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Monday, July 16, 2012

Week 7 (2011): Long Day's Journey Into Night

Song of the Week
The erudite (and musically prodigious) Mr. Rasmus suggested the perfect song to put into sharp relief the borderline dangerous sickness that Notre Dame football has become.  Addictive. Occasionally blissful. At one time even chic. But mostly harmful to your health.  As Raz suggested to me, merely substitute Notre Dame wherever you see ‘heroin’ in Velvet Underground’s classic track:

“Heroin be the death of me
Heroin, it’s my wife and it’s my life
Because a mainer to my vein
Leads to a center in my head
And then I’m better off dead
Wow, that heroin is in my blood
And the blood is in my head..”

The song is über-perfect, thematically, and I’m wondering now why didn’t we invite Lou Reed to The Sophomore Literary Festival?  It’s not like William Burroughs, Ken Kesey and Tennessee Williams had the moral high ground cornered that year….

But I digress Saturday night was merely the culmination of a Series of Events…

Pre-game - Friday

Irish pub on edge of campus =
license to print money.

At least one successful ND team has a Jumbotron
(and thanks again, Jay!)

Pre-game Saturday
"One down,
372 pieces to go..."

"Just like Charlie Sheen said - winning!"

"Seemingly so normal.
And yet, not."

Observations from The Game
Less play-by-play (too painful) and more broad observations:

•   Cincotta told me the game was going to be decided by the offensive and defensive lines. And he was right. Just not the way either of us thought.
•   Could we come out any more flat? How ironic that Team Tailgate came ready to compete, bringing their ‘A’ game.   Here’s a thought:  Peter’s Bloody Mary’s for the team when times get tough…

Picture this if you will:  
ND v. Miami, October 2012. 

The signal goes out over Soldier Field…  

“Peter, the team needs you!  More accurately, they need your ragin’, Cajun, horseradish-fueled Bloodies!  To the sidelines, stat!"

•    Was it me or did it seem like USC ran on offense 5-6 plays, over and over and over. And why not – we never stopped ‘em.
•     For all the pub surrounding Lynch and Tuitt, they’re still just freshmen.  I think we missed Johnson and Lewis-Moore a lot more than people are admitting, we were dominated at the line.
"Carlo, you make us proud..."
•    The refs did us no favors and maybe if they called that early pass interference involving Floyd, it might’ve embolden us to go vertical more often.  But they weren’t the reason we lost.
•    Carlo Calabrese is one dumb player.
•    For all the grief about why they brought in Hendrix for one obvious play, he was half a body rotation from scoring.  And sorry, Dayne fumbled a perfectly routine snap.  Do not hang that on Kelly.
•   Cierre, you gotta catch that pass / lateral.  And by the way, it would’ve gone for significant yardage – there was a massive lane.
•   How in the world, when the game is on the line, do you not call a TO when you see Robert Woods has Lo Wood on him? That play was right in front of me, I had binoculars -  Barkley had pre-snap drool.
•   Hard to criticize Kelly for not taking those TO’s when we never stopped them enough to think it would matter.

If Saturday’s Game was a movie poster, it’d be… “Aliens ”

            “In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream”


If ever there was a game where a) one wondered who exactly was inside those ND uniforms and b) primal scream was totally worthy, it was this one.  Luckily, northern Indiana, like space, is a vast, VAST wasteland, cultural and otherwise.  Scream away, campers.

“I don’t care what your rationale is, Cincotta, wearing khakis in October is just wrong...”                    

"Pete, you're right - Bud has gone to hipper graphics that speak to me as a 50-something, upwardly mobile consumer..."

Word of the Week

Soporific     sop-o-rif-ik
adj \ˌsä-pə-ˈri-fik\

1  : causing or tending to cause sleep <soporific drugs> b: tending to dull awareness or alertness
2  : of, relating to, or marked by sleepiness or lethargy

•           probably from French soporifique, from Latin sopor deep sleep; akin to Latin somnus sleep — more at somnolent
•           First Known Use: 1665

Synonyms: drowsy, narcotic, opiate, sleepy, slumberous (or slumbrous), somniferous, somnolent, hypnotic

Antonyms: stimulant

Used in a sentence… Notre Dame’s play vs. USC was so soporific, one should not be allowed to drive after watching the game.
Week VII   Buddy Award.
For about 90 seconds in the 3rd Quarter, I was convinced this was gonna be Dayne Crist’s award (cue Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”!).  But for a straightforward snap from center… alas it was not to be.  Maybe if George Atkinson ran back a 2nd KO or if they ran Jonas Grey more than what, six times…  Or if Tyler Eifert grew wings and caught Rees poor throw in the end zone WHEN HE WAS WIDE OPEN.
"No Buddy Award for you!"

But they didn’t.  So I’m not awarding anything Buddyesque.

"Dayne merely had a momentary
loss of muscular coordination..."

Schadenfreude of the Week.
So much bitterness, so little time:

•   Oklahoma.  Not a good month for the Brothers Stoops.  One gets canned and the other loses to… Texas Tech?!
•   Wisconsin.  Hey Brett, couldn’t hang 80 points on an actual, good team could you?
•   BC.  You’re apparently really bad this year.  Your best player just got put on the shelf for the year. And Va. Tech flicked you aside like a gnat.  And I loved it.
•   Illinois.  Did you know that Zook in the Elfin tongue means ‘simple-minded cheater?’
"1st the Tony's... next the Presidency... then the USC job!"
•  Washington.  I actually kind of like Steve Sarkisian – Matt tells me he’s ex-BYU, maybe a Mormon (‘with Mitt, 2012 could be The Year of The Mormon!”).  But I’m in pissy mood and there has to be some collateral damage to slake my foul mood.

Terry’s Tool Time.
Quite often people will approach me and say, “Ter, you work in advertising… can you explain the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath?”  And I always say, “why yes. Yes I can!”.    Then I go into the technical definitions:
1.   A sociopath:  Anti-social behavior but w relatively normal temperaments.
2.   A psychopath (socio’s bigger, more domineering sibling):  Anti-social behavior characterized by an abnormal lack of empathy combined w strongly amoral conduct MASKED BY THE ABILITY TO APPEAR NORMAL.

Basically, the psychopath is a sociopath w big dreams! Ambition!  (See Bundy, Ted). So let’s play the “Psycho or Socio” game, sports version!

•   Jim Harbaugh vs. Jim Schwartz.  I know the Bay area loves you (and I would too, if you were our coach) but coach Harbaugh, you’re a closet Psycho.  Coach Schwartz, you’re a Socio but you better watch those occasional psychotic episodes.
•   Rex Ryan vs. Rob Ryan.  You’re both so lame that even if you wanted to be (and I think you do, Rex) you’re nothing but two bit Sociopaths.  Now your dad’s a different story…
•   Brian Kelly.   Neither, yet.  But when your head goes all purple and does a 360° Regan-from-the Exorcist spin, it does give one pause.  And did you have to be so transparently mean about Dayne messing up?
•   Tony La Russa.  Probably not a sociopath, certainly not a psychopath.  Just a dick. Who apparently doesn’t even have rudimentary phone skills.  Of course, this coming from an admitted half-hearted baseball fan who wanted a Brewers-Tigers World Series.  (But I believe the objective nation – and the vast majority of clinical psychologists – support me in this assessment.)

One last Cardinal observation; when Ryan Theriot is batting tonight…

“If only we played the Rangers 
on Guy Fawkes Day…”

Something You’ll Never See Me Do Again – A Kind Word toward Lane Kiffin…
"The role of Butterfly this evening
will be played by Terry Corrigan..."
Okay, so I’m walking across Daley Plaza last week on my way to Outplacement, which is, ironically, housed in the Civic Opera House (giving a whole new spin on the concept of career reinvention…)

"What do you mean you're not comfortable
letting me run your global account..."
As I said, I’m walking across the plaza and it suddenly occurs to me how suspicious I must appear – I fit the profile (white, 50+, educated), look the profile (wearing an overcoat on a day that didn’t seem to warrant it) and behaving the profile (fidgety, bordering on agitated, talking to myself) and there I come upon three Chicago policemen who… Couldn’t. Care. Less.  Their minds were focused on Ozzie and Lovie and Theo…

They were men, in terms by brother Tim once described to me, “unburdened by The Weight of Original Thought.”   Which, of course, got me to thinking about a similarly uncomplicated human, Lane Kiffin.  It’s long been my opinion that his lack of ethical precision largely obscured the fact that he can’t actually coach his way out of a paper bag. ( And last Saturday’s game did nothing to change that opinion.)

But in aftermath of the post-game Quit-gate controversy … where USC players interpreted that ND quit mid-way through the 4th Quarter… (and a cynic – not me – might say that one can’t quit something you never started to begin with…), Lane-y acquitted himself pretty well.  Making his players apologize and calling Kelly personally, I found that… notable.  He’s still something of an ethically challenged single cell organism but he also might be an example of something my dad used to tell me, “you don’t have to be smart to have some basic manners…”

So go ahead and ream me. And most assuredly, Lane’ll do something to provoke ND Nation in other ways but he did the right thing this time.  But I’m giving Lane his props for that tiny bit of professional decorum.  And oh by the way – you KNOW Pete Carroll would’ve absolutely gone for the touchdown at the end.

Final observations

I heard an interesting anecdote from Brian Billick driving home today.  His Baltimore Ravens were dominant, especially defensively, and had a game coming up against a seeming cupcake, the Cleveland Browns.  All week long the talk was of them registering yet another shutout. Sure enough, first drive of the game the Browns go 86 yards and score a TD.  Coach is thinking ‘uh oh, classic trap game.’  But before he can go over and rip ‘em the proverbial new one, Rod Woodson and Ray Lewis came over to him and told him “Don’t say a word. We’ve got this.”  The Browns end up w a total of 110 yards FOR THE DAY, including that first drive.

The point  – and the question I throw out to the group – is this:  what role, what responsibility does player leadership have in this whole equation.  Irrespective of the coach’s prep, which presumably covers game planning and tactics, how do one not get fired up for that game?!  God knows there’s enough blame to go around for everyone last week.  But I’ve had this question all season long and increasingly, I’m troubled by why the players aren’t stepping up. 

And please, can we start seeing more of Andrew Hendrix? Sorry, mom, but Tommy ain’t it.

2011 Schedule

3      South Florida                   L
10     @ Michigan (NIGHT)         L
17     MSU    LINIPALOOZA!!    W
24     @ Pitt                              W
1      @ Purdue (NIGHT)   W
8       Air Force               W
15      OPEN
22      USC (NIGHT)         L                                     
29      Navy
5       @ Wake Forest
12     @ Maryland (D.C.)
19      Boston College
26      @ Stanford (NIGHT)

2011 Wager status

I never liked the Bee Gee’s anyway.  So now we’re down to the dull 9’ers… the group that the economists, gamblers, venture capitalists and hopeless dreamers looked down at for being sooooo predictable when the season started.  And as my good friend and confidant Alvin might say, “and yet, we’re still here.”  Barely.

That said, Team 8 has got to be feeling pretty good about their chances.

Note as well that I’ve begun to color code (green) those that have paid the bank, which is to say, Theo.

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