Posted: October 20th, 2011 | by: Steve In Iowa
Categories: College Football, IBG, Irish
Blog Davie: It’s rivalry week for the Irish. Special thanks to Domer Law for hosting the most important IBG of the year. Leave it to an attorney to find a way to cram 20 questions into 5. I object to these questions on the basis that they are over broad and unduly burdensome. I further object on the basis that these questions are compound, leading, and seek the mental impressions of IBG members. Subject to and without waiving these objections, GameDay 40 states as follows:
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?
Steve in Iowa: Steve may be “in Iowa” now but I lived on the West Side of the Bend for 12 years and the town-gown relations with Notre Dame and South Bend are always a sticky issue. You have a tough sell on your hands, Domer Law, because there is a long history of community resentment (sometimes justifiable). Way back in the day ND used to be nothing more than a log-cabin on a lake in the countryside, South Bend sort of grew up around it and as such ND has never been really integrated into the community like a lot of other Universities– so The Bend is definitely not a “university town” the way places like Bloomington, Ann Arbor, or Iowa City are. I think that things are changing with the development that is happening on the south side of campus and many of the University’s community outreach programs, but that is the kind of change that takes generations.
Now as to your friend, since it’s a night game you should have plenty of time on your hands to see all the sights and you might be able to charm her with a few of our traditions. If your friend is Catholic, perhaps you take her to the basilica to see the boys all dressed nattily in their suits on their way to-or-from mass. The game-day mass is a great tradition that forms our players and coaches in a really special way. Since you’d be right there, I’d take her on a stroll down to the grotto and offer to make a donation for any prayer intention she might have– this would be a great gesture even if she isn’t Catholic or even particularly religious. One of the things I always enjoy is taking guests up to the eleventh floor of the library, there you can get a great view of campus from the window in the NW corner (of course even on game day, you might find a student studying in that carrel there because it’s such prime studying real estate). Finally, you could always line up for the band to march in, usually around 45 minutes before kick-off. Most non-domers I’ve given the tour to really are impressed by the tradition and remark how it really is different than most other college-football environments.
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?
Steve in Iowa: I had a bit here written early in the week supporting the Jumbo-Tron. But after reading THIS OUTRAGE from ND Nation, you can count me among the jumbo-tron supporters no longer. In fact, the single biggest way to improve the game-day experience is to get rid of the obnoxious “blue card” policy that ushers and event staff apparently have in place to shush fans who are standing and cheering loudly. What a ridiculous joke. (At the risk of raising your blood pressure be sure to read more at ND Nation). I’m also backing off my earlier jumbo-tron support because I was working from a naive presumption (Notre Dame being a “different” “special” and “unique” place and all that) that advertising would be banned or extremely limited. However that is a potential revenue stream that is probably too tempting to pass up. Which means that with a jumbo-tron the Notre Dame stadium experience would be precariously close to devolving into your typical A or AA minor league carnival shenanigans and used car advertisements. Um… not in the House the Rock built (and Holtz expanded).
FYI: One of the things we enjoyed as a family, even when we didn’t have game tickets (which was most years) was just taking in the campus atmosphere on game day. If you’re a fan or just like to watch people you don’t need to go to the game to have a great time doing all of the things I mentioned above. Plus every residence hall and student organization has a booth set up to sell hamburgers and bratwurst. Anyway, campus pretty much clears out about 20 minutes before kick-off and most student booths have lots of leftover food grilled that they have to get rid of– either giving it away or selling for a buck. So our broke, young family was fed numerous Saturdays for five bucks or less. You can usually eat and still make it to a television to watch the game! Obviously if you can afford it giving to the student groups is always appreciated. Such memories…
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.
Blog Davie: (a) I agree that USC will always be ND’s biggest rival, but I have to admit that I regarded Michigan as a bigger rival when I was little. My formative years watching ND football were the late 80s and early 90s. I never really hated the Trojans (outside of Todd Marinovich in the 89 game) because they just didn’t beat the Irish. On the other hand, I hated Desmond Howard and still think he sucks on College GameDay.
Speaking of Todd Marinovich . . . Scott Kowalkoski says hello:
(b) Damn this is a lot of work . . . Thanks Domer Law.
1. Michigan/The Ohio State – When asked why the Buckeyes went for a two-point conversion against the Wolverines with a 36 point lead, Woody Hayes responded, ”Because the rules won’t let you go for three.”
2. Notre Dame/USC – Classic Good vs. Evil; Right vs. Wrong; God vs. Devil.
3. Alabama/Auburn – Pure hatred. “Al from Dadeville” poisons the famed oak trees at Toomers Corner. If you attend this game, you might as well attend the Lynyrd Skynyrd God and Guns Tour.
4.Florida/Georgia – Anything dubbed the ”World’s Largest Cocktail Party” has to be awesome.
5. Kansas/Missouri – Second most-played rivalry game in the country. The teams’ hatred for each other stems from Civil War era border raids between the slave state Missouri and the free state Kansas. Tailgating at Arrowhead is a must.
6. Texas/OU – The Red River Rivalry takes place in the center of the Texas State Fair. This year you could order fried butter. Need I say more?
7. Iowa/Wisconsin – Although none of the IBGers would consider this a real rivalry, this rivalry epitomizes balance with the teams’ records against each other tied at 42-42-2. Badger head coach Bret Bielema is a former Iowa player and has a Hawkeye tatoo on his ankle.
8. Army/Navy. Glenn Davis. Doc Blanchard. Roger Staubach. Love it. I hope the Cadets pound the Fighting Niamatolalalalas.
9. Grambling/Southern. Coach Robinson was a true legend. This might have been the best college football game on NBC for a couple of years in the late 90s early 00s.
10. Harvard/Yale. The Game. (I would have picked Lehigh v. Lafayette, but I can’t find either on a map)
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?
Blog Davie: We don’t know what the Trojans are. On one hand, they have shown flashes of brilliance, particularly in the passing game. Matt Barkley is a solid quarterback with a bevy of weapons on the outside. ND will have to contain Robert Woods who averages 130 yards receiving and touchdown per game.
On the other hand, the Trojans have struggled at times. They barely held on against Minnesota in the season opener at the Collesium. After Vontez Burfict made Matt Barkley pay for his insolence, the Sun Devils rolled the Trojans in the second half in Tempe.
Although Barkley will get his, I foresee ND shutting down the Trojan run game. Our offense continues firing on all cylinders especially with the extra time to prepare. Will we see the “Hendrix” package? With the noises being made by the coaching staff about giving teams more to prepare for, I think that’s a “yes.” End result, Irish cover the 8 points Vegas is giving SC, which would be something since covering the spread at home has been a dicey proposition the last ten years.
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) – Fan me: ND runs the table. Realist me: ND drops at least one more game, probably at Stanford.
(b) Notre Dame’s bowl destination, opponent and outcome – ND will beat Florida State in the Gator Bowl 31-24.
(c) The BCS Championship game and result. Although Steve is really truly hoping for a non-SEC champion, Alabama 30 – Oklahoma 20.
(d) Notre Dame’s final AP ranking - #13
(e) The winners of the major awards, including:
(i) Heisman Trophy – Andrew Luck
(ii) Home Depot Coach of the Year - Bill Snyder
(iii) Davey O’Brien Award (best QB) – Andrew Luck
(iv) Doak Walker Award (best RB) – Trent Richardson
(v) Fred Biletnikoff Award (best WR) – Ryan Broyles
(vi) Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player) – Tyrann Mathieu