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Friday, October 1, 2021

Wisconsin: Duel In The Sun

The stage was set, the sun was sinkin' low down 
As they came to face another showdown... 

Dateline 1155 N. Dearborn:  Who remembers Stephen Spielberg's very first directorial effort, the made-for-TV film, Duel?  A fast refresher, per IMdB: 

Is that... Albert behind me?
David Mann (played by a post-Gunsmoke / pre-McCloud Dennis Weaver), a mild mannered electronics salesman, is driving cross-country on a two-lane highway when he encounters an old oil tanker driven by an unseen driver who seems to enjoy annoying him with dangerous antics on the road. 

Unable to escape the demonic big rig, David finds himself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the monstrous truck. 

When the pursuit escalates to deadly levels, David must summon his inner warrior and turn the tables on his tormentor.

For a movie w relatively discernible, traditional action, it was pretty angst inducing.  

I think the same could be said about last Saturday's game at Soldier Field.  Not to menation all the pre-game hype about the two QB's dueling, mano a mano.  The difference being that I never watched Spielberg's movie with someone (Lini) continually fetching me beers while (Marcel) flipped back 'n forth from the Ryder Cup. 

Which, it must be said, took a considerable amount of the edge off the game. 

Quote of the Week

"So they thought because I went 3 feet out on the field that I should get a flag for them not officiating it correctly..."

Brian Kelly

There's a national perception, I think, of Kelly as one guy - Mr. Purple Face.  (I'm reminded of a quote I read once:  'you go to one Nazi sex club and you're branded for life.')  But inside ND, Kelly is clearly held in much different and higher regard.

And it's incidents like the above:  to the national audience, Kelly gets a seemingly unnecessary penalty involving an ND punt, giving Wisconsin 15 more yards of field position.  

The immediate reaction is "Stupid!"

What no one sees is there's two Wisconsin guys cheap shot-ing Kyle Hamilton, holding him down, by one account practically breaking his arm and then high-fiving themselves afterwards.  

Kelly sees it and is not gonna let that shit go uncommented on.   Boom!  15 yd. penalty for not staying in his little coaching lane. 

So who loves him?  His players do, that's who.  And Kyle Hamilton sure does.  Good enough for me.

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph
:  Young Jerrence watched the game with what he thought was a respectable level of focus and concentration.

But in hindsight, maybe not. Wisconsin's anodyne offense, while strategically advantageous to Jerrence's alma mater, was putting him to sleep.  

Not unlike an opioid.  

He wondered - could he sue Wisconsin for what surely could end up being a nasty dependency?  The Sacklers are probably big Badger boosters, he mused.  Surely, Jerrence thought, more frivolous cases have made it through the court system.  And if filed in Illinois, well, winner winner chicken dinner...

And yet, on the couch, there was Marcel on one side of him with Ungashick on the other - this was no time to be slipping into any kind of somnambulant coma, no matter how enticing.  Anything could happen - and usually did - with those miscreants around.

Game 2 Thoughts

I'm okay, you're so-so... 

We seem to be okay (O-line notwithstanding) with the defense especially trending nicely. But who knows how good Wisconsin really is?  Are they even so-so?  

Other than Wisconsin QB, Fred Mertz* -  which I think we know their fanbase does not hold in especially high regard - it is difficult to determine how Badger Nation otherwise feels about the state of their team. 

Probably a little queasy. 

*we seem to have three viable QB's, they don't appear to have one.

Okay, beyond that blinding glimpse of the obvious...

1)  Jack Coan vs. Graham Mertz.   And the winner is... 

Drew Pyne?  

2)  106 Club.  Not as alcoholic as the 101 Club but certainly more expensive, given what coach Kelly suggested he'd be drinking to celebrate his record-breaking win.  

Congratulations, coach, you earned it. 

3) Dessert Is Being Served.  In a similar gastronomical vein, did you know that chocolate chip cookies pair nicely with Red Breast Irish Whiskey?  

The things one learns at Villa Lini. 

"I have you down for Sloane ski lessons in 4 yrs, JP..."

3)  Exchange heard at Linipalooza.  

Caterer:  Someone's fainted!

Ryan Corrigan:  But it's only 8pm!  

                              Um, it wasn't Ungie, was it?

(It was not.)

Dave, haven't the McGuires been leaving for, like, the last hour?
4) Fun facts.  The Badgers outgained ND in yardage 110-60 for the 4th Quarter... and got outscored 31-3. 

That, ladies and gentlemen, is not easy to do.  

But probably no more difficult than, say, rushing for 3 yards for an entire gane while scoring 41 points.

5) No Hinish?  No problem! 

6) "Chicks Dig the Long Ball." So does coach Rees.  Too bad Jack Coan just isn't really terribly adept at throwing it.

7)  Cam Hart.  The next Julian Love?  Maybe Shane Walton is a more accurate analogy.  

In any event, the conversion from WR project is looking very promising.

8)   Cool Moment(s).   Drew Pyne, wearing #10, playing in front of former #10 Brady Quinn while Chris Tyree, wearing #25, returns a kickoff for a TD in front of former #25 Rocket Ismail.

Who's been a good boy?  Brian... 

9)  Lini-World.  A necessary final word of deep appreciation about the dynamic duo who hosted so many of us for much of the weekend, Jerry and Judy.  

They say there's a fine line between Genius-Idiot or Sinner-Saint.  (I believe we saw all four personas last weekend, sometimes within the same individual.)

But I say, who cares when you're being provided safe harbor, a 65" TV experience and quality food and swill for an 18 hour period? 

First of all, let's talk about 1155 N. Dearborn - 'tis a magical place... part Narnia / part Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory for Adults.   Where the concept of time passing does not seem to exist while within their four walls.

Even more remarkably, they'll let in LITERALLY ANYONE.  Witness Marcel, Ward and Lohn's attendance.  It's like the US-Mexican border.  And don't get me started on the number of Dillonites just running, willy nilly, around the place - without so much as a single licensed caregiver anywhere in sight.  Astonishing - like watching Geraldo Rivera's Bellevue Hospital for the Insane exposé from the 1970's, except with great wine and those fabulous grilled shrimp and artichoke puffs. 

Oh thank you, kind caterer, I couldn't have more than 10 or 12.

Who can make a sunrise - sprinkle it with dew?
The Lini Man can... 

Meanwhile at the game... a Shark siting! 
In all sincerity, huge THANK YOU to the Castellini's for last weekend's non-stop generosity.  

That they continue to do this year after year is proof positive of the truth in the adage that 'insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result.'  

I, for one, hope they never seek psychiatric help.  

Buddy's Buddy

As weird as Saturday's game turned out to be - one could've skipped right to the 4th quarter and saved yourself a lot of angst from watching our offensive line - there was a surprising number of viable candidates to be Buddy's buddy. 

And I'd be remiss to not include the US Ryder Cup team - I had them losing to Europe in the office pool - or the Notre Dame Ryder Cup team, captained by Our Man Rasmus, inspiring us to victory.  And may I say that managing back-to-back-to-back social occasions at Maison de Raz and Villa Lini is not for the faint of heart.

But I digress.  The legitimate ND stand outs vs. Wisconsin have to include Cam Hart (2 INT's), Drew Pyne (Like Batman, he may not be the hero we want but he could be the QB we need), or how about Howard Cross who played super tough in the trenches with Kurt Hinish's absence.  One could also argue that Chris Tyree's kickoff return was really the play of the game - coming immediately after UW took their first (and only) lead.

And farther afield - and this would be non-linear logic even by my low standards - I think one could credibly nominate both Ryder Cup teams for giving us three days of genuinely special competition.  A common remark heard Saturday at Villa Lini was how consistently fantastic the concept (and what a great venue Whistling Straits) is.  Even as uncompetitive as the match proved to be, it did not disappoint.

And unlike virtually any other competition one watches - and perhaps I'm alone on this - it was impossible to dislike this enemy. In fact, read this article (thank you, Ward Hamm for sharing) and you'll end up liking the Europeans, especially Rory, even more.  

The Ryder Cup is on the very shortest of short lists for Best Sporting Event in The World (and if you disagree, while I'll defend to the death your right to be wrong, you are wrong).  

Still, this week's Buddy's buddy vote goes to Kevin Austin.  Judging by the vibe of the group I watched with, expectations were not particularly high for young Austin after last week's complete MIA performance.  

But at Soldier Field, the kid was nothing if not clutch, pretty much catching anything thrown his way and scoring when the rest of the 'O' wasn't making (m)any big plays against a still pretty high quality Wisconsin D.  

Bravo, Kevin.  Now please keep it up for 8-10 more weeks.

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

Mr. Sampson, whom I've grown increasingly fond of - but not in a creepy way - continues to let me down in the timeliness of his own Q&A protocols.  Doesn't he know that we plagiarizers are also on a deadline?  

The world just continues to demonstrate it's selfishness.

At any rate, he's helped me immensely by sequentially  answering the three pressing questions (below) proffered in this blog a few weeks back - making my life easier and that's, ultimately, what it's all about. 

  1.  How will they manage the Coan - Buchner usage?
  2.  Can the defense stop giving up big plays?
  3.  Just how big of a fix is required for the O-line fix?
And now we're on to Q. 3, except with a Pyne-y twist:

Could Notre Dame make a quarterback switch?

Brian Kelly is a man of two minds and three quarterbacks this weekend, hoping that Jack Coan will be healthy enough to start, preparing Drew Pyne to be QB1 just in case and planning to get Tyler Buchner some actual work after hamstring tightness sidelined the freshman last weekend against Wisconsin. It’s a lot for Notre Dame to juggle in advance of Cincinnati, yet it would be quintessential Kelly to play all three in a top-10 game.

“We’re getting all three of them ready right now,” Kelly said.

To reset the situation, Coan was knocked out of the Wisconsin game following an apparent ankle injury that left him hobbling off in the third quarter. Pyne replaced him, completing 6 of 8 passes for 81 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown to Kevin Austin. It was a small sample size, but it was enough for Pyne to earn a game ball for his part in Notre Dame’s 41-13 blowout, even if he didn’t exactly lead it.

However, considering how Coan struggled when healthy, taking five sacks and hitting just 15 of 29 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown before getting injured, it’s worth asking whether a more mobile quarterback would work better with this rebuilding offensive line, which may get left tackle Michael Carmody (ankle sprain) back on Saturday. Kelly didn’t dismiss the idea but did edit it, noting that Coan’s issues are less about mobility and more about not getting the ball out on time.

“For me, within this offensive structure, the ball has to come out on time,” Kelly said. “The offensive line is under scrutiny right now and look, they have to play better. But not all that is on the offensive line. The ball has got to come out on time, and there are certain situations where the ball needed to get out in a timely fashion and it didn’t.

“It’s more important that in shotgun, quick drop, the ball’s got to come out on time first, and then mobility second.”

What Pyne lacks in stature he makes up for in mobility. What Coan lacks in mobility, he makes up for in arm strength. And what Buchner lacks in experience, he makes up for in raw talent. About the only clarity Kelly offered to close the week was the idea that Coan or Pyne will start, but Buchner will rotate.

“There’s kind of a give-take there in terms of what each guy brings to the lineup,” Kelly said. “(Coan) is ahead of where I thought he would be on Wednesday, and he has (Thursday) and (Friday). Drew and Jack have kind of split the first-team reps, and we’ve continued to work Tyler’s package that he’s traditionally had in weeks past.”

Good luck figuring out Notre Dame’s quarterback situation, as it doesn’t appear Notre Dame has it figured out.

Source:  The Athletic
October 1, 2021

Cocktail of the Week

Two random forces clashed this week in a harmonic convergence:

1) The latest chapter in the "Playtime For Sloane" saga entitled,  If You Thought Grandpa's Tailgate Friends The Last Two Weeks Were Bizarre, Wait Until You Meet This Group" 


2) eldest brother Mike trying to convince me that, in fact, Labor Day does NOT represent the end of the white spirits drinking period and, IN FACT, it was now MARTINI SEASON. Could there be any more of a southern California perception?  I think not.  

What's a blogger to do?  Seek common ground, that's what.  
Cocktails 'n infants - what could possibly go wrong? 

"What's an Ungie, uncle Jerry?"

Eeny, Martini, Miny, Mo
(Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo)

Eeny, martini, miny mo
Watch out for the food she'll throw
If she hollers, let us know,
"Come on, Ryan, it's time to go!"

*  Dash of dry vermouth
*  3 oz. gin or vodka (your call)
*  1 olive
*  1 sprig fresh thyme
*  Lemon twist, for garnish

There's nothing tougher than leaving your little one behind for the first time, but this decadent martini will help make the time (and thyme) go down a bit faster.  Add a dash of dry vermouth to a cocktail glass, swirl it around a few times and discard the liquid.  Shake the vodka, olive and thyme in a shaker with ice and strain the liquid into the glass.

Now garnish with a lemon twist, cherish your night out and keep that cell phone handy for updates from the grandparents.

SourceHickory Daiquiri Dock
Cocktails With Nursery Rhyme Twist
by Tim Federle


 5                     @Florida St.    W
11                    Toledo              W
18                    Purdue             W
24                    Linipalooza X -   W
25                   @Wisconsin    W

 2                    Cincinnati     
 9                    @Va. Tech 
16                    BYE            
23                    USC
30                    UNC

6                    Navy          
13                  @UVA               
20                  Ga. Tech
27                  @Stanford

The Wager 

Tomorrow we'll discover
What our God in heaven has in store...
One game more.... 

(I'd be playing this song before kickoff of every game.  That team would never come out flat.)

Okay, not just one game more. But, as I heard an Athletic writer opine this week, this year is shaping up for ND as a series of one game seasons.  Each a singular, time sensitive referendum on the team.

And this week is arguably the Game of the Year.  Win this and those grouped in the 11 and 12 win category have got to feel pretty good about their chances.  One way or the other, one would think we ought to know a lot more about the make up of this team after Saturday.  But there's also a good chance we'll be saying this every week.

Still, 4-0 gets you the chance to go 5-0.  Onward and upward. 


Archetype (Embodies)



Miracle On Ice


To be clear, ND running the table wouldn't come remotely close to approximating the USA ice hockey victory over Russia in '80.  

Nothing in my lifetime will beat this.  Nor will anything exceed the guilt I still have for ruining this for Castellini.

Still ND going 12-0 seems similarly tough to envision with the little we know right now.


Brian M.


John P.

Bryan G.

Gary H.

Pat B.

Dave M.


Kerry Strug

One final vault.  Hit it, basically perfectly, and your country wins the gold medal.

No pressure.  Oh and you just tore two ligaments in your ankle on your prior attempt - you can barely walk.

But apparently, you still have one more sprint in you.  Boom!  Done.

ND winning 11 games is not really analogous to this but right now, it's looking just as iffy.


Jay F.

Bill B.

Bob J. 

Dave G.

Peter B.

Jim S.

Jim B.

Daryl M.

Dennis R.

Mike C.


Super Bowl III


In hindsight this probably wasn't nearly the shocker it was at the time - but it sure made the NFL sit up and take notice.

At this point in the Kelly regime, ND winning 10 games is no longer unexpected. 

And yet, they have a similar imperative (as the AFL did) to do this in order to get the football world to really buy in that ND is elite again. 

Sloane B.
Phillip S.
Jerry P.
Kevin M.
Jim T.
Tim S.
The Dim One
Bob S. 
Blair R.
Alex S.
Ted C.
Tom F.
Randy R. 
Mike G. 


NC St over Phi Slamma Jamma


The 'improbable' relevance to ND success gets shakier as the win total gets lower... 

A great game but unless you had money on it (I didn't), it was a fleeting feel good. 

Relevance to 9 wins? None. But on this continuum this is where this sits.


Brian W.

Garrett R. 

Mike B.

John L.

Ward H. 


Villanova over Georgetown

 In terms of improbability, you could probably flip this game w NC State's victory - they were both pretty awesome in a vicarious way.

These rankings all being relative vs. the others, it's feeling 8'ish even if it probably deserves better.  



Albert B.


ND over Miami, 1988 

Was this improbable at the time?  Depends on who you ask - and if they're honest.

Miami owned ND in the '80s.

And yet, Holtz & Co. made everyone believe.  

Impressive, definitely.  But on a scale of 1-10 as unlikely, maybe a 7.



ND over Clemson, 2020

This victory - as necessary as it was for the program - gets somewhat devalued in terms of improbability:

1) ND was genuinely really good last year.   And playing at home.

2) Candidly, no Trevor Lawrence.



ND over Florida St., 1993


After the '88 Miami win, with Holtz still in charge... while never a 'lock', beating FSU was certainly no great surprise.

And ultimately tempered by spitting the bit the next week against BC.



If anyone wishes to play down here... 


3 my guest.



A return to normalcy - isn't that what we, the unwashed masses, have wanted this year?

After last week's series of "close but no cigar" outcomes, the proletariat has been given their cake to eat.

And to have watched much of it in the company of friends, all the sweeter. 


If your Bingo card had this threesome, you win! 

1)   Texas A&M.   This one's for you, Mike Corrigan - Jimbo Fisher's biggest fan. (Not.) Losing to a team whose fanbase willingly dresses like pigs.  


2)  USC. With each loss, the price of your next coach is skyrocketing!  Good thing the university finances are in such solid shape.

3)  Clemson.  To quote Edgar G. Robinson, "where's your God now, Dabo?!"

Bonus Nominee for the committed carnivores in the audience - thank you, Jim Thompson, for this gem: 

With 3 Michelin stars, Eleven Madison Park is considered (apparently) one of the best restaurants in New York City, recognized even on a global level.  

The NY Times food critic, Pete Wells, begs to differ.  

Commenting on the largely vegan menu:

In tonight’s performance, the role of the duck will be played by a beet, doing things no root vegetable should be asked to do. Over the course of three days it is roasted and dehydrated before being wrapped in fermented greens and stuffed into a clay pot, as if it were being sent to the underworld with the pharaoh.

File this under 'More Things Jerrence Wished He'd Written.'

Terry's Tools.

They say 'variety is the spice of Life.'

This week

*  something old: an Ohio St. tool.

* something new:  a woman nominee!

* something future forward:  a Bearcat.


1) K'Vaughan Pope.    You've heard it here before - as recently last week, I think - you can't fix stupid. 

But let's give it up for Ohio State's latest ex-scholarship athlete for being this week's proof of principle.  

He throws a tantrum and quits. During the game. "I'm done with this bitch ass school!" (or something to that effect, I'm speculating here).

Gets tossed from the field by his team.

Ponder that for a moment - when tOSU is done with you, how big of a reprobate do you have to be?  That's a rhetorical question - the answer is akin to "infinity big."

But just to bring closure to the relationship, he tweets from the locker room, as one does, basically 'f*** you, OSU."  

Alrighty then.  Enjoy Bishop Sycamore HS - they're not far away and pretty sure they've got a few starting positions open. 

2)  Lori Nelson.   Who?  The (now former) coach of the USC Song Girls for 30 years and underminer of fantasies.  It's safe to say, back in the day, the Song Girls were a seasonal root cause of many of my early confessional visits.  

But now there's apparently been 'sufficient evidence' that Ms. Nelson was guilty of body shaming, harassment and retaliation against several members of her teams - creating a 'hostile and unhealthy environment.'

Say it ain't so - so young, so pure, so impressionable.   

Hmmm.  I wonder if there was spanking involved. 

The confessional box beckons.  

3) Desmond Ridder.  Cincinnati QB clearly doesn't believe in the power of bulletin board material.

Well, Dez, I guess we'll see about that.

Final Thought

From The Jerrence Archives...   in lieu of having anything pithier to offer, and this being the only time of the year when professional baseball is sustainably compelling.

BTW, go SF Giants.  I don't understand how you got so good again but pls. God, anyone but the Dodgers.

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