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.


  1. So Brian Smith realized he was playing for Our Lady of Our Lady? In that case, the team IS playing like they had that revelation: confused, and a little shaky on their French.

  2. "I would advise you to be careful to avoid the football players while doing that, as they tend to be quite large. But then I realized that all you have to do is run the veer and nobody will lay a hand on you."

    This in response to the student newspaper piece about students storming the field after setting the 4 year loss record against Utah.

    Shots anyone?

  3. Mental image of Holtz hitting Kelly with a metal chair is priceless. I laughed out loud.