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Notre Dame And Its Secret Garbage... A Tournament

Think twice about those things that you love... and then send them to battle. It’s MAY MADNESS!

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

No, we are not talking about the Fig Thing cups- not directly anyways. Today we begin a tournament that will most likely leave a few of you upset, mad, or both. It’s a touchy subject, and something a lot of fans of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish refuse to contemplate.

We’re talking about secret garbage.

What is secret garbage? In short, it’s something that a lot of people love (or at least it is well accepted) but it’s actually quite bad/horrible/awful. Our friends over at The Solid Verbal Podcast first came up with this idea back in March, and created an entertaining playoff that saw things like the NFL, ketchup, Avatar, bluetooth, and more square off against one another for hottest of secret garbage title.

As we attempt to do the same for Notre Dame, please keep in mind that we all love Notre Dame here. Three alums (Pat, Jude, and Jessica) and one Emperor and Supreme Warlord of the Subway Alumni qualifies us to do this- with all due respect. However, we defer to you and your judgment, as your votes will determine the winners- and the champion.

So, let’s dispense with anymore preamble and jump right into the tournament.

#1 NBC VS #16 Bookstore Basketball


For 26 seasons, Notre Dame football home games have been televised exclusively on NBC (save a NBCSN fling). NBC took over at a time of peak Lou Holtzian life. A time when the name, “Notre Dame” was on the tip of every tongue when one spoke about the national championship.

How things changed quickly, and 4 years later, Notre Dame was a rollar coaster ride of mediocrity for the next two decades.

OFD Uniform Concepts for 2012

When the Irish first got the contract with NBC, they were denounced by just about every media outlet (other than NBC) and school in the country. To them, Notre Dame was being greedy and arrogant. They failed to realize how hypocritical they would all end up being.

Notre Dame got exactly what it wanted from NBC. It was able to put itself on national TV each week (at home) and strengthen their position to remain independent and free of any constraints that came with joining a conference.

This leads right to the point of why the NBC deal is hot garbage... this ain’t 1991. Despite the lack of big wins, Notre Dame is a bigger “brand” than it ever has been- AND WHO GIVES A SHIT? I mean really, were you ever comforted after a loss that Notre Dame was a money-making machine known the world over?

Hell no.

The deal, in fact, has only soured with time. Every team is on TV every week. Those other teams don’t get greats like Doug Flutie or Tom Hammond calling the games though (please note EXTREME sarcasm here). Add in an unforgivable amount of TV timeouts, and no broader scope of the college football day, and it’s about as awesome (and same) as watching a game on Lifetime.

Like an opened banana, the NBC deal was great at first, but over time it has decomposed into pure garbage and capable of producing the most devilish of hallucinations. -JV

Bookstore basketball

It’s the largest outdoor 5-on-5 basketball tournament in the world, or so said the Guinness Book of World Records before many of us were even alive. (OK, I was alive. But, as my wife loves to remind me, I’m old.)

There’s like 700 teams that participate every year. That’s 3,500 players. You know how many Notre Dame, Holy Cross & Saint Mary’s faculty, students and staff can play basketball worth watching? About 36 — and they’re already on the real basketball team.

Sure, it’s a hoot when Monk Malloy fielded a team called “Four Sinners and a Monk” or “All the President’s Men.” And sure, there’s a picture of Lou Holtz trying to guard his Heisman wide receiver Tim Brown.

But c’mon. The common Bookstore Basketball experience is watching your slightly intoxicated friends don ridiculous costumes and pretend that they didn’t mind that they just lost, 21-1. It was all about the laughs, man!

The cause is an admirable one — raising funds for impoverished Jamaicans. But the same could be said for Bengal Bouts: great cause, usually shitty boxing. -AW


More Garbage: NBC or Bookstore Basketball?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    (766 votes)
  • 28%
    Bookstore Basketball
    (311 votes)
1077 votes total Vote Now

#8 Pep Rallies VS #9 Midnight Drummer Circle

Pep Rallies

Before I begin, I want you all to know that I’m not just going to fly by the seat of my pants on these brief analyses of secret garbage. Nay, I plan on pulling together the most comprehensive research possible so you can feel safe and secure in knowing that what I’m about to say is absolute fact.

Notre Dame football pep rallies are absolute, utter trash.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a gander at the mother of all sources, Mrs. Wikipedia herself. Not only is this a FANTASTIC Wikipedia article that a sophomore in high school definitely authored without proofreading, but it lays out exactly why Notre Dame pep rallies suck.

Pep rallies or pep assemblies are a gathering of people, typically students of middle school, high school, and college age, before a sports event.”

Here’s your first issue - Notre Dame pep rallies are arguably geared much more toward the scores of families who attend them, standing on the outskirts of the rally with their kids on their shoulders, looking for some good, clean, family fun on a Friday evening. The rallies are consistently lame and the speakers consistently rah-rah (not in a cheesy and fun way, though, but rather in an unconvincing, milquetoast sort of way).

Meanwhile, the students, who are the ones these rallies were originally meant for, stand in the middle trying to manufacture hype and noise without offending any of the non-students, and eventually they realize that attending these rallies isn’t as much fun as tons of other things they could be doing with friends on a Friday night - and so they don’t go. Solid.

“The purpose of such a gathering is to encourage school spirit and to support members of the team for which the rally is being thrown. The pep rallies are often very loud and have a lot of excitation to keep all the students excited for the upcoming game and to cheer on the team.”

Quick note: I love so much that “school spirit” and “team” have their own Wikipedia pages - so I left those hyperlinks in there for ya.

Welp, if the above is the purpose of pep rallies, then the University has been going 4-8 in that realm as well, as the vast majority of them seem to fail to encourage real school spirit, they rarely inspire the players to even look like they want to be there, and they absolutely do not keep the students excited, because most of them aren’t even showing up.

I can count on one hand the pep rallies I enjoyed in my 4 years at the school:

  • Rocket Ismail before USC in 2009
  • Students-only rally in Stepan Center before a Michigan away game, where Sergio Brown proclaimed he was “just there to kick ass and chew bubble gum” and then stated that he was recently all out of said bubble gum
  • The Troy Niklas and Prince Shembo “I love the pain” and “Michigan took my bike seat” speech duo before Michigan in 2012
  • The first pep rally my sophomore year, when all of my friends and I did “40s at 4” and then attended what was otherwise a very uneventful rally

Notre Dame, either stop holding these pep rallies, or transform them back into an awesome event for the students to get hyped at, rather than another fun, family experience for all our welcome visitors to Notre Dame. Use pep rallies for their intended purpose, why don’tcha?

Oh, also, get rid of the Dillon Pep Rally. That one was the worst, annually. -PS

Midnight Drummer Circle

It seemed like a good idea. We were all going to meet up at a secret place — say, in front of the main building — to listen to the drummers do those sweet cadences they always really wanted to do, but “were not in keeping with our Catholic tradition.” didn’t fit in the traditional game day experience.

It would be rocking. It would be hopping. Cool people would be there.

Cool people were not there. I know, because I was there plenty of times.

There were no smoking hot ladies. The only ones that were moderately attractive were dating the drummers. Everyone else was a band geek, a wannabe band member or someone who didn't have any other social plans at midnight on (technically) game day.

It was another pep rally. This one was supposed to be better, because it was student run and spontaneous. There is little spontaneous about something that’s been done for decades. -AW


More Garbage: Pep Rallies or Drummer Circle?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Pep Rallies
    (735 votes)
  • 30%
    Drummer Circle
    (320 votes)
1055 votes total Vote Now

#4 Spring Game VS #13 Rudy

Spring Game

Every single year - EVERY SINGLE DAMN YEAR - I am so starved for real sports by April that I look forward to the spring game. (Come at me, NBA/NHL bros.) Every single year, the spring game is as pleasurable as a wet fart.

Here are the highlights of the spring game:

  • That running back who will get 15 touches all year just broke a 30 yard run because no defensive back wanted to take out his knees and get an ass-chewing from his position coach.
  • That QB was just sacked because someone literally touched him on their way by. I’ve had bigger dustups in freeze tag when I was an elementary school student.
  • The punter looks outstanding! I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that no one is even bothering to return his punt.
  • If the offense looks great, then you can’t help but worry that the defense may suck. If the defense looks great, can’t help but wonder if Pat Dillingham is somehow going to find a way to screw this up too. (Sorry, Pat. You deserve better than my snark.) -AW


It became one of the most popular sports movies of all-time, and found its way into the hearts of Notre Dame fans forever. That’s fine and dandy, but the truth is that the movie is hot garbage.

  • An annoying hobbit is never a good look.
  • The movie takes so many factual liberties, the things they completely made up almost feel like they actually happened.
  • Evil Dan Devine
  • You always watch it- like an addict, if it’s on TV.
  • The soundtrack is amazing (just had to say it)
  • Rudy is a Mormon now.

If nothing else, it makes people forget about Nick Setta being carried off of the field in 2002. That’s garbage man. -JV


More Garbage: Spring Game or Rudy?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    Spring Game
    (588 votes)
  • 43%
    (459 votes)
1047 votes total Vote Now

#5 Player Walk VS #12 DeBartolo Hall

Player Walk

Wahoo! I just got to see my favorite player! He slapped hands with me while wearing his jumbo Beats headphones and staring straight ahead. Sure, I was pushed — ahem, repositioned — by the Irish Guard because I stuck my toes out into the no-no area, but that is a small price to pay for such amazing pictures like this!

Brady Quinn shaking hands with someone while a cop looks seriously peeved.

(I took this picture. And I took this one too. I clearly went way too many times to the player walk. And this was after I graduated!) -AW

Jimmy Clausen, Kyle Rudolph and Brian Smith

DeBartolo Hall

It’s your first day at Notre Dame and you’re looking for your class...let’s call it The History of Football in the Bible 101. Where is your class? Oh, why of course it’s in DeBartolo Hall! You walk into DeBartolo Hall. “Wow,” you think, “this is a nice, fancy, new big college building. I’m a real college kid now!” You realize you’re a little parched so you take a sip from the water fountain. “Did I just taste liquid mercury?” you think. You spit the water out. It’s brown.

You look at your Apple Watch. Only 2 minutes until your first college class. Better run! You make six wrong turns on the first floor of DeBartolo Hall until you finally find your classroom. There are two doors. Which one do you enter? You pick the left door and walk into a windowless room with tiered tables. You see that there are no open chairs near the ends of the tables and no room to physically squish your body + backpack through the aisles to find a middle seat. “Oh,” you think, “Maybe I’ll exit the classroom, go back into the hallway, and go through the other door.” By the time you get to the other side of the room all seats are taken. You are a failure, your professor is pissed, and DeBartolo Hall has failed you.

But count your lucky stars child, because at least your class wasn’t in DPAC 043. -JS

lol look at the snapchat filter, what a disgrace


More Garbage: Player Walk or DeBartolo Hall?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Player Walk
    (433 votes)
  • 55%
    DeBartolo Hall
    (546 votes)
979 votes total Vote Now

#2 Hammes Bookstore VS #15 Pig Tostal

Hammes Bookstore

Please imagine my explanation of South Dining Hall (see below, seed #7), but instead of grabbing your food and finding your friends, you’re navigating ravenous packs of super-fan tourists to purchase something priced at 10 times its value, only to stand in a line that literally winds through bookshelves because it’s so long.

The Notre Dame Bookstore is straight up misery disguised as a nice two-story building named after the Hammes family (founders of Hamm’s Premium and Hamm’s Special Light, I’m pretty sure — so at least they got that right).

Everything — and I mean everything, from t-shirts to tiny knick-knacks to the actual text books sold there — inside that building is an absolute rip-off for the consumer, and yet somehow the place is constantly chock-a-block with people dropping $120 on the newest Notre Dame jacket.

It’s everything that’s wrong with the Notre Dame football program — all about making a ton of money with no regard for the fans and the product they’re actually receiving in return — and it just drives me insane. The bookstore is absolutely, 100%, hot garbage. -PS

Pig Tostal

All due respect to the organizers of Pig Tostal, because it is one of the few fun college things that happens at Notre Dame. But secretly it kind of sucks. Like all parties, IN THEORY, it is a fun, exciting, outdoorsy time to get shitfaced with your friends on the last Saturday before your month-long finals studying begins. In reality, you show up, fight with some randos over a keg, get either horribly sunburnt or freeze your ass off, and then flock to the Eddy Street Commons Chipotle along with 1000 other drunk assholes to eat a burrito that you will not remember. Ok, now that I’ve graduated and have a job...that doesn’t sound so bad anymore. -JS


More Garbage: Hammes Bookstore or Pig Tostal?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    (549 votes)
  • 41%
    Pig Tostal
    (392 votes)
941 votes total Vote Now

#7 South Dining Hall VS #10 Stadium Music


This one is so straightforward that it’s mind-boggling to me that you could have a different opinion if you look at it objectively.

Do you want to eat at the dining hall that has a very orderly, logical layout of both food stations and dining tables, or do you want to search near and far for your dinner in a hectic bee hive of inevitable collisions with fellow dining hall-goers, only to then have to find your friends based on a set of directions you all decided upon beforehand and then immediately forgot once you entered the fracas?

I don’t care that South Dining Hall resembles the Hogwarts Great Hall. I don’t care if it was in the movie Rudy. I don’t care if you don’t see North Dining Hall’s make-your-own pizza line as the trump card that it is in the argument of best dining hall.

Your opinion, if you prefer the absolute shit-show that is the layout and everyday operations of SDH, is objectively wrong and you should be thrown in prison for thinking that way. South Dining Hall is, unequivocally, garbage. -PS

Stadium Music

This is it.

This is the moment -- the turning point.

This is the big defensive stand that will make or break the Fighting Irish’s season.

The crowd is buzzing, ready to explode if given the right cues. They wait with heavy anticipation for the band, cheerleaders, etc. to provide them with the jolt of adrenaline that will push their noise and rambunctiousness over the top and truly rattle the opponent.

Then, they get their cue:


It’s “Crazy Train,” for the 5th time this game, and the students are responding well:

Before we move on, let me be clear that I do not think Notre Dame Stadium shouldn’t pipe in music. The students absolutely love it if it’s a song they love, and the band just can’t supply those pump-up songs like the actual artists can.

Instead, I’m simply arguing that the 46-year-old putting together and/or approving the playlist should be relieved of his or her duties, and replaced with a small group of party-knowledgeable students who know what kinds of songs get kids their age in a state of borderline-riot.

Because at the end of the day, that pump-up music is for the students. Thus, it should be by the students, and it should be something that will make them loud, regardless of what all the blue hairs sitting in their seats on the 50-yard-line think of it.

Hell, even if someone not that far removed from college were to choose the music, it would probably not inspire the current students. Here are some of my friendly suggestions for songs to include in the playlist, and the majority of them would probably be terrible choices for current college students as well:

You get the point.

None of these have to be the answer, but for the love of God, choose a wider variety of songs, and choose songs the students want to hear.

Notre Dame Stadium doesn’t have to be the friendliest, most welcoming environment in the country for opposing teams, you guys. Instead, it can return to being the kind of place that garners a penalty for being TOO loud.

It all starts with giving the student section as much reason to be amped-up as possible. So fix the music selection. It’s garbage and everyone hates it. -PS


More Garbage: SDH or Stadium Music?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    (369 votes)
  • 66%
    Stadium Music
    (720 votes)
1089 votes total Vote Now

#3 Student Section VS #14 The Shirt

Student Section

Where to begin. The student section, like many things in Notre Dame Stadium, is fatally flawed. If you were a student pre-2013 season you were forced to sit with the freshman year friends you made the first week of school...for an ENTIRE SEASON. Post-2013? Total anarchy. I’m not going to complain about standing on hard, splintery wooden benches for 4+ hours (thanks NBC) or being smushed in a row of my drunken piers, because lets be honest that’s what college football student sections are all about! I will say that the Notre Dame student section is the absolute worst place to be when its 9 degrees, you’ve been tailgating all day, you’re starting to get hungover, and there is an usher screaming in your face about sitting in the wrong section. The student section is also not fun if you are:

1. short: you can’t see sh**

2. tall: you will be forced to lift people up for pushups

3. a football fan: half the people around you aren’t watching the game

4. not a football fan: you feel shame/dishonor leaving early to go max out in the dining hall/sleep in your dorm

5. experiencing weather is anything other than low 70s with a slight breeze and no direct sunlight

This being said, the Notre Dame student section is the best place to watch a game in Notre Dame Stadium. -JS

The Shirt

There may not be anything more devious and awful in this tournament than The Shirt. Each and every year, our eyeballs are subjected to the horrors of its Wal-Mart inspired design, and accompanied with North Korean style fanfare.

Its list of sins is irredeemable:

  • Too many fonts
  • Cheesy slogans
  • Different color each year
  • When they try gold- OH MY GOD WATCH OUT
  • As Eazy-E would say, “they got front and back and side to side.”
  • It will never go away.

I just can’t believe that there isn’t a design student on the committee that sits idly by as fashion crimes are committed each and every year. It’s supposed to be a unifying shirt, but in reality... it is merely another way to make that money honey (yes, yes... charity). -JV


More Garbage: Student Section Or The Shirt?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Student Section
    (179 votes)
  • 81%
    The Shirt
    (764 votes)
943 votes total Vote Now

#6 Eddy St. Commons VS #11 Irish Guard

Eddy Street Commons

Let me break this one up a bit:


Parking at Eddy Street is STRESSFUL. I may have gotten in a few accidents in the parking garage and the slanty outdoor parking spots. The garage is always packed and paying to park is stupid but driving around in circles for an outdoor parking spot is some serious garbage.


Food here ain’t anything special. It’s literally the college essentials and nothing else. If you don’t want Five Guys or Chipotle you’re basically SOL. Luckily for Eddy Street Five Guys and Chipotle go with Notre Dame students like dorms and parietals. The lines at Chipotle and Five Guys, however, are painful at best, and life-threateningly bad at worst. I have spent hours of my precious life waiting in line at the Eddy Street Chipotle. I will never get those hours back. Side note: drunken 7/11 binges do not count as food.


O’Rourkes, Brothers, and oh wait nope that’s it there are only two bars on Eddy Street. One of which actively kicks people out for wearing sweatpants. Both are increasingly difficult to sneak into without proper identification. Brothers cheese curds are their only saving grace and O’Rourke’s Clover Quarts are liquid diabetes.

*do not consume alcohol unless ur 21 or older god is watching -JS

Irish Guard

I’ll keep this short and sweet- which is exactly what Ken Dye would want.

The Irish guard used to be comprised of Notre Dame students that met certain criteria- one of which was the height of 6’2”. Even ladies, as long as they were of that height, were eligible to become members if chosen.

However... because Ken Dye is a control freak that hated the Irish Guard members for their warrior ways, it was reduced to being a club for current band members only. 5’7” and jovial? JOIN THE GUARD MAN!

What was once a uniform, cool, and striking part of the Notre Dame gameday experience, has turned into a sloppy example of overreaching. No argument outside of “RUSSIA” can be made. -JV


More Garbage: Eddy St. Commons Or Irish Guard?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    (280 votes)
  • 70%
    Irish Guard
    (685 votes)
965 votes total Vote Now
Notre Dame Secret Garbage Tourney
Notre Dame Secret Garbage Tourney