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Notre Dame Football: Bye Week Q&A with Some Moron Named Pat Rick

You asked questions, and unfortunately Pat was the only one listening/answering them. Prepare for a real dumb weekly Q&A, you guys!!!

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

Hello friends, and happy Bye Week!!!!

It feels really nice to finally get a weekend off from the stress and emotional roller coaster-riding that is being a Notre Dame Fighting Irish football fan — especially after such a fun SHELLACKING that our boys handed out to the USC Trojans and their Heisman QB last Saturday. That ruled just a tiny bit...

So, with no opponent to inform ourselves about this week in the Q&A, I instead asked you my loyal OFD Tweeters to submit your bye week questions for this idiot I know named Pat Rick to take a stab at answering.

Of course, you all delivered with some really fun questions and some truly unrelated-to-Notre-Dame-sports-at-all questions. I expected nothing less, and per usual, did my best to answer all these questions in the time I had to do so.

So, let’s enjoy ourselves a nice little weekend of stress-free football and just use today to dive into some thought-provoking discussion starters to bring up with our friends and families this weekend. Here we go!


Pat Rick (One Foot Down): Okay, so we’re off to a hot start here. This one is an interesting inquiry for sure, and it’s a question I feel like I’ve been getting sent a lot ever since Elon took over Twitter. I suppose I should finally collect my thoughts and respond to it — give the very real people behind these accounts what they want, eh?

After giving it some thought, it seems like maybe I should check their profiles to get launch.* Part of me can’t shake the feeling this is some sort of scam, but the blue shield emoji thing and the green check mark instantly eliminate those fears and put me at ease that I do, indeed, need to check these folks’ profiles to “get launch.”

I love to get launch. I hate when I can’t get launch. I am always trying to get as much launch as possible at all times. This is huge for me.

*Pat Rick Note: I wish this said “Check my profile to get lunch” because then I’d be checking their profiles EVERY DAMN DAY, amiright?!

Okay, let’s move on to some questions more related to Notre Dame football — there have to be some of those, right?

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): I’m always one for accuracy (my compulsive need to be right/a know-it-all makes me paranoid about saying almost anything incorrect), so I’m going to say that you should really say you “listened to” it, not “read it.” Because, I mean, that’s what happened — you didn’t do any actual reading when you had a book read to you.

There’s no shame in listening to a book instead of reading it, though. I think that’s the bigger thing here — removing the stigma that listening to a book is somehow less intellectual or impressive or whatever. I don’t know how that came to be sort of a thing, but in my opinion people should consume books however is best and most convenient for them (maybe you want to consume books while driving, so obviously reading isn’t an option), and everyone needs to stop judging people for their preferences on that.

Speaking of judging people, maybe we should discuss a pressing issue that maybe some people judge others for in regards to pet-naming?

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): I am EXTREMELY pro-people names for dogs. I think it’s absolutely hilarious.

I just love the idea of someone saying something like, “This is Steve” and a little dachsund trots over, or yelling, “Come here, Karen!” and a big ole English bulldog comes lumbering over. Just such a great and adorable and funny bit that would never get old, because as you learn the dog’s personality it gets even funnier that it’s connected to a human name.

Bonus points if you name your dog a full name of a famous person — I used to always dream of getting a dog and naming it Herman Boone (the head coach in Remember the Titans). Or maybe you’re more political and want to pick, oh, I don’t know...Anwar Sadat.

Alrighty, now maybe let’s actually do something Notre Dame-adjacent — I wonder if anyone has anything super on-brand for me...maybe even someone on the OFD staff itself??

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): This is a massive undertaking that I could definitely not get done this week as part of this article — and honestly it should be its own piece anyway. Luckily, it already is, as I tackled this very question ~6 years ago while living just outside Milan for 3 months for work and having a lot of free time on my hands on weeknights, knowing basically no one and not speaking Italian.

So, I’m going to resurface that All-Time All-Name Team for Notre Dame here, and also see if any more recent names deserve to slip into the starting lineup above any of the legends I noted back in 2017.


  • Frank Doody, QB (1938-1940)
  • Joey Goodspeed, RB (1996-1999)
  • Harold Gottsacker, FB (1936-1938)
  • Equanimeous St. Brown, WR (2015-2018)
  • Golden Tate, WR (2007-2009)
  • Tommy Tremble, TE (2018-2020)
  • Bill Kutzavitch, OL (1961)
  • Torgus Oaas, OL (1910-1911)
  • Dick Swatland, OL (1965-1967)
  • Romanus “Peaches” Nadolney, OL (1918)
  • Joe Papa, OL (1938-1940)

Honorable Mention: C’Borius Flemister, Angus McDonald, Bill Shakespeare, Bernie Livergood, Tony Cash, Bob Papa, Clem Crowe, Oswald Geniesse, Bronko Nagurski Jr., Bob Bill, Noble Kizer, Virgil Bardash, Dick Coad, Nicholas Dinkle, Achille “Chick” Maggioli, Dick Zielony, Monty Stickles, Hercules Bereolos, Mirko Jurkovic, Dennis Grindinger

Tommy Tremble has officially unseated Dennis Grindinger at tight end, partially because of the alliteration and partially because his name allows me and my friends to make references to the Lenten song “Were You There?” as we sing the part “Sooooometimes, it caaaauses me to Tommy Tremble, Tommy Tremble, Tommy Tremble!!!!”

C’Bo came super close to unseating Joey Goodspeed, but it’s simply too good to have a running back whose last name is “Goodspeed,” so I’m choosing to keep him as the starter despite C’Bo’s incredible name.

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


  • Bob Jockisch, DL (1967-1968)
  • Herman Hooten, DL (1970-1971)
  • Karmeeleyah McGill, DL (1989-1992)
  • Arnold Ale, DL (1988)
  • Michael Stonebreaker, LB (1986-1990)
  • John Horney, LB (1964-1966)
  • Rocky Boiman, LB (1998-2001)
  • Jamoris Slaughter, DB (2008-2012)
  • Chinedum Ndukwe, DB (2003-2006)
  • Corny Southall, DB (1985-1988)
  • Vontez Duff, DB (2000-2003)

Honorable Mention: Joe Babey, William David Williams, Dick Boushka, Greer Martini, Bumper Schiro, Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Litchfield Ajavon, Nana Osafo-Mensah, Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Temitope Agoro, Boubacar Traore

There are some good names who didn’t make the cut, but none I think should rightfully supplant my original defensive starters here. Upon review, I really love Herman Hooten and Bob Jockisch as a combo on the defensive line. Great stuff.


Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Michigan Wolverines
  • Chuck Male, K
  • Hunter “The Punter” Smith, P

Honorable Mention: Hal Von Wyl, Scott Palumbo

In my original article I put Palumbo as 1st Team just because his actual name on its own was slightly more fun than just “Hunter Smith,” but I’ve now decided that we can’t ignore Hunter’s incredible nickname and how it takes his moniker to the next level.

Hunter the Punter takes the spot and Scott gets an Honorable Mention nod, as there simply haven’t been many good names for ND punters — at least that I could find.

Cool cool cool, what else you guys got for me??

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): I mean, I would think so, right? I know absolutely nothing about track and field, but I do know from his Wikipedia that Yared Nuguse qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with the 3rd-best time at the U.S. Olympic Trials, but just didn’t compete due to a quad injury.

And I also know he’s spent his 2023 setting new personal and U.S. and North American records in various events, and has consistently finished just behind the reigning Olympic champion in the 1500m, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, so he appears to be right there amongst the best in the world.

I don’t know for sure, but that sounds like someone who absolutely has a good shot to medal in Paris.

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): Shout-out to my sister for tossing a fun and festive question my way — this was incredibly difficult just due to the possibilities and my limited time to come up with something great for every single starter, but I did my best to assign fitting and/or funny and/or classic costumes to each and every one of these guys:

  • QB Sam Hartman: with Sam’s new ‘stache, an easy choice here would be Policeman or Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite (although Brian VanGorder already has that costume on lock from an ND perspective). Instead, I’m gonna go based on vibes and say he will be Maverick from Top Gun — you’re welcome, ladies, for the image of him playing some shirtless volleyball on the beach.
  • RB Audric Estime: Ken (from Barbie), because I think someone has to do it because of how topical it is, and Estime would be one of the funniest and one of the most willing players to commit to the bit and have fun with the ridiculous and brightly colored outfit
  • OT Joe Alt: Frankenstein’s Monster — I feel like this would be uncanny with just a little face paint and some fake screws in his neck
  • OG Pat Coogan: Mummy — as a first year starter, Coogan is still kind of a mystery to me in terms of knowing things about him, but he can still be a scary sight for opponents when he’s ON, just like a mummy you can’t really see beyond the wrappings but you know is a scary sight as it’s coming atcha
  • C Zeke Correll: a Zombie (with no conscience, shout-out Jay-Z) — multiple times I feel like Zeke’s been written off as not good enough, not big enough, etc., and yet here he is as a key graduate student starter in the middle of the offensive line — dude refuses to die and just keeps on trucking in search of brains and/or great blocks
  • OG Rocco Spindler: Tony Soprano — his name is “Rocco” and he’s a big, tough guy who likes to push people around. Feels fitting.
  • OT Blake Fisher: the Fisherman from that State Farm commercial — a little on the nose with his last name, but it’s a classic commercial and would be a fun bit for him to have various items on his fishing line all night as he uses the pole and his height to keep anyone from grabbing them
  • TE Mitchell Evans: Goose from Top Gun, because he’s Sam’s wingman in the passing game with the questionable receiver play/wide receiver injuries of late
  • WR Jayden Thomas: a Bat — get it, because he played baseball at ND, and because it’s also a spooky animal often associated with Halloween???
  • WR Chris Tyree: Dash from The Incredibles, this one is a no-brainer
  • WR Tobias Merriweather: Slenderman — dude is lanky and skinny and tall as hell, sorry I don’t make the rules but you gotta be Slenderman or maybe Gumby with that kind of physique
  • DE Javontae Jean-Baptiste: John the Baptist — sorry, I had to, especially since it’s a Catholic school after all!
  • DT Rylie Mills: The Incredible Hulk, because it just makes too much sense with how large this man is — someone get him some purple pants he can rip into shorts ASAP
  • DT Howard Cross: Rocky Balboa — people always describe Cross as having “violent hands” and so it feels only right for him to dress as the greatest boxer of all-time, the man who single-handedly ended the Cold War with one speech after a major upset victory in which people thought he was too small to win (sound familiar about a DT who’s never been the “ideal” size???)
  • DE Jordan Botelho: Tazmanian Devil from Looney Tunes — I just feel like Botelho is this wild cyclone of energy and violence at times, destroying everything in his path. Feels like Taz to me.
  • LB JD Bertrand: a Firefighter — he just looks like a firefighter type of guy and he’s often the unsung hero putting out lots of fires on the defense as the guy who gets them lined up and runs shit out there for Al Golden
  • LB Jack Kiser: Werewolf — just feels right, based on his appearance and body type and how I could easily picture him sprouting fangs and pursuing the QB with a deadly amount of speed and skill in hunting
  • LB Marist Liufau: a Lion — with that mane of hair, this one was an easy choice
NCAA Football: Notre Dame Spring Game Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
  • CB Ben Morrison: Dracula — he sucks the life out of opposing receivers, feeding on them and leaving them weak and pale and helpless from being shut down so easily
  • CB Cam Hart: a Spider — sometimes it feels like the lengthy corner has more than 2 arms and 2 legs out there, punching balls loose and breaking up passes and just catching opponents and opponents’ passes in his web of coverage
  • S Xavier Watts: a Pirate/Captain Jack Sparrow/Blackbeard from Our Flag Means Death — the swagger and the swindling of lots of booty, i.e. reeling in lots of turnovers...especially after his USC performance, I think this one makes a ton of sense
  • S DJ Brown: a Scarecrow — not because he needs a brain, but instead because he’s always at the back of the defense, standing in the field, attempting to stop the opponent — whether it be crows or football passes — from flying near him and his crops he’s protecting, AKA the end zone
  • NB Thomas Harper: a Cowboy — he used to play for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and his performance this year has proven to be super useful in the wild west that was that first 8 games of the season
  • K Spencer Shrader: David Beckham — figured I’d go with a guy who kicks things here
  • P Bryce McFerson: Kick-Ass from the movie Kick-Ass — figured I’d go with a kicking pun here
  • LS Michael “Milk” Vinson: a Cow — duh

Alrighty, let’s stay on the topic of holidays, shall we?

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): Here’s what I got, and please remember these are ranked by how much each one would be better or worse if they were 6 months later (i.e. the delta between the before and after, not just ranking them in their new timeframes). Also please note that I am assuming each one is a separate scenario where all other holidays remain the same and the one we’re talking about is the only one being moved 6 months.

1. New Years on July 1st — creates a super-holiday weekend with July 4th, love that for us in the summer

2. Independence Day on January 4th — creates a super-holiday weekend with New Years, love that for us right after Christmas

3. Labor Day in March — gives us a long weekend during that bleak stretch from New Years to Memorial Day where most of us don’t get many, if any, work holidays. Big improvement.

4. Memorial Day in November — creates either a super-holiday weekend with Thanksgiving or gives us a long weekend immediately following Thanksgiving — either way, great to get a little R&R after the stress of a big holiday

5. Saint Paddy’s on September 17th — this changes almost nothing for me, but I guess having a drinking/Irish holiday during the ND football season would be a slight improvement

6. Halloween on April 31st — this one doesn’t really change much but I guess having slightly better weather than end of October allows it to grab this ranking

7. Valentine’s on August 14th — this changes nothing for me, completely neutral move

Cesar Chavez at New York City Hall holding Grapes, 1986 Photo by Donna Dietrich/Newsday RM via Getty Images

8. Cesar Chavez Day on September 31st — mostly neutral move, but I don’t love moving Cesar Chavez’s day in general as it feels a tad disrespectful to our “Boycott Grapes” king

9. Easter/Dyngus Day in Sep/Oct — putting a holiday all about resurrection/rebirth in a time when the leaves are falling off trees and when we’d rather spend that Thursday-Sunday stretch watching football instead of being at church/brunch is definitely a negative for me. Also, not sure if Dyngus Day still involves boys throwing water on girls, but doing that in October could be a chilly affair.

10. Christmas on June 25th — Christmas is meant to be a cozy holiday during cold weather. You would have to cut your ugly sweaters into ugly sweater vests, which I think would be funny for one year but then I’d hate going forward. Also, drinking eggnog in late June sounds disgusting, not to mention it would feel silly buying all your Christmas gifts just a couple weeks before Prime Day offers way better deals

11. Thanksgiving in May — this holiday is built completely around tons of hearty, warm food that you’d much rather stuff yourself with in a colder month than in late May. Plus, having Thanksgiving in May means no football is on during that weekend, which would be a nightmare. Pass.

Okay cool, how about we talk ND football broadcasts a bit???

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): This is a super freaking hard (but awesome) question, because I feel like there are a lot of great options. And let me preface this by saying that I am including anyone who isn’t still enrolled at ND as a viable option, i.e. guys still active in the NFL are considered possibilities because we’re suspending disbelief that they wouldn’t do this due to, you know, having games to play the next day.

Names that came to mind initially for the actual host(s) included ND people who we already know are good on camera (Brady Quinn, Darius Walker, Aaron Taylor, Jac Collinsworth — just kidding lol, etc.), guys who are clearly just very smart and fun and interesting (Jaylon Smith, Matthias Farley, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Jerome Bettis, Justin Tuck, etc.), and guys I just think would be funny (John Goodman, Kyren “Bellyman” Williams, Rocket Ismail, etc.).

But when it comes to coming up with a pair of hosts who will have a natural and funny rapport and provide great content while watching ND games, I HAVE to go with Sheldon Day and Jerry Tillery, the dynamic duo from the A Season With Notre Dame Football documentary back in 2015. They were both absolutely electric on that show.

The format would be pretty much the same as the Manningcast, I think, because I love that format. Give me Sheldon’s and Jerry’s heads in a little picture-in-picture window as we watch the game, with their banter making it way more fun than listening to the current NBC broadcast team for Irish games.

Then, just like Manningcast, they’d bring on lots of ND-related guests to watch the game with, provide their own commentary, answer Sheldon and Jerry’s questions, etc.

This is in no order of any kind, but guests I’d like those two to have on their broadcast each week include: Brady Quinn, Darius Walker, Aaron Taylor, Jaylon Smith, Matthias Farley, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Jerome Bettis, Justin Tuck, John Goodman, Kyren “Bellyman” Williams, Rocket Ismail, Stephon Tuitt, Lou Holtz, Andrew Hendrix (for a doctor’s perspective), Chris Stewart (for a lawyer’s perspective), Alan Page (for a billion reasons, the dude rules), Dexter Williams, Kyle Hamilton, Theo Riddick, Ronnie Stanley, Zack Martin, Quenton Nelson, Ian Book, Avery Davis, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Golden Tate, Manti Te’o, Tim Brown, Chris Zorich, Michael Stonebreaker, Tony Rice, Joe Montana, Julius Jones, Joey Getherall, Ryan Grant, Tyler Eifert, Carlo Calabrese and Dan Fox as a pair, Chinedum Ndukwe, Tom Zbikowski, Jeff Samardzija, Maurice Stovall, Bob Diaco, CJ Prosise, Daelin Hayes, Shaun Crawford, Elijah Shumate (for the next Michigan game), Te’von Coney, Drue Tranquill, Julian Love, Jack Coan, Michael Mayer, Arnaz Battle, Mike Golic Sr. and Mike Golic Jr. and also Jake Golic, and many, many more.

State Supreme Court justice Alan Page swears in highschool students who will be playing the role of supreme court justices during the Youth in Government activities at the Capitol. The ceremony took place in the chambers of the state supreme court at the

With the list of people I want to see, they’re gonna need to have a few guests per broadcast and this will need to be done for multiple years to ensure we get all the right guests on there.

Along with those football guys, though, I want other ND folks, non-football, brought on too: Muffet McGraw, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Arike Ogunbowale, Ruth Riley, Niele Ivey, Mike Brey, the entire 2014-2015 ND men’s hoops team (especially Pat Connaughton and Bonzie Colson), Chris Quinn, Luke Harangody, Tim Abromaitis, Nicholas Sparks, Condoleeza Rice, etc., and then maybe even some non-ND alumni like Vince Vaughn, Sean Astin, Taylor Swift, etc.

Oh also, each broadcast will feature a “surprise” “guest” that’s just “Terry Jillery,” Jerry’s alter-ego we came to know and love via that documentary 8 years ago. #BringBackTerryJillery!!!

Also also, I know Tillery had a cheap shot he doled out the other week and he’s a bit questionable right now with being labeled as a somewhat dirty player between that and his stomping on a USC guy while at ND, but once he retires he could use this broadcast to chill out and rebrand and win back the affections of fans everywhere as a more mature guy who won’t do anything dirty on the field anymore (but he can also offer insight on dirty hits/cheap shots based on his experience LOL).

Okay, sweet — let’s move on to something even sweeter.

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): I believe candy corn is 100%, unequivocally...DELICIOUS.

Now, do I want it all the time, or in massive quantities? Of course not, it’s pure sugar and chemicals (Brach’s lists the following ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Confectioner’s Glaze, Salt, Dextrose, Gelatin, Sesame Oil, Artificial Flavor, Honey, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 3).

But is it a delightful seasonal treat that I think is tasty and sweet and unique? You betcha.

I don’t really get where this huge divide came from in this country, with people on the negative side especially taking a firm stance that candy corn is some crime against nature/God/humanity.

Halloween candy displayed at Wegmans grocery store, Boston Massachusetts Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It’s like the pineapple on pizza debate — you can have an opinion, but stop making that opinion your personality and/or stop using it to bully others who think differently. It’s food, y’all — nothing is objectively correct when we’re just talking about preferences, and I can name you MANY candies/desserts that I personally would deem way worse, but some of you might completely disagree on (shout-out to Mounds and Almond Joy and anything with mint in it that isn’t an actual mint/piece of mint gum).

Oh also, just to avoid follow-up questions: I also ride or die for those Brach’s candy pumpkins — I think they’re even better than candy corn, TBH.

While we’re on the topic of people being ride-or-die, let’s consider who MY ride-or-die fellas would be from this ND football team.

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): Again, this one was super difficult — but I think I feel pretty good about the end result. Please see below for my full party, including 3 ushers to help people find their seats and be coaches for the entire congregation.

  • Best Man: Audric Estime
  • Groomsman: Sam Hartman (without his beard...if he has the beard, I’m not letting him near my fiancée)
  • Groomsman: Xavier Watts
  • Groomsman: Benjamin Morrison
  • Groomsman: Joe Alt
  • Groomsman: Cam Hart
  • Groomsman: Howard Cross
  • Groomsman: Michael “Milk” Vinson
  • Usher: Marcus Freeman (I want him there, but can’t have him as a groomsman for the same reason Hartman can’t be up there with a beard)
  • Usher: Al Golden
  • Usher: Mike Mickens
  • Others Considered: Deland McCullough, Marist Liufau, Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Chris Tyree, J.D. Bertrand, Thomas Harper, Jadarian Price, Mitchell Evans, Jaden Greathouse, Jayden Thomas

Alright, we’ve gotten this far and still haven’t actually discussed bye weeks — let’s focus on that topic for a little bit...

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): I actually think, if we’ve learned anything from the perpetual “bye week discourse” over the years, it’s that bye weeks immediately before big games rarely help. Every season, ND fans complain about all the teams with byes before they play the Irish, and statistically it almost never actually proves to be an issue. The same, I’m sure, can be said most of the time for the Irish.

HOWEVER, with that said, I do think having a bye week TWO weeks before big games could be the ideal move, assuming the big game is midway through the season or later. Getting a week off before Louisville would have been huge for that team and maaaaaybe helped them rest up and refocus after two draining and physical games in order to not come out flat like they did against the Cardinals. At the very least, I think the Irish would have played a better game, not been blown out, and might have gotten one or two key players back in time to help make a difference.

With a bye week two weeks before a big game, it also allows the team to get one game under their belt after the bye to shake off any rust and get back into the groove of things before the rubber meets the road in the bigger game the following week.

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): This is where me just being an eCommerce Director and not having actual industry knowledge comes in, as I have absolutely no idea how bye weeks get decided. I’m not sure how much of a say Notre Dame has or if it’s more so that they figure out who they’re playing and then based on schedules, those games get lined up and then whatever open weeks are left are bye weeks — it sounds like a nightmare to coordinate.

My best guess here is that ND and Lousville played the weekend they did because “the ACC said so” because yes it might have been nice for the Irish to get a week off after Duke and then play USC and then Louisville after that, although again I don’t know if it would have changed that much — that Louisville blowout could still have happened, and who knows if ND comes out and crushes USC after a week off.

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): Honestly, very few things. And I think that’s partially just because I’m a simpleton who is not great at planning things ahead, but also sort of by design. My life has been insanely busy recently with work, travel, football games, etc., so having a weekend without having to plan my Saturday around an Irish football game sounds awesome, and I’d like to use that time to just relax a bit more with unstructured/unplanned time and give myself a rest both mentally and physically.

As far as alcohol consumption goes, it absolutely changes on a bye week. It’s probably less in quantity (depending on what I do socially this weekend), but also there will be a very big difference in method/state of mind of drinking, as there will be substantially less nervous or sad or overly happy drinking and instead it will be way more stable, secure, and level-headed.

My favorite offensive play of the year is probably Audric Estime’s game-winning score against Duke — that was dramatic and exciting and awesome, and honestly there haven’t been that many other offensive plays that I’d even consider.

Maybe Hartman’s TD to Flores to take the lead against Ohio State, or Hartman’s 4th-and-16 run against Duke, or Estime’s long TD run vs. NC State, but I don’t think any of those had the stakes and importance of that TD run.

Defensively, I’ll go with Xavier Watts’ scoop-and-score vs. USC. I know the game wasn’t in doubt at that point, but it was just such an elating moment to see Watts make yet another big play and score and send the crowd into a frenzy. Runners-up include the 4th down stop against Ohio State that we all thought would be the game-winner (ugh) and just about any Howard Cross moment from the Duke game, because he was a monster that night.

Bonus favorite play from neither offense or defense — obviously Jadarian Price’s kick return against USC.

That was incredible and made me feel...lots of things.

Talkin’ about feeling lots of things...what makes you feel more things than an awesome song to get the whole stadium riled up??

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): I would have pushed hard for Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” because I think it’s probably my favorite song of all-time, but the Philadelphia Phillies have already claimed a cover of it as theirs, so I don’t want to step on any Philly fans’ toes (that’s the last fan base I want to enrage online or in-person).

So, my first inclination aside from that banger is to first think about the foremost Notre Dame authority on great music, i.e. the Linebacker Lounge and their perfect playlist. Ideally we could pull most/all of these from the Top ~10 Backer songs, because if they’re good enough to get me going in that beautiful shithole, they’re good enough to get me going while watching the Irish play as well.

Reviewing that list, here are my choices for top 5 songs for ND to claim as our own, and also some notes on when they should regularly be played to fully utilize their greatness:

  1. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey — it would be super unique, very funny, and also be a perfect song that provides fantastic energy and words everyone knows at this point in order to build the stadium into a frenzy. I see this as ND’s “Jump Around” song, played between the 3rd and 4th quarter to get the crowd ready for the final period of dominance.
  2. “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” by The Four Seasons — this should obviously be played after any victory, similar to how Wrigley always plays “Go Cubs, Go” after any Cubs W. Also hats off to me for working “Go Cubs, Go” into this, considering that’s also commonly played at the Backer.
  3. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston — no song gets multiple generations wanting to get up and dance and scream the lyrics more than this song, and thus I think it could be fun to play this heading into the 4th quarter or sometime during the 4th quarter or just after the game ends as a celebration, because you know this would be a fantastic addition to the stadium playlist.
  4. “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn — I love this song, and although it wouldn’t be that “hype,” it would be a really fun one to sing together as a stadium, especially when we hit the lines “DOWN IN THE JUNGLE ROOM” AND “MA’AM I AAAAAM TONIGHT”
  5. “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz — yeah, I’m going outside the Backer Bangers for this one, but you can’t tell me this song wouldn’t get the crowd a little riled and also nostalgic for 2009 (which is hard to do considering Chuck Weis was roaming the sidelines then), and obviously the song has some deep roots with this program

Backer Bangers that I considered but left off the list:

  • “Africa” by Toto because I feel like it’s overdone and honestly I’m not that big a personal fan of it
  • “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood, because I think this only hits if you’re very drunk and it’s 3 AM and you’ve got your arms around your friends as you stand in a circle with one person in the middle of the circle hyping you all up
  • “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion, because despite this being a near perfect song that would be amazing to sing together as a stadium, it’s also super long and thus I’m not sure we could fit the entire thing in (which is what it deserves)
  • “Walking on Broken Glass” by Annie Lennox, because it just wouldn’t probably be as universally enjoyed/appreciated as songs for this should be

Other Songs I Considered But Didn’t Quite Make the Top 5:

  • “Sugar We’re Goin Down” by Fall Out Boy
  • “Can’t Be Touched” by Roy Jones Jr.
  • “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield
  • “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton
  • “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” by Panic! At the Disco
  • “The Anthem” by Good Charlotte
  • “Hooked On a Feeling” by Blue Swede
  • “You’re the Voice” by John Farnham
  • “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys
  • “Dancing Queen” by ABBA
  • “good 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo
  • “Drops of Jupiter” by Train
  • “Soul Survivor” by Jeezy and Akon
  • “Motivation” by Sum 41
  • “I Try” by Macy Gray

Finally, when it comes to Michigan trying to claim “Mr. Brightside,” I’m not sure there’s much we can do besides just ignore it — that song is like a wild animal, no one can ever really stake a claim to it or domesticate it for their own use or say it’s “theirs.”

With that said, all non-Michigan programs can collectively agree that if Michigan wants to insist that’s truly their thing, then anytime one of us beats Michigan, “Mr. Brightside” should be played immediately following the game similar to how “California Love” was played at the end of the USC game, so as to make fun of them and rub it in and take the song from them and make it part of a humiliating/painful memory for those fans.

Okay, let’s keep on talking about music for just a bit longer...

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): I’m going with Sam Hartman, Audric Estime, Joe Alt, Marist Liufau, and Xavier Watts — just a perfect combination of swagger, humor, awkwardness, great hair, and athleticism in order to pull off all the moves.

Also, the puppet master pulling the strings of these five (as seen in the official music video) would obviously be Marcus Freeman as their coach, helping put them all in position to make beautiful football music together.

Or, since they break free from the strings and try to run away from the puppet master in the video, you could argue Brian Kelly is the puppet master and they’re finally free from the string-like shackles he put on the players in the program, holding them back from being truly great.

Up to you guys!!!

Okay this is perfect timing — while we’re talking about dual-threat talent like NSYNC who can both sing and dance, let’s think about the best multi-sport athletes in the ND football world...

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): This question is another difficult one to answer in a comprehensive fashion, just because there have been so many multi-sport athletes who played football for Notre Dame — especially back in the old days when specialization was not a thing and all these guys just crushed it at like 3-4 sports each.

I did some basic Google research using articles like this to put together a list of options, and then worked as hard as I could to rank them as football players first (based on the way Reed posed his question) and then using just general athleticism/impressiveness at their second/third/fourth sports as a tie-breaker if needed.

A Passing Victory

I also tried not to let this impact it tooooo much because I want to respect the ND legends from the old days, but it’s hard for me to rank someone like Angelo Bertelli over just electric athletes from more modern times, despite the Heisman Trophy he won and all. Sorry, man!

I also couldn’t stop at just ranking 5, so here’s a top 10:

  1. Johnny Lujack (football, basketball, track, baseball)
  2. Tim Brown (football and track)
  3. Paul Hornung (football and basketball)
  4. Golden Tate (football and baseball)
  5. Rocket Ismail (football and track) - AA in both
  6. Angelo Bertelli (football and baseball)
  7. Bob Golic (football and wrestling) - AA in football and finished 3rd and 4th place in the country in 1976 and 1977 ncaa championships in wrestling
  8. Jeff Samardzija (football and baseball)
  9. Moose Krause (football, basketball, and track) — AA in both football and basketball
  10. Elmer Layden (football and track) + Jim Crowley (football and hockey)

Honorable Mention: Allen Rossum (football and track), Shane Walton (football and soccer), Joe Theismann (football and baseball), Irv Smith (football and baseball), Cole Kmet (football and baseball), Hunk Anderson (football and hockey)

While we’re talking all this talent that ND got to enjoy in multiple sports, let’s bring ourselves back to earth a bit and discuss the topic of those who got away...

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): This is almost an impossible question to answer, or at least to rank the recruiting misses — because you’d have to truly understand which guys were seriously going to consider ND and/or would have chosen ND if not for some subjective reason, and then use that to help weigh their talents and determine who was the biggest “miss.”

I can’t do the ranking part of this, and being 32 years old my knowledge of ND’s recruiting only really goes back like 15 years (with a few big-name exceptions from before that time), so here are the biggest “misses” I can think of for the Irish.

Also, some of these guys didn’t exactly end up being NFL greats, but they still would have been nice to get at the college level. And I’m defining “misses” as anyone ND didn’t get, for whatever reason, but had a realistic and pretty decent chance of landing:

  • Luke Kuechly
  • Anthony Barr
  • AJ Dillon
  • Randy Moss (I know they technically landed him, but since he never got to play for ND this is still a massive miss)
  • Allen Iverson!!!
  • Juju Smith-Schuster
  • Arrelious Benn
  • Lorenzo Booker
  • Deontay Greenberry
  • Isaiah McKenzie
  • Gio Bernard
  • Elijah Hood AKA “Roll Toilet” guy
  • Ronald Darby
  • Bubba Starling (I know he went the baseball route anyway, but still)
  • Nelson Agholor
  • Eddie Vanderdoes
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown
  • Paulson Adebo
  • Damar Hamlin
  • Ronald Jones
  • Charles Nelson
  • Bo Scarbrough
  • Allen Lazard
  • Keith Marshall
  • Arik Armstead
  • Potential to End Up On This List: Peyton Bowen, Dante Moore, Keon Keeley, Drew Allar, Nicholas Singleton, and probably more

Alrighty, now let’s talk ideal schedule, shall we?

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): This was also hard, because everything I kept putting together was an awesome and exciting schedule that would end up with ND playing like 8 ranked teams and having very little chance to make the CFP, even when it expands to 12 teams.

But, I think I’ve got my best first draft of this — would love you readers to weigh-in in the comments about what you would change or do differently. Here’s how I would lay out the base schedule every year:

  1. Neutral Site Game Against a Service Academy (Navy, Army, Air Force) — I personally would rather have ND never play these teams again, but if we refuse to drop the Navy relationship, I’d like to open that up to be a rotating game slot for all three service academies to keep it fresh and properly honor all our troops
  2. Michigan State/Purdue — I see these two as good historical/regional rivals who won’t be elite, too-tough opponents most seasons, and so I’d like to get them back on the schedule on a regular basis
  3. Michigan Game — I hate them, but it’s time to give the people what they want and have the Irish and Skunkbears play annually again
  4. MAC Opponent (Toledo, Central MI, Western MI, Eastern MI, Ball State, Miami OH, Buffalo) — let’s schedule a regional, midwestern patsy to give the team an easier week after Michigan
  5. A Big 12 Opponent (West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Kansas, TCU, Baylor, Cincinnati) — I think this would help add some fun away games every other year, some interesting new opponents, and add a decent P5 opponent to the schedule without being an elite opponent MOST seasons. Could occasionally be a big game, which would be fun too (e.g. if TCU has another year like 2022, or if someone like Oklahoma State or Kansas State gets good again)
  6. BYE
  7. Michigan State/Purdue — see above
  8. USC or Other West Coast Opponent (UCLA, Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Wazzu) — I’d like to continue playing the final game of the season on the west coast, and so on years where USC comes to ND, they should play the Irish here in mid-October. And when ND is going to USC in November, I want a fun and pretty good west coast squad to come to South Bend (also allowing for a fun November road game at their stadiums every other year)
  9. Random G5 Opponent (Temple, East Carolina, Rice, South Florida, Western Kentucky) — not all these games can be bangers — let’s strategically schedule one of these here, after a tough west coast opponent comes to town
  10. Rotating Major SEC/Big 10 Opponent (Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin) — I know I’m starting to load this schedule up, but I want fun and interesting and tough opponents for building resumes, and with an expanded playoff field, there will be some margin for error that allows for scheduling some tougher teams and getting rewarded for that if you play pretty well and still win most games
  11. BYE
  12. Good/Decent ACC Team (Clemson, Florida State, UNC, Louisville, Miami) — this could be rough if you get an elite Clemson or FSU team here, but otherwise could just add a potential Top 25 win without it being TOO taxing
  13. Middling/Bad ACC Team (Boston College, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest) — Senior Day baybeeeeeeeee
  14. @ USC or @ Other West Coast Opponent (UCLA, Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Wazzu)

So using this model, we could set up for a 2024 and 2025 (wiping the current planned schedules for those years clean, assuming ACC match-ups don’t need to be home-and-homes, and pretending like we could start anew with the home-and-home with USC so they can come to South Bend in 2024) of:


  • Army
  • @MSU
  • Michigan
  • Miami OH
  • @West Virginia
  • BYE
  • Purdue
  • USC
  • Rice
  • LSU
  • BYE
  • @UNC
  • Georgia Tech
  • @UCLA


  • Navy
  • Michigan State
  • @Michigan
  • Ball State
  • West Virginia
  • BYE
  • @Purdue
  • UCLA
  • Western Kentucky
  • @LSU
  • BYE
  • @Miami
  • Boston College
  • @USC

I don’t even know how much I love the above, but that’s what I’m going with for now. My main thing is I need to find a way to work in some Sun Belt home-and-homes so I can go see games at some of those places, those would be fun trips and opponents and probably pretty quality wins some seasons.

Alrighty, what else you guys got???

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): This is going to be an embarrassing answer: I’ve never seen Bloodsport (have heard a lot about it though — maybe that’s my new planned activity for the bye weekend!!!), and played shockingly little Mortal Kombat growing up, so I only really know it as essentially a super graphic video game version of UFC fighting, i.e. anything goes.

With that said, I’m looking for Irish players who have a good combination of size and speed/athleticism, or for players so extreme in one particular skill set or attribute that they can still compete despite lacking in another skill or attribute.

My top contenders would thus be Audric Estime, Joe Alt, Rylie Mills, Jason Onye, Jordan Botelho, J.D. Bertrand, Xavier Watts, Brenan Vernon, Eli Raridon, and Javontae Jean-Baptiste.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

I think from that group I’m probably taking Alt or Mills, but I also wouldn’t bet against Estime or Botelho for multiple reasons.

I’ll pick Joe Alt, though — dude is massive but can still move very well, even if I worry about him fighting too “fair” and getting defeated by a craftier, hungrier fighter.

Okay, we have time for one more question — I’m exhausted y’all!

Pat Rick (One Foot Down): I really needed to hear this, thank you for asking — especially considering you already asked me this a while back, Hayden. I appreciate you continuing to check up on me.

Here’s what I said two years ago when Hayden asked me this exact same question during the bye week:

“*audibly yelps/cries out of happiness and relief that someone asked him how he’s doing*

I’d say I’m more or less holding it together, Hayden, thank you for asking! I mean these days I’m tired most of the time, I somehow managed to injure my knee while sleeping, and half my days at work are spent wrestling with impostor syndrome...but overall I’m alive, healthy, and excited about some trips and weddings (not my own) that I have coming up!

Oh, shoot, I forgot that the first rule of small talk is not being at all honest about any of that. You probably weren’t looking for that kind of answer. Let me start over.

Living the dream, another day in paradise! How are you doing?”

So, here’s how I’d update that response for 2023:

“*audibly yelps/cries out of happiness and relief that someone asked him how he’s doing*

I’d say I’m more or less holding it together, Hayden, thank you for asking! I mean these days I’m tired anxious most of the time, I somehow managed to injure scrape my knee hand while sleeping carrying a package upstairs, and half my days at work are spent wrestling with impostor syndrome...but overall I’m alive, healthy, and excited about some trips and weddings (not including my own) that I have coming up!

Oh, shoot, I forgot that the first rule of small talk is not being at all honest about any of that. You probably weren’t looking for that kind of answer. Let me start over.

Living the dream, another day in paradise! How are you doing?”


Alright folks, that’s gonna do it for this week — I wanna pass along a major shout-out to myself for answering all these questions despite having way too much going on in my life right now, and hope you don’t completely hate these answers and petition Joshua to kick me off the One Foot Down platform forever.

Please throw some follows on Twitter both to the OFD account and to myself, because the OFD Twitter is amazing and because I retweet a lot of dumb and funny things that better people than I tweet, and be sure to check out all the other great coverage we have at the site during this Bye Week as well as throughout the rest of the season.