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Thursday, December 24, 2020

ACC Championship: Always Look On The Bright Side of Life

Come down to the manger
See the little stranger... 



Dateline:  Flint Lake, IN

Jerrence was recently watching a six-part documentary on the origins and, ultimately, amicable dissolution of the Monty Python troupe - with the latter sequence covering their film making ventures.

Fun fact:  

-  The Holy Grail was produced only after receiving significant funding from Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.
-  Life of Brian was produced only after receiving significant funding from George Harrison. 

"Life of Brian" was the middle film of a 3-movie Python oeuvre, inspiring most of the world's organized religions to LOSE THEIR FREAKING MINDS over the tale of a young lad who happened to be born in the same town / same day as Christ and goes to become confused as The Messiah.  

He was not the messiah but in point of fact, just - according to his mother - a very naughty boy.  (That the name Brian has gone on to be associated with those born with overdeveloped god complexes is just one of the film's many ironies.)

At any rate, as the film chronicles the unfortunate Brian Cohen's parallel life with Jesus, we witness the actual Sermon on the Mount where the unlucky sods in the far back row of the crowd just can't quite hear those pesky beatitudes correctly.

I think it was "Blessed are the cheesemakers."

What's so special about the cheesemakers?

Well, obviously it's not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products...

So, events can be rife with misinterpretation even in the most serious of times, much less something as - dare we admit this - inconsequential as a football game.  Last Saturday's contest was a colossal disappointment, to be sure, but making any sweeping proclamations about the ND football program is high risk. 

But go ahead anyway.

Word of the Week


Used in a sentence paragraph
:  As Young Jerrence watched the game, he realized he'd actually heard more about Trevor Lawrence than he'd actually witnessed
.  At least the 2021 version of the QB.

But by the middle of the 2nd quarter, Jerrence knew there were good prima facie reasons  that QB is considered the most impactful position in football.  And with a legitimate 5-star talent at the QB position like Lawrence, it was painfully obvious that impact clearly magnified performance, offensively and on the defense. 

Quote of the Week.


"It's the hope that kills you
..."

Ted Lasso



A couple things:

1)  In this dumpster fire of a year, I don't have it in me to go full MikeyDogs (inside ND message board reference, don't try to figure it out) and weep / wail / gnash my teeth and bitch about Kelly or the coordinators or whatever.  The team got beat by a better team, with a better plan and a generational QB.  It happens.

But yeah, as a fan, it is the thinking "we've turned a corner" and getting bitch slapped that hurts.  Doesn't mean that the team still isn't really good.

2) Recognizing that I'm a bit of a closeted Anglophile... if you want a really fun, funny, sweet limited series w surprising depth to watch, check out 'Ted Lasso' on Apple TV+.   The overall 'fish out of water' conceit is completely unoriginal:  American football coach is brought in to coach a losing British soccer club, hi-jinx ensue.  But it's really very good and great to end the year on something not so dark.

Game Observations.


That rich guy you've been seeing must have put you down.
So welcome back, baby, to the poor side of town...


No one really wants to talk about the actual game, do they?  Personally, I'm trying to wash it from my brain.  Okay a few thoughts:

1.  Clemson is very, very good.  Their coordinators are really, really good (especially Venables) - there's a reason they bitched about possibly playing FSU the week before this game.  

They knew the extra week to scheme represented a competitive advantage.  And boy, did it show.



2.  Lawrence is genuinely a generational talent.  And seems like a very decent kid as well.  (I hate that I don't hate him.) 

But I can't recall the last time one someone that highly touted come out of HS and was almost immediately great, basically from Day One.  

Who knew he could run like that?  Clearly not the Irish.


3.  Far be it from me to throw a fellow kicker under the bus but... that chip shot miss was big. And Book's 4th down miss of Davis on the following drive was even bigger.  

Moral:  you're not going to get that many chances against teams like Clemson and Bama.  If you don't convert, kiss it goodbye.

4.  Would those points have changed the outcome?  No.  But one of the reasons the world loves to scream 'overrated' at Notre Dame is because those games become uncompetitive so early.  

Going into halftime 20-13, or even 24-13, the narrative is completely different.  

And maybe the resulting collective Irish self-doubt.

5.  Like 2018, those TD's right before halftime are freaking killers.  

6.  Could losing Patterson matter that much to our O-line?   Hard to believe.  And yet...


Buddy's Buddy.

The last two times the Irish have lost - a week ago  and October 26, 2019 against Michigan, I've been struck by one commonality:  

Epic fail by every single group:  

*  Offense

*  Defense 

*  Special teams

*  Coaching, game planning


Jack, what part of 'fetch me a drink' is unclear?
I have no explanation, no theory, for it.  How, in those games, does almost no one show up?  Weird, huh?  

Well, I'll tell ya who did show on Saturday - my wingman, Jack.   

He came to play.  Literally.   

So we've got a few things to work on before January 1st. 


Thanks for Christmas
Thank you for the winter friendliness that snowing down...



RE-PETE (a shameless, illegal lift of Pete Sampson's weekly mailbag).


This is probably as close as we'll ever get to having our Pulitzer Prize-winning classmate write an Op-Ed for this blog.

We'll have to settle for him submitting - and receiving an answer - a question to Mr. Sampson's weekly ND mailbag.

And it's not a question without it's long-term, existential implications for ND in their quest to move past 'basecamp' to summit the CFB mountain.

Thanks, Bryan. 

I doubt that private jets or better recruiters or some other magic will suddenly get us multiple five-stars each year. Is there any appetite for lowering academic standards for recruits? I’m not advocating this, but if your stated goal is to win national titles, then you need five-stars.

Bryan G.

Ah, the natural recruiting follow-up question. And no worries, Bryan, it makes perfect sense to wonder about this every so often. How could you not?

But the answer is no, there’s no appetite to adjust academic entrance requirements downward. In fact, I think people would be surprised how accommodating Notre Dame can be to football when it comes to getting prospects into school. The question is less about who can get admitted and more about who can actually make it when they do arrive. That’s where the real work comes for both player and program, with a huge assist to the academic services available. Because there is quite literally nowhere to hide at Notre Dame for these football players if they don’t have the academic foundation to make it. And once a player starts to fall apart academically, it can be very hard to get him back on track. Sometimes those prospects fail out. Sometimes they end up in an academic misconduct mess. Very rarely do you get the best out of the player himself, which leaves Notre Dame having spent an incredible amount of time and effort for minimal returns on the field.

If you’re going to start taking more at-risk prospects academically, you almost have to create academic tracks and majors for them to inhabit. And at that point, aren’t you giving those prospects knock-off Notre Dame degrees? I don’t know how Notre Dame could look itself in the face and not see the potential hypocrisy there, selling an elite degree in recruiting only to leave those players with cut-rate diplomas.

I’m not saying there’s nothing Notre Dame can do to help the academic grind here. Having so many players push for a degree in three and a half years is an incredible ask. Maybe allow more virtual class attendance to loosen the missed class policy. But in terms of taking the shine off a Notre Dame degree? I don’t see any appetite for that, regardless of the football implications.

Source:  The Athletic (12/24/20)


Cocktail of the Week


It's Christmas time which means teeing up those annual unsolvable holiday discussions, like what exactly is the unnatural substance that makes up fruit cake or what makes a Christmas movie a Christmas movie?

I used to think that latter topic couldn't be a terribly difficult debate - hello, Christmas, snow, feel good, Santa, angels, Stars of Bethlehem, positive moral to the story etc - but of late someone always brings up Die Hard because it happens at Christmas.  

Excuse me but for my money, I draw the line at a body count of 73 in terms of throwing the film into the "It's A Wonderful Life" consideration set.  

Unless, of course, "Yippee-kay-yay, Merry Christmas, motherf*cker" is part of your family's patois. (No judgment here.)  

In which case happy holidays, go with God.

The point is, there does seem to be a considerable voting bloc that's open to a broader, um, definition of the Yule-time spirit... so if it can include Hans Gruber, I say why not the Cookie Monster?

With that in mind, this week's libation:

The Muppets Make Manhattans
The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
Directed by Frank Oz

Everyone's favorite marionettes-slash-puppets return for their take on the old Mickey-and-Judy "let's put on a show!" trope.  Here, Kermit & Co. celebrate graduating from college with a show tune revue that gets such great buzz, they decide to take the show to Broadway - despite their fretful leader's misgivings. 

Shot on location in New York and with everyone from Liza Minnelli to Joan Rivers making cameos, this film also introduced the Muppet Babies in a dream sequence that proved such a hit, they got their own Saturday morning spin-off cartoon.

Whether bound for the big time or not, you'll be sent off with a song once you get a taste of this Big Apple Manhattan.




*  2 oz.  apple brandy
*  3/4 oz.  sweet vermouth
*  1/2 oz.  apple juice
*  1 1/2 tsp. honey
*  3 dashes baked apple bitters
*  green apple slice, for garnish

Combine all the ingredients (except for the apple slice) with ice in a mixing glass and stir well.  Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with the apple - and serve with a side of bacon (with apologies to Miss Piggy).

Source: Gone With The Gin
Cocktails With A Hollywood Twist
by Tim Federle


Peace on earth 
Can it be...
Years from now
Perhaps we'll see...




Schedule.
September
12                     Duke               W
19                     USF                 W
    
October
10                    FSU                W
17                    Louisville       W
24                    @Pitt.             W
31                    @Ga. Tech    W

November
7                    CLEMSON        W    
14                  @BC                W
21                    
26 (Friday)  @UNC             W
   
December
5                  SYRACUSE         W
12                Wake Forest        Cancelled
19               ACC  'ship             L

The Wager.


So now 12 becomes the high end... easy come, easy go.

And the Rev. Ungashick is looking pretty good right now. Whether he wants to or not.

Wins

Archetype (Embodies)

Domer


12+


Marcel (Lunacy).

 

This construct, not officially Jungian... would surely exist had Carl met Dave.  New Jersey meets California with a sneaky, sly madness and a dollop of WTF.  The result?  A "he did not just do that" kind of guy.


Yes, he did do that.  He'll go for 14 wins if you let him.  


 

Gary (14)

John (14)

Moon (14)

Raz The Elder (13)

Peter (13)

Gutsch (12)

Bob (12)

Jim S (12)

Bryan (12)

Marcel (of course)

11


The Magician (Power).

 

 "Dreams really can come true" albeit in somewhat unfathomable ways, defying common belief... the Magician is a true Visionary where one sees ND running the table, at least to the point of making it to the ACC Championship and, likely, beating Clemson at least once.


 

Jerry

Jerry

Jerry

Jerry

Jerrence

Bill

Ted

Randy

Daryl

10


The Hero (Mastery).

 

 Primarily motivated by proving their worth through courage and determination, this archetype suggests an ND season where nothing is easy and considerable success is achieved despite daunting, unforeseen obstacles.


 

Rev. Mark

9


The Ruler (Control).

 

 This is all about Dominance through Intimidation.  Confident, in control.


For ND, a solid year where an authoritarian mentality may not get them all the way to the BCS finish line. 

 

Matt

Sully

Bose

Mike G

8


The Jester (Enjoyment).


Here, we're all about having fun and seeing the glass half full.  8 wins could mean an undefeated season in a truncated, pandemic affected season.  Or it could just be '8 more wins than any of those Big 10 wussies had...' 


Either way, we had a pretty good time. 

 

 

Alvin

Jim T


7


The Creator (Innovation)

 

 With a desire to create something new and exceptional where there previously wasn't, does a 7-win season indicate some unforeseen growing pains w a new OC and several inexperienced skills position players.  


A season where less than a full slate is played could still be a successful one, setting up a great '21 campaign.


 

6


The Explorer (Freedom).

 

Manifesting a palpable inner drive to push themselves outside their comfort zone - it's a "we understand the risks we're taking!" attitude.   Unfortunately ND can't overcome them all, whether they're internally or externally driven.


 

5


The Sage (Understanding).

 

 Seeker of Truth, Knowledge and Wisdom, this archetype may suggest a 'I told you it was a bad idea to play a contact sport during a pandemic'  scenario.  The 2020 season gets cancelled halfway through. "But, still, we were 5-0..."


 

4


The Outlaw (Liberation).

 

This figure digs anarchy, with a "you not the boss of me" disdain for rules. For the ND season that may suggest a 'go for it' mentality where the wheels ultimately come off - either from a team meltdown or a season's premature cancellation.


 

3 or less

The Innocent (Safety).

 

 A positive personality that craves safety while wishing for all to be happy.  Honest and with no ill-will... no agendas... they believe everyone has the right to truly be who they are.


Unfortunately, in an ND football context, The Innocent sees virus spikes with students back on campus and by the end of September, feels prudence demands that the plug be pulled on the football season. 


 

Mike C

                                                          


Schadenfreude.

Sometimes the best schadenfreude comes to those who wait.

And most certainly, the later in the season, the higher the stakes - so yeah, who doesn't like a spectacular crash and burn?  

To be sure, a nation of ND-haters is having the time of their lives right now.


1)  USC.   This one would feel especially cruel insofar as the Trojans' loss wasn't a humiliating ass kicking but rather just their latest dalliance with flip-a-coin-do-we-or-lose mediocrity.  Getting beat by a team that was a replacement for the rightful opponent who bailed due to COVID.  A game they coulda-shoulda won.  And yet, didn't.  Remarkable in its similarity to almost every other game they played this year.  

How ya feeling about coach Helton and program now, Trojan Nation?


Terry's Tools.

If one is a subscriber of The Athletic - and I encourage all to do so - the ND site also includes a podcast offering, during the season twice a week, where Pete Sampson and Matt Fortuna deconstruct the games, occasionally bringing on guests for added insight.

This past week they spent considerable time noting how overwhelmingly down the ND fanbase is about even being in the BCS Playoffs this year.  And accordingly, how vast the loss of perspective toward this year's achievement.  There are dozens of marquee college brand names that haven't even sniffed the playoffs (looking at you, coach Harbaugh). ND has made it two out of the last three years.

Net, one could be persuaded to point the tool spotlight at ourselves, tell us to stop being self-absorbed, whiney bitches - I won't (it's Christmas) but it would be prudent to realize a couple things:

* ND is arguably way past Base Camp, metaphorically speaking, even if we're still getting killed when we near the summit.

* If Bama / Clemson / Ohio St. are living at Camp 4, ND is probably close to being consistent Camp 3 trekkers.  But still realizing  that last hike to the top is a bitch.

Okay, this week's tools:

1) BCS Playoff Committee.     I'm still bitter about Ohio State.  (If Clemson doesn't roll them by 20 I will be extremely disappointed.)
 
Your thoughts on Ohio State, Commissioner Martini...


 
2)  The Big 10.



3) Kyrie.   I love Sir Charles.


Final Thought

Hey let's not lose sight of the bigger picture, Merry Christmas everyone.  

Please keep Mr. Wills in your thoughts and prayers.  He's more important than anything this blog writes about...





Saturday, December 12, 2020

Syracuse: Long Distance Runaround

"I still remember the dream there..."


Dateline:  Flint Lake, IN

Raise your hand if you remember the opening sequence to Taratino's "Inglorious Basterds" - where Christoph Wentz's Nazi visits the French farmhouse, know the locals are harboring Jews.

Now raise your hand if you remember what you had for dinner last night.  (Credibility check.)

No matter, let me remind you:  The scene involves a ruthless Nazi SS officer, nicknamed 'the Jew Hunter', interrogating a French farmer about whether he might be harboring any in his humble abode.  Both know he is.  

Suffice to say, it does not end well for those hiding under the floor boards.

I'm reminded of that scene as we attempt to socialize the new (canine) ward of the state, Jack, with our cats who, heretofore, have lived a fairly idyllic lake house existence.  

Now, Anne Frank-like, they live a quiet existence in basement storage - hiding... listening... to the pitter patter of the floor boards above them - knowing they're being sought.  With only a door / cat flap serving as their last line of defense.  

Here's Jackie!!!
Jack, affable lad and hardly a Nazi, is more than aware of their existence.  And desperately wants an introduction.  

But what might be his agenda - certainly nothing innately nefarious like Tarantino's Hans Landa.  Likely something more benign, a pet just wishing to have some friends with which to play.  And by 'play' we mean chase around the house, terrorizing the living sh*t out of them, driving them into lifelong kitty therapy.

Will we ever get to detente or even better, symbiotic harmony?  Dare to dream.  But, as the 2020 season begins to come to a close, it serves to remind one of yet another of the smart decisions Brian Kelly made this past year - punting Chip Long and establishing Tom Rees as OC, facilitating a hramonic partnership not only with DC Lea but also OL coach Quinn.   

"Big deal," you say, it's the players that play the games. Consider that, on both sides of the ball, there's still not a plethora of 1st round draft choices:  Mayer, ultimately very likely.  Eichenberg, perhaps. JOK and Hamilton on the D, almost for sure.  So how are they hanging with the very best of college football's elite? Because ND 2020 is a 'whole is greater than the sum of the parts' equation - and gee, might that be about coaching / leadership being on the same page?


Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph
:  Young Jerrence wasn't quite sure - in the vast majority of Life, he often found himself never quite sure - what was driving his emotions at the end of the game.   
After all, it wasn't his final home game.

So what was it?  The premium celebratory Japanese whiskey he was sucking down throughout the 4th quarter?  

Or perhaps its unorthodox pairing with the family size bag of Cheddar JalapeĊ„o Cheetos, not your usual Michelin-rated recommendation.  He couldn't tell.


Nonetheless, Jerrence found himself experiencing a paroxysm of positivity over ND's finishing their regular season undefeated: a combination of happiness  / surprise / pride over a total program performance during the most unforeseeably trying of conditions.  Everything thrown at 'em, they handled. No big deal.  

Suck on that, Big 10.  And you wonder why we don't want to join your cheesy conference. 


Quote of the Week.

"It's good to know that it may not be that important to play 13 or 12 games
..."

Jack Swarbrick

They don't call him "Savvy Jack" for nothing.   And I trust he will shove it down the BCS Committee's fucking throats in future years when this additional data point rubbish comes up. 


Game Observations.




At this point, what to say anymore about this team?


Hello, old friend... 
Truth be told, Jerrence has never been a big advocate of sports-related research, being rather more a disciple of the pervading societal "if I think it and it serves my argument, it must therefore be true" school of fact-based support.  

However, this week an exception was made.  It's been my perception that more times than not (and for whatever reason) ND tends not to show up (at least for the entire 60 minutes) on Senior Day - so last weekend's 1st half performance, while a tad unnerving, wasn't wholly unexpected.  But was it actually true?   Kinda, yeah:

2020        45-21  W   Syracuse
2019        40-7    W    Boston College
2018        36-3    W    Syracuse
2017        24-17    W   Navy
2016        31-34    L    Va. Tech
2015        19-16    W   Boston College
2014        28-31    L    Louisville
2013        23-13    W   BYU
2012        38-0    W    Wake Forest
2011        16-14    W    Boston College

1)  That the last three years represents a 121 - 31 pt. differential probably speaks to how good this graduating class has been.  Still, weird that it's no sure thing that ND will keep its focus for a game that one would think they'd be motivated to play their best...

2)  Another semi-random point:  can we put our Braden Lenzy optimism to bed, at least for this year?  Any time a guy's singular competitive advantage is speed - and he has hamstring problems, I'm guessing he's in trouble.

Hey can you hear me now
As I fade away - and lose my ground...


3)  One thing that has consistently jumped out about this team is their toughness.  Throughout the past weeks we've pointed how hard the RB's run, never going down on first contact.  NBC loves Tommy Tremble (justifiably so).  And on defense, Jordan Botelho just looks - and hits - like a loon. 

This toughness seems to extend to the walk-on's as well - witness Matt Salerno getting lit up like a Christmas tree and basically saying, 'that all you got?'

This song's for you, Matt...

And sometimes I despair the world 
Will never see a man like him...



4)  Chew on some of these Class of '21 fun facts:



Buddy's Buddy.

Here's another factoid from Saturday's game - or something approximating accuracy as I heard Matt Fortuna say it (so it must be true) but didn't write it down (hence, directionally correct) but you'll get the gist: 

 In the 1st half, Ian Book was something like 21-29 for ~ 250 yards.  Pretty impressive, no?

And that includes 5-6 undeniable, "even Bramblett would've caught that" drops.

At times, it looked like he was the only guy who actually wanted to win, certainly (again) for the entire 60 minutes.  


You hear the so-called experts talk about 'stacking success'... if that's the case, Book and ND are looking pretty solid heading into post-season play.

So.  And easy choice this week.




The United Colors of Benetton

And you know who else is any easy choice to be Buddy's Bud?  Our man Jerry Wills.  

The former scourge of the Sorin basement, Senior Bar bartender par excellence and Corrigan family favorite has recently been laid low by COVID... currently hospitalized, in pretty tough shape and could use all the positivity the world can offer.

So if you're religiously inclined, please say a prayer for Jerry.

If you don't lean so much in that direction, send some positive karmic vibes his way.


Even as we write this, we know he's gonna beat this, of that I'm sure.  But let's not make it any harder than it has to be.  

I won't bow
I won't bend
I won't break
Tough it out. 


You got this, JW.  

And if you'd like to reach out to him and remark about the unnecessarily melodramatic measures he's gone to just to get his beloved NY Giants to start playing well, let me know and I'll give you his contact information.


RE-PETE (a shameless, illegal lift of Pete Sampson's weekly mailbag).


Inasmuch as Mr. Sampson didn't post a mail bag this week - slacker - we're doing the next best thing and repurposing an article from the past week.

And fitting that this week's journalistic 'theft' should be about Ian Book.  He was the main story last week, continues to be the main story (vs. Trevor) this week and win or lose, will surely be the main story for as long as the Notre Dame post-season goes on.



Ian Book seals his Notre Dame Stadium legacy, with more history left to be made
By Pete Sampson
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — At 6:55 p.m., Ian Book walked up the Notre Dame Stadium tunnel for a final time, flanked by his family after snapping pictures and swapping hugs. They had soaked up these moments from field level after No. 2 Notre Dame’s 45-21 victory over Syracuse, on an afternoon that will be remembered for the four years that preceded it and the four weeks ahead. But for this moment, at least, Book got to think about making history of his own at a college football program where almost everything has already been done.
On Saturday in front of a family, friends and faculty crowd of just 6,831, Book threw for three touchdowns and ran for another two. He won his 30th game as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback, breaking a four-way tie with Brady Quinn, Ron Powlus and Tom Clements for the school record. He also helped Notre Dame (10-0, 9-0) to its fourth 10-win season in a row, another first at place where firsts are hard to come by.
For updated coverage of Saturday’s CFB games, see The Athletic’s breaking news headlines.
“Bittersweet, definitely a little emotional but I just took it all in,” Book said. “I definitely took a step back and just embraced everything. It’s been an unbelievable journey. I remember my first day on campus, and now I’ll never forget my last game in the stadium.”
There’s a legacy at stake for Notre Dame’s senior class, the backbone of the program’s revival over the past four years, which have included two undefeated regular seasons. Beat Clemson in the ACC championship game on Dec. 19, and Notre Dame football would have another first, taking league hardware home from Charlotte. Win twice beyond the ACC championship game, and this team may be remembered as one of Notre Dame’s greatest, playing through a pandemic and clearing every hurdle in its way.
A national championship in this season of coronavirus testing, canceled games and incomplete seasons would come with an asterisk, no doubt. But that asterisk would mark the champion as having persevered during the most difficult circumstances. It would multiply the significance of the achievement, not diminish it.
To get there, the Irish will need more from Book, who carried them much of Saturday amid an off-brand performance from coordinator Clark Lea’s defense, while the offensive line was shuffled and reshuffled. The Orange produced two 100-yard running back performances, the first two the Irish had allowed all season.
Notre Dame went with its third offensive line configuration in three weeks, then shifted twice more during the game. Tackle-turned-guard Josh Lugg started at center for the injured Zeke Correll, who had replaced the injured Jarrett Patterson. Career reserve Dillan Gibbons got his first start at right guard in Lugg’s place, who had been replacing Tommy Kraemer. The regular right guard was supposed to be an option only in case of emergency, after having an appendectomy two weeks ago, but Kelly said Kraemer pushed to play some in his final home game, and he got some work in the second quarter.
The final results didn’t meet Notre Dame’s late-season standard of constant improvement, though Kyren Williams and Chris Tyree both eclipsed 100 yards, with Williams going over 1,000 for the season. Javon McKinley turned in seven catches, 111 yards and his first three touchdowns of the season.
“It’s extremely gratifying to go and finish the season the way we did,” Kelly said. “The individual things for me, that doesn’t come into the conversation or my thought process. It’s about finishing for our seniors, a win at home, getting Ian Book into the record books as the winningest quarterback in the history of Notre Dame, solidifying our position in the College Football Playoff picture. Those are the most important things.”
Despite an uneven start in which Notre Dame trailed 7-3 early in the second quarter to a team that has now lost eight consecutive games, the Irish did enough to retain the benefit of the doubt. Book’s 28-yard touchdown run, followed by two touchdown passes to McKinley, gave the Irish a 24-7 working margin by halftime.
After another Book touchdown run and another scoring connection with McKinley in the third quarter, Tyree applied some gloss to the box score with a 94-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.
The freshman’s sprint meant the Irish didn’t have to answer questions about style points. When the next College Football Playoff rankings come out on Tuesday, the Irish should remain a comfortable No. 2. It also meant Kelly got to call timeout with about five minutes remaining to sub Book out of the game on his own to an ovation, a treatment afforded to Manti Te’o in his home finale during the BCS championship game run of 2012.
“He’s a ballplayer. He just does stuff no one can imagine really doing,” said tight end Tommy Tremble. “Like we said, all-time winningest quarterback at Notre Dame. He’s a baller.”
Notre Dame is probably starting too late to mount a serious Heisman Trophy campaign for Book, not that the quarterback seems all that bothered by it. His numbers are what they are, 15 touchdowns against two interceptions to go with 465 yards rushing and another eight scores. It’s a statistical step back from the last two seasons, which only matters when it comes to glamour awards.
It’s the 30 wins that carry the most weight, including the double-overtime takedown of Clemson in November. If the Heisman Trophy is handed out for moments over touchdowns, perhaps Book will have a chance to move up the pecking order two weeks from now against Trevor Lawrence and Clemson. It would make for an unforgettable legacy to become Notre Dame’s eighth Heisman Trophy winner and return the program to the top of that award’s all-time list, no matter how long a shot that appears.
But that’s not first on Book’s list of priorities heading toward the ACC championship game.
Or beyond it.
“I want to win a national championship and if you hear my name, that is what you think of,” Book said. “We still have to go do that, so that’s what I want.”
In a career that has been an overachievement by every metric, that would be the ultimate for Notre Dame and its all-time winningest quarterback.
As Ian Book headed up the tunnel for a final time, he could ponder all that, the last five years of wins and losses, a redshirt and a quarterback competition. It’s been a lot to take in. There’s more to come. The question is how much.
Source:  The Athletic (12/5/20)


Cocktail of the Week

What the nation knows as the 'Toasted Almond' cocktail, the Corrigan family knows, for obvious reasons, as the 'Toasted Daddy.'

It is that time of year when a man's attention turns to holiday cocktails and the veritable cornucopia of frothy, festive options that will make one warm inside - physically, psychologically,  and if one consumers enough, spiritually.

With that in mind, this week's libation:


Tender Is The Nightcap
Tender Is The Night (1934)
by F.Scott Fitzgerald

This is arguably the work closest to the author's heart.  Fitzgerald himself was said to have written to a friend:  "If you liked The Great Gatsby, for God's sake, read this.  Gatsby was a tour de force but this is a confession of faith."  (Or, as we'd probably say today: 5 out of 5 stars, would recommend.")

Set on the French Riviera with a cast of teen starlets (meet Rosemary), philandering psychiatrists (hi, Dick), and women on the verge of a nervous breakdown (poor Nicole)... 

SOUNDS LIKE A HALLMARK CHRISTMAS STORY TO ME 

...Tender Is The Night echoed the very themes that haunted Fitzgerald's own life story.

Step away from your entanglements with a Riviera-worthy "Rosemary" spritz.

*  2 oz.  Aperol
*  3 oz.  Prosecco
*  4 oz.  club soda
*  1 rosemary sprig, plus additional sprig (with stem) for garnish

Place the Aperol and rosemary sprig in a wine glass and muddle - tenderly, of course. Add the prosecco and club soda over ice.  Garnish with the additional on-stem rosemary sprig.  

Source: Are  You There God? It's Me Margarita
More Cocktails With A Literary Twist
by Tim Federle  

Schedule.
September
12                     Duke               W
19                     USF                 W
    
October
10                    FSU                W
17                    Louisville       W
24                    @Pitt.             W
31                    @Ga. Tech    W

November
7                    CLEMSON        W    
14                  @BC                W
21                    
26 (Friday)  @UNC             W
   
December
5                  SYRACUSE         W
12                Wake Forest        Cancelled

The Wager.


10 games into the season and only now are getting to the really meaningful stuff... let the games begin.

Food for thought:  with the Promised Land now well in sight, consider whom the Irish are going likely to have to go through:

Clemson =>  Ohio State => Alabama.  

Has anyone, ever, run a gauntlet like that?  Watch and behold, World.


Wins

Archetype (Embodies)

Domer


12+


Marcel (Lunacy).

 

This construct, not officially Jungian... would surely exist had Carl met Dave.  New Jersey meets California with a sneaky, sly madness and a dollop of WTF.  The result?  A "he did not just do that" kind of guy.


Yes, he did do that.  He'll go for 14 wins if you let him.  


 

Gary (14)

John (14)

Moon (14)

Raz The Elder (13)

Peter (13)

Gutsch (12)

Bob (12)

Jim S (12)

Bryan (12)

Marcel (of course)

11


The Magician (Power).

 

 "Dreams really can come true" albeit in somewhat unfathomable ways, defying common belief... the Magician is a true Visionary where one sees ND running the table, at least to the point of making it to the ACC Championship and, likely, beating Clemson at least once.


 

Jerry

Jerry

Jerry

Jerry

Jerrence

Bill

Ted

Randy

Daryl

10


The Hero (Mastery).

 

 Primarily motivated by proving their worth through courage and determination, this archetype suggests an ND season where nothing is easy and considerable success is achieved despite daunting, unforeseen obstacles.


 

Rev. Mark

9


The Ruler (Control).

 

 This is all about Dominance through Intimidation.  Confident, in control.


For ND, a solid year where an authoritarian mentality may not get them all the way to the BCS finish line. 

 

Matt

Sully

Bose

Mike G

8


The Jester (Enjoyment).


Here, we're all about having fun and seeing the glass half full.  8 wins could mean an undefeated season in a truncated, pandemic affected season.  Or it could just be '8 more wins than any of those Big 10 wussies had...' 


Either way, we had a pretty good time. 

 

 

Alvin

Jim T


7


The Creator (Innovation)

 

 With a desire to create something new and exceptional where there previously wasn't, does a 7-win season indicate some unforeseen growing pains w a new OC and several inexperienced skills position players.  


A season where less than a full slate is played could still be a successful one, setting up a great '21 campaign.


 

6


The Explorer (Freedom).

 

Manifesting a palpable inner drive to push themselves outside their comfort zone - it's a "we understand the risks we're taking!" attitude.   Unfortunately ND can't overcome them all, whether they're internally or externally driven.


 

5


The Sage (Understanding).

 

 Seeker of Truth, Knowledge and Wisdom, this archetype may suggest a 'I told you it was a bad idea to play a contact sport during a pandemic'  scenario.  The 2020 season gets cancelled halfway through. "But, still, we were 5-0..."


 

4


The Outlaw (Liberation).

 

This figure digs anarchy, with a "you not the boss of me" disdain for rules. For the ND season that may suggest a 'go for it' mentality where the wheels ultimately come off - either from a team meltdown or a season's premature cancellation.


 

3 or less

The Innocent (Safety).

 

 A positive personality that craves safety while wishing for all to be happy.  Honest and with no ill-will... no agendas... they believe everyone has the right to truly be who they are.


Unfortunately, in an ND football context, The Innocent sees virus spikes with students back on campus and by the end of September, feels prudence demands that the plug be pulled on the football season. 


 

Mike C

                                                          


Schadenfreude.

  As my brother Mike might say, last week was merely the amuse bouche, the metaphorical culinary glimpse, of Things To Come.

The amuse bouche taste doesn't last long and in this case, is even less consequential when so many of the teams don't even play.  It's like having the food cart wheeled by you and the waiter says, "nope not available this weekend..." So we have a taste of what they've got and move on.

1)  Michigan.   But they didn't play!  So what.  They're still ending their year 2-4.  Stick that on your cv, coach Harbaugh.

2)  BYU.  Almost by process of elimination, you're the only meaningful loss to celebrate. Beggars can't be choosers. So terribly sorry, Mormon Nation.  

And unfortunately, your losing didn't exactly advance the cause of all those other teams playing outside the Power 5 conferences.  Making you even less popular in the secular world of college athletics.  So there's that.

3)  Miami.  Getting boat raced, 62-26, by UNC today obviously represents the double bonii for ND - watching one of America's most loathsome, punk ass, low character team* get embarrassed, literally run over... by a team that the Irish steamrolled only a couple weeks earlier. 

Great for the BCS Committee perception to be sure. But I'm here mostly for the profound humiliation of da U.   

*one man's opinion. 

Terry's Tools.

This is supposed to be the time of year when one looks upon others more kindly... more forgiving... more accepting of other's questionable behavior, where one has the capacity to say, "I don't agree with what you're doing but I defend to the death your right to do it, no matter how stupid or dangerous it is..."

Yeah, right.  Maybe in Canada.

Have you been a coma for the last four years?



1) LSU    Sometime tools can be amusing (see Exhibit A, Dillon Hall Class of '79) even when perhaps they don't intend to be.                                                                                                                                   So
 when the 3-5 LSU Tigers announced a self-imposed bowl ban (akin to a 'you can't fire me, I quit' proclamation) this year, one could go the cynical 'WTF?!' route - not even the Poulan Weedeater Bowl wanted you.                                                                                                                                 But only because I'm feeling especially holiday magnanimous, I prefer the  "well played, LSU."
That said, the nation isn't laughing with you, they're laughing at you. 


Hey, IU... ya fucked up.  You trusted us.
2) Big-10 Leadership.  As predicted (pretty easily) last week, the Big 10 checked their ethics at the door, embraced the 2020 operating principle of  Actions-Having-Consequences-Is-More-Of-A-Guideline-Than-A-Rule and changed their by-laws to green light Ohio State into their conference championship game vs. Northwestern.

Hello, the BCS Final Four.

And bend over, Indiana Hoosiers.   


* I will never be a Pat Fitzgerald fan (especially when he becomes the next Bears coach) but I'll make an exception for this game.


3)  Kyrie Irving.   Among us fanboys of Idiot Savants, Kyrie is something of a mythical creature (not to mention a poster child for the quality of a Duke education), he as leader of 'the earth is flat' truthers as well as committed conspiracy theorist involving the JFK assassination (the Fed was behind it) and Bob Marley's death (CIA, duh).  

Now he's refusing to talk to the press in advance of the 2020-21 season, declaring "I don't talk to Pawns" - showing off his mad Netflix skills (we've seen The Queen's Gambit too, KI) as well as deft media relations savvy. News flash, Kyrie:  no one wants you to talk. 




Final Thought

Apropos of absolutely nothing other than just... neat.

 
Bruce, Michael, Vin, Kareem...