Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Irish Blogger Gathering: The Most Interactive Edition EVER!

Subway Domer has delivered the final IBG of the 2010 season and as always we're more than willing to answer the bell. This edition is the most interactive yet. Below should be a poll supplied by the Subway Domer that you can participate in. The results will be calculated and sent back to SD for a giant compilation of how the Irish Faithful feel.

So pull your weight and be a part of the IBG and then enjoy the correct answers below.


1. What is your biggest “FEAR” going into the bowl game?

For whatever reason as we approach this game I keep having terrible flashbacks to the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. Freshman quarterback Matt Lovecchio rode a seven game winning streak (throwing just a single interception during that stretch) into that contest against Oregon State. Over the course of 60 minutes Lovecchio demolished most of the fan base's confidence, turning the ball over three times in the third quarter that saw Notre Dame's deficit balloon from 9 to 38 points.

His final stat line read 13/33 for 138 yards, 2 INT's, 1 Fumble, and 6 Sacks. It was so horrendous that friends of mine who were on-campus at the time gave him the nickname "Father Matt" (the thought was he might as well become a priest because there was no way he was going to reel in another female). Nine months later Carlyle Holiday usurped the starting job and shortly thereafter Father Matt took his talents to Indiana.

My biggest fear Tommy Rees doing anything that resembles that giant turd Lovecchio laid on the field at Sun Devil Stadium (to be fair it wasn't all his fault, but he certainly compounded the problems to the n-th degree). I like Tommy Rees and I applaud the way he's responded to the very difficult situation he was thrown into down the stretch, but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop on him.

Of course I hope it doesn't. I have no agenda or preference for who leads Notre Dame, I just want them to win. My humble opinion is that Tommy isn't capable of being that guy in the long-term. Yes, he won three consecutive games including over a ranked Utah team and an archrival, but he hardly spearheaded those victories (in fact, ND won that last one despite his performance).

He'd be the perfect backup for whoever emerges from the Crist-Hendrix-Golson trio. Rees can step into the fire and calmly lead the team in a crisis and he's proven he can get the job done if called upon, but his ceiling is light years closer to Evan Sharpley's than Joe Montana's.

2. Will Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph enter the NFL draft?

Good News: I have some close, well connected family friends that talked to Rudolph's parents and they said he was coming back. I assume they have some good insight on that decision so I'll predict that Kyle stays.

Bad News: Everything I read and hear says that Floyd will be gone.

The biggest reasons for Floyd to come back would be a chance to prove he's actually durable (he's missed time every year of his collegiate career), he'd avoid the potential NFL labor issues, and he'd duck what could be one of the most loaded receiver classes in recent memory (AJ Green, Julio Jones, Jonathan Baldwin, etc). If Floyd stays another year and blows up--which is very possible and even likely with the entire offense becoming more comfortable with the spread--he could skyrocket into the first round discussion. This year the best case scenario seems to be late 2nd, early 3rd round.

It's a tough decision but my guess is all signs point to ND getting back only half of their potentially All-American duo.

3. Duval Kamara did not make the trip for personal reasons. This is very bad – true or false?

In terms of production/gameplan? It's not a huge deal. The fact that he's going to miss the game though is absolutely a bad thing. Who the hell would want the Bard of Bergen County's career to end a game early?

Kamara had done a very nice job of reestablishing himself as a contributor the last few weeks of the year and you always want to see a senior go out on a high note. Unfortunately it sounds like his actions in some way have cost him that opportunity. I hope everything is ok with him and it doesn't turn out to be a big deal.

4. Which senior will have the biggest game?

I'll go with Harrison Smith. I don't know if anyone's watched Miami much this year, but Jacory Harris has a tendency to make some god-awful decisions. Smith has steadily trended in the right direction over the course of the season and turned in some gritty performances while banged up at the end of the year.

My guess is that (at least) one of Jacory's passes finds Hayseed's hands and sticks. Combine that with another solid all-around performance that he's consistently handed in over the second half of the year (I'm knocking on every piece of wood in my entire house right now) and I think he's your senior MVP for the game.

5. Vegas has the Irish as a 3-point dog: Wrong or Right?

It's about right. I figured it'd be right around a PICK with the Canes probably favored slightly so this falls pretty much in line with that. The deciding factors that nudge the points to Notre Dame are the Freshman QB, the mutual opponent comparison (ND squeaked out a W over Pitt at home, Miami thrashed Pitt on the road), and the general assumption that the U has a slight overall talent advantage (probably an accurate assessment across the board).

6. Does Notre Dame NEED this bowl win for a good start to 2011?

A close loss wouldn't be a killer, but keeping the positive momentum heading in the right direction would be huge for the confidence of players and fans alike (not to mention it'd give a little boost for the final recruiting push). Almost every year in recent memory Notre Dame has headed into the offseason with their heads down. If the Irish can beat the Canes it will be the longest win streak to end a season since 1992.

Find a way to finish the season with wins over Utah, Southern Cal, and Miami in three of the last four games and you give everyone plenty of ammunition to stay optimistic. Lose handily to the Canes and it'll be amazing how quickly people forget the three game November win streak.

7. In the 2010 Hyundai Sun Bowl Notre Dame will… in a barnburner. Let the good times keep rollin'!

Notre Dame 27
Miami 23

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