Friday, December 11, 2009


It's a mixture of relief and--dare I say it?--optimism: Brian Kelly is the 29th head football coach at the University of Notre Dame. For a lengthy, in-depth recap of Kelly's coaching credentials, I recommend the always superb Blue-Gray Sky.

For now, all you need to know is that this is a man who just coached the Cincinnati Bearcats to a perfect season, and now they're going up against Florida in the Sugar Bowl. (Although popular opinion seems to be that Cincinnati's going to get smeared all over the Superdome. I offer no opinion on this except to say that you all should know how I feel about Urban Meyer by now, so--Go Bearcats!) And now Mr. Kelly is forgoing the chance to coach in New Orleans by taking up residence in the Gug's big, cushy corner office.

Before I get going on the new coach and start paraphrasing everything I just heard in the press conference, I just want to say: mad props to Jack Swarbrick for keeping the lid tight on this thing right until the very end. I commend you, sir. Also, I found it a very classy move that you presented our new head coach with a medal of Mary instead of a helmet or a football jersey. Way to be true to the spirit of Notre Dame.

Coach Kelly--apparently a Boston Irish Catholic--seems to get the spirit of Notre Dame, too, which is pretty much essential for anyone who's going to attempt to lead the football team at Our Lady's University. He spoke of the university's tradition, its high academic and athletic standards, and approached the university not only as a fan but as a coach. He spoke of developing players who work hard on the field and are gentlemen off the field. He spoke of Notre Dame in a way, I thought, that represented Notre Dame.

Plumes of reactionary optimism

For as despondent as I've felt since the end of the season, I have to say I was pretty darn pleased to get that e-mail announcing Brian Kelly was our new head coach--because if it wasn't gonna be him, who else WAS there? I think, at this current moment in time, we actually did get the best man for the job. And I have to say, I'm way more up-in-the-clouds about all this than I thought I'd be.

Part of this, I think, is reactionary: looking for (and finding) things in the new head coach that were lacking with the last. This sort of amplifies the feeling of all-around glee at the thought that Notre Dame finally has a coach who
A) comes in with a .747 win percentage after 19 years of coaching
B) has proven he can turn limp programs into national champions (Grand Valley State, D-II) and conference champions (Central Michigan, Cincinnati)
C) has been a head coach--IN COLLEGE--for almost two solid decades

This man has a proven track record. He's not being sucked in through the NFL. He is not a gamble. (You know, so I assume.)

In case you've missed out on my biggest beef with Charlie the last couple seasons, here are the two things I've griped about the most:
1) Lack of fundamentals
2) Having a head coach who's still learning how to be a college head coach. (And by that I mean--watching in agony as he figures out that no, you can't treat college kids the same way you treat guys in the NFL, and no, college players don't come pre-conditioned with great fundamentals, and no, no matter how clever you think this play is, if your players aren't disciplined and consistent, all the scheming in the world isn't going to help you.)

And pretty much right off the bat Brian Kelly proved that he understands the nature of being a head coach in the college game.

Two little words that one reporter called "vague," but which were music to my ears: player development.

Ah, yes--YES! There it IS! College players have to be DEVELOPED! That is the why college football has become so crucial to the success of players in the NFL, is it not?

This is not to say that Charlie didn't know how to develop a player. I mean, he developed Brady Quinn. I'm just saying--Charlie came from the pros, he ran a pro-style game, he's a pro-style man, and I...

You know what, I'm just going to stop talking about Charlie. He came, he did what he did, he helped turn the program in the right direction, I wish him the best.

Back to Brian Kelly and player development. I liked this quote:'s not just about being bigger, faster, stronger, it's getting your players to trust. It's getting your players to be accountable on a day to day basis. It's developing them as young men, and you have to do that through relationships.

Boom! Right there. This is a man who knows he's dealing with college kids, knows he's dealing with people who are still maturing and learning how to manage themselves, and that is as crucial a part of the college game as anything else. Another choice example:

Eating at Burger King at 3:00 in the morning is not going to make you the best for your 8:00 workouts. Not being on time, not paying attention to detail, not being purposeful in what you do on a day to day basis. Attention to detail is absolutely crucial in this process of winning, and so when I talk about working on winning, I mean you do that from the first day you step on this campus if you want to win.

This is not me accusing the players or the previous coaching staff of anything in particular. This is just me saying that the new head coach is talking like a man familiar with success, familiar with making success happen in a college system, and familiar with how college kids work. And that, to me, is extremely promising.

Another comment that I particularly liked was this one, which almost certainly struck a chord with me because it's exactly the sort of thing I've been griping about for the past few seasons:

You don't win on Saturdays with Xs and Os. You win on Saturdays because you've been working on it all week, and so it's that attention to detail. It's morale, it's camaraderie, it's one voice.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! THANK YOU. Thank you thank you thank you. You have NO idea how good that is to hear. No idea.

(Once again, not trying to disparage anybody. I'm just sayin'--when your life for a few years is X's and O's, like Charlie's life was, you tend to approach the game in X's and O's.)

Something else that pretty much made me want to jump up and down and pump my fist in the air:

I think it's important to point out that you win and lose football games as a whole.

Yes. YES. YES!!!! I mean, I know this is sort of obvious to anyone who pays attention to the fact that football is a team sport--but it strikes me that, too often these days, people don't really approach it that way. I mean, theoretically head coaches do, but speaking as a lay person, it seems like teams are often lopsided--strong on one side or another--due to the leanings of whatever position their head coach happened to coordinate before he became the head coach.

I have this problem as a fan, too; I expect teams to be lopsided one way or another. For example...when I'm watching the Indianapolis Colts, I pretty much expect Peyton Manning to go out there and win the game for them. I know, somewhere in my head, that of course the defense has to do its job, and Peyton would be nothing without his O-line and his receiving corps of thrifty ballcatchers. But let's face it--when the game's on the line, I expect Peyton Manning to go out there and win.

It's the same problem watching defensive teams--you know, like how Da Bears used to be. How many teams can you watch throw six picks against Arizona on Monday night and still expect them to be able to win? The Bears did it a couple years ago. It was absurd.

Anyway, the point is--at the very least, Brian Kelly is approaching football the way a head coach needs to approach football: as a head coach, one who will oversee ALL aspects of the game:

So offense, defense and special teams has been what I'm an expert at. And when I talk about expert at it, I mean I don't just rely on one side of the ball. As a head football coach, you are responsible for all those areas, and as you can tell probably from my experience in Division II, we had when I started two full time coaches. So you couldn't just be the offensive coordinator; you couldn't just be the defensive coordinator; you had to be involved in all those areas. I will be intimately involved with what we do defensively as the head football coach.

Now, of course, we don't know how any of this is going to translate, but I hope for the best.

I look forward to our special teams next year.

Enough about the past. Let's talk about the future.

First off, Brian Kelly is a living-in-the-present type of guy:

Well, we go to work right away. We don't get a five year plan. This is a five minute plan. I mean, we're working on it immediately, and we expect our football players to play at a high level immediately.
Boom! Hit the ground running. I like it.

Second, let's focus in on our immediate future: recruiting. Kelly said that recruiting would be the first thing on his docket: calling our recruits, trying to keep the commits, going out there and fighting for the future of the Irish. I'm curious to see how this goes, and if any more of our recruits will end up falling through the cracks. Some players commit because of the coaches and then de-commit once they're gone; not all of them can be total badasses and commit after the head coach has been fired like Louis Nix.

In a related note, it will be interesting to see which Irish coaches are retained for the staff, too. Coach Ianello's already taken the head coaching job at Akron, and considering the state of our defense I think pretty much everyone expects us to have a new defensive coordinator...but I'm curious to see who of the remaining staff will stay, and what kind of impact that will have on recruiting.

Regarding the approach to recruiting and the kind of players Kelly is going after, the one big thing he mentioned was passion:

They have to love to play this game. So in the recruiting process, as we go from coast to coast in finding that right profile, I want to be around players that love to play this game. I love being around it. If you're not passionate about what you do and how you do it, you probably won't connect with me. So I'm looking for that passion, and it's got to resonate with me in the recruiting process. Yeah, we'll look at the profiles, but I've never gotten caught up in profiles as much as making sure that that passion is there.

After the effort the Irish team put forth this season, I think everyone's pretty much zipped their mouths shut Re: accusing the team of not playing with passion. So it's nice to see that the requirement for passion is there. (You would assume that anyone willing to kill themselves to play at the level of D-I football is passionate about the game but, you know, based on the clearly 100% accurate storytelling of the movie Rudy, not everyone who suits up on Saturdays always has their full heart in the game.) It might seem a little iffy to hear him talk about not getting "caught up" in the profiles of players, but for now I'm willing to ride with him on this one. In recent years, coaches at programs like Boise State, TCU, and (dare I say it?) Cincinnati have proved that you don't have to have a team full of top-rated, emu-faced recruits to win games. You've just got to make sure you can make the players you've got work as a team.

So...we'll see how it goes.

The last snippet I want to post has to do with our team--the current collection of next year's Fighting Irish. As I said, I think our team proved this season that they are hungry for victory--hungry for excellence. The letdown at the end of this season (UConn?? Really? UCONN????? Sorry, I still can't get over it.) will become a blip in Irish football history if Coach Kelly can turn this team's drive and potential into the one thing that matters most in the world of college football: wins.

As I've said all season, potential is frustrating. Potential is maddening. Potential, if unmet, eats you up from the inside.

And that, I think, is at the core of this whole idea of player development, of taking the potential of each player, and then moving them, as Kelly says, "to a level they can't get to by themselves. That's player development. That's at the core of what I mean, to get people to do things that they normally wouldn't do on their own."

So let's see how it goes. Let's see if we can get there. Let's see what Coach Kelly makes of the players we have here, and the players that we've yet to gain.

And of our team, the new head coach says this:

They want to win. They want to win. They're like any other football program that I've been around; they want to win football games, and they want to be led. They want to be developed. I could tell that immediately.

You do not come to the University of Notre Dame because you want to be average. You want to be the best of the best. And that's why I'm here. It inspires me to be around young men like I had in front of me today.

In the words of Rocket, kids: GO GET IT.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm going to keep rambling on even though it's way too late to matter

So um, first things first--if you want any actual updates on ND football, go to Blue-Gray Sky. Everything they have posted for the past couple weeks is effing brilliant; pretty much every other Notre Dame blog I read has been linking over to BGS constantly since the close of the season. There's a lot of new stuff to talk about--the coaching change, the players' reactions, players de-committing and newly committing, Jimmy and Golden declaring for the draft, etc etc etc. I don't plan on covering any of that, but it's important stuff to know, so, you know, go read BGS. It's good stuff.

Second things second--there's an excellent post over on Her Loyal Sons that covers the players' reactions to Charlie's firing. There are some excellent press conference snippets in there, and it really sheds light on how mature the players have gotten, how dedicated they are to the program, and how much they really GET Notre Dame. Which is an excellent reflection on Charlie and the work he's done off the field these past five years. (Which, in some sense, is sort of shocking to realize, isn't it? Because we just expect these things to immediately translate themselves to the field, and when they don't....)

UConn 33, Notre Dame 30


This is my basic reaction to the UConn game, Jimmy's black eye, and everything else that's been going on in the world of Notre Dame football for the past few weeks.

Regarding JimmayJimmayJimmay and his shiner, let me just say this....

Although I have been waiting for someone to punch Jimmy in the face for approximately three years, and although I can think of dozens of personal reasons why I might want to slug him personally, he got punched out because of a football game, and that pisses me off. I know there were other factors involved, but seriously--after three years of this kind of shit, can you really blame him for declaring for the draft?

Anyway. I feel like I never really made myself sit down and work through the end of this depressing, depressing season, so I am going to do that now. If you don't want to sit here with me and rehash the utter agony of the UConn game or the absurd bumblefuck that was the Stanford game, you should just walk away right now.

But if you're a masochist like me, then by all means continue.

Dog Bites

What the effing EFFER, you effing little EFFERS? How are you going to go out on YOUR field on YOUR Senior Day and lose to UCONN?

I thought we were past this, guys. No seriously. All season long I have been saying how far this team has come since that awful, frigid day on which my fingers froze to my piccolo and you broke my heart and made David Bruton cry. (Yes, I am going to keep bringing this up until it stops being painful. Oh wait--that would be never.) And as bad as last season's home finale was (and I can't BELIEVE I'm going to say this), this season's was worse. You know, I know UConn had that whole "avenge their fallen teammate" thing going on, but I don't care. That didn't stop all their opponents leading up to Notre Dame from beating them, and no way in hell should it have stopped us. What happened to Jasper Howard was horrible--it really was--and as much as I'm a believer in intangibles, they are called INTANGIBLES for a reason. No freaking way should a team be able to come in and kick us around on our home turf during hte last home game of the season. Not when we've got an NFL-worthy QB-WR combo and a bafflingly experienced offensive line (the baffling part being why they aren't the best damn line in all of college football) and a whole bunch of seniors standing on the sideline, waiting for something they've been waiting for for four years and now will never get.

See, THAT is what breaks my heart. It is bullshit that those seniors didn't get to play. Bull. Shit.

There are moments in life that you cannot redo, that you cannot take back--opportunities that, once they're gone, are gone forever. And to work that hard, to come that close, and only get to run out of the tunnel....

I mean, that in itself is an experience worth having, trust me. And not that I ever wore a football uniform, but, you know--just to put on that uniform is special. And to stand on the sideline--that's something, too.

But, um, I get the sneaking suspicion that that is NOT precisely what those young men broke their backs for for four years, and they deserve better than that. They deserve better than to watch helplessly from the sidelines--all suited up at last but still unallowed to go out on the field and actually help their team win a game--and watch as we lose to some mediocre-ass team whose school hasn't even been playing Division I football for a decade.

What the HELL?

I mean, it's one thing to listen to obnoxious non-Notre Dame fans whine on and on about how Notre Dame's not even good anymore, not even relevant, can't win a bowl game, has seen its last glory days, is only clinging blindly to its past, is soooo overrated, has no real place in the elite of college football anymore, and blah blah blah blah blah...... I mean, whatever, right? Because by constantly whining about Notre Dame, all those people are doing is keeping Notre Dame relevant.

But it's really another thing to watch you prove them right. That's really NOT COOL.

I thought we'd gotten past this, guys. I really did. We had such confidence this season. Such...swagger. (Apparently Jimmy really did rub off on the rest of the team.) We had such heart, such grit, such determination. Such Golden Tate. We were this close--THIS CLOSE--to being undefeated.

But um, we were also equally close to being 2-8.

So that puts us right where we belong, at a nice even .500. And that burns.

I mean, is it just me, or does it seriously feel like we're just carrying around all these things that Notre Dame is supposed to stand for, but that it doesn't anymore, because we are in the drought of droughts, and we can't win a national championship to save our lives (and/or coach)?

NOTRE DAME is still there. The spirit, the energy, the tradition, and...everything. It was there before the USC game. You could FEEL it.

But it did not manifest into the much-needed win, and that's what has me worried.

You'd think I would be more optimistic, what with the coaching change and all, but if you have read my previous post (which probably you didn't, because mostly I feel like I am writing to myself these days, but that's okay because at this point it's mostly therapy anyway), you will see that trying to find a new head coach has me more worried than anything. Because if it's not the right guy, we are so SCREWED again, for another five years. And I just can't take much more of this.

So...about the actual game

Right. Well. If you did not catch the UConn game / have already erased it from your memory, it was all bonbons and gumdrops and lollipops until the second quarter. We were up 14-0, and it basically looked like the game was going to be a repeat of the Washington State game.

And then. Then the personal foul.

Sergio Brown's late-hit penalty kept alive a UConn drive that would eventually give them their first score of the game. And after that...the momentum changed. New life for the Huskies. Bad news bears for the Irish.

And in the second half...a bigass breakdown on special teams that allowed UConn to return a kick for a touchdown. More bad news bears.

Let's pay the blame game for a second and blame lack of fundamentals for the fact that these two plays occurred at all. Either one of these plays doesn't happen, and Notre Dame doesn't have to go into overtime on Senior Day. Theoretically.

But then, of course, you can't blame this game on Sergio Brown or the special teams. First of all, that's not fair, because football is a team sport, and there were plenty of chances for the entire TEAM to make sure UConn did not win the game. Second, by all reports Sergio Brown was found crying in Coach Weis's office after the game, trying to apologize, which Coach Weis would not let him do, because Charlie insisted on taking all the blame for this loss (and every other loss) on his own shoulders.

Which, actually, is a good sign. In a way. I mean, these guys care about the team. They really do. They try. I mean, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a guy who tries harder than, for example, Golden Tate. And, you know, they've got (or they had) a head coach cares about the team, too--and more importantly, he cares about the individual players; so much so that he has consistently taken all the blame upon himself, tried to shield all his players from as much of the media BS as possible, and turned his entire head of hair gray in the process.

They are so much more of a TEAM than they were last year, and that is what makes all of this so upsetting. Because you KNOW they're good enough to rise above all this crap and execute well enough to win every game...but, um, they weren't consistent enough to actually DO it. And we can all sit around and point fingers and blame who we want to blame--the coaches, the players, the refs, NBC, or my personal favorite, lack of fundamentals--but at the end of the day it is not one person or entity that makes or breaks a game. (No, not even Golden Tate. Although I'm sure the Heisman committee would have you believe otherwise. You tweak the outcome of say, three big plays this season, and suddenly the Irish are 9-3, and sure as shit you'd be finding Golden's name near the top of the Heisman pile. Which is SUCH a crock of shit, because one player should not have to take the ENTIRE game into his hands so that his TEAM wins so that he can be considered for an INDIVIDUAL trophy. Although if the Heisman committee were actually fair, the winner every year would probably be some random-ass player from the WAC or the Sun Belt or some other conference no one cares about, who does crazy shit on both sides of the ball but who no one's heard about because, again, he plays for some conference no one cares about. But whatever, my point is--you cannot point blame at one single aspect of a team.) That's not what does it. It is the whoooole package.

And this here package we've got is starting to look a little beat up. Is it not?

So we're getting a new box (aka coach). That's what we're doing. We're chucking out the old box and we're getting a new one. And in T-minus three years, we'd better have some shiny new rings in that box, or somebody's gonna have some explaining to do. (Just in case you weren't aware, Leahy, Parseghian, Devine, and Holtz all won national championships in their third year as head coaches. So clearly it stands to reason that if the third season doesn't produce a new banner in the tunnel, we're doomed. I think J.J. should wait until at least the third season this time before renewing the contract. Just a thought.)

Stanford 45, Notre Dame 38

Tree bark

As for that other game we played to close out the season...

Well, it was not a banner night for either defense, let's just say that.

But it was the same damn story we've seen from the Irish all season. So close--so close--so close--down to the wire--and then ahh--aw--not so much.

Although, I have to say, mad props to Sergio Brown for playing harder than I've ever seen him play. He was clearly trying to make up for the UConn game, and dude, I think he succeeded. For the first time all season, he was right up there with Kyle McCarthy and Manti Te'o (11 and 10 total tackles, respectively). Check out these stats for Mr. Brown: 7 solo tackles, 3 assists, 2 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, and 1 sack. Best individual defensive stats of anyone on the team. I tip my hat to you, sir.

But, unfortunately, the 31 combined tackles of these three players was not enough to stop Stanford's offense / human hippopotamus Toby Gerhart from scoring 45 points. (Again with the whole "it's a team sport" thing.)

And what's really depressing is--even if we had won, would it have made that much of a difference?

In the grand scheme of things, Charlie was getting fired anyway. And with Charlie gone, no head coach and no offensive coordinator for the postseason, bowl game. And without Coach Weis, it's really not surprising that we're saying bye-bye to Jimmy and Golden. (Although, you have to admit, it's a little selfish. I don't care who we have has head coach next year, that quarterback spot is going to be hurting. C'mon Dayne--HEAL! You too, Michael Floyd. Get your collarbone back in the game. XXXOOO.)

So...6-6, 7-6...the end of this season was so depressing I feel like I would hardly have been able to differentiate between the two. And it's not even remotely cheerful to think that we played better against Stanford than USC did, because USC is a crock of SHIT this year, and it's absolute BS that they're even still ranked in the BCS poll. What kind of crack are those computers SMOKING?


It is a long, bleak off-season, with no more Golden and no more Kyle and no healthy quarterbacks (anyone know when Nate Montana's rich little legacy ass is supposed to show up on campus again?) and, at the moment, no verdict on a new coach. Plus we've got next year's thrilling line-up of Tulsa, Utah, Western Michigan, and Navy to look forward to. (Except Navy...oh wait. Oh, we lose to them now. I forgot.)


And I'm not even really looking forward to this year's bowl games, because I'm pretty much counting on 'Bama to smoke the national championship (no offense Texas--I'm not messin' with you, I'm just sayin'...), and I'm only vaguely interested in watching Cincinnati, because if Kelly's not coaching for us next year who cares, and if he IS coaching for us next year but not coaching them in the bowl game, then...again, who cares?

You see? You see what this season's done to me? I'm so morose. I didn't even watch the Colts keep their unbeaten streak alive last Sunday, or the Bears (finally) play some defense and win an ugly game. (Of course, odds are those games weren't even broadcast in my area, but the point is, I didn't even look to see if they were ON. And although I watched most of the first half of the SEC Championship last Saturday, I was also, you know, flipping back and forth between that an episode of Gilmore Girls. Further proof that I should never actually be a sportswriter. When my team's not in the mix, it is SO hard to make myself actually care. Because I love football, and I love sports, you see, but mostly...I love Notre Dame.)

Thus concludes the 2009 Irish football season. Mad props to Golden Tate for making All-American. (You hella belong there.) Good luck with all your other award nominations, and with the NFL Draft.

And to you, JimmayJimmayJimmay....I still can't believe you said you'll miss NDSP.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I've been feeling understandably melancholy about the state of ND football for the past two weeks, as I'm sure you can imagine. You might also imagine that there are other words besides "melancholy" running through my head when I think about this season, and you're probably right, but for the moment, melancholy is what I am.

I am not relieved that Charlie is gone. I am...other things.

I'm overwhelmingly disappointed that this season did not work out as it could have. We seem to have lost some crucial elements of ND football that make it feel like the tradition that it is. We should not be losing to Navy. We should not have to take every game down to the wire. We should not have seniors standing on the sideline on Senior Day staring at a field that, after four years of work, blood, sweat, tears, injuries, and sacrificing hours upon hours of study time/energy/youth, they will never get to play on. Not one snap, not one down, nothing. That, to me, is the biggest tragedy of this season. And last season. Even the year we went 3-9, we won on Senior Day. And there's just no excuse for that. There's no excuse for not wanting to win on Senior Day as badly as the other team.

I mean, okay, so maybe the other teams get hyped up because they're playing Notre Dame. But, um, in the words of Lou: HELLO, you get to represent Notre Dame! There's no greater motivation than that.

And--ugh--we got SO CLOSE. We were so close, all season, to being what we might have been. And we never broke through that last barrier.

So, we ended the season 6-6, but we were about half a quarter of football away from being undefeated.

We are also equally that far away from being 2-8.

And that puts us right where we belong -- at .500.

And, ladies and gentlemen, there is just nothing more depressing than mediocrity.

Because, you know, you COULD be great,'re not.

And you could be the biggest effing pile of shit you've ever seen,'re not that, either.

You're right smack-dab in the damn middle, and the worst part is--you look at all these players we've got, at the season Jimmy and Golden and Armando, and McCarthy and Te'o, have had despite the way the games have gone, and you look at how experienced our O-line is (or is supposed to be), and you think to yourself-- WHAT THE HELL? Why not a BCS year? Why and how and when did Notre Dame fall so far as to be practically irrelevant except for our history, our TV contract, and our widespread (and totally BALLER) fan base?

And I'm not sad to see Charlie go, in a sense, but I am despondent. I am afraid that we will have another five years and more of the same and I just can't help feeling like I'll be skeptical for the next three seasons until something's proven again.

Plus with all the wild speculation about Jimmy and Golden leaving, and knowing Crist isn't really going to be healthy until the start of next season, and wondering who the hell is going to coach our defense and with Mama Kyle departing.... It is time for a change but I am not necessarily glad and I am not necessarily confident that we will go where we want to go.

Swarbrick seems to know what he wants and he certainly acts like he knows what he's doing and there is every possibility that he looked at next year's schedule and said, "What the hell, why NOT Western Michigan?" because he knew he'd be getting a new head coach long before it seemed Charlie's time was truly up, and he thought he might as well pave an easy road for next year's newbie at the helm. I mean, I'd hate to think that's true, but also in a twisted way it would give me more respect for the whole BS Western Michigan decision if it WERE true. It's all useless speculation of course, and based on absolutely nothing...

Don't mind me, really; like I said, I'm despondent.

So. Just thought I'd drivel on with those thoughts for a while. I have some other things to say about the last two games, which I figure I'll cover some time between now and when we figure out whether or not we're going to a bowl game, and whether or not that bowl game is (most depressing of all possible outcomes) in Detroit. Hopefully the next time I blather on about ND football I'll have something more cohesive and useful to say. But for now, I'm just another member of the bleeding hearts club.

Which is unfortunate, because all season long here I was thinking that it was my spleen that wouldn't survive the season intact.