Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Beer Post: 2015 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - UCLA Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

All right, that's it.  Let me lend my voice to the millions of discerning adults who have had enough with the whole 'pumpkin spice' thing.  It was cutesy and kitschy and pseudo-cool for a while, but after years of incessantly pumpkin-izing everything, I just can't take it anymore.

Accordingly, this week's beer will not, as has been the case in Halloween weeks past, be a pumpkin beer. I'm looking beyond the seasonal ingredient, and grabbing for something... not fucking pumpkin.  In a compromise, I'm sticking with the preferred color scheme of the day - orange - but I'm veering sharply down the hoppy path in the direction of one of my favorite Colorado breweries.  Durango's own Ska Brewing has tweaked the recipe on their excellent Modus Hoperandi to come up with something called 'Modus Mandarina,' and that beer is this week's gameday beer-o-the-week.
If you love Colorado beer culture, then you must love Ska.  Tiny, rambunctious, and makers of one of my all time favorite brews (the original Modus), they bleed craft culture.  Their trick with Modus Mandarina is to brew their traditional Hoperandi with some orange peel and finish with Mandarina Bavaria hops - a recent strain known for its tangerine flavor profile - to create a bright, citrusy IPA that stands alone.

I love the smell.  The dry hop gives it beautiful floral/fruit notes that play with the orange peel.  On the tongue, you'll be surprised to find that the orange doesn't dominate.  It's not sweet by any means, and I think you actually get more of the pithy bitterness than the orange juice sweetness found in other 'orange peel' beers like Blue Moon.  At the end of the day, you can still tell it's still Modus, just with a new coat of paint.  Resinous, dank, and piney, it a very hop forward beer, but the malt balances it off before the place goes full-bore into the world of Imperial IPAs.  It finishes dry and bitter, as it should.  All-in-all a fantastic brew.

Ska just recently kicked off a full release of the beer, meaning you should have no trouble finding it on shelves throughout the state.  It comes in cans, making it perfect for tailgate season, and it is perfectly packable.  At 6.8%, be mindful of your consumption, but enjoy the hell out of a great new option from one of Colorado's best.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat the Bruins!

2015 CU vs UCLA Football Preview

Last week was a solid step forward for the Buffs.  No caveats, no 'well at least they competed' jibberish. They fought, they won. Simple as that.  Far too few nights like that have been seen recently, so I hope you enjoyed it.

Unfortunately for Colorado, the schedule only gets more difficult from here on out.  Still slogging on without the respite of a bye week, the team will rue the opportunities missed against Oregon and Arizona as they play UCLA, Stanford, USC, Washington State, and Utah the rest of the way - only five of the best teams in the Pac-12 this year.  Bowl eligibility may be a silly fantasy at this point (they'd need to win three of those five, which... yeah, no), but that doesn't mean the season's over.  A win or two against that slate would mean extensive momentum headed into 2016. Time for the Buffs to go hunting for some upsets!


Hype Music for the Week: "California Love" by 2Pac, feat. Dr. Dre.

What better song to call up for CU's one and only trip to Cali this season than this iconic collaboration. You got one of the great troll lines of all time "Out on bail fresh outta jail, California dreamin'" where Pac relishes in his recent release from prison, and one of the greatest beats of all time from the master, Dr Dre.  Simply put, one of the best songs ever. Enjoy!


Kick off from the historic Rose Bowl is set for 1pm MT on Saturday.   Shoutout to all the West Coast Buffs making the trip to Pasadena!  Finally off the graveyard shift, all of BuffNation can bask in the sunshine of Southern California (thank God!).  Television coverage can be found on Pac-12 Networks.  The radio call should be on 850 KOA, but you never can tell with those guys.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday Grab Bag: The Streak Ends in Corvallis

We'll get to the happy celebrations in a second, but first, do yourself a favor and check out this video from

Good job, good effort from friend of the blog Jake Shapiro, who took on Buffs Tory Miller and George King in some 1-on-1. Jake put up a few valiant attempts, but, in the end, no dice.  I have to give him credit, though, he probably performed better better job that my fat ass could.  Good stuff, buddy!


Today in the bag, I'm taking a victory lap on the Buffs' win in Corvallis, looking a head to the next few weeks in the football schedule, and XXXXXXX

Click below for the bag...

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Beer Post: 2015 Gameday Pub-o-the-week - Oregon State Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

I'm going off script, so please bear with me.  With the move to the Pac-12, Las Vegas has become a town of increasing importance to BuffNation.  Between the annual Pac-12 Basketball Tournament, the forthcoming Las Vegas Classic, the occasional showcase game at the MGM Grand Garden arena, and the possibility of the football team being just average enough to make the Las Vegas Bowl, chances are you loyal Buff fans will be making a trip to LV to watch Colorado sports sometime in the future.  Should you do, and a craving for good beer strikes, might I suggest a trip off-Strip for your suds?  My favorite beer joint in town, the incredible Aces & Ales, is this week's gameday pub of the week.
The best beer bar in Vegas.  I'm not kidding.
I was introduced to Aces & Ales by renowned beer connoisseur @RicoBlank four years ago.  We've since made a pilgrimage to the hole-in-the-wall every year during the Pac-12 Tournament, and I've yet to regret it. It's a jaunt (we prefer the Nellis location, about 20 minutes from the MGM Grand, and decidedly off-Strip), but makes for a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas proper.  Between the excellent craft beer selection, outstanding food menu, and perfect dive bar ambiance, it ticks off every single one of my requirements for 'good bar' status, and has yet to disappoint.

They've always got a great tap list going, usually with stuff you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else, and have an extensive bottle selection of some of the rarest finds in all of craftdom.  As if that wasn't enough, their food menu is a treat, with the Arrogant Bastard steak wrap (steak marinated in AB... hell yeah!) and the deep fried Oreos my personal favorites.  Throw that in with a dark, local-focused atmosphere, and it's just a little slice of heaven in the middle of Sin City.

I'm deadly serious, you have to try this place out.  Walk away from the craps table.  Leave the neon lights behind.  You won't find a place more honest and real in all of town.  A perfect place to pregame for the whatever event you're in Las Vegas to see.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat the Beavers!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

2015 CU vs Oregon State Football Preview

The Buffs really need this one.  They won't find another opponent as beatable as Oregon State the rest of the way, and, even on the road, look to have enough to snap their 14-game in-conference losing streak... at least on paper.  If CU can't convert this eight-foot putt, they're in trouble the rest of the way, and their coach could be in some seriously hot water.  Best to make life easy on all of us, and get it done.


Hype Music for the Week: "Luck be a Lady" by Frank Sinatra

I waned something Vegas-ish, as I write this from the middle of Bill Walton's 'peaceful oasis in the heart of the Mojave.'  To my ears, 'Viva Las Vegas' is too cliché, so to hell with that.  Maybe Ol' Blue Eyes singing about luck and escorts is just as cliché, but at least it's Frank. He's more Vegas than Elvis could ever hope to be -- hell he's actually in the Gaming Hall of Fame. Enjoy!


Kickoff from Reser Stadium in Corvallis, OR is set for 8:30pm tomorrow night.  Television coverage can be found on Pac-12 Networks, with the radio call on 850 KOA.  Bets can be taken at the casino's sport book... oh right, that's only here in Las Vegas.  Well, make due with what ya got.

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tuesday Grab Bag: Deja Vu All Over Again

I'm headed off to Vegas this weekend.  A good friend and a GREAT Buff, @BuffOfSpades, is getting hitched, and we're going to get weird in celebration.  Beyond just the pleasantries of his nuptials, though, that also means I'll finally get to put my money where my mouth is with my prediction for the Oregon State game ('cause, of course, I'd never illegally gamble on sports).  That action'll spice up the reception real nice.

Seriously, though, congrats to Eric and Melinda - the best Buff fans in all of Utah, and the best friends a guy could have.  I wish you both nothing but the best!


I only have two topics for you in the bag today, as I prepare to slip out of town.  After the jump, I'm wrapping up the loss to Arizona, and looking ahead to future opponents.

Click below for the bag...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

SATURDAY Beer Post: 2015 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - UofA Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

It's Homecoming Week, so I'll be damned if I'm going to leave Boulder Valley for a beer pick.  Just down the road from my house - a short walk, in fact - is a pretty cool little brewpub called Fate.  Only open for a few years, they've quickly become one of the heavies in the Boulder brewing scene.  In fact, they recently won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for one of their core styles.  That beer, their Laimas Kölsch, is this week's gameday beer-o-the-week.

Fate came into being in 2013 as a collaboration between the former manager of West End Tavern and a brewer from Golden City Brewing (the second largest brewery in Golden!).  If you've never been, they've got great barbecue, suds, and atmosphere.  On Thursday afternoons, they even host the Buffaloes Primetime radio show.  It's entirely Boulder and entirely great, if a little pricey.

Their Kölsch, an old German ale style that stands apart from the region's typical lager fare (and, like champagne and bourbon is supposed to be geographic-specific), is named after a Baltic goddess of fate. Light and crisp, it pours with a telltale straw-yellow clearness and thin hoppy character.  Malty-sweet and dry on the tongue, this beer is entirely sessionable.  They've also brewed it with watermelon in the past, which makes for a very tasty combination come summertime.

Fate has even started canning Laimas, and Hazel's lists it on their website if you feel the need to grab some in traditional tailgate form. For me, however, it's worth the trip to the brewery-proper for a growler or two. That'll set you right for the long wait til tonight's kickoff.

Happy FridaySATURDAY!  Go Buffs, beat the Wildcats!

Friday, October 16, 2015

2015 CU vs Arizona Football Preview

It's going to be right to the action today, as the work week from hell has left me precious little time to muse on things outside of the boundaries of the standard preview fare.  Without further adieu, let's kick it off!


Hype Music for the Week: "Hey Ya!" by Outkast

In honor of Homecoming, a throwback to my college days. 'Shake it like a Polaroid picture,' HAHA! Seriously,  I hated this song in every way imaginable.  Outkast had a number of interesting tracks, but this hit strikes my ears like nails on a chalkboard.  It's a blight, an honest to goodness blight on the auditory system. But, who am I to judge; enjoy!


Kickoff from a suddenly chilly Folsom Field is set for 7pm tomorrow evening.  If you're going to the game, might I suggest a coat?  Temps should be in the low 50s by the game's end.  Hopefully, that drop in temperature will help cool off the 'Cats red-hot offense.  Coverage can be found on FOX Sports 1 and 850 KOA.

Happy Homecoming!

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tuesday Grab Bag: The Pac-12 Struggles Continue

It's homecoming week.  That means old fogies doing all sorts of things in an attempt to re-capture the glory days of their collegiate careers.  In honor, I'll be picking my dusty, forgotten tuba once again, struggling to remember the fingerings to Fight CU, and just generally hoping not to fall over on the field. Should be a helluva show.

On Saturday, if you're looking for me, I'll but the one in the Chris Brown/Nelson Spruce Jersey at the back of the formation, desperately trying to stay upright.  Stop by, say hello, and... well, it might be wise to bring some ear plugs.


Today in the bag, I'm talking the loss in Tempe, the upcoming schedule, and some US Soccer thoughts.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Beer Post: 2015 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - ASU Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

It's been a rough week, so I am in search of the one thing that can set my weekend off right: hops.  While I was unable to attend the Great American Beer Festival this year, my last visit in 2014 left me with the impression that only two American IPAs currently on the market really get the whole hop 'thing' right.  The first, Apex from Bear Republic, was reviewed last year.  The second, Ballast Point's Sculpin IPA, is still on my to-do-list, and is this week's gameday beer-o-the-week.

Ballast Point, which I don't think I've ever featured before, is a wonderful little brewery from San Diego.  I've visited them twice, and enjoyed my time each trip (... although their tap room in Little Italy is a shit show in desperate need of better management).  Like a lot of well-distributed West Coast brewers, they specialize in ales and hoppy concoctions.  Don't let that fool you, however, 'cause they have a deep bench.

The Sculpin IPA - rebranded a few years back to evoke the California Scorpionfish, which I have personally encountered off the coast of SD - has won a ridiculous number of awards over the years, a testament to it's craftsmanship and balance.  It's pleasingly floral and fruity, without losing the true bitterness of the hop. Hop-forward, but not overly 'dank.'  You can tell these guys know their shit.

The cool thing is, after years of only being found in Cali, you can now grab six-packs and mixers of their product in well-heeled Colorado liquor stores.  I would suggest you do just so this weekend.  Additionally, if you can find it, the grapefruit version of this, tweaked with just the right amount of ruby red deliciousness, is just as fantastic and also worth a try.

Happy Friday! Go Buffs, beat the Sun Devils!

2015 CU vs Arizona State Football Preview

The Buffs continue to find themselves dealing with the repercussions of a growing list of injuries. It started when Jeromy Irwin tore his ACL against UMass, kicking off a string of knocks that were mostly focused on the offensive side of the ball.  The next game brought with it injuries to a number of featured performers behind the now shaken offensive line, including Michael Adkins and Patrick Carr from the running corps and QB Sefo Liufau.  For Liufau, while he's still been starting under center (and will again be this Saturday), the pain has evident, and the effectiveness has suffered.  Adkins and Carr, on the other hand, haven't been seen since the RMS, and are both listed at the bottom of the depth chart for Week 6.  I'm not saying that Irwin's absence was the cause behind the effect, just that it's highly coincidental the the injuries sprung up that week -- a particularly physical game against little brother.

Recently, however, the injury bug has switched sides, and now resides with the defense.  The linebacking corps has been the hardest hit, as they can now claim to be down two starters. Addison Gillam had already been out, a consistent sideline presence since Week 2.  He will now be joined for the next few weeks by star Kenneth Olugbode, who left the Oregon game early with a leg injury. With both out, CU will turn to the relatively unheralded pair of Rick Gamboa and Ryan Severson. A trio of defensive linemen - Jase Franke, Leo Jackson III, and Derek McCartney - also missed action in the Oregon game, but are expected to return.  The missed plays from five of CU's best in the front-seven no doubt played a role in the Ducks' second half deluge of rushing yards.

The point is that the improved depth that everyone touted in the preseason will be put to the test.  If the old mantra in football has always been 'next man up,' then the Buffs will have to hope that the next men are up to the challenge.  The schedule certainly doesn't get any easier from here, and, without a BYE week (thanks to the Hawai'i trip and the RMS's inflexibility), the strain will only continue to mount.


Hype Music for the Week: "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones

Ah yes, the Rolling Stones.  For the record, in the eternal Stones v Beatles debate, I am decidedly with these guys.  This is not up for discussion.  I'll leave the sympathy for the Sun Devils to the British rockers, though, for I have none.


Kickoff from Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, AZ is set for 8pm tomorrow evening. Dinged up, can the Buffs bounce back from a tough home loss?  Tune in to FOX Sports 1 to find out. (The radio call is, of course, on 850 KOA)

Click below for the preview...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tuesday Grab Bag: Closer, but still not there... yet.

I'd like to tell you all a story.  It's a story about a pair of friends, let's call then 'Larry' and 'Terry' (to protect the innocent), who had planned on attending the CU/Oregon game Saturday night.  Larry, specifically, had come down from the mountains with an eye towards watching Colorado football this weekend, and had lead the charge to pre-purchase tickets, make plans (including Half Fast!), and generally set their affairs in order -- they were going to this game.  I saw them off Saturday night, planning to take my own route to the stadium with the group I was sitting with.  We made loose plans to meet up at the stadium and afterwards, shared a 'few' beverages, and parted ways.  This was at 5pm.

After winding my way across Boulder and up to Folsom, I headed over to the field house at about 7. Making a beeline for the nearest beer stand, I spied Larry and Terry over by a trash can, significantly more enhanced than they were a few hours previously.  Their state of affairs was a little worrisome for that early in the evening, but I noted that they had, at least, made it to Folsom in time for kickoff.  We shared some drinks, quickly talked over the weather, and generally shot the shit.  I assured them we'd meet up afterwards, and told them to call me.

Well, of course, the weather opened up, delaying the kickoff and spilling many of the fans to the concourses. I'm rarely comfortable in tightly crowded situations, so I left Larry and Terry to their spiraling, drunken state, and forced my way outside into the pouring rain.  Warnings of lightning in the area barely registered with me, as I took in the awesome sight of Folsom bathed in light and precipitation.  As the game eventually got under way, I noticed my phone was really struggling with the moisture and slammed cell towers, so I put it away, and forgot Larry and Terry were even in the stadium until the 4th Quarter.  As the end result of the game became clear, I remembered to turn on my phone again, but noted that L&T hadn't called.  Figuring they were already out on Pearl Street, and no longer in the mood for revelry myself, I tightened my jacket, and trudged home.

Arriving at my door, I was surprised to find the TV and lights were on.  Slipping inside, I was stunned to see the passed out forms of Larry and Terry, completely dead to the world (Larry had been staying at my place while in town, and had a key).  I surveyed the house, finding the kitchen faucet full on and pouring into oblivion, the doors unlocked, and discarded wet clothes strewn about.  Confused, but otherwise uncaring due to the late hour, I turned off the lights, television, and faucet, locked the doors, and went to bed.

In the morning, I found out the truth.  Despite being safely in the stadium at 7, neither one of them had made it to the re-scheduled kickoff.  The two had gone separate ways shortly after I had talked with them, and it had all gone south from there.  Larry, frightened by the lightning reports, had given up early, and took off for home.  Terry, whose phone was also on the fritz and couldn't contact anyone else to sit with, took off into the night, eventually purchasing a plate of curry at Tiffin's, and stumbling back to my house.

The point, I guess, is that a football Saturday is a marathon, not a sprint.  Pace yourselves, accordingly. Don't be like 'Larry & Terry.'


Today in the bag, I'm talking the action against Oregon, a look ahead to CU's next three opponents, and the first few days of basketball practices.

Click below for the bag...

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Beer Post: 2015 Gameday Beer-o-the-week - Oregon Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

Earlier this week, we were all treated to the rare cosmic occurrence that is a 'Super Blood Moon.' Ominous in title, the totally not scary combination of a supermoon and lunar eclipse appeared in the sky for the first time since the early 80s, not to return until 2033.  To celebrate the event, I'm taking inspiration from the bloody-orange orb in our sky, and picking Upslope Brewing's Blood Orange Saison as this week's gameday beer-o-the-week.

After two weeks of garbage picks, both in acknowledgement of the quality of opponents and my mood, I've returned to the land of good beer.  One from Boulder-proper, too.  Upslope, long my favorite brewery in town, hit this seasonal special release out of the park, combining the exotic flavors of blood oranges and Mandarina Bavaria hops (so en vogue right now) in a satisfying take on the classic and erratic Saison style.

Saisons (meaning 'season' in French) are a diverse family of beers, generally taking their direction from the old Belgian farmhouse styles.  Brewed in the winter by off-season farmers, these ales were made for summer consumption - easy drinking and flavorful, they're meant to help beat the heat.  Expect spicy yeast tones with a fruity nose on top of a malt base of the brewer's choice.  As I've gotten into ryes in the past - well known for their spicy profiles - saisons fit right in, peppering the tongue with lots of bright flavors.

Here, Upslope excels, playing off the spicy hints of the style with the tart and citrus taste from the blood orange.  Combine with floral hop notes on the nose and tongue, and it's a very pleasing brew.  Dry on the finish, it'll get out of the way quickly, inviting you just to keep on sipping.  At 6% ABV, you can do just that, splitting a six-pack with a friend or two as the night envelops the tailgate fields.  Those in Colorado should easily find plenty at any 'good' liquor store -- try it, and thank me later.

Happy Friday! Go Buffs, beat the Ducks!

2015 CU vs Oregon Football Preview

Conference play.  It's been a 'Stop Sign' for the hopes of BuffNation since the start of the decade.  Our new friends in the Pac-12, while wonderful in every other way, have proven to be less than accommodating to the Colorado football program.  The Buffs, unable to swim upstream against the current of talent, have gone 4-32 through four seasons out West.  It hasn't even been that close, with CU being outscored 1570-763 in those 36 contests for an average of 43.6 to 21.2 each week. *blech*

Well, the time has come, my friends; that crap is done and dusted. The season of relevancy is upon us. Colorado may not wind its way to a bowl, it may not yet release itself from the death-grip of the Pac-12 South's basement, but it sure as hell is going to put the fear of Ralphie into a few teams.  It all starts tomorrow, as a wide-eyed, bruised, and beaten brace of Ducks come to Folsom.  They've had the run of the series since expansion, but it's time for Colorado, yes COLORADO!, to make some noise.  Into the wilds of a night time kickoff we go, let's give Oregon a healthy fear of #Pac12AfterDark!


Hype music for the week: "Fear of the Dark" by Iron Maiden

MAIDEN! For the 12-yr old metal head in all of us, I present a quintessential track from this quintessential heavy medal staple.  These guys are weird but harmless, and one of the most successful acts in all of music-dom. Crank it!


Kickoff from Folsom Field is set for 8pm tomorrow evening.  Folsom is never better than when it's packed for a night game, so I'm expecting everyone in the region to head to this one.  Coverage for those unable to attend will be on ESPN: the Mothership, with the radio call on 850 KOA.

Please remember: if you're sitting in an even section - wear black, if you're a student, or are sitting in an odd numbered section - wear silver/grey.

Click below for the preview...