Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mmmmm Some Christmas Flying Pigs.....

Wow, alrite I've got some crow to eat, what a game, it is truly a Christmas Miracle, everyone have an awesome Christmas, I'm up in Lake Placid going to do the luge and bobsled, lets get ready for new years!!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Miracle

A recent interview I had in a dream......

Charlie: Hey, did you want to go to the bowl game this year?
Me: Yea coach, that would be swell

Charlie: Ok well we're going to Hawaii and everyone will love it there, girls on the beaches, warm sand, fruity drinks, I cant wait for all of you to come?
Me: When is it again coach?

Charlie: Christmas eve so bring your whole family, and from all the swag they give us, that can be your christmas shopping?
Me: ..... ummm coach, I'm not on the team, I am just a student and just finished up a very tough month of classwork.

Charlie: Wait, hard classwork..... your not on the team are you?
Me: No coach
Charlie: Well, your out of luck, and btw so is the band..... 

OK, we accepted a bowl (w/e I don't care either way) but to pick the Hawaii bowl on Christmas Eve, to reward a coaching staff and team with a free trip to Hawaii to play in Aloha Stadium. You know who else plays in Aloha Stadium, Pro-Bowlers from the NFL who had to earn their way there and not back into a bowl game at 6-6. 

We choose to play a decent enough team on the far away from home, and not only is it away from warm South Bend, it is in Hawaii's hometown. And who do you think is going to be going to that game which is essentially another home game for Hawaii. I mean, don't students and followers of a Catholic college like Notre Dame usually celebrate Christmas and Christmas Eve? My only idea could be that Charlie didn't want anyone to watch the game in person or on tv. Without watching the whole USC game on tv and only seeing highlights, the carnage is much less gruesome. 

ESPN posed a question today, "whether you thought that Notre Dame would finally win a bowl game and break their streak" and 72 percent of responses were no. Each and every state said no. I am hoping for our team to pull it out, but based on what we know about this team..... I don't see tonite going well, and karma isn't on our side. If they can't stay away from Cheers and focused in South Bend during the season, what do you think is going to happen when there are no classes, and only sunshine, fruity drinks, and women not in sweatpants.   Merry Christmas

Back, for now...

Have you ever been a member or a group or club and missed a series of meetings or events, and after the third miss, decided not to go to the fourth or fifth meetings because you wanted to avoid the awkwardness of having to explain why you've been missing?

I guess that's sort of what happened hear at Charlie's Nasties since the Boston College game. After an increase in school work was coupled with on-field performance I found difficult to write about, this blog has been put on the back burner. Kudos to everyone still writing the IBG posts - I've still been reading all things Irish, but the time to write kept finding away to escape from me.

Nevertheless, I felt that I should at least share a few thoughts about the bowl game against the Hawaii Warriors tonight. Naturally, BGS has a very in depth breakdown of the team we will be facing tonight. Here are a few observations about their roster:
  • Hawaii only has one starter (soph RB Kealoha Pilares) that isn't at least a junior. It absolutely amazes me that Notre Dame is still fielding so much youth (5 freshman have started this year) that it is still markedly younger than a Hawaii team that just graduated perhaps its best class in school history.
  • The matchup that might determine the game could very well be Hawaii's D-Line vs. the Notre Dame sled pushers. DE David Veikune has 9 sacks in the last six games and is projected by some to get drafted this spring. Couple that with two 300 lb tackles on the interior, and the Irish offensive line could be challenged by the Warriors, who are 11th in the nation in sacks this year.
  • I feel that our defense will match up favorably against Hawaii's run and shoot offense. Sports Illustrated wrote a great article a few months ago about the keys to stopping a spread offense, and it seems that the secret is to field a very rare and specific type of defensive players that are fast, agile, and capable tacklers. This has shown up in Weis' recruiting as he has been getting bigger, more physical CBs and quicker (and sometimes smaller) front seven players. Look for Harrison Smith to be all over the field in this game.

That's about as in depth as I can go into a game preview, but hopefully readers can find something worthwhile in there. Perhaps more interesting than any game preview, however, is the reaction to Notre Dame playing in this bowl game in the first place. Here are some bullet points on that:

  • On the decision to bowl at .500: I am aware that Notre Dame is used to holding itself to a higher tradition, and the thought of being rewarded for such a disappointing season doesn't sit well with some people. However, this young team needs this game not for the extra practices (I honestly don't think an extra 2-3 weeks at the end of the season does much), they need this game to change the momentum around before the offseason. Getting the bowl monkey off our back would help everything from recruiting to player moral; we need this win. Good call.
  • On the decision to bowl in Hawaii: From my understanding, there were a few lower-tiered bowls chomping at the bit to host Notre Dame and its large viewing audience, and the coaches asked the players informally if they preferred any of these bowls. Naturally, the players picked Hawaii. Here is where I have a problem because it does seem to turn the trip into a reward. This also seems to be a lose-lose from a football standpoint: if we win, we beat Hawaii. If we lose, we lost to Hawaii. Neither option is very appealing; it's no wonder the ever generous University offered students $45 tickets to this game. Bad call.
  • More on the decision to bowl in Hawaii: Besides the coach/player/football decision to go to Hawaii, this bowl choice has not seemed to make fans very happy. For the first time in history, the band will not follow the team to the bowl game, and in the current economy, it seems unlikely that many fans will either. One domer from Pittsburgh commented that instead of paying the $2,500 for a plane ticket, he would rather watch the game on a new High Def TV. As for the students, some of the better off upperclassmen are fortunate enough be able to vacation to Hawaii and watch the team, but I know too many Seniors that are financially unable to cheer on their team in person for their last game as students. Bad Call.
  • On playing on Christmas Eve: I don't like this date for two reasons. First, its proximity to finals means that the team either didn't get as much practice as they could have, or sacrificed study time to cram in football, neither of which is good. Second, the extraordinary time wasted on travel and time adjustment handicaps Notre Dame and leaves Hawaii unaffected. Bad call from a football standpoint. From a religious / fan standpoint, if Notre Dame doesn't have a problem playing bowls on Jan. 1, then I don't see a religious problem, and fortunately, in today's age of TiVo, Christmas Eve conflicts should at least be minimized. No call.

That's it for this short bowl preview. Thanks to all of the fans that have read and commented on this blog over the past two seasons. Merry Christmas, and of course, Go Irish!