Traditionally, Biscuit will peruse the upcoming Notre Dame schedule and give his predictions, rating his confidence via dancing leprechaun GIFs. Today, I am taking a slightly different spin on that process. I will examine the schedule and rate how terrified I am of each game.
Let’s be honest–as Notre Dame fans we are, at some level, panicking and fear inevitably take hold before every game. So this exercise is more than fitting.
Anyone remember the show Fear Factor? The concept was to more or less scare or gross out the competitors in a series of stunts. In theory, the show would find a contestant’s worst fear and exploit it for the audience’s entertainment. In practice, the show would be better called “Fear Roulette” as it seemed like a rarer occurrence that someone would end up so terrified that they couldn’t complete their task.
I feel to properly rate these games based on fear, I use my biggest fear: heights. To be more specific, it isn’t just heights, but more of a fear of falling from them. So if there is some kind of railing or safety harness involved, I’ll only be slightly terrified. Otherwise, I’m losing my mind.
So with those ground rules in mind, let’s play the first ever Notre Dame Football Fear Factor.
I’m trying to think of an opener that has had more unknowns on both sides than this one. Texas is still in a rebuilding process with Charlie Strong with question marks all over the place. The Irish come in with Malik Zaire taking the helm in only his second ever start.
For me, this game is the equivalent to being placed on the edge of a bungee jump and being shoved off the edge without warning. Sure, I have a safety harness and a bungee that should save me from going splat on the ground just as ND has several returning and proven starters that should be able to handle this situation. However, shove me off the edge of a bungee jump and I’m going into full panic hoping that everything was properly secured and OH DEAR GOD PLEASE DON’T LET THE CHORD FAIL COMPLETELY.
Just like any bungee jump, you have only two possible results and the no-so-great result is going to have some rather permanent results moving forward. Losing this game could end up disastrous for an Irish team relying on a young, new QB to lead them the rest of the way.
Despite that this is the first road game of the season, this shouldn’t be much of a challenge. Virginia has only finished above .500 once in the Mike London era (now entering year six).
This game is a roller coaster. I have very little fear of roller coasters. They are incredibly safe and a ton of fun. You may have a couple of sections that make your stomach turn, but everything ends up being okay.
Except when it does and the car flies off the damn track. Example: Northwestern.
I am terrified of this game. Absolutely freakin’ terrified. Could we have not had Navy before the Bees? I feel like getting a dose of the triple option from a team that has a height and weight restrictions would help. But no, the first taste of the triple option this season will be coming from a team that last year beat Clemson and Georgia in back-to-back weeks, almost beat Florida State for the ACC Title, and easily dispatched Mississippi State in the Orange bowl.
Have you ever seen those guys that jump off cliffs in a squirrel suit?
The whole concept looks easy. Spread your “wings” and the suit appears to do most of the work. Defending the triple option also appears quite simple in theory as well. Stay on your assignment, contain the edge and don’t get beat to the outside, and everything ends up working out.
In practice, things are never that simple. One mistake and you go splat in a hurry.
Notre Dame has yet to ever schedule an FCS team on their schedule, but this is about as close as it gets. 2012 was their first year in the FBS and their first three seasons have netted five total wins.
This is like jumping off a diving board–not even a high dive, just a regular diving board that barely has any spring. There is no fear here. Sure, you might sting yourself on the water if you get cocky and sloppy, but nothing that you can’t recover from.
Of course, you could completely forget how to swim as soon as you hit the water and drown. And, honestly, that would pretty much describe ND if they lose this. They would have had to completely forget how to play football and we might just consider dismantling the entire program because of it.
On the road, against what should be one of the toughest opponents of the season…hold me.
There will be very little room for error in a place known as Death Valley in front of what will be the toughest crowd that the Irish will have to play in front of. Either you pull it off and throw your chute open in enough time to survive (but possibly still break a limb), or you panic in front of the situation and RIP.
So after facing off against Georgia Tech, this second run against the triple option should be easier….right?!
If playing the Bees is a cliff dive with a squirrel suit, this game is a solo skydive. Freeze up a bit in pulling your chute? No problem, you have plenty of time before your meeting with the ground to remember how to do it. Chute fails? You have plenty of time to deploy your backup.
Of course, complete failure on a dive means that you will be leaving a nice crater in the ground for everyone to see. And in the back of your mind that fear will always be there because you are very familiar with bad things happening here in recent memory.
One of the huge narratives last season was how often Notre Dame struggles the week after Navy, going 2-3 in the Brian Kelly era (and both wins within a single possession).
So now, Notre Dame will face of against their biggest rival the week after Navy. Oh, and this is probably one of the best teams that ND will face all season to boot. ESPN has a preseason power ranking, FPI, and Southern Cal comes in at 13, the highest of all ND opponents. To top it all off, Cody Kessler is 12/1 at Bovada to win the Heisman (only three players have better odds).
This should as much fun as…
I can’t even watch that whole video without freaking the hell out.
After that terror ND gets Temple after a bye week on the “road”. I use quotation marks because I have a feeling this will turn into last year’s “away” game against Syracuse which was without a doubt a pro-ND crowd.
This is like flying on an airplane. Beyond a little bit of turbulence, there really isn’t much that will shake me up on a plane–unless the whole thing starts crashing down of course.
I’m not even sure what to think about Pitt these days. Read this homecoming review from a famous terrible-food-making Pitt alumnus and you’ll really wonder about the sad state of Pitt football. Paul Chryst’s three seasons have been a 6-7 and 7-6 sandwich with 6-7 serving as the bread.
Despite that impressive mediocrity, they still managed to beat Notre Dame in their last meeting in 2013. That game also happened to be at Pitt as well.
I equate this game to climbing up on my roof for any reason. The slope isn’t that severe, but it’s just enough to terrify me. Couple that with the fact the roof is old with loose shingles and areas of the roof that sag/give far too much for comfort and yeah, I’ve had borderline panic attacks up there.
The chances that I’m going to fall off my roof are slim, but if I do it’s not just going to hurt like hell–it’s going to be really damned embarrassing.
Man, does Temple-Pitt-Wake look a lot better than Clemson-Navy-Southern Cal. This should be another game of little worry for this Irish. Keyword: should.
I’ll equate this to going on the Texas Star at the State Fair. At a little over 200 feet, I’m not even worried that something disastrous like a car falling off would happen. I’m more worried that I would do something stupid like drop my phone from that height.
These dudes have gone .500 in the first two years of the Steve Addazio era coupled with two bowl losses. Last year’s Pinstripe Bowl, however, might be the most hilarious loss possible.
This will be the annual Shamrock Series game. So, despite the game being held in BC’s backyard, Fenway Park will be packed to the brim with Irish fans. Also, ND is undefeated in Shamrock Series affairs.
This game will be walking across the Grand Canyon Skywalk:
Sure, it’s totally safe, but my mind would keep thinking about the potential disasters involved. I would be holding on the the rails for dear life and walking only on the steel beams because that is a long way down if that glass breaks. I don’t care if it could support the weight of multiple airplanes, I’m not risking disaster because I know terrible things happen.
And terrible things happen when playing Boston College. I am not going to link them, we all know them far too well.
Stanford is a total wildcard in my eyes. To me, they are a reverse Texas as I believe they are on a steady decline since Harbaugh left. The reason for this is their QB situation. Kevin Hogan has been hardly inspiring and there was even talk that he would transfer. Despite my personal questions with their QB or my feeling that they will begin a decline, there is no doubt that Stanford will still be a solid team that will give ND a run for their money.
This game will be just like this poor guy doing the SkyJump in Vegas:
This is on a whole other level than a bungie jump as it’s a “controlled” free fall. I attended a wedding in the Stratosphere and this thing freaked me out from the reception room because every 20 minutes or so you just see a body fly past the window. Going up to the bar where this thing lives…NOPE.
Here’s the other kicker to this “ride”: it costs over $100. Look, if I’m going to blow over $100 in Vegas, I’m going to go play blackjack or craps instead of purposefully jumping off a building.
Texan by birth, Irish by choice.
Born and raised in the great state of Texas, Tex is a first-generation Domer and a former student manager. After graduation, he left the cold winters of South Bend behind and returned back to his home state with a computer engineering degree in tow. Missing the daily grind of working football practices and talking football with fellow Irish fans every day, he took to blogging, a path which eventually led him to Her Loyal Sons. Continuously diving into stats and game film, Tex strives to break down every aspect of Fighting Irish football--even though it's determined to kill him.
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