Ineptitude Bowl et al

Fe! Fi! Fo! Fum! I smelled the blood of…a steak sandwich at the Knights of Columbus. Ah yes, the family made yet another trip west to South Bend for a college football matchup. Dare I say this event is taking on an annual nature. Don’t know what I have done right to receive these blessings, but I do appreciate it.

As part of game day on the Notre Dame campus one tradition is to take in the steak sandwich at the K of C. Funny how in this capitalist society we live in, the Knights have been able to maintain a $6 charge for the sandwich and drink of choice. I can’t remember the price ever being anything different, and I see no visible evidence of decrease in sandwich quality. Certainly the Knights could increase the price…to say $10, and people would still gobble up the victuals.

While others in the country watched as Wisconsin and Minnesota battled for the Paul Bunyan Axe, and Purdue and Indiana battled for the ‘Old Oaken Bucket’, the Irish and the Blue Devils of Duke University squared off in a matchup of possibly the two worst teams in Division 1A football. Entering the contest ND and Duke ranked 115 (out of 119) or lower in the four major team statistics – rushing yards/ passing yards gained and allowed. For twenty-six minutes the combatants lived up to their billing as they bumbled through a series of personal fouls, dropped passes, and bad snaps. Then the Irish managed to put together some offense before the half and grabbed a 14-0 lead.

At times Jimmy Clausen showed promise. The frosh completed 16 of 32 in difficult weather conditions – three for tds. The big story of the game was that the Irish established a running game to the tune of 245 yards. Robert Hughes looked solid as he gained 115 and scored a td. Uncle Charlie will take the positive and continue to build.

Gotta respect Weis. He’s the same man with a 2 and 9 team as he was leading his team into the Sugar Bowl last year. Weis is experiencing the clash of a series of elements. There are the two poor recruiting classes brought in prior to Charlie’s tenure, the omnipresent academic requirements at ND, and as Crossword Pete/Monty has so astutely noted, Charlie is finding out there is a difference between being a great NFL assistant and being a good head college football coach. For the last two years Weis has used players well-versed in the basics by Ty Willingham; the same basics his players struggled with earlier this year. If nothing else the toil of ’07 will give Charlie a fresh perspective on the poetry of Emily Dickinson: “Success is counted sweetest by those who ne’er succeed.” Judging by the rings he boasts on his chubby digits Charlie has experienced success. But if he is anything like his former boss, Bill Belichick, Weis lives in the present, and those rings are nice memories and that’s it. Of course those rings make for effective recruiting tools also.

While on the topic I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the efforts of Crossword Pete/ Monty and Mary Alice. Monty and the Mrs. have spread the good word of Fightin’ Irish football. They have made it possible for a bevy of ND fans to experience their first game in South Bend. They have also provided game day babysitting, lodging within a thirty-minute drive, and it is rumored that Monty prepares a mean pre-game breakfast and post-game buffet.

Continuing with the props – while I ambled the campus, JD scored us ducats for the March 6th Springsteen show. JD – You da Man! I did some digging and found this from the last time JD and I saw the Boss.

In case you were wondering…the ticket price from that show: $19.75.

Before I forget – I guess not too many people saw the Paul Bunyan Axe game. Seems that the Big Ten Conference limited the transmission of the game. The Big Ten Network?!?! First the NFL network and now this? “Ain’t that America, you and me, ain’t that America something to see – little pink houses for you and me.”

The dismal win-loss record has not taken any luster off the ND mystique. Throngs still flocked to the campus bookstore for their ND gear and souvenirs.

We managed to parlay the trip into some additional sports viewing. The ND women’s soccer team hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA Women’s College Cup / The Road to College Station. In Friday night’s opening match Ella Masar scored in overtime to lead Illinois over Louisville. Later, Kerri Hanks proved why she was the ’06 national player-of-the-year. The junior forward had three assists in leading the Irish to a three nil win over Loyola-Chicago.

Soccer and women’s sports in general usually make fodder for bashing as an inferior endeavor. I too grow impatient with the flopping at the professional and international levels of soccer, but I also enjoy the game as well as all other games. I enjoy the execution of a sacrifice bunt just like I enjoy a screen pass or the pick ‘n’ roll as well as a forward checking back to receive the ball and crisply one-touching a pass to an overlapping teammate. The players in Friday’s matches played the game with an impressive level of grace and athleticism. It was refreshing to watch a sport played at such a high level devoid of all the fanfare and hoopla of other popular sports. The women play for the pure competitive nature of the sport.

ND topped Illinois two nil in the tournament’s second round. For their efforts the Irish earned a sweet sixteen date with the UNC Tar Heels. The Heels are coached by Anson Dorrance who has done nothing but win. Dorrance has coached the Heels since their inception in 1979. In that time UNC has won nineteen national titles. Yeah, you read that right: 19. Those are Wooden-like numbers. Actually, maybe we should change it to Wooden had Dorrance-like numbers.

More College Pigskin: Sad to see that the Oregon Ducks are the latest to contract the terrible twos; sadder still to see that Dennis Dixon will be lost for the season. He is an exciting player to watch, and I looked forward to seeing him play in January. Here’s hoping Kansas can avoid contracting the woes of the prior #2 teams in the country.

I’m trying to figure out if the current state of college football works for or against the BCS. I love the fact that the only undefeated teams remaining are Hawaii and the Jayhawks, but how does this get straightened out? Mizzou and Kansas will meet next weekend. Of course if any of these teams made it to and actually won the title game everyone would be up in arms saying they didn’t deserve it. Their win was a fluke. I couldn’t disagree, but if one of these teams fought their way through a 16-team tournament, there would be no doubting the credibility. Then again one of the three will more than likely get pounded in the title game by LSU, and the ol’ boys club – better well known as the NCAA- will have no problem with that.

College Hoops – no doubt the coaching staff and players at Davidson cried when they reviewed the game tapes from their recent game against UNC. For thirty-six minutes the Wildcats had the #1 Heels eating out of the palm of their hands. They played patiently at both ends of the floor and frustrated Roy Williams’s squad. Then Bob McKillop’s group hurried a couple of shots, started chasing a little on the defensive end, and the Heels are too good to not take advantage of that. Games like that will go a long way in preparing the ‘Cats for March. I can easily see Davidson getting to the Dance, and depending on their draw, advancing to the second weekend of action. Davidson also plays UCLA and Duke this season.

The Blue Devils have brought in a solid recruiting class that will contribute right away. Expect Greg Paulus to rebound from a difficult ’06-’07. The junior never really recovered from a pre-season foot injury last season. The addition of freshman guard, Nolan Smith, should help lighten the ball-handling responsibilities. Paulus struggled last year as the team’s only true ball handler. Jon Scheyer and DeMarcus Nelson can put it to the floor, but anything beyond two dribbles is a crap shoot for them. Then Josh McRoberts stepped out to help, but that was at the expense of offensive rebounding. A healthy Paulus with Smith coming off the bench bodes well for Duke in ’07-’08.

Now that the Celtics have finally lost, we can look ahead realistically. The Celts don’t play San Antonio or Phoenix until February. Those games could go a long way to proving how good of team Boston is. December eighth matchup with the Bulls could be interesting.

Recent developments have to have Tony Dungy croonin’ like John Fogerty. What with Marvin Harrsion out, Peyton getting an acute case of color blindness, Dwight Freeney going down for the season, and to top it off Adam Vinatieri missing four consecutive field goals, Dungy must be thinkin’ there’s a ‘Bad Moon Risin’.

Belated props to Tommy Etsler, Jamie Schneider and the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams of Spencerport High. The boys’ team earned a shared sectional title while Schneider’s squad won the AAA crown outright.

More props to the Greece Arcadia girls’ soccer team who won the NYS class AA title. In all, three Section V schools (Arcadia, Mendon, and Caledonia-Mumford) qualified for state final games in five different classifications. This is one year after three Section V teams (Livonia, Aquinas, and York) won state titles.

Just about the time I was feeling some sympathy for the New York Yankees, they go and make overtures to Mike Lowell. It has become popular of late to refer to the Sox as the new Evil Empire, but let me ask this: are the Sox going after Torii Hunter? ‘Cause last time I checked Andy Phillips was supposed to be the first baseman of the future for the Yankees. Maybe that’s not the case. Maybe Jacoby Ellsbury isn’t the new center-fielder for the Sox.

Note to M. Lowell: please give lengthy consideration to what you are doing. Maybe you want to contact Judas Damon and see how he feels about the extra year he got in his contract; especially after he became the guy the Yanks replaced in late innings for defensive purposes. Mike – there will not be enough novenas for you to bring on the intercession necessary to release you from an impending date with purgatory.

Tough week for Scott Boras – first he takes the demotion from A-Rod. Now Kenny Rogers has decided he knows when to hold ’em and knows when to fold ’em. Is it possible something in the sports world can make sense?

Coming soon: the first ever Clipboard awards. Join the community as we award the top performances of 2007.

It’s 10:52 and it can’t get any uglier for the Bills.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Casey

18 Responses to "Ineptitude Bowl et al"

  1. Z Dubbs   November 19, 2007 at 3:22 am

    Mr. and Mrs. Montenaro are amazing…and the pre-game breakfast is as good, if not better, as advertised. ND was one of the best things I have experienced.

    Bonds finally indicted and the “home run king”* may have played in his last ball game. Bonds may be a media scapegoat and is the poster child of the Steroid Era, but could it have happened to a nicer guy?

    Can’t wait to get in the swing of college hoops, and North Carolina will benefit from the reality check that a very good Davidson gave them the other night.

    Happy Turkey Day to all, and to not being able to see Colts game, and several other games coming up on the NFL schedule, because Time Warner and the NFL Network can’t get along.

  2. p hardmeyer   November 19, 2007 at 8:05 am

    The Giants need to fire Kevin Gilbride and find a coordinator who will actually plan to Eli’s strengths- like a no huddle or two minute offense regularly- and drafting speed that can play (can sinorice moss play?)
    Steve Smith will help

  3. ccww   November 19, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    ZDubbs – I thought long and hard about including *Man in the post. For purposes of length I edited it out. Here’s hoping 755 & 61 live on.

    phardmeyer – a warm welcome to the Clipboard. I can’t agree more about Gilbride. The Giants have too many offensive weapons to fall into those all-too-frequent funks.

    Casey

  4. The Thrila in Manilla   November 19, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    WOW,

    Casey that is the most I read since 5th grade in Mrs. Grants class, I think the book was “UpChuck Summer”

    THrilla’s uncle was at the ND game as well and I believe he had to throw away a pair of his boxers due to some digestion malfunctions…….long story

    THe Sox are having a great Off season, while it seems the Yanks keep giving guys more money for not doing anything in years…..those guys are going to get some sweet rocking chairs

    Was the clip of bruce the show you were at, or just the year, where did you see him

    St John Fisher Football is still rolling If any of you guys get a chance it is a great atmosphere, I never thought it would be anything special, but they are great games

    Bomber is back in town for thatnksgiving looking great.

    The redskins are still the worst 4th quarter team in the NFL

    Happy Turkey day to all,

    THe thrilla is out

  5. ccww   November 19, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Thrilla,

    Monday, July 23 1984 at the CNE Grandstand. Section 41N, Row 46, Seat 21, and yes that is a clip from the show JD and I attended. Saw him a couple months later at the Aud in Buffalo. Still later at the Carrier Dome.

    I heard rumor of the uncle’s intestinal struggles. Maybe we can get him to share his memories of an ND experience on the Clipboard.

    Mo and Jorgy in sweet rocking chairs. That is a great visual.

    UpChuck Summer:)

    Casey is smooth like butta

  6. Reynell   November 23, 2007 at 12:05 am

    Casey –

    Opening myself up for some ridicule and gibes: what is your reaction to England’s exit of the EURO 2008 tournament? Not starting your best international performer for the past 10 years? McClaren deserved to be fired. It’s hard to not like Beckham: never critical of team decisions and seems to create goals despite the little time he’s been getting in international play.

    Sad to see Scotland (The fam’s homeland) miss out by two points. Not one, but two 1-0 wins against France were impressive. Fellow Everton striker James McFadden had a masterful tournament. Maybe that will open David Moyes eyes and utilize him a little more in the wake of Johnson’s injury. If only he can bring that same passion to the Premiership as he does to international play.

    Pleased that they competed as well as they did in a tough Group B. Absolutely no excuses for England not getting out of pool play. Compare the difference of talent between the two groups:
    http://msn.foxsports.com/soccer/story/5774026

    Reynell

  7. Aaron Smith   November 23, 2007 at 11:11 am

    Casey,

    Seems like you and Jerry Jones have something in common – Time Warner/NFL Network. I don’t understand the need to show the game on the network, but it looks like they are trying to plug the network to NFL fans. I guess this is the way you do it. That being said, working out riffs with Time Warner should have been taken care of before they decided to schedule games on the network.

    It is just sad that you have 2 10-1 teams going up against each other and millions of fans will not see the game.

    Switch over to the dish, boys and girls…

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3123865

  8. ccww   November 23, 2007 at 11:15 am

    Brother Reynell,

    Cannot speak of the game as I did not see it. Croatia seemed to have the advantage in the statistical categories (shots, time of possession, corner kicks). Help me with some ambiguities: did Rooney, Ferdinand, and Owen choose to not play? Or were they not chosen? Or were they injured? I know Rooney was hurt earlier this EPL season, but I thought he had returned.

    On a side note – the game was discussed yesterday on Mike and Mike. Seasn Salisbury and another talking head were filling in. With tongue in cheek the other talking head asked Salisbury about the game (it was in the middle of discussing the turkey day games). To my surprise Salisbury came to the defense of soccer. I can’t quote, but it was something like: I enjoy watching soccer – it’s a great game.

    Casey

  9. Aaron Smith   November 23, 2007 at 11:16 am

    Reynell,

    The thing I find amazing is that people like to pan Beckham the first chance he gets. Sure he is not a goal scorer (thanks Pele). But he seems to make his teammates better and when he is playing for England – seems to have a hand in most of the goals they score. His pass the other night to helpe tie the score at 2 against Croatia was sick..

    McLaren made some bad choices as coach for the England team. His choice in goaltenders was the worst of the decisions. It cost him against Croatia and he deserved to be fired.

  10. ccww   November 23, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Aaron,

    The disdain for Beckham is similar to that for Brady – they are lady’s men. Of course Beckham’s inflated contract with the Galaxy didn’t help. Beckham’s first game in the MLS ‘should’ have quieted the critics but of course it didn’t. The guy is great.

    You are right – the NFL and Time Warner should have ironed out their differences before games weres scheduled.

    Casey

  11. Reynell   November 23, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Aaron and Casey

    How could I forget about the goalie decision? Absolutely inept (to stay connected to the original blog) on McClaren’s part. Hey – maybe he is next in line to coach the US women’s team 🙂 The ball to Crouch was sick, but just as awesome a settle off the chest by Peter.

    Casey – Rooney has been out for 3 weeks with a high ankle sprain (projected 4 weeks) I believe. All soccer bashers I’m sure would call him soft and question that much time, but how easy would it have been to re-injure as a result of a tackle from behind? Michael Owen was gone as soon as he returned. Don’t know why exactly. Good to see him score a goal for Newcastle before he started sitting out again.

    Reynell

  12. ccww   November 23, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Brother Reynell,

    Moyes needs to do something because the Toffees are slipping on the table. Using McFadden could only help. Needed to beat Chelsea instead of playing to a draw.

    Casey

  13. Aaron Smith   November 23, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Casey,

    Agree with you on Beckham and Brady. Guys that get it done on the field but don’t get the respect they deserve because they are “ladies” men. Interesting that you can probably add Jeter to the group, but he gets more respect then the other 2..

    Reynell – completely agree. The chest and volley from Crouch was just as impressive.

    Speaking of goals. Not sure of who watched either of the MLS semi-finals and yes, Boston came ohh so close to another championship. I would like to nominate Taylor Twellman’s goal from the semi-final game vs. Chicago. It was a “ting of beauuuty”..

  14. Aaron Smith   November 23, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    I would like to say in the NFL’s defense – good for them to insist that the NFL Network be included in the basic package of cable/Satellite. God knows, Time Warner wants to milk some extra money from customers for adding a “premium channel”.

  15. ccww   November 23, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Probably right about Time-Warner wanting to milk the consumer for more money. Strike that – definitely right.

    The state football final is being played right now. AQ is up at half 14-6. Game is televised on TWSN. Not on the dish – gotta take the good with the bad.

    Casey

  16. The Thrilla in Manilla   November 24, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    Casey,

    To much soccer yackity yack.

    Uncle Charlie might be in to explaing his digestion problems

    SJFC took down the Curry College Orville Reddenbachers 38-7 we are off to Mt Union.

    Would casey like to take the trip??

    You are more than welcome

    The thrilla is out

  17. ccww   November 24, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    Thrilla,

    Hmmmm…..When is the game? What is the itinerary?

    Casey

  18. The Thrilla in Manilla   November 24, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Most likely a 5 or 6am departure on saturday morning, could possibly be a Friday departure around 5 or 6pm, but I have have to get passed homeland security on that one.

    Uncle Charlie will be in attendance, it is a long road but worth it.

    And you get to hang out with the Thrilla, what is more eventful than that.

    It’s better than cleaning toilets (reference to 1988)

    The Thrilla is OUT

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