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Friday, September 1, 2023

Navy: That Worked Out Nicely

And it seems like...
Yes, it feels like
...a brand new day.

Dateline:  Dublin, Ireland

The operative word above would be 'seems.'  Watching Saturday's game - and when has an ND opener ever gone almost exactly like you'd hope - one can't help but be a little excited about the prospects for the 2023 edition of the football team.

Dublin looked like a super fun time.

And while this blog doesn't venture into the realm of objective analysis (hey, rationale thought is not 'on brand' for Jerrence and anyway, where's the fun in that?!) one should still probably caution too much of an over-reaction.

In the words of Harvey Keitel's character, The Wolf, in Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction"...  

"Let's not start sucking each other's dicks quite yet..."

Probably not how I might have worded it if I'd been watching the Navy game with friends and family. Yet, the point is Keitel's character, a gangster's ultimate fixer, knew the job wasn't yet finished for Vincent and Jules.  The same holds true for ND football 2023, however optimistic one might feel after Game 1.

Lest we forget, Marshall was just a year ago.

Quote of the Week

ND Nation loves to heap tons of scorn on virtually anyone (everyone) who handles play-by-play / color commentary for any of the games...  

Begging the question, who might actually live up the mob's lofty ideals - John Madden?  Al Michaels? Lindsay Nelson?  

Frankly, I don't get it.  More accurately, I just don't care that much. Sure, I pick up on when the announcers don't seem to do their homework (butchering a name or a background 'fun fact') but otherwise, this whole "oooh, they all hate ND vibe" that they seem to incessantly bitch about?  Ridiculous. And intellectually lazy. What do they want, the equivalent of Soviet state TV ("Everything excellent, comrade!")

Present company excluded, my lack of regard for that group simply cannot be underestimated.

In any event, the aforementioned quote of Jason Garrett - who, granted, would not be nominated as the life of any party - is objectively funny.  And from what I've heard, wholly accurate.

Well done, Jason.

 Speaking of Mr. Fortuna... friend of the blog and occasional dinner companion for a select few of us thanks to B. Gruley, Esq...  he has left The Athletic - their loss - and can now be found with his own subscription service here.  (Totally worth it.)

I'd also highly encourage you to check out the weekly podcast he still co-hosts with Pete Sampson, now found here (and free via Apple podcasts).

This past week they have a very interesting interview with Joe Montana (where Joe alludes to a (now apparently resolved) estrangement with ND, due to falling out with an unnamed someone at the school who's no longer there).  Hmmm.

But I digress. 

Also, did you know Jerry Rice has a son on USC's team?  So expect to hear sightings of him on campus, come October 14th.

Oops, another digression. 

The point is, if you want some ND /college football insight of an exponentially higher quality than this drivel, check those out.  

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph
Perhaps it was due to Jerrence having just finished an awesome book, "The Art Thief, " about a 20-something Frenchman who, over the course of six years or so, stole $2 BILLION worth of rare art and antiquities - mostly by just sticking it under his coat or in a backpack and walking out...

But Jerrence had never heard of the Stendahl Syndrome before - though he felt sure he was experiencing it now.

The lightheadedness. The confusion.  What most assurdely had to be profound (if hugely pleasurable) hallucinations.

It had to be the result of seeing an extraordinary - and undeniably rare - piece of art:  Notre Dame's offense and defense operating with consistent efficiency and confidence, even swagger.

Then again, it might've just been the cocktails.  Once Jerrence realized it was 7pm in Dublin, it was 'go' time and he had to start researching this year's optimal elixir.

Week 1 Thoughts

All aboard for fun time!

This is gonna be an entertaining season.  As long as Sam Hartman stays healthy. 

Other immediate observations...

1. Early concerns
.   Here's what the consensus 'experts' seem to see as ND's question marks going into this season:
  • New QB.    Check
  • New Offensive Coordinator.  Check
  • Minimal WR experience.  Check
  • New'ish DL.  Check
  • Average LB athleticism.  Check.
  • Killer instinct? Check.

Looking good, Billy-Ray!  

2. Penalty.    As in one. Singular.  

And zero false starts.  


3.  5 Headed Monster.   One of the on-going recent mysteries for me has been this:  with the ridiculously high profile of ND's program, how can they not attract the elite athletes at those similarly high profile positions (e.g., QB, RB, WR)?

That tide seems to be turning - watch what happens if the Hartman buzz actually turns into Heisman chatter - but never more so obviously than the ridiculous depth at RB.  While Estime remains a cut above, the next four (especially Price and Love) look super impressive.

And a word about accountability:  no doubt aided by the luxury of depth at the position, did one notice that after Estime fumbled, he sat (I think) for the rest of the half.   

That'll make an impression.

4.  Youth served.   One of the interesting subplots is the growth from Year 1 => Year 2 for both Freeman and the players.  Truly Marcus's program now, and seemingly prioritizing talent over experience.

Cynically, I would also add this: if the high potential youth aren't seeing the field, or at least a path to playing time (e.g., part-time this year, starter next), they're not gonna stay

5.  Meanwhile, Back In Iowa.  98 year old Kay Corrigan is still watching every game.  


In real time.  

None of this "I'll record the game and if they win..." nonsense.

Bravo, mom.

6.   Savvy Jack   One wonders if, as Mr. Swarbrick moves ever closer to lame duck territory, his "I don't give two f*cks" attitude becomes more pronounced.  You go, girl! 

7.  Navy.  One would be remiss if one didn't point out the respect we all have for the Navy program.  

Beating them every year continues to trigger my catholic self-loathing:  they never match ND in quality of athlete, of course we should beat them -  crush them more times than not. 

Where's the satisfaction in that?

As fans and, I suppose the team, goes on to worry about - checks schedule - Tennessee State... Navy goes back to worry about which war-torn theatre of the world they're training to ultimately be deployed to.    

This series remains deeply conflicting for me.

8. Hair.   Recognizing that for most of this readership, hair is something of long forgotten, historical artifact... can we just, for one moment, revel in the majesty that is Sam Hartman's hair?

It's glorious.

And with a beard of the magnitude we haven't witnessed since Cincotta's COVID-era homage to Che Guevara.   

What a combination.

Long, beautiful hair...
Shining, gleaming, streaming
Flaxen, waxen

Buddy's Buddy

First week out of the gate and already several worthy candidates to be Buddy's bud:
  • Drs. Spittler & Cincotta, who may have saved Jerrence's back - literally - by showing him several valuable stretching exercises.  As Kay Corrigan loves to tell her sons, "Getting old isn't for sissies..."   True dat, mom.  And thanks guys.
  • How about Viktor Hovland, the pride of Norway who just won the PGA's Fedex Championship (and a cool $18M).   Looks like he's about 12 years old - none of that revenue having to go towards shaving products - and with a perpetual smile on his face.  While not alone on the tour in this regard, just an easy fellow to root for.  Bravo, Vik.
But no, this week's winner is the latest example of Occam's Razor - the easiest, most obvious solution is probably the correct one.

So let's give it up for Sam Hartman.  

If nothing else of legitimate consequence can be taken from last week's game, this conclusion is pretty clear:  ND has themselves a stud at QB.

And I have no issue with him being The Buddy every week of the season. 

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

In keeping with all of the hot takes and / or over-reactions to one game versus a legitimately awful, ovder-matched team, let us mine the depths of someone - Mr. Sampson - who's got a far more solid base of football intellect to answer that most pressing of the fanbase's questions:

Should our estimation of Notre Dame's potential this year be raised?


A lot has been made about the Hartman debut and what it means for Notre Dame’s outlook this season. Would it be more appropriate, from your perspective, to say that seeing the offensive operation against Navy changed your opinion on: A) ND’s ceiling for the season; B) ND’s floor for the season; C) Both; D) Neither. For me, I don’t know that it necessarily changes the ceiling, as I still think it’s probably 11-1. But I do feel better about ND’s potential in actually reaching that ceiling, and feel the the floor now is probably more 9-3 than it is 8-4. – Ryan S.

That’s a good way to look at it. The floor got raised. The ceiling? I’m not so sure.

Basically, I left Dublin thinking Notre Dame was more likely to sweep its nine opponents outside of Ohio State, USC and Clemson. Hartman makes Notre Dame more upset-resistant. Does that make the Irish more likely to get a marquee win? Notre Dame feels positioned to get at least one of its three big games, which means a 10-2 season. Going higher than that? That’s going to take more than Hartman.

Let’s revisit this after NC State to pick apart Notre Dame’s supporting cast. Hartman is good. But carrying the Irish to an 11-1 season takes more than a quarterback.

Source:  The Athletic
September 1, 2023

Cocktail of the Week

  • 8/26 (Navy game):  Jerrence beta tests Brandy Old Fashions on himself - success.
  • 8/31 (Brandi Carlile concert at Ravinia): Jerrence executes the aforemention cocktail for il nostro patrono Ray Volk - success!
          •    Defarge makes a Brandy Alexander pie (yum). 
Sensing a theme?  

Howards Blend
Howards End (1910)
by E.M. Forster

Sad that the writer of "Only connect" - Howards End's epigraph - had such a tortured time doing so himself.  Edward Morgan (E.M.) Forster, the long-closeted novelist of the literary masterpiece A Room With A View and A Passage to India (the last book he'd write for 50 years, until his death), imagined three distinct families in Howards End, an English estate at the center of class tensions, inheritance resentments amd the rare death-by-falling-bookcase. 

Here, we blend the three distinct flavors of the vintage "Janet Howard" cocktail, for a posh but pronto drink,. 

This'll have you connecting in no time - with other people, God willing, not toppled furniture.

2 oz.  brandy
1/2 oz. orgest syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters

A perfect drink for the day you receive word your wealthiest relative has finally kicked the bucket shuffled off this mortal coil.  

Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass - and gather the bravery to ask if you were left anything in the will.

Source:  Tequila Mockingbird
Cocktails with With a Literary  Twist
by Tim Federle

 Schedule 2023

26            Navy (Dublin, Ireland)                W

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

7                @Louisville
14                USC
28             @Pittsburgh 

4            @Clemson
18            Wake Forest
25          @Stanford

A weird quirk of the schedule that may only interest me:  the season will be half over by October 1st.  

Wager 2023

One week in, everyone's a winner!  A couple fast reactions to this year's distribution of predictions:

1) PLEASE check to see that I've recorded your prediction accurately.  (Or if I missed you entirely.)

2) I'm always intrigued by the assumptions people make in getting to their number - does it come down, solely, to the three big games and how you think we'll do?  2-1, 1-2?  Did one also factor in a shoot-yourself-in-the-foot loss as well?  Possibly, did one just crack a bottle of 18 year Speyside single malt and suddenly get reeeaaalllll optimistic (looking at you Team 12 wins).



ND Lacrosse God



Kevin Corrigan


A Corrigan as national champ?



Brian M., John P., John L.


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.

DarylDave M., Peter, Ray


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.


Jerrence, JP,  Brian W.BillRyan, Matt, Garrett, Cinco, Bucks,  Sully, Raz, Ted, Lini, Jim B.,  Spit the Elder,  Spit the Younger, Mike B.


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. 



Jim S., Bob J., GutschJim T.Jerry P., UngieCoat Man, Alex, Mike G., George


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.


Albert, Jerry W.,  Feif, Blair


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.



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.



This is lacrosse 'when it was a club sport' territory...



How are the fencers looking this year?


Schadenfreude of the Week

This being, technically, Week 0 in the college football season it wasn't as if there was a lot of options to choose from - any team of any significance was playing a decided underdog of such magnitude that it'd have to be a 2007 / pre-transfer portal Michigan - Appalachian St. type upset that one could revel in, basically forever.

Such as I am doing right now.

Well, The Big Upset didn't happen but... challenge accepted nonetheless.

  • Hawaii.  You might push back, "hasn't that state suffered enough lately?"  and that would be a fair criticism. This recognition has more to do with Vanderbilt winning the game, for the sake of their coach, ex-ND defensive coordinator, Clark Lea.  As the school that seems to be single-handedly propping up the SEC's academic reputation, Vandy (and coach Lea) need all the wins they can get.
  • Florida.   Loses to Utah by 13.  With all due respect to the Utes who looks to be a genuinely quality team (just ask USC), isn't the SEC supposed to be above losing to any non-conference opponent?

Terry's Tools

Rare are the weeks when one can put together such an eclectic group of dopes as this week.

Some familiar candidates, others likely (for their sakes) to be merely one off's. 

It does bode well for the season that idiocy never seems to go out of vogue. 


1) Phil Mickelson.   Surprised to see Mr. Mickelson here again?  You shouldn't be.  

If ever the phrase, "Just stop talking" rightfully applies to anyone, it's Phil these days.  His latest gaffe?  Admitting to stealing signage off the practice range at Augusta at the 2005 Masters - just so he could continue to practice a specific drill he liked.  And stealing it more than once.

Now one may say, 'lighten up, Francis, it was only a sign.'  Fair.  I would counter with a) I can't imagine the Augusta National leadership is that casual about guests screwing with any of their rules, no matter how trivial and b) there's something pathological about someone thinking the rules don't apply to them - especially at a place like Augusta where, urban legend has it, he's crossed the line with management before.

And then, bragging about it 16 years later.  Does he think there's a statute of limitations on the act?

I say this in the nicest possible way, Phil:  seek professional help.  And I mean beyond your gambling addiction. 

2) Luis Rubiales.  Over last weekend, the FIFA suspended Mr. Rubiales, president of Spain's soccer federation for 90 days, after he planted an unwanted kiss on the country's star player post-their World Cup championship victory.  

Apparently that's frowned upon, even in southern European culture.  

There is no truth to the rumors that his defense of the act amounted to a "Hey, she's hot and I am Spanish, I could not help myself..." and "What's the big deal anyway, there was no tongue."

I hope you know that this 
Will go down on your permanent record...

3) Yevgeny Prigozhin.  Perhaps the first posthumous tool recipient!  

Yevgeny is only the latest data point of Putin's "Fuck around and find out" business model.  

Note to self:  when planning a revolution against an amoral psychopathic despot, DO NOT, whatever you do, bail halfway through it.

4) ND Nation.   The only thing worse than reading ND message boards after a loss is reading them after a win.  Apparently, unless one plays a quantifiably flawless game, even a 42-3 victory is grounds for bitching.  Among the perceived crimes:
  • Did you see that one pass that Hartman threw?  An easy throw and he totally blew it...
  • That game was a 'false positive' - it proved nothing!
  • Our kicking game is going to cost us!  (Note: it was one kick and we never punted.)
  • Tobias Merriweather - he's a bust!
  • Hartman's beard far exceeds team's grooming guidelines (okay, I made that one up.)
Q.  Can they not enjoy that performance for even... a day?!  What sad, pathetic people they are.

Final Thought.

How does a near perfect tailgate raise its game?  I submit Eggo's brunch in a bottle: 

"In partnership with Appalachian Sippin' Cream, the delicious flavor of toasty Eggo waffles drizzled in syrup, the 40 proof Brunch In A Jar is the perfect addition to any morning..."

Who says Innovation is dead?

(And yes, Master Behren's bloodies already have so many food groups in it that one could reasonably argue, 'we already have this covered.'  But remember variety is the spice of life.

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