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Friday, October 19, 2018

Week 7: And Now We Dance

For those of you wondering about The Jerrence's creative process...

Buckle up.  After spending the weekend with the Alumni Hall kids, out for their annual work release, set your expectations appropriately low:  if one thought last week's discourse spiraled down a rabbit hole, wait til you read this.

But now I'm trapped...

Trapped.  And I don't mean left alone in a room after midnight, with the Dark Princes Feifar-Lohn-Ward and a bottle of Jameson's-type trap.  

That's actually just a really poor decision. 

Nor am I thinking of the classic Thucydidian Trap when a rising power - in this case ostensibly Pitt - causes fear in an established power (ostensibly ND) which escalates toward war. 

(I need not remind any of you of when Thucydides wrote: "What made war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta.)

Though one could be excused for thinking Saturday's game was of the common Vizzian trap variety.  

More blunder than product of deception, the Irish performance could be reasonably categorized more accurately as such. 

Which begs the question, is it really even a trap if you can see it coming six months ahead? 

To wit:  

11/29   Stanford - huge home win.

10/6   Va. Tech - huge hostile environment win. 

10/8   Mid-term Exams - unlike at Chapel Hill, they're not imaginary.

10/13   Pitt - TRAP GAME!!!

Well, duh. 

So all in all, as stressful (and disappointing) as the game played out, shouldn't one be willing to cut the team a break for holding it on the road for seven straight weeks even if they don't look like world beaters in every single one of them?

I'd like to think so. 

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence:  While watching Notre Dame’s desultory performance against Pitt, young Jerrence began to think his dreams of an undefeated season were destined to be shattered.  

Fortunately, such fears ultimately proved to be ephemeral.

And without the aid of his trusty sidekick,  Macallan.

Begging the question, is it creepy for a 61 yr. old to hang out with a pre-teen, if said 12 yr. old is Scottish, single and malted?

Quote of the Week 

Kay Corrigan

Okay, mom didn't actually say this - perhaps it was my wife.  Sometimes it's hard to tell, they think a lot alike.  Either way, it's kind of a mean thing to say to a loved one regardless of its basis in truth.

Weekend Review

Dateline:  Union Pier, MI 

You know the weekend is going to be notable when one is not even through the first beer and when you confront the Class Secretary on missing out on a dream cub reporter assignment for The Class of '79 News.  (Apparently the other candidate was a 'better fit' - how many times have I heard that?) All the while tangentially discussing a classmate's email and its inspiration for viable porn star names, albeit in a, um, somewhat trademark-infringing kind of way... 

... for when I finally write that Boogie Nights / Dirk Diggler sequel and resurrect Mark Wahlberg's career so he never has to do another Ted sequel again. 

Young Iowa farm boy:  "My name's Stephen..."
Sleazy Hollywood adult film producer:  "No it isn't.  You're now Chick..."

And that's even before the Dillon guy showed up.

I love these weekends each year.  

Soon they'll be bleary-eyed, under a keg of wine.
Down where the drunkards roll... 

Dateline:  Notre Dame, IN


What starts out to be a great, if otherwise mostly unremarkable, afternoon of tailgating turns... legendary. 

Our Man Flaherty brings Rocky Bleier over to be met. Rocky freaking Bleier.

To be perfectly clear, he wasn't meeting me; quite the other way around. And ever the cool guy under pressure, I immediately revert to my best impression of a teenage school girl meeting Taylor Swift.

Conversation In My Head
Excuse me, Rock, but there's a creepy dude over your right shoulder...

Rocky: Hi, I'm Rocky;  I served as captain on a national championship team before going to Vietnam to serve my country, as one does, where I got part of my foot blown off, earning me a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.  

But after rehab, I came back to serve as Franco Harris's running mate on the 4-Super Bowl winning Steeler dynasty of the '70's.  

How 'bout you?

Terry:  Um, I write a blog.   

Actual Conversation:

Rocky:  Nice to meet you, Terry.
Terry:  Very nice to you as well.

About the game...

1st Quarter

Either I no longer understand, technically speaking, what constitutes an offensive holding penalty or the NCAA has written it out of the rule book when I wasn't paying attention.

Evidently our O-line did not get that memo as they try blocking the old fashioned way - and failing spectacularly.

2nd Quarter

We miss Troy Pride more than I thought, although TaRiq Bracy, playing pretty well, has me thinking I should be considering the JeRRence route, literarily.

Chris Finke = Julian Edelman

3rd Quarter

I happen to mention in passing to The Wife that maybe sorta there was this, um, Endymion float possibility at Mardi Gras this year and, um, the guys were thinking... 

The look I receive - wordless yet expressing everything - is the gaze a dumb farm animal receives... you love them while recognzing they're one of God's simplest creatures.  

They can't help themselves, they were simply born without a lick of critical thinking or common sense.  Her look, equal parts patronizing and dismissive, stings a little.

"So, Lisa... we're good?"

Perhaps I spoke too soon about ND's mastery of the 4th down QB sneak play.

4th Quarter

When the going gets tough, the tough... start looking for the Macallan.

And strike out.  None in the 1842 Club - eek!

I'm so anxious...

Did everyone take notice that on the final, game winning drive, Ian throws the long ball... perfectly.

And more than once.  

That would seem to bode well for the future.

Encouraging 'fun facts' about Ian Book against the blitz:
  • Pitt:  14-17 (82.4%) for 102 yds.
  • First three starts:  13-28 (46.4%) for 179 yds.

And a coach Kelly stat:  17-3 in ND's last 20 games.

Lovely Rita Meter Maid - ND trending...

And this is why I don't endeavor to inch the needle any closer to the darkest BCS playoff chunk of the meter.  Yes, I think we're pretty good - solidly top 10. No, I'm not sure we'll hold it on the road for the final 5 games.  

And if I were to venture a guess, if we don't, we'll be blaming the O-line.

Buddy's Buddy

In a game that lacked a ton of flash - if you discount Nico Fertitta's 'look at me, dad, I'M PLAYING! I'm offside - but I'm playing!' bonehead play that led to Pitt's only semi-legitimate score - it was a little tough identifying anyone for this week.

One person that sprung to mind was Chris Finke; pretty solid all year long and this game, outside of one pretty bad drop, was no exception.  But I suspect he'll be in the winner's circle here before the year's over.

No doubt Miles Boykin, quietly turning into a legitimate stud, as well as others on the defense could be nominated.  But realistically, the nod has to go to Julian Okwara

Just look at his stat line:  8 QB pressures!  Five of them on 3rd down and one on 4th.  

Add to that a third tackle-for-loss and Okwara was primarily responsible for ending seven Pittsburgh drivesseven consecutive if you include a QB hurry on a third-down play in which his classmate Julian Love broke up a pass. 

Okay, maybe he was well rested after getting (rightfully) booted from the Va. Tech game for targeting.  Let's just be happy that occurred in the first half, allowing him to play the entire Pitt game. Whew. 

Wager Time!


AJ Brunett, you're on the clock.

But, if it's any consolation to those with seemingly brighter prospects for pool glory, last week's game likely reminded us all of two things:

1.)   We're dealing with 18-22 year olds - not always the models of consistency.

2.)  We're not Alabama - we don't yet go 2 (or 3) deep where you can lose players and production stays the same.

So... Hope Springs Eternal!  Maybe not so much for the 7-9 win folks (it's hard to see us going worse than 3-2 to end the season) but last year's November debacle remains uncomfortably fresh so who knows...


TC’s Russian Equivalent
ND Connection


Fyodor Dostoevsky

Who doesn’t love a Russian novel?  

What they lack in brevity they make up in ‘set your hair on fire’ pessimism.  

And Fyodor was The Man.  (Anyone who can write "The Idiot" 150 years ago gets my vote for prescient genius.)

11+ wins would be Dostoevsky-like excellence.

Dave M., John P., Brian M., Joe S.


LiniDaryl M.Raz the ElderJayBryanTed



First of all, dogs rule. 

Dogs in Space even more so.  Especially the first, and when they end up giving their lives in such heroic fashion, well... 

Like a 10-2 season, you probably wouldn't have cheered for Laika at the time but in hindsight, you’re more impressed with the outcome than you expected.

JPJerry CiJim T., Dennis, Tim S.,  Jerry P.Graham, Brian W.Kevin C.Peter, Coat-Man, BucksGutschJohn L.Spit the Elder,, Spit the Younger, Ryan


Sergei Federov

Is he the greatest of Russian hockey players?   
400 goals, 554 assists. MVP, Selke winners. 

He’s gotta be in the conversation.  

But, as my (then 10 yr. old) nephew once said, he was “that stinkin’ Federov” for many - so you have to be a little conflicted about him and his impressive career. 

Probably like 9 wins will leave you.

Jerrence, BoseLindonianFeif, Jim S., Jim B.GerardMike C.,  Tim C., Bob J., Pat C., SheaBill B.


Vasily Zaytsev

Battle of Stalingrad.  

Germany v. Russia. 
Two snipers.  

The original Larry Corrigan ‘root for a tie w lots of injuries’ scenario.

(And boy did they deliver on that.)

So, not unlike a 7-8 win season, while you maybe appreciate Vasily's effort - - you really want no part of  the experience. 

Ray, Alex S.,  The Brothers RasmusMike G.Paul B.



Nesting dolls

As a wee lad, I received one of these as a gift from a family friend.  

I can still recall my little WTF confusion... as well as a visceral "you gotta be kidding me" disappointment. 

Not unlike what 5-6 wins would feel like.


4 or less


Any way you look it (him) this is bad. 

Really, really bad.

As would 4 wins.

Schedule - 2018

1      Michigan                          W
8     Ball State                          W        
15    Vanderbilt                       W
22    @Wake Forest               W
29    Stanford                          W

6      @Virginia Tech              W                  
13    Pittsburgh -                     W                      
27   Navy (San Diego)                              

3      @Northwestern -- Razmatazz!                      
10     Florida State                               
17     Syracuse @ Yankee Stadium                              
24    @USC      

Schadenfreude of The Week

It would seem every year there's a weekend like last week's.  Where top teams drop like flies and in a few cases, seemingly 'spitting the bit' in surprising fashion.

Brief digression:  Tim Sullivan's fabulous wedding reception (Riviera Country Club?) and what do I remember most - other than my wife getting hammered before the salad was even served? 

UCLA getting upset that day, opening up (I believe) the top spot for ND.  Funny how the mind works.  

This week's winners.  And by winners I mean spectacular losers: 

1.   Georgia.  Who doesn't enjoy seeing The Next Big Thing getting taken down a notch?  

Always (it seems) of late to be in the top 2-3 in recruiting each year. 

Coach Kirby Smart, a card-carrying Saban disciple... outside of Dabo, he is The Chosen One.  Maybe not.    

2.  Penn State.  In this week's "where's a stadium-swallowing earthquake when ya need it" game, Sparty takes down Penn State.  That I enjoyed it more because it occurred as time was running out speaks to my impressive shallowness.  If schadenfreude was college course curriculum, I'd have a Ph.D. 

3.  Washington.   I bear them no ill will... I think Seattle is pretty cool city.  I like their coach, their uniforms.   No this is just a pragmatic, "nothing personal, just business" selection as I believe this surely puts a nail in the coffin of any PAC12 team receiving consideration for the BCS playoffs.   

And with each ND win, we need those options to disappear. 

 4.  Miami.     Because every week 'The U' loses, the world is just a little better place.  

And to think that I wanted Mark Richt as ND's coach at one point.  

Terry's Trolls

What's most gratifying about this week's luminaries is that they manifest the hallmark of greatness - consistency.  

Almost all of them are repeat offenders honorees.  Some will surely be in the HoT (Hall of Tools) with Lifetime Achievement in their futures, probably sooner rather than later.

Putting the goat in GOAT.

1. Urban Meyer.    Every so often - and for my tastes not often enough by a long shot, the world needs to be reminded of what an amoral tool Urban is.  A guy who'll use his players regardless of whether it's in their best interests or not - a character trait that clearly Nick Bosa has observed.

Read this article.  Thank you, Boston Globe's investigative Spotlight team.  I wish they'd make a movie about this. 
I once caught a fish this big...

2.  Kanye WestGranted you're not the only self-described genius-narcissist in the public eye. Hell, you're not even the only one in your family.  

But would it be asking too much to just once, make sense when you open your mouth?

3.  San Francisco 49'ers.  I believe we can amicably argue the manner of Colin Kaepernick's police violence protest. 

I don't think there should be any debate about his quality of play for a period of time - especially as a Packer fan, where he took us apart in some very high profile playoff games. 

So when the team released a photo gallery last Friday commemorating the franchise’s 68-year history of games against the Pack in the lead up to their matchup on MNF, its initial 48 photos included photos of nearly every notable player to put on a SF jersey from Hall of Famers like Joe Montana and Terrell Owens, to guys like Jeff Garcia. Not included was current NFL pariah Kaepernick.

Jeff Garcia.   

The team has subsequently apologized but still... Jeff Garcia

4.  Houston Astros.  Apparently taking the "we want to be the New England Patriots of MLB" quite literally... 

How wonderfully ironic to have the Red Sox take them down.

5.  Manny Machado.  Not. An. Accident.   

Cocktail of the Month

Have you noticed that ND seems to have, increasingly, Saturday night games?

Grwoing up, that used to be movie night, as in Saturday Night At The Movies, where one could see the classics - Hitchcock, Cukor, Edwards, Nichols.

Now, when you turn on that Saturday night football game, do you think to yourself, "I'm gonna see a classic."  

More likely, if it involved ND, at least in recent years, the line of thinking was probably more like "I'm going to be robbed of 3 1/2 hours of my life that I'm never getting back."

Speaking of robbery - and at least fighting back...

Taxi Screw-Driver
Taxi Driver (1976)
Directed by Martin Scorsese

Buckle up for a frightening film that won innumerable accolades (though, curiously, no Oscars) and permanently placed De Niro and Scorsese at the top of the list of Hollywood's toughest talents. 

Tracing the downward spiral of Travis Bickle, whose career behind the wheel is a far cry from his days in Vietnam, Taxi Driver also brought a thirteen-year old Jodie Foster to prominence.  

Not to be out-acted by his middle school co-star, De Niro was so 'method,' he reportedly got his cab license in his spare time - when he wasn't improvising one of the most quoted pieces of dialogue ever - "You talkin' to me?"

This rough ride inspires a blood(y)-orange take on a classic cocktail.
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 6 oz. blood orange juice
  • Blood orange wedge, for garnish
Hide your car keys, pour the vodka and gin over ice in a highball glass, and top with the blood orange juice.  Give it a quick stir and garnish with the wedge of the orange.

Final Thought

When everyone talks about ND not playing in a conference and not playing that all-important 13th game to earn their BCS Playoff bona fides, why does no one ever bring up that, unlike any other Power 5 'elite', ND doesn't play an FCS patsy game?