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Friday, November 29, 2019

Week 11: Farewell To Arms

I want to be Jackie Onassis
I want to wear a pair of dark sunglasses...

"After my date with tragedy
I'll let Onassis take care of me..."

Let us recall that old chestnut, "What's the difference between a Notre Dame and Boston College student?"

One of them got into Notre Dame.

Ah, the delusional  aspirations of New England youth.  I want to be Jackie Onassis.  

Some aspirations are just simply out of reach.

Ironically, to attend an ND game at Chestnut Hill is to wallow among an impressive collection of well healed, crewneck cable knit sweater wearin' cretins you wouldn't find outside of Ann Arbor.

But for Jerrence, Boston brings back nothing but great memories of two years communing with those locals... even as an indigent grad student, living in a pricey town where most bars had a dress code (no jeans allowed?  In Iowa they were happy if you were wearing pants at all) and the beers cost more than an entire six pack of Old Style.

"Man down! Man down!"
Since those days, I've been often asked, "weren't you nervous about living in a house with entry level auditors and a software salesman - they can be a pretty rough crowd - and their seedy friends, showing up at all hours of the night, with their fancy designer laundry basket luggage and their expensive high gloss magazines..."

My answer would always be, "Child, please.  Need I remind you?  801 St. Louis. And a group of reprobates with names like Ace.  Dealer.  Jug-head. Little Wastie Shit. 

And Coat Man.  (Can you, dear reader, even fathom what's it's like to live with a superhero?  The mood swings alone - "am I a menace to Society or Society's only hope?") 

Answer:  It depended on whether sambuca was involved.

So bring it on, Boston.  Which I imagine was Notre Dame's attitude last weekend.

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph

Young Jerrence recalled walking down the 10th fairway of Old Elm Golf Club a few years ago where the discussion had turned to the topic of one's favorite words that started with the letter 'o.'

Unusual?  Not so much when one considers the other contributors, Rasmus and Castellini.

The chat was longer than one might've thought - 'o' words are a surprisingly fertile group. 

Jerrence thought of this as he considered the significant turnaround the ND football team had made over the last three weeks, in particular it's QB and slot receiver, the chief recipients of constant (and valid) fan opprobrium.  A win-win, Jerrence thought.  Those guys get to end the year on a high note and he gets re-visit the treasure trove that is 'O' land.

Quote of The Day

"For us, there is only the trying.  The rest is not our business." 
T.S. Eliot

Here's the deal:  ND football is going to continue to pay for that October no-show for the rest of the year, and probably beyond that.  If one wishes to hang onto that ugliness, be my guest. (Lord knows the players have to live with the "woulda coulda shoulda" for the rest of their lives.)

What's impressive is that, collectively, the team hasn't hung it up.  The effort... the production has improved - to a dramatic "where the hell has that been all year" effect.  Which brings with it its own associated frustrations.

So a radical thought:  try to enjoy going (hopefully) 11-2, going undefeated at home, probably a top 10 finish and an awesome tailgate season.  

I am.

Game Observations
"It's not enough
For you to save me..."

Thoughts on the final home game...

1.  31, 32, 33...  Notre Dame's margin of victory the last three games (can we get 34 pts. this week?) and yet, we moved backward one spot in the polls.

So no, it's indeed clearly not enough.
2.  False starts.  Coach Quinn.  Offensive line. I am no longer amused.  

And for those involved in the impending bowl game / wager tie breaker, there will be a 'guess the # of ND false starts in the game" question.  

Hint:  Currently, they're averaging almost three per game.  Good Lord.

3.  Lenzy.   The kid's had three TD's of over 50 yards.  Do you think it might be worth getting him, say, 5-6 touches a game?   

4. Finke.  If we're gonna complain about the kid for half the season, we have to give him his props when he turns it around.  

And he has. 

He's been really good since The Game That Shall Not Be Spoken.  (Apparently, it helps to actually be healthy.)

5.  Senior Day.  While I will never quite understand why ND doesn't consistently play better on this day - Saturday being a notable exception - I love the pre-game introductions involving the parents.  

I wish NBC showed more of it - it just reminds you how far so many of these kids have come as students and the pride the moms and dads have, decked out in all their ND gear.  

Way cool.

6. "Weren't you... the kicker?"  How often does a pre-season worry become a don't even-think-about-it given for success?  Consider this: Jon Doerer is 10-for-11 on FG's attempts, dating back to the Bwling Green game with four of those kicks from 45+ yards.

7.  Depth.  Back during the halcyon days of September, when one celebrated close losses to presumed SEC giants, one of the chief criticisms of the ND program was its lack of depth, relative to those teams.  

Gotta say, that doesn't seem to be the problem with our D-line... starters get hurt and someone else, typically with a name I cannot pronounce, rolls right in.  

That, along w recent recruiting, bodes very well for the future.

Question of the Week

One of the things I like about The Athletic subscription - and the ND coverage - is Pete Sampson's weekly fielding of questions that didn't quite occur to me.  See one such below - ND Nation bitches about Kelly never winning The Big One; nobody mentions much that he doesn't get the opportunity to play The Big One on his turf.  Is that the consequence of maintaining one's independence (and being at the mercy of other's schedule)?  

Or perhaps, maybe, Jack isn't so savvy after all.  

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

I’ve been doing some thinking about the Brian Kelly era and one stat that I believe has hurt the program is Notre Dame has played just one top-10 opponent in Notre Dame Stadium over the last 10 years. And that was Stanford last year. In the previous two decades, there were nine such games — so there has been an epic drought of big games in Notre Dame Stadium during the Kelly era. These are important program building opportunities because a solid top 10-15 level team can beat anyone at home (see Auburn).
Based on the way Notre Dame has performed at home against top-20 teams over the last three years, I’m very confident Notre Dame can beat any program at home — including Clemson. Am I crazy to think just changing the location of big games to northern Indiana will impact the result?
Great question. You’re right, the Stanford game last year was not only Brian Kelly’s lone win over a top-10 team at home, it was the only time Notre Dame even played a top-10 team at Notre Dame Stadium during the past decade. It’s part of the reason why this 18-game winning streak can feel like empty calories compared to Notre Dame’s past. So although it’s true Notre Dame has finished back-to-back seasons unbeaten at home, a first since a three-year run from 1987 to ’89, it’s worth remembering who Notre Dame beat during that Lou Holtz era compared to today.
Notre Dame was 5-0 against top-10 teams at home during that three-year run. It went 10-2 overall against top-10 teams. Compare that to Kelly’s entire decade at the helm, in which Notre Dame is 3-7 against top-10 teams. Both the losing record and the number of top-10 tests are significant there.
Holtz played more top-10 teams in his first three seasons than Kelly will have faced in his entire tenure, assuming the Irish don’t somehow draw a top-10 team in the Camping World Bowl. Over his entire Notre Dame run, Holtz went 9-3 at home against top-10 teams. Kelly is 1-0. That’s it.
If you’re like me, a believer that the best part of sports are the memories, that’s a decade of home games that is incredibly short on potential moments. There’s been nothing close to Miami ’88 or Florida State ’93 or Michigan ’90. Heck, it’s why the biggest win of the Charlie Weis era was actually that ’05 loss to USC. Beating Georgia two years ago would have felt big. Beating Clemson next year definitely would. Do I think that Notre Dame’s home field advantage will be enough to finally get this program over the line against an elite team? I’d give Notre Dame a puncher’s chance, same as the games against Georgia. But the issue with all this is less about Kelly’s record against elite teams and more about the lack of opportunities to play them. When the athletics director says that it’s harder to win now than in 1988, this is quite a rebuttal of evidence.

Buddy's Buddy

Ever hear the concept of Occam's Razor?  It's the problem-solving principle that states 'entities should not be multiplied without necessity.'  Attributed to the English Franciscan friar William of Ockham, a scholastic philosopher and theologian who used a preference for simplicity to defend the idea of divine miracles.  

"Take Clemson and the points..."
In practical usage - I mean, really, how many divine miracles, beyond Peter's Bloody Mary's, is one actually encountering in a given week - is to say that, basically, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

Buddy was an acolyte.  Nothing too complicated for him.  

So as one ponders last week's game he'd likely offer this:  the stars of the game are the most obvious.  Those right in front of you.

Hiding in plain sight.

The few. The proud. 
The football game, while pleasing, proved to be ultimately pretty unremarkable.  Boston College just isn't very good.

But the Stayer tailgate, unlike our team, has been consistently... obviously... plainly... excellent all year.

So heartfelt thanks to the foundational Stayer Boys:

Jay / Bob / Jerry / Tim / Jim / Peter

The best part of every home game.

Meriting a (tailgate) season-ending haiku:

Chilly, final game. 
Until next year, Stayer Lot.
Arkansas.  Sooo-ie!

All the good times we had
It seems my dreams a take awhile
So baby, don't you run...
Don't run wild.

Cocktail of the Week

At this point, it's worth declaring that this week's tailgate partner wasn't Madame Defarge, my knitting machine of a wife, but rather journalist / novelist / raconteur Bryan Gruley.

A fair swap?  The Cubs trading Lou Brock comes to mind.  But Guinness was part of the deal (along w Bushmills and Balvenie) and, to quote Robert Frost, that made all the difference.  


A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Guinness
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000)
By Dave Eggers

It takes guts to call a debut memoir "heartbreaking," let alone "genius," but then-unknown writer Dave Eggers lived up to the hype, and then some.  

This veritable doorstop opens with 40 pages of "instructions" on how to read the book, and then goes on to chronicle Eggers's tragic misfortune of losing both his parents to cancer in the same year - before raising his much-younger brother by himself.  

A Pulitzer finalist that introduced the prolific Eggers to the world, a book this big deserves a drink this bold.  

Serve up a Gen X-worthy recipe that'll have you slurring your own sad story.  

I've come to talk with again...

*  4 oz. Guinness
*  4 oz. '80s-era cola (like Crystal Pepsi)
*  2 oz. milk
*  1 oz. Nesquik chocolate syrup

Stream some classic '80s rock, pour all the ingredients into a Collins glass with ice, and stir.  

Prozac not required.  

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

Wager 2019 - Taking the Leap..

                                                     "I see despair written all over your face..."


And then there were two (groups)... 

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           W                             
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...

Philly and Pitt.  With State College in between.
1.  Penn State.  One of my older brothers asked me recently, "should I hate James Franklin?"  The answer may be 'not yet' - let's see where he's coaching next year.  

And other than the fashion-crime-that-is-their-uniforms ("hello, one never wears white after Labor Day") and the whole Pedophilia Denial culture, PSU isn't so outrageous.  

Maybe that's the problem.  You're just so vanilla.  And as much as I like the taste, I don't consider it a BCS Playoff candidate flavor. 

2. Miami.   With the loss to FIU, Miami becomes the only team in the last 40 years to lose three times as a 14-pt. favorite in a single season.  

(The Canes lost to Va. Tech as a 14-pt. fave, GT as 18.5-pt. fave and FIU as 21-pt. fave.  Canes also won 17-12 as a 30.5-pt. fave vs. Central Michigan.)

Gives new meaning to the whole 'turnover chain' thing, doesn't it?

3.  USC.   "But USC won!" you say.  Ah but did they? 

Because for every win they notch, does that add another brick to the "let's keep Clay Helton for another year" wall?  

Conspiracy theorists might opine that a) the new president doesn't really want to shell out big severance money (given all the other school lawsuit financial obligations she's got) and b) maybe the heat cools down about Urban if they wait a year...


Terry's Trolls

1)  Kamiyah Street.   Ultra violence, leading to death, as always seemed to be more of a guy thing.  In sports, even more so (see Hernandez, Aaron or Dotson, Carlton (Baylor b-ball)).   

So it's striking when one sees a woman pop up on the police blotter for something as heinous as murder.  Sure, you had rapper Lisa 'One Eye' Lopes who burned down Andre Rison's house but that was before he became a Green Bay Packer, found God (and a Super Bowl ring) and promised to stop his whorin' around.  Actually, I'm not entirely sure about that latter point.
I dare you to try and take a charge...
But that was surely just a cry for help on Ms. Lopes part.

A tougher argument to make for Ms. Street, the starting point guard of the Kennesaw St.'s women's basketball team who was arrested in Atlanta - hey, that was One Eye's city too, what is it about that town - on MULTIPLE murder charges which include:

-  murder
-  felony murder (3 counts)
-  aggravated assault w a deadly weapon (2)
-  attempted armed robbery
-  possession of firearm in the commission of a felony.

2)  Paul Finebaum.  So I turned on ESPN the other morning - my first mistake - and there was Mr. SEC Apologist, making a case - spoiler alert! - for Alabama's inclusion in the BCS Playoff.  

Yes, they've been smoked in their last two meaningful games.  Yes, their star QB is out for the year - and given their paper maché defense the primary variable that keeps them in games.  Yes, there are high schools with more a credible strength of schedule.  

BUT THEY PASS THE EYE TEST!  Did you see the whupping they put on Western Carolina?   

Oh Paul...

3) Mississippi St. v. Officials.  In the court of public opinion, I leave this decision to you, dear reader - but someone is in the wrong here.  Here's the scene:  in last night's bowl game of which I have no idea of its sponsorship, MSU scores with :04 left in the game to, presumably, tie and force OT.  Except the lad who scores the TD gets flagged for... something (unsportsmanlike conduct?  Excessive celebration?) - moving the tieing PAT back 15 yards, which the kicker then misses and they lose the game, 21-20. 

Awful, right?  Well, the devil's in the details: the offending act was well, odd (there's those 'o' words again) - the player who scored elected to manifest his exaltation by simulating a dog peeing.  

You can take the boy out of Mississippi but, apparently, ya can't the Mississippi out of the boy.

So I ask, who's the tool here?  The kid who coulda been the hero or the ref who felt compelled to be sufficiently offended by an undeniably bizarre post-TD performance.

Me?  That flag stays in my pocket.  Especially within the context of an end-of-game celebration.

Final Thought

Dateline:  Davenport, IA.  Thanksgiving with Kay. Which means watching the Stanford game with her tomorrow night.  

She's already helped Shea and I kill a bottle of Chateau Neuf du Pape... and as many have experienced, when Corrigans get to drinkin' they get to talkin'... 

So, mom, tell me more about my brother's early years as lil' Cowboy Tim - with his toy horse and cowboy hat - he was a ridin' fool, was he?  You couldn't get him off the damn thing - really?

Perchance, might you, um, have any pictures from his roughrider days?

Shea, make sure grandma's wine glass stays full... 

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