HLS Pre-Snap Read: First the Turkey, Now the Tree

The end is now upon us as the Irish prepare to take the field tonight to wrap up their regular season slate against #6 Stanford. The Irish will enter the game ranked in the BCS at #22 for the first time this season as well. On the line tonight will be Stanford’s dream of a BCS berth, Andrew Luck’s Heisman hopes, and Notre Dame…well, we are really looking to play spoiler more than anything as we are about 99.9% likely to be Champs Sports Bowl bound no matter what the result. However, pulling off the upset would mean the first time ND has beaten two teams that ended the season ranked since 2002 (assuming that Sparty doesn’t completely implode against Northwestern and their bowl game).

And as the season is about to wrap up, so will the usual schedule of the Pre-Snap read. I’m not sure how regular I will keep this feature going through the conference championship and bowl season, but I’m sure that I will put out a couple before Notre Dame does indeed take the field for the final time this season.

Let’s get to it. Much like I did a couple of weeks ago, the sections below, all the usual features will be split up into separate toggle buttons for quick and easy viewing.

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  • While it is still ND news, it is outside the football bubble so I’m going to shoehorn it in here: I hope you weren’t expecting big things from ND hoops this season as Tim Abromatis is out for the season with a torn ACL. And this was after he was suspended 4 games earlier this season because Brey himself was confused about a NCAA rule. What an awful way to end your college career.
  • The Penn State saga keeps on going. Early in the week, stories came out about Joe Pa fighting the administration on disciplinary issues. Sandusky is being investigated on two new charges and the person that reported these is a member of his own family. Things are apparently so split now between Penn State and Joe Pa, that even his wife, Sue, wasn’t allowed to use the Penn State pool.
  • As I reported last week, an Ohio State Blog, Eleven Warriors, reported that Meyer would be their new head coach and this week, the rest of the media caught up. Gene Smith, the current athletic director of Ohio State, has apparently had little to do with Meyer’s supposed hiring and rumor is that he will be out soon as well. Meyer of course has denied everything, but has made sure to request time off from his duties in the booth of the Ohio State and Michigan game…in order to spend time with his family of course!
  • Remember when I wrote about tradition and that ND was behind the times in some aspects? Well, take a look at the Oregon program and see the difference for yourself.
  • Al Golden, who has been a rumored candidate for the Penn State job, has silenced those rumors by extending his current contract with Miami through 2019.
  • Friday afternoon, the LSU Tigers clinched the SEC West and Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino was just ever so slightly pissed that the score was run up on him.
  • Thanks to the USC postseason sanctions and a Utah loss, the PAC 12 South has been won UCLA who is currently 6-5 and a serious underdog to rival USC. Yes, if USC beats them, they will go to the conference championship game at 6-6 and will be a severe dog to whoever they play. This means that UCLA could either win a Rose Bowl birth or fall to 6-7 and all of a sudden be out of the bowl picture, unless a bowl decides to have mercy on them.

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#13 Georgia @ #23 Georgia Tech, 12pm EST, ESPN/ESPN3 – Georgia already has their ticket to Atlanta punched as they clinched the SEC East last week. This could set the stage for Georgia Tech to pull the upset on a team that may just be looking ahead at a seemingly unstoppable LSU team. Plus, the triple option always has the potential to give teams a rough time.

Ohio State @ #15 Michigan, 12pm EST, ABC – I’ll be honest, if this wasn’t such a big rivalry game, I wouldn’t even pay attention to it. I definitely think Michigan is the superior team and Meyer hasn’t had the chance to turn Ohio State into gold yet. But hey, in a season that was really over before it started for the Buckeyes this is their chance to have any real bright spot to their season. A team with nothing to lose is always dangerous, hopefully they make a game out of it.

#2 Alabama @ #24 Auburn, 3:30pm EST, CBS – Ah, the Iron Bowl, a game in which an entire ESPN 30 for 30 was done. After the rivalry seemingly couldn’t get any more insane after Harvey Updyke decided to poison the oak trees at Toomer’s Corner, this season my sister (who is a student at Auburn) has let me know that a grassroots movement has started among Alabama fans. They wish to exercise their Constitutional right to assemble publicly at Toomer’s Corner to celebrate a presumed Alabama win in which they wish to roll the dying oaks. So yes, #OccupyToomers has basically started, you just can’t make this up. Personally, with the family ties, I’ll be in Auburn’s corner, so WAR DAMN EAGLE!

#17 Clemson @ #12 South Carolina, 7:45pm EST, ESPN/ESPN3 – This game is only on the list to see if the Clemson continues their hilarious and typical downward spiral. If you haven’t seen a Clemsoning before, you should. You think being a ND fan is frustrating, put yourself in the shoes of a Clemson fan. No matter how good your team does, there will inevitably be a point in which your team inexplicably implodes and pisses away a game you thought was an easy win before it started. To make matters worse, your team will give you a reason every year to think that this year won’t be the year of the Clemsoning. Actually wait…this sounds exactly like being a ND fan in recent years…dammit.

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MQ (repost from the IBG): When watching Stanford versus Oregon, I was rather unimpressed with new David Shaw’s management of the game. To me, it looked like he was just hanging on and hoping Andrew Luck could lead the team to victory, without any real adjustments in-game. But it turns out Stanford is even stronger in the 3rd quarter than the Irish this season, outscoring opponents by 97 points (versus ND’s 64). So perhaps I was wrong about that. But in that one game against Oregon, when the Ducks really started rolling, there still seemed to be little adjustment defensively by Stanford, and not enough athletes in their defensive backfield to keep up with the spread offense. So I’m going to hope that ND’s own version of the spread can get going, the Irish revive the “warp speed” of a couple of weeks ago, and the Irish win a close game, 30-28.

Poot: If ND Wins: ND 35 - Stanford 28. If ND Loses: ND 24 - Stanford 38

Biscuit: Stanford Win, 28-21, with the game in question in the 4th.  ND is too banged up/sick to win this one.

Lots of hand-wringing to follow.

NDtex: I’ve gone back and forth on this game so many times in my head throughout the week. Having Gray out is a huge blow, Te’o is still banged up a bit, and we have several people reportedly under the weather too.

On the flipside though, when Stanford has actually faced real competition, they have looked very beatable. When under pressure, Luck seems quite a bit more human as well. Of course, getting said pressure will be predicated on ND being able to stop the run.

We’ve seen ND have solid run defense before and getting pressure on QBs just happens to be Lynch’s specialty (when he isn’t be held every damned play). In fact, save for the early season lapses, the defense has been supremely solid all year long.

It’s the offense that’s in question. Rees has been progressively worse these past few games. As stated earlier, Gray being out significantly cripples the Irish rushing attack as well. To me this game becomes a matter of whether or not the Irish offense can put enough points on the board to pull off the upset.

Ah <Corso quote here>: ND 24 – Stupid Tree 20

Over/Under for #NDFBIsDeterminedToKillMe tweets: 4.5

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  • Chad

    Pick the over on the hashtag. I’m copying/pasting it so many times that 4.5 will be a speck in the rear-view mirror.

  • http://twitter.com/brendanmcp ShamRockNRoll

    Sorry to be that guy, Tex, but it’s “berth” in this context, not “birth.”

    • http://www.ndtex.com NDtex

      No worries. Fixed it. Thanks.

  • The Biscuit

    Sadly, was pretty right in my pick, although the manner was not what I expected (balls of a first half)