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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Week 10: Late For The Sky

"How long have I been dreaming I could make it right
If I closed my eyes and tried with all my might..."

Jay Leno once quipped, "Why do they call dead people 'late'?  They're not late.  They're not coming..."

Not dead, just resting.
Which was pretty much how one could've described the ND football team on October 27th (and up until :29 left in November 2nd's game).

And yet, here we are.  

Home winning streak intact (if not the sellout streak).  New Year's Day Bowl Game still a possibility, albeit slim.  10 or 11 win season.  30-6 over the last three years - not too shabby.  

And arguably the most impressive, complete game the Irish have played all year.  Wow.  What a difference a month makes.  

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph

Young Jerrence stared at the TV, wondering if was dreaming, having a psychotic break or merely trapped in a bizarro parallel universe. 

Who was this fellow wearing the dark blue #12 jersey?

This couldn't possibly be Ian Book.  Or at least the 2019 version of Ian Book.  The Book that Jerrence knew was a nice, diffident young man - surely liked by teammates and classmates alike - but otherwise unremarkable in almost every way.

The QB that Jerrence saw on his screen was most certainly remarkable - decisional, running with abandon and dropping dimes to his receivers 40 yards away.

"I gotta start laying off the day drinking," Jerrence thought to himself.

Quote of The Day

"So I just want to say about these characters...  

...that they once loved each other, but now they hate each other... 

...but underneath, love, but on top, hate.

Love, hate.

So, see what I'm saying? 

Love, hate, love hate..."

Woody Allen to Stanley Tucci & Oliver Platt
The Imposters

Love the opponent, hate the game.  I hate it when the games are close - THEY SHOULD NEVER BE CLOSE - and I hate it when it's a blowout 'cause invariably they flash up a picture of one of the scrappy Navy players in his military uni and one is immediately reminded that "shit be getting real" for those guys once the game is over.  

And I'm filled with more than a little bit of self-loathing for caring so much about beating them.  And the end-of-game camaraderie reminds me there's probably not a greater collection of high character kids on a field at one time (unless it's involving the other military academies).   

And I love it.   Love hate love hate.

Game Observations

"Making friends for the world to see...
Let the people know you got what you need..."

The following paragraph is a complete lift of last week - for, hopefully, obvious reasons:

Don't get me wrong, Saturday was a blissfully stress-free, albeit unfamiliar,  viewing experience.  But even that doesn't come without some associated "where the f*** has this been all year" angst.  (I'm looking at you, offense,  since the D has been, more or less, pretty steady.)

Is it fair to say this is the team - minimally the QB - we thought we were supposed to be getting all year long?  

Other random thoughts:   

Other thoughts:

1.  Pop quiz.  When is the last time we went a game without a false start?  

Nice to see we got the obligatory penalty out of the way ON THE FIRST SERIES.  

2.  Tackling.  As much as I've complained about the lack of consistency of tackling this year, they were pretty spot on this game - and they needed to be.

Freedom, indeed. 

3.  Braveheart.   Chase is rockin' the William Wallace look - and it's totally fitting 'cause he is a freakin' warrior.   

Can you say 'Team MVP'?  

4. Slingin' Sammy Book.  As my good friend and confidant Al Brunett would say when I hit the occasional competent golf shot, "Where's my friend Terry and what did you do with him?" - suggesting an alien abduction or benign spectral takeover.  

Best. Pass. Ever. 
To be fair, a line of inquiry not wholly without justification.  

The same could be said for Our Man Book - the guy is just letting it rip.  

And boy, is it looking sweet.

5.  Coach Lea.  For years, I've wondered why we struggle playing defense against Navy - it's not like they've changed their offensive scheme in the last 20 years.  But coach Lea certainly seems to have figured it out - huzzah! - but it sure helps to have...

6. Speed Kills.  ... fast, athletic guys on D.   Years past we never would've caught that wiley Navy QB.  Guys like Owusu_Koramoah and Hamilton - what a difference they make.

7.  Halftime.  By 38-7, the game was no longer fun.  Who enjoys watching humiliation being delivered to a team you respect, cheer for, every other week of the year?  I don't.

8. The Jurkovic Referendum .  I'm a Kelly fan but... would it kill him to put his #2 QB in the game when there's a little more at stake?  Minimally where he could play with some of the starters?

9. Doug Flutie.  This'll probably get me bounced from every ND Nation secret society (except probably from the ahead-of-the-curve free thinking oddballs who were General Program majors) but I quite enjoyed his reminiscing over BC's 47-45 victory vs. Miami.  (Which, might've been my Schadenfreude Coming of Age game.)

And y'all do understand that NBC is not ND State TV, don't you?  Actually I'm pretty sure many don't.

10.  Best ~10 Minutes of the Season.  

When the two teams participate in each other's school alma mater songs.  

Question of the Week

So... this week the decades-long (and almost certainly inflated) stadium sell-out streak came to an end.  Personally, I think the administration has a fundamental pricing problem.  When you look at who we play at home these days, it's clear they also have a scheduling problem  

So, from this week's Athletic Mailbag...

Over the past couple years rumors have floated that big donors bought up extra tickets to keep the sellout streak alive. Did the athletic department just decide it was enough of the ruse? Am I completely making that up? I’m just having trouble understanding how the streak ended during a top-25 matchup in a potential 11-win season, but it continued through November 2016. — Mike E.
You’re not making this up. Notre Dame would ask donors and/or sponsors for help with the sellout streak. The issue this time was Notre Dame was going to have to ask multiple times for help with the streak and didn’t want to go there. I was surprised Notre Dame didn’t try this last weekend as the stadium was roughly 3,000 short of a sellout.
You referenced the 2016 season, which was obviously terrible. But look at that schedule compared to this year. Notre Dame played three home games in September and just six total home games. This year was seven home games with three in November. There was only one “buy game” in Nevada instead of two this year in Bowling Green and New Mexico. There was only one home game in November instead of three. Think about this in terms of the ticket office. What’s easier to do, fill an 80,000-seat stadium once or to fill it three times, meaning you have to get 240,000 people to sit through 40-degree temperatures? The back-to-back home games in November against teams that don’t draw on their own was the killer. Notre Dame knew this was coming back in August, too.
It is crazy that a top-25 game ended the sellout streak, but it’s not like we’re talking about Notre Dame-Clemson. That will be a top-25 game, too. And I’m pretty sure it will sell out just fine, with the top face value ticket at least $300 (and maybe more). As for that Oct. 31 home game with Duke and that Nov. 21 home game with Louisville? Those might be tough tickets to move.

Buddy's Buddy

Now for something completely different - award recognition in three stages.  Am I that indecisive?  Life is about hard choices, Jerrence.

Perhaps. Or maybe I just feel like channeling my inner Oprah.

"You get a winner! And you get a winner!  And you get a winner..." 

In any event, I'll forget these other candidates almost surely within a week - befitting our immediately disposable, planned obsolescence society - and anyways, these inductees are time-sensitive:

I.  The Player.  Once again, Chase Claypool, Man Among Boys.  What else needs to be said?

II.  The Defender.  What better occasion to call out all the men and women of our military than this week, playing Navy around Veterans Day?  And who better to represent this group than Brian Duffy, a young man a few of us met at Stayer Lot a few weeks ago.  

The following The Athletic article by Pete Sampson - yes, I'm sorry for posting a paid site's material but it's for all the right reasons -  gives you some insight what a special fellow all of these guys are: 

Brian Duffy hurried into the Loftus Center on a Wednesday morning last March, his pace belying the fact he was actually 15 minutes early. Duffy, a Notre Dame sophomore, is always meticulous about his schedule, but this day, when the Fighting Irish were holding their walk-on tryouts, 15 minutes early seemed late. As a 33-year-old active Navy SEAL, carrying a full course load and hell-bent on making the Irish football team, Duffy really has no other choice but to stick to a rigid regimen. His schedule already included being a husband and father, with a two-year-old daughter at home and another on the way.

Duffy was a cornerback, wingback, punt returner and kicker at Lassen High in Susanville, California, back in 2003. The undersized high school senior, tucked away in the remote northwest corner of the state, in the only incorporated town in all of Lassen County, didn’t exactly carry the markers of a Notre Dame walk-on. At 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds with a GPA south of 3.0, he was a far cry from the typical honor student sturdy enough to be a tackling dummy. 

Yet here he was, 15 years older and just five pounds heavier, inside Notre Dame’s indoor practice facility, ready to take on the future accountants and engineers also seeking the honor of being run over, run by and thrown down by the likes of Cole Kmet and Khalid Kareem. Overaged and undersized, Duffy still held a distinct advantage: No one else had survived BUD/S training at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado or served two Mideast deployments with SEAL Team 7. 

This challenge was different, though. Football is a game of muscle memory and repetition, of instinctive action when there’s no time to think. To recapture his football skills, Duffy had been running routes with walk-on quarterback J.D. Carney, who along with sophomores TaRiq Bracy and Jayson Ademilola had been summer school classmates. What was the worst that could happen, anyway?

“All they can say is no. I’m back in the same position that I was then,” Duffy says, before betraying his true feelings. “Every time I step onto a field, I feel at home. That’s the place I need to be.”

A lifelong Notre Dame fan, Duffy had grown up on a steady rotation of Rockne and Rudy. Now trying to embody the role of underdog, he was banking on the tryout being a grueling endurance test, maybe some puking, probably some screaming. In other words, just another day for a Navy SEAL. 

Instead, he performed three stations, some agility and footwork drills before a 20-yard shuttle to cap it off. That was it. 

Still, Duffy left Loftus cautiously optimistic that he had made the team and would become the oldest known walk-on — and the first active Navy SEAL — in Notre Dame football history.

The next day he got an email from Director of Player Personnel Dave Peloquin to swing by the football offices. Unsure what the meeting would reveal, Duffy hurried into the Guglielmino Center and up the stairs.  He barely had time to catch his breath before Peloquin told him the staff liked what it saw. Duffy had made the team.

“It probably felt the same as when I got the SEAL trident pinned on my chest,” Duffy says. “Hearing those words, it was awesome. Achieving your dream and all the work it takes to do that, it’s a cool feeling.”

And to think it almost worked out that way. 

In a just world, Duffy would be running out of the Notre Dame Stadium tunnel this Saturday, a Navy SEAL facing Navy in a fitting finish to the week celebrating our nation’s 100th Veterans Day. His would be the kind of story NBC broadcasters would spend an entire quarter telling. Instead, Duffy will watch from the bleachers, having been denied an eligibility waiver when the NCAA determined his clock had expired. The reason: his short stint playing for Shasta College a decade ago. 

Although the legend of Notre Dame’s most unlikely walk-on came to an abrupt end mere weeks after it started, Brian Duffy still has a story to add to Notre Dame’s history with the military, a relationship interwoven over more than 150 years. And Duffy is determined to be more than an obscure footnote.

Notre Dame’s connection to the military dates back to the Battle of Gettysburg, when Rev. William Corby gave absolution to the Union troops in 1863 with the fight underway. Three years later — decades from the birth of Notre Dame football — Corby would become Notre Dame’s president. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart, inscribed with “God, Country, Notre Dame” in stone above the World War I Memorial door, would be built during his two terms.

Walk through that door and the hanging light fixture is the World War I doughboy helmet of Notre Dame president Rev. Charles O’Donnell, a former war chaplain. Notre Dame’s connection to the Naval Academy was cemented almost 30 years later when the South Bend campus became “Annapolis West.” More than 10,000 troops trained at Notre Dame during World War II, keeping the school in business in the process.

Some of these stories are well told, reflex explanations for why Notre Dame has played Navy every season since 1927. President Rev. Theodore Hesburgh once said Navy would have a place on Notre Dame’s schedule as long as Navy wanted it. That was true in his life. It continues to be true after his death in 2015. 

Duffy’s Notre Dame connections aren’t etched in stone or regaled on campus tours, but they are as firmly rooted as any. His father Stephen attended Notre Dame in the 1970s as part of the Naval ROTC program and was a helicopter pilot who was once deployed in Antarctica. He died in an aviation accident when Duffy was two years old. Duffy also had an older cousin go through the ROTC program at Notre Dame. 

For his 21st birthday, his mother bought Duffy tickets for the 2007 Notre Dame-USC game. Notre Dame lost 38-0 in its worst defeat in the series and would finish 3-9. Duffy stayed true to the Irish, just the same. He attended a few more games when he could take leave from his duties, including Notre Dame’s 2012 win at USC that put the Irish in the BCS National Championship Game.

“Much like the Ruettiger family, it was a very thick tradition with Notre Dame,” Duffy says.

But fandom does not get an average high school student who attended three different community colleges into Notre Dame. Duffy jokes, at least partially, that his 2.7 GPA in junior college required a bunch of gym credits to get it even that high. Duffy was banking on a life experience unlike almost any other applicant, along with some good timing and an assist from former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn.

Even then, Notre Dame still needed to figure out how to make this all work. He was, by every traditional measure, not Notre Dame material. And Duffy knew that to be true, even as he enrolled in the Navy’s Seaman To Admiral program, an initiative that helps active service members become officers through college scholarships. 

Duffy’s military career after two deployments to the Middle East had plateaued. He was the lowest-ranking SEAL while at Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) in Homestead, Fla. Although still a valued asset — assisting Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen in South America and operating as a country officer in the Caribbean — Duffy wanted to be more than just another guy in the unit. He wanted a position of command, and he wanted more stability in his life to make his long-distance relationship with then-fiancée Michelle more local.

Duffy set reasonable sights on San Diego State and the University of San Diego, where Michelle was living. For kicks, he weighed Texas, a part of the country where he had always wanted to live. But he balked on the dream.

“My mentor just told me, ‘Duff, go big. Ride your hot streak.’ ” Duffy said. “There was no way I could get into Notre Dame out of high school. But I thought let’s give it a shot.”

Just as Duffy was struggling to figure out how to get into Notre Dame, the school was finalizing a program to admit people like Duffy into the student body. To walk the walk of “God, Country, Notre Dame,” the school hired former Marine Regan Jones in early 2017 as Director of Military and Veterans Affairs, a new initiative focused on better serving Notre Dame’s military connections.

During a November campus visit two years ago, Duffy, now dead set on attending Notre Dame, barged into Jones’ office while he was still unpacking boxes. The SEAL explained that he didn’t know how to get into the school; the Marine admitted that he was still learning, too. 

“It was just, ‘Hey, I’m Brian Duffy. I want to go to school here. I’m in the Navy. I’m just visiting campus,’ ” Jones remembers. “I’m thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, this is why I’m here.’ It was serendipitous.”

A few days before the Nov. 11 Miami game, Duffy again met with Jones, who brought in the university’s director of transfer enrollment, Erin Camilleri, to help them figure out how his unique application made sense for Notre Dame.

“Then I went down to the Grotto to light a candle and wait,” Duffy says. “I was hoping that Notre Dame was going to value life experience over test scores, because my test scores don’t compare to any of the students here.”

Duffy would leave Notre Dame without an answer. Six weeks later, he was back home in Florida, still waiting as a Navy deadline to make a decision neared. Preoccupied by uncertainty, Duffy was involved in a minor traffic accident just North of Miami on Dec. 20. As he sat in his green Chevy Colorado awaiting a ticket from the police officer behind him, he checked his phone and saw an e-mail from Notre Dame’s admissions department.

“I’m sitting there bummed about getting a traffic ticket,” Duffy says, “but then I didn’t really care.”

He was in. 

Concurrent with applying for admission, Duffy also entered the Warrior Scholar Project, a national program that serves as an academic boot camp for military members, with Notre Dame as an outpost. The two-week seminar was staged before his first semester. The first week was a political science intensive, with the second week STEM based.

Quinn, an advocate for veterans, counts the Warrior Scholar Project among his causes. And he makes a point of being around the event at Notre Dame. That’s when Duffy met Quinn, during a tour of the football facilities and stadium. 

“When we’re doing introductions, he asked where everybody was from,” Duffy says. “When he got to me, I just said, ‘From the plot of Rudy.’ ”

When Duffy mentioned that he wanted to walk onto the football team, Quinn told him he’d make some calls and advised him to put on some weight. Then Duffy started working out to bulk back up.

“The first thing that stood out was how extremely focused and hard-working he was during Warrior Scholar, the questions he was asking, the goals he was setting,” Quinn says. “It felt like he had the type of material to thrive at Notre Dame and could be a really huge asset to the student body with his experience.”

As for impacting Notre Dame football, well, that would be a little more complicated.

Duffy walked toward the north tunnel of Notre Dame Stadium last April before the Blue-and-Gold game. He was almost at peace about not being able to walk onto the football team, because he still hoped to join in another way. Duffy thought he might be able to help in the weight room. Or maybe he could just share his experiences as a SEAL with a team where war and battle are simply metaphors.

As Duffy approached the entrance, an usher stood outside the gate, the one with a gold football helmet available for fans who want to snap a picture dressed like a Notre Dame football player. Of course, Duffy took his turn. 

“I never give up the opportunity to put on a football helmet,” Duffy says. “Just a great feeling.”

When Duffy handed the helmet back to the usher, he mentioned he was supposed to be running out of the tunnel that afternoon with the rest of the team. The usher, numb to those kinds of fantasies, nodded and kept the line moving. Sure. Right. There are no 5-foot-8, middle-aged walk-ons. 

“I was bummed out,” Duffy says, recalling watching the Blue-and-Gold game, “because it had obviously been a dream of mine to play here.”

Even Duffy’s consolation dream — to find another way to help the program — began to wane. Over the summer, contact with the program’s support staff dropped off. The spring semester had been a grind anyway, Michelle was eight months pregnant and his calculus course served as a harsh reminder of how much academic ground he still had to cover. Still Duffy kept checking in with the program. Some would call it pestering. Duffy would call it persistence.

Then, in late July, Duffy was coming home from a summer school course when Peloquin called to say he might have an internship open on the strength staff. Duffy was thrilled, eager to work the morning shift and the afternoon practices, as much as he could take. After a few weeks, he dialed back the double duty to mornings or afternoons, a concession to the fact that Duffy isn’t the standard college student anymore. With two kids, home front means something else now.

This fall, Duffy’s work consists mainly of assisting injured players on extra exercises. He helped Kmet through a broken collarbone. He worked with Jafar Armstrong during his abdominal recovery. In early November, he began tending to Jack Lamb, whose season had ended with a hip injury against Virginia Tech.

“I enjoy every minute, even if I’m not really a morning person,” Duffy says. “Getting to know the guys and the leadership styles of different coaches, you learn how to approach different players in different ways.”

In the end, what could have been the greatest walk-on story in Notre Dame history won’t have a Hollywood ending. Duffy plans to continue working with the football program through his graduation next fall, when he’ll walk away with a bachelor’s degree in political science. No, his role isn’t what he dreamed of in his California backyard or at his outposts in Iraq. Duffy has come to terms with all that; his Notre Dame experience is all extra. As has been the case for the last 12 years, his sense of duty and honor outweighs any notion of glory. God, Country, Notre Dame.

And as for Notre Dame football, well, the program felt a sense of duty to honor Brian Duffy the best they knew how.

Before kickoff of the 93rd meeting between Notre Dame and Navy this Saturday, Duffy will stand in the south end zone, aside three other military-connected students, to present the American flag to the Irish Guard. Duffy would be hard-pressed to find a more meaningful assignment.

“The flag means more to me than a lot of other people,” Duffy says.

The band will play “America, The Beautiful” first. Next, the “Star-Spangled Banner” as the Irish Guard raises Old Glory. 

Brian Duffy will stand at attention in the end zone, salute the flag, and then finally walk off. 

III.  The True Professional.  Perhaps a few of you recall my prior references to a certain fondness toward those in the Down Syndrome world - an affection and empathy born out of growing up with an irrepressibly happy (and charismatic) Downs kid living across the street in NJ, as well as working at The Logan Center freshman year of college.

Introducing Brandon Matthews.  Please take 5 minutes to read this article about this relatively non-descript golf pro who had a lot on the line in a recent tournament, was undermined by an enthusiastic if well intentioned fan and...  how wonderfully he handled it.    

Your life will be better and happier for investing the time to read this.  You da man, Brandon.  

The late, great Buddy (as well as fellow Temple alum Jim Thompson and former Temple prof Dr. Tím Tím) would be proud of your academic lineage.

Cocktail of the Week

Continuing on with a sea-related theme:

And somehow, a Village People "In the Navy" reference really feel quite... appropriate.

Lord Jim Beam
Lord Jim (1900)
By Joseph Conrad

From Herman Melville to Jules Verne, writers of yesteryear loved to send their men out to sea - and then churn the waters.  Conrad is no exception, and though critics initially dismissed this former seaman's work as waterlogged, teachers are still assigning Lord Jim today.

Based on a true story about a sinking ship abandoned by its crew, this timeless tale of guilt, redemption and shipwrecks asks difficult questions about how you'd react in a do-or-die situation.    (Hint: Throw a life preserver before grabbing your own floatie.)

Bust out a tiki torch for this tropical cocktail that's fit for a captain - whether or not you actually deserve it..  

*  2 oz. Jim Beam bourbon
*  2 oz. pineapple juice 
*  1 oz. cinnamon syrup
*  1 oz. orgeat syrup
*  1/2 oz. lime juice
*  Cinnamon stick, for garnish

Combine all the liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake for 5 seconds and double strain into a Collins glass over ice.  

Light a cinnamon stick on fire (think Survivor), blow it out so it glows like a smoke signal, and drop it into the drink to garnish.  

Source:  Are You There God? It's Me, Margarita
by Tim Federle

Wager 2019 - Taking the Leap..

                                                                          "It's closing time..."

10 wins are looking a lot more doable now, aren't they?  And with the two most recent wins being by 31 and 32 points, can we please crush BC - yet another school with a bye before playing us - by 33?

TC’s Keanu Analogy
ND Connection

The Matrix
 Okay, so I didn't entirely get this film's concept - just like I probably won't understand if / how we get to 11+ wins.  

But in our 'ends justify the means' world, who cares?  We won't.  The film's financial backers certainly didn't... 

Brian M
John P
Pat B

Spit the       Elder
Jim S
Daryl M
Dave M
Peter B
Paul B


 If one viewed this film in greater esteem, I wouldn't disagree.  I mean, Keanu + Sandy Bullock + Dennis Hopper + Jeff Daniels?  Hello...

The point is, like this film, 10 wins would be considered very satisfying to if not all, a lot of folks,  including me.

Dave G.
Bryan G
Tim C
Kevin C
Joe S
Bob J
Spit the  Younger
Jim B
Ward H
Jerry W
Tom F
Tim S
Mike G
Brian W
Dennis R
Ryan C


John Wick
 All you need to know is they killed his dog. Even for the professional hit man, that's harsh. 

All bets are off after that. 

Like this movie, a 9 win season will leave you conflicted - it could've been so much better.

But damn there's some fun bits mixed in.

Bill B.
Jim T.
Jerry P
Mike C.
Joel G.
Kevin M
Alex S
Gary H


Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Will you be happy with a 'regression to the mean' type season?

Of course not.

Just like I had such high hopes for this film - utterly ridiculous in every way possible, where one walks out thinking "WTF was that?" -- similar to a 7-8 win season.

John L
Ray V



Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
No one would ever call this great cinema but it was a bit of launching point for Keanu - and that's what one would hope 5 wins would be for ND... something to build on.


4 or less
The Replacements
Not, in fact, a bio-pic of the influential Minneapolis band (which, Keanu as Paul Westerberg would be BRILLIANT) - but rather a really bad football flick, even Keanu couldn't save this disaster.  

Honestly, there's no defense for this movie - just like a 4 win season.

Schedule - 2019

2      @ Louisville                W                    
14     New Mexico                W          
21    @ Georgia                     L                 
28    Virginia                        W                            

5      Bowling Green            W                           
12    USC                               W                                          
19     OPEN                                   
26   @ Michigan                  L                             

2      Va. Tech                       W                                  
9      @ Duke                        W                                  
16     Navy                            W
23    Boston College                                          
30    @ Stanford                          

Schadenfreude of The Week

The games get bigger.  (Unless you're Alabama whereby you've chosen a scrimmage this week against a scrimmage vs. Western Carolina this week).

By the by, if one is jonesing for BCS changing results (and the potential to revel in dreams being dashed), this time of year is truly holiday time!

So - this week...

1.  Minnesota.  Haven't those poor Minnesotans suffered enough?  First of all, they're surrounded about Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota and Canada.  Not exactly cultural nirvana.  Their coach has them rowing a boat which, thematically, is totally fitting given all the lakes in the state - who can't get behind that analogy?  

And doesn't everyone love an underdog?  In the Big 10, actually yes.  And yet, I can find some semblance of comfort in having The Flavor of the Month slapped down.  

It is my super power. 

2. Auburn.   If one were, cynically, all about ND's advance up the polls at any cost - hello, of course I am have you not been paying attention - last week's game was a win-win:  Auburn loses while taking out Bama's QB for the season, jeopardizing their BCS playoff chances.  

(To be clear, we're not celebrating Tua's injury.  Just the Tide no longer looking like such a sure thing.)

3.  Michigan State.   For the first time - ever? - there's rumblings that Dantonio's job could be in jeopardy.   Which is so perfect for college football these days:  embedding a criminal / amoral culture in your program isn't a firing offense.  Just losing.

4.  Stanford.   The only problem with continually celebrating Stanford's weekly ineptitude is that our Thanksgiving weekend game with them becomes THEIR SEASON.  Oh well, I'll worry about that next week.

Terry's Trolls

With similar minimal fanfare:  

1)  Nick Saban.   As I believe I've made myself clear, I am not a Saban hater.  I find him merely to be at the highly evolved end of the simple creature that is The Football Coach, College genus.   

The game is a near immediate route and yet you continue to play your banged up star QB.  Even when you're up 35-7 in the 2nd quarter, keep playing him!   And now your star QB is gone for the season. 

Live by the sword, die by the sword, coach.  

2)  ND Fans.  For all you simple creatures who whinged over how NBC focused so much about the difficulty of  Navy's curriculum without giving ND equal coverage, please go back down into your mother's basement and stay off the internet - you're embarrassing yourselves.

First of all, Navy's workload is badass.  (And their endgame isn't scoring a job w Apple, it's next stop Fallujah.)  Secondly, ND's academic chops get touted every other freaking home game.

The first rule of Epstein Club is... 
3)  Prince Andrew.  Andy, it sounds like your interview about your association with Jeffrey Epstein didn't go down so well in Blighty. 

In hindsight, using the "I couldn't have been having sex with a teenager at the time, I was at a children's birthday party at Pizza Express in Woking" - might've been something of a tactical error.

Woking?  Really?  

(To paraphrase former senator Lloyd Bentsen, I've been to Woking and you don't know Woking.)

Next time try Knightsbridge or Kensington, it'll be more believable.  Not really believable, just more believable.

Final Thought

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