Sunday, January 6, 2013

12 Thoughts to Tide You Over 'Til Game Time

I've been living in a bubble (the Notre Dame bubble?) waiting for the championship game to begin. I've hardly watched, read, or listened to anything pertaining to Notre Dame football in almost a month. (ScaNDalous.) Today, I watched enough ESPN to hear Dr. Lou say that--despite his love for Notre Dame--as a professional, he is going to be completely unbiased about this game (hahahaha), and clicked through enough videos to wonder why Ryan Camden keeps pronouncing it "Nutter" Dame (seriously, this is very distracting, Ryan).

This is a total reverse of what I usually do during football season, which generally involves imbibing as much #NDFB related media as humanly possible. (I'm officially 31 days sober. But I'm jumpin' off the damn wagon again tomorrow, and it is going to be the best hitchhike back to sanity EVER. Though if, in fact, they win, I may just decide it isn't worth it, and I shall stumble around in an Irish-induced stupor of eternal bliss forever and ever or until they decide to win a national championship game again. Amen.) In leaving myself to mine own thoughts, I have come up with a few notions, which I shall now share.

Let us pretend that there are twelve of them, because things will just be easier that way.

12. This is the biggest road game on the biggest stage for the biggest game of the season (and the biggest Notre Dame game in 24 years. Or ~20 years. However you're counting). Everett Golson's gonna be fine.

(Naw, scratch that: Everett Golson's gonna be a boss pimp. Aight?)

11. Manti Te'o doesn't need to play against Alabama the way he played against MSU. Or Michigan. Manti can have a ho-hum day (you know, 8 or 9 tackles and a couple assists) as long as all the rest of the defense shows up to play their game. Which they will, because they don't know any other way to play.

10. Bob Diaco (and all the rest of the coaches) have had a month to put a solid game plan together. The defense will still need a little bit of an adjustment period before they're 100% locked in on the opponent, but I don't expect them to come out sluggish or slow. (Seriously, if you can't get your adrenaline up for the national championship game, you SHOULDN'T BE PLAYING FOOTBALL. The real danger is being too jazzed up--but that sort of bit them in the ass a couple times this season, so I don't think that's gonna be a problem either.) If they can stop the big play early, they'll be just fine.


8. Our defense has been compared to an SEC-style defense. Cuz we tough. We physical. (Our city is gangsta, you can tell by the gramma' / welcome to my city, South Bend, Indiana.)  We so tough we better than 'Bama at the goal line.

We so bad we gon' go down there and beat 'em at their own game.

And we gon' do it with a 99% graduation rate, b*tches.

7. It would be okay if Samantha Steele never appeared in another Trick Shot Monday video ever again. However, this one involves bouncing shots off the crystal trophy, so I guess that's okay.

6. Pick-six for Manti Te'o. Yes? Yes.

Go forth, Manti, and reap the fruits of they labor. Reap it from the overextended arm of A.J. McCarron being simultaneously chased down by Prince Shembo and Stephon Tuitt, aka the Scylla and Charybdis of pass disruption. Let Old Man Kap plow your the way to the end zone, for the bearded one is wise and knows ways of furrowing your opponents to the ground whilst you make a mad break for gridiron glory.

It is time, Manti. Reach out and pluck your blessings from the heavens. They shall rain on you like a thousand thousand leis. (Or, you know, like one really ill-timed pass attempt.)

5. 'Bama will be the best team we've played all season. No joke. And if we had to face them with the offense that we had at the beginning of the season, we'd be in dire straits. But the team from September is not the team we have now. We've earned our way here. We've clawed our way to the top, and don't let any fan--Pittsburgh, Stanford, or otherwise--tell you different.

We, like Thomas Alva Edison, find that the harder we work, the more luck we seem to have. And we have found our thousand and one ways not to make a light bulb.

But the filaments atop Grace Hall are lit.

And despite the SEC's best efforts, none of their teams made it through the season unvanquished. And they did not wipe the floor with everyone in the bowl games. Their throne is precarious. And we can topple the crown. Even if it takes us multiple metaphors to get there--by gosh, we'll get it done.

We're gonna go out there, and we're gonna fight, fight, fight, fight
and we're not gonna stop until we get over that goal line.

We're not more experienced. We're not better-coached. We're not a perfect team.

But I believe we've got a team that's become a family. And if it comes down to a battle in the trenches, I believe our boys will fight harder for each other than Alabama's. Maybe that's hearsay to the entire population of the South.

But sorry, South. You don't have Manti Te'o. 

I think most of the Notre Dame fan base would be willing to strap on pads and play for Manti Te'o, even if (like me) the closest they've ever come to a contact sport is non-competitive youth league soccer.

Between our team and the cheering thousands, we've got what it takes to turn the tide.

4. If this game goes into overtime, I will explode into hyperbole and become and untenable mess of syllables until the game is over. Also, should we lose (which I wouldn't bet on), do not attempt to contact me for at least twenty-four hours, as I'm sure to be lost in a state of wailing and infinite vowels, and there's really no point attempting to communicate with me until I find consonants again.

The same may be true if we win, but then you can call me all you like and I will scream joyously at you until my voice gives out.

3. The numbers favor us. And not just the Numbers-Never-Lie numbers. Or the third-year-of-coaching magic numbers. ND Magazine's got you covered with more conspiracy-theory-coincidences than you can shake a shillelagh at (you know, if you go in for that sort of thing):

2. They have names on the back of their jerseys. This is tradition for bowl games. Anyone who is remotely upset by this can just get over it.

#1. Right, that's still us.  Number one in football. Number one in graduation rates.

And if you don't like it now, just wait until tomorrow night.

In the words of Bennett Jackson's Twitter feed:

Bring it.


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