Search This Blog

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Week 6 (2012): History Is Written By The Winners

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It's an area which we call the 'A' Lot... " 

By 2nd Grade at Mother Teresa's School For The Uniquely Gifted, it was obvious that young master Castellini had future O.B.E. potential.

8pm Saturday night, standing in the darkness of 'A' Lot.  Wet.  Not the first time.

Time to reflect.

"If his work is described as 'hallucinatory
realism, what's that make mine..."
The week had been an emotional roller coaster, starting with the annual announcement of the Nobel Prizes.  My ground-breaking treatise, The Power of Positive Hating, passed over once again in obvious deference to a bunch of Emerging Market hacks. (Hello, the Chinese aren't even real Communists anymore - they just pretend to be for the award season.)

More worrisome, the annual rejection letters from Norway are getting increasingly strident. Whereas I used to get consolation through "we beg to differ" language, now I receive expressions like 'cease and desist' and 'restraining order' and 'full force of the law'. Hurtful things. Mean-spirited.

And I am only human.  If you cut me, do I not bleed?  If you give me too much to drink, do I not babble?  If you feed me burritos, do I not break wind?

"1st, we get Olympic wallowing 
added, then Quidditch..."
And yet, I stood there in the rain, Budweiser in hand, thoroughly delighted with the chaotic ending to the game and the week:  Life had achieved it's inevitable Cosmic Balance while demonstrating a sly sense of humor at the same time. After all, the last time Game Day was on campus (for the USC 'Bush Push' debacle), an even more controversial ending was delivered. And I didn't see anyone outside of South Bend spending very long on the notion that ND "really" won that one.

So Stanford, get over it. By Saturday, no one else will care how 'you was robbed' (by your own PAC-12 refs, I might add).  But if it takes you until January, that's cool too. I'm sure you'll figure out a way to make wallowing into a recognized sport and earn valuable Sears Directors Cup points. You're clever that way.

But I digress.

"Hey Mark, isn't that Harry Potter's bus?"
'A' Lot.  In the dark. With beer in hand. A tad disoriented. Where was my beautiful house? Where was my beautiful wife?
'same as it ever was...'

How did I get here?

Let's go to the tape... in reverse.

If This Week's Game Were A Movie Poster, It'd Be... Aliens 3

"The Bitch Is Back"

Last week we asked, not rhetorically, how many data points make a trend?  Six does it for me now.  Every week this year, this team wins and someone makes an excuse about the opponent and says "next week will be tougher."  And every week, the team - and in particularly the defense - takes care of business. What made this week especially awesome was the attitude with which they did so.  Against a team that's basically bullied them the past several years, they said 'not this time'.

And have a nice, long flight home. 


Random Observations Of The Game

Summary Thoughts
  • Everett is flawed. And this 'two steps forward, one step backward' progression is getting a little frustrating, especially as the stakes keep getting ratcheted up. And it is time to give Tommy his due: he knows where his receivers are going to be and far better than EG, he knows how to throw passes they can get to. 
  • But. Offensive production has to be an equation of QB + Offensive line + Skill guys + Play calling.  And every one of those variables has been shaky this year.  Can't lay it all on Golson.

Our defense?  I'm a believer!  They'll certainly have a tough outing sooner or later but they are just so fundamentally sound.  And unlike pt. 2, consistently sound strategically.

Will wonders never cease - ND Stadium can get loud!  Maybe they just needed something to scream about.


  • Post-game, Kelly aggressively defends Mike 'Twitchy' Golic, Jr. and Troy 'El Matador' Niklas. Interesting. Were there really mitigating circumstances involving their respective untimely failings? Perhaps, although it's not like everyone was jumping early, Mike.  And one would've thought that after the 2nd whiff, the coaches might've said 'hey maybe we need to give Troy a little help.'  Nonetheless, Kelly's public defense maybe says more about the coach and perhaps his growing relationship with his team than assigning anyone blame, particularly after a terrific win. (Though I still think Golic is Le Weak Link...
  • Going forward, I bet you can peg our performance off of one stat only, turn overs.  Which, is basically what Kelly's been saying for eight months...
  • Finally, I think it's very cool that we have athletes - good players - are also genuinely articulate.  And the same could be said for Stanford. That alone makes this game a total aberration in college sports.

"None shall pass!"

"I hate OT," so sayeth Sully.  You'll get no argument here.

We lose the coin toss but get to choose the end of the field we want to play. The students' end. Well that worked out nicely. 

Troy Niklas beaten like a rented mule for the 4th time by my count. Haven't the coaches been paying attention?

  • Sweet catch, Theo!  Now I know why you're in the game so much.
  • This is the best game Dan Fox's ever played.
  • TJ Jones.  Man, have you improved. And quietly.  As Mayock said, "that was not a good throw..."
  • One man's opinion:  if Stanford scored, it was on 2nd down, certainly not 3rd or 4th.

4th Quarter

  • Tyler Eifert! So that's what happens when you pass block. And throw it to your best player.

When the going gets tough,
the tough get Heineken. Or Bud.
  • Louis Nix.  Coming up BIG.
  • Code Blue!  The tent has run out of Guinness!
  • Carlo.  Other than being 'connected', why does he play?
  • Tuitt looks like the 2nd Coming of Justin Tuck.
  • Stepfan Taylor runs so freaking hard.
  • Matthias Farley looks like he's 30 years old.  And runs a cartel.
  • Tommy Rees. Destiny's Play-toy.

    3rd Quarter
    • 3 and out for ND; Stanford only rushing 4...
    • Mayock dead-on in his analysis:  "That ball just has to come out faster..."
    • "Run, Everett, run!  Get out of bounds, Everett, get down!"
    • Or not.
    • Davonte Neal with a pretty solid PR.  So that's what happens when you block on a return.
    • Golic with two False Starts in three plays.  That cannot be not easy to do.
    "It was the best of times..."

    With the game in doubt, reinforcements are called in - 'Obi Wan Behrens, you're our only hope... we need you in the tent with us.'

    ...while 'A' Lot's Madame Defarge does her thing.
    2nd Quarter
    • Dumb ass - but accurate - roughing the passer penalty by Tuitt.  We seem to be good for one of thise a game...
    • Zeke Motta hits like a freakin' truck.  I think I love him
    • For an O-line that has so many starts together, they don't seem especially synchronized in picking up stunts and blitzes...
    • Beyond Brindza, special teams are anything but special.
    • Stanford runs a screen pass!  Wait. One. Minute.  Maybe you can pull that rubbish in 'anything goes' California but I'm pret-ty sure it's not even legal in Indiana.

    1st Quarter
    • 9 out 11 offensive starters for Stanford are seniors.  Enjoy this while it lasts, coach Shaw.
    • A false start by our center!  How is that even possible?
    • Troy Niklas vs. Chase Thomas.  Rut roh
    • Theo Riddick certainly seems to be getting a lot of the snaps.  Not that he's bad but... why?!
    • We are definitely the beneficiaries of more than our fair share of opponent drops.
    • Golson appears a bit... uncertain, confused maybe? I want last week's Everett back!


    Tents are up, rain is comin' down, the dogs are grillin' and Peter's revolting-yet-awesome vodka / pickle / pepper concoction is in abundance for Bloody Mary time.  All is right in the world.
    It's always sunny in 'A' Lot

    Birthday greetings for our young Theo! 5-5! You are Da Man.

    Consoling The World's #1 Reds fan. If, by consoling, one means giving Jake C. endless grief about Aroldis Chapman's aborted journey to becoming The Greatest Post-Season Closer Ever.

    Talking Ungie into watching the game with us from The Morris Inn tent.  That took... 10 seconds.

    "Happy birthday, Ted. It doesn't get any better than this.
    Seriously.  It doesn't. You're maxxed out."

    "You're saying I could pass a drug test
    if I just substitute this stuff for my..."

    Nothing screams authentic Irish like Adidas...
    "I once made a putt THIS long..."

    Word of the Week

    ESCHEW   transitive verb \e-ˈshü, i-; es-ˈchü, is-; also e-ˈskyü\

    v    to avoid habitually, especially on moral or practical grounds : shun

     Middle English, from Anglo-French eschiver (3d present eschiu) of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German sciuhen to frighten off — more at shy

    First Known Use: 14th century

    Synonyms:  avoid, dodge, duck, elude, escape, evade, finesse, get around, scape, shake, shirk, shuffle (out of), shun, weasel (out of)

    Used in a sentence...  Young Terry eschewed the several generous offers of tickets to the big game, opting for the dry, warm and Guinness-friendly environs of The Morris Inn tent.

    Song of the Week
    Game Day's Vince Vaughan's first credited film... "drinkin' brew for breakfast"... the defense being all rude, 'n reckless.  There can only be one choice...

    How you get a rude and a reckless?
    "You think you're pretty hot, in your pork pie hat..."
    Don't you be so crude and a feckless
    You been drinking brew for breakfast
    Rudie can't fail.

    I know that my life make you nervous
    But I tell you that I can't live in service
    Like the doctor who was born for a purpose
    Rudie can't fail.

    I went to the market to realize my soul
    ‘cause what I need, I just don’t have.
    First they curse then they press me til I hurt.
    We say Rudie can’t fail.

    Buddy's buddy

    Not Mike Golic, Jr.  Clearly. Troy Niklas, I've no doubt you'll win in the future but I think we'd both agree that wasn't your finest hour, was it? And the way the Defense carries this team, it'd be tempting to pick almost anyone on that side, starting with Louis Nix III. (I can't wait until you have your own candy bar, I'll buy 'em by the gross for the tailgater...)  But in the most counter-intuitive way imaginable, I'm looking offense.  Big Time players show up and bail out their teams when they need it most.  So I'm looking at you, Tyler Eifert.

    Huge TD catch, incredibly important (and valid) PI call on the game-tieing drive. And evidently, the only TE on the team who knows how to block.  Finally, it's no stretch to believe that TJ and Theo et al don't get nearly as open if the defense isn't constantly rotating to Eifert's location... As Ungie said during the game, "The NFL is going to love him."  Indeed.

    Tool Time
    "We're not monsters. We're just ahead of the curve."
    Charlie Weis.  Going after your school newspaper for pointing out that your team is, in fact, road kill. Which they are. And nothing says "committed to winning now" like scheduling a practice and not inviting the seniors!  Shame on you. Too bad the stomach staple surgery of years past couldn't have removed some of your schematically advantaged ego as well.

    David Shaw.   I'll overlook the way you brusquely flew by Kelly on the field after the game - very Harbaughesque by the way. "The student is now The Master."  But I would've thought you would've gotten it together by the time you were in front of the media.  Enough with the phantom whistles -  I hear voices in my head every day and you don't see me complaining.  And by the way, you're no Harbaugh, .  He would've play-actioned at least once in that final sequence (and probably scored. 

    Your Pizza Hut is no longer in my Circle of Trust..
    Meet The Fickels.  In Ben Stiller's next film, he'll play a Columbus, OH pizza guy who, while taking a delivery order from the Ohio State Defensive Coordinator's wife, offers some off-hand, mild criticism about the tackling effort.  And gets fired for it.

    Based on a true story, Ben plans a carefree spin on the story with Owen Wilson tentatively cast as the 'not the sharpest tool in the shed' Pizza Boy and Sandra Bullock / Josh Brolin as the vindictive (and equally dull-witted) pizza loving OSU couple.

    Lance Armstrong.  You might cry, "Foul! Double indemnity... you can't be tried for the same crime twice, Ter!"  First of all, you can in Terry World. And secondly, with the recent revelations of just how totally up to his eyeballs Lance was leading... coercing... his ENTIRE TEAM to dope for, like, a DECADE... just to keep himself in the Winner's Circle... man, I just can't let it pass.

    Schadenfreude Winner.

    Week 6 and the game continues to spread happiness .
    1. South Carolina.  Recognizing my deep and abiding respect for Steve Spurrier, this is a tough one to reconcile... sniff.  Okay, I'm good.  Yippee!
    2. West Virgina.  Every year there's one "Emperor's New Clothes" team. One who grabs all the early buzz until they actually play someone of substance and get exposed. The problem for WVU, is that I'm not sure Texas Tech was supposed to be that team.  
    3. Boston College.  They look like they're really bad. And getting worse.  Isn't that great?!
    4. Washington Nationals.  They were a great story. Until they sat Stephen Strasburg down and disrespected the Baseball gods by suggesting, "Hey, we're young. We'll be here every year..."  We'll see.  Actions have consequences even when, maybe especially when, you're playing the team the rest of the baseball world loves to hate.
        2012 Schedule.
    1    @Navy (Dublin)            W
    8    PURDUE                       W
    15  @MSU                          W
    22  MICHIGAN                  W
    6    MIAMI (Soldier Field)*          W
    13  STANFORD                           W
    20  BYU
    27 @Oklahoma
    3      PITT
    10    @BC
    17   WAKE FOREST
    24    @USC
    *Linipalooza III

    Wager 2012.

    Kevin, Al, Randy - thanks for playing.  Me and Team 6 are right behind y'all.   Now we begin to play the 'whats left' game and recognize that with six to play, there's likely to be only two games where ND could be an underdog (whether Vegas recognizes them formally as such or not).

    Didn't see that coming.


    ND-Scorsese connection 

    Contestant’s prediction



    Sweet, compelling mystery that shows the virtues of faith and resilience. Everyone walks away happy and pleasantly surprised.




    Awesome film about fulfilling one’s potential and realizing your dreams… even if it is becoming a gangster.  (Q.  Does ending in Witness Protection qualify as a happy ending?)
    BryanTedRayTim S, Bob S

    Jay, JohnPeterRazKevin MTim C, Mark

    Jerry C, Matt, Jerry WJim BTomMike CJim T, Mike G
    Garrett R

    The Departed

    A terrific story about two Boston Irishmen’s different destinies set from childhood. So very close to a happy ending. And yet, so far.
    TerryJim SJerry P, Brian, Blair R

    Kevin C, Alvin, Randy



    Taxi Driver

    Mentally unstable Viet Nam vet w. wildly unrealistic delusions of heroism.  He’s a total loser, albeit an incredibly   dangerous one. Sadly everybody knows it (incl. Rick Reilly) but him.




    Final Thought

    Recruiting.  Creative naming. This week's opponent.  My favorite things, all wrapped up in one. (Immense thanks to Raz for sending this my way.)  Watch to the very end.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment