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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Back To The Future (29 November 2008)

So my daughter Ryan comes home for Thanksgiving this weekend and proclaims that she wants to see our wedding video… so we ‘go to the tape’ as they say (at this point you all should be getting a little nervous) and what pops up but Brian Ward doing a raspy impression of Gerry Faust. This is, after all, 1985 and we’d lost to Air Force that very afternoon. An impassioned Brian / Gerry is imploring his troops:

“Here’s what we gotta do… We gotta pray!  A lot! Because we’re a lousy football team…”

I realized immediately the prescient nature of that film - a moron could see the application to present day – and so I awaited last night’s game wishing I had a better social life. Please, give someone give me an excuse not to watch this debacle. But no, there I was suffering through a 1st half in actual physical pain. 

The 2nd half I channeled my inner Bartleby the Scrivener… for those unfamiliar with Herman Melville’s short story – pre-Moby Dick I believe – the aforementioned Bartleby was an odd man that upon his hire, consistently told his employer “I would prefer not” when asked to do anything. Anything. (There is a moral here about doing better due diligence in the hiring process but that’s not my point.) Even upon being sacked, Bartleby ‘preferred not’ to leave the office, being hauled off to jail and ultimately dying of starvation because he – you guessed it – preferred not to eat. 

And so, by halftime, I preferred not to watch any more. Hadn’t I given up enough hours of my life this year for this masochism? I later heard we got a first down. That totally rocks. And we nailed a field goal. Sweet.

But even with the short amount of time watching, I still drew a few, ahem, observations:

  1. USC’s wide receivers look professional. (And did you see their FB run a wheel route past our defense like we were standing still? Yowzer.)
  2. USC’s cheerleaders look professional too. Yummy.
  3. USC”s defense is ridiculously good. (Taylor Mays, in particular, is a freak.) How do these guys ever lose?
  4. Can’t we play them in hockey?
  5. I have no plausible explanation why Clausen has gotten so inaccurate over the last several games – but running for your life can’t be an enabler for success.
 Honestly, tough to feel too bad about the game. USC’s 2nd team would be a legitimate top 20 program. ND’s defense had, as they’ve been want to do all season, stretches of competence and fight (followed by stunning breakdowns that usually wiped out the previous strong effort). As Mr. Cincotta so accurately stated, it was men against boys and one could only ponder the gulf between our team’s abilities and The Elite.

It is vast.

And it is this last reality that makes this morning really depressing. We all thought we’d be a lot closer. After 12 games, I’m of the opinion that freshman are no longer newbies and sophomores should be looking like assured upper classmen. But it’d be hard to make that assessment this morning of our guys. So what comes next? Firing Weis doesn’t excite me but neither does a ’09 campaign of 8-4 where Mr Castellini does linear regressions quantifying our improvement while Albert / Feifar advocate lining the coaching staff up against the wall…

We’re all waking up to what’ll surely be a week of rampant speculation of Weis. Irish Eyes indicated that Swarbrick has already been in contact with Brian Kelly, Urban Meyer and Jon Gruden so it sounds like Weis in on much thinner ice than I’d have thought even post-Pittsburgh. But realistically, what are the chances of a ‘name’ hire? Perhaps Kelly and maybe he is the new Urban – hell, at this point I’d settle for the new Dantonio.

So is he staying or going - what’s everyone’s guess? For the record, I think he’s staying (although I’m significantly less sure than even a week ago.)

Other bits and bobs:

  • Myron Rolle is going to accept his Rhodes Scholarship and defer the NFL for a couple years. We’ll probably never see again this type of decision in our lifetimes.
  • P. Burruss (aka Mr. 2nd Amendment).Plexi, you got a lot of essplaining to dooooo…”  And apparently jail time may be in your future too.
  • Saints 51, Packers 29.  Ouch. Apparently New Orleans have better celestial lobbyists than Wisconsin.
  • The Lone Assassin.  I’ve had this innovation in my head for many, many years. The end in mind would be to cut down on the constant, look-at-me preening that goes on in both college and professional football. Here’s the concept: we hire ex-Special Ops snipers, position them atop stadium press boxes with high powered rifles and beanbag-like pellets. When anyone offends with gratuitous dances or gesticulations, the offending appendage gets fired upon. Bam! Zero tolerance. Let’s all remember the Lou Holtz quote about scoring – “Act like you’ve been there before…” The velocity wouldn’t be sufficient to maim, just leave a nice welt that will have each player considering the risk-return equation of pulling that Sharpie out of their sock or a sweeping ‘not in my house’ arm gesture for a simple pass defended. My guess is that by Week 2, incidence is down to zero. Your thoughts?
  • 2nd Amendment – part II.  Despite the prior point, I hate guns, generally think the right to bear arms has been waaaay over-interpreted and often wonder why this issue has disappeared from the American political landscape. I have do have one exception to this rule: all the clowns in the US who dawdle in the left hand lane of expressways / interstates – as if to get a better view of that side of the road. It’s called the passing lane for a reason. You’ve all been warned.
 Ending on a cheerier note, let’s give it up for the programs that are making us proud:

  1. Women’s soccer Final 4 – it’s gotten to the point that one would be surprised these days when they don’t make it. Stanford next Friday, let’s hope they can keep it going.
  2. Hockey - #2 in the country and riding a 10 game unbeaten streak.  Does Jeff Jackson have a football coachin’ brother?
  3. Men’s basketball – would’ve beaten Texas comfortably if they shot their free throws with even 50% competency and acquitted themselves well enough against UNC on tired legs. They’re pretty good.

Over and out!

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