With the Notre Dame football season opener nearly a week away, fans all over the country are anxious to see how the team looks. With all the talk coming out of camp, the naming of captains, and the annual off-the-field issues plaguing the program, everyone has a lot on their mind.
So, I took to Twitter to glean the topics you all wanted to read about, and decided to compile them all into a mailbag...um, I mean...Tweetbag-style article where I answer all the hottest questions surrounding the Fighting Irish.
So, with that being said, let’s get after it.
Truck vs. Fishing
Joseph Socks is absolutely right on this one. My rankings:
1. Parker Boudreaux hauling a semi-truck like some sort of strong guy or something to reveal his choice - this is just way too crazy and ridiculous to not win
2. CJ Holmes going fishing for leprechauns - my personal favorite, but not as over the top as Boudreaux’s so it comes in second
3. Daelin Hayes running through the streets to find his school - this was cool but not as entertaining as the top two
4. Everyone else who has ever committed to Notre Dame
Is the season opener gonna be HOT HOT HOT?!?
I honestly have no idea how to find out this information besides going year-by-year, checking the date of each season opener and then looking up the weather that day in history in some sort of slick weather database. Because even I have some sort of standard as to how much time I’ll spend on researching trivial facts (I draw the line at the amount of hours I spent going through every NCAA roster looking for funny names a few weeks ago), I did a quick Google search and found this recent article about the heat in Austin next weekend.
Based on that article, if Austin just reaches the average temperature for September 4th on that Sunday of Labor Day weekend, it will be 88 degrees and qualify as one of the hottest season openers in 20 years. The article also says Austin has been at least 100 degrees on September 4th in four of the past five seasons, with the only exception being a day of 99 degrees.
So, factoring that recent trend in, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that yes, this will indeed be the hottest season opener in history. So if you have fair Irish skin like me and plan to be in Darrell K. Royal Stadium that day - lather on the sunscreen and chug waters in between cans of Hamm’s to ensure a good time.
This one is easy. You use the “Noter Dayme” pronunciation during any old conversation about the university, any time you are discussing its sports teams, or when you’re belting Cathy Richardson’s masterpiece while tailgating.
“Notra Daam” is what you use when you want to be a complete douchebag in telling other people where you went to school (possibly without them asking). Alternatively, you might use it to talk about some church in France.
I read this question and made a legitimate effort to answer it, despite the fact it called Tom Hammond a “pillow case of meat.” To answer it, I had to try to do some crafty research.
Tom Hammond is 72 years old. I Googled how many liver spots the average 72-year-old has (Hammond’s propensity for caking on the makeup before going on the air stymied my ability to just count liver spots on him in a picture). For some reason, there is not a readily-available chart showing the correlation of liver spot prevalence with age over time. So, I’m going to take a random guess, with absolutely no context for how many liver spots someone could possibly have from 72 years of living on this Godforsaken earth.
Let’s say Tom Hammond has:
- 46 liver spots - this is the number of total touchdowns the Notre Dame quarterbacks will have this season, rushing and passing. If I had to guess, I’d say Kizer finishes with 25 passing touchdowns and 4 rushing, while Zaire finishes with 6 passing and 11 rushing.
Those 46 spots break down as follows:
- 12 of those being on his head/neck - this is the amount of times the commentators will mention Max Redfield in the first half of the season opener (but mostly because Devin Studstill will be playing so well in his place)
- 14 on his legs - this is the number of times Torii Hunter Sr. will be shown in the stands on the TV broadcast during the first 2 games of the season
- 20 on his arms - this is the number of times I will quote Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite when talking about Brian VanGorder with my friends throughout the season
Finke Versus Finke
So we’ve got a 5’9”, 180-pound wide receiver going up against a legitimate natural disaster named after him?
Obviously Chris Finke wins this one, and it’s a simple reason why. The kid is a walk-on football player at ND, so obviously he is a very smart, hard-working, resourceful kid. He knows what to do during hurricanes to stay safe. He knows not to trust that it’s all over during the “eye” of the storm. He knows that the hurricane can’t hurt him much as long as he stays in good ole landlocked Indiana.
Chris Finke outlasts Hurricane Finke in about 15 rounds, playing mostly defense and avoiding any big blows from the hurricane. Done deal.
Guys, we’ve gone over this. I think Monty VG is the most talented player on this ball club. And although I think he is best-suited for center (at least, in the right kind of offense), I know for a fact he will be a great holder and make sure Justin Yoon continues his upward trajectory to greatness. Hopefully he has been practicing his Justin Yoon bow celebration, though, because that takes patience and repetition to master.
Gratuitous Manti Joke
This is one of my best friends from my time at ND. He is a troll and should be dismissed as such.
But, because I want to answer everyone’s question to the fullest extent, here is my ranking of the freshmen, in descending order, with their probability of inventing a fake girlfriend before graduation:
T-1st: Liam Eichenberg (0%)
T-1st: Tommy Kraemer (0%)
T-1st: Khalid Kareem (0%)
T-1st: Chase Claypool (0%)
T-1st: Daelin Hayes (0%)
T-1st: Donte Vaughn (0%)
T-1st: Parker Boudreaux (0%)
T-1st: Spencer Perry (0%)
T-1st: Julian Okwara (0%)
T-1st: Ian Book (0%)
T-1st: Tony Jones Jr. (0%)
T-1st: D.J. Morgan (0%)
T-1st: Javon McKinley (0%)
T-1st: Julian Love (0%)
T-1st: Deon McIntosh (0%)
T-1st: Jonathan Jones (0%)
T-1st: Kevin Stepherson (0%)
T-1st: Adetokunbo Ogundeji (0%)
T-1st: Jalen Elliott (0%)
T-1st: Devin Studstill (0%)
T-1st: Troy Pride Jr. (0%)
T-1st: Jamir Jones (0%)
T-1st: John Shannon (0%)
Thank you for reading that.
- Texas: Irish win 34-17 and I get in a minor scuffle with some Texas fans in the upper deck
- Nevada: Irish win 48-27 and everyone who was at the 2009 season opener relishes in being able to yell “Suck it, Wolfpack!” once more
- Michigan State: Irish win 27-23 and all of my MSU friends I’m going to South Bend with will cry and then drown their sorrows at the Backer
- Duke: Irish win 38-21 and Shane Battier cries and drowns his sorrows in his lifetime supply of Bud Light
- Syracuse: Irish win 21-10 because Dino Babers, God bless him, finds a way to make this game ugly and uninteresting
- NC State: Irish win 45-41 after trailing at halftime by 10 because of course they do
- Stanford: Irish win 24-20 in dramatic fashion because this is a home game against Stanford and that’s just how it works
- Miami: Irish win 35-27 and Studstill does his best “Harrison Smith in the Sun Bowl” impression on his way to three interceptions of Brad Kaaya, including the game-clincher on a potential game-tying drive by the Canes
- Navy: Irish win 37-28 and someone on the Irish probably gets a knee blown out by a diving Midshipmen blocker
- Army: Irish win 55-21 and Ian Book gets some PT!!!
- Virginia Tech: Irish win 31-21 and Frank Beamer still doesn’t show any emotion
- USC: Irish win 42-35 because BEAT SC
- College Football Playoff Semi-Final game vs. Clemson: Irish lose 44-36 because Deshaun Watson is ridiculous and this is how being a Notre Dame fan works
How in the world did VanGorder’s D manage that deficit?
I only know like four players (I think) on this 2012 Indiana University flag football championship squad, so here are those players and what I know about them:
- John - The guy who tweeted this question, he actually goes by “Johnny,” as in “Johnny (Flag) Football,” although hopefully without most of the same vices as his namesake. He was almost certainly their quarterback because he typically played the position when we were kids playing in the neighborhood, and so Johnny’s accuracy and love of Reggie Miller and Peyton Manning certainly helped him to stay cool under pressure and deliver the ball to talented receivers in the 2012 flag football season.
- John - Johnny’s older brother Bobby nicknamed this unrelated John “Bulldozer” when we were kids, but don’t let that fool you, as he has just as much finesse and legitimate ball skills as he does raw power and athleticism. John catches everything and is a pretty tall guy. He plays basketball just like Tim Duncan, if Tim Duncan were like 6’3” and not Tim Duncan. Hopefully that helps you guys picture him.
- Steve - Steve is also a tall guy with great leaping ability. I imagine he played receiver too and also was good at catching a lot of Johnny’s passes. He also is part of a set of quadruplets we all went to grade school with, so you know he’s a good teammate. He’s very upbeat and positive and balances that well with also being pretty competitive.
- Ted - Ted is also a tall guy, but probably a tad shorter than John and Steve. He too is athletic and fast and probably played receiver. Probably the Golden Tate to John/Steve’s Calvin Johnson. He is also a quadruplet (from the same family as Steve, if you can believe it), so there’s that.
That’s all I know about this team. So, now, if this squad plus some other faceless and nameless bodies were given a 25-point lead in the second half, would they be able to beat the 2016 Fighting Irish? Well, for me, it depends on when in the second half we are talking about. Here are my thoughts:
- 25-point lead at the beginning of the 2nd half: Notre Dame wins by 50.
- 25-point lead halfway through the 3rd quarter: Notre Dame wins by 35
- 25-point lead at the end of the 3rd quarter: Notre Dame wins by 21
- 25-point lead halfway through the 4th quarter: Notre Dame wins by 7
- 25-point lead with 0:01 left: 2012 IU Flag Football Champions win by 17
There you have it, Johnny. Good luck to you and your intramural flag football team from 4 years ago!
Most Likely to Be Offsides?
This is a question I could probably explore in much more detail, but let’s lay out some facts about Rudy and then decide who best fits the bill:
- Rudy was small and slow
- Rudy was from Illinois
- Rudy had a friend named Pete (RIP Pete)
- Rudy loved Notre Dame more than anything
- Rudy worked annoyingly hard in everything he did
- Rudy got to play on the kickoff team
- Rudy got to play defensive end despite being too small to play positions designed for smaller players, like cornerback
- Rudy might have been offsides
- Rudy got a garbage time sack because no one blocked him
- Rudy got carried off the field
- Rudy joined the Fellowship of the Ring
- Rudy saved Frodo from the orcs
- Rudy carried Frodo up the mountain
- Rudy married Rosie
Very little of this is helpful. So I’ll just give it my best shot at the top ten most deserving players to have a Rudy-esque movie made for them:
- Any of the walk-ons because that’s the boring, obvious answer (except Monty VG, he is the coach’s son and is way too talented to be an underdog story)
- Drue Tranquill: 3-star player, committed to Purdue but wants to go to ND, finally gets an offer, plays well before tearing his ACL, rehabs hard and comes back and plays well and then tears his ACL again, rehabs hard and starts for the team the next season...also he’s a good looking dude so Hollywood would eat that up, methinks
- Justin Yoon: A small kicker of Korean descent has lived in South Korea, Ohio, and Massachusetts who ends up booting game-winners in huge moments for the premier college football program in the country? Uh, no duh.
- DeShone Kizer: Humble and well-spoken and a complete afterthought in the QB talent pipeline discussions until the starter goes down and he’s thrust into a big moment. Basically Matt Saracen from Friday Night Lights but way more talented. He even won the game he was thrust into with an incredible heave in the waning moments, just like Saracen did when replacing Jason Street (who was committed to play for Notre Dame, FYI).
- Terry Jillery: Everyone would watch a movie starring this man. He is just way too interesting and hilarious. Oh, also, he might end up being a very good football player.
- Shaun Crawford: He’s very diminutive so I could see it being a good movie about overcoming size to start at Notre Dame and dominate elite wide receivers on a daily basis
- James Onwualu: Kid who has done everything the coaches have asked and changed positions and now is a starting linebacker and team captain? He’s going to have a great year and I’d love to see it documented in movie form
- Josh Adams: Written off in high school after a major injury, this has redemption story sports movie written all over it
- Greer Martini/Equanimeous St. Brown: If the movie is going to have a one-name title, you can’t do better than Equanimeous or Martini. Those are made-for-movie names right there (and great comic relief could come from Equanimeous telling people his full name throughout the film)
- Alizé Jones: Redemption and freakish talent mix for a very interesting movie with a focus on why academics are so important for college football players
Well, that was all the questions you guys tweeted at me. Please feel free to tweet more of them at me at any time, and I’ll do my best to keep answering them. Also, let me know in the comments if you disagree with me on any of these hot button items. We have to start a healthy dialogue if we want to truly find out how many liver spots Tom Hammond has. I think we can all agree on that.