According to the countdown application on my iPhone, at this moment there are five days and 31 minutes until kickoff in the Oklahoma State-Georgia football game. By my count, that means there are roughly nine hours until we know if the OSU football team is doomed for another 10-year run of mediocrity.
I know it’s difficult, maybe even foolhardy, to put too much stock in the first game of the year. We’ve all read how OSU can lose the Georgia game and still realistically make a run at the conference title. It’s conceivable, given not-so-easy wins against Texas and OU, that OSU could lose to Georgia and run the table all the way to the national championship game. Conceivable? Yes. Likely? No. But say there’s no Big 12 title for OSU, and obviously no BCS bowl game, will the year be a waste? Not necessarily. So you might ask yourself, “why’s this guy making such a big deal about the OSU-Georgia outcome?”
It’s simply because if any game in the history of OSU football — heck, maybe even all of football — could ever be considered a legitimate springboard game, this is the one. Win this game, and OSU can say they are ready for prime time; lose, and they continue to be the not-ready-for-prime-time players they proved to be when the ventured down to Athens, Ga., in 2007 or when they hosted OU last year. A win against Georgia would provide almost immeasurable momentum. And here’s the catch: OSU will need every drop of momentum they can take into the off-season.
Take a look at OSU’s starting lineup, and you’ll know why momentum throughout 2009 — from Georgia all the way to the bowl game — will be key. At the conclusion of the bowl game, OSU will lose it’s only experienced quarterback; its top three running backs (if Kendall Hunter goes to the draft); the best wide receiver in the country; the best punt returner in the country; the best kick returner in the country; its top cornerback; arguably the country’s top offensive tackle and four starters on the offensive line in all; all three starting linebackers; and two starters on the defensive line. All-told, 16 of OSU’s 22 starters and its top two special team players could be gone. Think about it: OSU could very well kick off in 2010 with only a half-dozen returning starters.
You want to talk about a rebuilding project? OSU football 2010 will be a doozy. Mike Gundy better hope the 2009 recruiting class really rounds into form, and that the 2010 class brings a lot of talent to campus as well. Chances of OSU starting 2010 ranked as highly as they are now are really low. And I mean really low. Now I know about the new stadium and locker rooms. I know about the improved recruiting. I know about all the media attention. Plenty of teams have been there before. Plenty of teams have been the “it” team of college football. Remember Kansas State of the 1990s? Remember Rutgers and South Florida making recent runs into the top five in the polls? Not hearing too much about them now.
And that all amounts to why OSU needs to take advantage of this year. They need to win and win a lot. It’s the Cowboys only hope of moving into the upper echelon of the college football world, because if they don’t really strike this year, I just can’t see such a depleted roster doing it in 2010. And if they fall off the map of college football relevance in 2010, you can forget about contending in 2011; that’ll be like the next 2008 — another year of trying to get on the map. Another year of starting too low in the polls to have a legitimate chance to make a dent in the BCS standings.
OSU is in a cycle right now. Peak just enough to rouse everyone’s interest (read: Cotton Bowl after 2003 season, scuffle into bowls three of the next four years), then fall of the map again when it can’t be sustained. That’s why a win over Georgia is so crucial for OSU. Lose at home to a Georgia team breaking in a new starting quarterback, and can you really depend on OSU to beat Texas at home? Or OU on the road? Lose to Georgia this year, and the season becomes a microcosm of OSU’s recent football existence. The Cowboys would be the not-ready-for-prime-time players yet again. The Cowboys need to beat Georgia to set the tone not only for 2009, but beyond. They need to prove that now they are indeed ready for prime time.
While searching for beer news the other day, The Thirsty Beagle came across a mention on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch beer blog about Bud rolling out a new beer: Bud Light Golden Wheat. Expect to see some ads for Golden Wheat over the Labor Day weekend, and expect to see the beer rolled out across the country the week of Oct. 5. According to the post, Bud has hopes of pushing and promoting this new beer the same way they rolled out Bud Light Lime. TTB has always been a little suspicious of mega-breweries trying to offer craft-style products. I checked in with a couple of our local brewers, Tim Schoelen of Mustang Brewing Co. and Chase Healey of COOP Ale Works, to get their take on the mainstreaming of craft beer.
This from Tim on mega brewers trying to capitalize on craft beer enthusiasm:
“I think with what we’ve seen with Shock Top and Blue Moon, that is exactly the plan from the mainstream guys. It’s smart business on their part, as long as they can maintain the craft flavor, not just branding.”
And from Chase, same topic:
“All of the big three (Bud/Miller/Coors) want a piece of the craft beer market. New pseudo breweries (actually BMC) pop up all the time with beers like Amber Wheat Dog and Jack Spice Beer. All geared to take sales away from craft beer. The craft market is small, like 6%, but its growing the fastest, and that’s what is causing these breweries to make “craft” style beers.”
Chase suggests the key to finding a good craft beer is to know your beer. It’s one thing for Bud to make Bud Light Golden Wheat; at least they’re being up front about who makes it. It’s another thing when the mega brewer spins off a brewery to make an apparent craft beer under the watchful eye of the mother ship.
On a different note, I’d like to apologize to anyone who read my blog yesterday who was misled into thinking the Prohibition Room was having a 1-year anniversary celebration today (Friday). Much to my extreme dismay, I spent about four hours yesterday (Thursday) genuinely believing it was Friday. I even wrote the blog post below with references to what I was going to do “tomorrow,” thinking “tomorrow” was Saturday. Needless to say, I was severely depressed when I discovered that it was indeed not Friday. So just to get things straight: The Prohibition Room party is Saturday; The Thirsty Beagle is glad that today actually is Friday.
Just wanted to drop a quick reminder that the Prohibition Room is celebrating more or less a year in business this weekend. Starting tomorrow, Saturday, they’ll be cutting drink prices by 25 percent for the next week, and they’ll have giveaways for those who show up to celebrate. TTB says this of Prohibition Room: Very nice beer selection.
The Thirsty Beagle is going to try to make it to an organic beef sale tomorrow Saturday in OKC, and hopefully I’ll be able to cook some of that mouth-watering grass-fed goodness and enjoy it with a nice cold beer. Just like our favorite college football teams, I’ve got to go through training camp as well. For me, that’s training at eating meat and drinking beer. Wish me luck!
I came across this report in the Wall Street Journal today. Universities across the country are all kinds of fired up over Bud Light’s release of Fan Cans. The cans contain the Bud Light logo, but come in “team colors.” So it’s orange and black cans for OSU, purple and yellow for LSU, maize and blue for Michigan, etc. Bud is selling the corresponding cans near college campuses. According to the report, at least 25 schools — Oklahoma State included — have demanded Bud stop the campaign near their campuses.
Here’s a wrap on happenings in the beer world this week:
-Coors is holding a contest to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Colorado gold rush and the subsequent founding of the city of Golden, where Coors Banquet Beer is brewed. Coors Banquet Facebook fans can enter to win a year’s supply of Banquet beer, a VIP trip to the brewery, a book about Golden and “a live goldfish named Banquet.” I get it, they’re celebrating the gold rush. But a goldfish? Really? Anyway, if you’re interested, go to www.facebook.com/coorsbanquet.
-The love of beer in the eastern European country of Latvia has not been drowned out by the recession. Read about that here.
-A 72-year-old pizza shop worker in Pennsylvania foiled a shotgun-point robbery attempt by throwing a can of beer at the would-be robbers.
-As The Thirsty Beagle has reported before, scientists are looking at ways to produce energy using the leftovers from the brewing process.
-And lastly, a Malaysian model will be caned next week as punishment for drinking beer. What’s more, the model asked that she be caned in public, to set an example for others. The Thirsty Beagle thinks people should never be caned for drinking beer. Unless it’s Keystone Light, or Natural Light, or something like that. In that case, swing away.
Note to self: If I ever find myself homeless in Florida and inclined to steal beer and a cooler from a yacht club, I’ll be sure to travel a good distance from the yacht club before drinking all the beer and passing out. See story below.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Aug. 19 (UPI) — Police in Florida said they arrested a homeless man accused of stealing several bottles of beer and a cooler from a yacht club bar.
Daytona Beach police spokesman Jimmie Flynt said Scott Riley, 28, allegedly broke into the Halifax River Yacht Club’s Tiki Bar Sunday night and took the beer and cooler to a shrub across the street from the club, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported Wednesday.
Flynt said police found Riley passed out in the shrub next to the bottles and cooler, which was labeled “Halifax River Yacht Club.”
Riley was arrested charged with burglary. He was taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail in lieu of $2,500 bail. Flynt said investigators believe Riley may be linked to another nearby burglary.
Got a couple responses to my request for suggestions on beer-can chicken.
This from reader Susan:
“They sell a ceramic container that has the top part shaped like a can. You poor the beer into the ceramic dish, then set the chicken on top of that. You get to use whatever type of beer (or other beverage) you would like. I bought mine at Atwoods. Happy grillin’.”
And this from reader Daniel:
“Very good if not the best chicken I’ve ever eaten. I used Guinness. Due to the caramelization factor and the roasted barley flair of the beer, it worked well. I have been told any type of beverage would work including Cherry Coke. I must warn you though make sure the beer is at least 3/4 of the way full rather that 1/2 full. The chicken will “soak” it up rather quickly. Also use indirect heat, cook opposite side of the lit burner. Makes me wanna cook one now, mmm!”
Thanks for the comments, guys. I’m definitely pumped for beer-can chicken this football season!
So your browsing the beer aisle at your local liquor store, and you start thinking to yourself, “you know, I really wish I could find some beer from Tibet in here.” Well, stop dreaming, because that wish may become a reality sometime soon. The Thirsty Beagle has learned that Lhasa Beer, the country of Tibet’s only export beer, is now available in stores in Texas. It’s expected to be available nationwide by the end of the year. Some interesting facts about Lhasa Beer:
-It’s brewed at the world’s highest commercial brewery.
-It’s brewed using Himalayan spring water and Tibetan barley.
-10 percent of profits from the beer’s sales will go to Tibet-related charities.
The Thirsty Beagle is all for sportsmanship. Lebron James not shaking hands after the NBA finals: Bad move. Pitchers throwing coolers onto the field after getting tossed: Bad move. Football players spitting in their opponents’ faces: Bad move. Well apparently the NCAA is all for sportsmanship, too. So they’ve decided to test something out at college football games. Pregame handshakes for the players. According to this report, the move is being tested only for the first week of play this season, and even then it is being treated as a voluntary deal. Officials hope the idea will be warmly accepted and perhaps catch on for the rest of the year. This all seems like a real nice gesture, but did the people who make NCAA football rules forget something? Namely that perhaps the worst time ever to bring college football opponents face to face is right before the start of a game? This is the time they are the most worked up, the most fired up, the most frothed over and the most likely to go berserk on an opponent. For example, I heard Sam Mayes on The Sports Animal the other day talking about OSU’s 2003 game at OU. Mayes told a story about Dan Cody laying into the entire Cowboys team with a string of threats and expletives for the duration of pregame stretching and warm-up. The last thing anyone needs in a situation like this is to put the players in physical contact with each other. How soon before a handshake gets a little too firm or a choice word is traded while the players are in close quarters? Then you’ve got helmets flying and an all-out brawl on your hands. I’m just sayin’, sportsmanship: Good. Handshakes that turn into headbutts: Bad.
What up beer lovers? Hope everyone had a good weekend. Here’s some news from the local beer scene:
-Mustang Brewing Co. will hold its second pint night, but this time at McNellie’s in Tulsa. The date is Aug. 24. First 100 people to buy a pint of Mustang Golden Ale will receive a free Mustang Brewing glass.
-Speaking of Mustang Golden Ale, the beer is expected to be available in six packs at local liquor stores beginning Sept. 1.
-The Prohibition Room is celebrating a year in business at the end of the month. The restaurant will host a party on Aug. 29 and will slash drink prices for the week to mark the occasion. TTB has mentioned before that Prohibition Room has a nice beer selection, which includes offerings from several of Oklahoma’s independent brewers: COOP, Choc, Marshall, Mustang Brewing and Belle Isle Brewery.