Saturday, October 30, 2010


Today the Irish will square off with heavy hearts against the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa. It's tough to predict what exactly will happen in such an emotionally charged contest, but I feel pretty confident that it will play out in one of two ways:

Scenario #1: The confidence of the squad was severely shaken after a whipping at the hands of Navy last weekend. Throw in the fact that they witnessed an unspeakable tragedy on their practice field this past Wednesday and the emotional fallout that's accompanied it and this game could be another tentative, flat, Navy-esque performance. Tulsa's high-powered offense takes advantage and it becomes a high-scoring, sloppy shootout.

Scenario #2: The Irish come out and harness the unbelievable emotion that is sure to be present in that stadium and ride that wave to a blowout victory. The talent gap isn't as large as it was in the Western Michigan game, but it's in the same vicinity. If Notre Dame comes out determined and focused to truly "Play for Declan" then Tulsa has no chance.

Here's a vote for the second scenario.



Friday, October 29, 2010


Hinkle had a giant week, everyone else took a nose dive. That pretty much sums everything up. Let’s get right into the picks.

Week 8 Results

1. Hinkle: +$159…Giant rebound by Hinkle.

2. Chuck: -$28.18Screwed by the late Sparty cover.

3. Mattare: -$71First big loss of the year comes at a bad time.

4. Mikey: -$94Another crushing blow to Miguel.

Week 8 Standings

1. Hinkle: $558.50…There’s now a canyon between 1st and 2nd.

2. Mattare: $218.60…Needs to make a big play sooner than later.

3. Chuck: $142.11…Ditto.

4. Mikey: -$36 The mountain is becoming too tall to climb.

Week 9 Pick Summary

Hinkle: ND > Tulsa, SMU > Tulane, Colo-Okla (Over), OSU > Cal

Mattare: ND > Tulsa, Clem > BC, FL > Geo, WF (ML) > Mary

Chuck: Clem > BC, Iowa > MSU, Tulsa > ND, Tenn > SC

Mikey: Cin > Syr, ND > Tulsa, Miss > Aub, USC > Ore


Since this is a ND blog, out of respect for the student who passed away I will keep this short and not be my normal self on this forum.

Game #1: Notre Dame (-9) over Tulsa…$77 to win $70

Game #2: SMU (-7.5) over Tulane…$11 to win $10

Game #3: Colorado-Oklahoma (Over 54.5)…$11 to win $10

Game #4: Oregon State (-3) over Cal…$11 to win $10


Along the same lines as Hinkle I'm not really feeling a big intro. I am feeling winners though.

Game #1: Notre Dame (-8.5) over Tulsa…$66 to win $60

Notre Dame is either going to be broken by the events of the past week or ride a wave of emotion to a huge victory. I’m betting heavily on the latter. I think it’s a unified stadium willing this team to a huge win on an emotionally charged day.

Game #2: Clemson (-7) over Boston College…$33 to win $30

Boston College stinks. Da’Quan Bowers is going to absolutely destroy the Rettig-Shinskie-Mascawhatever BC Quarterback Pu-Pu Platter.

Game #3: Florida (+2) over Georgia…$33 to win $30

Urban’s coming off a bye and will have the Gators on a mission.

Game #4: Wake Forest (+200) over Maryland…$20 to win $40

Maryland is going to lay a giant egg in a game no one expects them to. My guess is it’s this week at home against the Deacs.


I have 50 hours of work under my belt, John Wall and the Wizards look terrible, and am already 6 stouts deep without eating dinner. Lets get to the picks....Chuck Sips on Haterade and Goes Crazy Edition!!!!!!!!

Game #1: Clemson (-7) over BC…$170 to win $154.55

Commandment #1 in sports betting: Thou shalt not bet thy alma mater. Well Moses of Gambling, the beers I drank just kicked the crap out of you and hooked up with your girlfriend. I am going with Clemson, and I am going hard. Andre Ellington is too much of a playmaker and Kyle Parker is gaining confidence in his young but talented receivers. The Tiger D has more than enough ammunition to shoot down the BC running attack led by the ACC's top rusher in Montel Harris. If Notre Dame can shut down BC, then the Eagles may score negative points against the freaks that Clemson has on defense. Da'Quan Bowers is a legitimate werewolf, and might as well line up 1-on11 against BC's offense. If that happened I'd still take Clemson.

Game #2: Iowa (-6.5) over Michigan State…$10 to win $9.09

To tell you the truth, I absolutely hate this spread. Kirk Ferentz is one of the more overrated coaches in America and Ricky Stanzi is just as overrated. Need proof? See the ignorance that ensued when they got into Wisconsin territory last week with under a minute remaining. Don't spike the ball!?!?! Throw the ball to the middle of the field with seconds remaining?!?!

You might be thinking at this point, how the hell can Chuck be taking Iowa? 1) They back-doored the hell out of me last week when I had the right side the whole game with Northwestern. 2) Michigan State is a huge fraud. They are a slow, overrated, lumbering version of a Bernie Madoff-type Ponzi schemer. Unlike John Elway, I will not be fulled by this deceptive BS. I just wish I could see either of these teams play Clemson.

Game #3: Tulsa (+9) over Notre Dame…$10 to win $9.09

This bet has as much to do with my roommate C-Loss' dismissal of Tulsa as a pushover as it does with anything else. Tulsa is a very underrated team with a high-powered offense, and I have probably seen their games (and the UFL's) more than any other human on earth. The Irish are coming off a major letdown against Navy, and the tragic events of this week will have them coming out flat. Give me Damaris Johnson and GJ Kinne to the bank!!!

Game #4: Tennessee (+18) over The Fake USC…$10 to win $9.09

No need to describe how this continues the Haterade theme of my picks. There is no telling how healthy Marcus Lattimore will be this week for the Shamecocks. Derek Dooley will have his German troops ready to go, and they will prevail as they did in the Franco-Prussian War. Ain't no telephone bills and ain't no Gamecock wins...Good Ol' Rocky Top, Rocky Top Tennessee!!!


Another negtive showing last week and I'm firmly in last place now. Still getting the wrong amounts with the wrong games and it's dug me a nice hole. It's now time for the act of a desperate man, go big or go home (all lines from

Game #1: Cincinnati (-10.5) over Syracuse..$11 to win $10

The Cuse are playing pretty well right now and have started the season 5-2 for the first time since Donovan Mcnabb was leading them. They only need a win or two more to become bowl eligible but this week looks like a letdown coming off a big road win at West Virginia. UC is a good football team that plays well at home (nearly beating Oklahoma) and their starting QB is back this week to provide them with more reliable play from behind center. The Bearcats should catch a tired Syracuse squad this weekend and run them out of the building as they look to improve their bowl standing too.

Game #2: Notre Dame (-8.5) over Tulsa…$11 to win $10

Is it time to fade Notre Dame after that embarrassing blowout loss to Navy last Saturday? I say no and am right back on the Irish's side because, if they're nothing else after that loss, they should be pissed. Brian Kelly's going to need to impress some people for the rest of the season and it starts with Tulsa this weekend. Run it up ND.

Game #3: Ole Miss (+7) over Auburn…$11 to win $10

This one came down to mascots for me. Ole Miss' mascot revival with the Black Bear will overpower Auburn's Tiger which has to be tired from running through the rough SEC jungle. (Cheesy line of the year alert)

Game #4: USC (+6.5) over Oregon…$165 to win $150

Just like this game is USC's season, I'm putting my gambling season on the line too. The Trojans can't go to a bowl game (pity) so there's no doubt they'll be revved up to try and take down No. 1 Oregon as it sets up perfectly for them playing great football right now and catching the Ducks at home. Oregon has shown tons of firepower on the offensive side of the ball and I don't think that will stop in LA, but it also won't be as easy as it looks when they're in Eugene. This should be a shootout with both O's rolling right now and I think Matt Barkley and the Trojans outscore Oregon by a few proving again that life is no good at No. 1.

This is Why Notre Dame is So Special

Do yourself a favor and read these accounts of the touching and beautiful mass celebrated in honor of Declan Sullivan last night at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Over 2500 students were in attendance, included 1500 in overflow in LaFortune and directly outside the church.

It's times like this that unites everyone associated with the University and makes you realize that though time passes quickly and generation gaps grow, there's something that will never change about Notre Dame.

Differences in opinions on football, Barack Obama being on-campus, and the administration do not matter.

The Notre Dame Family coming together to comfort a family in their darkest hour and mourn their loss while celebrating their son/brother's life is what matters.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Family Mourns

Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences go out to the family of Declan Sullivan who was tragically killed yesterday afternoon. There are plenty of questions that must be answered in the coming days and weeks as to who is responsible for what happened, but I strongly encourage everyone who calls themselves part of the Notre Dame Family to exercise restraint in casting blame until full knowledge of the facts are released.

This is not something that will slip through the cracks--when all details are sorted out proper action will be taken and judgment will be rendered. In the meantime, all attention should be directed toward mourning the loss and celebrating the life of Decan.

Notre Dame Our Mother
Tender Strong and True
Proudly in the Heavens
Gleams Thy Gold and Blue
Glory's Mantle Cloaks Thee
Golden is Thy Fame
And Our Hearts Forever
Praise Thee Notre Dame
And Our Hearts Forever
Love Thee Notre Dame

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I thought this blog had some room for a post about a winning team, so let's talk about Penn State's dominance over the Golden Gophers last weekend.

Bobby Bolden started 11-13 before being knocked out of the game with a supposed concussion. No one from the coaching staff has come out and said that he has one, but he does. Newsome had a hurt knee so it was Matt McGloin who got the call and put in a decent game.

Evan Royster and Silas Redd ran hard and combined for 133 yards while Redd averaged 8 yards/carry. He's going to be a better running back than Royster and at this rate he's got a chance to beat Royster's soon to be rushing record.

Derek Moye made McGloin look good by hauling in two touchdown passes. McGloin might look good again next week going against a weak Michigan defense.

Our pass defense still looked bad. We're bear-hugging receivers a second after they catch the ball and get the first down. It's not a situation that looks like it's going to resolve itself anytime soon. We are playing the same scheme we always play, and in years past the team speed has been there while this year it is not.

We beat a 1-5 Minnesota team without a head coach by 12 points. This doesn't bode well for the rest of our season. I just don't believe this team's problems will be solved, I think this team's problems will graduate.

We have Michigan next week and my opponent has told me numerous times they are a one man show. Everyone knows that. I don't think it matters though. I do not have confidence that we can stop him. D'Anton Lynn and Stephon Morris are the only starters on our defense that could tackle him in any kind of space. I think we're in serious trouble this Saturday and I think Robinson is looking at 200 yards rushing.

Offensively I think we will be fine. I have a feeling Bolden will play, and I think he'll thrive under the lights at home. The offensive line built up some confidence last week against an inferior opponent and lucky for them, they play another one this week so I think the success will continue.

I realize this post has been overwhelmingly negative, but this game has blowout written all over it. We've never dealt well with running quarterbacks, as shown by Scheelhause three weeks ago, and now we face the quickest running QB we'll see all year. The only way I see us winning this game is by not respecting the passing attack of the Wolverines. I'm talking sell out on the run on every 1st down, and even leaving Astorino, yes Astorino, on an island against Michigan receivers. I can't bear to watch us sit back in a base 4-3 every play and watch Rich Rod gash us for 7 yards a carry.

Here's to loyalty:

Penn State: 35
Michigan: 34

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Irish Blogger Gathering: For the Love of Pete Bercich

The IBG returns after a one week hiatus. This round of questions comes from the originator of this little weekly get together Subway Domer. Head over there for his and other blogs' answers. Let's get to it.

1. A young man of 12 arrives in the United States from the city of Moroni, on the island of Comoros. He has never seen the game of football before, but notices you watching a game. He seems to really like watching it with you and asks what team he should cheer for. You, of course, tell him Notre Dame in attempt to have more company for your misery. He asks, "why Notre Dame?" Without using any of Notre Dame football history prior to 1995 and without spewing off nonsense about academics (which has no real bearing on a football game) give him your best answer. His name is Tonokiuyt Paluifirtaginerto.

I had a snap reaction to this question and then a more thought out one. We’ll list both but start with the latter.

Long answer: I’ve actually had this situation in real life essentially with my little cousins who are in 7th and 9th grade. If there’s a way to get little Tonokiuyt to campus then you don’t need history or words in general. Even though the team has fallen on hard times there’s nothing like the gameday atmosphere at Notre Dame.

All I’d have to do is walk him around campus. There really is a palpable aura and buzz on gameday that is easy to get swept up in. I’d take him to a tailgate full of mountains of food (we’ll start at the Wolohan Swamp Attack and then stop by the GBalls Meatball Sub Extravaganza), all the campus landmarks, let him listen to the band step off, and then take him into the stadium.

Twelve-year-old kids are very impressionable. I’m confident Notre Dame would grab a hold of him even without a word referencing the program’s illustrious history.

Short answer: If he roots for Notre Dame I’ll buy him a meal. If he doesn’t want to then I’ll notify the authorities that he’s entered the country illegally. Weigh your options carefully, Tonokiuyt.

2. If you are anything like me, you trolled around the Notre Dame message boards after the loss to Navy. We don't need direct quotes, but what was the best line, subject heading, argument- whatever? Should Irish fans be banned from the Internet for at least a couple of days after the game, win or lose?

Complete and utter idiots swarm message boards during and directly following games—especially the ones that don’t turn out well. Frankly I avoid them until Monday because it upsets me how stupid, ignorant, and vitriolic alleged Notre Dame fans can be—and I assume after the Navy game it was worse than usual.

If you want great lines/reactions to a disaster look at the comments from Notre Dame fans at the bottom of this Everyday Should Be Saturday article. I laugh every time I read Ancient Chinese Secret’s responses while simultaneously shedding a tear as I remember why those (appropriate) responses were necessary.

3. Tulsa is a scary team after a loss to Navy. Before the Navy game—not so much. Give me your most dramatic nightmare scenario as well as your fairybook ending for this week’s game against the Golden Hurricane. Which one is closest to a possible reality?

I initially read the dramatic scenario part of the question wrong and contrived a story involving Lou Holtz hitting Kelly with a steel chair, grabbing the headset, and coaching the Irish to a dramatic comeback victory. Damn.

The nightmare scenario involves a loss in any way, shape, or form. In order for it to happen Notre Dame would need to play another game like they did against Navy. I can’t fathom that happening, but if it does then the fallout will truly be a nightmare.

The “fairybook ending” is that we dominate Tulsa on both sides of the ball. We run the ball effectively, Dayne lights up the secondary, and the defense comes out so aggressive and angry that the Golden Hurricane starts taking knees late in the third quarter to avoid any further injuries. Final: Notre Dame 59, Tulsa 0.

4. Most of these IBG's have had a rather dark tone to them because of the season Notre Dame is having. If we would have beat Navy, we would be 5-3 and riding a 4 game winning streak. I had rather hoped to use that cheerfulness and ask a few light-hearted questions. Seeing as how we lost, I think we need these more than ever. They're not the wittiest questions, but you better answer them:

* What college football team would you blog about if Notre Dame did not exist?

Hawaii. I’ll always be forever grateful for the entertaining games they supplied into the wee hours of the morning my senior year. Somehow watching Colt Brennan pass for 500 yards and engineering 55-54 comeback victories over San Jose State after stumbling home from the bars at 3am eased the pain each Saturday of the 2007 season. (No it didn’t…but I still enjoyed the Colt to Devone Bess hookup.

* Change Notre Dame's colors. No blues, gold, or green please.

Black with silver trim.

* Change one play in Notre Dame history. What is it and how did it change things?

As much as I want to choose Ambrose Wooden moving his arm up three inches and batting down Leinart’s 4th and 9 pass in ’05 (which would have completed the greatest week/day of my life), I have to go back to the ’93 Boston College game for my selection because it could’ve changed the course of Notre Dame History far more than beating Southern Cal would have.

The one play I’d change was when Pete Bercich dropped an interception that would’ve ended the game on BC’s final drive. Think about how different things are if he catches that errant Glenn Foley pass and Notre Dame wins the game 39-38.

- Boston College never gets a win that removes Notre Dame’s appearance of invincibility in that series. The pseudo “rivalry” never begins and we deprive them of one of the two greatest moments in their school history.

- Notre Dame’s unbelievable fourth quarter comeback goes down in Irish Lore as the greatest comeback in school history. They were down 38-17 with 11 minutes left before scoring 22 unanswered points to take the lead with just 1:13 to play.

- Notre Dame goes to the national championship game against Nebraska. A win against the Huskers would’ve meant national championship #12 for the Irish and #2 for Lou Holtz.

- A 2nd national championship for Lou reinvigorates him and prevents the burnout that happened three years later. He coaches at Notre Dame for another six or seven years and history totally changes.

- Pete Bercich can sleep at night.

* Turn one loss into a win, and one win into a loss for one season. What season and what games are they?

I’d change the 2007 Navy game to a win and the UCLA game to a loss. The season was a wash anyway—I’d trade an upset win over the Bruins for Brandon Walker splitting the uprights at the end of regulation against Navy to extend the series streak to 44 games.

5. Tell me more about this Tulsa matchup. Tell me anything you like—but use at least one real stat.

Only need ones stat and it comes from our friends in the desert: Notre Dame is favored by just 8.5 points. That tells you how much faith Vegas lost over night in the Irish. I’d venture to guess that the spread dropped at least 12 points after the Navy game. Pretty staggering. Notre Dame better not think it can sleepwalk its way to victory this Saturday…

6. Phil Steele now has Notre Dame picked to play in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Pinstripe Bowl is in New York City and will be played in Yankee Stadium. Agree or disagree. Give me your bowl scenarios—if there are any.

These kind of seasons are dreams come true for small bowls. A struggling Notre Dame adds infinitely more publicity to games like the Little Caesars Bowl and the Pinstripe Bowl that would end up wit 3,000 people in the stands watching Toledo play Middle Tennessee State.

I have no idea where we’re going to land because unless we win out our options will be based totally on what bowls don’t have a qualifier to plug into the assigned slot. I doubt we’ll be plugged into the Pinstripe Bowl because it’d mean replacing Rutgers for whom it would essentially a home game.

There are three things I just really don’t want to see: a game against someone who’s a future opponent (like Miami or Maryland), a rematch (like the ’97 Independence Bowl), and a game against a MAC opponent (no soup for you Little Caesars Bowl).

BONUS----Please tell me that we can turn this season into a positive learning experience for 2011. How?

Play with the passion Navy displayed last Saturday. In the preseason Brian Smith said in an NBC ad that the team realized, “You’re playing for more than yourself, you’re playing for Our Lady of Notre Dame.” Start playing like it.

And beat Southern Cal. I know we’ve all got our knickers in a twist over last weekend but you and I both know if the Irish upset the Trojans we’ll enter the offseason with a spring in our step.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where Is the Fight In the Fighting Irish?

It’s tough to digest what happened on the field of the New Meadowlands last Saturday. Looking at the final score and statsheet provides only a vague understanding of the carnage. Unless you watched every painful and sobering moment of the Naval Academy’s complete destruction of the University of Notre Dame you can’t quite grasp the full gravity of what occurred.

In an era filled with heartbreak, disappointment, and failure this Saturday’s loss represented the low-point of the last 15 years—which says an awful lot. This was worse than the ‘08 loss to Syracuse and their lame duck coach, more embarrassing than the previous two Navy losses in ’07 and ’09, and more painful than the string of historic beatings we’ve endured at the hands of Southern Cal, Michigan, and other elite schools since 2002.

What made this game the nadir was not just the fact that the Irish lost to a service academy for the fourth time in four years, to a team filled top-to-bottom with players that recruiting “experts” would universally deem “unworthy” of even remote consideration for a roster spot at Notre Dame. It was the fact that Notre Dame was outhustled, out-schemed, and outclassed from the opening whistle to the final gun.

When Brian Kelly arrived in South Bend he came up with “The Irish Creed.” This creed stated, “The pride and tradition of Notre Dame Football will not be left to the weak, timid, or non-committed.”

The players must have misinterpreted the message because the reality is that ten months after that motto was posted in The Gug those three adjectives best describe the players who donned Notre Dame jerseys who took the field Saturday. It was a listless team devoid of heart and fight, something the Midshipmen made painfully clear with the contrasting passion and effort they dedicated to every play.

As the players slept-walked through the game, Brian Kelly and his coaching staff failed to adjust to a glorified high school offense they’d planned for months to face. In a brief sideline interview after halftime Kelly said the Mids employed a version of the option (the veer) they hadn’t previously shown this season so Notre Dame hadn’t prepared for it.

Is that all it takes to beat Notre Dame’s defense, doing something that the coaching staff hasn’t seen on tape? How could Kelly and his assistants be so baffled by a slight variation to the triple option? It shouldn’t matter whether a team like Navy comes out with the speed option, the load, the veer, the steer, the Lear, or the beer on the deer—a well-coached team with the talent advantage Notre Dame had Saturday should be prepared to combat and smother it.

While the complete befuddlement of the coaching staff was alarming, perhaps even more disturbing was how quickly Coach Kelly threw in the towel. With 13 minutes left in the game the Irish faced a 4th and 3 in their own territory. Instead of going for it and attempting to keep their faint hopes alive, Kelly decided he’d seen enough. He raised the white flag, sent his punter in the game, and conceded defeat.

He might as well have grabbed a camera, stared into it, and stated: We are the Folding Irish.

It’s true that Notre Dame had not flashed any sign they were capable of erasing the four possession deficit, especially when you consider they essentially had four possessions the entire first half…but just two short years ago Irish fans watched in disbelief as a dead in the water Navy team—that had shown no sign they deserved to be on the same field as Notre Dame—stormed back from three touchdowns with six minutes left to nearly steal a victory.

Wouldn't a coach trying to build up his program's toughness go down swinging to the bitter end? What message does it send to the team when the head coach completely packs it in with so much time left on the clock?

I’m not taking the Navy loss as a sign that Brian Kelly is doomed to fail by any stretch and I’m still hopeful that he can be the one who restores Notre Dame Football to what it should be. But it’s time to call a spade a spade: the visible progress I expected to see at this point in the year is not present. Saturday’s travesty raised the eyebrows of even the most loyal and optimistic fans while setting off alarm bells across all of Notre Dame Nation.

Going into this season the rational fan understood the potential pitfalls. There would be bumps in the road as the team learned and became accustomed to new schemes on both sides of the ball. In terms of the big picture, it was going to be a process for Kelly to tear down the losing culture that had rotted the foundation of Notre Dame’s program since Holtz left and rebuild a winning one. How long it would take for Notre Dame to turn it around was debatable, but no one doubted there’d be growing pains.

However, there was one thing that even the most rational and patient fan expected right away. When Brian Kelly first addressed the fans at halftime of a Notre Dame basketball game this winter he said the following:

“We will play hard for four quarters, you will love the guys we put on the field because they’re going to give you everything.”

I believed him. I thought this season—if nothing else—there’d be clear indications of Kelly’s confidence and passion rubbing off and it would manifest itself in the effort, heart, and toughness displayed each and every game.

What Brian Kelly promised and what I expected him to deliver IMMEDIATELY—not in year two or year three, IMMEDIATELY—was a football team clearly and undeniably motivated every game to put Notre Dame back where it belonged.

So far that has not been the case and the blame for that shortcoming falls squarely on Kelly’s shoulders. It is his job to ensure his team is ready to play each Saturday, his responsibility to push whatever buttons necessary to ensure his players are properly prepared, motivated, and focused. All three were lacking against Navy. Will that change going forward? If Kelly does not want to lose throngs of supporters in just one season it better.

The truth is it’s unrealistic to expect the Irish to beat Utah or even stay in the ballpark with a Lane Kiffin led Southern Cal team that will be out for blood. This season is most likely unsalvageable, so what should be expectations for fans over the final month of the year?

What I’m looking for over the last four games is a team with a pulse and a sense of pride, a team hell-bent on making sure that there will be no darker moment than the one that happened in the swamps of New Jersey last Saturday. I don’t just want to hear rhetoric and about progress made behind closed doors—I want to see tangible improvement with my own eyes and it starts with the effort put forth on the field.

Brian Kelly was hired he arrived with a self-proclaimed "five-minute plan" to restore Notre Dame to its proper place among college football's elite. Well, five minutes was officially up at the end of the Navy game and unfortunately the only thing we've learned thus far is that it's impossible to wake up any echoes when you're sleepwalking through Saturday afternoons.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dear Diary...Notre Dame - Navy

Welcome to the latest edition of the running diary! This week we come to you live from Charlottesville, VA. Part of my heart is broken that I’m not in Tailgate Lot E with Kearney and company, but the other part of me just thinks I’d be incredibly bitter that it’s a noon start which would completely hamstring our tailgating.

Anyway, the clock is striking 12. Let's get going!

12:00 God I love the CBS College Football Theme Song. It's the embodiment of college football, just jacks me up.

12:06 Either I’m hard of hearing or CBS pulled a total switch-a-roo—Verne is not our play-by-play guy even though I thought he was narrating the opening sequence. Maybe it was Tim Brando? I don’t know. Instead our announcing team is the tandem of Craig Bolerjack and Randy Cross. Bummer.

12:07 Wow, Niumalato is playing the 9-11 card in the locker room before the game in an attempt to fire his team up. I’m afraid to even say anything…Does anyone else think that was a tad over the top? Good Lord.

12:08 Navy comes out to a flyover…scales heavily tipping toward wishing I’d ponied up the money to go to the game.

12:11 “The weather is perfect for running and passing”…Good start for our announcing duo. Damnit, why couldn’t we get Verne. In other news the Irish won the toss and elected to receive.

12:12 Armando is starting and so is Kamara. Floyd is out. I’m not as upset as most probably are about #3 missing today; I don’t think we’ll need him. He MUST be healthy for Utah. Welcome to your last chance to redeem yourself Duval.

12:13 After a pair of Armando runs Crist finds TJ Jones for a first down on his first pass. Good start.

12:14 Dayne tucks it and runs for 14 yards another first down. Good recognition and a nifty little scramble. The Irish have been in the pistol quite a few times early, which is an interesting new wrinkle. That could signal a commitment to the run today, something most fans would be thrilled about I’m sure.

12:16 Armando takes a screen pass for another big chunk of yardage—this one 17 yards. Braxston Cave did a great job getting way down field to deliver a good block and spring AA for an extra five yards. Cave is incredibly mobile for such a big guy. I’m accustomed to seeing our linemen lumbering down the field kind of clumsily on screens. We’re down to the 24.

12:18 Two good runs by Cierre of 5 and 11 yards have us a first and goal inside the 10. The offensive line looks good out of the gate.

12:19 4th and goal at the 1 inch line and the Irish are going for it. COME ON BOYS, PUNCH IT IN.

12:20 Navy stones the quarterback sneak and will take over on downs. Damnit to hell. The Mids got good push low and basically took Dayne’s legs out, he had no shot.

12:23 Bolerjack says that Ricky Dobbs has magic feet. I just feel like that needs to be repeated.

12:24 On 3rd and Inches the Navy upback rumbles 54 yards right up the gut. Well, so much for the whole “I don’t think the fullback dive part of the option will be effective theory.” Please tell me this isn’t going to be a replay of last year’s game.

12:26 Touchdown Navy. I’m in shock. Navy ran a fullback screen that went for 34 yards and the first time a Notre Dame player even breathed on him was the one-yard line. It was almost as if we’d never seen a screen play before; what horrendous defensive execution. Navy won’t win the time of possession battle if they break off 30 and 50 yard chunks. Good freaking LORD. We need to respond and respond NOW. Navy 7, Notre Dame 0.

12:34 After two runs by Cierre Wood net one yard Dayne Crist finds Tyler Eifert to pick up a HUGE first down. We need seven points here—we moved it at will on the first possession and need to keep it going.

12:35 Offense is rolling again, after big gains by Kamara through the air and TJ Jones on a reverse we’re at the Navy 28. Come on boys, let’s get it done.

12:37 The drive stalls when Dayne makes a terrible decision to throw to TJ Jones in the endzone on third down instead of checking down to a WIDE open Cierre Wood.

12:37 David Ruffer rips the 45-yarder through the uprights and it’s 7-3 Mids. The announcer calls him Rufner even though a graphic is flashing about how many consecutive field goals he’s made with his name attached. I don’t like this graphic thing—when his streak ends the jinx of the graphic will undoubtedly be the cause.

12:40 Still saying Ruffer’s name wrong as he kicks off. Would one of his assistants please correct him? Is there a typo on his sheet?

12:41 Navy sprinkled sand from Iwo Jima and Afghanistan on the field before the game…man, aren’t they taking it a bit far?!?!

12:42 Bolerjack: “Ricky Dobbs was going to run away with the Heisman” Who in God’s name ever said that? Bolerjack is HORRENDOUS. He and Cross are doing everything their best to divert my attention away from Navy gashing our defense time and time again.

12:43 We look absolutely clueless on how to stop Navy’s offense…though as I type this Manti Te’o blows up a pitch in the backfield for the first negative yardage play for the Mids of the game. He’s going to have at least 15 tackles, maybe 20.

12:44 The first quarter comes to an end. Notre Dame is actually winning the TOP battle (8:48 to 6:12), which makes me feel approximately 0% better about how the game is going so far. I’m absolutely disgusted by how our defense looks.

12:48 Trick play—reverse pass—by Navy catches the secondary by surprise and Harrison Smith is forced to interfere with the receiver to prevent a huge gain. Navy’s now has a first down inside the 30.

12:50 Teich (the fullback) goes up the middle for another 4-yard gain. We’re screwed if they keep getting this sort of productivity up the middle.

12:51 Teich goes up the middle for another 8 yards inside the 5. After being abused by the upback last year how was that not the focus of preparation this year? Kelly talked about how they’ve been preparing for it for weeks—but how do you truly prepare when you don’t have a fullback to simulate the FB Dive part of the option?

12:53 My Dad chimes in with a text that speaks an encyclopedia worth of truth: “I know it’s different on gameday but ND should kick the crap out of Navy”

12:56 Touchdown Navy. Dobbs was almost untouched until the goal line where we kind of hugged him as he went in the endzone. There’s 11:01 left in the second quarter and the alarm bells are officially sounding. I cannot believe how lost we look on defense. I’m completely shocked/appalled/baffled. We should MANHANDLE their offensive line and we should PUNISH their ball carrier every time they pick up a yard. Cut the crap and WAKE THE HELL UP. Navy 14, Notre Dame 3.

1:02 Navy is also being inspired by a little kid with cystic fibrosis…I mean 9-11, Afghanistan/Iwo Jima sand, and a sick kid? Are they going to unearth John Paul Jones’s remains on place them under the uprights too? Their heads must be about to explode they’re so goddamn inspired. This is for a football game, what cards do they play when they’re actually going into battle?!?!

1:05 The Irish are rolling down the field now. On a third down and short at midfield the offensive line just flattens the Middie line en route to a 12-yard gain up the middle. Come on boys, keep this going, get in the damn endzone.

1:06 Crist finds John Goodman on third down for a four-yard gain and a first down at the 27.

1:07 Dayne tucks it and runs again, this time a nifty little five-yard gain. He’s hesitating less and less to run which is both good and terrifying.

1:07 Duval Kamara makes another nice catch for another first down. He’s been focused and productive thus far which is nice to see. First down at the Navy 12. FINISH.


1:14 First play from scrimmage for Navy is a 12-yard run by Dobbs that could’ve gone for 50 if not for a shoestring tackle at the last second. Glad to see we’ve adjusted. Jiminy effing Christmas.

1:15 Manti Te’o lights up Dobbs on first down. He’s the only person on our defense that doesn’t look lost. BREAK HIM IN HALF MANTI.

1:16 Ethan Johnson breaks through and blows up a 3rd and 4 in the backfield and Navy is forced to punt. Good stand there by the Irish. The Mids run the clock down and calls time out. We’ll get the ball back with a little over two and a half minutes left if the Middies end up punting.

1:17 I’m about to drive to the Meadowlands and slap this idiot announcer in the face if he keeps calling Ruffer “Rufner.”

1:19 Great punt by Navy pins ND at the 3. 97 yards to paydirt, let’s go boys.

1:20 Notre Dame’s three drives thus far: 13 for 71, 10 for 48, 13 for 72. That’s pretty good really.

1:21 Crist throws a duck and is intercepted at the 30-yard line. You’ve got to be kidding me.

1:22 Dobbs is just doing these tight QB keepers off the tackles and we have no answer. He’s not bouncing it wide, just seeing and hitting the hole that opens immediately—and it’s not like they’re small holes. Navy’s inside the 15 with under a minute left.

1:24 Touchdown Navy. Carlo Calabrese got stiff-armed and Harrison Smith was so turned around by a block that he didn’t even realize the running back was next to him, which gave Gee Gee Greene enough time to dive in the corner of the endzone. This is atrocious. The thing I was clinging to over the second half of the season was the fact that we’d improve. This is a HUGE step backwards. The fact that we’re in for another battle with Navy is beyond depressing.

1:28 Crist takes a knee and we head into halftime with the Irish down 21-10. Navy will have the ball to start the second half too. There are so many R-rated texts flying back and forth right now that it’d make Rex Ryan blush.

What can you say other than this is another reaffirmation that we’re about an ocean away from where we need to be as a football team on both sides of the ball. I don’t care what we do against Utah and Southern Cal—if we lose this game then the season is a failure. PERIOD.

The offense actually looked good with the exception of the biff on the goal line and that bad interception on the final drive. Our first three drives were 13 plays for 71 yards, 10 for 48, and 13 for 72. I’m not thrilled only posting only 10 points but still, there’s plenty of reason to believe we’ll put some points on the board in the second half.

Our defense is another story. They look completely lost. I guarantee the Mids haven’t seen this much running room in ANY game this season. They’re gashing us up the middle (9.4 yards per fullback dive…it’s still 4.0 if you remove the big 52-yarder—which of course you shouldn’t remove), averaging 4.7 ypc on the quarterback keeper, and sprinkling in some big gains on the perimeter with Gee Gee Greene for good measure. Navy has scored on three of their four possessions and all three touchdowns have come with relative ease. We have no chance of winning this game without major adjustments.

If the defense doesn’t come out inspired in the second half—I’m talking “we just sprinkled part of a Reckers #33 sandwich on the field” inspired—then I’m going to lose some respect for Brian Kelly. It’s time to show how you’re different than Charlie, BK. Light a fire under this team’s ass and find a way to dominate this second half.

1:48 Brian Kelly’s interview after halftime. “They’re running the veer…a scheme they held back. We made the adjustments at halftime. We need to battle back in the second half and play flawlessly.” Why the hell weren’t we prepared for any version of the option? Are we always going to be that unprepared for a team if they do something that they don’t typically show on film? You better show me something this half BK.

1:49 Our brilliant color guy’s advice for Brian Kelly: “You need your guys to be unblocked.” How can people complain about Mayock when you listen to guys like this?

1:50 Navy is going to take over at the 23 after a mediocre return. COME ON DEFENSE, STEP UP.

1:51 First play is a fullback trap that goes for 13 yard. Great effing start. After another 4-yard gain by Teich he’s at 100 yards on the day.

1:52 “So far not real impressive adjustments out of the Notre Dame defense.” First astute observation from the announcers all day.

1:54 Navy converts a 3rd and 6 with a bomb down the right sideline. Gary Gray totally gave up on the play even though the receiver was 8-yards behind him. I’ve never seen anything like that. He’s had such a great year but he should be benched for the entire quarter for that effort. When Kelly looks at the tape he should make Gray run gassers until he throws up most of his vital organs. What an utter embarrassment.

1:55 Touchdown Navy. Dobbs takes a keeper right up the gut and the Mids look totally unstoppable. 7 plays, 77 yards in 3:37. Navy 28, Notre Dame 10.

“It doesn’t matter about schemes, it comes down to execution and intensity and Notre Dame is not even close to matching Navy’s intensity right now. “

The announcing team is picking up steam—couldn’t be a more accurate statement.

1:56 My girlfriend makes a very poignant comment: “I thought we were supposed to be proud of being ND this year.” It’s true, this team looks like it totally lacks the will to be there.

2:00 The offense comes out with the necessary sense of urgency. Three plays, two first downs and we’re already at the Navy 45.

2:02 Interception by Navy. Dayne Crist stares down Kamara and the Navy cornerback jumps the route to make the pick. I don’t even know what to say. They’ve got the ball, a huge lead, and all the momentum in the world. The scale is tipped so far toward the “glad I didn’t go to the game” that the scale broke. We need a three and out or a turnover. Odds of that are slim to none, but it still needs to be said.

2:06 The Irish force a third down but then give up a huge 12-yard fullback run to give Navy a first down at the 46. Teich now has 123 yards.

2:07 Teich goes right up the middle for another 25 yards. Our defense has no idea who has the ball and the result is holes big enough to drive a humvee through. After the play Carlo and Ian Williams are both hurt. We’re absolutely screwed. This is more embarrassing than the previous two Navy losses and the Syracuse loss. In fact, at this juncture I’d say this is the most embarrassing game since Miami in ’85. We’re getting our asses whipped up and down the field by a team half our size. These players should be mortified.

2:12 Teich up the middle for 14 yards! HOW THE $%# DO WE ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN!?!?!

2:13 Ian Williams is reportedly sobbing on the sideline, pointing at his left knee. That’s heartbreaking to hear…guy deserves better than this, he’s worked his butt off for four years and evolved into such a solid player this year. I hope it’s not as bad as it looks.

2:14 Touchdown Navy. The Naval Academy is now beating the University of Notre Dame 35-10. This is a sad day for the Notre Dame Football Program, a new low—if that’s even possible. Notre Dame has 19:38 to pull off a miracle and save the season.

2:20 Notre Dame is driving again. Armando Allen ripped off a big run on the first play from scrimmage and then Crist completes back-to-back passes for another first down. On the second catch Kamara delivered a huge hit to a would-be tackler who is shaken up.

2:24 Notre Dame’s drive comes to a screeching halt as the Navy defensive line collapses the pocket and sacks Crist on 4th down. Trevor Robinson got blown backwards. Why the hell has Trevor Robinson gone from potential All-American to mediocre lineman?

2:25 Guess what the first play from scrimmage is for Navy? A fullback dive. Guess what it goes for? 17 yards. Teich now has 183 yards. Mortifying. That’s the only word that can capture this performance. I bet Navy fans start doing the effing Wave in the fourth quarter. Maybe they can get a double wave going.

2:27 The third quarter is over. I have nothing more to say.

2:33 Notre Dame holds and after another well-executed Navy punt we’ll have 95 yards to get to the endzone. I don’t even know what I’m looking for the rest of this game. I’d love a miracle but that’s not reasonable.

2:34 My buddy Pat Wolohan—he of the Swamp Attack Tailgate—texts this gem: “This feels like losing to Michigan times getting blown out by USC.” It’s true, this is a unique blend of shock, disgust, and pain.

2:37 Notre Dame punts on 4th and 3 and Brian Kelly has officially conceded this game. I CANNOT BELIEVE that he’s given up.

2:43 Navy doesn’t do anything on their drive. Not that it even remotely matters.

2:44 Tommy Rees is in the game. La de freakin da.

2:45 Rees is leading them down the field, inside the 20 after a long completion.

2:46 The announcers start to talk about how Notre Dame doesn’t have the players to run this offense. Let’s get one thing straight: we should be able to beat Navy running any offense with any players. Period. None of the laundry list of excuses is acceptable for why this travesty is occurring.

2:48 Touchdown Cierre Wood. 76 yard drive. Navy’s just going through the motions right now on defense, this game has an Empire State Building sized fork in it.


2:50 If Kelly doesn’t even attempt an onsides kick here I’m going to be livid. I may turn off the TV.

2:51 Notre Dame kicks it away. I’m so mad I can barely express it. Perhaps you need a history lesson Brian, but Navy was down 20 points two years ago with six minutes left and almost came back and won. YOU GAVE UP JUST LIKE OUR TEAM GAVE UP, THE TEAM TAKES ON THE PERSONALITY OF ITS COACH AND YOU JUST LAID DOWN. WHY? TO TEACH A LESSON?!?! GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE.

2:58 Teich breaks the 200-yard barrier, the first time in history a Navy fullback has rushed for 200 yards in a game. What a distinguished honor we’ve earned.

2:59 The Midshipmen have a mock “Rudy” chant going. Am I in some sort of bizarre world right now? Someone please wake me up.

3:02 This game mercifully comes to an end. This Navy class joins two other classes in their entire history (1937 and 1964) that complete their careers with a winning record against Notre Dame.

I don’t have any final thoughts other than Brian Kelly is not who I thought he was. I’m not saying he’s doomed to fail, but he’s not the coach I thought he was. That’s a sobering and depressing realization.