I wonder if Eric Hansen simply giggles when he passes Al Lesar in the esteemed hallways of the South Bend Tribune, or is he polite like you'd be to someone with a debilitating handicap or developmental issue?
I've been saving this for a takedown since it was first published, and our friends at the South Bend Tribune did a pretty good job burying it. However, let's look at the evidence that Al Lesar should be sending any one of our esteemed OFD writers (or readers) his press pass to the BCS Title Game in Miami. Clearly, he's both blind and dumb. Well, I don't know if he actually can speak, but clearly he had no idea what this team was about.Notre Dame football commentary: Sink-or-swim year awaits Kelly, Irish
So let's take a look at Al's expert commentary:
A lot to ask in a short period of time — with a brutal schedule as the gauge for progress. Notre Dame circa 2012 could actually be better than last year's edition, but still end up with a worse record.
Totally agree with you here, Al. This looked to set up pretty tough, and your average OFD reader would have been happy with 9 wins, ecstatic with 10, and orgasmic with 12... (I'll wait while everyone goes and cleans up). Our helpful expert starts with some pretty safe and simple predictions for Navy and Purdue. He quickly loses faith.
* Sept. 15: Michigan State 21, Notre Dame 17: There's a score to settle here. Last year's stunning 31-13 Irish rout of the Spartans didn't make sense. It could have been MSU coach Mark Dantonio's worst game — ever. That won't happen again, especially in Spartan Stadium. Michigan State's defense will leave Golson shaking his head and soaking his aching body.
Nope Al. In fact, EG plays an incredibly solid game. I'd have to watch the tape to see if he was even hit. I believe it was Bell who was left shaking, soaking, and aching.
This is where it starts to get really fun, as Al's
strange acid trip expert football commentary starts to get off the rails.
* Sept. 22: Michigan 30, Notre Dame 28: Here we go again. Another last-second nail-biter, just like a year ago. Kelly plays a hunch, turning to quarterback Andrew Hendrix at halftime. Hendrix plays well, but a missed field goal seals the setback. On top of being 2-2 heading into the off week, there's a quarterback controversy — again.
Nope Al, the Voodoo Child wasn't the one called upon. It was a pre-Movember-'stached Tommy Rees in a move that nearly burned down the Internet, but worked out in the end. Like many, I get thrown in to fits of rage when I see 11 on the field at QB for ND in anything other than mop-up time. However, Tommy Rees deserves a metric crapload of credit for being a great leader and teammate. He's clearly not the MVP, but his leadership and team spirit mattered when it counted most.
If there's one spot where Al actually earns that massive paycheck from the owners of the Tribune, it has to be with this (albeit, narrowly wrong) prediction:
* Oct. 13: Stanford 21, Notre Dame 20: There are a couple pivotal games on the Irish schedule. This is one of them. So is Michigan. So is BYU. Win all three and avoid a stupid loss, and progress would be made. Lose two of the three? Hhhhhheeeellllllllooooo mediocrity. Even without QB Andrew Luck, the Cardinal can give the Irish fits with a dominant defensive front seven and potent running game.
Al's right. It was pivotal like no other. Progress was made here. Thankfully, once again, Al was dead wrong about which way this game would go and which way the season would go.
Al also correctly called "trap" on BYU, but praising a guy who gets paid to write about football on identifying that is like congratulating congratulating an ND senior living in Sorin for being able to spot the admin building on campus.
At this point I can see Al looking at the refrigerator magnet with ND's schedule in his Mom's basement and trying to come up with something spectacularly insightful as he bangs away on his Trib' issued IBM PC jr.
* Oct. 27: Oklahoma 38, Notre Dame 20: This one has bad written all over it. One week after stomping all over Charlie Weis and his Jayhawks, the Sooners get their shot at the Irish. Too much hype for this one. This blowout is a season-changer for the Irish. Now 4-4, with the worst of the meat grinder in the rear-view mirror, goals and priorities must be re-evaluated. In other words ...
Oh Al of little faith! Sure, no one really saw this coming, but doom and gloom and calling for a blowout in the hometown paper? U mad bro?
I'm assuming this is where
the trip started getting a little harsh on things go a little south for Al. Perhaps his mom said he had to have his homework done before 9 or something because this is one is a killer...
* Nov. 3: Notre Dame 33, Pittsburgh 17: ...Welcome to college football, Gunner. Four losses and plenty of frustration into the season, Kelly makes the move to Gunner Kiel at quarterback. Since the open date, Chuck Martin has been paying special attention to getting the freshman slinger ready to see live bullets. Now's the time. The move takes the heat off Kelly who is now focused on "building a program well beyond this season." Plus, there's probably a few scout team QBs, and even Tommy Rees, who could win the next three games.
Um, Al? See Gunner's shirt there? It is bright red, isn't it? In fact, I hear they were short plane tix for a frosh that wouldn't have seen the field this year unless it involved some sort of poison ziti from South Dining hall taking down the 3 guys in front of him.
Al goes on to hit the two layups and deserves a little credit for hoping that Neal gets a breakout vs. BC, but Al forgets we don't block on punt returns.
I generally don't have a problem with people stating their opinions. It is just when they're an "expert" (defined by me as: paid to give opinions), then I'd like to see them own them when they're horribly wrong. Let's just leave Al's final game prediction be the final word here. Lo Wood didn't seem all that sweaty, but KVR and Action Jackson seemed just fine. Al can send his Miami cred's to me while he enjoys Louisiana...
* Nov. 24: Southern Cal 38, Notre Dame 17: Kiel's first trip into a truly hostile environment doesn't go well. The Trojans are just too good in too many places. Matt Barkley wins the Heisman Trophy after a field day against the Irish secondary. Sitting home rehabbing from Achilles surgery, Irish corner Lo Wood breaks out in a cold sweat watching Robert Woods zig-zag through the Notre Dame defense like old times. It isn't pretty. 7-5.
* Bowl game: Please, God, anywhere but Shreveport.