by Mike Coffey
As the late great Mike Royko once said, some things you wonder, some things you think, and some things you just know. And as the late great Casey Stengel once said, if we pitched as hard to get out of trouble before we got into trouble, we wouldn’t get into trouble. Amen, Casey.
There was a topic on Rock’s House recently about what national championship teams had the benefit of luck. Well, my interesting Judeo-Christian friends, this Notre Dame team has to be the luckiest bunch of lucks that ever lucked. If you disagree, keep in mind this Irish victory came about because of unfathomable play-calling by Rick Chryst after an end-zone turnover with less than four minutes remaining in regulation, and a sure-footed kicker slicing a 33-yard gimmee. If you still disagree, well, you’re just lucked in the head.
Everett Golson has testicles of titanium and absolutely no memory or conscience. When the consistent speed of his decision-making catches up with the game, look out.
The referees probably are not in the top 10 reasons why this game was close. However, the death by a thousand cuts was evident all game in things like spots, whistles blown and not, and plays reviewed and not. I’m not sure how much money the Big East is asking from Notre Dame to facilitate an early departure from the conference, but as far as I’m concerned, it’d be money well spent. Conference game officials have absolutely no incentive to treat us fairly. It didn’t cost us today, but it’s bound to cost us eventually. Pay the man, and let’s all move on.
Last week I told Brian Kelly I would give him a clean slate. He’s not doing much with it so far. Yesterday was the 2011 season in microcosm. We were sloppy with the ball. We played to the level of our mediocre opposition. Tommy Rees played one play too many. The offensive line looked lost. We completely abandoned the running game in a panic after finding ourselves down 14 points. And nothing said 2011 to me more than a 15-play, 91-yard drive ending in zero points.
But yesterday also offered glimmers of hope. The aforementioned steel-girded Golson returned to save the day. The defense, who apparently were told it was a 7pm kickoff, rose to the occasion in fourth quarter and beyond. Brian Kelly rediscovered the ground game in overtime and we rode it to victory. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.
Like it or not, style points count. When the polls come out today and we’ve slipped, it’s because we looked terrible against an unranked Pitt team at home. I’m willing to entertain the notion that Pitt is better than its (non-)ranking, they’ve been playing well lately and Rick Chryst, fourth quarter brain farts aside, seems like he knows how to lead. But in the next two weeks, we’ve got games against probably the two worst teams on our schedule. Both these games need to be Jehova’s-Witness-at-Sturgis curb-stomps if we have any chance of a date in Miami on January 7th.