Alright, DMQ at HerLoyalSons has kicked off the preseason edition of the Irish Blogger Gathering, so it’s time to get this thing rolling. I honestly don’t have much for an intro here, and really, it isn’t needed, so let’s just jump straight to the questions.
1. Go to youtube, pick a song that a) applies to your life in some way and b) will serve as the unofficial 2011 Fighting Irish Football Anthem. Extra points if you entirely avoid any band with members born in Ireland. Disqualification for any use of Freekbass. Embed the video for that song in your answers and explain why it’s so fitting under both qualifications A and B.
If I’m picking a theme for the season, I want it to pump me up and have an edge. After much thought and several different contenders, I’m going metal with Killswitch Engage’s “Starting Over”.
Why the song has to apply to my life is beyond me (pretty sure DMQ is looking for ammo here with music choices/reasons), but I’ll roll with it. There’s always points in life where it’s time to hit the reset button or at the very least want to. I’m not going to go all LiveJournal in here with details (seriously, not metal), but that should qualify for part A.
As far as the Irish, 2011 comes on the heels of what was a rather crazy 2010 season. We definitely ended on a serious high, taking down Utah, USC, and a bowl win against Miami; however, there were some very, very frustrating lows: giving up a Michigan game winning drive at home, losing to Sparty on a fake field goal (by tripping over ourselves no less), a defensive collapse against Navy, and a WTF coaching decision against Tulsa. It doesn’t take much to see 2010’s glass as half-empty or half-full.
We’ve been caught hook, line, and sinker before by a new coach and and yet another “return to glory” only to watch everything crumble before us. The relationship with ND football has been a constant cycle of high hopes and crushed dreams to say the least. We are damn near programmed at this point to brace for our eventual fall.
Here we are again having plenty to be excited for and even have landed in the preseason top 25 once again, but this time around, Kelly is adamant that this 2011 squad hasn’t done anything yet. The Irish know that they have to get back in the BCS picture, that’s the goal. This isn’t the year for silver linings or “could have been” situations, it’s the time to start winning again.
Whether it is our previous national titles, our previous failures, or even 2010, the past is the past. It’s time to start over and get Notre Dame back where we all want it to be.
2. Now that you’ve got your unofficial anthem rocking the home office, predict the single biggest play, positive or negative for the Irish, that will occur this season in a Notre Dame football game. Color this prediction with situation, players involved, opposing team, and even weather conditions. It’s the pre-season. Let’s see what your imaginations are doing.
The situation is all too familiar for the Irish. Once again the Irish took a late fourth quarter lead against Michigan, and once against Michigan has mounted a last minute drive and the Irish defense has their backs against the wall.
Trying to protect a 24-20 lead, the Irish defense finds themselves line up on their own 6 with just 30 seconds left in the game. It’s 3rd and goal and every Irish fan has the “here we go again” sinking feeling and I’ve plastered about 10 different #NDFBIsDeterminedToKillMe tweets as Denard Robinson seems to have the Irish defense figured out in this drive that started inside the Michigan 20 after ND failed to get a first down to run out the clock.
Denard sits back in a 4-wide shotgun with a single back and takes the snap. Carlo Calabrese fires through the gap on the blitz only to be picked up on a cut block by Denard’s RB protection. Seeing no immediate hot-route, Denard panics and scrambles to his left. Manti T’eo, serving as spy on the play, decides he has an angle and goes full speed at Robinson who has his eyes upfield. Robinson sees an opening for a TD pass, prepares to throw on the run, only to be hit so hard by ND’s favorite Hawaiian that, somewhere in San Diego, Tate Forcier falls flat on his face.
The ball flies backwards 5 yards, a clear fumble, T’eo pops up and dives on the ball. The Big House is stunned as the visiting ND band’s drumline busts out “Metallica” and the scattered Irish fans in the stands go nuts. As the booth reviews and delays the inevitable, Herbstreit eats crow on national TV saying that ND’s defense is what made the last stand and won the game, giving the Irish defense scary loads of confidence to carry over into the rest of the season.
3. I’m a fan of the cinematic hit, “Kicking and Screaming.” I know, it’s a film you all love too. So naturally we’d all like to re-live that moment when they’re playing “Would You Rather.” So let’s do so: Would you rather suffer a humiliating loss to Michigan this year, or a humiliating loss to Southern Cal? Why? And stop eyeing that chicken across the street, perv.
Good God, this is like asking whether I’d like a bullet to the brain or heart, either one will kill me.
Michigan is rebuilding in a scramble with a new head coach and a defense that is still full of holes. Add on to that, you have College Gameday on campus filled with the ESPN talking heads that are just oh so ready to call the Irish frauds at the drop of a hat and Desmond Howard can give us all a shit-eating grin as he breaks down how he told us so as we rage post game from the loss. Oh yeah, and the rest of the nation will see it, as it is an early season night game on ABC. Prepare to be the national punchline again.
USC is still reeling from sanctions. Beating them can always carry this excuse, but losing to a crippled USC will have the sanction talking point beat across all our faces. And then it happened at home, oh joy, we get to see USC celebrate on our home turf again. It will be the first night game in ND in 21 years, meaning we will all go into the game raging drunk and exit the game just raging once our football and alcohol buzz wears off. Oh, and NDNation will just explode citing everything from off colored gold helmets, breaking tradition by playing a night game, to irrational Kelly hatred for the reasons why we lost.
What a great pair of choices DMQ. You are a bastard.
I’ll take the Michigan loss, only because I will be personally attending the USC game and it will be my girlfriend’s first experience of ND football. God help her if she has to experience ND fail live on top of a pissed off boyfriend.
Neither one of these scenarios better happen, WHY DID YOU PUT THIS IN THE UNIVERSE MUCH LESS IBG, DMQ?!
4. Great teams require leadership, and with Notre Dame being the only truly national college football program in the country, a great Notre Dame football team requires national leaders. So pick one. Name a player on the Irish roster in 2011 who will lead the nation in a particular, official NCAA category. Also specify how much he’ll lead the nation by indicating his national rank in that category. Note: You must be predicting this leader to finish at least as high as 10th in the nation in your chosen category. Bonus Points: Don’t pick David Ruffer – the best player on the Irish Roster.
Oh look a Ruffer reference!
The obvious picks are either Floyd for receptions/TDs or T’eo for tackles. Honestly, I could go either way here, but seeing as how Floyd’s health gives me pause (and Crist seeming to have red zone accuracy issues), I’m going to take T’eo with tackles on this one. I’m not sure if he’ll take top rank here, but I would not be at all surprised to see him in the top five.
With a season under his belt, I think T’eo’s scary natural ability will be even more refined leading to far less bad angles and less unneeded knockout attempts.
5. You’ve already done more parsing of Brian Kelly’s words than is healthy since he first took a podium in this pre-season. What’s the single most surprising thing he’s said in that time?
Honestly, the whole “top 25 t-shirt” thing shocked me. It probably shouldn’t have in hindsight, but I remember it sticking with me.
Maybe I’m still too used to the Weis bravado since I worked under him as a student manager and saw far too many of his pressers. I wouldn’t have begrudged Kelly at all if he said he expected his team to be there and stay there this season.
So much of ND is usually defined in my mind as expecting to be one of the best. I have no doubt Kelly has this expectation, but he’s brutally honest with the fact that the brakes need to be tapped before we start partying over an early ranking.