[This post has absolutely nothing to do with rushing quarterbacks. I just needed a catchy title. Cut me some slack]
Helloooo, college football fans! The season has flown by, and we're getting down to the nitty-gritty. These next two weeks will decide who's a contender and who's a pretender; who has a championship-caliber squad and who's just a big ol' phony.
And this weekend's slate is sure to show us which teams are the cream that rises to the top of the playoff rankings. There's a cornucopia of ranked vs. ranked games— USC vs. Oregon, LSU vs. Ole Miss, Michigan State vs. Ohio State, Baylor vs. Oklahoma State, TCU vs. Oklahoma, and, of course, our feature game below. Seriously, if you enjoy college football and you're not tuning in this weekend, you probably have a lot in common with my Uncle Bernie.
Don't be a Bernie! The only possible excuse you could have this weekend for not watching is because you're fixated on El Clasico instead (technically still "football"). But really, tune in to some spine-tingling-y good football this week. You won't regret it. ...Unless maybe your team loses. Either way, good times.
Marquee Matchup: #20 Northwestern vs. #25 Wisconsin, 11/21, 3:30PM ET on Big Ten Network I'm going to level with you like I did last week concerning my football knowledge—I know nothing about either of these teams. I do, however, know that I really like the look of Wisconsin's mascot. And since I've been trying to spread the love around the country this season, it's only fair this Big Ten top 25 tilt gets a mention. Based purely on mascot likability, I'm going Wisconsin all the way. My Prediction: Wisconsin 41, Northwestern 28
Chicago Char Dog with Fresh Cucumber RelishThe real reason I featured this game? This recipe right here. Now, I'm not normally a cucumber fan. "Come back when you're pickles, you immature vegetables!" That's what I say about cucumbers in my brain. But this relish on these dogs? Magnifique. Whip up these 20-minute dogs and share with your game day crew this Saturday. Good luck to your teams this weekend! Cheers.
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil1 teaspoon mustard seeds1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg1/4 cup rice vinegar1 tablespoon sugar1 cup finely chopped English cucumber2 tablespoons diced red bell pepper1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill8 uncured all-beef hot dogs (such as Boar's Head Lite Beef with Natural Casing)Cooking spray8 white whole-wheat hot dog buns8 tomato slices, halved4 kosher dill pickle sandwich slices, halved lengthwise4 pickled sport peppers or pepperoncini, halved1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion4 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add oil and mustard seeds; cook 1 minute or until seeds begin to pop, stirring constantly. Add ginger, turmeric, and nutmeg; sauté 1 minute. Add vinegar and sugar; cook 2 minutes. Stir in cucumber, bell pepper, and dill; remove from heat.
2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
3. Place hot dogs on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes, turning occasionally.
4. Place 1 hot dog on each bun. Place 2 tomato pieces, 1 pickle piece, and 1/2 sport pepper on each. Top each with about 2 tablespoons cucumber relish, 1 1/2 teaspoons onion, and 1/2 teaspoon mustard.