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Friday, October 30, 2020

Pitt: Ramble Tamble

Sit tight and listen keenly
While I play for you a brand new musical biscuit...

Thank you, Lini & Blayney, for this week's musical inspiration!

Lini & Blayney.  

Ssshh - I'm on a stake out...
Sounds like the perfect foils for a Fox network police procedural... two cops from unlikely, wildly disparate backgrounds (one of them whip smart, MIT-educated w an east coast, blueblood background while the other one, um, not any of those things)...  thrown together despite their mutual loathing for the way each conducts their business.  

So when, inevitably, hi-jinx ensue as they come to bond over a weird, mutual affection for Hudepohl lager, they develop a similarly odd respect of their partner's unorthodox ways.

But I digress.

This line of thinking when Mr. REO Speedwagon dissed The Clash last week - imagine that - and thankfully Our Man Rice came to the rescue.  Unexpected.  Kinda like last week's game. 

Word of The Week.
Used in a sentence paragraph
:  As young Jerrence thought through the random, snarky criticism related to one of his musical choices last week, he thought back to something his older brother told him long ago:

"You're going to meet a lot of people in your life whose taste, frankly, is all in their mouths.  If you catch my drift."

Little Jerrence did.

"They're philistines.  Dolts.  Living a drab, colorless life in some vast, cultural wasteland...  nothing like the eclectic, intellectually stimulating eco-system that we enjoy here in Iowa."

Quote of the Week.

"He's got COVID?!  Soon he'll be faking his own death to avoid playing for the Jets..."

Trevor Lawrence tests positive for COVID.  Perhaps counter-intuitively, this is not good news for ND Nation - November 7th now becoming a virtual no win scenario for the Irish:
  1. He doesn't play - ND wins and the masses cry, "tainted win!"
  2. He doesn't play - ND loses (note:  a distinct possibility as Clemson still has 5x as many 5-stars as we do) and the masses cry, "over-rated!"
  3. He plays - ND wins, see pt. #1 ("he didn't practice for two weeks...")
  4. He plays - ND loses, Trevor is declared The Second Coming and we hope, at least, the game is close.
In this 'the ends justify the means' world we live in, I'd normally opt for the 'bummer you can't play, Trevor' scenario but a) Clemson will probably find a way for him to play and b) I think we should want him to.  No excuses.

Game Observations.

Exactly what you are
Not what you want to be
I'll say, hey, well that's all right by me...

Who saw that performance coming after the Louisville game?  All right by me. 

1.  Michael Mayer.  Okay, I guess the 5-star designations really do matter.

2.  O-line.  For otherwise racking up fairly pedestrian rushing numbers, know that the team went 4-for-4 in short yardage situations?  Why is that important (beyond the obvious)?  Because a) Pitt has one of the better D-lines in the country and b) overplaying the run is going to be the default strategy for opposing D-Coordinators until ND's passing game starts consistently burning defenses.

3.  Coach Lea. Enjoy him while it (he) lastsWhat could possibly get ND another year from him?  It won't be lack of interest.  But a) he'll look for fit and b) athletic dept. budgets are getting crushed this year - will there be the money to pay him?

4. New Feature:  Blame Brian!  (Kelly, not Ward or Gruley).  Understanding that in any game - even last week's - there's a solid percentage of the populace that need the coach to get hammered for something, no matter how minuscule the offense.

This week's offering:  why the hell did they have Lenzy out running deep shot plays when the game was well in hand?!  Allow The Athletic's Pete Sampson to respond:

Actions have consequences, right?  We may not like it - hindsight's always 20-20.

5.  Name of the Week

Pittsburgh WR    Shocky Jacques-Louis. 

6.  On to Georgia Tech.  Trap game?  Normally, one would say hell yes!  During COVID, however, I'm gonna say 'no.' 

Just too much on-going weirdness around the team that has to keep everyone focused.

There's mud in the water
Roach in the cellar
Bugs in the sugar
Mortgage on the home...

Like I said, a lot to keep one focused.

Buddy's Buddy.

This week's choice seems pretty easy - and let us hope it is not another Javon McKinley tease.  Not to diss Mr. McKinley - I'm sure he's a fine person and an excellent teammate, it's just that consistency of pass receiving performance doesn't seem to be his calling card.

There would appear to be a far better chance that consistency might be Ben Skowronek's thing.  (Although staying healthy may not be). 

After all, he showed some skills (and some stats) while at Northwestern the past few years.  In last week's game, neither of his TD receptions were exactly walks in the park.  The kid is tall (6'3") and with a catch radius that screams "Ian, I'll make you and your numbers look way better than they should be." 

We should all celebrate that.

Arguably, those two receptions (the latter a total prayer) were game 'tilters' (if not changers) at a time when Pitt hadn't yet completely imploded.  

And for that reason, Ben, 'you da man' this week.

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

Only because this seems to be on EVERYONE'S mind... 

Source:  The Athletic

Cocktail of the Week.

 "I've been doing this all wrong..."

Somewhere in Cotuit, MA a young man is channeling his best Catskill stand up comic, exclaiming, "That's what she said..."

Ba boom ting!

That never gets old.  

But more to the point, I realized let the Game Day drink must drive the Blog's book-movie-cocktail selection - not the other way around!   


So last week, as Isaiah Foskey was scoring with time running out in the 1st half, the voice that I heard inside my head was shouting, "Fetch the whiskey!"

And who was I to argue.

The 7 & 7 Year Itch
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
Directed by Billy Wilder

In The Seven Year Itch, a straight-laced publishing exec's wife and kid hightail it out of Manhattan for the summer, leaving Dad alone just as a hotty new neighbor (hello, Marilyn Monroe!) moves in.   

Despite its saucy setup, this film was shot during the puritanical height of Hollywood's censors, leading even its own director to later denounce it as too chaste to elicit many thrills.

With a title derived from the term that suggests a marriage starts to lose its steam - insert your ND analogy here - this film inspires a cool summer soda that goes best in a copper mug - the traditional 7th anniversary gift, of course. 
  • 2 oz. whiskey
  • 3 oz. lemon-lime soda
  • 3 oz. ginger beer
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
Pour the whiskey over ice in a copper mug (or a rocks glass) and add the soda and ginger beer.  You'll be standing over subway grates in no time.
Source:  Gone With The Gin
Cocktails With A Hollywood Twist
by Tim Federle


12                     Duke               W
19                     USF                 W
10                    FSU                W
17                    Louisville       W
24                    @Pitt.             W
31                    @Ga. Tech

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

The Wager.

Right now, we're just holding serve.  The fun doesn't come (hopefully) until November.


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



Okay, we've now got the Big 10 playing.  (And for this week's section, thank God we do.)

And one more week before the PAC-12 schedule kicks in.  Apropos of nothing, someone is going to have to explain to me what that conference is doing this year - playing basically half a schedule for what purpose?  To hold onto recruiting, scrounge up a little TV money?  Certainly not BCS-aligned.

Interesting.  No matter.

They don't ask 'how', they ask 'how many'...
1)  Penn State.  Never mind that I'm not entirely certain the IU player scored on that final, deciding play... isn't it fun to watch them lose?  There's just so many reasons one can go to for justification:
  • Paterno.  Just say 'no' to ND-hating fascists!
  • Sandusky.  Just say 'no' to pedophilia!
  • The uniforms.  Just say 'no' to monochromatic couture!
  • The stadium.  "Happy Valley"? Are you f*cking kidding me? More like Ice Station Zebra - almost assuredly the coldest I've been in my life was sitting in that stadium.  (Just say 'no' to frostbite.)
  • The geography.  Located almost precisely smack in the middle of the state, the very embodiment of the description, "Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Appalachia in between..."  (Just say 'no' to incest. And possibly, literacy.)
Okay, I'm perhaps being a little harsh.  Perhaps


If one is keeping score at home, on the professional level... go, Pack, go!

Terry's Tools.

Where is Gabriel García Márquez when you need him?  If anyone would be equipped to write about human nature during an extended public health crisis, you'd think it be a Nobel Prize winning Mr. Love In The Time of Cholera...

Maybe a Pulitzer Prize winner would do  - Gruley?

At any rate, I'm beginning to wonder about how the pandemic is affecting everyone's minds - and the quality of their thinking.  Because there's some really shaky decision making going on:

1) Kevin Cash.   First of all, what do I know about analytics, baseball or otherwise? Zippity-doo-dah.  (Hello, English major here.)  And as the years have passed - especially this one - I've become a baseball fan more on an episodic basis than one who is consistently committed.  That said, the World Series is a different story.  Intensity gets ratcheted up from Game 1, inning 1.  

Which brings us to the 6th inning of Game 6 of this year and Cash's pulling of Blake Snell because, well, the analytics told him so.  

I wish I had that excuse growing up. 

"Why did you get kicked out of the high school dance for public intoxication, Terry?  

Well, mom, if you bothered to pay attention to the analytics of when high school seniors meet Spring weather and graduation only weeks away, you'd clearly see the decision tree indicated getting drunk in the park with my friends beforehand had easily the highest potential for optimizing dance satisfaction. 

It was the smart move."*

Well, 'smart' might not be the best word to call it.

*true story, except for the explanation. 

Missed it by... that much.
2). Devyn Ford / Todd Gurley.  Both players had the opportunity to virtually ice a win for their teams in the closing minutes of games by not scoring.  Neither the Penn St. or the Atlanta Falcon RB could quite keep that level of instruction in their head.  (I'm going to give their coaches the benefit of the doubt that they made these players aware.)  Gurley's gaff was especially quizzical since he is a) a 6 yr. pro and b) he's executed this gambit correctly before!  Doh! 

"So, skip - how's your health..."
3) Justin Turner.    You had to see this coming... entitled professional athlete tests positive for COVID before a critical championship game, team wins the game and championship, COVID positive player who cannot quarantine for two fucking hours before running out because he needs to celebrate with his mates, including his cancer survivor manager.

What a collossal douche.  He couldn't even feel compelled to keep a mask on.

Justin, you are the poster child for the "I'm too selfish and undisciplined to grasp the concept of a greater good during a pandemic" attitude.  Bravo.

4) Texas.  As a state, you guys exhaust me.  You're all about "we're fun lovin', gun lovin' good ole boys" - but then your Home Owners Associations have to drop the hammer on some woman for having some faux naughty Halloween fun... 

I mean, who doesn't enjoy skeletons pole dancing on the front lawn?  (Asking for a friend.)  

Honestly, WTF.  

Perhaps it just that you prefer your pole dancin' behind close doors because you're such a, you know, God fearing bunch. 

Final Thoughts.

I can't you love me if you don't
You can't make your heart feel something it won't...

Whatever side of the aisle you swing from, vote

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