Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

The Back Corner Fade

October 11, 2017

This time last year the Irish went limping into the bye week and we were actually happy to have a weekend not full of horrible defense, players getting tossed under the bus, and losing to mediocre programs. Fast forward just one year, and, like I’m sure many of you, are actually kind of sad that the boys don’t play this weekend. I want USC, their annoying band, and beautiful cheerleaders on campus this Saturday to get it on. Let’s face it, through six games, Notre Dame Football has been fun to watch again. They’re physical, extremely disciplined on defense, and they run it down your throat. Old school ND Football to be sure and you want more of it. That being said, with the final 6 games coming up, these kids need a break physically and mentally to get right for the stretch run. 

I’m not going to say much about the UNC game other than they did what they had to do and got out of town with a resounding “W.” The nice thing is that even with the play calling being questionable, the receivers still being non-existent in the passing game, and playing with a backup QB, we still won by 26 points. Not bad.

So what did we learn this past weekend in college football land:

  • The Florida State Seminoles are 1-3 for the first time since 1976. Why don’t I feel sorry in the least for them? This time snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against the U. Watching this team play twice now, and looking at their schedule, they’re going to be hard pressed to get over 7 wins this season with trips to Clemson and Florida and Louisville (who also currently sucks and I feel no pain for them either) coming in. I imagine the fans are getting pretty crabby in Trailerhasse.
  • Speaking of the U, do we really know that much about them? They beat a ho-hum FSU team, and what’s beginning to look like an average, at best Duke team. I do feel bad for them in losing Mark Walton for the season. The kid is a tremendous talent. Looking at their schedule, I don’t think we’re going to know a whole lot until Virginia Tech comes calling the week before we head on down. 
  • Iowa St goes into Norman and plants a lose and a flag on the Sooners. Iowa St coach Matt Campbell is not on the list of “coaches on the short list” for big programs just yet but he will be. He did a fine job at Toledo and is slowly building the Iowa St program. Let’s face it, Ames can’t be an easy place to recruit. If he can turn that into an 8-4/9-3 type program, he won’t be there long.
  • Just like last year at this time, nobody is talking about the Washington Huskies. Once again, they’re 6-0 and just hammering everything in their path. This past week, they made quick work of Cal.
  • Did anyone happen to notice that the same Michigan St team that we made sweet love to went into the Big House and took care of Jimmy’s Skunk Bears? This was just a matter of time before
    Rick Kimball/ISD
    Michigan got beat. They have a horrible offense and you can only go into gun fights with knives for so long. It just makes it so much more fun seeing Mr. Sweetchuck lose, at home, to a team we cranked.

Looking at this week’s slate of games, like ND’s bye week, you might also like to take a bye week yourself. There just isn’t a whole lot to get fired up about. That being said here are a few games you might want to check out:

  • The aforementioned MSU Spartans head up to the Twin Cities to take on the maroon-clad boat rowers in a classic let down game. MSU is only favored by 4 and honestly, I can see them not only failing to cover, but lose outright. P.J. Fleck has had a rude introduction to Big 10 football losing to Maryland and Purdue, but it is at night, and by God you just don’t come into TFC Stadium and push the Gophers around. Actually, it’s more like MSU being MSU, they’ve never been real good at handling success.
  • Two coaches that might get the “kill shot” this weekend are Mike Riley and Brett Bielema. Nebraska plays host to Ohio St and Arkansas plays Alabama. Back, and to the left. Back and to the left.
  • Texas A&M heads to Gainesville to play the Gators who will be sporting “gator skin” uniforms (take that, Oregon.) Believe it or not, Kevin Sumlin is actually heading down the rankings in the BCF Coaching Death Pool. They’ve played pretty well since the UCLA fiasco and played Bama awfully tough. Speaking of the Swamp, check out the video floating around of the whole crowd singing “I Won’t Back Down” last weekend in memory of G-Ville native, Tom Petty. Very cool.
  • Oh lookie here, Navy is once again cut blocking the hell out of people, have a QB that can run that offense very well, and are 5-0. Say what you will, but Ken Neamawhatthefeck is a hell of a football coach. This week, fresh off of giving up 600 yards to Air Force, they head to Memphis. If Air Force can put those kind of numbers up, what is a really good offense going to do? My guess, less than the Falcons. Navy will hold the ball for 40 minutes and beat you with 1,000 cuts.
  • Mismatch of the week: UCF vs ECU. Central Florida is averaging 48 points a game while the Pirates are giving up 48 a game. By the way, brilliant move by ECU getting rid of Ruffin McNeil a few years ago. He at least got them to bowl games, was an alum, and the kids loved him. Now, you’re getting basketball scores put on you.

This is usually the time I put my worthless two cents in on the game coming up but we’ll say that for next week’s “Unleash Your Hate” edition. As I mentioned earlier, this has been a fun month and a half of football so far. Above everything, the attitude of this team has changed. You can change schemes, play calling, coaches, and the like and yes, they are very important. None of that means anything if a team doesn’t play with an attitude. This team is light years ahead of last year in that regard. Never once have I seen the “uh, oh, now what” look in their eyes. Even in the Georgia game, being tight in the 4th, they didn’t blink. They simply got beat by a great team that day. Crunch time is going to come again in the next 6 weeks. Heck, for all we know, it might be down to the wire in every game with the teams coming up. It just appears mentally, this is a different animal. Going into the back stretch of the season, that’s a powerful thing to have.

Beat SC.

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