Saturday, October 01, 2005

Boil 'er Down | by Pete

Well, we can all breathe easy. We managed to come out of the Ty Bowl with a strong victory, and we didn’t have to burn any crosses to do it, despite what John Saunders may have us believe. Granted, we didn’t beat the crap out of them like we did last year under Ty, but here’s a key difference: we play second string players this year. Tyrone never played any true reserves in games, because 1) we’d either be losing a game, 2) it’d be too close to bring in reserves, or 3) Tyrone beat the crap out of bad teams to make us think we were better than we really are. While beating Stanford by 50+ points with a fake punt for good measure or beating up on a one-win Washington team, Tyrone refused to call off the vicious animals in those games because he had to make up points wherever he could. We all sure as hell knew he was going to lose 30 or 40 anytime we played a good team.

So we keep the first string in and play for points that entire Washington game, the Huskies never score those two touchdowns and we tack on a couple more. All of a sudden, we’ve got a 50-3 game, which is an all-around ass-whooping of Tyrone proportions. Of course, Kent Baer would claim that it was their talent that just beat them, which just translates to “Hell, with the crap talent we’re working with now, what did you expect?” Atta boy, coach.

The Washington game saw us run the ball, pass the ball, make big turnovers when we needed them; it was an all-around strong performance, save some special teams errors. In fact, the only thing I really thought was missing the game was a live satellite feed of Bill Diedrick watching the game from his apartment in the frozen tundra, while he ate Chef Boy-ar-dee out of the can and wept softly. I would’ve liked to have seen that.

But the real focus today is on the Purdue game, a team that brings with it not only the World’s Largest Drum and the World’s Largest Group of Unnecessary Pep-Related Members, but also the World’s Most Over-Inflated Sense of Ability. I swear, every year is “the year” for the Purdue Boilermakers, they always think that the pieces are finally in place, and they’re ready to make a run for the Big 10 Title and, God willing, a trip to a BCS bowl. And every year, they don’t. This year it was hyped up even more, as the Gods of Scheduling smiled upon the mortal Boilermakers with no games against Michigan or Ohio State, only to promptly smite them with a ferocious Gopher attack.

Watching games last weekend, I had varying feelings seeing Purdue lose and watching USC flirt with losing in the first half. For USC, I never want to see them lose until they come to see us. USC has been winning for so long and so easily, it’s hard to believe that they aren’t starting to get somewhat complacent. I want to see a USC team that has gorged itself on big wins over small opponents come into South Bend, and I think Notre Dame is in the perfect opportunity to beat the coasting Trojans. The more wins for USC, the more indestructible they feel, the harder they fall when they come to South Bend.

However, I’m very glad that Purdue lost last weekend, and it makes me that much more confident about this week’s game. Some people say teams come back with a vengeance after coming off a tough loss, but nobody includes Purdue in that theorem. While they always come into the season soaring high, that first loss pops their spirit as they deflate their way to 3 or 4 losses. Purdue is a team that is exponentially worse once they hit the first road bump of the season, and that makes it all the easier for Notre Dame. Notre Dame is riding high, and is certainly looking to wipe the taste of last year’s embarrassing loss at home out of their mouths. Purdue seems convinced that Ross-Ade is a tough place to play, but if anything, Charlie is the master of not letting a team do what it wants (right, Peyton?). I predict Notre Dame to jump to an early lead, and never let Purdue sniff within a touchdown of that lead. Our coach continues his dominance over mustachioed opponents, as the Charlie Weis Mustache Destruction Tour (brought to you by Home Depot) rolls out of Ross-Ade with a 3-0 record.

The feeling on campus is one of optimism and confidence, but guarded nonetheless. We all took a big ego hit last year when Purdue stomped all over us on our home field, and we certainly don’t want to get ahead of ourselves here. We’re guarded because, looking at recent history, it’d be hard to believe we will win this game. However, the confidence comes from the fact that this is Purdue, the pride of the cornfields, and I certainly hope that Charlie has the team prepared for a long and sustained domination of the Boilermakers during his tenure. If we’re going to be as good as we want to be, a good ol’ beat-down of Purdue is always the perfect place to start. I look for us to score more points than Purdue has mascots (what’s that, like 4?) as we romp to a satisfying victory in the middle of nowhere.