Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

The Back Corner Fade

January 2, 2020

NOTE:  Mike Kane is an Irish fan and member writing about college football from a fan’s perspective. 

That was the way to finish off a season now wasn’t it? Does beating Iowa St have the pizzazz of knocking off an SEC giant or similar? Of course it doesn’t, but it’s the style in which they went about it that made me happy. Iowa St is a solid football team in a bad conference. No more, no less. Matt Campbell has done a nice job there to be sure and they’re a 7-8 win team every year. They have a nice QB in Brock Purdy, and Campbell’s staff has done a nice job coaching up what they can bring in there.

All that aside, they never had the horses to run with ND. The only way they were going to beat the Irish was to win the turnover battle, hit on a few gadgets, and have ND play uninspired football. None of which happened. The Irish did what they were suppose to do: come prepared, show up to play, and execute. Translation: a 24-point win against now the “best 6 lose team in the country.” 

When I think of USC football right now, the first image that comes to mind is the cover of Led Zeppelin’s first album…….oh the humanity. If I was a USC fan right now, I’d be thinking back to the times when they laughed at us in ’16 and the Davie-Ty-Charlie years. Chickens are about to come home to roost. That was a lifeless tank job the second Slovis went down. Graham Harrell, please take note, you have these dudes that stand behind the QB, you can actually give the ball to them and they run toward the goal line. They actually help take pressure off the QB. What? Your line can’t run block? Well, I guess you have some issues now don’t you. As bad as they are right now (and that’s just a decent Iowa team that beat the hell out of them) they still will probably win 7-8 games next season playing in an awful league and the thought of those punks standing in the way of ND and a NYD 6 next Thanksgiving weekend or even better is never pleasant. Enjoy the last voyage on the S.S. Helton, Trojan fans.

OOOOOOOOklahoma… Joe Burrow’s target practice. Like the vast majority of most of you, I thought that LSU would win that game and do so fairly easy. 49 points in the first half and Burrow tossing 7 TD passes easy? Nah, me either. We knew that OU’s defense wasn’t that good. We also knew that the Sooners had some boys out on the back end, but could anyone see that they would make it look playing Madden on “rookie mode?” The thought came across my mind at the tail end of our game that Iowa St took OU to the brink at home. ISU isn’t that good, we’re good not great, LSU is great……..uh oh. Like ‘em or hate ‘em, LSU really is a fun football team to watch and I’d want know part of them right now.

Clemson will get that assignment as they head to The Big Easy to defend the strap after a tremendous game against Ohio St.

There’s a lot of things in my life that bring a smile to my face: a crisp, cool Sunday morning in the fall, banging a 25 foot putt (for bogey, of course,) seeing my 3-year-old niece talk to me on Christmas Eve about Santa, and listening to the whining from Ohio State fans (some of which know where Columbus is on a map) when they lose a game.

They obviously didn’t lose that game.  It was taken from them by the refs. No, you lost that game when you went away from what was working which was tempo. Clemson had no answer for it in the first 20-25 minutes of the game, and by the time they went back to it, it was too late. Ohio State should have ended it in the first half, they didn’t, and they let the champs shake off the standing eight count. Ryan Day will be kicking himself until they open up with their garbage schedule in September, and he should. They had them and let them go. Too bad…..not really.

I’m not going to get into the other games coming up unless you want a break down of the Tulane/Southern Miss tussle. One thing that does stick out to me is Georgia having as many as 20 players sitting out the Sugar Bowl against Baylor. There’s no “I” in team obviously, but there sure is in Georgia! Mike Frank talks about culture all the time and how strong it is with ND’s program. Guys like Khalid Kareem and Alohi Gilman who could have easily shut it down and not chance getting hurt to damaging their draft status. As great as the win was, this game really had no bearing on anything. Nope, these kids were there for their brothers. They were with them on the frigid, early morning walks in February to the weight room and by God they were going to see it through. Georgia players, however are more worried about that 3rd or 4th round pay day then a chance to play in the Sugar Bowl with their teammates and friends. It’s all about that name on the back. Georgia has tremendous talent across the board. Kirby Smart will always recruit ballers and they are without a doubt a Top 5-10 program in the country. In the end, though, they are a great collection of talent and not a team. 

Looking at the National Title game, it sure is hard to pick against LSU at this point. They’re offense is simply running on a few more cylinders than everyone else. I think giving Brent Venebles two weeks to get ready for them will certainly help, but in the long run, there is nothing so special about Clemson’s defense that make one to believe that they could slow these guys down. I do think Clemson will score some points and they’re never going to be out of the game. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, the LSU defense is just good enough to get in the way for a few stops here and there while the offense goes about picking people apart. Clemson’s best chance is to slow it down and keep the ball in the 35 minute range to have any chance. Dabo and the boys will play hard like they always do, I just think LSU has too much and the best college QB we’ve seen in a very long time will be the difference. LSU 38-27.

That’s a wrap for the season, dear reader. I very much appreciate you taking the time each week to read the thoughts of a guy that loves college football and loves Notre Dame. There’s nothing better to me than taking some time and writing down my thoughts (every once and a while actually decent) about the sport, the teams, and some of the characters that go along with it. I look forward to next fall, and getting ready for what has the potential of being a great season.

Thanks again and God bless you all.

(It’s never too early to say it…..) Beat Navy.

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