Notre Dame Football

The Back Corner Fade

October 9, 2018

NOTE:  Mike Kane is a Notre Dame fan writing his column from a fan's perspective and is not a member of the staff.  Our readers love the fan perspective, and Mike tries to find the humor in our obsession every week.  Enjoy! 

Exit light, enter night…..

Seemed to fit the Irish this past Saturday night as the boys shook off a very blah 1st half and ended up handing Virginia Tech the most points they’d ever given up in Lane Stadium. If you think about it for a second, they put 45 on the board and if they hit a deep ball or two, they might have put a 60 burger on them. While this isn’t a vintage Tech defense, they still are very well coached and tackle better than anyone we’ve played all year. The Irish made them look bad, and they weren’t even firing on all cylinders.

Another point that should be noted from this win were the adjustments that were made at halftime. Let’s face it, only up one and all the momentum going Tech’s way, it had the sense a “Kelly Classic” was upon us once again. That didn’t happen. The adjustments that Chip Long and Clark Lea made were evident. We simply haven’t seen that happen much in Kelly’s days in South Bend. That’s really refreshing to see.

What else did we learn from this past weekend?

I thought OU might have been a pretender and it sure looked like it after their lose to Texas. Lincoln Riley had enough with his defense, or lack thereof, and one of the Stoops Brothers (I forget was it Harpo or Zeppo?) fell on the sword after getting torched for 48 points. Even if OU runs the table, I have an awfully hard time seeing the Sooners sneaking into the Final Four. 

A few weeks back, Florida looked truly putrid against Kentucky at home. I thought they just might have Zooker II on their hands, but Dan Mullen appears to have the ship headed in the right direction after taking down LSU. Ogre’s boys were living on borrowed time with Georgia coming to Death Valley this week, but I did believe they’d go into that one undefeated. Guess not. Enjoy Orlando again this year, fellas. 

I thought P.J. Fleck was supposed to be the next (less shady) Urban Meyer. Minnesota fans, and I use that term loosely, must be getting a little impatient as their young boat rowers are now 0-2 in the garbage Big 10, getting 48 put on them by an average Iowa team just a week after a flat-out bad Maryland team beat them by 28. 

Speaking of fans being impatient, you think the fine folks in Tallahassee are a tad upset with the hiring of Willie Taggart? Losing is one thing, but forking over a 20 point lead to your arch rival is another. This isn’t even a good Miami team that they let off the mat. They have a freshman QB playing, and they have Mark Richt who is notorious for having at least one head scratching loss a season get them. It’ll be interesting to see how they come back after that kick in the onions.

This should be a good week of viewing with a couple of true “knockout games” to look forward to as well.

First off in Eugene, Oregon plays host to Washington in a PAC-12 North clash. If you haven’t watched UDub, their defense is very good. Even with a few hiccup’s against UCLA last weekend, it should be fun to watch the high flying Oregon offense try to score points against this bunch. I just can’t see Oregon, even in Autzen, having enough to beat them. Close game, but Oregon will have to get in the 30’s to win. I just don’t see that happening.

Wisconsin heads to Michigan in the Big 10 game of the week (it was a toss-up between this one and Ruptures heading to Maryland.) The key to this game is fairly obvious: can the Badgers run the ball on the Michigan front seven. Michigan will be selling out to stop Jonathan Taylor and daring Alex Horibrook to beat them. I just don’t know if he’s good enough to beat them on the road. I think Michigan gets it done and continues to help ND’s schedule strength even though they really didn’t lose to us, they simply ran out of time.

Looking into the strength of schedule, Ball State should get their 3rd win of the year against a putrid CMU team. Go Birds.

Speaking of Birds, Louisville heads to everyone’s favorite D1 glorified high school stadium as they take on BC. You think A.J. Dillon is licking his chops at the prospect of facing BVG’s defense that just got gutted for 66 last weekend?

One game that intrigues me this week is West Virginia heading to Iowa St. Even though this addition of the Cyclones isn’t as good as last year, they’re still a team that shouldn’t be taken lightly. They gave OU all they wanted and this past weekend beat Okie St in Stillwater. Matt Campbell can flat out coach, and WVU being WVU, they’re due for a dud. I think this is the week it happens. Iowa State gets the upset.

One team that I don’t think is getting upset this week is Notre Dame. Yes, it’s common to believe that a “letdown” game is possible, and Pitt (is it Pitt or Pittsburgh? What do they want to be called this year?) has given ND issues in the past when they really shouldn’t have. Here’s the problem: they don’t have Dan Marino, Tony Dorsett, Hue Green, or Bill Fralic coming out of the visitors mining tunnel on Saturday. They simple don’t have the horses to beat the Irish. 

I’m actually surprised Pitt hasn’t been better than they are with Pat Narduzzi. I thought he was a fantastic hire when they got him and that he would be a thorn in the side of Penn St and WVU in the prime recruiting ground of Western Pennsylvania. That simply hasn’t happened. If you look at Pitt’s talent level it simply isn’t there to compete on a consistent basis with the rest of upper, heck even middle of the ACC. Let’s be honest, some guys are simply great coordinators and not head coaches. Norm Chow and Bo Pelini were both outstanding coordinators. They also were not good head coaches. It seems Narduzzi is heading in that direction.

While I believe that Pitt will throw everything they have at ND, this game should be over early in the second half. If ND’s offense looks like it has against Wake, Stanford, and the second half at Virginia Tech, it’s going to be time to see some of the young guys and get treated to Doug Flutie tell stories of his days as a slick fielding shortstop, and maybe even some of his Grey Cup highlights.

ND cruises in this one. Irish 52-17

Beat Pitt.






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