Friday, November 23, 2007

Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen | by Brian

The autumn of our discontent comes to an end this weekend with the Irish hoping to make it two-for-two on west coast trips this year, this time traveling to the Bay Area to take on the 3-7 Stanford Cardinal.

The Cardinal are led by former Michigan, Bears, Ravens, and Indianapolis Football Club quarterback Jim Harbaugh, who was hired by Stanford following back-to-back 11-1 seasons as head footbawl coach at the University of San Diego. Harbaugh is not merely the coach of Stanford, he is the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football. The BMFDF turned heads during the offseason by getting cheeky with the Alpha Dogs of the Pac-10, the Southern Cal Trojans. He first insinuated that Pete Carroll would be leaving Southern Cal for the NFL after one more year, and later declared the Trojans to be arguably the greatest team in the history of college football. The former is likely untrue, and the latter was definitively proven untrue when Harbaugh led the Cardinal to a shocking 24-23 victory over the Trojans at L.A. Coliseum.

Walt Harris shares his thoughts on
Jim Harbaugh and Ty Willingham.
Regular readers may recall that I ran into former Stanford coach Walt Harris in the company of John L. Smith in a Venezuelan rain forest during the offseason. I asked Harris for his thoughts on Harbaugh at that time, and this was his response: "HE's a waRrior-poet in the classic sense, maN. Some MEN SPeak the truth; he IS truth!!" Suffice it to say, Harris approves of his successor. I also asked Harris about former Stanford and Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham; he replied: "Mediocre coach. Lazy recruiter."

With Apologies to Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A team as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the Golden Bears' broad chest;

A tree that looks at Jim all day
And lifts its roots to run the play;

A tree that may in autumn wear
A nest of Cardinal in its hair;

Upon whose branches gold is lain
To praise it for the Trojans slain;

Teams are made by fools like me
But only Jim can make a tree.

The Gipper as the Gipper (dice,
whiskey and women not pictured)
Hail to the Chief

Both Notre Dame and Stanford possess ties to American presidents, real and imaginary.

• Notre Dame: Ronald Reagan/Josiah Bartlet

Ronald Reagan's most famous acting role came as noted Notre Dame boozer, womanizer, and inveterate gambler George Gipp in 1940's Knute Rockne, All-American. Reagan portrayed Gipp as a sweater-clad clean-cut young man who likes kittens, small children, and taking his special gal out for a malted with two straws. He would go on to use the Gipper nickname to great effect throughout his political career. Reagan eventually received an honorary degree from Notre Dame, along with his Rockne co-star, Pat O'Brien.

Jed Bartlett discusses his political
future with Dennis Hopper.
Josiah Bartlet is the fictitious Notre Dame alum-turned president on TV's The West Wing, series creator Aaron Sorkin's Emmy Award-winning tale of an idealistic staff's efforts to thwart the Republican Boogeyman. He was portrayed by Notre Dame subway alum Martin Sheen.

Stanford: Herbert Hoover/Chelsea Clinton

Herbert Hoover was an 1895 graduate of Stanford. Hoover was president of the rowdy fraternity known as Delta House. According to the crusty old dean, Dean Wormer, Hoover had a 1.6 GPA one semester, with four C's and an F. A fine example he set! Eventually, Delta House was raided, and the fraternity shut down. Hoover recalled this incident in his memoirs: "They confiscated everything, even the stuff we didn't steal!"

Chelsea never had a chance.
Future president Chelsea Clinton is a 2001 Stanford grad. Future president Chelsea is the daughter of former president Bill Clinton and potential future president Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Musical Equivalent of Costanza Wiping Strawberries on The Babe's Uniform

The Stanford band has been, well, banned from Notre Dame Stadium since 1991, only one instance in its long history of wacky shenanigans. We here at BGS have learned that the Band of the Fighting Irish has decided to follow suit, and will unleash a halftime show this Saturday designed to get them thrown out of Stanford Stadium, going out in a blaze of glory. Details of the planned halftime extravaganza are as follows:

--- Trees from around campus will be chopped down, carried into the stadium, and burned, while the band plays Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire."

--- In an homage to the Great Depression, which began under Stanford alum and benefactor Herbert Hoover's watch, the band will play a popular song of that era, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?", while a band member dressed as Hoover hits the bottle hard and wanders around the field like a drunken stumblebum, lamenting the poverty and mass suicides (as pantomimed by other band members) brought on by the Depression.

--- Former Stanford and Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway will be burned in effigy, to the strains of the John Denver classic, "Rocky Mountain High."

--- The corpses of legendary Stanford coach Pop Warner and player Ernie Nevers will be dug up with rusty kitchen utensils, while the band performs a spirited rendition of the novelty song "Monster Mash."

--- Craig T. Nelson and Jobeth Williams will inadvisedly build a house at midfield on the burial grounds of the Stanford Indians. Apparitions will appear, clown dolls will come to life, chairs and tables will fly of their own accord, and little Carrie Ann will disappear into a television set. In a spectacular display of early-80s cinematic special effects, the entire Stanford campus will be wadded up and sucked into another dimension, leaving Jobeth, Craig, and the Irish marching band laughing relievedly on what used to be the fifty yard line. Finally, the band will play an uproarious version of the Ray Parker, Jr. song, "Ghostbusters," and everyone will dance hilariously.

That oughta just about do it.


Giving his final prediction of the season, here is The Blind Oracle at Bristol.

"Ditka's Bane helps a tree take root. The longest year ends in misery. Bottom line, the Irish lack the team speed to keep up with the Cardinal. Stanford beats---"

[Suddenly, two shots ring out, striking the Oracle in the left temple. He falls to the floor, blood rushing from his head. The Blind Oracle at Bristol is dead.]

[From the darkness, a familiar figure emerges. It is that other purveyor of footbawl truths, that other visionary with keen insight into the footbawl ether. It is Notredamus.]

"Enough of this. Men, if you look at that Lady on the Dome, she will guide the way. The University of Notre Dame is going to win this football game by two touchdowns. Let's go!"