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Friday, November 20, 2020

Boston College: Movin' On...

Don't shed a tear for me
My life won't end without you...

Whiney ass bitch

Wow, I actually said that aloud.  And no one is more surprised than me.  

Less surprising was my saying it to no one in particular, insofar as I was, as it were, alone.   (As a small, sickly child, I often sought comfort in the company of imaginary friends whose open-mindedness was far more accepting of my eccentricities than, say, that of my family.)

But I digress. 

Me - former placekicker / English major / left-leaning snowflake... saying such harsh things.  He loves his mother, Jerrence.  Probably goes to mass every weekend too.   Lighten up, Francis.

But even a card-carrying Weanie Boy gets tired of the incessant 'ooh the coaches treated me badly... I didn't get a fair shake... the system didn't fit me... I fell in love w the ND brand... now I'm angry... and now my shoulder hurts too' prattle that's become The Narrative of Le Grande Jurkovec Story.

Meet a real western PA man, Phil...
Well, cry me a fucking river, Phil.  Marcel and I watched you in that infamous Spring Game where you couldn't hit the ocean if you were standing on the beach. Granted, we were ingesting anything in the 1842 Club that was offered to us so our attention span was not, shall we say, at the pro scout-level.  

But there wasn't much nuance to your performance.  In the parlance of our great country's youth, you sucked. As in, painful-to-watch sucked. 

And frankly, I'd expect a little more toughness from a western PA kid.  (And given my experience with guys from that area, a whole lot more weirdness.  But that's a topic for a future blog.)

So I'm done with you.  For at least two more years, hopefully.  Time to move on.

Word of the Week.

Used in a sentence paragraph:   As young Jerrence watched - or rather, listened to, the beginning of last Saturday's game, the ABC narrative, obsession really,  involving the Boston College QB was getting almost too much to take.

Was he the vulnerable Love Child of Mother Teresa and Dan Marino - a kid whose goodness and athletic prowess was well nigh unmatched?  Had Notre Dame lured him, cult-like, into a program that wasn't just a bad fit but actually harmful to him - physically, emotionally, spiritually?

Almost unfathomably, the announcers suggested the QB had actually contemplated becoming... a Tight End.  

Now you're just making shit up, Jerrence thought.

Nonetheless, as the game progressed, the broadcast's running hagiography could not obnubliate the fact that Phil Jurkovec was not only not the best QB 'in all the land' he wasn't even the best QB in the stadium.  And the gap wasn't particularly close.

Quote of the Week.

"Never get married in the morning. You never know who you'll meet that night..."
Paul Hornung

...yet the Golden Boy was married to his wife for 41 years, until he died.  

Of course he didn't tie the knot until he was 43. 

And for the record, he was Joe Namath a decade before Namath became 'Broadway Joe' - famous for his partying / womanizing ways.  The difference being Hornung was saddled with having to 'fraternize' in South Bend and Green Bay, not Manhattan.  Not that it seemed to slow him down much.

Game Observations.

"...but I do not want a war."

1) I got your holy war right here, BC... and since you haven't won this game since the Weis Era, it's really not much of a war, now is it?  More like a skirmish.  Or, from ND's perspective, a scrimmage. 

2)  What did they use to say about Hall of Famer ex- Minnesota Viking WR, Cris Carter - "all he does is catch touchdowns."  Well, Ben Skowronek - Carter 2.0 - your table is ready.

3) Just spit-ballin' here but... perhaps we ought to spend a little more practice time on our on-side kick recovery protocols, yes?

4) Look, Clark Lea is, undeniably, a coaching star.  Future head coach.  Super smart and the players play hard for him.  But this is two games in a row where we've played really passive and gave (for most of the game) QB's a ton of time to throw.  And gotten away with it.

Maybe that was The Plan - he knows his personnel far better than me.  But I don't know how that works against Sam Howell - Trevor Lawrence - Justin Fields or Mac Jones.

5)  Do our LB's have better hands than our DB's? That pass that Kiser caught was a bullet.   (Somewhere Pete Bercich was watching and thinking, so that's how you do it.)

6)  Another week, another set of really questionable refs.  Who knew that to make a naughty face at the opposing player represented unsportsmanlike conduct.  

Perhaps it's a local Chestnut Hill quirk.  Pansies. 

7). Making Flippy Floppy.

Perhaps you saw this week that ND received a couple more verbal commitments, one a highly regarded CB and the other allegedly the best placekicker in the country.

And each a flip - one actually a double flip whose decision-making contortion reminded me of the time AJ Brunett contemplated what would happen if one sneezed and farted at the same time.  A front flip?  Back flip?  Broken back?  (He lost me when he started talking about torque.)   

Note:  Probably the only instance where I thought, maybe - just on -  it might be interesting to audit an Engineering class.

Nonetheless, a couple quick reactions:

*  The CB. Forgive me for being a bit cynical on this:  a) he's from Florida (and we've had such consistent success recruiting there), b) he de-committed from ND in the Spring to go to USC (character alert!) and c) he's supposedly not the best student in the world (uh oh).  So, color me dubious.  I wonder if he realizes that weed isn't yet legal in Indiana.

*  The kicker.  Shocking that I'd be more excited about this.  Much like France's attitude toward the U.S. (they're only nice to us when they want us to save their asses from the Germans), kickers are typically roundly devalued ('but only the Ivy League offered him) until there's :08 left and the team is down by 1.  Whose your daddy then?

No one makes a monkey out of me... 

BTW, if you're at all struggling with mental health right now - and who isn't these days - put on Stop Making Sense and feel your limbic cortex activate those endorphins and throw your brain into Happiness Overdrive. 

All things considered, looking like a pretty successful semester...

Buddy's Buddy.

In honor of this week's winner, this blogger shall be known as J'Errence (to be pronounced JAY-rence) until ND plays their next game.

Honestly, how impossible is it not to love our RB's - and C'Bo Flemister in particular.   The kid was a complete afterthought this year - at minimum 4th on the depth chart in August - with absolutely zero pre-season buzz.  

(Okay, there really was no appreciable pre-season to buzz about but if there had been, you know it wouldn't have been directed at him.)

His stats last Saturday weren't overly remarkable: 10 carries / 53  yards.  But the context sure was clutch:  backed up to ND's own 5 yd. line in the 3rd quarter with a game not entirely secured, he carries 10 yards - 4 yards - 15 yards before an uncharacteristic Skowronek fumble (given back to ND via INT one play later) leads to an Irish TD - scored by C'Bo - to make the game a very comfortable 38-16.

Macallan Time!  Thank you, Mr. Flemister.

And now, with Williams a little banged up, Tyree possibly hitting the freshman wall, Armstrong moved (back) to WR, C'Bo is looking more and more like he could be THE MAN.  And I'm not sure anyone will be terribly uncomfortable with that.

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

Following on last week's question of whether Mr. Sampson's mailbox gets more traffic after a big win or a loss...

We may have the answer - he's gotten over 200 questions over the last two weeks.  Sadly none involve Dale Murphy or the future of higher education in America - making the next Arts & Letters dinner in need of some new topics. 

At any rate, this week's The Athletic Mailbag sample question throw a little red meat to those who have us pencilled in to the BCS playoffs, as well as offering a sober reminder of the elevated quality of opposing QB we're likely to encounter over the next 4-6 (hopefully) games:

What position group concerns you the most when thinking down the line about competing with Clemson in the ACC championship and presumably Alabama or Ohio State in the Playoff? Could be a depth issue or a current starter issue.

Joey H.

I go back to my preseason perspective on Notre Dame’s defense, before Brian Kelly changed my mind about the right way to see the roster. I looked at the Irish defense in the summer and saw a rebuilding secondary that might struggle in nickel or dime sets. He saw a defense that lacked pass rush compared to the past two seasons. I think we were both right, but which issue might be bigger against Clemson (and Trevor Lawrence) or against Alabama and/or Ohio State? I’m not sure. Both?

Take Pro Football Focus grades for what they are, but the team’s top four pass rush grades among defensive linemen go to Rylie Mills, Kurt Hinish, Howard Cross and Ovie Oghoufo. Those four have combined for 2.5 sacks. But Notre Dame is actually averaging almost an identical average of sacks per game (2.63) to the past two seasons. And the team’s tackle-for-loss totals per game (8.38) are the highest of the Kelly era by more than one TFL per game. It feels like it’s been a mixed bag from the pass rush this season, which is odd to say because the pass rush ended the Clemson game. Kelly’s concern in the summer was the pass rush might not have that big moment where Ade Ogundeji and Daelin Hayes close out a game with sacks. But they did when Notre Dame needed it most. Will that happen again in Charlotte? Or in the College Football Playoff? I don’t know.

The secondary is a curious group because even eight games in, I’m not sure how to measure it. Notre Dame has played some very poor quarterbacks and even worse offensive lines. A freshman making his first road start was the best quarterback on the schedule so far, and he torched Notre Dame for an opponent-record 439 yards passing. A career backup who transferred to Boston College was probably second-best. Now Notre Dame might get Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields in back-to-back games. Does Clark Lea have the personnel flexibility in the secondary to get D.J. Brown or Houston Griffith on the field on third-and-long against a top-two NFL Draft pick? Are the Irish going to roll with freshman cornerback Clarence Lewis to the field side over TaRiq Bracy?

To me, this is why next week’s North Carolina game will be so interesting. Quarterback Sam Howell will stress-test both the pass rush and the secondary. Maybe the former covers up for the latter. What we find out on Black Friday probably dictates how Notre Dame’s defense feels about itself heading toward Charlotte.

Source:  The Athletic

Cocktail of the Week

Playing Boston College, after beating Clemson, is akin to being in your senior year and realizing you haven't fulfilled all your Arts & Letters requirements to graduate.  You gotta do it, 'pass Go / collect $200' or you don't get to where you want to be.   But... 

Sandeen's Poetry class is full.

Ditto for 'A-B' Leahy's Econ.

Fuck. What are your options, now? You're know you're not going to go anywhere near a General Program class - you've heard the stories of students making "I didn't see the waterfall, I didn't hear the waterfall, I WAS the waterfall" proclamations.  No thank you to that.   And American Studies, that'd be cool - all they do is watch TV, right? But that secret is out and there's not a course anywhere to sleaze into.  

Leaving you with an English Lit. Okay, you can deal with that - how hard can that be, it's Corrigan's major.  But that Prof. Krier's Novel course has waaay too many books to read.  And Costello's Film sounds a little too intense. Robinson's Creative Writing involves, well, writing... and you're more quantitatively oriented.   Isn't there something more basic?  Something one can just survive?

The Canterbury Ales
The Canterbury Tales (1476)
by Geoffrey Chaucer

Before "100 bottles of beer on the wall"; before license plates games; before asking Dad to pull over to pee after only 10 minutes on the highway - there was The Canterbury Tales.   

Written in regular Olde English (and not, gasp, Latin) in the 14th Century, this trailblazing book follows a group of pilgrims on a journey to a Canterbury cathedral, with each traveller challenged to outdo one another - and help pass the time - with their own tale well told.  And mead.  

Lots of mead.

In other words, the antecedent to every Castellini - Gruley - Corrigan dinner outing for the past several years.

Stock up on your next quest with this trail mix tipple people will be telling stories about..

* 6 oz. pale ale

* 1 oz. hazelnut liqueur (e.g., Frangelico)
* 4 oz. prune juice
* 1 pinch salt
* 1 tsp. chocolate sauce
* pretzel, for garnish

Place all the ingredients, except for the pretzel, in a Thermos (or pint glass) and stir.  

Garnish with the pretzel on top, take a sip and look for a rest stop.

Source:  Are You There God? It's Me, Margarita
More 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    W

7                    CLEMSON        W    
14                  @BC                W
26 (Friday)  @UNC
5                  SYRACUSE                    TBA    / NBC
12                Wake Forest

The Wager.

Chapel Hill => South Bend => Winston Salem => Charlotte.

"And signs that might be omens say I'm going
Going I'm gone to Carolina in my mind..."


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



Down to the final quarter of the football season.   One that, bluntly, continues to get even weirder, as incredible as that is to grasp.

Fun Fact: fully 25% (15 out of 59) of last weekend's games were either cancelled or postponed.

And 13 already cancelled / postponed for this weekend.

Thank God we still have the Big 10.  Said no one from ND ever.

1)  Michigan.   Ouch.  An ugly nationally televised humiliation. One hadn't seen such a lack of effort from a team since, well, ND vs. Michigan last year.

But haven't the Wolverines suffered enough now? Nope, still not yet time to let up.

However, UM's impending coaching dilemma may be worth ND Nation remembering in the future, as thoughts of a Kelly succession plan become more frontal lobe.  

Is the homegrown candidate always the best choice to run the family business?

Many of us think about Clark Lea as The Iideal.  Don't be surprised, if ND sustains their current success, that Tom Rees may be the name ~3-4 years down the road.

2) Big 10  Updated numbers:
  • Indiana / Northwestern / Purdue, collectively 10-1
  • Michigan / Penn State / Nebraska, a combined 2-9

Terry's Tools.

If one were to take a 'painting with a broad brush' view, on a macro-level, it'd be difficult to refute that there's a lot of bad behavior going on these days.

One could probably write a rather lengthy list just about schools / teams and their inability to either commit to COVID protocols (looking at you, Las Vegas Raiders) or maybe even care.  

There's a school of thought (looking at you, Syracuse) that programs whose seasons are already in the toilet, their players are just not gonna bother with pandemic compliance.  Let's hope not (the ripple effect could be huge).  Until then, this week's idiots:

1) Bryson DeChambeau.    I'm not proud of my inclination to arbitrarily dislike certain public figures, almost of which I'll certainly never meet (probably best for both parties).  In this case, it's not just the fact his name sounds like a pretentious French varietal - "I've just bought a case of the 2002 DeChambeau du Pape and it is divine..."  

Did you ever think, maybe, they're not trying that  hard to find your ball..
Or the fact that his swing looks like something a Mechanical Engineer designed as the optimal structure for their doctoral dissertation.                                                                                                 Doesn't anyone else have flashes of Peter Boyle / Young Frankenstein when you see him standing over his ball with arms completely extended?

This week it was simply the hubris of saying, "Augusta National should be a par 67 for me..."  Oh really? Clearly not a believer in golf gods.  Next time, Bry, ya might want to keep those thoughts to yourself.

2) Power Index's.  From Contributing Editor Mark Ungashick:
UNC remains the same after an historic comeback against WFU, down 21 in the 3rd (they barely covered the over/under with a 59-53 win!). 

*  But Va. Tech moves up 1 after blowing a late lead and losing to Miami. 

Penn St remains in the Top 25... they also remain winless, falling to 0-4 and losing to the previously winless Huskers.

*  The Hoosiers pound previously ranked Mich St in a shutout 24-0 but drop 1 spot - they now have beaten Michigan / Mich St. / Penn St. 

Auburn drops 2 spots and Clemson drops 1 spot because they didn't play ... but Texas A&M goes up 2 spots because they didn't play! 

*  And Clemson is ranked 3 spots ahead of our Irish... by virtue of losing to 8-0 Notre Dame!

A poll put out by "The Onion"?   

Actually the secret-sauced covered in the Iowa description... its  "ESPN's algorithmic rankings."

3) It takes a special kind of fool to blow a $24M guaranteed contract while in the 16th year of one's career. (I guess I would've thought, at that point, one would be in the Bobby Bonilla 'if they're going to offer it to me, I'm gonna take it' mindset of revenue stream maximization.) 

Final Thoughts.

Perfect for a bye week and semester end... 

Happy Thanksgiving, all! 

"We can't even think up a word that rhymes..."

Loved you in Dark Shadows, Mr. Cooper

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