The wrapup on our ND road trip, which will contain references to alcohol and steroids, though not quite in the manner one might expect.
Young men, even Notre Dame graduates, often forget their IDs and debit cards at the bar. At a time when champions prevail, our Chicago Sherpa Brian came through in fine form, running in this inventive solution to multiple shots to the liver in a short span of time. Gei ni kan kan, pengyou, at the Urban Boy Scout Handbook's way to remember to close your tab at the end of the night and not get hit with the fee for leaving without reconciling your hefty bar bill.
Write it on your arm, which you will see bending a glass frequently in front of your eyes.
Bratwurst is the candy of tubemeats--and South Bend was stuffed with them on Saturday. Since the Powers That Be banned charcoal grills from the ND parking lots, you don't get the Weber Magic you'll see at Auburn.
What is clearly on display, though, is highly social tailgating with scads of beer, beer, beer coupled with brown liquor drinking as only those with a genetic weakness for it can do. (The sound of bagpipes elicited the funniest line of the day from Dylan of BGS, who piped up with "What is that? Am I back at my father's funeral?") Lots of flags, multi-generational crews meandering through the lots, and a family vibe throughout that was achieved without the creation of a retarded designated "family-safe zone."
Let it be known, though, that despite the bratwurst assault the ND Tailgating crowd made proper gestures to Southern visitors. First, they ordered in lovely weather: bell-tone clear blue skies with wisps of cirrus, temperatures pushing seventy, and zero rain despite dire forecasts. They also laid out the necessaries cuisine-wise:
Any tailgate with fried chicken and felony fuel ees-a-friend-to-ahhhsss. Fine work by Jay, who likely still has enough beer to get the entire third grade class at Sacred Heart Academy loaded for days. (There's only one way to find out! Do it for science, dammit!) A much deserved shout-out to all those who made us feel at home, even in our patented -30 degrees approved Goretex Zubaz pants. Fine tailgating in 360 degrees.
Charlie Weis gives great play. OMG, does he. When his line executes and his qb keeps his lid on straight, the plays can be a thing of beauty. The simplicity is the best part; he just takes whatever the defense is likely doing and draws up a play forcing them to make an unsavory choice. Watching it from the south endzone, moments came when the skeleton of the play bared itself to the eye and you could see the whole thing clicking as a TE roamed free on a skinny post or a back floated uncovered into the flat...it wasn't just play-calling, it was strategy in fluid motion. Seeing it in person--even on a day when things fell apart more than they clicked--evoked awe at times.
The bad news: ND can't run. When they face pass rushers that come with pressure, Quinn dies just like any other quarterback would. 99th in rushing offense means ND still has miles to go on offense.
The Bruins aren't terrible. They're not great, either. UCLA managed all of their TDs off two longish plays, including a well-hit slant into the heart of a blitz, so for going on the road with their backup qb this has to be considered less than a crushing defeat. The curious decision to go vanilla on the final drive with a minute left is the Baffler Meal of the day, especially when they'd had such success pressuring Quinn.
Blame NFL transitional coaching on this one, along with Dorrell's inexperience. Weis rolls the dice far more frequently than he might as a pro coach, and that's for a simple reason: in college, who dares wins, especially on fourth and niblets. Weis, though, came dangerously close to dying by his own sword on Quinn's fourth down dive turned back for a change of possession late in the fourth. Had UCLA done something with the ball, we'd be talking about Paradise Lost for Weis and asking questions galore. Instead, Dorrell played textbook ball and lost to a low probability play. It's judgement call meets fate meets two coaches with pro backgrounds taking profoundly different tacks on the college game. Just don't leave fate out of the call: either coach could have been dumbassedly wrong here given a slightly different toss of the dice.
The point: well, Callahan had a similar situation in the Texas game, and he tried to pass for a first on 3rd, which ended up as a fumble that ultimately decided a game. What was the point again...oh,yeah. Fire Karl Dorrell...'cause he sucks and only won 10 games last year.
Off with his head! And then hire...the other guy!
Everyone, at one point, should travel for two days with a guy on steroids. We're talking about the legally prescribed ones, mind you, the sort that your friend went on for a skin condition shortly before gaining 28 pounds he never lost. There's reasons: steroids jack your appetite into the stratosphere while encouraging your body to hold onto every last precious gob of fat, plumping you up like a squirrely gorged on walnuts waltzing into their winter den.
The waltzing squirrel in our car this weekend was Cap'n Strykker, the father of EDSBS drinking coach and peer pressure majordomo B.J. Strykker. Cap'n put down food like Oprah on diet camp furlough. First he would decimate the continental breakfast, eating icing-rich pastry like jellybeans; then he turned to the snack machine; then, in a tiny eight minute window pre-game at the rest stop on 80, he snuck in an ice cream sundae from Dairy Queen with strawberry goo on top, pounding that while reviewing his picks sheet for the day. That preceded the pregame tailgate, where undisclosed amounts of chicken, bratwurst, pretzel, and beer slid down his maw.
This was all punctuated with the phrase "I'm just so hungry on the steroids," which in turn usually preceded the eating of yet more food.
Understand that Cap'n is not a big man, of average height and tending towards having a thin build. And yet he was like a one-man Kobayashi, a constant steady muncher of tailgate cud who could have made Diamond Jim Brady die of envy. (Any takers on a Diamond Jim Brady reference? Anyone?) It was the most awe-inspiring performance of the weekend in any sport, hands down.
UCLA's Cheerleaders Have Stronger Blood Than Notre Dame's. The ND girls we're sure are very nice, well-schooled women with outstanding personalities. They probably each play an instrument, carry on skilled conversations on a wide variety of intellectually challenging topics, and have secured prestigious internships with impressive multinational corporations.
UCLA's cheerleaders, though, appear to have stronger genes, or something like that. The advantages of being able to cull your cheerleaders from the 30K plus student body in Southern California became apparent well...well, immediately, actually. We'd like to show you pics, but the action shots from UCLA's site are pay pics, which should say something. They convincingly performed the Beyonce "Crazy In Love" dance. 'Nuff said.