Friday, March 31, 2006

Dink & Dunk: Stay Alive Edition

So I saw a preview for that movie "Stay Alive" and it blew my mind. The premise of the movie fits entirely in its tagline: "You Die In The Game - You Die For Real". The preview for the movie rips off this brief exposition to the plot, then blasts through thirty seconds of screaming co-eds running around aimlessly. Now, Stay Alive seems like typical unimaginative B-movie schlock, but it got me to thinking... what if all video games were like this?

See, I own exactly one Playstation game -- NCAA Football 2006. It went into my Playstation's (or as I like to call it, my NCAA06station) drive the day I bought it and will not come out until the day it is gingerly replaced with NCAA 07. Imagine the horrible situations that could arise if one inadvertantly played a cursed version of NCAA 06. It's so frightening that it requires a six-panel graphic novel to do it justice.


(click thumbnail for comic)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Blogpoll Roundup

It started over at Schembeckler Hall and has been bounced around the blogsphere, so I'll take a crack at it. According to Brian at mgo, this is discusscion question #21, but the numbering is a bit arbitrary (I'll pause so you can make an obligatory Alabama national title joke... ... all right, everyone back? Good.)

1. It’s early, but thus far, which offseason change or changes in college football are you most excited about?

Let's see... the possible re-re-retirement of Keith Jackson? Nah, that's just a cheap shot. While everyone has their own opinion of KJ (and God knows we sure have one), he's at least good for a laugh at his expense.

To be honest with you, I'm nonplussed by the extra BCS game, the new TV contract, the continuing crusade against abusive Native American mascots, and the watered-down and ineffectual strengthening of academic standards that never really panned out. I suppose the standardization of replay is a positive step forward (and might have been useful last year in a certain "Game of the Century", but I digress...), but it's mostly looking like business as usual, which is good enough for me.

One thing I'm really excited about is seeing what Dan Hawkins can do in Boulder. I've previously made it known to the world that I have a secret crush on the fugly little guru, and being a native of the Great State of Colorado, I have a rooting interest in seeing the Buffs return to respectability after a rough patch of time underneath the sleazy, regime of the the un-parody-able Gary Barnett (okay, maybe he's a little parody-able). I for one think Hawkins will have some great success, and if nothing else bring a little bit of razzle-dazzle to a conference that has become a top-heavy "3 yards and a dust cloud" league recently.

2) With spring practice underway, what are the three concerns about your team that are causing you the most anxiety? (USC fans can’t just list the departures of Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and LenDale White.)

Normally, I have an excessive amount of anxiety about the team. And now that we have a highly-regarded team coming back with high expectations, my panic has increased tenfold. While I'm paranoid about everything, here are a few highlights of my hysteria:

  • Defense, defense, defense. Realistically, any respectable list of ND concerns begins and ends with defense. I'd pick out a specific area, but really it's a top-to-bottom concern. A defensive line that couldn't generate a pass rush last year, a fresh new crop of inexperienced linebackers replacing a veteran group that failed to impress, and a secondary that's still rough-around-the-edges that probably won't be getting much help from the front 7. Couple that with a displeasing bend-but-don't-break scheme and a schedule with quite a few competent offenses and you've got the recipe for a heart attack brewing.
  • Believe it or not, I'm also concerned about the offensive side of the ball. After watching Oldie's Highlight Video, I suddenly realized there are some big cleats to fill in the Wide Receiving Corps. While Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight are top-flight pass-haulers, there will be a noticeable change in scheme with the absence of a second circus-catching 6'5" monster drawing attention. I like what I see in youngsters David Grimes and D.J. Hord, but Grimes is a different type of undersized speedster and Hord might be hampered by injury setbacks. It will be interesting if a viable third receiver will develop to replace the able, albeit hobbled, Matt Shelton.
  • Depth on the OL is another concern. The Irish dodged a bullet last year by keeping a razor-thin depth chart intact, but it's the same predicament this year, thanks to Tyrone Willingham's disinterest in OL recruitment (want to see something scary? Check out the depth chart put together my NDNation's "Old Man"). A few untimely injuries would require putting a zit-faced freshman on the line. A swift downgrade on the O-Line can cause even the most talented offense sputter, and I don't feel comfortable with our chances if the option to simply outscore the opponent is off the table.


3) Care to take a stab at a preseason top five?

I see big things for LSU. They peaked at the right time last year and bring back a lot of talent, plus have proven to be a solidly-coached and consistent squad.

Ohio State has talent galore, and while they're replacing a lot on defense (wait, scratch that, their entire defense), their dynamite recruiting at their key positions ensure they will be able to reload aptly with some experienced meat. It's going to be interesting to see how they break in their new horses at a tough early-season road game in Austin, and at that point we'll have a pretty good idea what to expect from the Buckeyes.

West Virginia is another team that I'm sure will be pretty popular on these top-five lists. While many are boosting the Mountaineers' stock by virtue of their floppy Big East schedule (much like the treatment Louisville got last year), I think they are a legitimately good team with a punishing ground attack. Their performance in the Sugar Bowl proved they can run with the best of them, and they return a lot of young talent that should continue to improve.

Some combination USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, and Notre Dame will fill out the rest of the top five as teams that have enough weaponry to make a championship run, but are also facing some huge question marks in terms of replacing lost talent (USC and Texas) and finding a way to find life on one side of the ball (Notre Dame and USC on defense, Florida and Oklahoma on offense).

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Blog-ifesto

It's been a very eventful week for College Football Bloggers. Over the last few days, this up-until-now largely ignored medium has made a big splash on the mainstream scene, and I for one am excited about what this means for sports bloggers. One thing's for sure, while this might be one of the first big clashes between the established mainstream media and the ragtag coalition of nü-journalism bloggers, it will certainly not be the last time these two cultures will jostle against each other in the power struggle over sports information. I welcome the fight.


Just to bring everyone up to speed, the incident started on Colin Cowherd's national radio show on ESPN-Radio on Wednesday afternoon. Cowherd had a lengthy segment with a caller where he read a funny fake version of the Wonderlic test that he had found "on the internet", much to the enjoyment of his (I can only assume) throngs of listeners. The problem was, the piece wasn't written by "the internet", it was a fine piece we all enjoyed several weeks ago on the M Zone Blog. After being called out via e-mail, Cowherd fired back with a hastily-worded and quite immature bit of snark unbecoming of someone who has just been caught plagarising. EDSBS broke the story, Deadspin broke the story, and next thing you know, the entire internet was aware, mobilized, and infuriated. By the beginning of this week, the cooler heads prevailed and Cowherd issued a meaningful, albeit slightly terse apology and retraction. The M-Zone took it in stride and has now deemed the matter closed and resolved, with the added bonus of the throngs of attention and free publicity they received.



And that's about that, right? All wrongs have been righted, everybody has made good on their responsibilities, and the M Zone was given their richly-deserved credit and more from the whole ordeal. But I'm not quite ready to shut the book on this yet, because I think that this marks a big moment in sports blogging history, and is a foreteller of a great era in sports blogging, punctuated with great strife.

For quite a long time, there has been a cold war brewing between the "mainstream media" and the vaguely-defined collective groupthink of "sportsbloggerdom", which has mainly consisted of bloggers lightheardedly cracking on the serious problems with the ESPN/ABC/Disney monster, while the media fired back by completely ignoring and dismissing amateur crackpots hacking away on computers. A few fleeting moments, the two worlds would happen to scrape up against each other. When the final coach's poll came out, Yahoo Sports put up an article where they mentioned a statistical analysis done by Blue-Gray Sky on coach's voting trends. While it was a great tribute to the fantastic work done over at BGS, it felt a little bit weird seeing the two worlds colliding, even in a very respectful and amicable way.

But last week's actions set off a powder keg of animosity between the blogsphere and the Worldwide Leader, with Cowherd playing the role of Gavrilo Princip, the short-sighted gunman who inadvertantly erupted a World War one fateful day in Sarajevo, 1914. Cowherd's actions, while unintentional, very loudly proclaimed an underlying attitude held by the Worldwide Leader, as well as the rest of the mainstream media:
There are two types of people who write about sports:
  • Professional Journalists who come up with unique material on a daily basis for their television, radio, and newspaper audiences, and
  • A vast sewer-bin of anonymous loudmouths in chat rooms and "web-logs" who submit their untrained, unsolicited opinions to the open-source, public-domain publication known as "the Internet"
In fairness to Cowherd and the rest of the media, it's an honest mistake. Historically, that has been a pretty accurate description of the random chatter that has spread across the net since its inception. But it's no longer the case. In the recent past (more specifically, the last 13 to 15 months), sports blogs have become increasingly organized, more popular, and more professional. Now, when I'm in the mood for a candid and lighthearted breakdown of college football, I don't turn on ESPN, I click over to EDSBS. I don't read the crappy AP box score for a football game when I can read Brian from MGoBlog break down a game at a level of detail several orders of magnitude higher than the fine-print on the back page of the paper. I get the scoop on my favorite team from Blue-Gray Sky or Irish Eyes, and get all my daily news from Deadspin.

I don't do this because I'm a snooty blog elitist, I do this because the information, creativity, and overall presentation of information is superior. It's dynamic, constantly-changing and adapting, sharply and intelligently opinionated, and, at times, downright hilarious shit. My RSS reader has several dozen feeds for sports blogs (which I don't have room to list by name here -- although the bookmark bar on the side is a pretty good cross-section, and everything I've said above is applicable to those sites, too), and I spend a good amount of time reading through those feeds in an effort to become a better-educated sports fan.

And that's the point that ESPN and Cowherd don't get. You can't just say you found something "on the internet" anymore. These sports articles aren't like the "50 Reasons a Beer is Better than a Woman" e-mail your annoying co-worker forwards to you once a month, they're well thought-out and work-intensive observations that somebody worked very hard on and published to the world, free of charge, because they felt it was worth saying. All bloggers ask for in return is an appreciative audience and credit where credit is due. Text "from the internet" is not a free donation to the public domain, and certainly isn't a free donation to ESPN to assist in their commercial endeavors. I think the incident this weekend sent that message loud and clear. The days of ignoring sports blogs is over, and so are the days as dismissing it as anonymous internet chatter made available for the benefit of commercial networks.

Sports blogs are here to stay, and I predict we will see more clashes with the mainstream as the two media begin to compete with each other directly as bloggers move up the food chain in the sports journalism world. My fellow bloggers, keep blogging away. Your time is near.



Yes, I know the rules. House Rock Built Rule #1: If a post ever devolves into overly-serious preachiness, the self-imposed penalty will be posting a picture of a man dressed up like a piece of fruit. Feast away, ye savages.

Real Man of Genius

I don't think I've been pimping Nevin O'Donnell (a.k.a. Oldie Olderson) enough on this site. After tirelessly putting together highlight films for every single game during the season, he just wrapped up a Season Highlights video for the Notre Dame '05 season that is just awesome. Watching this video, three thoughts came to mind:
  • I already miss Maurice Stovall. He found away to blow me away in every single game, and never did it the same way twice. I'm glad we have Rhema back to shore up veteran talent at WR, but Stovall sure looks like an irreplaceable talent on the highlight film.
  • I want football season to start now.
  • I love robots.

    UPDATE: Make that four things..
  • If you're locked in a room with Mark May, Hitler, and Stalin and you have a gun with only two bullets, shoot Mark May twice.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Pop-Culturally Relevant Again!

Anyone who caught the Simpsons last night was treated to a little bit of fun at Notre Dame's expense. While I don't have the exact verbiage of the joke, it more or less went like this:

Woman: My husband hasn't satisfied me in years.
Homer: Yeah, I feel the same way about Notre Dame football.
It's funny because it's true. Sigh. We all feel your pain, Homer. Hopefully our dear leader Charlie will bring us some redemption.

The reference is even more interesting when you consider the source. You see, the episode was written by Ricky Gervais, who also lent his vocal talents to the production. For those of you who don't know Ricky, he's the pompous, bumbling, and ass-kickingly hilarious boss from the original, Brittish version of "The Office". It's unusual that Gervais would make the reference, since most limeys believe that football involves sissies running around in shinpads. Anyway, good to see the Fightin' Irish are making an impression on both sides of the pond.


Wait, that's not the guy from the 40 Year-Old Virgin!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Who is Tim McKenna?

Seeing as three of the last six posts on this site have been poultry-themed, it's about time we change gears a little bit and talk about something new. We don't want to pigeonhole ourselves um, become too predictable.

Anyway, there's some guy on Yahoo's Tournament Pick 'Em named Tim McKenna who correctly picked all four Final 4 teams, and that's just filthy, scary, Faustian deal-with-the-devil stuff. Needless to say, his stock rose quite dramatically after Gunston and his merry lads toppled the mighty Huskies, to the tune of 154 places.



So who is this Tim McKenna fellow? An amoral time traveler hell-bent on disrupting the time-space continuum in order to make a quick buck? A sociopathic introverted idiot savant? A renegade mathematician who inadvertantly stumbled upon an algorithm that unlocks the secrets of the universe? Or is he a fake persona, invented to cover a deeply insidious identity?

One thing's for sure, it's none of these sad-looking dumbasses.

Well, that's Disturbing

Hot Underage Cock
Is this what you're looking for? Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.
The House Rock Built anticipates having lots of new fans from Germany, after earning the dubious distinction of being the number five result when this query is typed into the German Google site. You sickos are welcome here, just please don't sit on any of the furniture.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Big Bucking Chicken

And the House Rock Built award for "Best Commercial We are Constantly Bombarded With During a Major Sporting Event" for the NCAA Tournament, 2006 goes to:


Big Bucking Chicken. You are big, and you are chicken.

Fitness King

Blue & Gold Illustrated has some pictures up from spring practice (including our first look at man-mountain and William Howard Taft look-alike Chris Stewart donning a gold helmet for the first time). Maybe it's just me, but Charlie Weis is actually looking pretty fit and trim here. I daresay he may have even shed a few pounds in the offseason. You be the judge:



Just make sure he stays away from those Chick-fil-a sandwiches at the Blue-Gold Game (presented by Chick-fil-a®). Lord knows many a good diet has met its grisly and untimely death at the hands of those sugar-and-nicotine-infused deep-fried lard ball sandwiches.

Mascot Deathmatch: WuShock vs. Gunston

It's a watershed week for the Great American Mascot Hunt. If you're anything like us, you're sick with anticipation of the mascot matchup of the century, when the Patriots of George Mason and the Wichita State Shockers square off tonight for a classic Sweet 16 matchup. While we've already paid tribute to Gunston, we would be remiss in our duties as mascot hunters if we didn't pay homage to the undisputed champion from the great state of Kansas: WuShock the Wichita State Shocker.

Designed by a World War II Marine, Wu's image has constantly been "toughened up" with each revision, resulting in the surly bastard you see today. Plus, his name is Wu, which reminds me of the opening scene in The Big Lebowski.


Wu, isn't this guy supposed to be rich?


In four and a half hours, we'll get to see the two teams square off for superiority, but the more important question is: Who would win in a steel-cage deathmatch? No rules, no holds-barred, two mascots enter, one leaves.


If there was a mascots' division of EDSBS' Coaches Deathmatch, this would be the main event.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

On The Cutting Edge of Disaster

One of the founding principals of the House Rock Built is to closely monitor the ever-changing landscape of the commercial shaving industry, and to serve as a sane voice of reason in a mad world where the number of blades on our razors multiply on a nearly daily basis. When we hit five blades, we were right on top of it, and, God willing, we'll be there when they hit six.

Well, it's good to see that The Economist has taken up the fight against unbridled razor propigation with an in-depth study on the mathematical trends in blade inflation. Applying Moore's Law and setting up a conservative power curve, we're facing a 14-bladed razor sometime around the year 2100. However, if blades keep expanding at their present rate in a hypoerbolic curve, then we are truly looking at a worst-case scenario, with infinitely-bladed razors hitting the markets in just about nine years. Suffice to say, we may soon be confronted with the grave reality of zero-dimensional singularities on our razors, which would require the entire shaving public to rapidly learn the tricky and treacherous art of quantum shaving.

In fact, a friend of ours at Gillette has leaked this top-secret prototype drawing of an infinitely-bladed razor, which essentially features a ring of razorblades soldered onto a titanium Möbius strip. The future may be closer than we think.

Eat More Chikin'

Anyone planning on going to the Blue-Gold Game this spring? Think again, because this year it will be called the Blue and Gold Game presented by Chick-fil-a®. Well, we're excited about the new sponsor and the great possible promotional tie-ins (I'm thinking T-shirt cannons flinging chicken sandwiches into the crowd. I know it's just a dream, but dammit, this very University was built on the crazed imagination of dreamers.)

Right, where were we? Oh, make sure you get your tickets, Not only will it give all you football junkies a much-needed hit of the goods before the summer, but it will give us all a valuable insight into the revamped '06 squad that many of us Domers are dreaming are poised for a magical season.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Great American Mascot Hunt: Suburban Washington, D.C.

Sometimes, it takes a lot of work to find a solid entry for the Great American Mascot Hunt. Other times, it just falls in your lap.

On a bleary and hungover afternoon, we watched the Patriots of George Mason University pull off a series of improbable NCAA tournament wins to carry them into the Sweet 16. We hopped on the internet and staring us right in the face was this picture on your left here.

And immediately we fell in love.

You see, this sleepy college in suburban Washington D.C. does, in fact, have more to offer the world than a Cinderella basketball team and Marco's mortal enemy, Karl Rove. They also have the little fuzzy green bastard who stole our hearts.



This is Gunston, and he is glorious. The bastard son of Oscar the Grouch and Falkor the Luckdragon, this fuzzy green abomination of nature is the ass-kickingest Patriot we've ever seen, and would certainly give Patriot Pat a good wholloping, by Jove. And if you happen to catch a GMU game in the near future and find dear Gunston struggling for balance in his oversized sweat-soaking furnace of a suit and subsequently taking a header into a pyramid of cheerleaders, remember to join the crowd in their time-honored chant:
"Gunston's Drunk!"

The Dark Fist of Censorship

I was perusing the Overall Leaderboard for Yahoo's NCAA Tournament challenge, and saw that the first place team belonged the the owner of an overwhelmingly clever nickname

Jay Hawks? More Like Gay Hawks!
After having a snicker over this, I came back this afternoon and saw that the iron fist of Yahoo had come smashing down the Gayhawks, and the moniker had been changed to this more banal and infinitely less humorous nickname (second team tied for first place):




The good Chancellor is appalled by this thoughtcrime. England Prevails!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Dink & Dunk: St. Patrick's Day

Well, some good news for Gator fans out there, as it looks like all charges have been dropped against Kenneth Tookes and Dee Webb for an incident last month involving an AR-15 Assault Rifle accidentally discharging in a Gainesville apartment. In our wisdom, we decided to lay off the criticism and derision of these lads for fear of seeming hypocritical in light of our own sketchy history with gun safety. But it looks like the cat's out of the bag now, so I guess we can all have a good laugh.


(click image for full comic)


Seriously, though, make sure you exercise proper gun safety. Shooting at imaginary leprechauns with an assault rifle while blackout-drunk is a big no-no. Responsible gun owners understand that the AR-15 is not a toy, and it should only be used for defending the Constitution from the New World Order and for hunting down the dangerous yet delicious Wild Capybara.

And just as a clarification, St. Patrick's Day is basically a month-long holiday in Chicago, but the heaviest-drinking day was Sunday, coinciding with the South Side Irish Parade and our foray into in-home firearms usage.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Cornjerker Update!

A quick update on the Great American Mascot Hunt. My prayers were answered and we got some feedback from some honest-to-God Cornjerkers. We laughed, we cried, and we learned a valuable lesson about the true meaning of cornjerking. An anonymous Cornjerker informed us:

I grew up in Hoopeston. The often scrutinized name comes from kids heading into the cornfields after school to detassle corn, but your explanation is as good as any.
Also, IrishGuard (who I never would have pegged as a closet Cornjerker) tipped us off that Ohio State hoops coach Thad Matta has jerked some corn in his life (see the fourth paragraph down). Craziness. Who knows, maybe somebody close to you, someone you think you know very well, is a Cornjerker too.

Anyway, I've got to roll. I just whipped out my credit card and bought a ton of Cornjerker Merchandise. All of you readers who are on my Christmas list are in for quite a treat.

Maybe I'm really immature, but I find this little ditty to be unbelievably hysterical.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Three Minutes: Act II

And now, part two of the three-minute drive that defined a season. If it's still too painful, you don't have to read. If you've forgotten part one, refresh yourself here.


Play Five

2nd and 4, ball on USC 34, 3:35 Remaining

In four quick plays, Weis has chewed up more than half of the field and is now poised to make a run for the end zone. It's a four point game, and there's no sense in playing for another possession at this point, so it's four down territory. The first half of the drive, Weis picked apart USC's defense with a variety of slants and quick-hitting pass plays, finding weaknesses in every single variety of defense that was thrown out there. By this point, the entire focus of the USC defense is to take away the quick slant by whatever means necessary. In an attempt to counter the hits to the center of the field, Carroll moves the linebackers right up onto the line of scrimmage and shifts them both to the left.



This is what Weis has been waiting for. With each successful slant pass, the linebackers creeped up closer and closer, and became increasingly wary of the short routes. Now that they've been drawn in, Darius Walker has a lot of room to move on a quick handoff to the right side.



And that's just what he does. Walker takes the handoff and dashes through the line, trying to hit that big vacuum of space between the linebackers and the secondary. Walker explodes into the hole, and only gets brought down by a superhuman effort by Defensive End Frostee Rucker on the right side. Walker's five yards is good for a first down, but it could have been much more had Rucker not barely snatched up Darius from behind and dragged him down.

Play Six

1st and 10, ball on USC 29, 3:05 Remaining

This is the big daddy of them all. This play made me jump ten feet in the air, scream, and hurl from my ruptured vocal cords a string of profanity-laced poetry so divinely inspired that it made heads turn in awe in a several-yard radius. It's more or less the same play as before, but this time the blocking at the line, the lineman pulling, and the downfield blocks by the receivers all come together perfectly to let Walker explode into the vacated spaces caused by a defensive oversensitive to the short pass.



Three big things happen downfield on this play that turn it into the show-stopper it was:
  • The first kudos goes to Matt Shelton, who made an improbably fantastic block downfield against Safety Josh Pinkard, who Yahoo tells me outweighs Shelton by 25 pounds. Shelton takes off at the snap and is targeted for Pinkard, his assignment is to do whatever it takes to somehow prevent Pinkard from getting into the center of the field. Shelton one-ups that by driving Pinkard backwards and into the cluster of blocks in the middle of the field. Pinkard eventually has to spin away and take an angle on Walker to drive hiim out of bounds.
  • John Sullivan makes a beastly pancake block on USC Linebacker Collin Ashton. First of all, it's impressive that the center found his way 10 yards downfield before Darius Walker even got there, but even more impressive is the impact he makes once he gets out into that space. Ashton, the left linebacker, was a little bit lazy getting into the play, and in his haste to size up Walker's trajectory and chase him down, he took his eyes off of the mountain of man patrolling the middle of the field. As Darius Walker reaches the middle of the field, Sullivan lowers his shoulder and wipes out Ashton, bowling him onto the turf like a ragdoll.


    A snapshot of Collin Ashton's last vertical moment on this play.

  • USC Cornerback Justin Wyatt turns a solid play into a huge one in his overpursuit. As the cornerback on the right side, Wyatt is responsible for the entire right sideline, as the weakside safety is playing the middle of the field and, at the moment, was being blasted backwards by Matt Shelton. Wyatt gives up his containment to try and make a play on Walker, but Walker makes a quick right turn and turns on the jets, leaving Wyatt in the dust and a dozen yards of sideline to work with.


Play Seven

1st and Goal, ball on USC 9, 2:52 Remaining

As Darius is flung into the band directly in front of my seats, the instant jubiliation is quickly interrupted by a sense of uneasiness as 80,000 heads glanced at the game clock. 2:52, stopped. All of the sudden, the objective of the game changed, or at the very least became more complicated. Which odds are better for USC? Stopping Notre Dame's clicking offense four plays in a row inside the nine yard line or driving the length of the field in three minutes? While there's not enough data to do a full sabermetric breakdown of this, you can't help but think that USC's best chance to win is with the ball in their hands. We can't know for sure what went on in that huddle, but it would not be surprising to hear something to the effect of "Play Defense, but don't necessarily do anything superhuman at the expense of the clock."



Another quick run to the left as Darius Walker pushes a visibly exhausted line forward about five yards. An interesting note is that on every run play, the slot receiver has run a screen route to the outside, each time effectively drawing their defender out of the play with the man-to-man coverage up front.

Play Eight

2nd and Goal, ball on USC 5, 2:15 Remaining

Darius Walker takes a much-deserved breather as Travis Thomas comes in as halfback. Thomas goes out in motion, and now it's an empty backfield. The call is somewhat reminiscent of the Michigan game, where Weis went five-wide in their first goal line situation for an easy quick pass to Rhema McKnight. This time, however, it's a jailbreak. I still don't believe this was a five yard touchdown run, because from my vantage point it looked like Brady Quinn must have run 45 yards. While agile in avoiding trouble in the pocket, Brady isn't the most fleet-footed of athletes, and watching him run for his life against the athletic defense of USC was a stressful, nail-biting minute of my life.



Man alive you should have seen the pandemonium. It was the culmination of a flawless, perfectly-called drive in the most critical, pressure-packed moment of the season... possibly in several seasons. It was a whole new Notre Dame.



Just as an addendum, and not to rip open any wounds, but this picture seems to show what I thought I saw from behind the band. It looks like maybe, possibly, Quinn's knee is down before he stretches out across the goal line. It is interesting (although an agonizing and completely fruitless labor) to wonder what might have happened if the ball had been downed inside the one yard line and the clock continued to run. Okay, stop thinking about it now. Seriously.

Happy Birthday, Rock!

Not much posting this week, you say? Okay, fine, maybe there's a case to be made for that. But you have to understand, we have an ass-kicking excuse. While the rest of you were working or walking your ferret or whatever you do, we were on a self-destructive binge drinking marathon with our editor-in-chief, president emeritus, spiritual mentor, and majority investor Knute Freaking Rockne. And why was old Rock in such a good mood and willing to pick up our tab? Because it was his birthday.


The Rock loves Journey. I mean he freaking adores Journey.


Now maybe we were being disloyal to our readers by going on a six-day bender with am 118 year-old coaching legend, shamelessly shirking our professional responsibilities to keep you up-to-date with collegefootballdom. But fear ye not. After week of jager bombs, cheap beers, an ungodly amount of some wretched Norwegian liquor called Akvavit, three nights in a rat-infested Oslo prison, two divorces (including one annulment), and an unforgettable session of blood dialysis (courtesy of the Norwegian Rat-Tick and its aggressive transmission of brain-eating protozoan parasites), we're back in business. Put some flapjacks on the grill, Sally.


The water of life. Also the water of blood-in-my-urine-for-six-months.