Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Hele mei hoohiwahiwa. There has been some controversy about the Irish accepting a Christmas Eve bowl bid, as we are a Catholic institution, and many feel that the bowl game will get in the way of celebrating Christmas. Give me your thoughts.
Hypothetical for you. Notre Dame is in the National Championship. That year, the National Championship is played on January 6, also known as Epiphany, one of the Holy Days of Obligation (as opposed to Christmas Eve, which is not one of those days). Please start the line for people who will object to that right over there.
Is it the ideal day for a bowl game? No. But it does mean that everyone can watch the game? More people than on a Saturday during the season, that's for sure. And for those of use who work, probably more than can watch on most other days during the bowl season. It's pretty ideal for me, actually. And it means that I can watch the game with my family, post-Christmas Eve Mass, which makes it even more special for me.
`Onipa`a. The Notre Dame administration has decided to stand by their man and bring Coach Weis back as head coach next year. What specific changes (a) do you think ought to be made in the offseason? (b) do you think will be made in the offseason?
(a) (1) New quarterback, (2) New O-Line coach, and (3) new strength and conditioning coach.
(b) I'm guessing we'll get all but that new quarterback. But a girl has to have her dreams, right?
Pupukahi i holomua. What are your expectations for next season?
We must be in a BCS game. Moreover, we need to be in the hunt for the National Championship sometime during the month of November. Anything less is unacceptable.
O ka makapo wale no ka mea hapapa i ka pouli. Also, if we start looking for a new coach next year, who do you think we (a) can get, and (b) would be the best possible hire? (i.e., is all of this Urban Meyer talk hot air or substance?)
(a) I think at the end of next year, we will be able to get more people that we could get in any other year in the post-Ty era. Charlie will have had a full chance to succeed, the always meritless racism charges are gone with the Washington-Ty debacle, and the recruits are top-notch for whatever coach would come into the situation. Really, I think the only coaches who would not want the job are the pansies who lack the confidence to succeed in the most prominent position in all of football.
(b) Best possible? Someone who is not even on the radar at this point. I don't know who that would be, but I have faith in Swarbrick to be the kind of guy to bring in someone we didn't even know was available (i.e., a Pete Carroll type, just to show up Charlie. I'm not saying I want him, but that it would not be surprising).
`A`ohe lokomaika`i i nele i ke pâna`i. 'Tis the season, so tell me: What is the best gift you are giving someone this holiday season?
I could tell you, but then I would ruin the surprise for the person who is getting it (although I am thinking of invoking the 5th Amendment here).
Mahalo nui loa na ho'olaule'a me la kaua. What are your predictions for the game? Will the Irish be celebrating on the long plane ride home, or will this be another long offseason of listening to the chatter about our decades-long bowl losing streak?
An Irish celebration on the plane ride home. Finally.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
So, now that college football season is in its pre-Bowl doldrums, I find myself in the position of falling back on professional football for amusement (and no, watching the Heisman ceremony is not going to keep me entertained today). My pro team of choice is the Chicago Bears, who happened to play this week's game on Thursday (leaving me with a weekend of NOTHING TO WATCH, but that's a different complaint than this post is meant to address). The problem with a Thursday night professional football game? It's on the NFL Network, which I definitely do not get on my cable package.
What is a girl to do when she is in desparate need of football, and the only team she has any desire to watch is on a channel she doesn't get? She heads out to a nearby sports bar to watch the game. Which is a less-than-ideal situation for me.
From my ultra scientific study of sports bars (read: spending lots of time in them), it seems that there are lots of men who go to sports bars on their own. They grab a spot at the bar, in front of the television showing whatever game strikes their interest, and spend a few hours blissfully sipping beer and eating wings, undisturbed except for the bartender bringing a new brew when the last is done. I wish this was my life. You see, when I go out to a sports bar alone, there is no blissful watching of the game, sipping beer and eating wings. Instead, it is a constant struggle to see any of the game.
After dealing with the shocked look of the bartender, who will inevitably be surprised that a woman is willing to go to a sports bar alone - particularly to watch a game - the real "fun" of my evening begins.
It starts innocently enough. For the beginning of the game - say, the first quarter of a football game, or the first two to three innings of a baseball game - I do get to have a blissful game watch. The beers come, I eat my wings, and I watch the game.
Then, the problems start.
Sometime in the second quarter or 4th inning, some guy will start talking to me. I assume that it takes this long to start talking to me because (a) it takes some balls to start talking to a random girl at a bar, so the guy has to build up some courage, and, more importantly, (b) he has to figure out if I am, indeed, alone, and not waiting for my friends and/or boyfriend to show up. But, once he hits that point, the end of my blissful evening has arrived.
The guy will grab a seat near me - always with the obligatory bar seat in between. He will sit there for a bit, watching the game, waiting for an opportune time to make some comment about the game to me. After the comment, I - being the sports fan that I am - feel obligated to respond to the comment (usually something snobby that shows I probably know more about what is going on than he does - my hopeful point being, until you can hold your own here, go find someone else to hassle).
Responding at all only encourages the guy, no matter how mean I am to him about the comment (this leads me to believe that I should not respond at all, but I am both a lawyer and someone who really doesn't want to be seen as the b****y girl, so I can't help but respond). What follows are a series of questions, always including the following, or some variation thereon: Are you here alone? (Tempting response: No. I chose to sit here by myself because it was more fun than sitting with my friends) Are you watching the game? Are you a big fan of [fill in the team I am cheering for]?
This is about the point where I stop trying to be pleasant and nice, and inform the guy that I am really trying to watch the game. So, for the next series of plays or half inning, I get my blissful peace, all the while knowing that it will be short-lived. At the next commercial break, the guy will attempt to make more small talk, soon forgetting that I am trying to watch the game, and continuing to talk while I attempt to watch the game after the commercial break ends.
This is always the point where I want to ask if the guy came to the sports bar to pick up chicks or watch a game.
Even if I manage to get rid of the first guy (often by resorting to being a jerk, because, seriously, I am there to watch a game, not meet some guy), this doesn't stop the next one from coming over shortly after I have gotten rid of the first one. No matter how many I get rid of, there always seems to be one more waiting to talk to me while I am trying to watch.
And so it continues, until the game is over and I have spent most of the game fending off some guy or guys instead of doing what I came to do, which is watch the game.
Now, I know there are probably people who are thinking, Sarah, you are a first class b****. Do you know how hard it is go up to a woman at a bar? And make small talk? Yes, I do know. But really? Do you want me to come up to you in the middle of the game and start talking to you? No. Save that crap for halftime and after the game, and leave me in peace so that I can watch the game. And then, please, feel free to buy me a beer. At least you will have shown me that you're a sports fan, and can appreciate a girl who is one, too.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I am generally a happy, optimistic person. I have tried to be something else, but, in my heart, I hope for the best. I am, in the F. Scott Fitzgerald sense, a sentimentalist, not a romantic, try as I might to be a romantic (in other words, I hope against hope that things will work out in the end, as opposed to the romantic, who hopes against hope that things will not work out). I like happy endings, and Walt Disney, and I don't feel the need to apologize for it. Give me the choice between a romantic comedy and a drama, and the former wins every single time. Life can suck; no need to make it worse by being a pessimist about things.
That said, the last two weeks have been horrible for me.
I was at the Syracuse game. Having lived through the Ty era, I know I should never expect victory, but I really did expect to win that game. It was as close to a gimme a game as ND has ever played since I have rooted for ND. Certainly more so than the armed forces games, where a disciplined team comes out playing their best, or even a San Diego State game, where an inferior opponent can overwhelm a young team that is a bit overconfident. The only game that comes close is Washington this year, and ND won that game without trouble.
To lose the Syracuse game was a feeling that I have never felt for ND football. Sure, there have been unexpected losses in my short time as a Notre Dame fan (see: Navy 2007). And there have been gut-wrenching losses that strike emotions I have never felt before (see: USC 2005). But something about the Syracuse loss sent me into a tailspin that has taken me two weeks to recover from.
I wish I could say why this loss struck me so much as it did, but I am speechless on that point. All I know is, I have wanted nothing to do with college football for two weeks. I haven't submitted picks to Subway Domer's contest (even though I was in the Top Ten prior to this funk), and I haven't spent my normal time perusing the various ND websites that I frequent. I just wish that this season would end, baseball season would arrive, and I could move on with my life.
Frankly, I didn't even care whether ND hired or fired Charlie. I haven't read a single article, or watched a television segment on the subject. It just does not interest me.
For a few days, I wondered whether this was a normal reaction. But then, I remembered what someone once told me: the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy.
The problem for me is, I fear that I am moving from love, to apathy. I have had hate for this team before, but I recognize that it is a momentary feeling, akin to love. It will pass, and I will go back to love, with a passion that I didn't realize I had for ND football before I saw what I would be missing without ND football my life.
I can see me moving toward apathy, and I don't want to go there. I LOVE watching college football. I LOVE that for several months of the year, my life is consumed with football all day Saturday. I LOVE that I am willing to drive 500 miles in one day, just to watch my Irish lose a game that they could have won, because the team means that much to me.
Perhaps the problem is that I am not looking at enough self-help books. Maybe, the Irish are just not that into me. Or maybe we are from different planets. Or maybe we just have trouble communicating.
I know this is the point at which I am supposed to provide my big solution to the problems of the team, but I can only offer random opinions. For example, Jimmy Clausen appears to have the same major problem as his older brothers - a perfectly adequate quarterback, but not the kind of quarterback who will lead you to glory and fame. All of the best training in the world cannot give you the instinctive desire to win of a Tiger Woods, and when you are on the big stage, it is going to show.
But really, at the end of the day (where I am now), the only solution I have is simple. This team needs to start winning games. There was a point in the season where I thought the team was about to turn a corner, and start winning games handily, like they should. Unfortunately, the team seems to have gone the wrong way, subjecting us fans to losses like Syracuse. For one of hte IGB posts, I mentioned that the most important figure to me was wins. And we definitely did not have enough of those this year, bowl eligible or not.
At this point, my expectations are lower. I just want this team to start winning games. More importantly, I want them to make me feel something besides apathy toward them. I don't want ND to be just another school, just another item on my resume that I don't think about after I leave. I want the school to give me a reason for people to talk about it in a good light, not to force me to turn off my television to avoid the worst of Sportscenter.
So really, in the end, this email is just a plea to ND football, to make me feel something toward the program besides apathy. I wish I could hate the team; hatred is better than not caring. So, please, ND, I plead, be excellent or awful, just do not subject me to another season that makes me fail to care.
Anyway, thanks for letting me vent.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
1. If you had the choice, which professional athlete would you rather be: A golfer on the PGA tour that hovers around 125-150 on the money list, a solid middle reliever in the MLB, a # 4 starter on an MLB team, a tenth man on an NBA roster, or a punter in the NFL?
No question here – a golfer that hovers around 125-150 on the money list. Some reasons:
- You get to spend significant portions of the year in warm climates.
- Not only are you spending most of the year in warm climates, but you are spending that time in some of the most stunning places on earth.
- I would get to play a “sport” where drinking is encouraged while you play (OK, so, strictly speaking, this does not include time on the course during tournament play. However, given the amount of time one would spend on the course outside of tournament play, it’s fair to say that there would be plenty of drinking time). Same goes for smoking, which I might have to take up if I were to join the PGA.
2. If they made a movie about the history of Notre Dame football from 1997-2008, what actors would you cast as Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham, George O'Leary and Charlie Weis? Picture comparisons will be helpful.
So many to choose from. Here goes, with some explanation. Or not.
- Kegs and Cases of beer
- Mixers (including bloody mary mix)
- A banner
- A beer pong table
- The Greatest Playlist of all Time
What else do we need? What else would you bring? How can we make this tailgate any better?
A football. However, watch for any errant throws, as this has led to multiple problems at tailgates I have hosted.
Friday, November 14, 2008
But before I get to the video, I have to note that Rece Davis is a brave man for using the 1993 ND season against Lou in an argument during halftime of the Virginia Tech-Miami game last night. There was a moment there that I thought things were going to take a bad turn (even Mark May seemed taken aback by the comment, which is quite amazing).
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
1. In the parlance of DJs, a "deep cut" is a song that wasn't released as a single and, generally, is not well-known. Oftentimes, these end up being the best songs on the album. What Notre Dame victory is your favorite "deep-cut" from the Irish catalog? In other words, what is your favorite victory that is not widely celebrated (i.e., not the "Snow Bowl" or the 1988 Miami game, etc.). Explain in much detail.
Maybe because it was the last game I watched from the student section (even though I was no longer a student), or because it was Brady Quinn's last home game, or because it just seemed like things were on track for the Irish, but my favorite "deep cut" game is the Army game from 2006. The game itself was an easy victory, and a ton of fun to be at, but it was more memorable for me because of the hope it gave me that ND would beat USC the next week, and maybe, just maybe, get a shot at the National Championship. Sitting (or rather, standing) a few feet from Brady Quinn when he started the "Beat SC" chant only added to the hope that the game gave me, only to have that hope crushed the next weekend.
2. As much fun as it is rooting for our heroes, it can be just as enjoyable to trash those we consider villains. A few years ago, the great Irish blog, Blue-Gray Sky, wrote a post discussing the biggest villains in Irish history. That post focused on external villains. Today's question is, of those associated with the program, who is the biggest villain? This individual must have been a player, coach or administrator at ND who, through reckless acts of cowardice, stupidity or malice, damaged the football program. (Note: Ty Willingham is off the board)
I am jumping on the Kevin White bandwagon. The reasons are myriad (the extremely strange barnstorming choices for ND games, the football coach hiring and firing debacles, the selling off of the ND brand/jumbotron fear, the crap BCS deal, etc.), and not always entirely his fault.
However, in the end, these things were his responsibility. The state of ND football is not as good as it should be, and the blame for that falls squarely at his feet, because he was the man ultimately responsible for the state of athletics at ND. Kevin White was not a Notre Dame man, and I think it showed, in the way he failed to understand and act in the best interest of the football team.
3. Falling in love is a wonderful thing. As Lt. Frank Drebin once noted, "you begin to notice things you never knew were there before; birds singing, dew glistening on a newly formed leaf, stoplights." Descibe the moment you knew that there would be no other; you were in love with Notre Dame.
My initial thought was to answer the 2003 game against Florida State at Notre Dame during my first year of law school. I stayed in the stands until the end of that horrible, horrible showing by the Irish, enduring a typical late fall day in South Bend (complete with sun, rain, sleet, and snow!). Even as the stands around me emptied, I stood there with a friend, knowing that the Irish had no chance to come back and win the game, but dedicated to getting through the game at all costs.
However, after further thought, I realized that, although I knew I loved Notre Dame at this moment, I wasn't in love with Notre Dame yet (how's that for a girly statement?). To get to that stage, I had to live through more bad times, more good times, and a coaching change.
The moment I knew I was in love with Notre Dame came a year and a few months later, at the first Blue-Gold game of the Charlie Weis era. It was a day similar to the day of the Florida State game, except it seemed colder and there wasn't really any nice part of the day, unlike at the Florida State game. The game meant absolutely nothing, and one of my friends and I shivered under a blanket in the stands, watching a glorified scrimmage and loving every minute of it. It was at that moment - when I was willing, a week or two before finals, to sit outside in the freezing late spring cold to watch this new coach in the awful weather, at a meaningless game - that I knew I was in love with the Irish. I would not have suffered through this for any other team, and I certainly wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I did.
4. Regrets, we've had a few but, then again, too few to ever let go of any of them. What game or specific play in Irish history turns your dreams into nightmares and haunts your every waking moment? Describe this torment and why you wish ND could have another crack at it?
Bush Push. I have never watched it since I saw it that day in the stadium (this involves a lot of eye shutting and plugging of the ears like a little child when it comes on television), yet it still haunts me. It is seared in my memory, never to be let go. I have already relived it for one of these posts, so I won't do it again (it's just awful for me to think about). The joy of ND getting another crack at this one would be that we all know the rule that governs this now, so I am sure the result would be different (and yes, I would take a better result, even if it came because of a penalty).
5. With 79 consensus All-Americans and 48 inductees in the College Football Hall of Fame, it is clear that there have been many great players in the history of Notre Dame football. What was the greatest single season from a player that you ever witnessed during your Irish fandom? Be specific. Use adjectives.
My ND fandom is not very long, and I am going with an obvious one here - Brady Quinn, 2005. The young man who showed up for the Pitt game to open that season was a changed young man from the year before. This new Brady Quinn looked like he owned Heinz Field, and the season just confirmed that he was for real, especially as he went on to own many more places. That it coincided with my last year at Notre Dame only helped make it an even more special year in my mind.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
1. What photo of some member of the 2008 Irish squad doing something, anything at all, really, says all 1,000 words that need to be said about this team? OR, which photo of some member of the 2008 Irish squad doing something would tell 1,000 lies about this team if you only saw the photo and didn't know better? (Double-secret word score bonus for answering both mutations of the same question)
I couldn't come up with an actual picture that showed it, but how about Chris Stewart injuring himself coming on to the field. The truth? This team can be extremely frustrating at times. Getting hurt running on to the field = inability to finish and win games. I'm pretty sure it doesn't lie about this team, though. So no double secret word score bonus for me.
2. Some of you may know that I (domer.mq) am a football stat geek. Which statistic do you think geeks like myself should really be paying attention to this season and why? (Can pertain to ND or CFB in general.)
How about wins? Seriously. One more and ND is bowl eligible. At this point, that's the one that's immediately on my mind.
(I may have taken the Pitt loss badly).
3. Seeing as how Boston College is nothing but an up-jumped program enjoying the luxury and soft Corinthian leather of an ACC schedule, which team from the current top 25 would you love to see this year's Irish play this weekend in Fredo's stead? Why? Do you think the Irish would win? Describe the game. Paint us a picture! I'll get the popcorn!
Can I pick a rematch against Pitt? Seriously, I want a second go at that one. This time, we stick with the run. Jimmy manages not to overthrow open people. The defense stops Shady all game long. ND is up by 3 TDs at the half (1 run by Allen, 1 long one to Floyd, and 1 sneak in by Jimmy), and ND wins by at least 30.
4. Let's dispose of the gradient colors and subtle vagaries of college football for a moment and answer this question with one of the supplied, absolute answers and a blurb defending your pick. No waffling! The Question: Why is Notre Dame unable to put away games when leading going into half time? The possible answers: 1) ND Players all have a soft, nougat center 2) The Coaches don't want to tick off potential future employers 3) God doesn't think it's classy to blow a team out 4) The ND Fanbase can't really stomach blowouts any more than they could stomach a protracted land war in Asia. Remember, you must pick one and you must defend it with great vigor!
Answer: 1 - ND Players all have a soft, nougat center.
It's pretty easy to come to this conclusion - a bunch of kids raised in schools where success often takes a backseat to making everyone feel good about themselves, where they got used to winning without having to work for anything, and now they find themselves in a situation that whatever they do, it looks better than what they did last year, and they get credit for that improvement, as if five wins is great (and I'm guilty of helping promote that latter thought). Until they have a reason to toughen up, they will fall back on being soft on the inside, because it is easier and everyone loves it.
Ah, but there is hope - leave that candy out for a few weeks, and that sucker will be hard as a rock. Here's to hoping that the ND players can go from that soft, nougat center to hard and solid at their core. Preferably as soon as possible.
5) Tennessee just began celebrating the career of Phil Fulmer today as he announced that he'd been given the opportunity to make it look like resigning was his idea. Certainly, this is a clarion call to ADs across the country to begin worrying over their tea that, should their current HC not work out, they wont get a shot at #s 1-5 on their candidate list. Tell us about an AD who may be looking at this move by Tennessee and acting a bit more aggressively towards a reduction in force of his current football staff now rather than later. And who might that AD be trying to seduce before Tennessee already has a "hand shake agreement" with the guy?
I'm going out on a crazy limb here, and saying that Barry Alvarez sees the writing on the wall with Bret Bielema and kicks his butt to the curb before any significant damage is done to Wisconsin football. I have no idea who Barry would want to go after, but perhaps Lane Kiffin? He grew up in the region, after all.
Gosh, I harbor a lot of hate toward Wisconsin.
Friday, October 31, 2008
A multitalented athlete, Cross was recruited by Wannstedt from Fort Scott C.C. as the nation’s second best junior-college quarterback. Fort Scott lost 24 straight games before Cross arrived, then won 16 of 24 games in his two seasons there.Seriously, I don't want to see this guy tomorrow. Wild card players do not make me happy.
I am off to the Bend - if you see a drunk girl wandering campus and attempting to talk her way out of Excise Police tickets/arrests, it could well be me. Happy Halloween!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
My favorite part of the victory wasn’t one particular play - rather, it was the almost immediate sense that the game was going to be decidedly one-sided in favor of Notre Dame. Since I started watching ND games with any regularity about six years ago, this feeling has been sorely lacking.
Indeed, this game gave me the hope that sometime in the foreseeable future, there will come a time when I expect all of Notre Dame’s games to be decidedly one-sided in favor of the Irish. I don’t expect to see that this year, but I have hope that this day will come sooner rather than later.
2. Charlie's Nasties does a Duds and Studs segment to reflect on every game. Name one player/coach that could have done better against the Huskies and one player/coach that stepped it up.
Dud: Jimmy Clausen
It’s been said before, but I’m giving my “player that could have done better” award to Jimmy Clausen. Even without looking at the stats, Jimmy seemed to have a bit of over-confidence in his ability. While Jimmy’s increased confidence is a big plus for me (nice not to have the deer in headlights look of last year), there were multiple times during the game when Jimmy seemed to move from a proper level of confidence in his ability to pick the correct receiver and get the ball where he is supposed to territory into “Hi, my name is Jimmy Clausen, and I have figured out everything I need to know about being a college quarterback” territory. It’s a fine distinction, but one that will get Jimmy into trouble against a team that actually shows up to play against Notre Dame.
I will say, though, that it’s nice to give this dubious honor to someone who, had he had this game at this time last year, would have been my Stud.
Stud: Brandon Walker
OK, so he didn’t get asked to do much. And other people had better games than he did. But with new competition breathing down his neck, Brandon went out there and did his job effectively. Sure, he gets the award more because of his improvement from “bad” to “effective,” but I will take that sort of effective play any day over previous form.
My pick was cemented when I saw a highlight of him post-game, telling the press that he is on the team to help the team win. He went on to say that, if he is not the kicker who gives the team the best chance to win, he should not be kicking, and he would be the first person to congratulate whoever could give ND a better chance to win over him.
3. Halloween involves people abandoning reality for awhile to dress up and imitate something that they are not. Pick one Halloween costume with traits you would like to see from the Notre Dame football team the rest of the season.
I’m going with Knute Rockne - the team already has the uniforms, all they need is the attitude and ability to win pretty much all the time. They will have to come up with some of those old-timey helmets, though.
4. When trick-or-treating as a kid, there always seemed to be at least one house that handed out apples. What aspect of the football team this year is the biggest apple in your candy bag (aka biggest disappointment)?
There are people who hand out apples? Man, I appreciate the neighborhood I grew up in even more, where our complaints were saved for people who only gave out one piece of candy if they gave out snack size candies. And the parents could get beers from the neighbors when theirs ran out (seriously, that’s a good reason to snag a friend’s kid and go trick-or-treating back in the old neighborhood. And people wonder why I have such a lax attitude toward drinking...).
Despite just handing out my stud pick to Brandon Walker, I am most disappointed by the kicking game of this team. After the kicking ineptitude of last year, I expected that Coach Weis’s new position with special teams, the open competition for a kicker, and the potential of finding a kicker among the student population would result in an effective, if not above average, kicking game. Obviously, I have been disappointed here.
Hopefully, I will be able to look back on my answer to this question in a few weeks and see that this was the last time that this concern was of concern.
5. This year, October 31st is coincidentally also the opener for ND's Mens Basketball team (preseason against Briar Cliff). Say a few words about one player that will make have the biggest impact on the success of the team this season (apologies to non-bball fans, but I couldn't resist).
This is sort of like my knowledge of recruiting a couple weeks ago - sure, I pay attention to the basketball team, but it’s more in the “I cheer for the team, and can name a couple players, but, um, don’t ask me much else until it gets closer to tournament time, at which point I will start paying attention.” So, like the recruiting questions, I plead lack of knowledge and defer to people who actually know something.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Tempting though it was to devote this week's IBG to a certain Molder of Men, I figured I would give the guy an undeserved break, and go for a topic near and dear to my heart - the tailgate party.
As Homer Simpson once said: "We're not here for the game - the game is nothing, the game is crap, the game makes me sick! The real reason we Americans put up with sports is for this: Behold! The tailgate party! The pinnacle of human achievement! Since the dawn of parking lots, man has sought to stuff his gut with food and alcohol, in anticipation of watching others exercise."
While I may disagree with Homer's opinion on the game (sometimes), I have no quarrels with loving a good tailgate party. Plus, the Notre Dame tailgate experience is on everyone's mind these days. And so, without further ado, this week's questions.
1. You're having some beers and brats outside Notre Dame Stadium, just chilling with friends. If you could have one Notre Dame player or coach drop by to share a drink, a brat and some stories with you, who would it be?
I considered going with someone long dead, but then I realized I wanted to have a chat with someone of a more recent vintage - Lou. You know he would have some great stories from his days as coach that he doesn't normally tell to alumni groups or the like, and he just seems like he would be able to kick back, chill, and fit right in with whoever showed up that day to tailgate. Plus, how cool would it be to say that Lou stopped by your tailgate?
2. What was your best experience ever with a tailgate party?
I forget who said it, but I remember hearing a quotation from someone talking about the perfect sorts of evenings that you can only have at a bar - where everything, for a short moment, is absolutely perfect, and you are keen enough (after a couple drinks) to realize how perfect things are for you. I had one of those moments at the 2005 Notre Dame game at Purdue, during my last year in law school. Having discovered how much the Purdue tailgate scene sucks two years earlier, a few friends and I headed down to West Lafayette early in the morning to snag a spot on someone's front yard, overlooking Ross-Ade. By midday, most of my close law school friends were lounging around the tailgate, drinking, eating, and just enjoying a beautiful day. We watched other games on a neighboring tailgater's television and sold exorbitantly priced cases to some Purdue fans who ran out of beer. There wasn't anything overly special about the tailgate, but it was exactly how I picture a good tailgate in my mind, and that made it perfect.
3. There are lots of great tailgate experiences around the country - what school's tailgate tradition do you most want to experience?
The list of places I want to go and tailgate is about as long as the list of places one can go and tailgate. However, there is one place that I have wanted to experience since a South Carolina fan told me about it a few years ago - the Cockaboose! Sure, it's not the most traditional experience ever. And it's not tailgating in the sense of eating out the back of your car before a traditional rivalry game. But I love the idea of sitting around in a caboose before a game, watching television and sipping a cocktail.
4. Indiana decides that their drinking laws are far too un-draconian (I'm from Wisconsin. I don't understand these things like "kids aren't allowed in bars," "your parents can't give you liquor if they are supervising" and "no alcohol purchases on Sunday"), and drinking is now forbidden on Saturdays. The Excise Police stop by your tailgate, and proceed to dump out the liquor you were attempting to hide from them. What do they pour out?
Well, the Guinness went long before the Excise police showed up. There's at least one bottle of scotch still about half full, my pre-mixed margaritas, that bottle of hurricanes that I have been carrying around for two years that no one has ever drunk, and SoCo punch. And a lot of Miller Lite and High Life, for use in various drinking games.
5. OK, I couldn't leave it alone completely. How do you feel about the impending end of the Coach Willingham era at Washington?
Fine. Just fine.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
1. With our beloved Irish on the bye this weekend, how much college football will you be watching Saturday and what games are you most looking forward to
I really don't know how much football I will be watching on Saturday. My sister (a fellow Domer) is coming to visit me. And yes, she's only coming because neither of us has Notre Dame football to watch, as we do on a typical fall weekend. That said, the chances of us eventually ending up at a bar watching football are probably somewhere in the 90-100% range.
As for other games, I'm looking forward to Purdue at Northwestern, the original alma mater. Northwestern is getting close to bowl eligibility, and the more places I have to go this December and January when it gets cold, the happier I will be, and this one looks winnable for the 'Cats. Other games I will at least check in on while sipping a beer are Pitt-Navy (to keep up a weekly trash talking fest with a Pitt fan) and Michigan-Penn State (mostly to see exactly how many points Penn State can ring up on Michigan). Yes, those are all crappy games to want to watch, but I don't care.
2. Not to look too far ahead… but in looking at the 2009 schedule, do you think the Irish will be set up for a title run if they continue to improve each week as they are doing now?
Definitely. I haven't spent much time looking at it, but the schedule next year alone sets up well for the Irish in terms of wins. The Irish drop games to San Diego State, North Carolina, and Syracuse for games against Nevada, Washington State, and Connecticut - I think the Irish would beat all of the latter teams this year, and that would be the same for an improved 2009 team. The only team that would scare me with regard to an improved Irish team in 2009 is USC. Even that part of the schedule is better next year than this - Notre Dame gets USC after the bye week, which I hope means the Irish will be rested and very ready for USC, much like the 2005 season.
If the Irish keep improving, I personally don't think that there will be any trouble in making a run for the title in terms of players. Sure, the defense might not be to the level I would like, but an even more improved offense would allow the defense to operate at something less than perfect, which would still translate into wins.
3. If you could take 1 recruit we missed on from each of the last 4 years (1 from each year), who would they be and how differently would this team look like right now if we had gotten that 1 player each year? (Note, the players should be players the Irish either led for at one time or were at least a finalist for).
I'm not a recruitnik, so I am not even going to take a stab at answering this question. Sure, I pay a little attention to it (what else am I supposed to do during the offseason?), but it's not something I even pretend to know. And yes, I realize that this is the internet, where lack of knowledge is a great qualification for commenting on anything and everything, so I should answer. But I'm not going to.
4. If Notre Dame could only land 1 more recruit on each side the ball in this recruiting class, who would you like it to be? (Again, it should be someone we have a reasonable chance with).
See my answer to No. 3.
5. If you could take one of Notre Dame’s bowl losses since the 1994 Cotton Bowl win over Texas A&M and turn it into a win, which one would it be? Why? And What if any impact do you think that win would have had on the Irish.
Fiesta Bowl, 2005/2006. On a personal level, I was there, and it would have been GREAT to win, if only to run around Tempe that night in a better mood than the mood I had running around Tempe that evening. But it also would have capped a great year for the Irish, and I think that the Irish were a better team than Ohio State that year, and should have won the game.
Moreover, I think a Fiesta Bowl win would have given the 2006 version of the Irish a boost of confidence that the team seemed to lack much of the time during the 2006 season (if nothing else, I think that Michigan score would have ended up much less lopsided).
Monday, October 13, 2008
So what was the artist's inspiration, one might ask? It probably centered along this profound thought upon finding the roadside remains: "Ewwww . . . I'm not touching that."Then again, perhaps if you view it as a metaphor for the season of Notre Dame's upcoming opponent, it is related to college football. Oh yes, the Washington insults start here and now.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
1. Who was your first Notre Dame hero?
I didn't grow up with ND football. In my childhood world, the Chicago Bears were the team to watch. In an era of bad/horrible Bears teams, one player stood out - Chris Zorich. He always showed up, played hard, and made Sunday a little more enjoyable. Long before I paid any attention to Notre Dame, I had a favorite player who happened to have gone there.
2. When was the first time the Fighting Irish broke your heart?
I still don't like to think about this one. October 15, 2005. The week before, the mood on campus was incredible - everyone knew ND could beat USC, and it was all anyone could talk about. The pep rally was held at the stadium, Corso couldn't speak from the in-stadium set because his words were drowned out with chants of 0-6 whenever he started, and my friends and I had gone out every night that week (I'm not sure how this made it different than any other week in law school, but it sure felt different). There was no possible way that the game could live up to the hype - and then it did.
I was near the field in the student section, so I didn't have a great view of what happened at the end of the game. All I knew was, the ball came loose at the other end, I looked up at a scoreboard that read 00:00 with ND up 31-28, and I headed for the field. A few seconds and one Bush Push later, I had gone from the greatest elation I have ever felt regarding ND football, to heartbreak.
And I still haven't re-watched the end of that game.
3. Let's suppose for just a moment that for whatever reasons the Notre Dame football program begins to slide into what looks like long term mediocrity, or even long term suckitude:
A. NBC doesn't renew the television deal, and the package offered by the Versus network makes it clear that remaining independent will mean a lot less $$$ than joining a conference and sharing in their TV deal. Should the Irish join a conference? If so, which? Why that one?
I'm going with keep the Irish out of a conference if the only concern is monetary. I just envision lots of backlash from the alumni and fans, not to mention years of bad press ("ND can no longer claim they ever acted out of anything other than greed").
If you change up the equation - for instance, if a college playoff system was implemented, and the only way for Notre Dame to participate would be to join a conference, I would be all in for joining up. In that situation, I would obviously go with whatever conference offered the best possibility for entry into the playoff system on a regular basis. Most likely, that would be the Big Ten (although the Big East or ACC would probably not field as strong a field, I assume that any college playoff system would take polls and strength of schedule into account, and this means the Big Ten is probably a better place to be).
B. Over time, Notre Dame becomes the football peer of Duke and Syracuse, lucky to win four games a year, rarely posting a winning season. What should the University do? Drop football? Join a conference (or a lesser conference)? Drop down to Div-IA (the FCS Division)? Schedule 12 cupcakes each season?
I like the idea of joining the Ivy League, but in my own selfishness, I am going with scheduling 12 cupcakes a season. What can I say? I like wins, and I don't really care who they come against.
C. The Indiana legislature has been taken over by a coalition of tee totalling, non-violent religious groups that outlaw both beer and football, and the University is forced to end the football program. To which college football team do you switch your allegiance, and why?
Easy - Northwestern, because I went there for undergrad. As an undergrad, I went to the games, but football was not a priority in my life at that time (unlike now). In reality, I probably pay more attention to Northwestern football now than I did when I went there, even though my allegiance has been to Notre Dame from pretty much the moment I stepped on campus for law school. Plus, Northwestern can use all the fans it can get, and a tailgate pass for the season is approximately the same cost as a tailgate pass at Notre Dame for one game.
4. While on campus on a football Saturday you stop by the Knights of Columbus building to get your traditional steak and gristle sandwich. You also take the opportunity to pop inside the building to use the restroom before following the band over to the stadium. While waiting in line for the bathroom and watching the endlessly running Rudy on the K of C television you make the acquaintance of an older gentleman with a beard. He's rather short, but very energetic for his obviously advanced age. You allow him to cut in line in front of you. When he comes out of the restroom, obviously relieved, he thanks you and and then steps in really close to you and whispers in your ear. "I'll grant you two wishes. The first - Notre Dame will beat any team you choose for the next ten seasons. The second, the Irish will also lose for ten straight years to any team you name. Quick now, what two teams will they be?!" You blurt out your two answers, and he disappears into the crowd. What two teams did you pick, and why?
First wish? Beat USC for ten years. Second wish? Lose to USC for ten years. Note that the second time, the older gentleman did not qualify my wish with "the next ten seasons." All us lawyers and our loopholes.
5. I'm a terrible predictor. I'm pretty good at analysis, but I'm no good picking games because I almost always pick the Irish. But we need to get on the record here. Notre Dame has games left against North Carolina, Washington, Pitt, Boston College, Navy, Syracuse, and USC. Pick the winner of each of those seven games. Assign each pick points based upon your level of confidence in the pick. Most confident pick gets a 7, least confident pick gets a 1. Each value 1 through 7 must be used once. A perfect score of all picks correct would be worth a total of 28 points. The member of the Irish Blogger Gathering with the highest point total wins a prize of my choosing at the end of the regular season. In case of a tie, the tiebreaker is the member who has the best overall season based on quantity and quality of posts to their blog from now through the end of the season, as voted by the members of the Gathering.
Here they are:
1 - Least Confident - Notre Dame over USC.
2 - Notre Dame over North Carolina.
3 - Notre Dame over Pitt (and if anyone has two tickets they want to sell me, I will love you forever!).
4 - Notre Dame over Boston College.
5 - Notre Dame over Navy.
6 - Notre Dame over Washington.
7 - Most Confident - Notre Dame over Syracuse.
Oh yes, that's right, I just picked Notre Dame to win out the season. Consider that Kool-Aid drunk.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
1. It's 9:00. Is that too early for a beer?
2. Supposing it is not too early, how does Miller Lite taste with Fruity Pebbles?
1. Of course not. If I was at the game, I would have started drinking at least an hour ago. Probably two.
2. Bad. Just bad.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Here's my first entry into the Irish Blogger Gathering - Subway Domer has more details. Today, as you will note, appears to be a day devoted to using as many parentheses as possible. (Edit - I don't know why the formatting is screwed up. It won't be fixed until LATE, as I am going to the Sox game tonight).
1. This is Notre Dame. Notre Dame is the game circled on just about every opposing teams schedule. They hate us and want to destroy us. So, it is safe to say that if ND plays a team every year, that game will become a big game for ND and an even bigger game for the opponent. So, pick any team that ND does not currently play and make that team a rival and create a rivalry trophy to go along with your rival of choice.
1. This is Notre Dame. Notre Dame is the game circled on just about every opposing teams schedule. They hate us and want to destroy us. So, it is safe to say that if ND plays a team every year, that game will become a big game for ND and an even bigger game for the opponent. So, pick any team that ND does not currently play and make that team a rival and create a rivalry trophy to go along with your rival of choice.
But then, I realized that a better choice involves a few more miles, a few points lopped off the SAT scores, and a less traditional rival to the north - Wisconsin. First, since the early 1990s, the Badgers can be counted on to be a good to almost great team (although I suspect that Bielema's lax attitude to recruiting may hurt Wisconsin in the not-too-distant future, especially once Alvarez is out of the picture completely, but that's a different topic for a different day). Second, there are lots of small, but important reasons the rivalry would be good - Big Ten, only a few hours from ND in the car, current connections between the schools (Alvarez), recent nasty comments by their coach about Notre Dame and the BCS. Third, and perhaps best of all, is the fun to be had in Madison on road trips. I grew up in Madison, and I meet more people who hear I am from Madison and then start a story with a phrase like, "I went to Madison once. I sort of remember it." Trust me, that's a good thing. If you can make it from one end of State Street (or Regent Street, for that matter) to the other without serious inebriation resulting, you are a better (wo)man than I.
As for a trophy, I think a bratwurst statue is in order - both places love them. Dorky? Yes. Do I care? No.
2. What current rival of ND (Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Boston College, Stanford, Southern California- all trophy games) would you take off of the schedule and never play again?
I'm sorry, any team with fans who think sushi is an appropriate item to eat at a tailgate is not a team we should be playing on a regular basis.
3. What entertainment rival (whether it be TV, movies, or celebrity) would you compare to ND and one of its current rivals?
Anytime I get to compare something to Deadwood, life is good - Boston College vs. ND / Cy Tolliver vs. Al Swearingen. Both Boston College and Cy Tolliver think they are more important to college football/Deadwood than they actually are. Sure, they have had some moments, but at the end of the day, both college football and Deadwood exist without BC and Cy. And because BC and Cy think they are such hot stuff, they end up screwing themselves and everyone around them. Bastards.
Plus, as much as you want to hate ND and Al, at the end of the day, you have to admit to a grudging respect for them, even if you still wish only evil things to befall them from here on foward.
(The worst thing about this comparison? Having to give Boston College the satisfaction of being compared to someone as cool as Powers Booth).
(The best thing about this comparison? I could keep making connections here for hours. I heart Deadwood).
4. List your top 5 historical college football rivalries. After that, list your top 5 college football rivalries as of 2008.
Historical - In no particular order:
2008 - Again, in no particular order:
5. There are a lot of rivalry games out there. What is a great rivalry game that may not be as well known as the ones in your top 5 and explain why it so fantastic.
Because I'm familiar with it, I'm going to go with a rivalry that has lost some of its luster in recent years - Wisconsin/Iowa. When I was a kid, this game was huge in Madison. The streets would be full of Iowa fans driving erratically (not drunk, it's just a fact that people in Iowa don't know how to drive. This also applies to people from Indiana (really, people, it's not the Indy 500 every day on the roads, and turn signals are not just because we like blinky lights) and me. I could really use a chauffeur). The fans hated each other with a passion Wisconsin fans now seem able to muster for anyone and everyone (but which they traditionally reserved for Iowa and, sometimes, Minnesota). When Wisconsin sucked (it wasn't that long ago, trust me), the stadium only sold out once per year, and it was Iowa. Plus, it's a game ripe for making fun of for people from other states - Corn v. Cows, etc.
Even now, the rivalry is still there, though not as passionately as it once existed. I would love to bring that back (and I have no interest in either team, except to hate on the Badgers).
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
At least the neighbors will be happy that the jungle that is currently my yard will be shorter.
One: How about some video from Saturday? And a quick analysis of why we didn't see more sacks, despite Tenuta and 59 pass attempts. (The Blue-Gray Sky)
Two: Speaking of sacks, how about some more on the subject? (Rakes of Mallow)
Three: I'm a believer (it's more fun than being a pessimist, right?). And yes, I only did that because I saw that headline and got The Monkees in my head. (The Rock Report)
Four: This would have been even easier than just watching the 4th quarter on TiVo. (Subway Domer)
Five: Supposedly, Notre Dame and Michigan have only faced off twice when they are unranked. Once, this year. The other time? Last year. (The Observer)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
One: Does anyone ever get enough Lou? Not me. I wish I could be there this weekend! (und.com)
Two: I was not one of these people. Happily. (The Observer)
Three: One more set of thoughts on the San Diego State game. (Section 29, Row 48, Seat 10)
Four: Jimmy Clausen's hair. 'Nuf said. (The House Rock Built)
Five: Checking out what is going on with our upcoming opponents. (Irish Band of Brothers)
Monday, September 8, 2008
One: I re-watched the game last night. And by "re-watch," I mean that I TiVo'd through everything to get straight to the 4th quarter. If you do that, it was pretty awesome. Or, you know, you could have paid attention to the whole thing, like some people, and have actual thoughts on the game. (The Blue-Gray Sky)
Two: Some more thoughts, mostly to do with specific players during the game. (Subway Domer)
Three: Still more thoughts. (Irish Band of Brothers)
Four: And some more! (OC Domer)
Five: Looking ahead: To hell with Michigan! (Irish Insights)
Glad to be back!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
On the plus side, as of this weekend, there will be lots of football to talk about!
Friday, August 22, 2008
One: "Around Twenty Questions" with Pat Kuntz, including more than a few hilarious tidbits:
II: What's the weirdest haircut you've gotten? Was it last week?Oh, it gets better. Much better. Burping, mispronounced last name - it's the kind of interview that I love. (Irish Insights)
PK: "I had a rat tail when I was younger, too. I don't know what my parents were thinking, but I liked it."
Two: Part four of the "Why the Hell Not?" predictions from Subway Domer - this time, Navy, Syracuse and USC:
The Trojans are coming off of a bye week and boy did they need it. The team has had 14 different outbreaks of jock itch this season. The players spent the off week sitting in tubs of ice.Will jokes about the jock itch outbreak ever get old? I hope not. (Subway Domer)
Three: Notes on some opponents, including notes on a canceled practice out at Washington:
"Rest is always important. We felt like it's the right time to put a little rest in there," Willingham said. "We had some time built into the schedule because we anticipated that we might need it."Is anyone else's first thought to check the weather to see whether it was conducive to golfing yesterday? (Irish Band of Brothers)
Four: Some lessons in leadership for the incoming leadership committee:
Leader: Admiral Ackbar.Yes, that's right. I chose the one related to Star Wars. I am a dork. (Her Loyal Sons)
Leadership Attributes: Let his entire team know “It’s a trap!”
Translated to the football field: Always yell out “trap!” if you see a trap.
Five: Notes from Thursday's media session with Coach Weis:
Weis talked about starting the season with the bye week and said it didn’t bother him. Weis did say that he offered one school a chance to move a game to the last weekend in August, but they didn’t bite.Now I want to know who the team was. (uhnd.com)
Thursday, August 21, 2008
One: It has been said before, but it bears repeating - the schedule last year did the team no favors:
Last year’s schedule was brutal not just for the quality of the opponents the Irish faced, but the order in which they faced them. The young and inexperienced 2007 Notre Dame squad played road games at two of the biggest and loudest stadiums in all of college football just within their first three games. In fact, four of the first six games of the year were on the road last year for the Irish.This year, things are much rosier on the schedule front. (uhnd.com)
Two: This just defies explanation. (Irish Band of Brothers)
Three: Lots of updates on the team, including a pretty sunny injury report:
However, Weis said at this point, his team has not had any major injuries. That includes freshman linebacker Anthony McDonald, who hasn't been at practice for the better part of a week.Never a bad thing when the team is mostly intact. Also, while you're there, check out the piece on Abdel Banda - another great example of the value of a Notre Dame education. (Irish Insights)
Four: More updates on the team:
Polian said the Irish's new punter, Eric Maust, has made strides just this past week in achieving consistency at the position. Maust said it's merely a case of finally getting enough reps -- he backed up Geoff Price last season -- to be comfortable.Ah, punting. Remind me, how long until the season starts? (Around the Bend - Chicago Sports)
Five: Thoughts on left tackle being key to the Irish season:
To say the least, sophomore signal caller Jimmy Clausen does not want to go through another beat down at the hands of the opposition, both figuratively and literally.I guess we will know a lot more in a few weeks. (cfb360.com)