Search This Blog

Friday, December 1, 2017

Week 12: Running On Empty

You say you want a revolution...

And the Thanksgiving holiday weekend was progressing so well. 

Our agency had just received word of winning the Yuengling advertising account.  

ND's men's hoops had come back to steal a win against a #6 ranked Wichita State opponent, winning the Maui Classic.  

Mike Brey rules!

ND - basketball school...
And I had come legitimately close to a clinically-defined Thanksgiving Day food coma - practically a Bucket List accomplishment - thumbing my nose at any gastronomic peril while simultaneously raising my hand for daughter Shea's cheese cake AND niece Liz's apple pie.

When one's dinner is comprised of more side dishes than actual guests in attendance, Variety truly is The Spice of Life.  Especially when one is well stocked with Zantac.


And when Miami and Alabama both got upset, it augured well for maybe, could be, possibly... the dominos were falling for the Irish to sneak back, minimally, into a Top 5 recognition...

Um, no.     

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence:  Young Jerrence watched the disappointing, seemingly inevitable, conclusion to the game and pondered what comes next.  

Literally, it meant the post-game press conference - and ND Nation's immediate, passionate recriminations.  This is not going to go well for Kelly, he thought.

Jerrence wondered about the predictable calumny that would also be directed at the coach. He'll be blamed for everything wrong in the world including, probably, belonging to monthly book club with Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer.
It seemed clear that the guy has proven himself to be a solid B-, MAC-level coach.  But does he deserve all the grief that's going to come his way?

Probably not. But n
ever has the expression "it comes with the territory" (or "that's why he gets paid the big bucks") proven so true.

Cocktail of the Week

Ever see a movie, that while you were watching, slowly made you feel sick to your stomach?  I mean, like viscerally, physically ill?

If ever a game required a dystopian world cocktail, it was last week's. One that employs deeply disturbing images with just enough seeming basis in reality to depress the living sh** out of you. 

A film you know can't possibly have a happy ending.

A Clockwork Orange Julius
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick

I'm singing in the rain... 
Back when the MPAA ratings board put the "X" in sex, A Clockwork Orange had the unusual distinction of being both banned in Britain for nearly 30 years and also nominated for a Best Picture BAFTA (basically the British Oscars).  

Never a director to shy away from scandalous subjects (this was from the guy who adapted Lolita for the screen, after all), Kubrick took an unblinking look into the psychological re-programming of ultra violent hoodlums in dystopian England and was subsequently implicated in copycat murder cases throughout the '70s. 

Editor's note:  I wish someone would re-program me re Notre Dame football. 

Now seen as a seminal-if-schizophrenic mortality tale on the dangers of a totalitarian government, Clockwork will have you counting back to your own delinquent days with a sloshed twist on a shopping mall classic.
  • 3 oz. of frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. whole milk
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 1 tspn. granulated sugar
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker and shake well.  Dump the whole thing into a highball glass, drink with an orange silly straw and resist the urge to crank up the ole Ludwig van and call your droogs... 

Quote of the Week

"Well, it's still early..."

Lisa Minnella
Oracle of Scotchlandia 

...responding to Jerrence after asking him 'how's the game going' while the contest was still in the 1st Quarter.  And hearing him say, "we're not getting crushed - yet."

To be fair, she didn't mean it quite as hurtful, or as prescient, as it came out.   I think.

"There's been a murder in the trailer park tonight..." 

That's one way of describing the game.

Observations of the Game

You tell me that it's evolution...

My half-hearted attempt at perspective:  
  • With 11 and 3/4 of the season concluded, we were still staring at a New Year's Day / BCS bowl game.  Think about that.
  • Give the players another year w Balis and Elko and boy, will you see something! 
  • Well, Kelly has one less year left on his contract.
  • And we still have our (physical) health. 

1.  I shouldn't have watched the Iron Bowl first, where full-on, manic passion and offensive creativity (at least by Auburn) was on sustained display for three hours.

2.  Compared to Hard Rock Stadium a couple weeks ago, that stadium Saturday night was a morgue.   We couldn't have asked for a more conducive away game venue.

3.  I'm revising my Brandon Wimbush comparison:  he's not a Tony Rice, he's Dane Crist:  super nice guy, who'd any of us would describe as a prototypical ND Man.  Which is to say, better in many regards than almost all of us.  Just not as a big game QB. 

Which group regressed the most through the course of the year?  My vote would go to the DB's.    And whose genius idea was it to have 5'8" Crawford on Stanford's 6/5" TE?

5.  Speaking of which, the biggest difference between the ND and Stanford offenses:  their WR's catch basically everything. Ours, not so much.

6.  Whatever happened to our punter's booming leg?  At least through the 1st half, field position played an enormous role - and he sure didn't help much.

7.  Let's talk coaches:   I don't like David Shaw much.  But, boy, have I come to respect him.  How many great FBS coaches does one think are really out there?  I mean, truly great?  No more than one hand's worth. Personally, I'd have him on that list:
  1. Saban
  2. Meyer
  3. Shaw
  4. Sweeney (maybe?)
  5. (your own nominee) 
Please don't tell me the new $75 Million Man, Jimbo, belongs on this list. (And it sure doesn't bode well for what a 'name' coach is going to cost the Irish in a couple years.) Interesting how everyone's looking at Iowa State's coach these days.  But one guy you might hear about next year could be Pitt's Pat Narduzzi.  Not terribly flashy but he's beaten more top 10 teams in the last two years than Kelly's accomplished ever at ND.  Just sayin'.

One thing you can take to the bank:  whomever ultimately succeeds Kelly, ND Nation will bitch about it.

8.   Josh Adams sure didn't look 100%.   

9.  The biggest indictment of the (offensive) coaching staff had to be the complete and consistent disorganization you saw throughout the game - false starts, multiple guys in motion, slow development of the plays.  This was the 12th game!

10.  Oh, and we have to be the least creative offense on the planet.  Our definition of 'clever' is the jet sweep, which we run 2x a game for a solid 6-12 yards.  Whoopee!

11.  Something happened to this team the final quarter of the season and it appeared a lot more mental than physical... hmmm.

And coach Kelly, will you please stop using the 'we gotta coach better' as your post-game go-to answer for these failures?  That's pretty self-evident by now.

And I'm not what I appear to be... 
(Ya got that right.)

Buddy's Buddy

This is surely apocryphal (but knowing the faculty there, maybe not)... I recently read of a Penn blue book exam that asked, 

"You've just finished your 300 page autobiography, please submit pg. 217."  

One pupil's - probably a Wharton student - alleged response

"There was no doubt, this represented perhaps the greatest challenge I'd encountered in my young life.  How to dispose of THAT MANY BODIES. Fortunately, by watching 'Breaking Bad' as a primer for building my meth empire, I knew just what to do..."

I want to party with you, dude!  And I sure hope he (or she) got an 'A'.  

With that in mind, rather than dole out a half-hearted, tallest-midget-in-the-class accolade, this week's Buddy's buddy is guest writer (and primal scream enthusiast), Bob Rasmus and his submission to the season's final blue book exam:  summarize Season 2017 using metaphor

The entire season was a toothache. 
During the summer, you had some nagging mouth / tooth pain.  You really didn't think anything was wrong, but that was based on more hope than physical evidence.  You wanted to believe that all the off season hype about Notre Dame being a changed team-physically and mentally tougher. The experienced, senior led offensive line was going to dominate.  However, that ache in your tooth was present.  You just couldn't erase the pain of last season. 
Then came the Temple game.  We scored 49 points.  We looked dominant running the ball.  Wimbush looked a little shaky passing.  But, hey, who cares?  We had a bunch of steamrollers on the offensive line.  Oh, by the way, the defense looked much improved.  There was reason for optimism.  That topical analgesic you applied to your tooth made the pain go away.  Or did it?  Was it just a temporary salve. 
The Georgia game.  Another close loss.  But hey, it was a close loss.  The offense behind a new starting quarterback did not look good.  However, the defense looked great.(Never mind that Georgia's QB was making HIS first start).  Who cares that our senior, AA candidate, Captain LT whiffed on his man on our last offensive play thus ending our chances?  The analgesic was wearing off, but the pain was not as bad as before.  There was reason for optimism. 
Then came BC.  A slow start.  The pain was returning.  Then poof-it was gone.  We rushed for 500+ yards and totally dominated in the second half.  The pain of both the Georgia game and in your tooth was receding. 
MSU.  Total domination on the road.  The offensive line was dominant.  The D looked great.  Shaun Crawford was a smaller version of Luther Bradley.  Tooth pain?  What tooth pain? 
Miami of Ohio.  Tooth pain gone. 
UNC.  Even without your starting QB, a strong performance.  Tooth pain seemingly gone.  You think you can start expanding your diet.  You don't have to worry about your tooth. 
USC.  Total domination on both offense and defense.  Complete euphoria.  You say to yourself, I can start eating nuts and hard candy.  I think the tooth has healed itself.  The toothache must have been some type of aberration.  Perhaps I banged it with my toothbrush.  There is nothing structurally wrong.   
NC State.  A classic trap game.  After a slow start we look pretty good-but not great.  Some of the dull ache returns-blocked punt for an opponent's TD, missed tackles starting to increase.  Your tooth is feeling a "bit tender." 
Wake Forest.  We win, but Wake Forest makes it closer than it should have been.  WF gains a ton of yards.  It is rationalized by the fact it came late in the game after the score was decided.  But did it really?  WF moved the ball the entire game.  On defense, our tackling seemed a bit sloppy, our defensive backs flashed a disturbing tendency to turn their man loose for a long TD pass and/or lose every 50/50 jump ball to the receiver.  The ache is starting to return to your tooth.  You start questioning whether the season and the temporary pain alleviation is just a mirage. 
The Miami game.  The team is on a roll.   Early in the week, your tooth pain seems to have lessened. You are cautiously optimistic.
This is where we return to glory (again).  You plan a Bacchanalian game feast of red wine, nuts and fine meats.  Reality soon sets in.  Either the U is really good or we are really bad.  
Our QB is a glorified wildcat back. Great runner and can pass occasionally.  However, most of his passes have the accuracy of a blind man throwing a football.  Your tooth really starts to hurt.  You think some flossing will get you back to normal.  Both the team and you are drained from the long season and dealing with your tooth.  Oh well, beat Navy and Stanford and we go to a New Year's Day bowl.  We have really only had one bad game all year.  Miami was that game.  We picked a bad time to ____ the bed.   
The Navy game.  Those pesky patriots.  A very close game.  Much closer than it should have been.  The offense-both the line and QB seems a "bit out of synch."  It has been a long season.  Navy is playing really hard.  You rationalize the game by saying , "we won."  Your tooth is slightly better.  However, you make an appointment with your dentist. 
The Stanford game.  This time it is going to be different.  Our tired defense, poorly performing offense, and eroding running game will all return to their usual form.  However,( just as your tooth has been aching, it is actually starting to throb, ) you wonder, "what is our usual form?"  Is it how we performed for Temple, MSU, UNC, BC, Miami of Ohio, NC State and USC?  Is it how we performed against Georgia, Miami, Wake Forest, Navy and every year but 2012 in the Kelly era?" 
The defense plays reasonably well.  The secondary returns to Wake Forest form.  By the way, is it really a 50/50 jump ball when the other teams receivers always come up with the TD pass?  Why don't we ever win those "jump balls?  Look no further than Durham Smythe in the end zone in this game and ESB or Alize Mack any other game.  The offense is horrendous.  Once again we call slow developing plays, our vaunted offensive line looks like a car being squeezed in a junkyard car crusher, Stevie Wonder* returns as our passing QB (on the rare times Stevie takes off the sunglasses, I mean BW's eyes are shown he looks like a deer in the headlights) and we are  just are not up for a big game. 
To add injury to insult, your tooth hurts like hell.  You call your dentist and agrees to see you on an emergency basis.  He tells you that you have a severely impacted and infected tooth.  He tells you the head coach the tooth has to go.  It is the only way the pain will end.
Exam gradeB+.  The dental hygiene analogy, while quite effective, could've been explored in greater breadth and depth - especially the implicit link to the country's greater healthcare conversation.  How did the patient get the tooth ache in the first place?  Were there preventative steps they could've taken?  What was the role of their insurance provider? Did the patient even have coverage?  How much was the patient's employer picking up?  And given the clear implication that the patient has had a long-term vision problem, would their Health Savings Account funds be better spent on Lasix?  Solid work, Mr. Rasmus, looking forward to seeing you in the graduate level course next semester.
It would explain a lot... 

*BTW, if one would otherwise like to chalk this season up to one massive conspiracy - and I know you're out there - you may have a kindred spirit in Shea Corrigan.  Witness her latest article connecting commonly held conspiracy theories to NBA athletes.   I had no idea that Stevie Wonder could really see. Or that Nic Cage was a 200 year old vampire. 

But the Denver airport as a Portal-to-Hell has always seemed pretty self-evident. 


2      Temple                      W        
9     Georgia                       L - inipalooza VII
16    @Boston College     W 
23    @Michigan State    W
30    Miami (OH)            W   

7      @UNC                       W
21    USC                            W        
28   NC State                   W            

4      Wake Forest             W             
11     @Miami                    L            
18     Navy                          W         
25    @Stanford .              L

The Wager

You say you got a real solution...

(We'd all love to see the plan.)

I don't wish to appear to sound like a sore loser - I was in the 10-Win Club after all - but never has 9 wins and the Trumpian construct of 'loser!' felt more relevant.

But congrats to the Fab Finalists - Seven of you left to see how the $1,200 pot (the most lucrative to-date) gets ultimately won.  The tie-breaker rules will come later but last time it was determined via betting on the 4-5 BCS bowl games, factoring in the spread.  Don't see a reason to move much off that...

Trumpian Rating
12 (3)

Greatest Achievement,
In The History of The World.

Bryan G, Brian M, Joe S
11 (2)
Dave MRaz The Elder
10 (9)

Losers and Nut Jobs,
All Of ‘Em.
Terry, Jay, Lini, JP, John P, Phillip, Ted, Peter B, Daryl
9 (7)
Matt L, Graham C, Mark UShea CDennis RBob JJerry C
8 (10)
Dave G, Kevin C, Jim S, Jerry P, Tim S, Alex SJim B, Brian W,  Spittler the Elder, Blair
7 (10)
Bill B, Jim T, Tim C, Mike CMike G, Jerry W, Kevin M, Tom F,  Ryan CGarrett R
6 (5)
Ray V, Alvin B, John L, Randy Ri, Ward H
5 (2)
Jim R, Randy Ra,

3 or less

Schadenfreude of the Week 

Some big names - and high ranks - go down this week.

Q. So why is there such an empty feeling to this?

A.  Because Stanford should've been at the top of this list.

1.  Miami.   The Cane's loss - to Pitt! -  might be the freudiest event of the year.  Now ya know what it feels like to have a disappointing QB.  And no more garish faux jewelry for you!

2.  Alabama.   Normally, this would be simply yet another example of the topsy-turvy nature of college football 2017.  Okay, it still might.  

I'd like to think its equal parts a) weak schedule karma and b) the merits of an opponent having an actual, creative offensive game plan that - wait for it - remained based in being able to run the ball.   

Terry's Trolls

"1 - 2 - 3 - 4, cretins want to hop some more!
  4 - 5 - 6 - 7, all good cretins go to heaven.

There's no stopping the cretins from hoppin'..."

1.  Tennessee.  Honk if you've been offered the Vols head coach position -  and turned it down.  Surely because all those candidates are waiting for that job in South Bend to open up.

2. NY Giants.  Benching Eli Manning?  He, of the 210 game start streak.  Say it ain't so!  Honestly I don't know if this is a big deal or not but it sure has a great many people upset.  

3. Urban Meyer.   Not that he needs much of a reason to be nominated here, but his bizarre accusation about a TV cameraman hitting his starting QB in the knee during warm ups in a premeditated fashion - calling for an 'all out investigation.'  Shades of Tonya Harding!   Get a grip, Urban.

4.  Alabama.   I suppose the prospect of electing a senator with a historical predilection for pedophilia shouldn't be that surprising for this state.  

And yet, I am.

Final Thought
You ask me for a contribution...

So... next stop, The Tangerine Citrus Bowl?

The hours, they bring me pain...

No comments:

Post a Comment