Truth be told, in the run up to this game - spent in Mexico playing golf with daughter Ryan and sucking down a lot of tequila...
"Please try our property's signature cocktail, made with the region's finest agave."
It's 10am in the morning.
But okay. Sure.
Our tee time isn't until 3pm.
...Jerrence was anticipating writing a somewhat darker-themed post.
Even after a convincing win against the 16th ranked Syracuse the prior week, he had no confidence in anything other than the Stayer tailgate. ND had already proven this year that the notion of 'home field advantage' was an oxymoron along the lines of military intelligence, jumbo shrimp, Italian war hero...
Why should this week be any different?
Quote of the Week
"This was an ass-kicking. Period."
Dabo has always been one of those coaches most people liked, until Clemson became dominant. Then not so much. Tiresome. Irritating.
No one likes a consistent winner, Dabo. Give the other children a chance.
But to my recollection, he's consistently been one of the most post-game honest coaches in the country. And Saturday night, he didn't disappoint. Well done, coach.
Word of the Week
Used in a sentence paragraph: Jerrence stared at the beer he'd been nursing for the better part of the entire 2nd half - he knew he still had to make the hour drive back to Valpo.
But he was cognizant that this was one of the few times this football season that he was actually happy that he wasn't heavily anesthetized.
Synapses firing, Jerrence watched ND act with a 'step on their opponent's neck' aggression throughout the 4th quarter. My God, they actually threw on a 2nd and short to a wide open Mayer. TD!
Who are these guys?
A wave of emotions quickly came over him, both cathartic and revelatory, as he watched the crowd pour onto the field. This was the team that Jerrence and his pals thought they were getting this year. Finally.
As despondent Clemson fans trickled into the Morris Inn bar, Jerrence felt something else, empathy. How many times 'been there, done that?' So filled with post-victory gemütlichkeit, he began to reach out to the garishly clad elderly couple next to him, only to glance at his phone and see a text:
Game 9: Thoughts
These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call...
What a difference a week two weeks make... heretofore, what occrred to me watching the game from the comfortable confines of Rohr's:
1) Brian Mason. Is The Man! The block was fabulous but even more impressive was how freaked out the Clemson punter was on almost every ensuing punt.
Punt block. The gift that keeps on giving.
2) RB's. The O-line is receiving, justifiably, a ton of accolades for the way they owned Clemson's vaunted defensive front. But that doesn't quite give the RB's their due - Diggs and Estime are really good - and much of their downfield yardage was due to their ability.
They may not be true 'take it to the house' home run hitters but they're damn good.
3) Pyne. Really isn't good. At the risk of beating this dead horse, it doesn't seem to be a coincidence that his completions come only when he has a very clear passing lane (e.g., sideline passes, short throws off bootlegs and the occasional lofted pass off play action).
But he is what he is. Nice kid. Good teammate. And it would appear that Rees and the team have learned to adjust the offense to accommodate.
Long may that last. Just hope we never need an "80 yard, 2 minute, no time outs" drive to win... 'cause that ain't happening.
4) Recruiting. Saturday was obviously part of a very big, and presumably very successful, recruiting weekend.
One would like to think our wavering 5-star DB recruit from Texas witnessed Ben Morrison's performance and saw himself doing the same in a year.
That said, I wonder what the dialogue was with any of the WR's? Tough to say that game was a showcase for them.
Brief Interlude. If you only have 4 minutes, spend it on this...
5) Clemson fans. As far as I'm concerned, they can come back anytime. Nice before the game and nice afterwards. That said, if my 'word of the week' is cathartic, their's would've been another 'c' word:
6) November Stayer tailgates. Exceptional. Like I said two weeks ago, coming out strong.
Thanks, as always, Stayer hosts Jay - Bob - Jerry - Tim - Jim - Peter and special guest collaborator, Mo (Sullivan) Borkowski!
This week, The Nomination Committee faced a bit of a quandary: in games such as we witnessed Saturday night, does one reward The Big Play or Sustained Excellence?
Why not both? (It's not like this award has any real rules - more like guidelines - associated to its criteria.)
If ever there was a game for a 2-fer, the Clemson game would be the one.
How do you not call out the O-line for pulling off the most unlikely of dominant performances against a collective 5-star front seven (hell, Clemson's back up's were 5-stars)? And it wasn't like Pyne was giving them anything to otherwise be concerned about. Brilliant.
Bravi a tutti!
And yet, 21 of the 35 points came directly as a result of either special teams (7 pts.) or the defense (14 pts.). Which brings us to Benjamin Morrison.
Clearly, Clemson's game plan was to throw at him early and often. Pick on the freshman.
And if he had done nothing else, his tackling, alone, would've separated him from ND's typical performance.
But wait, there's more! Those two INT's (perhaps you can show Lorenzo Styles how to catch?) that represented genuine game changing plays. Huge.
And bonus points, young Morrison, for the post-game interview. You're more articulate at 18 than certianly this blogger, and virtually all of his readership, is now.
And... you put the load right on me.
Indeed both the O-line and Mr. Morrison did.
RE-PETE (A shameless, illegal lift of Pete Sampson's weekly mail-bag)
This week's Sampson mailbag had more than a few provocative questions that would've been worthy of stealing sharing, including a "what the hell is going on with Lorenzo Styles" query (Answer: Pete, along with the rest of us, has no idea).
But one can only pick one of these each week and continuing with this week's new (and perhaps semi-delusional) "the future is so bright we all gonna need sunglasses" attitude, I give you this:
Imagine a world where Notre Dame wins out to finish the regular season at 9-3. How would we evaluate this season compared to a 9-3 where the losses were to Ohio State, Clemson and USC? If anything, the current timeline seems more encouraging to me. Curious to hear your thoughts.
Completely agree. This was a would-you-rather thought experiment I ran over the summer, but it was for a 10-2 season. Basically, would you rather beat two from the Ohio State/Clemson/USC group but lose a shocker? Or would you rather win every game Notre Dame should win but lose two of the games from the Ohio State / Clemson/USC group? The sentiment was with the first option, although in that moment the “shock loss” was more like North Carolina or BYU.
In some ways, the losses to Marshall and Stanford make this feeling of potential progress more acute. You’re traveling further in terms of perception from where the Irish were walking off the field against Marshall to where they might be walking off the field against USC. Sure, some of the upgrade is probably recency bias. It’s good to feel good right now. But beating Clemson and USC would provide a signal that Marcus Freeman may do what Jack Swarbrick gambled he could do when he hired him: push the ceiling of Notre Dame football higher.
There was a question from Nadeem A. about whether one win can be proof of concept, and it’s a fair pumping of the brakes. But the entire Freeman experiment is about reimagining what Notre Dame football can be. And Freeman sort of already has made progress to that end.
Obviously, Freeman can’t keep losing to Sun Belt teams or woeful Pac-12 opponents. But the idea Notre Dame can blow out a top-10 team? That’s new territory. Closing the regular season with six consecutive wins should shore up the 2023 recruiting class and give the Irish some new momentum next cycle. It may even change how Freeman views what his next staff looks like.
Source: The Athletic
November 11, 2022
Cocktail of the Week
Given that it took until early this past week to fully purge all of the tequila / mezcal out of my system, this week's book / cocktail seemed like the only route to go.
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margarita
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (1970)
By Judy Blume
Move over, wizards. Make room, vampires. For many of us, Margaret was the original YA superstar, even if her epic battles were of the religion-and puberty kind.
(Actually, especially because of that.)
The point is, Margaret showed us all how to face all of life's big 'ol quandaries, from God to boys to bra size. $100 says when Maggie got to college, she faced an even headier question: how the hell do you make a margarita without a blender? (Hint: on the rocks, kid.)
Don't worry, Madges of the world, we've got your back. We'll even hold your hair when you've had one too many.
* Coarse salt, for cocktail rim
* 1 1/2 oz. tequila
* 1 oz. lime juice
* 1/2 oz. triple sec
* 1 lime wedge, for garnish
Rim a Solo cup in coarse salt and set aside. Dump all your feelings - er, ingredients - into a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain over fresh ice into the salted Solo cup. Or, if you're feeling classy, strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lime wedge.
This is in Judy Blume's honor, after all.
Source: Tequila Mockingbird
Cocktails with a Literary Twist
by Tim Federle
3 @Ohio St. L
10 Marshall L
15 LINIPALOOZA XII
17 Cal (Berkely) W
8 @BYU (Las Vegas)W
29 @Syracuse W
19 Boston College
So we're all aligned here, right?
New Year's Day bowl victory
Top 10 ranking
Top 5 recruiting class
Too soon? Probably. Let's try and get by Navy (and with a minimal-to-no injuries).
Well, at least it looks like The Wager this year may have a winner.
And wouldn't be great if it all came down to the USC game to determine 9-3 or 8-4?
Oooohhhh, I'm still alive...
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few..."
Brian M., John P., JP, Blayney
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts..."
Lini, Theo, Sloane, Dave M., Peter
"Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions..."
Bob J., Gutsch, Jerry P., Bill,Bob S., Mike C., Pat B., Jim B., Tim S., Feif, Mike G., Phillip S., George, Mike B., Shea
"Never, never give in..."
Jerrence, Raz, Mark,
Bryan, Matt, Jerry C., Daryl, Graham, John Jim T., Alex, Randy, Pat C., Gerard W.
"History is written by the victors..."
Albert, Garrett R., Brian W.
"When you get a thing the way you want it, leave it alone..."
"The best argument against democracy is a 5-minute conversation with the average voter..."
"If I were married to you, Mr. Churchill, I'd put poison in your coffee.
If we were married, I'd drink it..."
"He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire..."
"If you're going through hell, keep going..."
Schadenfreude of the Week
Special SEC Edition!
If I wasn't already so content with my music selections, I'd be throwing in here The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."
And all the people were singing
They went 'na na la, na na la...'
1) Texas A&M. You know how crowds like to chant "MVP! MVP!" for their star player when they do something outstanding and want the world to known their partisanship?
I live for the day when A&M is getting pasted - again - and the opposing crowd breaks into "ROI! ROI!"
2) Bama. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Truth be told, the Tide's lost two games by a total of 4 points so enjoy this while it lasts.
3) Tennessee. Apparently not entirely Ready For Prime Time.
Who remembers Marvin Barnes? The Providence College basketball star of the early 1970's...
Nicknamed (appropriately) "Bad News", Marvin was never confused with any Mensa candidates and for reasons that escape me, I was reminded of a Marvin anecdote - potentially apocryphal but totally on Brand:
Simply put, the story goes that in those days, pre-NIL, Marvin was hurting for money and decided he was going to address it by robbing a local 7-11. So he throws on a ski mask and off he goes. Unfortunately, he also throws on his basketball letter jacket with Marvin nicely stitched on the front breast. So when a 6'8" black man in a ski mask, comes in and demands all your money - and it's a reasonably small college town... well, you know how it's going to end.
1) ACC Refs. I am loathe to be that conspiracy theory guy but when you see normally composed Marcus Freeman lose his sh*t... for the 2nd consecutive week... it just seemed awfully suspicious that once ND got up big, 28-0, the flags started coming out against the Irish.
And after last week where, apparently, offensive holding on Syracuse wasn't ever a permissible call.
Can't say this is a new phenomenon but still, very disappointing.
2) Dan Snyder. Never considered to be one of the NFL's most popular owners - quite the opposite, it would seem he's lowered that bar even further.
Already under fire for a toxic work environment involving systemic sexual harassment, this week Snyder's legal counsel decides to drag one of his players - who had gotten shot! - into the argument and put the blame on the D.C. Attorney General, suggesting the action against the Commanders was politically motivated.
In which case, the aforementioned player's attorney screamed, "Keep us the F*CK out of your battle with the government, Snyder!"
Oh Dan, no one will ever accuse you of being subtle.
3) KFC. Giving new (or perhaps old) meaning to the definition of target audience.
And who celebrates Kristallnacht to begin with? (That's a rhetorical question - I do NOT really want to know.)
Because I have nothing to say about Navy week (other than 'watch your knees, D-linemen') and I've always loved Monty Python's brand of silly absurdity...
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