You walk into a bar on a Saturday around 11:30 AM. You sit down and are getting ready to watch a full slate of college football. You make sure you get there before the noon games kick off so you have time to order food and beer, the essentials in life. Since you know you will be here for awhile, you are planning to eat throughout the day. After the waitress brings you back your Pabst Blue Ribbon, it is time to order your food. You start comparing the items on the menu to food at the bar. Let’s see how the food and the teams compare.
Wings (Alabama) – Wings are the best item on the menu and they are versatile. You want something spicy, you have wings. You want something a little sweeter like a honey barbecue sauce, you still have wings! Does garlic Parmesan interest you? We still have wings. Wings are just like Alabama. The Crimson Tide can beat you in a high scoring game with their offense, they can suffocate you with their defense, they are the do everything team. Wings are perfect for everyone and Alabama is the near perfect football team.
Mac and Cheese (Wisconsin) – How could this be anyone else? The land of cheese is Wisconsin and it is wonderful. Mac and cheese is a classic food. It helps fill you up with carbs and everyone loves to eat it when they are lazy. It does not matter if it is instant mac and cheese or homemade, they are all wonderful. Wisconsin is full of nice people. They play jump around after the third quarter when they are home and they have beefy offensive linemen.
Edit: Sorry Wisconsin. I should have put cheese curds.
Nachos (Oklahoma) – Nachos are great bar food. Everyone loves the person who gets a plate of nachos for the table. You always have your options between adding chicken, beef, guacamole, and plenty of other toppings. It is really hard to mess up nachos because the largest portion is the tortilla chips. The problem with sharing nachos is you are usually hungry afterwards. They get you close to being full, but not the whole way there. That is the case with Oklahoma. There is no denying they are one of the best teams in the country. Lincoln Riley is a phenomenal coach who has developed some of the best quarterbacks. They make the Big 12 look easy, but they fall short every year in the playoffs. The fans are ready for this plate of nachos to fulfill what they are hungriest for.
Onion Rings (Clemson) – Onion rings are never bad and if you find the right bar, they are fantastic. You need the ones where the onion does not come out with your first bite. A good onion ring keeps the onion in the breading the entire time you are eating it. Onion rings also need to be battered, not breaded. When comparing to Clemson, the Tigers have not been bad under Dabo Swinney. Clemson has made a bowl game each year under him and won two National Championships. The Tigers are a battered onion ring that gets better with each bite.
Mozzarella Sticks (Georgia) – Mozzarella sticks are usually one of the most popular items at the table when the waitress brings them out. The biggest issue is when there is only five mozzarella sticks and four people. How do you divide up the last one? Why do they always go away so fast? Why do they always cost so much? Georgia fits perfectly here. As soon as they show up, they become a favorite. Once they are out of sight, no one wants anything to do with Georgia. Georgia also knows what it feels like to be the fifth team in a four team playoff.
Loaded Fries (Ohio State) – When you order loaded fries, they are always a hit with the table. You have cheese, bacon, green onions, and sour cream. It has everything you need in a snack before the big meal. You do not always need crispy fries because you have the extra toppings to help get you the flavors you want. The issue is when you start running out of those toppings. The cheese starts falling off fries and now you have cold soggy fries. Ohio State is great in their appearance. Everything you could truly want in a football team. They recruit well, have good coaches, and produce NFL talent. The issue is when you start losing too much to the NFL and they are not ready for the next set of guys to take over. You saw that this year with Ohio State’s secondary. The cheese fell off the fries and they were not the same.
Deviled Eggs (Tennessee) – If I go to a bar, and you order deviled eggs, I am leaving. I will probably watch you eat the deviled eggs from another table, but I am not sitting next to you. Deviled eggs are for your grandma’s Memorial Day weekend cookout. Look, I loved deviled eggs, but there is a time and a place. A bar watching football is not the time or place. Tennessee has been a train wreck for the last decade or so. You cannot look away and you find yourself watching there games for no apparent reason. Why am I watching Tennessee vs South Carolina? I am not sure, but I need to see how it ends.
Popcorn (UCF) – When someone orders popcorn to the table, do you question why you invited them? Popcorn is great when you are watching a movie. I love making a bag of popcorn and watching a movie on my couch, but I would never waste money buying popcorn at a bar. If I want something to snack on, there are plenty of other options on this list. Who invited UCF into the national conversation and why have they not gone away? UCF claims a national title from a few years ago yet we still hear their fans yelling how they could win the ACC every year. Just like that friend who ordered popcorn, next time do not invite them back.
Boneless Wings (LSU) – Think of traditional wings, except you took the short cut. I personally like boneless wings, but I am a critic of them. They taste good and you avoid the mess, but a perfect wing cannot be compared to a boneless wing. Boneless wings are large chicken nuggets. They are good at times but they are not for every occasion. LSU has spurts where they are great and then they struggle to win eight or nine games. The inconsistency of the last two decades has led LSU here. There is no denying they have been great at times, but other moments you wonder how they manage to win games.
Corn dog (Michigan) – How many bars actually serve corn dogs? If they do, I am sure the entire bar is quirky and makes no sense. Corn dogs are for the county fair, not sitting at your local dive bar with a beer in your hand. If you are sitting next to me giving your opinion on a football game while holding a corn dog, I will never be able to take you serious. Now we need to take a look at Jim Harbaugh. How much do I need to describe him? This is the man who had a sleep over with a high school kicker. The man who went shirtless while wearing khakis at a camp. Tell me he would not eat a corn dog at a bar.
Pizza (Texas) – Bar pizza is not everyone’s favorite kind of pizza. It is usually thin crust and very crispy. Bar pizza is never bad but there are times when it is just okay. If the cheese is not evenly distributed or it is not left in the oven long enough the pizza can be subpar. One or two misses and the pizza goes from amazing to average. Charlie Strong and Tom Herman are evidence of this. While neither was really that bad, misses made the program worse. Both coaches failed to win the Big 12 and watched as Oklahoma made the College Football Playoffs. They are hoping to spread the cheese evenly and get a nice crunchy crust when putting the pizza in the oven this time.
Tequila shots (USC) – Have you ever done a tequila shot and wondered why you did that? Well your friend just ordered another round and it is not even noon. You know this is a bad decision, but you go along with it anyways because he is paying so it does not cost you any money. The tequila does not taste good but you did not throw up either so you are doing okay. This is the endless cycle of USC football. All of the fans wanted Clay Helton gone. He was out the door and then the administration brought him back. Helton proceeds to go 5-1 and sign the top player in the 2021 class. Here we are, back in the cycle where the fans will believe in Helton for a year or two and then be ready for him to be fired again.
Fried Pickles (Auburn) – The right fried pickles are incredible. If you mess them up, they are disgusting. Personally, I like the fried pickle chips much more than the spears. I like to be able to eat the chips in one bite and they need to be the right level of crunchy. If the pickles are done correctly, they are one of the best appetizers on the menu. The problem is if you have not been to that bar before. Do you trust they are done the way you like? Auburn has a history of being unknown. From the Kick 6, the Prayer at Jordan-Hare and getting lucky with Cam Newton. Auburn has won when it counted, but they have also flopped at times. Two years after Gene Chizik won his National Championship he only won 3 games.
Soft Pretzel (Penn State) – Let me preface my reasoning with this, I enjoy soft pretzels and have ordered them at a bar before. That being said, soft pretzels have an antique and traditional feeling about them. Soft pretzels are the same, and do not change over the years. They have the same taste, but that is what makes them great to some people and awful to others. Looking at Penn State it is easy to see why they are a soft pretzel. Their uniforms have remained nearly the same for the last 75 years. They have a classical look. They had the same coach for most of that stretch too. Soft pretzels have a historic feel to them and so does Penn State.
Potato Skins (Miami) – Have you ever seen someone try to dress up potato skins to pretend they are more than just potatoes? They could come served in a fancy way or they load the cheese on with green onions to give a nice appearance. In reality you are ready to burn your mouth because the potatoes are still scorching hot on the inside. We have seen this with Miami. When you look at the Hurricanes, they started the trend with the turnover chain and now everyone has their own version of it. They do not shy away from the glitz and glamour. Miami also had the whole Nevin Shaprio scandal, but we are not going to dive into that.
Corn on the cob (Iowa) – Iowa corn is better than Nebraska corn. There, I said it.