Sunday, October 21, 2007


USC 38, Notre Dame 0

So....lots to say. Bear with me; it's going to be a long one. I've decided headings would be helpful to help me subdivide my thoughts, that'll be good.

I know I've had a night to sleep on it and everything, but it's's so hard to think about. I've been thinking about this Rush Limbaugh quote: "Sports are the one thing in life in which you can invest total passion without consequence."

This has always been one of my excuses for being so ridiculous about football.

But...I'm not sure if that's true anymore. It's just a game, I suppose. But...the effect it has on people...on our student body...on the fans...on our school as a whole.... It's kind of ridiculous all the pride that's wrapped up in it...isn't it? It's so humiliating to think about us...and....yesterday.....

F$%^*. F*** this and f*** the f***ing Trojans and their f***ing f***ing f***ing!!!!!!

On another note, someone please just rip my heart out, cut it into little pieces, and redistribute it among the members of the Notre Dame football team. I can't take this, and maybe they need it more than I do.

On the fans
My MVP for the game: The Notre Dame student section...Freshmen.

The whole student body is great, obviously...except for the people who WENT HOME EARLY and sold their tickets....and except for the people who decided to LEAVE EARLY and stop supporting our team in the lowest moment of their season.

But the freshmen pretty much blow me away. They cheer the longest and the most often, and (the seniors will say this is just because it's their first year here and they'll get over it...but I hope they don't) they come to more pep rallies and they do all the arm motions more consistently and instigate more cheers than the rest of the student body. And at the end of the game yesterday, their stands were the fullest.

And I'm not knocking the rest of the student body or the band or anything (yay band), because I know there were thousands of others who stayed until the bitter end...but if you just left because you were disgusted, you weren't doing your job (as they remind us every Friday at the pep rallies) as a member of the greatest fan base in the country.

Do you have any idea how many (SO MANY) recruits who are won over by Notre Dame mention the fact that the entire student body stays until the very end to sing the alma mater? That that is one of the things that made them want to go here? It impresses the hell out of most people.

I mean, I understand how painful it is. I really do. And how frustrating, and disappointing, and...yeah. And maybe people had to catch flights and buses and things, but even so. If you're going to come out for the game, come out and stay. Stay until the bitter end. Give more than you're getting back. It'll come back around eventually.

Anyway, enough of that rant....kudos to the ND Freshmen. The highlight of the game for me was probably when you started chanting at Pete "yes, I am a total douche bag" Carrol after he called a review on that pass COMPLETION that he probably could have just...let go.

Maybe the Freshmen cheer was inappropriate (well...besides the fact that it was completely appropriate) and a little less than classy...but, I mean, it's USC we're talking about here. Petey Pete was probably so busy jamming his head even farther up his own ass (I mean, how do you think he gets his face to LOOK like that?) that he didn't even notice.

Three cheers for the student body.

Our beloved team

This is pretty much the toughest season to be a member of the ND football team in living memory. We know that no matter what we do now, we're going to have a losing record. (Although P.S. as of this morning, the International Bowl website still had the ND fight song playing as its intro. Maybe they're still crazy about us. Or maybe they just think it's the NCAA's official anthem or something because it's so popular and amazing. Who knows?) And I know this was true of Ty's team a few years back (5-7 ouch), but um it still wasn't this.

I would personally like to pelt Kevin White with rotten beets for scheduling the USC game on the first weekend of fall break right after midterms. I know it shouldn't make a difference, but I feel like it does. It's been a tough, tough season. This will be our first bye week of the year. Half the student body is sick, and I would be surprised if that didn't extend to some of the football players as well. If the players aren't out-of-their-minds exhausted at this point.....well, no. I can't think of another scenario. They all must be.

Look, I know none of the football players read this, but what I have to say to the team is this:

I am still with you, damn it. We are still with you.

Cheering for another team doesn't even compute in my up is not acceptable...maybe I'm just completely psychotic, but loving anyone but the Irish is simply inconceivable.

I don't really care what's going on in the rest of the college football world. It doesn't matter. Cheering for the Irish, even when they're losing, means more than cheering for any other team to win...ever. And it'sbecause the students stay until the bitter end. It's because we're more than just football, too. We're the Notre Dame family, can't turn your back on your family.

At the pep rally on Friday night, the '77 team looked so excited to be back. All the speakers from that team seemed to mention that the guys just loved being around each other. They loved being a team.

Does our team love being a team? Do they love being around each other?

I feel like...I feel like maybe not.

This is such a hard year. Everything gets amplified when you're losing...every mistake you make, you take so personally...every little thing that bothers you, bothers you that much more, and I feel the face of disappointment, it becomes so much harder to be tempered. To let things slide. To regulate yourself, your emotions. You experience the highest highs...and the lowest lows...and everything in between is this sort of blahh zone where it doesn't really matter if you're getting the little things right or wrong, because it's the big things that are screwing you up. And you forget that if you work on those little, little things...if you get those straightened becomes easier to handle the big things.

All right, well, maybe I'm just babbling now. But I think, if you remotely follow what I'm saying, that all of that is true for life, too, not just football.

But we're talking about football, aren't we?

Here's the point I'm trying to make: We are ND.

The crowd didn't start chanting that at the end of yesterday's debilitating loss for no reason.

And if we are delusional Notre Dame fans, that's only because there's really no other way to be. It's all about keeping the faith....damn it.

Hi, Offense. We need to talk.

OK so...I'm not really sure I understand some of Charlie's game-calling. I mean, the big problem on offense yesterday wasn't so much the play calling as it was Failure To Execute, but...really, Charlie? Running it on third-and-really-long? Why do we continue to do this? Why? WHY?

We can't even run it on second-and short. Why does it seem like third-and-long is going to be any better?

We didn't get our run game going until the very, very end. At first I was angry about this, trying to run the ball when maybe we should have been trying to sling it downfield, but...I realized Charlie was trying to end the game on his own terms. We finally got ball control, for perhaps the first time all season.

It would've been so, so much nicer to get a score at the end of that very long drive (during which we got more first downs than we had for the entire rest of the game...), just for...some small dignity's sake. And I like that we kept going for it instead of punking out and going for a field goal.

But it also says a lot in that...maybe Charlie just didn't think we could get it done in the air.

I don't know how I feel about Evan Sharpley anymore. I still feel like the main reason he's been successful coming in to run the two-minute drill, or just taking over halfway through for Jimmy is because...he's a different QB, and coming in halfway through he put the other team's D on its heels for a drive or two...until the defensive coordinator for the other team made some key adjustments. And then...he proved just as ineffective.

I don't know what it is anymore. It's the same problem as last week--too many problems to name. A lot of Evan's balls were simply uncatchable...he overthrows long balls when he's under pressure. And let's face it...when is he NOT under pressure trying to throw the long ball?

I was very, very disappointed at the way our O-line broke down in the latter part of the game...and Evan got sacked, what, five times? I mean, the fact that Armando Allen managed to run ten whole yards on one play, and he actually found some holes and everything during that last drive was nice to see. But it was way too little, far too late. I feel like we've regressed. All the problems are still there, and they're not getting better.

We're pretty much going to put this one on the coaching staff. The players just don't look ready. Still. I feel like this all goes back to training camp, to the practices not being physical enough, to the players just maybe not being well-conditioned enough and not understanding the fundamentals well enough. If you don't have the fundamentals (as we have already learned this season), NOTHING ELSE WILL HELP YOU.

D, D, D....Don't Kill the Offensive Players in their Sleep.

Look, our defense is really pretty good. That they can't keep it up for sixty minutes of football is a shame...but considering how little time they have to rest in between drives, kind of understandable. And there are other things the rest of the team isn't helping them with....the Trojans' first score, for one, was not really the D's fault. It was the special teams' fault.

I mean, overall, 38 points is too many to give up. But also, overall, the Defense did not lose that game for us. They kept the Trojans' punter quite the first half, anyway. The Trojans only got within scoring range twice (of their own accord), and one of those times our D held them to a field goal.

As for the second half...

I'll confess that midway through the third quarter it was so painful to watch, I couldn't tell you how or when the Trojans scored, and I pretty much stopped caring. All I wanted was for our offense to find the end zone once. Or even split the uprights once.

And I will say this: I still think the Trojans are overrated. I don't think they played all that well, honestly; I don't think they're that impressive, and I don't think they played a very clean game.

Which brings us to our

Surprising Stat of the Game

Notre Dame didn't get a single penalty until the second half. I think they ended the game with just two penalties, total. The Trojans had way more, and although this certainly doesn't surprise's really sad. We played a very clean game, and got pretty much nowhere. So what does that say, really? It's easy to point out penalties and say, "damn, we keep shooting ourselves in the foot." But um...we didn't really do that in this game, and we sort of still managed to shoot ourselves in the foot.

That's perplexing.

I feel like Charlie's going to lose a lot of sleep over that one.

Special teams? ...they certainly are.

Hi guys. We need to talk, too.

I feel like some of the blocking on returns was better, so that's good. But also I feel like we haven't had any sort of return for a touchdown since...I don't even know when. Did we get one during the UCLA game? I feel like no. Maybe Penn State? Maybe it's just that the other teams' special teams are getting better, and they know who to go after. But I feel like...we should be better at this. Especially since we seem to be getting so many opportunities to return kickoffs these days.

And...well, I know that the offense isn't helping you out any with the field position battle, but...when Geoff Price punts well (which he's doing more consistently these days), and you're running down field, you know, and you have a chance to wallop the guy who just caught the ball...PLEASE DO SO. I mean, I'm glad they didn't get any punt returns for TD's or anything (at least...they didn't while I was watching...I dunno, I went to the bathroom once, maybe I missed something), but all the same...we've been having these problems with missed tackles.

Plus it was USC yesterday. You shouldn't ever need an excuse to launch yourself at those players with all you have and knock the patooty out of them. Come on, guys....1967.

And as for the other battle that went down on the field yesterday....

In his most inspiring speech thus far this season, I think our head drum major actually said it best: the Trojan band members are a bunch of ass clowns.

I know...that's completely un-classy of me. I apologize.

But also...I think it's true.

Poignant example:

One of the Trojan band members yesterday could not find his spot on the field. He ran around for a little while, clearly lost, and then finally gave up and ran to the sidelines and told one of the directors, in a completely elegant fashion: "I can't find my f%^*-ing spot!"

The band director replied: "Just get off the field. Go."

Trojan band member, resplendent in dorky fake helmet and douche-y sunglasses, right in the middle of a gaggle of ND band members patiently awaiting their turn on the sideline: "FUCK!"

And he stormed off angrily.

Not even kidding. There are multiple witnesses.

Look, I don't want to nitpick here or anything, but...


I mean, it's not like we use some super-secret yard line marking formula or something to prevent people wearing douche-y sunglasses from finding their spots. College football fields are pretty much the same...I don't know, everywhere.

Also...the band director did not reprimand this kid for using extremely foul language in public, in full uniform, in front of another team's band. He just let him walk away.

Even if this little interlude had not been followed by what was possibly The Most Boring Halftime Show Ever, it still would have pretty much closed the door on whatever minor, deep-seeded, band member to band member respect I had for the marching Trojans. I still hate the OSU band more, but that's only because I have some respect for OSU and what they do as musicians and marchers (aka...they actually march). It's really hard to despise the Trojan band when I have pretty much zero respect left for them. I sort of just...feel bad for them. It must be really embarrassing to be part of an organization that doesn't respect itself.

Somewhat Classless Rant Terminated.

Enough about the Trojan band.

Here's where we stand for the rest of the season:
Fall break and bye week. Dear God, I hope the players get some rest and have time to bounce back, We really need to win out.

Navy. 43 years so far. If this is the year we lose to the Middies...Charlie better watch out.

Air Force. I have a lot of love and respect for our military...but we should win this one regardless.

Duke. My cousin's coming to this one. Let's win it, shall we?

Stanford. Suddenly looking intimidating, aren't they? Let's win our next three games...then we should be able to handle Stanford.

In closing.........

I'm just going to say, once again, that I'm really glad these things are not in my hands.

Charlie's got a week to sort of reevaluate everything and get our team mentally prepared to handle the rest of the season.

And I hope the underclassmen are really bonding over this....

........because I want to go win a bowl game next year, dang it.

Have a good fall break, everyone. I'll be ready the next time the Irish take the field....

And, just because yesterday's game was so depressing, here's a highlight that always cheers me up:

Tommy Z is a monster. Never forget that.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

On the verge of spontaneous combustion

Boston College 27, Notre Dame 14

Let's assume, for the sake of my sanity, that the refs called a perfect game yesterday. I mean...I don't think the refs ever really call a perfect game, because sometimes they just don't see things, and they're human and they make mistakes, but...for the sake of the game let's just assume that the refs got it right on all the big plays.

I'm not going to lie...that idea's really hard for me to swallow. I mean, it's really great that an online sports headline yesterday proclaimed that BC "cruised" past Notre Dame, and it's also pretty much fantastic how many times the crowd booed at the refs yesterday, and it's equally stupendous to ponder how blatant the holding penalty was (I don't really know; I didn't see it) that called back our last attempt to score in the game.

But for the sake of sports, let's just call it even.

Once again, the Irish offense sputtered like a car engine that's had its parts replaced too many times. The transmission still works fine, so there's no need for a total rehaul, but the replacement parts never seem tune with one another. (The brakes work great though, apparently.)

All right, maybe this is a bad analogy, but even so, we had ONE successful offensive scoring drive the entire game, and even that was only successful because of a "roughing the passer" penalty that drove us deeper into the opponent's territory than we'd been all game.

I honestly can't tell if our offense is getting better or not. I seem to remember watching the last half of the game through my fingers praying for something good to happen. I don't know what it is, but something still just seems...not right. They're better than they were at the beginning of the season, but it's still...just missing something. There are too many incomplete passes. TOO MANY third downs. Not enough push from the O-line to open up the running game. And, as always, there is WAY TOO MUCH pressure on the quarterback. Not as much as there has been. I feel like there were less sacks in this game than usual.

The real problem, though, is that really there isn't one thing you can pick out and say, "that's our problem." It's not like it's just the O-line anymore, letting defenders through like a sieve. I mean, we still have problems with that, but it's not as painful as it was at the beginning of the season. It just seems like a little bit of everything. Possibly it would help if we could figure out just who our quarterback was. When we switch to Evan mid-game, it always seems like something really great happens right away, but then after that we stall again. And I'm sure Jimmy's going to be really great...some day when our entire offense knows what's going on and he stops throwing into double coverage. And Evan also would be so super if, as Amelia so astutely pointed out during the game, he didn't have a depth perception problem.

The O-line needs to tighten up, the QB needs to dump the ball off faster, the receivers and backs need better blocking when they actually manage to get the ball, and it just...there's just something that's NOT CLICKING.

And it also feels like even when we make a great play, somehow it's just not great enough. Like Evan fighting to avoid that sack for what seemed like forever and at the last minute tossing it to John Carlson for what appeared to be a first down. And then it wasn't a first down, so the whole brilliant play was undermined by like half a yard. Stuff like that. It's so frustrating you sort of want to rip your hair out, but there's nothing you can really do about it, so you have to restrain yourself before you end up bald.

But enough on our offensive offense for right now, because I like my hair.

Glad to see Geoff Price is continuing to punt well. Don't know what was up with that low-snap business, though. Is that really a rule? I mean, are we serious? If the punter's KNEE touches the ground it's a dead ball? Or is it because his knee hit the ground and then he touched the ball? That makes no sense to me. Would he have been able to pick the damn ball up and run with it, or was his knee hitting the ground pretty much the end of the world? I don't get it. Someone please explain it to me.

Besides some pretty good punts, though, special teams play continues to waver between moments of brilliance (forcing BC to miss an extra point and a field goal) and moments of...lameness. We also missed a field goal, and none of our returners got a legitimate chance to scamper for the endzone.

And speaking of returners...I like Rocket's idea of chanting the player's names when they're back to return, but what about ARMANDO ALLEN??? You know that had to piss him off. I mean, I'm a big fan of Golden Tate and all, and his name is fun to chant, but number 5 got the ball on returns yesterday way more than number 23, and I think if we're going to chant names, somebody should really have Armando's back. (I'm just sayin'.)

I like our defense these days. I don't love it yet, but I sure do like it a lot.

We still have this kind of heinous problem of giving it up on big third-down plays (and also letting opponents score four touchdowns on us in our own stadium), but we're doing better. We stuffed a legitimate number of BC's drives and got a stunning pick-six on the best QB we've faced all season. Also, our secondary coverage is getting better. BC still got WAY TOO MANY first downs, but there were no endzone scampers on screen passes, and if Matt Ryan threw for a first down, then at least there was usually a defender there to wrap the guy up right away, which...sometimes is all you can ask for. And except for that unnecessarily long run at the beginning of the game, they didn't really blast us open on the ground either.

Also I would like to point out that we stopped their cocky-ass attempt to get a fourth down conversion early in the game. Ha-ha-ha...go be arrogant pricks somewhere else next time.

I also would like to thank the stadium crowd for helping BC to false start at least four times. Excellent work by the fan base. (I think we really brought the noise. Or did we blow the roof off? Sometimes it's hard to tell.)

Also I pretty much realized yesterday that eventually football's going to kill me. I'm not going to die in a car crash or as an old woman asleep in my bed or in a nursing home with some mysterious disease. I'm just going to keel over one day, mid-football game (probably as the result of an interception or a botched field goal or something).

I can't take this feeling of feeling too much over something I have no control over. I mean, is it really necessary for my heart to leap into my brain and bounce around until it feels like my head's going to explode every time we have a third and long? And what about when we make it into the red zone? That's even worse. I'm pretty much on the verge of spontaneous combustion preceding every snap.

It's great. And terrible. And probably vaguely concerning, but...I think after the USC game I'll get better. (No, really.) Unless we lose. Then I'll just....die.

At any rate...

Bring on the Trojans

No, really. I still mean it. USC has been exposed, and they're not as great as they think they are.

They're probably going to play way better against Notre Dame than they have against their last two opponents (just because we're Notre Dame and apparently we piss people off), but that's okay, because we're going to play way better against them than we have against our last two opponents.

Also, really, they're overdue for a loss in ND stadium. (And pretty much our team needs to know what it feels like to win at home, because this is ridiculous.) Actually they might be overdue for a loss, period. How long has it been? A week since they lost? That's really too long.......

But honestly. They lost to Stanford and had to pull a win from between their teeth against Arizona.

I'm pretty much shaking in my bunny slippers.

(That's not true. I'm too fierce to own bunny slippers.)

I haven't actually watched USC play a game this season because even just looking at their uniforms makes me want to hurl, but based on what I've read and the fact that Pete Carroll used the word "cool" in his post-game analysis last night sort of makes me think that, on a good day, our kicker could probably beat the crap out of them.

All right, so this is blatant lie, but quite honestly I don't think the Trojans are going to throw anything at us that we can't handle. I vote that our defense goes out there and kills some people, and I further vote that our offense works on its short passes, because nothing else seems to be working, and if we can't find a run game, then quick slant routes are going to be our key to victory.

Lastly I would like to point out that the Trojans have the dumbest mascot ever. Let's review, kids. What happened to Troy in the end.........?



Sunday, October 7, 2007



The Irish win! The Irish Win! THE IRISH WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I was running around in Stonehenge and the reflecting pool last night screaming and cheering and splashing people and trying to take pictures without getting my camera wet, it felt like everything I'd been waiting for since the Sugar Bowl had finally arrived.

There are going to be a lot of stupid sports reporters saying the Irish shouldn't get excited about 1-5, but that's because they're sports reporters, and it's their job to be stupid. Unless they've gone to Notre Dame, they really just Don't Get It.

I'm still jealous of everyone who got to go out to the game and see the glorious turnaround in person, but quite honestly there's nowhere I would have rather been last night than Stonehenge, squeezing up against strange drunken shirtless people chanting out "GO IRISH BEAT EAGLES" like some sort of crazed ecstatic zombie.

It was amazing.

I'd forgotten how the euphoria of victory tends to blur my memory of what the team did right and wrong. When we lose, all I can think about are the plays that went wrong, the glaring mistakes that drove us into the ground, or--in some cases, but not so much this season--the one play we gave up that could have turned everything around. This season there have been so many devastating games that the last month or so has been one long blur of pain. We've been able to see our team improving, inch by inch, since the blowout against the Wolverines, but the question from week to week has still been, "Will they?" ...will today be the day?

I think the answer for yesterday was an emphatic, "Hell yes!"

Before I move on, I want to give mad props to our team for bringing home an Irish victory. Los Angeles was overthrown last night (by us and Stanford...*snicker snicker*), and the only lament I have for our players (who looked happier than they have since last November) is that the band wasn't there to play them our alma mater or the fight song (five zilllllllion times). Probably, though, they were so insanely out-of-their-minds ecstatic about winning they didn't even notice.

Our Defense last night was straight nasty. We ate some people. We forcibly took the ball back on every other drive in the second half. We brought 1967 like no other.
Bethel-"My Name's Too Long to Fit Comfortably on the Back of my Jersey"-Thompson is going to be having nightmares about Mo Crum, Jr. for a month. Ben "the announcers freaked the ND fans out every time they talked about my injury last night because #55 on their team is named Olsen" Olson is going to be cursing Tom Zbikowski and Trevor Laws until his knee's back to normal.

In all sportsmanlike fairness, I hope Ben Olson is going to be 100% sooner rather than later, because as amazing as it was to see our D knocking people's brains out, one injury can ruin someone's entire career, and...good football players should have the chance to play football for as long as possible. (Unless maybe they play for USC. Then maybe I don't care. [Just kidding.] {Not really.})

And hey, Jim-may finally scored! (AKA our O-line hit some people! Yaaaay!)

I'm feeling deliriously happy about all this. Do you know what this means for our season? (You're reading this, so you probably do.) In the [hopefully] prophetic words of Will Loftus: 7-5 starts here.

The campus is electrified. (Or...they were. Right now campus is probably mostly sleeping, or at the very least walking blearily through the dining hall.)

The players are on top of the world. (Actually, they, too, are probably sleeping, or at the very least blearily thinking about how they have to watch film some time today.)

The International Bowl is starting to get really, really excited for us.

The entire legion of Boston "hey, we were raised this way so actually we don't know we're complete A$$holes!" College fans is preparing their caravan to South Bend, utterly convinced that we've got nothing on them.

To which I say...

We've got a lot of work to do to beat the Eagles.

It took me a while to remember, in the wake of the absolute bliss of winning, that yes--there were a lot of problems with our game, and yes, Boston College is a top 10 team (psh...for now), and um...let's be happy, but not get carried away with ourselves.

I don't want to be like the commentators last night who refused to give credit to the Irish players where credit is due. Our defense Woke Up The Echoes last night, and by the fourth quarter created so many turnovers and prevented the UCLA offense from getting into the endzone so many times it seemed like They Could Do No Wrong.

And they were amazing, and I love them, and let's bring that intensity every game for the rest of the season until our opponents are so sore and battered they feel sorry they ever decided to play the game of football.


The reality is, with Ben Olson in for four quarters, it would have been a different game. I'm not saying we still wouldn't have emerged victorious, but it would have been much tougher. Much closer. With, most likely, far fewer interceptions.

But the D played well even before Olson got knocked out, so that's extremely promising.

Unfortunately, we still demonstrated our vulnerability on third down. UCLA got more 3rd down conversions than necessary, and although there were no game-devastating mistakes made by the D, there were way too many missed tackles. Mo Crum (although he was one of the heroes of the game)--and there were others, but right now he sticks out most strongly in my mind--had this issue with tackling people, particularly in the first half. I mean, he would be there to make the play, he'd hit hard, but he wouldn't wrap them up and bring them down right away, so the running back would still get like five yards on the play, and often it took more reinforcements to bring the guy down. (I mean, there weren't really any HUGE breakaway plays that cost us points, except for the one that got called back--but I think that was a special teams issue. Wasn't it? Like I said, it's all a blur.)

The tackling issue might just be a commentary on the outstanding strength and athleticism of the UCLA running backs, but...I'm gonna have to say no. There isn't a single running back in the NCAA that our defensive players could not eat for breakfast. (And no, I don't care if they're the size of the Bus. Our D EATS PEOPLE.) And just hitting them and slowing them down is not going to prevent them from getting across the first down marker. I mean, what if that's the goal line? You don't want to give them a damn inch. Wrap their asses up and bring them to the ground like you're saving them from a speeding bus. (OK, maybe that's too nice of a simile, but I couldn't think of anything fiercer.)

Once again, our O-line has shown some improvement. On some plays, Jimmy had All Day Long to throw. On some plays, our running backs surged for a first down. We even completed a successful QB sneak across the goal line.

However, once again, our offense struggled mightily. Our defense won this game for us, and everybody knows it. Actually, if I was on defense, I'd be really pissed off at the offense for letting it be remotely close in the fourth quarter. The score, easily, should have been 35-6, if not more. I mean, don't take me wrong--I will take 20-6 any day. I will take 7-6, 14-6, whatever-6, as long as the Irish are on top.

But if you're on the Irish D, you have to be frustrated with the offense, especially in the fourth quarter. You force turnovers how many times, and your offense can't even run the ball to get a first down and keep the clock running so you can rest? I mean, I've never really played football, so I don't know. Maybe the defense wanted to get out there and kill some more people. Probably, though, they would have preferred standing on the sidelines and cheering the offense on to another score before they had to suit up again.

I'm really impressed, though, with the intensity the D brought all game long. They probably had so much adrenaline pumping through their systems when they realized they were going to win that they couldn't help themselves, but umm...let's do that every game. Shall we?

But BACK to the offense...
We're really, really, really going to have to get it together if we're going to have any hope of winning out. Our defense is not going to be able to single-handedly beat the next 2 teams we play. I'm sorry, it just isn't going to happen. We need to find the end zone. We need to find the first down marker. We need to find our run game. We need to find the successful deep ball. We need to never have another play ever again in which the entire offensive line ends up on its asses and Jimmy has to throw the ball away before he is completely destroyed.

And speaking of such things, here's how it's looking for the rest of the season....

BC and USC are going to be highly emotional, extremely physical, terrible, heart-wrenching, either amazingly uplifting or tremendously spirit-shattering games.

Navy, Air Force, Duke, and Stanford, the "cupcake" games, are going to be hard-fought footbawl matches, during which we cannot lose our focus, or else we'll end up like USC. (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA USC lost to STANFORD! P.S. We're not going to.)

But in the next two games, our team is going to have to grow up a lot to pull off a couple W's. The O-line is either going to cement or crumble, right now. The D has to fix the botched tackles and perfect its secondary, right now, or we will fall again.

Stanford's win over USC was like the icing on the cake last night, but this doesn't make the Trojans any less intimidating. On the one hand, Stanford did us the favor of beating them, and showing us just how to topple Troy. On the other hand...they did USC the same favor. USC is going to be fiercer, tougher, nastier, and better the entire rest of the season, and therefore much harder to beat than before. The beauty of playing an undefeated team (*cough*BC*cough*) is that after a while, they start to believe they're really invincible, and at the height of their pride and arrogance is when they have their fall. (Or you know...they win a national championship. But as we have seen, this is NOT THE CASE this season.) However...Stanford did do our team an enormous pyschological favor. SC will have made long strides to fix whatever deficiencies allowed Stanford to beat them by the time they play us, but that doesn't matter, because Stanford has already removed the little evil mental barrier telling our players and fans that we don't have a chance against the Trojans.

(Speaking of which...everyone who traded in their USC ticket so they could go home early for fall break...shame on you.)

And as for special teams--WELCOME BACK GEOFF PRICE! I missed you.
Also congratulations to Brandon Walker. Thanks, guys, for not making us look like complete morons in the kicking game. We still need to work on blocking, though, so some of our devastatingly fast returners have a chance to scamper for the endzone.

Anyway...what was I saying?
(See what I mean about Euphoria? It kills your sense of order and logic. I love it.)

Oh right. So...can we win out?
Abso - f$%@ing - lutely.

And will we win out?
Thank the Good Lord in all His wisdom...I have no business making that decision. All I have to do is show up and scream my lungs out. It's up to the players and the coaches whether or not we emerge victorious on Saturday.

But I have faith.

The entire Notre Dame legion is ready for the Irish to return the favor that BC so kindly bestowed on us in 1993 and 2002.

So bring your game face, Irish fans. It's on.