Irish Blogger Gathering: Michigan Still Sucks

With my first ever NDtex25 rankings out, it’s time to put last week to bed for good.  It happened, it’s over, and I don’t want to think about it any more.  It’s time to focus on what really matters, and that’s hating Michigan and remembering that they still suck.

This week’s IBG is focused primarily on that.  Biscuit over at HerLoyalSons, is leading the charge for this year’s slinging of hate.  My responses to this week’s batch of questions are below.

Not to look too far ahead, but I want to drop a quick note that I will be hosting the IBG next week as we take on Sparty, so be sure to be on the lookout for my inaugural hosting post next week.

1) Well that result really sucked. Please describe how you feel about the loss using lyrics from a pop diva (eg Britney Spears, Rihanna, etc) song. Bonus points for video or pictures. (something good has to come out of last week)

I’m not sure what the obsession is with songs over at HLS for IBG questions.  And picking a pop diva? Really?!  You realize this is the kinda crap that opposing bloggers dream of seeing in order to make fun of us right?

Don’t worry, I’ll be a good sport and play along (honestly nothing can be worse than last weekend’s game anyways).  Let’s go with Britney’s “Oops I Did It Again” because, I can’t think of anything else to say when you continuously drop passes, commit awful penalties, and turn the ball over repeatedly.

Well, I’m sure Kelly has a few choice words, but anyways:

Honorable mention: Pink’s “U + Ur Hand” because I’m sure that’s what quite a few Irish players were told that night after screwing that game up so royally.

2) While we all want to move on, last week’s game can teach us many things about the ’11 Irish. After seeing what Week 1 brought us, do you find yourself more confident, less confident, or still confused as hell about our chances vs the Skunkbears? Why?

I’m more confident oddly enough.  I have to believe that the Irish won’t be turning the ball over five times a game and make the other mistakes that plagued the USF game.  When you take that away, you are left with a rather impressive offensive performance and an even more impressive outing by the defense.  The fact ND even had a shot at winning against USF is impressive considering how many points the Irish simply gave away.

The Irish caused their own demise last week and they know it.  They’ll be looking for someone to take it out on this week to claim redemption.  We couldn’t ask for a better punching bag in Michigan.

3) Other than QB, which position group pleasantly surprised you this past week? Which disappointed? What player absolutely MUST see more time in Week 2? Again, no QBs.

Save for the Jonas Gray fumble, the running backs pleasantly surprised me.  Yes, I did call for good seasons from both, including a breakout year by Cierre Wood, but calling it and having it proven right (for at least one week) are two different things.  Wood, obviously was the big story here.  He was seemingly unstoppable on every touch, flat out running defenders over.  I’m hoping we can have an entire game of balanced offense instead of needing to scrap the running game in only a half because I think Wood is a serious weapon this season.

For disappointment, I’m going to go with our receiving corps.  You simply cannot drop passes as often as they did, end of story.  When you drop a TD and have an INT bounce off your head in the red zone, it’s inexcusable.  Floyd coming up with a big second half is the only thing that really saved them from looking completely awful all game long.

While they obviously saw plenty of time all game long, I want to see our backs get more touches.  I know we had to go one-dimensional out of necessity and I know “we need to run the ball” is rather cliche, but for once, we have a running game that is a true weapon.  Having to abandon that, even with such a great passing attack, is a disservice.  If we can hold on to a balanced attack, opposing teams will definitely have their hands full all season long.  Here’s hoping we don’t have to panic with another all-out aerial assault tomorrow night.

4) Tommy Rees will lead the Irish Offense this week. Do you agree with Coach’s call? Either way, what part of Crist’s game will the Irish O miss the most, if any?

I’m fine with the call for Rees.  The only thing I didn’t agree with as far as QBs go was the quick hook on Crist.  If Kelly is convinced that Rees is his man, I’m all for it, just stick with it and don’t yank him in a half unless he is throwing picks all over the place.

The main thing we’d miss from Dayne is his speed.  Rees is much less of a dual threat than Crist, but considering that we saw no QB draws and read options, it seems that part of the playbook was put to rest.  So really, I don’t think we will be missing too much to be honest.

5) What’s the key to beating the Wolverines this week? Just 1 thing. Not 2. 1.

Hold on to the damned ball.  We can’t be our worst enemy two weeks in a row.

6) Make your Over-Under Picks:

Over-under on Floyd’s receiving total for this coming weekend: 154
Under.  I am probably overconfident, but I don’t think this game will be close and we will be spending more time chewing clock than giving Floyd more yards.

Over-under on Robinson’s rushing total: 100
Under.  I’m quite high on the defense’s performance last week and I think that last year’s performance against Robinson has to be major motivation as well.

Over-under on ND Number of Turnovers: 2
Under. For the love of God this better be under…

Over-under on Number of Times Kelly is caught Purple Monstering Out: 2
Under.  Kelly shouldn’t have any reason to lose his head this week (hopefully).

Over-under on ND Total Yards: 425
Over. The Michigan defense hasn’t gotten much better and I think the Irish will be able to move the ball quite easily against them.

7) Michigan: Just Another Opponent, Enemy, or Rival? Explain. 1 Bonus point for each use of the word ‘suck’.

Enemy. Hated enemy.

The Blue-Gray Sky wrote a nice letter to Michigan fans in 2005 to remind us why as well.  Michigan hasn’t exactly made their hatred a secret either.

We both have our “bigger” rivals.  Michigan has Ohio State and we have USC.  This game is a road block to a bigger picture, the bigger game that fans are really looking forward to.  A loss here ruins the season, the loser is then driven completely nuts that their season is now sullied by losing to the other.

From Michigan’s standpoint, we are a tougher, unneeded non-conference opponent that gets in the way of their more “important” Big Ten conference games.  Losing to us is just a distraction from the Rose Bowl that they’ll get to once every blue moon at this rate.  Beating us isn’t much better either.  It’d be great for a national title run, but when your recent history includes a loss to an FCS team and firing a coach that helped drive your program into the crowd, title thoughts are far away.

That’s why, before the most recent contract extension between the two of us was signed, there was plenty of noise from the Michigan side that the series could, in fact, end.  One of the funnier things I heard was a statement from Michigan, Bo Schembechler, specifically, that “Notre Dame needs us more than we need them”. Unfortunately, it seems the Detroit Free press has since taken down the article, but there are still some blogs that mention this hilarious statement from Bo who was about as anti-ND as they come.

Michigan fans tend to buy this line, convinced, somehow, that we are their little stepchild.  Michigan fans will make no bones about it either.  I even had one fan go as far to tell me it was harder to get into Michigan than ND…this also happened at a ND/USC game in South Bend.

It’s too hard for Michigan to be convinced that somehow we ever rose above them.  They have no logic behind it, so in steps pure hatred.  Feel free to throw it our way Skunkbears, we will throw it right back.

8 ) It’s Michigan week. Name 1 thing in the world that sucks as much as Michigan, if you can.

Damn, this is a tough on…uh, maybe Ty? Wait, no, even he managed to beat them. Oh, wait, I got this one: Craig James!

Shame one of the five hookers he killed at SMU wasn’t named Ann Arbor.

9) RichRod is back, announcing for CBS. Can’t wait to see how that goes. Bet he’s horrible.

Bet it’s better than Craig James.