Friday, October 21, 2011

Irish Blogger Gathering: Converting the Unconvertable

Domer Law brings the questions this week and I bring the answers from an Einstein Bagel in Chicago while I wait for my ride to South Bend/Tailgate-a-geddon/Notre Dame-Southern Cal. Let's get to it.

1. I'm taking an old friend of mine to the USC game. They were born and raised in South Bend near Notre Dame, and developed a dislike for the University at a young age from dealing with the frustrations and messes that come from Notre Dame home football weekends. She's never been to a Notre Dame game before (she's an Ohio State fan). We're going to go tailgate and do all the usual tailgating stuff. Any suggestions on what I could do to help her let go of her animosity towards Notre Dame?

I hate to be the one who breaks this to you, but she’s a Buckeye fan. She’s not salvageable. But for the sake of denial, let’s pretend she can be saved. Take a trip to The Grotto (soften the heart out of the gate) followed by a raging tailgate where she can bond with Irish fans over a mutual hatred of Michigan. Finding things you have in common breaks down barriers. My boys and I will be under the giant “Yard Sale” flag next to Legends with all the Michigan hate in the world to share with her if you need a hand.

2. On a related note, do you have any suggestions for improving the Notre Dame game weekend experience generally? Are there traditions lost that you'd like to see restored, or new ideas that you'd like to see implemented to improve the gameday experience?

I love gameday at Notre Dame, but my biggest beef with the experience of the entire weekend has been the completely obliteration of the pep rally. The “Rally on the Green” is indescribably horrendous and embarrassing. The administration has officially waved the white flag on having students play a role in it or caring an iota about it. It’s catered to little kids—which is not the way it should be—and it’s outdoors—which is terrible.

One of the best moments of the weekend used to be when the band flooded into the JACC through the tunnels blasting the Victory March. In my eyes it officially kicked off a Notre Dame football weekend. It was worth sitting through the rest of the rally—no matter how good or bad it was (and it was usually bad)—just for those two minutes.

3. (a) USC is (and always will be) our biggest rival. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? And if you agree, why do you feel that this is such an important rivalry? (b) Rank your top 10 college football rivalries and provide justifications for each.

There will be others that arise in spurts that will be more meaningful in the moment than Southern Cal (ex: Miami in the late 80’s), but over time the Trojans will always be our chief rival. The history runs incredibly deep, laced with heartbreaks and glorious triumphs on both sides. Memorable contests cement great rivalries and there isn’t another opponent in Notre Dame’s long history that’s delivered as many as Southern Cal. The Irish victories in ’73 and ’77 are two of the most celebrated victories of all-time while the ’64 and ’05 losses are almost undoubtedly the two most heartbreaking losses in school history.

Top 10 Rivalries

These are the ten rivalries that I'll go out of my way to make sure I watch every year:

Army-Navy...I mean, come on.
Ohio State-Michigan...Far and away the biggest game in the Big Ten.
Texas-Texas A&M...Always an entertaining contest on Thanksgiving weekend. Way to ruin it, Aggies.
Oregon-Oregon State...Love the Civil War.
Alabama-Auburn...Roll Tide.
Clemson-South Carolina...There is an underrated amount of hate in this rivalry which is so necessary.
UCF-UConn...brought to you by the braintrust of the Big East Conference.
Georgia-Georgia Tech...Any game called "Good Ol' Fashioned Hate" is worth watching.
Oklahoma-Oklahoma St...Bedlam.
Oklahoma-Texas...Loses points because it's always at a neutral site.

4. Southern Cal is 5-1, with their only loss on the road at Arizona State. They are unranked, sitting right behind us in the "also receiving votes" category. How good is Southern Cal this year? How do you see this game playing out?

They’re very middle of the road, way down by Southern Cal standards. There are still studs on both sides of the ball, but for the first time in over a decade Notre Dame has a clear advantages in the trenches on offense and defense. If both teams play their best game, the Trojans cannot keep up with the Irish. It felt so good to type that.

That being said, Notre Dame displayed an otherworldly ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the first two weeks of the season. Southern Cal is far better than South Florida and Michigan and is more than capable of walking into Notre Dame Stadium and leaving with a victory.

That’s not happening on this night though.

As much as I’d like to see Notre Dame blow the doors off Southern Cal and rub Lane Kiffin’s face in the turf, I think it’ll be a close game where we get down early due to a stupid mistake or two and have to claw back. David Ruffer snaps back and drills three field goals that prove to be the difference. Notre Dame 23, Southern Cal 20.

5. It appears that with a win over USC, we'll re-enter the Top 25 rankings. Now that we're halfway through the season and have some actual evidence available to us from real games, how do you see the rest of the season playing out? Predict:

(a) Notre Dame's final record (indicating where we will lose if at all) – 10-2…I think Stanford is overrated and that’s the only team other than So Cal that can scare us.
(b) Notre Dame's bowl destination, opponent and outcome – Fiesta Bowl vs Boise…Notre Dame 34, Boise State 33
(c) The BCS Championship game and result – Alabama 31, Oklahoma 13
(d) Notre Dame's final AP ranking – #6
(e) The winners of the major awards, including:
(i) Heisman Trophy – Trent Richardson
(ii) Home Depot Coach of the Year - Dabo Swinney
(iii) Davey O'Brien Award (best QB) – Kellen Moore
(iv) Doak Walker Award (best RB) – Trent Richardson
(v) Fred Biletnikoff Award (best WR) – Ryan Broyles
(vi) Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player) - Donta Hightower

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Week 5 Results

Chuck: -$103. Hinkle: -$71. Mattare: $66. Mikey: -$92.

Standings thru Week 5.

Chuck: $44. Hinkle: -$38. Mattare: -$19. Mikey: -$314.


USC -3 over Cal $33 to win $30

Ok St. -8 over Texas $33 to win $30

Alabama -27 over Ole Miss $33 to win $30

Oregon -14.5 over Arizona St. $33 to win $30


You be the judge on this rapid chain of events....

A. Josh moves to Tucson

B. Josh goes to see the U of A vs. Oregon

C. Josh decides the U of A should dominate Oregon State and makes it his biggest bet of the year to date.

D. Arizona loses

E. Mike Stoops if fired....think about it

On to the winners:

USC-3 vs Cal $44 win $40

BYU Oregon State OVER 51 $55 win $50

Georgia -11.5 vs Vandy $22 win $20

Oregon -14 vs Arizona State $22 win $20


Arizona st over Oregon $22 to win $20

Penn st -11.5 over Purdue $22 to win $20

Georgia tech -7 over UVA $44 to win $40

RG III +9 over A&M $22 to win $20


If I win out I'm probably still in good shape...riding the postitive train this week.

Penn St. (-11.5) vs. Purdue $22 to win $20

Penn St. has looked terrible all year so natually I'm picking them as a double digit favorite. Purdue asking for a letdown game after a big home win.

Florida St. (-13.5) vs. Duke $110 to win $100

I continue to ride the Seminole train even though they've been burning me all season. This time I'm going big to recoop all the previous losses

Georgia Tech (-7) vs. Virginia $22 to win $20

I saw UVA play at Indiana a few weeks ago and it was damn ugly. Thinking G Tech can go in and run all over them so laying the TD should be no problem.

Arizona St. (+14) vs. Oregon $22 to win $20

Ducks are banged up and I'd love to see them go down on their home field. Think this one will be very tight.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


The Irish put together a solid all-around effort last week against a horrendously terrible Purdue squad. Air Force presents a different, tougher, and more interesting challenge. Bob Diaco would go a long way in silencing the remaining critics if his defensive unit squashes the Zoomies' ground attack today.

Air Force's defense is banged up and out-manned, especially on line. ND delivers today and reminds the mouthy Tim Jefferson that the Irish are on their way to becoming a force.

Have fun digging yourself out from the turf Manti Te'o is going to bury you in, Timmy.

Notre Dame 34
Air Force 13


Week 4 Results

1. Chuck: $16
2. Hinkle: $14
3. Mattare: -$29
4. Mikey: -$68

Standings thru Week 4

1. Chuck: $147
2. Hinkle: $33
3. Mattare: -$85
4. Mikey: -$222


Game #1: Virginia Tech (-7) over Miami...$33 to win $30

Game #2: Northwestern (+7.5) over Michigan...$110 to win $100

Game #3: Wake Forest (+10.5) over Florida State...$22 to win $20

Game #4: Oklahoma (-11) over Texas...$22 to win $20


Game 1: Boise State -20.5 @ Fresno State (Pinnacle) 33 win 30

Saw this game in person last year. Fresno has no idea how to cover the deep ball and Kellen Moore's play action ability left their defense looking like a bunch of chickens running around with their heads cut off. Boise's defense has played very well this year and it is overhsadowed by their Heisman candidate QB on the other side of the ball. I look for Boise to explode on offense and keep the Bulldogs under 17 points.

Game 2: Arizona -2.5 @ Oregon State 88 win 80

Poor Nick Foles. This Cat puts up huge numbers week in and week out but his friends on defense tackle worse than a flag football team. They had a brutal opening schedule playing top notch schools back to back to back weeks and had their top WR out for one of those games. They showed life once again at USC last week but falling behind early killed them. I think the Wildcats finalls "Bear Down" on defense enough to cover this low number behind Foles and the explosive O.

Game 3: Auburn +10 vs Arkansas 33 win 30

I was not a believer in Auburn week 1. They have showed some heart and played solid throughout the past several games. This is going to be a tough SEC game and we all know anything can happen in those games. I will glady take two scores in what is sure to be a quality matchup to watch.

Game 4: Oklahoma/Texas Over 56.5 20 win 20

Its called a Shootout for a reason....


Game #1: Army (-2) over Ball State...$44 to win $40

Riding the cadets again.

Game #2: Iowa-Penn State (UNDER 45)...$33 to win $30

Just a gross, gross game. Ew.

Game #3: LSU (-14) over Florida...$33 to win $30

Florida might have less than 150yds of total offense.

Game of the Week: Oklahoma (-11) over Texas...$55 to win $50



Another week and more lost money, if you're fading me congratulations on the small fortune you must now possess.

Game #1: Texas (+10.5) vs. Oklahoma...$44 to win $40

Game #2: Florida St. (-10) vs. Wake Forest...$44 to win $40

Game #3: Florida (+13) vs. LSU...$44 to win $40

Game #4: Arkansas (-10) vs. Auburn...$44 to win $40

Saturday, October 1, 2011


The Boilers are not a good team, far and away the worst of the first five teams we've faced (I know, it's hard to believe someone is worse than Michigan). The Irish should roll in this game but I and most ND fans have been conditioned to expect our boys to do everything in their power to make games as stressful as possible no matter the talent gap.

Two years ago the Irish left Ross-Ade Stadium with one of the most dramatic victories in school history. It won't take any late game heroics this time around. The offense takes a step forward and commits only one turnover (someone gag me that I'm excited for that stat), but the story of the day is the defense which completely suffocates the Boilers.

Stars: Manti Te'o gets the first interception of his career, Gary Gray snipes one as well, Aaron Lynch gets two more sacks, and Theo Riddick has a Michigan State 2010-esque statline on offense.

Say it with me: a nice, relaxing victory...a nice, relaxing victory...a nice, relaxing...

Notre Dame 27
Purdue 10


Week 3 Results

1. Chuck: $108
2. Hinkle: $24
3. Mattare: -$51
4. Mikey: -$79

Standings thru Week 3

1. Chuck: $131
2. Hinkle: $19
3. Mattare: -$56
4. Mikey: -$154


Game #1: Florida (+4) over Bama...$44 to win $40

Game #2: Clemson (+7) over Va Tech...$22 to win $20

I just made the first contribution to IPTAY to erect the Tajh Mahal.

Game #3: ND (-12) over Purdue...$22 to win $20

Curb stomp special.

Game #4: Wiscy (-10) over Nebraska...$22 to win $20


3-1 last week but the "1" was a killer. I got to see Oregon in person and I have NEVER seen a human in person as fast and shifty as Mr. James. He is silly good. I am in the process of moving into my house this weekend so things are crazy and write ups will be short. I already missed my play of the week on Pitt so I feel this could be a bad week. Positive thoughts!

Game #1: Navy (-3.5) vs. Air Force...$33 win $30

I absolutely loved Navy and they way they played at South Carolina. Who doesn't love a white QB with wheels? Give be the Middies all day. Remember this pick come a few weeks. Just sayin is all...

Game #2: Toledo (+8) vs Temple...$33 win $30

Temple played very well last weekend. Toledo has played great the past 3 weekends. They have been battle tested losing a close one at Ohio State, losing at home to Boise in a turnover plagued game, and then last week on the road at Syracuse on a blown call. Toledo has something to prove and they will play a great game this weekend.

Game #3: Texas/Iowa State OVER 50...$55 win $50

Ton of offense. ALL GAME LONG! This game hits the 70's.

Game #4: Wisconsin/Nebraska UNDER 57...$33 win $30

RED OUT in Madison. That will go for the crowd and for the offenses. Both teams are going to have a ton of pressure on them to prove their worth. Who is the king of the Big Ten(ish)? Nebraska has not played a team like Wisconsin and I do not think they will run up and down the field like normal. I see the first having moving somewhat fast with alot of ground game action and little points. It is going to open up in the 2nd half but not enough to cover this number.


Game #1: Alabama (-4) over Florida...$77 to win $70

Florida hasn't seen a defense like Bama's. The Tide rolls in The Swamp.

Game #2: Baylor (-4) over Kansas State...$33 to win $30

Tricky game for the Bears, but RGIII drags them to a victory.

Game #3: Mississippi State (+7) over Georgia...$33 to win $30

Have people really soured on the Bulldogs that much?

Game of the Week: Nebraska (+10) over Wisconsin...$33 to win $30

Way too many points to be laying. I think the Badgers win but it'll be more in the mold of a 24-20 win.


This is just getting worse and worse, time to start throwing darts:

Game #1: Michigan St. (+3) vs. Ohio St...$22 to win $20

Time to let the buckeyes burn me for the 2nd straight week.

Game #2: Virginia Tech (-7) vs. Clemson...$44 to win $40

Clemson's going through a brutal stretch right now, can't see them taking down Va Tech to end it.

Game #3: Florida (+3.5) vs. Alabama...$44 to win $40

Gotta win home games in the brutal SEC, think floridas got this one.

Game #4: Wisconsin (-10) vs. Nebraska...$22 to win $20

Wisconsins on fire and this is nebraskas 1st big 10 road test. Good luck huskers.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Last time the Irish rolled into Heinz Field it was the first game of the Charlie Weis Era. Things have changed a bit, huh?

The Irish won 42-21 that day. Almost de ja vu today as Michael Floyd goes bezerk.

Notre Dame 41
Pitt 17