First update of 2022

It’s time to start attracting good luck and good fortune in 2022. Do it Southern-style at the Blind Bear today with ham, blackeyed peas, collard greens, cornbread, and mac and cheese. Plates are $15 and will be available from 11 AM until they run out. Unclear why Southerners eat these foods on New Year’s? Here’s an explainer.

It’s an all-SEC college football title game as Alabama and Georgia punched their tickets in yesterday’s semifinals. Today’s bowl action:

  • Outback Bowl: Penn State vs. Arkansas, 11 AM, ESPN2
  • Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame, noon, ESPN
  • Citrus Bowl: Iowa vs. Kentucky, noon, ABC
  • Rose Bowl: Utah vs. Ohio State, 4 PM, ESPN
  • Sugar Bowl: Baylor vs. Ole Miss, 7:45 PM, ESPN

Tigers on national TV alert: The Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team has a road game against Wichita State which will be nationally televised on CBS this morning at 11.

From Food & Wine: Why this off-putting Chicago liquor is so damn special. Chicagoans say both “this defines us” and “this is terrible” about Malort.

Ja Morant moved closer to being named an All-Star with a 30-point performance vs. San Antonio last night. The Grizzlies won 118-105. Let’s have a look at what that does for the Western Conference standings:

  • The Grizzlies (23-14) are in sole possession of 4th place
  • They trail the Utah Jazz by 4 games for 3rd place
  • They lead the 5th-place Denver Nuggets by 4 games
  • They’re avoiding play-in scenarios with a 5-game lead over 7th-place L.A. Lakers

The Grizz get the weekend off, then will play at Brooklyn Monday.

It’s National Bloody Mary Day. Maybe I’ll have one this morning with my plate of good luck. Remember, today is Saturday, so a lot of places will be offering the drink as a brunch special.

Weather alert: says rain is expected noon-7 PM with best chance of storms 1-4 PM.

RIP Betty White, and she’s not the only beautiful soul we lost yesterday. I will miss my Peabody lobby bar Christmas Eve drinking buddy.

So I have a conundrum. The Arkansas game (Outback Bowl) is on at 11. The Tigers basketball game is on at 11. Ideally, I’d like to see both, which would put a trip to Max’s Sports Bar on the morning’s agenda – but the forecast makes getting back to the core a bit too dicey for my taste. Max’s is out.

The only other of my regular bars where I can easily keep an eye on 2 TVs at once is Silly Goose, and they’re not open until this evening.

That leaves Bardog and Blind Bear. Due to the New Year’s Day food special – and due to the fact that I want to park myself at one bar all day and avoid the weather – Bear has the advantage.

Of the two games, I care much, much, much more about the Arkansas game. They have the chance to beat a storied Big 10 program and finish with their best record since Bobby Petrino crashed his bike. So I’d like to get there right at 11 and request the Arkansas game on the TV in front of me.

But someone could, quite correctly, come along and note that this is Memphis, and the Memphis basketball game should be on the best TV in the house – even though it’s now likely the Tigers aren’t going to be invited to the Big Dance.

I suppose this is a high-class problem to have. Back tomorrow with more news.