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Friday, July 28, 2023

Pre-Wager 2023: Sometimes A Great Notion

Homeward bound!
I wish I was...



Dateline:  Hinkley, OH

The Serengeti?  Really, Jerrence?
Jerrence thought he was in a safe space.  One where he could share college-era trauma with other, like-minded, simpatico's.  

He thought wrong.   But who amongst us hasn't been tricked, laid low, by that sultry temptress bitch, Madame Alcohol?  

But I digress.

Someone in the group just had to start talking about bad wapatula experiences (as an aside, if one needs to tell their college-bound children, "don't drink anything out of a garbage can" perhaps your parenting skills aren't quite as heightened as you may think).

But Jerrence, ever the over-sharer, just had to blurt out, "I've got an anecdote to contribute!"  (In retrospect, looking at Defarge's face snd seeing her expression suggesting a curious mix between wonder ('why doesn't he just stop talking?') and amusement ('I hope he doesn't stop talking'), it should've been obvious:  this was just another in a lifelong series of poor decisions by her husband.

It was Halloween weekend of sophomore year, 1976 - a semester that would be something of a train wreck for Jerrence, from start to finish.  Costume parties across campus abounded that night.  And Jerrence had his:  Harpo Marx.  The evening was full of potential.

And that's all I'll say about that.  Suffice to say, if one could marry the plot line of Scorsese's "After Hours" with the tableau of Disney's "The Lion King," for that night, Jerrence lived it.

It seemed like a good idea at the time...



The point being - however opaque the aforementioned experience was - is that things don't always turn out quite as you intend.  And sometimes what you perceive isn't at all the reality of the situation. 

And I can't think of a more appropriate disclaimer for looking at ND's 2023 season.

Let's have fun this year and enjoy the unexpected. 


Quote of the Week


"Don't bet against the fat boy..."

Nikola Jokic



At this time of year, when the masses are suggesting ND can't possibly be legitimate BCS playoff contenders... and before I'll start badgering you for a '24 win prediction, it might wise to consider this.  

                                                   

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph
:  Jerrence stared at his laptop. He was doing what Gruley tells him to do. 

"Butt in seat" for one's writing regimen is what he said.  And yet, nothing was revealing itself to him.

He tried to ignore the inner voice that pressed, "And when did listening to Bryan ever work out for you?"

You're not helping.   And I'm sure there was that one time...

Nonetheless, as Jerrence searched for a leitmotif for the Notre Dame 2023 season, his mind spiraled in every imaginable direction.   Too many thoughts!  Too many variables!

But perhaps that was this year's theme:  anything is possible.  

And if the band you're in 
Starts playing different tunes
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon. 






Summertime  Thoughts


Rock me on the water...




Summertime is here and so many thoughts... who can keep them all straight?
 

1. 
 Retirement Update.   It would appear Jerrence's career path forward may not lie in the field of becoming an Audible reader of action novels.



Okay, Bob, no one likes a show off. 



2.  Jack, We Hardly Knew Ye.    The 'agree to disagree' relationship between Savvy and Cincotta notwithstanding, I've never understood the widespread level of Message Board vitriol directed at Mr. Swarbrick.
 
While he probably allowed Brey to hang around a little longer than justified - and perhaps even that wasn't entirely his call - it appears he's done a pretty exemplary job w his coaching hires and professional contracts (though I'm sure the ND message boards would aggressively debate that, cretins).

And the new dude, assuming he passes The Cincotta Test, looks to be a very strategic hire.

Thanks for everything, Jack.  


3.  "Recruit, Retain, Replace.".   The new ND mantra, apparently.  And one that reflects the new reality of the college athletics in a transfer portal / NIL world.  Meaning what?
  1.  Get the best possible high school athletes you can. (Recruit.)
  2.  Keep 'em motivated, engaged, satisfied. (Retain.)
  3.  And when you can't, have that target list of qualified transfer ready.  (Replace.)
If that sounds a lot like NFL free agency, requiring a scouting and personnel evaluation dept., you'd be correct.


4.  Jerrence, What Are You Watching?   You didn't ask but I'm offering.  TV that Defarge and I can advocate:
  • Hijack (Apple+). 
    • Idris Elba as a businessman on a Dubai-to-London plane that gets taken over. Hijinx ensue.
  • Drops of God (Apple+).  
    • If you're a wine aficionado (and most you appear to be), fun show about the world's greatest wine expert who creates a winner-take-all contest to inherit his $150M wine collection. 
  • Full Circle (Max).
    • Soderbergh mini-series centered around a kidnapping that goes awry.
  • What We Do In The Shadows (Hulu).  
    • Season 3 mockumentary about vampires still adjusting to life in Staten Island.  
  • Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated (Netflix)
    • Watching this with the granddaughter, the sexual tension among the group is revelatory.  It's like
      if Fleetwood Mac started a detective agency.

5.  GOAT?    With the passing of Johnny Lujack this past week at the ripe old age of 98, this came across my desk:


Who was gonna tell Blanda, Arnie and Stan the Man they're wrong?  Not me. 


6a.   Recruiting (lacrosse).   Looking good!  Another Top 5 haul!  And a legacy stud, to boot! 



6b.  Recruiting (football).  Spitballing here but just guessing... not a Notre Dame fit? 



7.  NIL.    The state of college football explained in a single, albeit obscure, song:.

I assume you understand that we have options on your time.
 And we'll ditch you in the harbor if we must.!
But if it all works out nicely
You'll get the bonus you deserve...



8.  SEC!  SEC!   The only thing about the SEC I miss... 




Buddy's Buddy


Too many of you have heard, for far too many times, a favorite mantra of mine... that I find myself coming back to in times of even trivial adversity:  

Crisis doesn't develop character, it reveals it.

Which brings us to this edition's Buddy winner:

Rickie Fowler.


"Yeah, winning's great but there's a lot more to life than that."
Golf is a f*cking maddening sport. For the basic amateur hack, solving it is like being asked to create alchemy.  Sure, no problem.  And so, when one sees one of the world's elite players seemingly totally lose their game, well, it's hard to even process.  How can that even be?  

And impossible to imagine what it's like to be the one actually experiencing it.

Which is why watching Fowler's 2023 return to form represents one of the great feel good stories of the year.  This guy was lost in the proverbial desert, performance-wise, for literally a couple years. 

Yet my favorite anecdote about him is hearing from the Spieths, Thomases etc. - his friends - about how Fowler would be there waiting on the 18th green of Sunday's round to congratulate them on their victory - even though he was probably done before they even teed off.    And not just once, he's done this a dozen times over the last few years.

Bravo, Rickie.  You might be one of Life's rare creatures:  a better person than you are an athlete.



RE-PETE (A shameless, illegal lift of Pete Sampson's weekly mail-bag)



Only 29 more days until football.  And tailgates. 

Building to a fevered pitch.  

Okay maybe not yet - an early schedule of Navy, Middle Tennessee State, NC State and Central Michigan doesn't exactly jump start the hippocampus, does it?

But beggars can't be choosers.  And so many questions still haven't been answered.  Let's start with the cut-to-the-chase big one:  what's our record gonna be?
  

The Vegas odds predict a 9-3 record. If you were forced to make a large wager, would it be on 10-2 or 8-4? This wager should be based on logic not emotion.

Mike M.

When money is involved, it’s always logic, right?

I’m bullish on Notre Dame this year, more so than the betting public. As much as Marcus Freeman entering his second year should matter, the fact he’s doing it with Sam Hartman at quarterback might matter more. Not to say that the quarterback is more important than the head coach, but when I’m asked what the biggest lesson Freeman learned from Year 1 was, I keep coming back to the fact that he rolled the dice at the most important position on the field. It was a mistake. He didn’t repeat it. There was a question about how I’d feel about the upcoming season if it were Tyler Buchner or Drew Pyne at quarterback. About three wins lower is my answer.

I’m not sure I’m higher on Hartman than others, but I believe Notre Dame has the material to compete for the College Football Playoff at quarterback, running back, offensive line, linebacker and cornerback. Receiver could be much better than expected if Hartman delivers. Yes, defensive line is a major question, and it’s the second-most important position on the field.

There are some ifs to the season, obviously. If Jordan Botelho matures into an every-down player (ir if Junior Tuihalamaka can accelerate his development). If grad transfers Antonio Carter and Thomas Harper can upgrade the secondary. If Cam Hart can stay healthy. If Eli Raridon and Jadarian Price can stay on the field after serious injuries. But are these really huge ifs? To me, it feels more like a parlay made up of betting favorites on the money line.

Just so we’re clear, I’m not predicting Notre Dame will make the College Football Playoff. I’m just predicting that on Nov. 1 that the Irish will be contenders with just one loss.*

*Season predictions made in July are subject to change without notice.


Source:  The Athletic
July 24, 2023

Cocktail of the Week

Perhaps it is the theme of travel - I've been doing a fair bit of late - that attracted me to this offering.  

Or the northern Italy locale that's made me wistful, with daughter Shea heading back to our old 'hood in August.

Or my latest foray into mixology requiring lemon juice and simple syrup.

Or, just making a blue drink.  Cool!

A Room With Vermouth
A Room with a View  (1908)
By E. M. Forster


If you've ever arrived at a hotel only to discover that your room with a "view" is of a parking lot, welcome to the opening scene of E. M. Forster's beloved novel, the first he began writing and the third to be published.

Considered Forster's lightest work, Room lets you settle in for a view of Florentine vistas and sidekick spinsters, all while questioning how one does and doesn't fit into society's preordained pecking order.

As for you, you'll fit in just fine as soon as you serve your suitor this drink, which boasts a taste of Italy and a view of the blue sky.judgments.


2 oz.  dry vermouth
1 oz   blue curaƧao
1 oz.  lemon juice
1 oz.  simple syrup
1 egg white

Pour the vermouth, curaƧao, lemon juice, syrup and egg white into a shaker and dry-shake for :05 - then double strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.  Raise the curtains and drink up!

Source:  Are You There God? It's me, Margarita.
More Cocktails with a Literary  Twist
by Tim Federle


2023 Schedule

August
26            Navy (Dublin, Ireland)

September 
2                  Tennessee State
9                  @NC State
16                Central Michigan
23               Ohio State
30               @Duke

October 
7                @Louisville
14                USC
28             @Pittsburgh Wake Forest

November 
4            @Clemson
18            Wake Forest
25          @Stanford


Wager 2023

Oh well, it's been a good day in hell
And tomorrow I'll be glory bound... 



Everyone starts the year undefeated and glory-bound.  Good luck!

Thanks to Messrs. Cincotta and Corrigan (Mike) for this year's wager construct - what would be the ND National Champions lacrosse analogy for the 2023 ND football performance?


Wins

ND Lacrosse God

Domer




12



Kevin Corrigan

 

A Corrigan as national champ?


Perfection.


 





11



Matt Kavanagh

 

The first of the Kavanagh clan, his career mirrors that of how an 11 win season might be construed - undeniably excellent, just not quite good enough.







10


Pat Kavanagh

 

Nobody embodies 'tough' more than this guy... suggesting a 10 win season, with all the unknowns on the team (e.g., WR's), may say more about the team's fortitude - and future - than two losses might.


 




9



Chris Kavanagh


How would a 9-win season be viewed?  The guess here is "wow, that year was crazy, a little unhinged, certainly unpredictable!"


Which seems to be the most perfect description of the youngest Kavanagh. 

 

 





8



Sergio Perkovic.


The pride of Bloomfield Hills, arguably the Austin Carr of his era (check out sometime how he singlehandedly brought the team back in a NCAA semi-final vs. Denver).


Yet no one remembers him in light of the team's recent success.  Just like no one will choose to remember an 8-win outcome.


 



7



Liam Entenmann


7 wins, ugh.  No one would be happy with that - yet out of it may reveal a preternatural performance or two (ala our man Liam in Philadelphia), setting up an optimistic 2024 scenario.


Dare to dream.


 



6



Gerry Byrnes

 

Nothing optimistic about 6 wins or less.  Just looking for someone to blame.  In this case, why not point the finger at the former 2nd in command to Corrigan, architect for a top tier defense strategy who (got tired of waiting and) left for the top job at Harvard.


Not fair but so what.


 



5




This is lacrosse as club sport territory...


 



4



How are the fencers looking this year?

                                                          




Schadenfreude of the Week

This is the slow season for this section.  One must truly dig deep to find 'critical mass' sports disappointment that can still excite, nay thrill.

Is Jerrence up for such a task?  

You bet your ass he is.   And that's even before the inevitable season ending, pre-season injuries that'll surely dismantle any number of college / professional football teams.  (Football is nothing if not a game of attrition.)

But in the meantime...




1) Los Angeles Lakers .   Laker fans like to say, "we collect super stars."  

Hard to argue with that.  Going back to Abdul Jabbar, they've had an impressive run on players that will be most people's all time lists.

They're already planning for the eventuality of acquiring the NBA's newest heir apparent, Victor Wembanyama, who inconveniently is San Antonio Spurs property for the next several years.

What they don't collect too much of any more is actual championships.  

Well done, Nuggets.

 

2) LSU (Les Miles)  

The NCAA wakes up from a Rip Van Winkle-esque slumber to realize, 'hey I think there's some cheatin' going on in the SEC!'  

Displaying a sense of urgency typically only reserved for glaciers and government investigations - it took them eight years to figure it out - they drop the hammer on LSU and their former coach, Miles.

37 wins vacated with history now recording the teams performance as 0-14 for the 2012-15 years.

A drop in the bucket but hey, it's nice to be recognized, if only for what amounts to a slap on the wrist.

3)  Novak Djokovic  

Perhaps it was because I've always been a big Federer fan, for me he was always class and elegance personified.  

Or maybe it had to do with the first time I arrived in Belgrade, our agency's country manager drove me immediately to see the where the US had mistakenly bombed the local Chinese Embassy. Hmmm.  Did they want me to apologize?

Whatever.  I'm just not a huge fan of Serbia and their greatest athlete.   Glad he lost Wimbledon.  One can only hope it's signaling a changing of the guard.    


Terry's Tools

What is it about the summer months that brings out society's reprobates.

Okay, perhaps there's not really any seasonality to this group.

Nor does there seem to be any categorical or geographical skew to this resource.

Lucky me.

It can get you into trouble
But it can't get you out. 





1) The One We Call 'Feif.'   Et tu, Thomas?   

It gives this writer no pleasure to call out one of our own.   But let's call this what it is:  a Paddlefish coup.  

So imagine the surprise of two of the founding members of the esteemed club when they saw news of new titles for its leader (singular?), new compensation packages (also singular) and evidently, a new board of directors.

Can you say, 'shadow government?'

Shameful.  

And for future reference -  the 1st Rule of Fight Insurrection Club is... and one would've thought anyone who paid attention to the January 6th debacle would know this... 

Don't brag about your achievements on social media.


2)  Northwestern University.   This summer's winner of the "Luuuucy, You Got Some Esplainin' To Dooooo!" award.  And the fact that the cultural toxicity extends beyond the football team (incl. baseball, softball, volleyball) gives one legitimate pause.

And as much as we tar the entire SEC with the "you're cheaters!" brush, you gotta believe there are college administrators all over the country thinking, "that's Northwestern we're talking about - what's going on within our programs?"


3) Shemy Schembechler.  Okay, your nickname alone is enough to make you a first ballot
tool, which your former employer U. of Michigan could no doubt see past.  

Unfortunately, it was your social media activity two days after being hired - generously self-described as 'flippant' - where you proffered that slavery and Jim Crow laws actually strengthened black individuals and families -  that the school administrators couldn't quite wrap their minds around.   


The moral of the story?  Even for a football coach - there are limits to some cutting edge hypotheses.  

But to be fair, those concepts could  probably get you elected in Florida. 


4) PGA
.   BOHICA, faithful tour members - especially you, Rory, who took virtually every LIV bullet for Monahan.  

Money wins.  

Again.  

As always.  

And just keep telling yourself that Saudi PIF money is clean. 



5)  "Rapid, unscheduled disassembly." 

What comes to mind when you hear those words?

  • SpaceX?
  • Any time Cincotta visited 801 St. Louis?
  • Jerrence's 'safe words' for the ND Reunion 2024? 

 

6)  No One Likes A Show Off, Junior.


Final Thought.


For everyone who still has their parent(s) around.

You know that old trees just grow stronger
And old rivers grow wilder every day.
Old people  just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there."