I've spent my hiatus in smoke-filled, dimly lit bars, in the concrete and asphalt jungles lit by halogen and neon, wandering dusty roads where unspeakable heat roasts armadillas and horned toads, among the humid swamps among black flies and mosquitos, riding boxcars to the rhythm of the rails, where caffeine and nicotine raise you up from the sedatives of whiskey and pills in plastic packages. I have spoken with husky voiced, pin-point pupiled prophets where jazz was born, listened to the street vendors of predictions, the radiant oracles of Bristol, and the acclaimed assassins of insight who once were coaches. For Notre Dame football in 2012, their conclusions were unanimous.
You have no chance.
In a post-Apocalyptical, pre-Revelation period, legends have left you and echoes are rumblings not thunderous. You live in an eight and five world. You've lost your most dynamic player. You are in search of a leader at quarterback. You may have improved your defense, but will be shredded by high-powered offenses from USC, Oklahoma, Stanford, Michigan, Michigan State, and Miami. You will be lucky, they say, to go 6 and 6. Take off your rose-colored glasses, Irish fans, and embrace the era of Irish blues.
In 2012, you have no chance.
No one will predict you in their top twenty-five. They expect you to struggle through another season of rebuilding. You are stuck in the midst of the ghettos and barrios of a crumbling Midwest while the sun shines on sunbelt teams. You would be the laughingstock of the Southeast Conference who revels in being in their sweetspot. In an era of supercomputers, superconferences and superscoreboards, you succumb to their sunshine superiority. You lack leadership. You make mistakes. You can't put opponents away. You can't come together as a team. Your independence and individuality swims upstream. Just give up. Can't you see the light? Join the mainstream.
Unless you do, you have no chance.
They applaud your values, your tradition, your academics and the road you pioneered. Yet a generation is lost to you, struggling to remember your exploits. Your fans are too quiet and have higher priorities. You play on grass. You only appeal to those whose priority is not fame and money. Your standards are too high to admit some of the best prospects. You have to recruit all over the nation. You lack heart and the will to win. You lack speed and a fighting spirit. Living with perpetual promise is so cruel.
Can't you see that in 2012, you have no chance?
The Irish fans I found look out on the ocean's smooth waters from the beach waiting for the rising up that will crash over them. You still have your spell on us. You're so smooth. You are so cool. Listen to the soulful sounds of a solo bass sax. Embrace your Irish blues. For some, rebuilding leads to salvation and resurrection. Witness the Alabamas, the Stanfords, and the Michigans, even Ohio State emerging from its dark days. If the devil offered you salvation, would you take it?
No expert expects heart with your sweat. No one expects leadership or for you to make it real.
You have no chance.