Her Loyal Sons http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog A Notre Dame Football Blog Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:24:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Good Fridays w/Padre: Beating the Conundrums http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2015/01/30/good-fridays-wpadre-beating-conundrums/ http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2015/01/30/good-fridays-wpadre-beating-conundrums/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:24:13 +0000 http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/?p=27716 It’s an upside down world lately.  I feel like Ferdinand and Isabella when Columbus came back.  I mean I feel bewildered, not greedy and despotic.  If I wanted a comparison for greedy and despotic, I’d use ESPN.  I am bewildered at the odd inversions and reversals of these times.  The football team had a mediocre […]

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It’s an upside down world lately.  I feel like Ferdinand and Isabella when Columbus came back.  I mean I feel bewildered, not greedy and despotic.  If I wanted a comparison for greedy and despotic, I’d use ESPN.  I am bewildered at the odd inversions and reversals of these times.  The football team had a mediocre season, while the basketball team is in the top ten.  The Joyce Center picks up its 600th victory, while the Stadium ended the season with two wrenching losses.  The Stadium is becoming a classroom building.  College football is becoming the NFL.  And we’ve got a Jesuit for Pope.

Confusing times such as these call for reflection.  And so, I address these conundrums, and like the pool in front of the Library (but with much less duck poop), I reflect:

Strange Signs in the Sky – Football in the descendant, Basketball in the ascendant

HLS EFS CSC Basketball WinWell, I suppose I wouldn’t say football is falling, but the season certainly fell apart.  There’s always next season and the hope that brings; and at least we didn’t have a Michigan season (“Michigan” now synonymous with “shambolic, laughably bad”).  But where did this basketball team come from?  Were these Fighting Irish born under a star?  Teams from the East keep coming to see them, not to do homage, but to lose.  This team fights through adversity, comes from behind, never says die, and does it again and again.  These Irish make amazing baskets, play tough, and refuse to let up on themselves or their teammates even into overtime.  It must be said that the basketball team could only have learned these noble traits from the football team which, aside from having all the championships, is a full 11 years older than the basketball team, and therefore the athletic and spiritual mentor.

Even the basketball arena is doing better than the football Stadium.  Ned Joyce’s big top has a winning percentage of .793 since the ringmaster opened it in 1968, while Notre Dame Stadium has a winning percentage of only .758 since Rockne built it in 1930.  So I say, well done, Ned; Stadium, get your act together.  I look forward to the Tournament, the only playoff system I like…because it’s old and I have no choice.

A Mysterious Metamorphosis – When is a football stadium not a football stadium

As anyone knows who has tried to walk to a business class or a game in the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, CSC, Athletic and Convocation Center, there is some sort of strip-mining operation going on around the Stadium.  Like an 80,000-seat caterpillar, the House the Rockne Built is become the House of Football, Anthropology, Psychology, Music, and Recreation – a collegiate butterfly of truly monumental proportions.  The project is…interesting; and since they’ve moved more dirt than it took to build the Panama Canal, the project is…inevitable.  So quit complaining.

HLS EFS CSC CrossroadsIt’s progress, people!  The Joyce Center isn’t winning any beauty pageants (though it looks suggestively like something one of the contestants might wear), but it’s a tremendous improvement over the old Fieldhouse.  That was a truss-roof warehouse with a castellated façade stuck onto it.  Today it would pass for a Camelot-themed restaurant, or a park where children play golf against moving windmills, clown mouths, and fake Medieval fortresses.  It was hot in spring and summer, cold in fall and winter, and had a cinder track for most of its history.  It was torn down over the protests of those who felt the campus was losing its tradition.  All that’s left is a square block of bricks with a brass plaque, and no one knows why the patch around the Druid fountain is called Fieldhouse Mall.

Don’t try to tell me that sticking classrooms and a student center onto the Stadium moves the “heart” of campus away from the Main Building and Sacred Heart.  That was done when they started building on my farm.  There are already classroom buildings next to and beyond the Stadium.  And good luck explaining the concept of a “heart of the campus” to any lad living in Carroll Hall.  If I had wanted the Main building to be the hub of a radiating wheel, I wouldn’t have built it and the church on top of two waterholes (which REALLY did look like one).  Walk out of either building and you can roll down the hill, past the Grotto, and into the Lake.  Believe me, I saw a sophomore from New Jersey do it once.  The Main Building may have been the heart and entirety of campus at one time, but these days the only reason most students go in there is because they got caught making hooch in a dorm room; or because a lad got caught with Jane Hooch in his dorm room after midnight.  And most students don’t even go to Sacred Heart on Sunday.  They wake up around noon, lie on a fainting couch eating cold pizza all day, and then at the appointed non-canonical hour, they go to the dorm worship space in their pajamas to blow up balloons and sing “Be Not Afraid.”

Real versus Fantasy – The intrusion of professional football

All Americans are commanded to focus their attention on professional football for its annual halftime show surrounded by a final game.  Not satisfied with one weekend of fawning attention, the league has manufactured a sham controversy about withering footballs.  I know why the New England team took air out of their footballs – to prepare for Pete Carroll who loved that old trick at USC.  And when New England trots out the quarterback and the head coach to assure us they did nothing wrong, pardon me if I have trouble believing a Michigan man and the basta fellow who recommended Charlie Weis to us as a great hire.  I really don’t care if there’s too much air or not enough air in the footballs come Sunday.  I say we fill them with hydrogen like a German blimp and see what happens.

HLS EFS CSC Carroll the DevilYet, college football, with its shiny new playoff, continues to try to be more like professional football, because it’s “The Real World.”  When was the last time a college student wanted life to hurry up and become the real world?  You already have tyrannical bosses who impose unrealistic expectations and unreasonable deadlines; you already have noisy and nosy neighbors, and if you live in Cavanaugh you have a house next door full of ill-behaved children; you already pay too much rent for too little space, and if you live in Morrissey it’s in a slum.  Besides, you can’t drink in the library in the real world…most of the time.

If we want college football to be like the NFL, why don’t we build an oversized municipal stadium housing decadent luxury boxes, charging obscene amounts of money for tickets, named for some product-sponsor, and slinging overpriced beer?  Hmmm…I don’t think we’ll sell naming rights, and I’ll renew my annual appeal for Stadium beer sales.  My point is, with what goes on off the field in the NFL, which is a bit more serious than cheat-sheets and phantom ladyfriends, we at the collegiate level should not aspire to be more like the professional system – unless you’re the SEC or FSU, in which case your scandals are already on par with the NFL, if not just a little worse.

The Hand of the Divine

With all these inversions, reversals, signs, and situations, we are clearly receiving a message from God.  Long ago, he used the Flood of Noah and the destruction of the Tower of Babel to communicate his disfavor.  Today, He is more subtle when he alerts us that He wants us to do His will.  To me the message is clear: He wants us to sacrifice the Jesuits on the altar of the Joyce Center next week, when Boston College falls to Irish Home Victory #601.

EFS CSC

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Friday Roundup: The “Can We Keep the NFL Out of This?” Edition http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2015/01/30/friday-roundup-can-keep-nfl-edition/ http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2015/01/30/friday-roundup-can-keep-nfl-edition/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 11:00:30 +0000 http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/?p=27710 After watching the Dallas Cowboys get bounced from the playoffs after a strange overturn of a Dez Bryant catch (cue Detroit Lions fans laughing at me), I figured I had enough NFL hijinks for the rest of the year. Instead, I’ve been treated to two solid weeks of a 2 PSI deflation in footballs as well as HOT TAKES […]

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Friday RoundupAfter watching the Dallas Cowboys get bounced from the playoffs after a strange overturn of a Dez Bryant catch (cue Detroit Lions fans laughing at me), I figured I had enough NFL hijinks for the rest of the year. Instead, I’ve been treated to two solid weeks of a 2 PSI deflation in footballs as well as HOT TAKES on Marshawn Lynch’s interview skills. For something so dumb, I have the usual reaction, but the NFL actually managed to make some headlines this week that had potential college football implications.

Did you enjoy college football reclaiming New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as their own this season? Well, too bad, the NFL wants the College Football Playoff to move their games. The reason: New Year’s Eve falls on a Thursday this year and the NFL has a Thursday Night Football game so ESPN is worried about a potential ratings decline for the semifinal bowl games. So yes, the worldwide leader is also pushing for this change.

But there’s another problem. The NFL wants to expand their playoff and, for some reason, have one of those games be another edition of Monday Night Football. The only issue there is that the Monday night in question is the national title game so ESPN all of a sudden has the rights, and a contractual obligation, to air two games on the same night and on the same network (the above linked article cites that the contract states both games must be aired on ESPN and not ESPN2).

Understandably, the CFP commissioners are fighting back on the effort, but let’s be frank: if the NFL wants this, they are going to get it. And make no mistake, ESPN won’t move from their corner as that would be an incredibly dumb business decision on their end.

A one year move for the CFP semifinals or a different date for the title game doesn’t seem like that big of a deal; however, this is yet another step in an incredibly annoying creep of the NFL into the college game. Thursdays during the regular season used to be a college football night as there wouldn’t be any NFL games at all, but now that has long gone out the window (and now you even see the occasional Tuesday and Wednesday college games because of it). Now the NFL wants to start shifting the college postseason around according to their whims which could cause further issues down the line should the college playoff ever want to expand itself.

ESPN could certainly shoulder some of the blame for this as well. After all, the increased television exposure for the college game, while very welcome for fans, manages to equate into a serious money grab for them, the playoff, bowls, and the conferences/schools. Thus, when “traditions” like New Year’s Day belonging to college football are reclaimed or having the title game before the NFL playoffs get rolling, it matters very little when the NFL masters come calling to get their way.

I’m just hoping the NFL will stay out of this and work around the college playoffs. It isn’t like games on one Saturday or refraining from adding a new playoff game on Monday would kill them. Then again, you would think that a slightly under-inflated ball or a player that would prefer to not talk to the media wouldn’t be a big deal to them either.

The Roundup

We will start of with an incredibly serious note. Two of the four Vanderbilt players accused of rape in 2013 have been found guilty.

The ACC is making some interesting scheduling moves. In response to pressure to schedule more Power 5 teams in their out of conference schedule, the ACC will consider BYU a Power 5 school and also possibly starting a trend of scheduling conference games as a non-conference game (no seriously, that happened).

Cryptic quotes: Ohio State edition. In what will certainly be the craziest QB battle ever, Braxton Miller, very much a potential transfer in this mix, gave fans some hope during Ohio State’s title celebration in saying “we’ve got another year to go do it.”

Well this is certainly an interesting take on the facility arms-race. How about a freakin’ beach in a stadium?

If you ever thought that your commencement speaker was a terrible choice, just be glad your school didn’t do this to you:

I’d have more entertaining links, but everyone’s in full ‘crootin mode right now and my NCAA booster-mandated gag-order hasn’t been lifted. Signing day can’t get here soon enough…

And now your moment of Nix… From the man himself!