This week's set of IBG questions comes courtesy of the the fine folks over at Her Loyal Sons. Stop by and see them when you have a chance. Ladies drink for free.
1. What photo of some member of the 2008 Irish squad doing something, anything at all, really, says all 1,000 words that need to be said about this team? OR, which photo of some member of the 2008 Irish squad doing something would tell 1,000 lies about this team if you only saw the photo and didn't know better? (Double-secret word score bonus for answering both mutations of the same question).
Sign me up for the cherished double-secret word score bonus.
Truth: Unlike his My Super Sweet 16 introduction to the program at the College Football Hall of Fame, this picture shows Jimmy to be a regular guy; willing to hang with his teammates and have a few adult beverages (even if their ages aren't consistent with Indiana's definition of "adult"). In addition, it shows the closeness of this team (James Aldridge and Brian Smith are also pictured). Unlike 2007's exercise in cliques and bitchiness, the 2008 edition of the Irish seems to be a team that generally (shocking concept alert) likes each other! A big part of this year's relative success stems from this concept. Team cohesiveness is a key to success - look no further than the Beerlympics for evidence.
False: Were I a neophyte, unfamiliar with the program, I might think that this was either a poorly-staged homage to the 1979 film classic, The Warriors, or an exceptionally-talented group of street performers embarking upon a complex and moving dance set to "Hot Lunch Jam" from the soundtrack to Fame. Only one of these would be accurate.
2. Some of you may know that I (domer.mq) am a football stat geek. Which statistic do you think geeks like myself should really be paying attention to this season and why? (Can pertain to ND or CFB in general.)
I am, admittedly, not a huge stats guy. If ND is winning, I will certainly take a look at their stats and see what makes them so fundamentally awesome. When, as has been the case recently, ND is average or below, I am more consumed with the macro, rather than micro, picture. So, with the Irish once again in the throes of mediocrity, I turn my attention to the wider world of college football. In looking through the national statistics, I was stunned to discover that the Rice Owls have two of the Top-5 receivers in the country. Not Texas Tech, not USC, but Rice. That's right, Jarrett Dillard and James Casey (averaging 105.4 and 105.0 ypg, respectively) are numbers 4 and 5 nationally in receiving yards-per-game. We're not talking about a program with a rich and profound history. Rice has a grand total of 415 wins in the entire 96 year history of the school's football program (that's roughly 4 per year for you folks at home). What's more, in 2007, Rice was a grotesque 3-9 (remember how bad 3-9 sucked?). Now, in 2008, they are an offensive juggernaut. Impressive.
3. Seeing as how Boston College is nothing but an up-jumped program enjoying the luxury and soft Corinthian leather of an ACC schedule, which team from the current top 25 would you love to see this year's Irish play this weekend in Fredo's stead? Why? Do you think the Irish would win? Describe the game. Paint us a picture! I'll get the popcorn!
Ball State. First of all, it would be the Battle for Hoosier State Supremacy (each have already knocked off an Indiana school: Notre Dame defeated Purdue, Ball State defeated Indiana). Second, I actually think Notre Dame could win this one. Absent the aforementioned win over Indiana, Ball State's most impressive win this season has been over Navy (35-23). This seems a team ND could throttle. As a final reason I'd love to see this game, the list of genitalia-related jokes that would come along with playing this team would rival anything the Cocks or Trojans could muster.
4. Let's dispose of the gradient colors and subtle vagaries of college football to answer this question with one of the supplied, absolute answers and a blurb defending your pick. No waffling! The Question: Why is Notre Dame unable to put away games when leading going into half time? The possible answers: 1) ND players have a soft, nougat center 2) The Coaches don't want to tick off potential future employers 3) God doesn't think it's classy to blow a team out 4) The ND Fanbase can't really stomach blowouts any more than they could stomach a protracted land war in Asia. Remember, you must pick one and you must defend it with much vigor!
In reviewing the options afforded me, the most reasonable conclusion I can reach is 1) ND players have a soft, nougat center. In fairness to candies everywhere, the wilting and melting exhibited by ND against UNC and Pitt was far worse than anything I've ever encountered with a piece of chocolate. From my experience, it takes something from Hershey's or Nestles', close to half an hour until it morphs into an amorphous blob of quasi-liquid flubber. Notre Dame, on the other hand, can achieve the same effect in under five minutes.
5) Tennessee just began celebrating the career of Phil Fulmer today as he announced that he'd been given the opportunity to make it look like resigning was his idea. Certainly, this is a clarion call to ADs across the country to begin worrying over their tea that, should their current HC not work out, they won't get a shot at #s 1-5 on their candidate list. Tell us about an AD who may be looking at this move Tennessee and acting a bit more aggressively towards a reduction in force of his current football staff now rather than later. And who might that AD be trying to seduce before Tennessee already has a "handshake agreement" with the guy?
Could there be an AD more desperately in need of relief than Daryl Gross at Syracuse? To begin, shortly after taking the reins, Gross fired Paul Pasqualoni; one of the winningest coaches in Orangemen history. Then, to compound the error, Gross hired Greg Robinson, one of the most cadaver-like coaches in NCAA history. To compare, Pasqualoni compliled 107-59-1 record (6-3 in bowls) at Syracuse over a 14-year period. Robinson, conversely, is 9-34 in nearly four seasons at the school. To put it mildly, Daryl needs to set this right.
So, in keeping with the spirit of redemption and "love conquers all", I say Gross needs to extend an olive branch (and lucrative multi-year contract) to Paul Pasqualoni. Sure, Pasqualoni is currently living the good life as defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins; but, does nailing coked-out lingerie models on South Beach compare at all with coaching football in the crime-ridden snow globe that is Syracuse, NY? I think not. No, I think Coach Pasq could be lured back at the right price. Daryl Gross better hope so.