Friday, September 23, 2005

Implementing the System of Vicious Animals, OK? | by Pete

Well, it had to happen sometime. We all knew that it was too good to be true, there’s no way Charlie could lead us to the promised land in his first year, could he? It just sucks that it had to happen to those guys. The flag-planting, student-taunting, 5-times-in-a-row-home-beating Michigan State Spartans, I hate those guys. But we’re close, you really can’t lose a game in a much closer fashion, coming back from 21 down to lose in OT.

It always hurts to lose, but to be honest, losing this early may have its fair share of perks:

• If Notre Dame kept winning, the media frenzy surrounding the team would reach uncontrollable proportions. Lee Corso would begin making out with pictures of Charlie Weis every Saturday on Gameday, and Mark May’s head would begin to spin around his neck at 250 rpm while projectile vomiting. Nobody needs to see either of those.

• We get to escape the “8-0 Tyrone” comparisons early, and good riddance to those.

• If we had continued to win all our games, I think I would’ve lost my own self-control and gotten a life-size tattoo of Charlie’s head on my back. Mom, you can thank the Spartans.

• Now we definitely don’t have to worry about a let-down game against Tyrone’s vicious, 1-2 animals.

I remember looking over this year’s schedule with my dad over the summer, and that Washington game always terrified me. I was shaking in my boots because I had seen Tyrone Willingham coach, and I knew what he was capable of, despite his terrible coaching. During his Notre Dame tenure, Tyrone always managed to win the games you never thought he could, the games he had to win to call off the wolves over and over again. Michigan and Tennessee last season, Pitt in 2003 when Tyrone rode Julius Jones like a bucking bronco, except facing backwards and thinking Ryan Grant was an equally viable horse, despite him actually being a large dog in this metaphor. These were all games that Tyrone won when the team was on the ropes, looking like crap, and the mob had had just about enough. And then he won, and we all began to think, “Had we been too quick to judge? Is this last game a sign of the system finally implementing, the players adjusting?” We were all desperate to reclaim the magic of his first season, and each one of those wins managed to plant the seed of doubt that allowed us to believe in the molding of men and “THE SYSTEM” just a little longer.

This game terrified me because this would the perfect “Tyrone-Out-Of-His-Butt” Game, where Tyrone manages to beat a much better football team, producing a win seemingly, you guessed it, out of his butt. I was afraid that the abysmal Huskies would somehow pull in 50 interceptions and 84 fumbles, while the earth opened up and swallowed our starting offensive line. And then Tyrone would manage to win by 4.

This game also terrified me because, if it did become an “Out-Of-His-Butt” game, not only would the entire alumni network of Notre Dame, including Ferguson, throw themselves under the nearest bus, but the talking heads would NEVER stop talking about it. When College Gameday is brought to you in 2075 live from Mars, hosted by android Kirk Herbstreitron and the inexplicably still alive Lee Corso, this game would still be mentioned with a bit of smugness on the face of Lee Corso, but not Herbstreitron, he is incapable of human emotion. I really didn’t want to live out the rest of my life having to hear about Tyrone Willingham sticking it to the Man, the same Man who outrageously demanded that we not lose to teams by over 30 points on a regular basis.

Notice I said this game “terrified” me, it doesn’t “terrify” me. I’ve seen what Notre Dame is capable of this year, and I don’t have a worry in my being that Charlie is making sure to pack the woodshed when the team boards the plane for Washington this weekend. I fully expect Notre Dame to win in a more than sound fashion for a few reasons. First, Charlie knows that, no matter what he thinks about Tyrone as a person, he has to utterly decimate Tyrone the Coach. Ideally, he should make Tyrone the Coach weep openly on the sidelines while Kent Baer rubs his back. Charlie knows this because he not only is the coach, but he’s also an alum. He realizes the message that needs to be sent this weekend, namely, “See? This was the right decision,” and that message can only be conveyed with a sound, resolute beating. Secondly, Charlie knows that the anti-Notre Dame world will be watching this game with baited breath, just waiting for the ultimate in poetic justice, when Tyrone Willingham exacts his vengeance on the racist Domers. Charlie knows that, if Notre Dame loses this game, it will take a very, VERY long time for Notre Dame to gain any respect in the college football world. This is a big game, and Charlie realizes that. I think we can fully expect a well-prepared, angry, ready to prove something team on Saturday, and the score will indicate as much.

Here on campus, very little is actually being discussed regarding the game, but I think that’s because it seems like it’s such a sure thing. We all believe in this football team, and we’ve seen them nearly pull a game out in the end, despite all the evidence pointing to us deserving a loss. Charlie Weis and this team has earned our confidence and respect, and we do not expect them to let us down this Saturday. PREDICTION: Real Coach: Plenty of points, Fake Coach: Very few points, if any.

For those of you who still are concerned about the game, consider this: I was watching Around the Horn on ESPN the other day because I hate myself, and the topic of the ND-UW game came up. Woody Paige and Jay Mariotti stood up for Notre Dame, saying how it’s good for college football when Notre Dame is good, blah blah blah, but nobody defended the school in the firing. On the other hand, a bald guy and a guy from Dallas with glasses that make him look like an owl were quite venomous in their comments. Owl Man said he hopes Notre Dame loses by 50 or 60 touchdowns. Stat Boy, that creep, also chimed in with his hatred of Notre Dame and how much he’d love to see Washington stomp on the Irish this weekend. But quick, before commercial, picks for the game?
Bald Guy: Notre Dame.

Owl Man: Unfortunately, Notre Dame.

Mariotti: Notre Dame by 3 touchdowns.

Woody: Make it unanimous.
The experts, EVEN the ones that claim they hate Notre Dame, think we win this game on Saturday. Ladies and gents, expect a big win for the Irish on Saturday, but unfortunately, be prepared for the Tyrone Willingham Pity Party Post-Game, brought to you by Kleenex and Depends. You know it's coming.