I’ve stewed on this article all week. I’m the king of introspective shoe gazing, and I’ve been off my game this season. There’s been so much superfluous garbage going on that I haven’t been able to properly channel my hate into a focused beam of vitriol. I mailed it in against Boston College, and I felt personally responsible for the garbage we saw on the field in the first half. The Tigers mirrored my hate article: unfocused and uninspired. A good line here and there, but no sustained greatness. Consider this article the start of my second half, and I couldn’t think of a better team against whom to start my comeback.
I don’t like to share this, but I was born in Huntingburg, Indiana (I made it to South Carolina as soon as possible). Huntingburg is a small town in the middle-of-nowhere Southern Indiana. My dad comes from a large German Catholic family (are there any small German Catholic families?), and he is the black sheep of the family. The majority of my aunts and uncles went to Indiana University; my dad went to Purdue.
Not only is my dad’s family divided, but the I.U. side has some serious firepower. My Uncle Mark is the former offensive line coach at Indiana and is currently the Assistant Athletic Director for Alumni Relations for the Hoosiers. My cousin Kerry played a little volleyball at I.U. and married one of their former quarterbacks. Hell, we’ve used the Old Oaken Bucket as the center piece for Christmas dinner on the rare occasions when I.U. managed to win the rivalry game (my uncle is the keeper of the bucket). While talk of Indiana and Purdue sports can get a little rowdy during the holidays, we always have Notre Dame as a safe fallback when things get a little spicy after four too many eggnogs. Hate for Notre Dame is the one thing that unites the family.
I was born to hate Notre Dame in the spirit of familial love.
How could I start any Notre Dame hate article without mentioning the angry, red faced little man in charge? Brian Kelly is every terrible coach’s idea of a good coach. He spends the entire game in a frothing rage, screaming at anyone that gets within 5 yards. Don’t get me wrong, Kelly is an above average head coach. There is enough substance behind the purple faced, vein-busting rage to keep the Fighting Irish in the hunt most years. He’s nothing special, but then again, neither is Notre Dame.
There are rumors that Kelly has toned it down on the sidelines over the last few season. I think we’ll see at least one volcanic tantrum on Saturday, but if he’s toned down his rage a notch, he’s turned his whining up to 11. During a recent Q&A presser, Kelly was asked about Clemson stealing signs on defense and he took every bit of the bait. Angry Brian had this to say about Brent Venables and the Clemson defense.
“I think you have to be cognizant of it and be aware of it. There’s no question it’s something that we are dealing with. We’ve lived it and we’re prepared for it.”
Brian is confusing a coach with a photographic football memory and an attention to detail normally only seen in Arthur Conan Doyle works of fiction with sign stealing. I get it. It must feel like Clemson is stealing signs. Brent exposed Brian Kelly’s offense for the uninspired, predictable slog that it’s always been in the 2018 College Football semifinal.
The Tigers embarrassed him in that Cotton Bowl. A first quarter field goal was the only thing that kept the Fighting Irish from suffering the Full Buckeye. His quarterback threw for 160 yards and an interception and was sacked 6 times. His rushing attack picked up 88 yards on 35 carries. It was a complete and total domination.
I understand what it’s like to go against a superior opponent and get crushed. My wife, Dr. Schneider, is a genius. I’ve been with her for almost 20 years and I still don’t understand how her brain works. I refuse to play board games or card games against her because she crushes me every time. Before I took up my avoidance strategy it bothered me to no end.
I’m a competitive person. I don’t take losing well, and she would ruthlessly crush me, while at the same time patronizingly apologizing for her “good luck” and telling me how well I was doing. Folks, I’ve flipped over my share of Scrabble boards and thrown down more hands of rummy than I care to admit. She’s simply better than I am at those types of games and, no matter how hard I try, it’s not going to happen.
Subsequently, I tell everyone I refuse to play her because she cheats. She doesn’t need to cheat to beat someone who possesses merely above average intelligence like myself, but that’s what I have to tell myself so I don’t have to admit that her brain power makes me look like Will Muschamp.
If you’re into analogies, Brian Kelly : Brent Venables :: Drew Schneider : Dr. Schneider.
There is nothing I hate more than college football “blue bloods” who constantly bring up the things which happened before most of us, not to mention any players or recruits were even born, because they are irrelevant in the past THIRTY YEARS. Notre Dame hasn’t been a true player on the national scene since Lou Holtz cheated his way to a National Championship in 1988 (Saint Lou left Notre Dame one step ahead of NCAA sanctions, just like he did at NC. State, Minnesota, Arkansas and The U of SC).
Notre Dame is Michigan with a hand picked schedule. They’re in the national conversation in 2020 because they’ve had the easiest ACC schedule statistically possible, and were dominant in the “Golden Era” of college football; or so our grandparents tell us. They beat up on service academies and other college football relics like Michigan and USC, but when asked to step to an elite program like Clemson or Alabama, they are exposed for the middling B1G frauds they are.
This is their record against top 10 teams (when they played) under Brian Kelly:
(7)Notre Dame @ (3)Georgia
17-23 - L
(8)Notre Dame vs (7)Stanford
38 - 17 - W
(3) Notre Dame vs (2) Clemson
3 - 30 - L
(3) Notre Dame vs (7) Miami
8 - 41 - L (no, The U was not “back”)
(8) Notre Dame vs (7) Ohio State
28 -44 - L
(5) Notre Dame @ (2) Florida State
27 - 31 - L
(25) Notre Dame @ (8) Stanford
20 - 27 - L
(20) Notre Dame @ (10) Michigan State
20 - 3 - W
(5)Notre Dame @ (8)Oklahoma
30 - 13 - W
(1) Notre Dame vs (2) Alabama
14 - 42 - L
(22) Notre Dame @ (4) Stanford
14 - 28 - L
If you’re doing the math at home, Notre Dame is 3-8 in games against Top-10 teams under Brian Kelly. That’s not great. What’s even more damning is their 0-5 record against Top-5 teams. When the spotlight is the brightest, Notre Dame’s talent and coaching are easily overshadowed.
There is a simple explanation for their futility against good teams. It doesn’t come down to “stealing signals” or “high acceptance standards”; Notre Dame loses against elite football teams because they’re an above average program buoyed by the sports media machine.
Notre Dame isn’t elite. Just like the Rudy, they’re frauds trading on a bygone era that wasn’t as good as you remember; an era, we must point out, in which everyone and their mother claimed “national titles” split six or seven ways. They run the same scam every season, and people are shocked when they prove to be a paper tiger. Don’t buy into “Touchdown Jesus”, “The Gipper” or “The Ghost of Ara Parseghian.”
Those are fairy tales.
Notre Dame may not be an elite football program, but they excel at propaganda. They’re an average B1G team pretending to be something they’re not. I said they were Michigan with a hand picked schedule, but they’re closer to Iowa with a better P.R. team.
Clemson heads into this game with one returning defensive starter from last season. We’re missing one of the best quarterbacks in the history of college football, but there are no excuses. The Tigers are an elite program, and elite programs overcome average teams like Notre Dame, regardless of the obstacles. If you’re one of the Clemson fans saying “it’s O.K. if we lose to Notre Dame because we’re missing Trevor” I want you take to a long look in the mirror and remember that you’re a Clemson Tiger and not an LSU Tiger. Excuses are for guys like Brian Kelly, Coach O, Ryan Day and other college football frauds.
I fully Clemson expect to waltz into South Bend, take a few pictures with Touchdown Jesus in the background, kick Notre Dame’s teeth down their throats, and head back home. I want the sports media to talk about Notre Dame like they talked about Miami a month ago. I want people to yawn at this win because we beat Notre Dame so thoroughly with our Lite Beer Squad that they are exposed for college football frauds that they are. I want to see them get hit with a double Swinney midway through the 4th quarter. I may be spoiled, but I’ll be disappointed if this game is within 3 possessions.
Don’t buy the hype, friends. Best Is The Standard, and that’s what we should expect. Notre Dame is just another hapless victim standing in front of the Clemson juggernaut. Their grandparents will always have the past, but the present and the future are ours.
I’ll see y’all after the win on Monday.