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Burgers and Blues: The Struggles of a College Football Fan

Being a true college football fan is akin to riding a roller coaster. Some of us have the good fortune to enjoy top-tier coasters that are at the same time always thrilling and satisfying (the Alabamas, for example). Even when the ride ends, the adrenaline high and the sheer satisfaction and consistency with which dizzying heights are reached becomes the norm.

Then there are those of us that, after years of being told we're too short to ride, reach the top of the roller coaster, outstretched hands greedily grasping at the heavens, only to be lurched forward and sent plummeting downwards in an instant, losing our lunch and our taste for the ride in the process. That was me and my team last week, y'all.

Help? Photo: CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images

College football gave my feels a gut check unlike any I'd care to experience again, and it honestly made me so bummed I couldn't bring myself to write or talk about stupid ol' football. My spirits were only lifted after my team won this past weekend and several teams we needed to lose lost. Suddenly, the grass was greener and any other applicable clichés were bandied about.

That's college football in a microcosm. As fans, we become utterly and hopelessly invested on an emotional level. The outcome of a game that we aren't even participating in weighs heavily on our psyche and dictates how proceeding days are spent. Winning welcomes euphoria, losing induces soul-shattering agony. It's insane, really.

But damn if it isn't one hell of a ride.

Great Plains Burger Even though there's a huge SEC game this weekend with massive playoff implications, in the spirit of parity and equality, I'm tipping my cap to the Midwest. Nebraska and star running back Ameer Abdullah travel to Madison, Wisconsin to take on the Badgers for a game that could decide the Big Ten West. I think Nebraska wins, and I think they'd enjoy this corny bison burger at the postgame tailgating celebration. They are the Cornhuskers, after all. Make it for your tailgate and tell us about it, or share with us your favorite tailgating go-to dish. Enjoy the games and good luck to everyone this weekend (except this guy). Cheers!

1 ear shucked corn

Great Plains Burger. Photo: Randy Mayor

1 small red onion, cut into 3/4-inch slices
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 1/2 ounces corn chips (such as Fritos)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound lean ground bison
4 (1 1/2-ounce) onion rolls, toasted

1. Preheat grill to high heat.

2. Place corn and onion on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 9 minutes or until charred, turning corn occasionally and turning onion once. Cut kernels from ears of corn. Combine corn, mayonnaise, mustard seeds, vinegar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a mini food processor; process until smooth.

3. Combine onion and adobo sauce.

4. Place chips in a food processor; pulse 15 times or until coarsely chopped. Combine chips, 1/4 teaspoon salt, sage, garlic powder, pepper, and bison; mix well. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, gently shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Press a nickel-sized indentation in center of each patty. Place patties on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes. Carefully turn patties; grill 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

5. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun. Spread 1 tablespoon corn mixture over each patty. Top with onion mixture and top halves of buns.