Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

The Back Corner Fade

October 8, 2019

Note:  Mike Kane is our featured fan columnist who writes a weekly blog about the Irish and the college football in general.  

I’ve been watching ND football every weekend in the fall since 1982. Obviously, there were times when the Irish were down that you dreaded watching the boys take their at-bats against superior competition, but you watched it anyway. Never in my memory, though, did I actually dread watching a Notre Dame team play a game where you knew they were going to drag the opponent and the cow was out of the barn before they even came out of the tunnel. That was the case this past weekend against BGSU. Thank you for the modern marvel of the DVR. Getting through that monstrosity in under 90 minutes was terrific. Best of luck to the Fightin’ Falcons. May we never see you in the Stadium ever again.

Back to fun, old-fashion hate….it’s SC week. We’ll get to that one here in a little bit. First, let’s take a gander of what we learned this past weekend.

Happy trails to the Auburn Tigers. Fun start to the season for the War Eagle/Plainsmen/Tigers, but that L-piece in Gainesville, and with LSU and the Iron Bowl to come, it should have the fans getting ready to play Wisconsin/Michigan St/Iowa in another Citrus Bowl snooze fest.

Being a resident of the state of Ohio and a Notre Dame fan, I obviously despise everything about the scarlet and grey and their program. That being said, they’re good. Really, really good. Mind you, they haven’t been challenged yet, but they put 35 on a very good MSU defense even while sleep-walking through the 1st quarter and a half. Wisconsin and Penn St are still to come as the only real threats to an undefeated regular season. Notice what team I didn’t mention….

Anyone notice that P.J. Fleck and his band of Golden Boat Rowers are now 5-0? Awesome right? Mmmmm, let’s go to schedule: 7 pt win against South Dakota State, 2 OT win against Fresno, 3 pt win against Georgia Southern, 7 pt win against a bad Purdue team, and finally a beat down of Illinois. Even as average as that sounds, they very well could have Penn St coming in next month at 8-0 (NU, at Rutgers, and Maryland before hand.) Maybe P.J. can parlay this into a new gig, say in, Knoxville?

Matt Freaking Ruhle. When he went down to Baylor after putting Temple on the map, I, like I’m sure many people, thought he was making a terrible mistake taking over that mess after the Briles Family Massacre. Proves how much I know. He’s got Baylor at 4-0 after hammering a good Kansas St team, and could prove to be a spoiler in the Big 12. Bottom line, the guy is a hell of a coach and he’s going to make a Big Daddy program very happy someday soon. Say Knoxville, Part Deux.

Finally, we get to some match-up’s that have some implications in the Playoff race after basically 6 weeks of undercard bouts (exceptions being ND/UGA and TX/LSU.)

At noon in Dallas, Oklahoma and Texas meet up in the Red River Shootout in what I assume will be Round 1 before they meet again in the Big 12 Title game. I’d love to go to this one someday. Great football and fried Oreos and the Tilt-A-Whirl at the Texas State Fair afterwards. Hurts vs Ehlinger is a dynamite match-up, but the injuries in the Texas secondary are going to be the difference in this one. Texas will play well in but it’ll be too much Jalen in this one. OU 42-31. 

Florida, fresh off their big win against Auburn, will take to the road for a 8 PM prime-time game vs LSU. Joe Burrow and the high flying Tiger offense vs a very good Gators front seven is more than intriguing. Make no mistake, Coach O will have his boys ready to go. Rumor has it that he wrestled an alligator in front of the team screaming “youuuu tooolklk Chugbbmmd hagerd” which in translation for Ed speak is: “You took Chubs hand.” I fully expect to see Ogre with a sweat pair of gators on his feet with a nice chain belt wallet after choking said gator out, reaping the spoils of victory. As impressive the win for Florida over Auburn was, it was at home. They don’t have enough to beat LSU in Death Valley. Tigers 28-16.

Ever seen FSU as a 24 point underdog? They’re at Clemson this weekend. Gotta tell ya, I don’t feel sorry for them.

Penn St travels to Iowa City to face an Iowa team that’s got to be pissed off at the world after scoring a whopping 3 points against the all of a sudden “revamped” Michigan team. That has nothing to do with Michigan being good, but more to do with an offense that’s as wide open as a squad that runs the Wing-T. Penn State has yet to really be challenged yet (unless you call the Pitt game a challenge) so it’ll be interesting to see if they can overcome pink lockers and a pretty good Iowa defense. I think they will. PSU 21-13.

Virginia heads to South Beach to take on Miami for their first game since we last saw them in the Stadium 2 weeks ago. Stat of the week: Miami has given up 25 sacks so far this season. UVA has some of the best sack numbers in the country. This could be very, very ugly for the ‘Canes offense. Still, as bad as Miami’s line is, UVA’s offense isn’t anything to write home about, and, as we witnessed, have severe issues with both their tackles. UVA will win, but it won’t be pretty. Cavs 23-13.

Finally, we have a meeting of old friends in The Bend as USC comes to town for an 8 PM, 40-degree, wind chill in the 30’s match-up with the #9 Irish. In reading the board so far this week it seems to be a wide-range of thoughts for this one. On one hand, you have the “we’re going to smoke these guys!” thought, and then you have the “this is a toss-up! Hold me!” feelings. To be honest, I’m right in the middle. I think the first 15-22 minutes of this game are critical. If we jump them in the cold weather and get up say by 14 points quickly, they’ll fold and we’ll work them. If we go into the half close, it could be a tough one to the end. I just don’t see their dink-and-dunk, pull and pray offense able to beat ND. I also don’t think Clancy Pendergast’s defense has enough to create enough havoc to cause ND to turn the ball over more than once (incidentally, that name is the most “regal” name in college coaching. He should be wearing an ascot and totting a cigarette holder while dialing-up blitzes.) Make no mistake, Notre Dame is the better football team and they’re playing at home. They have no reason to lose this game, and they won’t. ND 34-16

Let’s get this one, get the boys home to see family and friends, and get ready for the trip to mess around with Cap’n Khaki and his oversized weasels. 

Beat SC.

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