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Notre Dame Football: Post-Regular Season Q&A with Pat Rick

Notre Dame doesn’t play this week and won’t play again until the end of December, but we’ve still got A LOT to talk about as Pat Rick answers your most pressing questions about Notre Dame sports

NCAA Football: Notre Dame Spring Game Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Well, you guys, our Notre Dame Fighting Irish are officially 12-0, officially in the College Football Playoff, and officially not playing for like a whole freakin’ month.

So, to pass the time, I asked y’all for some questions to answer. Below is what you all gave me. Faaaaaaantastic.


The next College Football Playoff committee is Sean Astin, Tim Brando, Doug Flutie, Lou Holtz, Desmond Howard, Matt Leinart, Mark May, Brady Quinn, Condoleeza Rice, Dick Vitale, Dan Wolken, and the ghosts of Beano Cook & Bo Schembechler. Who punches who in the face first?

- Jude (@andrewwinn)

I think Lou Holtz punches Desmond Howard within 2 minutes of meeting him, and is immediately backed up by Quinn, Astin, Vitale, and Rice when Howard looks to retaliate against the old, frail Holtz.

Or maybe that’s just what I hope would happen. Who’s to say? Gotta imagine Howard is the first one to be slugged, though.

DirecTV Super Saturday Night - Arrivals Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for DirecTV

One thing I know for certain, though — the ghost of Bo Schembechler will be in the corner, not beating anyone of note, just as we grew accustomed to seeing from him in his championship-less, 2-10-in-Rose-Bowls career.

With Jason Derulo’s “Undefeated” being the official unofficial song of Notre Dame’s overall regular season (as decided by yours truly), which Jason Derulo song would you associate with each individual win from this year’s historic campaign?

- Drew BeerMeMore (@dreamscomedrew)

Michigan — “Whatcha Say”

Ball State — “Get Ugly”

Vanderbilt — “Want to Want Me”

Wake Forest — “The Other Side”

Stanford — “Talk Dirty”

Virginia Tech — “It Girl”

Pitt — “Wiggle”

Navy — “Fight For You”

Northwestern — “Trumpets”

Florida State — “Ridin’ Solo”

Syracuse — “Don’t Wanna Go Home”

USC — “The Sky’s The Limit”

What would we be doing right now if ND fired BK in 2016?

- Tom Swanson (@Tom_Foolery)

No idea.

Maybe ND would be super mediocre and well out of the CFP discussion. Or maybe whoever took over is in the same spot, with good assistants that helped the team navigate an easy schedule to a 12-0 season. Or hell, maybe ND somehow hit the lottery, hired the next legendary NCAA football coach, and is defending a 2017-2018 title this season. It’s hard to say for sure (although that last one is admittedly unlikely).

I’ve been a Brian Kelly hater for much of his time at Notre Dame, so I’ll admit he’s done an excellent job this season (and a good job last season), as going undefeated is hard, no matter the schedule (seriously — what UCF has done is also impressive, even if not against a bunch of P5 opponents).

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

But what Kelly’s done against a manageable schedule with a lot of talent and great assistants is not something that no one else could have done. He gets credit for recruiting/developing those players, hiring those assistants, etc., for sure. There’s no arguing he did an excellent job transforming his very disappointing program (through the first 7 seasons) and making a contender. But to assume no other coach could have done that is illogical and potentially wrong, and you have to think some coaches wouldn’t have taken 7 years to make the necessary changes Kelly made.

Do I want him fired anymore? No, of course not. Do I think ND would be better off right now had they fired him in 2016? Probably not, although it could be argued a team with two All-Americans on the offensive line, an NFL RB, and a solid defense should have made the CFP last year. But obviously, ND could not be in a better spot in 2018 than they are now, and that’s thanks, ultimately, to Brian Kelly.

My point, as I wrap this up so as not to ramble any more than I already have, is that we can’t possibly say for sure if ND would be better, worse, or the same right now if someone else were coaching. All we can do is thank God that Kelly re-tooled his program, finally hired good coordinators that weren’t his Grand Valley State cronies, and made ND football truly a top-10 program again. Now, all I ask is that he keeps it going — this team seems special and it’s not COMPLETELY impossible that the Irish capture lightning in a bottle in the CFP and really do the damn thing.

You are a Soul Skater and you are looking to find members to skate with you against the dreaded and downright rude Team X-Bladz. What ND players do you choose to be on your team and why?

- Philip G OFD (@Philip__G)

  1. Tyler Newsome, because I just feel like he has to be a skater and would definitely skate for the right reasons
  2. Dexter Williams, because I feel like at this point he’s doing everything he does because he loves doing it, is having fun doing it, and wants to make his ailing mother proud — Brink can certainly relate to that feeling and it’s a great fit with the Soul Skaters. Plus, his flair for celebration will only help our team compete
  3. Alohi Gilman, because I need some attitude and trash-talking ability to counter Team X-Bladz and their rudeness
NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

If a player on the current team and years past which best represents Hamm’s and Hamm’s Special Light?

- Rise and Grime (@C_Murda14)

I don’t know exactly what this question is asking, but assuming he means which players best represent Hamm’s Premium (surprisingly great considering the low price and expectations) and Hamm’s Special Light (disappointing, just doesn’t leave a great taste in your mouth) on the current team and in years past, this is how I’d break it down — with the caveat that I’m only doing players who played for Brian Kelly...otherwise these lists would go on forever:

Hamm’s Premium: Julian Love, Alohi Gilman, Chris Finke, Ian Book, Jalen Elliott, Jafar Armstrong, Josh Adams, DeShone Kizer, Will Fuller, KeiVarae Russell, CJ Prosise, Chris Brown, Matthias Farley, Kona Schwenke, Tom Rees, Theo Riddick, Tyler Eifert, Robby Toma

Hamm’s Special Light: Deon McIntosh, Kevin Stepherson, CJ Holmes, Justin Brent, Andrew Trumbetti, Corey Holmes, Max Redfield, Gunner Kiel, DaVonte’ Neal, Justin Ferguson, Tee Shepard, Ishaq Williams, Shaq Evans, EJ Banks, Dayne Crist, Deion Walker, Gary Gray

If you could interview Red Panda, what would you ask her?

- Bobby Norell (@RENorell_III)

NBA All-Star Game 2016 Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
  1. At what age did you first flip a stack of bowls onto your head while riding a super-tall unicycle?
  2. When did you think/believe/know this could be your career? Did you ever consider or have plans to pursue a different career?
  3. What do your parents think of your job — how do they explain it to their friends?
  4. How often, and for how long, do you practice flipping bowls onto your head while riding a tall unicycle?
  5. How many performances do you have per week? Per month? Per year?
  6. What do you think is your greatest accomplishment as a unicycle bowl-flipper?
  7. What do you love most about your job?
  8. Some people (me) are calling you the greatest halftime performer of all-time. What’s your reaction to that?
  9. Did they ever catch the thief who stole your unicycle from SFO? What would you say to that thief, if you had a chance to talk to him or her?
  10. Did you ever consider riding a different thing while doing your bowl flipping (e.g. a motorcycle, a skateboard, a horse, etc.)?
  11. Did you ever consider flipping something other than bowls (e.g. plates, cups, pancakes)?
  12. Have you ever successfully flipped more than the 5 or 6 bowls you normally flip in your finales? Have you even tried?
  13. How much do you hate Quick Change? (personally, I think he sucks)
  14. Who wins in a karaoke contest — Mike Brey, Muffet McGraw, or you?
  15. “There was a farmer who had a dog and Bingo was his name-o.” In this children’s song lyric, is it possible that “Bingo” is, in fact, the farmer and not the dog, as is commonly assumed?

If all football teams from movies/TV/books were ranked from best to worst, where would this ND team rank? Could BK and company beat The Replacements? Would the Annexation of Puerto Rico fool Clark Lea?

- Pat C (@iamthetweeter)

Let me preface my answer by saying I am only going to use TV shows and movies I’ve seen at least part of — I can’t accurately rate and rank fictional teams I know nothing about. With that said, let’s dive into this one:

First of all, any and all professional teams would beat this Notre Dame team. That’s an easy, objectively true rule. Even the Washington Sentinels, a team made of replacement players, would beat the Irish. That was a really good, well-coached team of replacement players. So the first 5 teams look like this:

1. Miami Sharks (Any Given Sunday)

2. Arizona Cardinals (Jerry Maguire)

3. Washington Sentinels (The Replacements)

4. Cougars (Playmakers) — I think I’ve seen like half of an episode of this show, but these guys are ranked ahead of the Vince Papale Eagles because that Eagles team was HORRIBLE

5. Philadelphia Eagles (Invincible)

Similar to the rule above, there’s no way any high school team would beat a college team, no matter how much I want to say the 1971 TC Williams Titans could beat everyone in front of them. So, the next chunk of teams are college teams first, then probably prison-based squads since they’re either semi-pro or sporting pro-level players like Paul Crewe, and then jumping into high school.

6. Blue Mountain State Mountain Goats (Blue Mountain State)

7. 2018 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

8. South Central Louisiana Mud Dogs (Waterboy)

9. Rudy’s senior year ND team (Rudy)

10. Mean Machine (The Longest Yard)

11. The Guards (The Longest Yard)

12. EMCC Lions (Last Chance U, Season 2)

13. EMCC Lions (Last Chance U, Season 1)

14. Any of the teams in Knute Rockne, All American

15. Independence Community College (Last Chance U, Season 3)

16. East Dillon Lions (Friday Night Lights, Season 5)

17. TC Williams Titans (Remember the Titans)

18. West Canaan Coyotes (Varsity Blues)

19. Dillon Panthers (Friday Night Lights, Season 1)

20. Dillon Panthers (Friday Night Lights, Season 3)

21. Permian Panthers (Friday Night Lights, the film)

22. Marshall Thundering Herd (We Are Marshall) — through no fault of their own, that Marshall team was horrible and basically a high school team

22. Dillon Panthers (Friday Night Lights, Season 2)

23. Michael Oher’s high school team in The Blindside

24. The team in Gridiron Gang

25. The team in Radio

26. East Dillon Lions (Friday Night Lights, Season 4)

26. The Cowboys from Little Giants — sorry, as much as I want to honor the head-to-head matchup results with the Little Giants winning on a last-second Annexation of Puerto Rico play, I’m rolling with Spike Hammersmith EVERY chance I get

27. The Little Giants from Little Giants

Also, to answer your questions — no, ND could not beat the Replacements, and no, the Annexation of Puerto Rico, despite being a brilliant play, would not fool my guy Clark Lea.

I, for one, would be very interested in an All-“Best Names in the Game” Team for ND opponents. Would be a useful reference during bowl season, and would probably be good to have going into next season when we see a lot of these guys again.

- Arnav Dutt

The below 25 names were the best, for sure. I went a step further and did the impossibly difficult task of ranking them as well. I don’t feel great about it, but oh well.

  1. Virginia Tech S Divine Deablo
  2. Stanford K Jet Toner
  3. USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown
  4. Michigan DL Luiji Vilain
  5. Navy LB John Stamos
  6. Stanford LB Thunder Keck
  7. Ball State WR Yo’Heinz Tyler
  8. Pittsburgh DB Jazzee Stocker
  9. Northwestern LB Jango Glackin
  10. Wake Forest DB Ja’Sir Taylor
  11. Wake Forest P Dom Maggio
  12. Stanford WR Osiris St. Brown
  13. USC RB Aca’Cedric Ware
  14. Florida State TE Tre’ McKitty
  15. Ball State DL Poni Tu’uta
  16. Pittsburgh WR Shocky Jacques-Louis
  17. Stanford DT Bo Peek
  18. Syracuse DB Trill Williams
  19. Michigan LS Camaron Cheeseman
  20. Syracuse HC Dino Babers
  21. Navy DL Timber Berzins
  22. Jay Cutler U DB Max Worship
  23. Wake Forest OL Je’Vionte’ Nash
  24. Wake Forest DL LaRonde’ Liverpool
  25. Navy DE Joshua Van Dunk

If Saint Mary’s had a football team, what would the annual game between them and Notre Dame be called?

- Tyler Mitchell

Quick brainstorm:

  • The Parietals Bowl
  • The Great Dorm Party
  • Battle of the Sexes
  • Belles vs. Boys
  • The Battle for 933

I’m gonna go with The Great Dorm Party.

I like the sound of that, and the stadium DJ could focus on playing dorm party anthems like “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus, “Turn Me On” by Kevin Lyttle, and “Bedrock” by Young Money.

Projected Hogwarts houses for the starters and/or coaching staff. Also, player/coach most likely to be the Heir of Slytherin (assuming My Good Friend Tom Riddle’s claim ended up not being legit).

- Michael French


QB Ian Book - Slytherin

RB Dexter Williams - Hufflepuff

WR Miles Boykin - Ravenclaw

WR Chase Claypool - Hufflepuff

WR Chris Finke - Gryffindor

TE Alizé Mack - Slytherin

LT Liam Eichenberg - Hufflepuff

LG Aaron Banks - Slytherin

C Sam Mustipher - Gryffindor

RG Tommy Kraemer - Ravenclaw

RT Robert Hainsey - Hufflepuff


DE Julian Okwara - Gryffindor

DE Khalid Kareem - Slytherin

DT Jerry Tillery - Ravenclaw

DT Jonathan Bonner - Hufflepuff

LB Drue Tranquill - Gryffindor

LB Te’von Coney - Gryffindor

LB Asmar Bilal - Ravenclaw

CB Julian Love - Gryffindor

CB Troy Pride Jr. - Hufflepuff

S Jalen Elliott - Hufflepuff

S Alohi Gilman - Slytherin

Special Teams

K Justin Yoon - Ravenclaw

P Tyler Newsome - Hufflepuff

Heir of Slytherin

Jafar Armstrong (his name is Jafar...I regret to inform you, he’s GOTTA be the villain)

NCAA Football: Navy vs Notre Dame Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Honorable mention heir of Slytherin: Tom Rees, for reasons I cannot articulate.

Hey Prison Mike, Happy Christmas.

- Alex Andrus


There are 7 rivalry trophies. Assign each trophy to the player on this team that it relates to the most (in whatever relation you like).

- Joshua Vowles

Rip Miller Trophy - Navy —> Sam Mustipher — he’s the leader of the offensive line and Rip Miller, of course, was one of the guys blocking for the Four Horsemen...easy choice

Megaphone - MSU —> Alohi Gilman — dude talks A LOT...he’s gotta be the Megaphone

Jeweled Shillelagh - USC —> Drue Tranquill — the trophy is described as follows: “this shillelagh will serve to symbolize in part the high tradition, the keen rivalry, and above all the sincere respect which these two great universities have for each other.” Drue Tranquill just seems like the perfect guy to symbolize all of those things.

Shillelagh Trophy - Purdue —> Te’von Coney — this trophy is a club donated by Joe McLaughlin, a merchant seaman and a Fighting Irish fan who brought it from Ireland, so I’m going to go with a tough guy who I could see thriving at sea

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

Legends Trophy - Stanford —> Julian Love — by the time he’s done at ND (probably after this year, but in an ND fan fantasy world, after next season), he will absolutely be a legend and one of the best Irish corners ever.

Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl & The Ireland Trophy - Boston College —> Nic Weishar — the winner of this match-up gets both of these trophies, and the Ireland Trophy specifically is awarded “as a token of goodwill, camaraderie and friendly rivalry,” so let’s go with one of the most agreeable, friendly guys on the team.

The Shillelagh - Northwestern —> Alex Bars — This is the oldest of the three shillelagh trophies, so I’m going with a wily veteran here who has been contributing to the team for a while now.

Do you think for some reason the 2012 championship game still sticks in some of the national media’s minds when they talk about ND’s current chances in the playoff? If they would have lost respectably in 2012, do you think fewer people would write them off so soon?

- Bobby Norell (@RENorell_III)

I do think it sticks in their minds and I do believe if ND had played a good game against Alabama, the national consensus that the Irish can’t hang with the big boys would not exist.

Like it or not, the Irish have had bad showings in every big postseason game they’ve had since Lou was coach. They got outright destroyed in a couple Fiesta Bowls (2001, 2016), the Sugar Bowl (2007), and the BCS National Championship (2013), and got fairly convincingly beaten in another Fiesta Bowl (2006). That kind of pattern in big postseason games is going to stick in the minds of the media, even if it all has very little to do with a team playing in 2018. The Irish need an actual good showing in this CFP to gain back some of that respect.

In the movie Rudy, Jon Favreau plays D-Bob, Rudy’s best friend while in college. Later, Jon Favreau would go on to play Happy, Tony Stark’s friend/bodyguard. Assuming that Rudy and the Avengers exist in the same universe, can you explain how D-Bob eventually becomes Happy? Also, where is Rudy during the events of the Avengers franchise? Is he still playing football? Why doesn’t Happy recruit him to the Avengers?

- Tyler Butler Sr. (@tylerbutler95)

Let’s look at what we know about D-Bob. When he departs from ND before Rudy’s final season, he’s off to Miami for law school. He returns for Rudy’s big game in the fall by rolling up to Notre Dame Stadium in a limo and drinking champagne. Clearly, the dude and/or his family is MADE of money — there’s no way he’s making any amount of money while in law school that would justify a limo and champagne for a visit to South Bend.

So, here’s my theory — D-Bob, having never learned a work ethic growing up for various reasons — clearly had a rich family, seemed to be blowing off the class he was TA for that Rudy was in, had Rudy help him meet girls in college because he didn’t wanna do it himself — failed out of law school and had his rich parents introduce him to a colleague of theirs, a super rich guy by the name of Howard Stark.

Howard referred D-Bob to his son Tony, who was now in charge of the family business (Marvel fans, please do not correct me on timeline here — I refuse to do the research to get all the little facts exactly right). Tony, a smart guy, immediately saw how useless D-Bob would be for anything intellectual going on at Stark Industries. However, being a spoiled rich kid who never worked hard himself, he found a soft spot for D-Bob, and offered him a job as his friend/bodyguard/chauffeur(?).

Because Tony is Tony and D-Bob was desperate to please his new boss, Tony decided he hated the name D-Bob (understandable) and changed his new bodyguard’s name to Happy. D-Bob accepted this, assumed his new persona and role, and that’s how that happened.

Oh, and Rudy? Where was he during all of this? He was busy being investigated and fined by the SEC for “lack of oversight” while serving as chairman of Rudy Beverage, Inc. Plus, he would be a useless Avenger anyway (extremely small, no useful talent to speak of, less-than-ideal intelligence), and Happy doesn’t call the shots. No way Tony takes on the liability that is a guy who only knows about getting the shit kicked out of him (by ND starters, by the SEC, etc.).


Just wanna give a quick shout out to everyone who provided questions for me to answer...per usual, it led to some very enjoyable writing for me.

Beat SC (South Carolina...i.e., where Clemson is).