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Mailbag: Chaos, Malört, basketball, spoonerisms, UMass, and more

Truly remarkable how much ground was covered in just nine questions.

Ryan Kuttler /

Who doesn’t love a good mailbag? Seriously, the daily comments/interactions we get from our beloved commenters on Twitter and Facebook make our work here at Inside NU so much more fun and enjoyable, so it’s always great to open it up for questions and address the most pressing concerns in the Northwestern fan community.

Without further ado, here is your mid-November, basketball-football crossover mailbag. Happy Friday!

@katthedame on Twitter: Family isn’t tailgating this week, so I gotta buy the food at Ryan Field for the first time in years. What should I get?

MA: I haven’t had much food in Ryan Field, but Real Urban Barbecue was the real deal. I would recommend eating there or any other place under the south bleachers.

JW: Like Matt, my exposure to the Ryan Field concessions has been limited, but I have to say that the boneless wings/potato wedges I had on Parents Weekend last week were quite delicious. Definitely not the most extravagant item the stadium has to offer, but it certainly did the trick. Also, I know Mustard’s isn’t in the stadium, but you can never go wrong with a double dog and fries before, after, or during the game. I’ll probably snag one after the game myself.

@calebfriedman on Twitter: What’s the football/men’s b-ball underrated story we should be talking more about?

JW: For football, I gotta say it’s the fact that Joe Gaziano is just one sack away from breaking the all-time record for any Northwestern player. On a larger note, it’s just sad to see how Gaziano’s performances this year have been overshadowed by the team’s ineptitude on the offense. This is not the send off he, or any of the seniors, deserved.

I also have some honorable mentions. We’ve talked about it plenty, but it still somehow feels like Pat Spencer being a starting point guard, not to mention a really good one, for a Power Five program still somehow hasn’t gotten enough attention. I expect he’ll start garnering more attention once the ‘Cats get some more national exposure with Big Ten play, but it has to be one of the top storylines of the NCAA season, no?

Honorable Mention: This Pat Fitzgerald-Barstool collaboration was absolutely wild and also has not gotten nearly enough attention/criticism.

MA: I have a story for each team. The football team has not yet acknowledged the change in punter from 6th-year Daniel Kubiuk to graduate transfer Andrew David. For basketball, the player storyline that has gone under the radar is that of former basketball team manager-turned-player Eric Zalewski.

@kicknyrgios on Twitter: Cis Chrollins or Fat Pitzgerald, WHO YA GOT?

MA: Fat Pitzgerald — earlier this Fall on The Foundation (I believe in the first episode) Pat Fitzgerald is quoted as saying “Skinny-fat society of America.” This shows clearly that Fat Pitzgerald is by far the better spoonerism.

JW: McCk Miall.

@rjp11 on Twitter: Despite the win over Providence, I find NU’s basketball offense almost as unwatchable as McCall’s. Is it the ghosts of Carmody’s constant motion Princeton offense haunting me or do others see 3 players just standing around at any given time too?

MA: I too am constantly in a fever dream that we will wake up one day and Juice Thompson and Bill Carmody’s Northwestern Wildcats will be on the court. The 1-3-1 zone Northwestern used against Providence was reminiscent of an earlier time and was panic-inducing. We’ll see how this season plays out though!

@FakeCoachFitz on Twitter: What is your preferred Malort chaser?

MA: Anything less bitter (so anything).

JW: UMass and/or Northwestern football.

@BCsouplion30 on Twitter: Can Bennett Skowronek and TJ Green get a medical redshirt?

JW: Based on some quick online digging, it looks like the NCAA’s newest qualifications for a medical redshirt are that the player has “suffered the season-ending injury during the first half of the season, and they could not have played in more than three games before sustaining the injury.”

Based on that, I think the short answer is yes, both would be eligible to obtain the redshirt. However, I don’t think that necessarily means they’ll want to. Six years would be quite the investment from Green, and Skowronek could have his eyes on professional football assuming he’s healthy and back to full strength by the time combines roll around.

@Naasir37 on Twitter: Did we all secretly deserve this?

MA: Yes. We’re Northwestern fans. We can’t have anything nice in our lives. Winning the Big Ten West after making the tournament in 2017 was just too much.

JW: I’m not convinced yet, but if UMass wins tomorrow, I truly can’t think of any other explanation other than punishment via the supernatural. I mean seriously, UMass? No amount of sin or treason could be worthy of a loss to the Minutemen...

Adam Stringez on Facebook: Is there literally any chance Northwestern covers -39?

MA: It’s the Malört bowl, crazier things have happened...

JW: Gut says no, but UMass did give up 63 points to Army. Also, Vegas knows what it’s doing. They always do.

Charles Hardaway on Facebook: #FireMcCall

JW: Fire McCall.