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Friday, October 16, 2020

FSU: Totally Under Control

Ooh ooh ooh - 
Have we done something wrong?
C-O-N control...

Dateline:  Flint Lake, IN.

Since April, our agency has been fielding a series of research surveys, monitoring how COVID has been affecting both consumer attitudes and behaviors, mostly relative to the healthcare / hospital system space.  

The latest wave, essentially six months into the pandemic / quarantine, has suggested that the country may be on the verge of a 2nd pandemic, this one involving mental health.  

Fully 1 of 7 people look to be really struggling... categorized, charitably,  as 'losing it.'  

Think Davie / Willingham Era-level of despondency.

Knowing the composition of this blog's readership, statistically speaking, one hopes there's precious few falling in that camp.

But I digress. 

The point is, people are craving a return to normal and they're not seeing it coming anytime soon.  And, as I found myself getting back into to the swing of football watchin' and bloggin', it seemed that perhaps...  

I could be a help in someone's return to normalcy

Take a minute to process that thought.  Me, representing a contributor to 'normal' for someone... good Lord, we're worse off than I thought.  

It's not like the concept has been consistently connected with me, except in the context of my youth when one of my brothers periodically would run up to our mother with some kind of  smarmy "you gotta come quick, I don't think what Terry's doing is normal."  

Please.  Like they were the poster children of conventional behavior (hey, mom never waterboarded me... just sayin').  

What the family failed to recognize was that my 'acting out' was just an early form of non-violent protest against the oppression of living in an outdated, 'Leave It To Beaver' type Matriarchal society... one where sibling, Machiavellian sycophancy to a relatively benevolent autocrat was rewarded with family advancement and unearned perks.  

To be a dissident in that environment... well, let's just say Young Jerrence and Nelson Mandela - we were not so dissimilar.  

And I bet they didn't call him 'normal' either. 

At any rate, if I'm your path back to normal...

"when you live in a town 
where there's always somebody stranger than you..."

Word of the Week.

Used in a sentence paragraph:

Young Jerrence watched the game with rapt attention, fully recognizing that Notre Dame's opponent was not known, intellectually speaking, to be the brightest bulb on the metaphorical Christmas tree.

Still, ND's repeated successful use of the counter play seemed to suggest an artifice more clever than Jerrence thought it actually was.

"Fool me once, shame on you!  Fool me twelve times, shame on, well... you're top of the depth chart!" 

Quote of the Week.

"Time to nut up or shut up..."

Woody Harrelson, in Zombieland

It would appear that ND is now through the pansy part of their schedule... 

The next third of the season has Louisville, Pittsburgh, an improved Georgia Tech and, of course, Clemson on November 7th.   

Game on, team.  ND - your hall pass has now expired.

Game Thoughts.

"I don't need no wah wah..."

Watching this game I was reminded of a conversation I had with family film scholar, Dr. Tím Tím, about Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist" back in 2009 when the controversial film came out. The Danish auteur had always been known for his, um, unique approach to topics not often discussed in proper western social circles...

"Tim, I just read about 'Anti-Christ' - sounds pretty wild..."

"Hello, Terry, it stars Willem Defoe!  What else do you need to know - that  von Trier also made a film that starring Bjork?  

...this is absolutely NOT a date movie."

Heeding Tím's advice - in hindsight he was not incorrect - I walked out of the theatre with two very visceral, companion thoughts:
  • I'm not sure I'd call that entertainment...
  • You can't say you weren't warned, what did you expect you were gonna see?
Two similar notions arose after the FSU game viewing (albeit significantly more the latter reaction than the former): you knew the team hadn't played in three weeks.  Hadn't reaqlly even practiced. Certainly hadn't tackled anyone. Probably had minimal weight training.  Barely had enough bodies to field a scrimmage.

So... what did we expect we were gonna see Saturday night - the mid-season Kansas City Chiefs?

That said...

1). Williams / Tyree.  Love them.  And especially love how tough they are.  These guys are not big dudes. Yet, yards after contact - so impressive.

2)  Ian Book.  I might've been a bit harsh about him in a text stream with a few of you.  I'm a little sorry about that (not 100%).  Apparently much of the viewing world thought he played a fabulous game.  I wasn't quite as enamored. Undeniably made some great throws and yet, his inability to always make the easy throw - originally his raison d'être - drives me nuts.  And the long ball? Child, please. 

But is he serviceable?  Absolutely.  Does one think he can raise his game to beat a Clemson?  With all the data points we have on him, consider me a non-believer. (And I do think he'll need to play the game of his life for us to win.)

Put in Kiser...
3)  The LB's.  From what I read - not that I could tell - they played poorly.  I'll take the experts' word for it.  But how ironic if they ultimately needed the lowly recruited hoosier, Jack Kiser, to make that a dependable unit.

4)  Shaun Crawford.  Can we hear it for the little, old* guy?  They need him at safety, boom - he goes there and he's their best (next to Hamilton).  Now they need him at corner and bam, off he goes - making a critical INT.  And seemingly, he's a better person than football player, that's saying something. 

5) Athletic QB's.  Trying to cut ND's defense a little more slack. The argument can be made that facing a 'running QB' after a 3-week layoff was akin to a perfect storm... one had to think consistency of tackling was always going to be an issue and it's not like the FSU kid was small. 

The fact that the players had him several times 'dead to rights' at least suggested ND played their scheme correctly, even if they didn't ultimately execute.  

(That's my story and I'm sticking to it, haters.)

*Is he in his 5th year? 6th year? Who can keep track any more.

Buddy's Buddy.

A cynic would say that the team playing at the mediocrity of a scrimmage, no one deserved the hallowed Buddy recognition.

Those with rose colored glasses might proffer that Ian Book - best game ever! - deserves the recognition.

It'd be easy to make the case for Kyren Williams - even after the early turnover, he was the offensive game changer - repeatedly getting the team out of trouble and making one feel like the game was truly never in doubt.

And Kelly awarded the games balls to the medical leadership - without which ND might not have even had a team to field. 

But for this semi-discerning viewer, Buddy's buddy was Javon McKinley.  Statistically, he had a very good game, not Sports Center worthy, but notable... over 100 yds receiving, surely his best game ever.  But what sealed it was exactly the things Kelly cites as why he plays.

See this pic => Kyren running free for a long time (as he was want to do several times).  That's McKinley behind him, sprinting his ass off to try to throw him a block.  And he did that all night.  One can see why Kelly / Rees like him so much.  He'll probably never play on Sundays but I think he's gonna go down as quietly, a hugely important asset this year.

RE-PETE (a shameless, illegal lift of Pete Sampson's weekly ND mailbag).

One of the most consistent topics - and areas of scrutiny - is ND's offensive line. This week's strong performance makes them an especially relevant subject: 

Source:  The Athletic

Cocktail of the Week.

This week, if one lives in the Midwest, one will have experienced a decided turn away from warm climes - last weekend likely being the proverbial swan song to Indian Summer - to an abrupt 'November is coming early' feel.  

Easy come easy go, apparently.

"Wasted away again in..."

But before we turn our back on Summer, last weekend deserves one final toast, literally, to a classic warm weather libation.  

Plus, Madame Dufarge walked into the house with this bad boy, whose owner's manual - it is the very definition of heavy machinery - begins with the declaration, 'perfect for house or car...'

Car?  Really?   Maybe an RV.  In Florida

Are You There God? It's Me, Margarita
Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret (1970)
By Judy Blume

Back in the early 1970's, Judy Blume became a living legend as a pioneering young adult novelist in the era before "young adult" even had a shelf at the bookstore.  

With Margaret, Blume wrote unflinchingly about weighty topics, ranging from religion to first kisses - prompting the book to be both banned across the land and embraced by generations of young women.  (And men!)

One classic deserves another, and our margarita recipe boasts a floral, "blume"ing finish.

*  2 oz. tequila
*  3/4 oz. lime juice
*  3/4 oz. honey
*  1/2 oz. brewed hibiscus tea, cooled
*  pinch of salt
*  1 sprig fresh lavender, for garnish

Uh, can we see some ID?  Shake all ingredients, except for the lavender, in a shaker for :05.  Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with the lavender.

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



12                     Duke       W
19                     USF        W


10                    FSU                W
17                    Louisville
24                    @Pitt
31                    @Ga. Tech

7                CLEMSON          7.30pm    / NBC
14                    @BC
21                    Bye
26 (Friday)        @UNC
5              SYRACUSE            TBA    / NBC
12             Wake Forest

The Wager.

It would appear, Mike Corrigan, you're on the clock... with ND reporting 0 players currently in quarantine for this week's game.  


Archetype (Embodies)



Marcel (Lunacy).


This construct, not officially Jungian... would surely exist had Carl met Dave.  New Jersey meets California with a sneaky, sly madness and a dollop of WTF.  The result?  A "he did not just do that" kind of guy.

Yes, he did do that.  He'll go for 14 wins if you let him.  


Gary (14)

John (14)

Moon (14)

Raz The Elder (13)

Peter (13)

Gutsch (12)

Bob (12)

Jim S (12)

Bryan (12)

Marcel (of course)


The Magician (Power).


 "Dreams really can come true" albeit in somewhat unfathomable ways, defying common belief... the Magician is a true Visionary where one sees ND running the table, at least to the point of making it to the ACC Championship and, likely, beating Clemson at least once.












The Hero (Mastery).


 Primarily motivated by proving their worth through courage and determination, this archetype suggests an ND season where nothing is easy and considerable success is achieved despite daunting, unforeseen obstacles.


Rev. Mark


The Ruler (Control).


 This is all about Dominance through Intimidation.  Confident, in control.

For ND, a solid year where an authoritarian mentality may not get them all the way to the BCS finish line. 





Mike G


The Jester (Enjoyment).

Here, we're all about having fun and seeing the glass half full.  8 wins could mean an undefeated season in a truncated, pandemic affected season.  Or it could just be '8 more wins than any of those Big 10 wussies had...' 

Either way, we had a pretty good time. 




Jim T


The Creator (Innovation)


 With a desire to create something new and exceptional where there previously wasn't, does a 7-win season indicate some unforeseen growing pains w a new OC and several inexperienced skills position players.  

A season where less than a full slate is played could still be a successful one, setting up a great '21 campaign.



The Explorer (Freedom).


Manifesting a palpable inner drive to push themselves outside their comfort zone - it's a "we understand the risks we're taking!" attitude.   Unfortunately ND can't overcome them all, whether they're internally or externally driven.



The Sage (Understanding).


 Seeker of Truth, Knowledge and Wisdom, this archetype may suggest a 'I told you it was a bad idea to play a contact sport during a pandemic'  scenario.  The 2020 season gets cancelled halfway through. "But, still, we were 5-0..."



The Outlaw (Liberation).


This figure digs anarchy, with a "you not the boss of me" disdain for rules. For the ND season that may suggest a 'go for it' mentality where the wheels ultimately come off - either from a team meltdown or a season's premature cancellation.


3 or less

The Innocent (Safety).


 A positive personality that craves safety while wishing for all to be happy.  Honest and with no ill-will... no agendas... they believe everyone has the right to truly be who they are.

Unfortunately, in an ND football context, The Innocent sees virus spikes with students back on campus and by the end of September, feels prudence demands that the plug be pulled on the football season. 


Mike C



While not entirely 'on point' in this category - although highly likely a contributor to the outcomes - did a memo go out to Defensive Coordinators that social distancing was to be observed during the actual games?  

A few scores from last weekend, involving teams of interest (more than a few w supposedly strong D's): 

53-45 (Oklahoma - Texas) , 45-41 (Missouri - LSU), 41-38 (Texas A&M - Florida), 44-21 (Georgia - Tennessee), 63-48 (Alabama - Mississippi), 56-45 (No. Carolina - Va. Tech).

I'm guessing the moral of this story is:  bet the over.  At any rate, this week's Schadenfreude faves:

1) Miami.  I suppose it is a tribute to building a strong, enduring culture... it's weirdly impressive that despite - or maybe due to - years of mediocrity, 'the U' remains just a bunch of knuckle-headed, "there is no 'I' in team but there is a 'Me'" punks.  Despite being mildly terrified by how good Clemson's Lawrence and Etienne are, it was sooo satisfying to see Miami put in its place.

2) Florida.  One of the silver linings of this year's scheduling limitations is the schools having to stay in their conferences - so cannibalization begins early. Nice to see we don't have to wait until Thanksgiving for the shake out to begin.

3) Texas.  Call this a win for ND recruiting; Texas is clearly not back to Vince Young years-level elite but with every loss, their head coach's job security becomes a bigger topic of conversation which maybe makes Texas kids a little more willing to leave the state and come up north...

Terry's Tools.

As we approach Halloween season... and winter... and the end of Daylight Savings Time... and the election.... and Month 8, 9, 10 of Sports In The Age of COVID, I can't help but be guardedly optimistic about the impending Tool harvest.  We're not exactly cultivating an environment to optimize sanity, are we?

News flash:  it's going to be a bumper crop.  The Nobel prizes are already being awarded. As are the MacArthur Genius grants (no candidates here) but what of the Darwin Awards - could there be a more hotly contested season?  

1)  ND Message Board douches.  I try to go easy on my fellow ND fanboys but some things just need to be called out, like the ND message board cognoscenti who, immediately after the game were totally up in arms over Kelly not kicking the field goal with less than 2 minutes left in the game from FSU's 2 yd. line. DIDN'T KELLY REALIZE IT WAS STILL A TWO SCORE GAME?!  

God forbid ND might view the opportunity in a more forward looking fashion, like
  • hey, let's try - we might have a 4th and goal situation to win a game coming up.
  • hey, let's try - we might want to put a play on tape for future teams to consider
  • hey, let's try - FSU is really bad, do something vanilla and if we score, great.  If we don't...
Otherwise, yeah, requiring FSU going 98 yds, getting a 2-pt. conversion, an on-side kick, going another 50+ yds with another 2-pt conversion.  In ~90 seconds.  That's super likely. 

Huh?  Excuse me, I'm due back on Earth now. 

Honestly, there are socket puppets with more mental acuity than a portion of our fanbase.

2)  Dan Mullen.   Speaking of high functioning single cell organisms, let us discuss the species called The College Football Coach.  

More specifically, SEC head football coaches. 

Exhibit A:  Florida's head coach calls for a sell out at The Swamp for next week's LSU game!  We need our fans there!

A little late for that, coach...
Um, coach, there's a pandemic a-ragin' - you are aware of that, right? 

(Answer:  evidently not.)

Fortunately, the UF President was aware and quickly shut that idea down.  Which became moot anyway when Mullen's team had 19 PLAYERS test positive, requiring the game to be postponed.  

So coach, maybe worry a little more about those in your locker room than those in your stadium. 

3)  Mike Norvell.  The professional head coaches are getting the bejesus fined out of them for not masking up during games.  But FSU's coach didn't feel the need Saturday night.  Granted, his team is giving him a lot of other issues to ponder so perhaps he was pleading hardship (my team sucks!) exemption?

4) Mike Thomas.  NO Saints wide receiver held out of a game because he punched out a teammate.  "Just trying to help the team win, " says Mike.  You are the very textbook definition of leadership.  I can't help but be reminded, another Ohio State Man making his school proud. 

Final Thought(s).

 Wow, that was fast.  And hopefully, a blessing.

You're packing a suitcase for a place
That none of us have ever been.
A place that has to be seen to be believed.
Walk on... 

Randy Riddle
(1956 - 2020) 

See you on the other side, buddy.

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