. Charlie Strong’s horns are still down 10 starters from last season and the defense is more suspect than Bartolo Colon’s listed age. The horns are allowing 500 (plus) yards per for its first two efforts. Goff, as mentioned, has enough in that right arm of his to double his stat line for ‘15 on Saturday and still have plenty to decry Whole Foods’ crimes against
shoppinghumanity in the post game. Strong is making moves that connote his surname: The aforementioned Heard looks like the strongest under center for Bevo and co. since Colt McCoy and was masterful in the second half last week against Rice. So there is hope for the horns and not just because it’s still six months from when Austin becomes Normandy on Douchebag D-Day (aka SXSW)…but saying they’re there now, especially when they’re not holding, is a damn dirty lie.
Take Cal and make your day’s wages by bumping the line to an even 10.
Kyle…let’s keep it going:
I, too, am wondering if there wasn’t a little more than meets the eye in that Texas-ND matchup, but with the other contestant…
Georgia Tech @ Notre Dame +2.5
If the Texas game was the marquee party on Notre Dame’s home dance card this season, Georgia Tech is perhaps the marquee game. Those nerds from Atlanta aren’t known for their fan base’s ability to travel, but they are known for their triple-option rushing attack, which has resulted in a passel of video game numbers in their tilts versus Alcorn State and Tulane to open the season. They’ve already rushed for 915 yards, 15 rushing TDs (versus 4 passing) and 41 rushing first downs. Granted, they haven’t racked up those totals against even mildly imposing defenses, but at a certain point, just executing a game plan that would result in those numbers against anyone more advanced than your local charter school’s squad is pretty damn impressive. The Rambling Wreck’s defense has been nearly as flawless in its ability to shut down opposing offenses. Here’s the rub, though: Notre Dame has some very definite ideas about time of possession. In wins over Texas and Virginia, the 2-0 Irish have averaged nearly 33 minutes per game of TOP as opposed to Tech’s 31. This comes from a team that rushes about half as much and passes twice as much. With a freshman signal caller in the fold in DeShone Kizer, look for Notre Dame to stoke the fires on its successful but less-used running game in this matchup and potentially into the future. If the Irish can win the line of scrimmage on offense, it limits the damage Tech can do with its offense and begins to test a defense that hasn’t been pushed around yet this season. Kizer throws an absolutely beautiful deep ball and he’s got a receiving corps that can go up and get it. Add in the home-cooking in South Bend and I think you see the Irish cover ATS and win at home.
Ole Miss @ Alabama -7
Ole Miss is likely the faster, more explosive of these two 2-0 squads. They average almost 3 more yards per catch and have offensive lineman who are routinely into the second level on rushing plays where the more staid Tide hogs stay home. Ole Miss has converted more third downs into first downs, red zone trips and turnovers into touchdowns than the Tide have this season. They put up 149 fourth quarter points to ‘Bama’s 72. Unfortunately for them, Alabama has been in one fistfight against an actual team (a week 1 win over Wisconsin), is at home and has Nick Saban patrolling their sideline. Tide running back Derrick Henry averages 7.8 yards per carry to lead an Alabama attack that controls the ball for four more minutes per game than their opponents. Saban is a master of taking the air out of the building and rarely allows opponents the space to make a big, game-changing play. Look for a low-scoring affair with the Tide covering.
Auburn @ LSU -7
Chalk. Also, Auburn is 0-2 ATS and has been pushed hard by the likes of Louisville and Jacksonville State. LSU has already been through the fire in a week 1 victory over Mississippi State and a much, much better QB in Dak Sheppard. Geaux Tigers and the points.
Alright AJ, bring us home
Scanning the lines Kyle, I can’t imagine why A&M isn’t closer to 17-point favorites. Seems like Vegas isn’t wanting to doubt the still-in-need-of-a-toe-hold Wolfpack too much; nor are they admitting A&M could win the SEC West (I happen to think they’re better top-to-bottom than Ole Miss and LSU; then again, I think BYU is too).
Facts ‘r facts though and I’d take A&M to put up a two-digit lead on the Wolfpack before halftime if you wanna double up on this bet. Nevada usually sneaks up on one team a year (remember when they took Boise State out of BCS title contention in 2010?) but don’t look for that to happen in College Station this week as the Wolfpack offense is simply a one-man show. QB Tyler Stewart throws 200-plus per game, but most of those yards come from his second or third option underneath. The Wolfpack receiving corps should be easy for venerable Aggie DBs to contain and there’s no run game to prevent a bevy of three-and-outs. And if that’s not enough to convince Stewart he’s his own one-man wolfpack, think about the havoc 6-foot-1, 335 pound Texas A&M defensive tackle Daylon Mack is going to create. That’s the same future first rounder who chased a Ball State running back 30 yards downfield last week—and made a tackle. Oye.
On offense, the Aggies came out firing against Arizona State and basically showed up like a guy pounding beers in a sauna—depleted but inspirational—against Ball State to run to a quick 2-0 record. As their ground game keeps plugging look for another freshman, wideout Christian Kirk, who was targeted a dozen times against ASU and another eight against Ball State to stand out. It seems speedy youngsters will be giving the Wolf Pack fits on both sides of the ball Saturday.
A&M should be loving it like all-day McDonald’s breakfast as this is their last dress rehearsal before a SEC schedule that doesn’t relent until Western Carolina the week before Thanksgiving.
Utah -10 @ Fresno State
If only the cartographers of the Pac 12 knew which way was north they’d find that Utah is well above Cal and Stanford while flipping through the old Thomas Guide. But there they the Utes are, stuck in the division’s dominant south bracket trying to make a run against suddenly unstoppable UCLA and USC.
But it’s also the 21st ranked Utes that are the dark horse to run that schedule in my mind. Fresno State is the Salt Lake squad’s final test before getting dumped into Eugene next weekend. And it’s this Valley dress rehearsal that will determine how next week’s line shakes down for the Ducks. My guess is it’ll be less than seven on the minus pending the Ducks having to struggle against Georgia State (they will, take GSU and the 10) this weekend.
But let’s do what head coaches say and not get ahead of ourselves: Utah will likely have a mirror game to last season’s 59-37 victory against the Bulldogs. Why? The Bulldogs thus far have had the fewest first down conversions from third and more than five in college football this season. Not a telling or a fully cooked stat, but after seeing Utah’s DB’s on hard-core lockdown the likes of which haven’t been seen since Money Train (<–this year’s first Money Train reference) things don’t look to get any easier for Fres-yes fans. Last week when Ole Miss put up 73, the Bulldogs had a third and ten or more yards seven times and converted none. They were five of 15 overall on third down.
“A lot of our first downs were for zero,” Fresno State HC Tim DeRuyter said. “Now they’re able to pin their ears back and tee off. If you’re behind the sticks like we were, against a really good defense like Utah’s, you’re going to have a long evening. We have to be productive on first down.”
Sounds like DeRuyter has his Per Diem on the Utes as well.
The only reason this spread isn’t 20-plus is because they’re at Fresno State which is just like Utah only they’ve got higher-point Goose Island on tap at East Shaw Avenue Buffalo Wild Wings. Otherwise, both teams still practice under blankets of smog. Look then, for the Utes to make themselves at home in the Valley this weekend and win by at least 20.
Last week: 3-1
UCLA -17 vs. BYU
Georgia Tech @ Notre Dame +2.5
Ole Miss @ Alabama -7
Auburn @ LSU -7
Last week: 2-2
Cal -6½ @ Texas
Texas A&M -10 vs. Nevada
Utah -10 @ Fresno State