Thursday, October 16, 2008

Irish Blogger Gathering: Brawling Hibernian Steps Up

With the doldrums of the bye week upon us, I take a look at this week's Irish Blogger Gathering courtesy of Frank V. at UHND.

1. With our beloved Irish on the bye this weekend, how much college football will you be watching Saturday and what games are you most looking forward to watching?

I'm really pretty torn on this one. On the one hand, the Hibernawife has been dropping subtle hints that she would like me to clean up the yard ("rake, monkey, RAAAAAAKE"), on the other hand, there are several games that have piqued my curiosity. Assuming I can escape my domestic servitude, I will be taking in the following:

  • Kansas at Oklahoma: Because there's just something about watching a fat man cry.
  • North Carolina at Virginia: The Tarheels have their inevitable letdown against the Sybil of the ACC.
  • Pittsburgh at Navy: Five straight for the Wannastache?
  • Virginia Tech at BC: Any opportunity to watch Fredo lose is must-see-TV.
Pictured here, the author attending to his appointed rounds.
2. Not to look too far ahead...but in looking at the 2009 schedule, do you think the Irish will be set up for a title run if they continue to improve each week as they are doing now?

Great question. I think 2010's probably a better bet. While Notre Dame will certainly be a very, very good team next year, their schedule does get a bit trickier than it is this season. For one thing, we swap out San Diego State for a solid Nevada team led by QB Colin Kaepernick who, if the stories are true, is 10-feet tall, bulletproof and capable of swatting a bi-plane straight out of the skies of Gotham. They follow that up with a trip to Toledo's bitch in Ann Arbor. Later, we get back-to-back home games against USC and BC. Given the enthusiasm surrounding both of those games, I can't imagine Notre Dame wins both (my money's on them losing to BC like they always do after a big win). The Irish then conclude the season at Pitt, home for UConn and on the road against Stanford. Those are going to be three tough teams that will be very up for ND. Given all of this, I think ND probably works its way back into the Top-10 next year, but doesn't actually make a serious run at the title until 2010.

3. If you could take 1 recruit we missed on from each of the last 4 years (1 from each year), who would they be and how differently would this team look like right now if we had gotten that 1 player each year? (Note, the players should be players the Irish either led for at one time or were at least a finalist for).

Wow, this one actually required some research. Here we go:
  • 2005, Lawrence Wilson, DE (tOSU): I mean, not that the Irish need help rushing the passer or stuffing the run. No, no, this whole going sack-less/hemorraging rushing yards thing is going just fi...oh God, here come the waterworks again.
  • 2006, Gerald McCoy, DT (Oklahoma): (sniffle) As I was saying, it would be nice to have some help along the d-line this season.
  • 2007, Arrelious Benn, WR (Illinois): Tough call on this one. Given how stacked we are at WR this year, I know it's not a huge need BUT, it would have helped out Jimmy and the offense tremendously last year (and given us a big headstart developmentally going into this season). Also, let's face it, in an offense as pass-oriented as ours, it never hurts to have one more uber-talented receiver to throw to.
  • 2008, Omar Hunter, DT (Florida): It's pretty amazing how different our defensive line could have looked this year had we landed some of the guys we had in our cross-hairs. It actually could have been a team strength, with decent depth, rather than the liability it is today. We've seen the benefits the synthesis of talent and depth along the o-line has brought; it would have been great to have that same thing happening on the other side of the ball.
If anyone needs me, I'll be staring at this picture and listening to 'Everybody Hurts'

4. If Notre Dame could only land 1 more recruit on each side the ball in this recruiting class, who would you like it to be? (Again, it should be someone we have a reasonable chance with).

Unquestionably, Shaquelle Evans on offense as it serves two purposes: 1) it enables Notre Dame to add a freakishly talented wide receiver to its current stable of Pegasi, and 2) it prevents SC from landing said ridonkulously-talented manchild. Where I come from, that's known as a win/win. On defense, I would go with Manti T'eo (as long as we're still on his list, I consider us to have a reasonable chance). For one thing, the kid's a five-star linebacker, and let's face it, those can be nice to have. For another, he's from a state (HI) from which ND has not scored many recruits over the years (Reggie Ho annnnnd, uh, Reggie Ho). Much as Charlie and company have opened a real pipeline in CA post-Jimmy, this could open us up a bit in the Aloha State.

5. If you could take one of Notre Dame's bowl losses since the 1994 Cotton Bowl win over Texas A&M and turn it into a win, which one would it be? Why? And What if any impact do you think that win would have had on the Irish.

Tough call. I'm going to go with the Sugar Bowl loss to LSU due to the following practical considerations: 1) it would undoubtedly have helped Brady's stock in the draft and he deserved better than what he got, 2) it likely would have kept a few recruits from wandering off the reservation (Little, Benn, etc.) and, 3) it would have gotten two HUGE monkey's off the program's back - a bowl victory and a "quality win" for Charlie - thus giving the team a big boost of confidence heading into a transitional year. No, I don't think losing that game doomed ND to the Rimbaudian season that 2007 became, but I have to think knocking off LSU in New Orleans would have been big for a young team's swagger.

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