#1

11/20/2012

4 Comments

 
In meeting hundreds of Domers throughout my lifetime, I’ve found that almost every lifelong Irish fan has one loss (usually from their childhood) that they hold onto forever. For my grandfather, it was the 1938 SC game.  Notre Dame traveled to L.A. 8-0, ranked #1 in the country and needing only a victory over the Trojans to claim the National Title, but in one of the rivalry’s most memorable games, SC ended ND’s perfect season, 13-0.  My grandfather was 15 years old- he still remembers crying. 

For me, it was November 20, 1993- exactly 19 years ago today.  Boston College’s David Gordon kicked a 41 yard field goal, with no time remaining, to dethrone Notre Dame of its #1 ranking and end the dream of a National Championship- just as SC had done in ‘38.  ND had only been #1 for one week.  I was 11 years old- I still remember crying. 
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It's a campus tradition that the "#1" atop Grace Hall only gets lit when the Irish are #1

 
 
As Manti Te’o prepares to play his last game in Notre Dame Stadium, I sat down to write a few words about what makes him my all-time favorite ND player before quickly realizing that there’s not much I can say about him that you can’t learn by watching this interview.  In addition to being the best linebacker to every strap on a gold helmet, nobody has embodied the Spirit of Notre Dame more than Manti Te’o.  It’s been an honor watching him represent Notre Dame for the last four years and I know he’ll continue to do so long after he graduates.  I would also like to apologize to Rocket Ismail for being dethroned as my favorite ND player, after a 22 year reign.  Good run, Rocket. 

Check out the video: 
Sidenote: 19 years ago today, #2 Notre Dame beat #1 Florida State, 31-24,  in the "Game of the Century". 

Go Irish,

BAM
 
 
In case you missed Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh on Saturday, here is a quick recap of what unfolded in South Bend:

Fresh off an emotionally charged win at Oklahoma, Notre Dame entered its match up with the Panthers sitting at 8-0, ranked 3rd in the BCS and right in the thick of the National Title hunt.  As Cierre Wood walked into the endzone, in the waning moments of ND’s 30-13 victory in Norman, Brent Musburger put it best, “let me be clear, Notre Dame is relevant again”.  Pittsburgh, despite showing glimpses of promise under first year head coach Paul Chryst, brought a pedestrian record of 4-4 into Saturday’s match up with the Irish.  All things considered, Notre Dame seemed primed for a blowout win, but as a wise man once said- that’s why you play the game.
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#5 Notre Dame and #8 Oklahoma- two of college football's most prestigious programs- are set to do battle on Saturday night and after teetering back and forth, all week, I've given up trying to predict what to expect from the Irish in Norman.  Is Notre Dame ready to compete on such a big stage?  Do the Irish even belong on the same field as the mighty Sooners?  Will Landry Jones- the first pure passer Notre Dame's defense will see this year- finally expose ND's young secondary?  Will Everett Golson freeze under such immense pressure?  I usually have a pretty astute idea of how ND will fare in big games, but every time I think I have this one figured out, I immediately talk myself out of it- it's a microcosm of the season as a whole. 
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The Oklahoma Sooners claim they originated the Play Like a Champion Today slogan.

 
 
I am blown away that Notre Dame remains unbeaten half way through the 2012 season.  Not in a million years did I see this coming.  The last twenty years of Notre Dame Football have hardened me; I’ve been so scathing mad, for so long, that I became impervious to the idea of a resurgence actually being possible.  In fact, my preseason prediction was that Notre Dame would win five games, fire Brian Kelly and hire a similarly incapable jamoke who would inevitably fall on his face just like his predecessor.  I genuinely thought this pattern would continue until Notre Dame Football eventually withered away completely.

 
 
The University of Miami decided not to get off the bus in Chicago, on Saturday night, as #9 Notre Dame improved its 2012 record to 5-0 by blasting the hapless Canes 41-3.  A capacity crowd at Soldier Field watched as Miami, which had scored 86 points in its previous two games, managed only a field goal against Notre Dame’s smothering defense.  Everett Golson had a career day as the Irish offense racked up 587 yards of offense, controlled the ball for 39:08 and compiled 34 first downs- the most surrendered by Miami’s defense…..ever. 

The Irish finished with 376 yards on the ground- its most rushing yards, in a game, since putting 380 on Boston College in 2000.  Cierre Wood tallied 118 yards and two touchdowns and George Atkinson added 123 yards and one touchdown- making them the first two Irish backs to eclipse the century mark, in the same game, since Rashon Powers-Neal and Ryan Grant in 2002. 
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With the exception of the 2010 Sun Bowl, the University of Miami has been out of sight, out of mind for nearly twenty years.  But with the Irish and Canes set to renew the rivalry that defined a decade of college football, my animosity towards Miami has refurbished itself in a way that makes me forget that it ever went dormant.  Scenes from the infamous tunnel brawl of 1988 have been dancing through my head all week.  I can't concentrate on anything else.  I close my eyes and it's all right there; helmets swinging, bodies flailing, haymakers flying, two teams with so much hatred for each other that they can't even wait for the game to start.  Maybe it’s the nostalgia talking, but it’s Notre Dame-Miami week, in Chicago, and I'm so amped it’s stupid.  Put the women and children to bed; Catholics vs. Convicts is back!  

 
 
Believe it or not, this is not the first time Notre Dame football has been in shambles.  In the early1950s, Notre Dame’s Vice President and Athletic Chairman, Father Theodore Hesburgh, set out on a crusade to dismantle the football program.  His motive was simple: he desperately wanted to transform Notre Dame into the “Harvard of the Midwest”, but as long as Frank Leahy was winning championships, Notre Dame would never shed its reputation as a football factory.  As far as Hesburgh was concerned, academia would be number one at Notre Dame, even it meant destroying the very foundation on which the University was built (football).  
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Ara Parsghian and his ND team before ND 10 MSU 10, 1966.
 
 
Under the lights in Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday night, the Irish defense held Michigan to under 300 total yards and produced just enough offense to win 13-6.  With the Irish offense struggling to move the ball, Tommy Rees relieved starting quarterback Everett Golson for the 2nd time in three weeks, but neither Notre Dame quarterback contributed to the victory more than Denard Robinson who celebrated his 22nd birthday by throwing four interceptions, losing 1 fumble, running for under 100 yards and throwing for under 150 yards.  After torching Notre Dame for nearly 1,000 yards of offense in their previous two meetings, Robinson said that Saturday night’s game was the worst he’s ever played.  I’d argue that it might have been the worst game anyone has ever played.
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Notre Dame's defense applies pressure to Michigan QB Denard Robinson
 
 
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Hello to everyone that reads this blog. I am not sure who actually reads this blog but I assume the majority are longtime friends and family of Brendan Meyer. Just to introduce myself, my name is Mike Roarty and I am a Michigan fan and graduate. He asked me if I would like to write something from the opposing side for this week's showdown between Michigan and Notre Dame. I understand if you close your browsers after reading that last sentence.

Quick story before we get going, I first learned of how obsessed Brendo is with ND in 2009. We went up to Ann Arbor for the Michigan/ND game and Michigan won on Tate's (or Chode as Brendo likes to call him) last second throw. After the game Brendo was beyond livid. I feared that he was going to tear the bar to pieces. Luckily he left without doing anything but that was my first experience with how much he loves Notre Dame. I am sure all of you have similar stories of your own. I have nothing but respect for Brendo's passion and knowledge, which is why I was so excited when he started this blog. Enough with the pleasantries though, let us start the party...