11.22 – Ten Thinks

1st – Michigan and Ohio State are not “obviously” the two best teams in the land. Whoever started this fiasco of thinking should be shunted down the shoots and ladders of stupidity. The Big N is horrible this year outside of three teams and it’s the reason those three have two losses between them. ND pummeled the 4th and 5th best teams in that awful conference. OSU and Michigan have played three big games between them and one of those was against each other.

2nd – “The” game wasn’t that close. Ohio State held a comfortable double digit lead. Michigan had a chance at the end, but it wasn’t much more than Frosty’s chance of landing a hottie after a day on South Beach. I don’t get the reward UM for beating the spread theory. Except for a late touchdown, that game was a mirror image of ND’s Fiesta bowl against OSU in which ND was perceived to get killed. One was an eleven point game, the other a fourteen point game and OSU held a fourteen point lead for most of the game last weekend.

3rd – Michigan is a good team that played a great game in South Bend, but they also had an entire off season to prepare for a Notre Dame team that was coming off one tough away win over GTech and another game against PSU that carried inexplicable hype. It was a much more hyped game than UM this year. Michigan has been mediocre since the middle of the year and beaten no one of consequence. Michigan does not “deserve” a rematch. If Michigan opened with GTech, PSU and Notre Dame or if the Big N was any good at all, they would have had a loss before OSU.

4th – Likewise, an undefeated Rutgers team does not “deserve” to play in anything if their schedule is terrible. The reason voting exists is to account for the vast scheduling abnormalities. (I know, they lost, the reasoning is maddening.)

5th – How “outstanding” would Brady Quinn be with Troy Smith’s line, running game and Ted Ginn? Quinn has done it all on his own this year. Ginn is the gin that makes OSU so effective. He forces teams to account for the home run and play off the LOS on every play. Additionally, OSU’s running game averaged nine yards a carry against Michigan. Imagine Quinn with such assets.

6th – ND has to land playmakers like Ginn and Wells. Weis has turned Samardzija into the schools all-time touchdown reception leader — IN LESS THAN TWO YEARS OF PLAY. It’s mindboggling that we miss out on an Aurelious Benn, who chooses to play for a coach that has wasted every offensive player he’s ever had and a QB who throws for under 50% of his passes. Meanwhile, ND has the most accurate passer in years coming in to lead the Irish. And yes, I think he’ll start. I love Kamara and Little, but we need guys like Benn to uncork the field. We also need a home run back… look what Wells did for OSU.

7th – Get your Rock hate emails ready. I can’t imagine we don’t have a better guard than Bob Morton at this point. There, I said it. I feel awful that his father died. I even picked him as a surprise player this year, but he’s been terrible at times and on his back more than a Song girl. I hope Weis isn’t putting his hidden heart in front of his hardened head on this one. I’d feel terrible if he cost this team a chance at a national championship. It only takes one blown play to kill a drive and one blown drive to kill a game.

8th – As a corollary, why does Brey insist on playing Falls when he’s clearly a defensive liability and a one trick pony on offense? Tom Crean would win big with Hillesland, Kurz, Harangody, Carter and McAlarney. But Brey will play Falls to death hoping he gets hot and justifies his decision. Just like he gave the ball to Quinn every single time the game was on the line last year when all five guys were guarding Quinn and just like he let Thomas jack every possible shot that crossed his mind the year before. Do we have to endure another crappy year because Brey is stubborn? Maybe not after this one insiders say. Brey refuses to acknowledge what every coach learns the hard way… you don’t play players based on seniority. I honestly get the feeling he’s insecure and afraid to look like he’s caving to fan pressure. Not a good trait in a leader.

9th – Back to the oblong ball. Look for the California kids to play big against SC. Landri has been an animal this year – he looks like the second coming of Zorich. Frome had an excellent game against SC until he went down. If he stayed in the game I believe we would have won against SC (and played OSU closer.)

10th – It feels like everything is moving against Notre Dame this year and that’s partially a reaction to the media overhype this past summer. It’s comical to watch pundits move the criteria for voting against the Irish and Quinn this year and no surprise the computer averages rank ND higher than coaches or media. ND was dropped when they struggled, but when other top teams struggled — suddenly, a win was a win and the struggle didn’t matter. ND’s early big loss to Michigan was supposed knock the Irish out, but now Arkansas’ big loss to USC is okay. So now it’s head to head matchups, of course that didn’t work for ND in 93. The target keeps moving. But as I wrote to start this year, the Irish were going to have to tough out a lot of games because they’re just not that deep talentwise, nor do they possess a great skill advantage over most teams. Couple that with USC waking up and finally playing to their talent level and this game does not look good. But it actually didn’t look good in that 1 vs. 2 game in 1988 either. Notre Dame won that game by outplaying and out hitting the Trojans and with coaching. Guys like Pritchett and Stams played like loosed dogs. IMO, it was an even more defining game than the Miami win that year, because the Irish rediscovered their collective soul. We’re going have to have that kind of defensive play, some Irish ghosts and luck to win this one, but Quinn has pulled out come from behind wins against GTech, MSU and UCLA this year… he’ll do it again in South Central but tho the odds.

Screw the pundits.

Go Irish!

P.S. Anyone notice that “character of convenience” Urban Meyer let Thomas play through the toughest part of his schedule before booting him off the team?

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