December 27, 2012 // Notre Dame Football

Not Unbeatable

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Dec 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and running back Eddie Lacy (42) celebrate winning the 2012 SEC Championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs at the Georgia Dome. Alabama won 32-28. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

An important but rarely spoken factor involving sports is belief. We’ve all heard the clichés – everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time. And while rationally it is true, how much of a difference does it make when the helmets are strapped on? I remember repeating the pants cliché to myself as I lined up at football practice against a linebacker who would eventually become all-state.  I told myself we were equals again and again. As to whether or not his pants were any different than mine, I couldn’t say, as every play my face was in the dirt while he took turns chasing our quarterback or running back in the backfield.

Belief is important, and regardless of what the pundits say about Notre Dame’s chances, I have no doubt Notre Dame’s players will take the field against Alabama believing and expecting they can win. However, the points levied by pundits cannot be ignored: talent matters, and Alabama has lots of it. You don’t post a 34-5 record since 2010 or appear in your third national championship in four years without an abundance of skill. But is Alabama’s talent so superior that Notre Dame’s loss is a foregone conclusion?

One way to answer this question is to compare both teams’ starting lineups based on their recruiting rankings out of high school. Such a comparison definitely has its faults. Recruiting rankings are the definition of subjective, and every recruiting website is a bit different. And often times the rankings are far off the mark. Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert is a perfect example. Eifert, fresh off being named the best tight end in the nation, was only a Rivals 3-star out of high school. The comparison may not give a complete picture, but it at least offers one, however incomplete.

Examining both offenses, the talent gap is not as gaping as many have suggested. ESPN has been focusing on the rushing attack of the Crimson Tide headed by Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, and rightfully so – they embarrassed Georgia in the SEC Championship game by putting 350 yards on the ground. T.J. Yeldon was a Rivals 5-star, and Lacy a 4-star. How does that compare to the Fighting Irish’s rushing attack? It turns out it’s nearly a draw, though slightly favorable to Alabama. Theo Riddick was a Rivals 4-star, but Cierre Wood’s status is a tad murkier. Wood started his senior year of high school as a Rivals 5-star but was downgraded to a 4-star at the end of the recruiting cycle, a fact that angered ND fans at the time. But the fact remains: ND’s running backs were as heralded, or close, coming out of high school.

A similar story emerges when comparing offensive lines. Since Notre Dame became paired with Alabama on January 7th, one of the major stories has been whether or not the Irish could handle Alabama’s offensive line, particularly the Tide’s center, Barrett Jones. Alabama’s offensive line is mixed, boasting two Rivals 5-stars in its offensive tackles Cyrus Kouandjio and D.J. Fluker, but also a pair of 3-stars in its guards, Chance Warmack and Anthony Steen. Notre Dame’s offensive line is more balanced, boasting all Rivals 4-stars except Mike Golic, a Rivals 3-star.  What’s the overall verdict? Alabama’s starting lineup has an average star rating of 4.0 compared to Notre Dame’s 3.8. The difference is so negligible that a comparison of defensive line talent is even more noteworthy.

Alabama’s defensive line is as follows: Ed Stinson (4-star), Damion Square (3-star), and Jesse Williams (4-star). This is where the biggest disparity resides. Notre Dame’s starting front is strongly ahead of Alabama’s, with Stephon Tuitt (5-star), Louis Nix (4-star) and Kapron Lewis-Moore (4-star). The average star rating for Notre Dame’s defensive line is 4.3 compared to Alabama’s 3.7.

If games are won in the trenches, Notre Dame actually owns the advantage. Adding the average star ratings of both offensive and defensive lines, the Fighting Irish hold four-tenths of a point advantage over the Crimson Tide. In fact, the ratings between both teams are very similar at a number of different positions, including linebacker, where both teams own a 4.25 average star rating.

When the numbers are crunched, the talent gap being announced by national pundits is closer to myth than reality. These findings are not meant to downplay the skill or success of the Crimson Tide over the course of the past few years – it’s merely meant to show that when the Fighting Irish line up across from Alabama on January 7th, they won’t have to repeat clichés about pants the way I once did.

Comments to this Article

  • Tony commented on December 27th, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I could not imagine a more meaningless criterium on which to determine championship day match-ups than recruiting rankings.

    Case-in-point, Brian Kelly’s band of 2- and 3-star recruits at Cincinnati would’ve brutalized Weis’s 4- and 5-star collections at Notre Dame.

    [Reply]

    Scott replied on December 27th, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Tony:

    Your comment wades more into player development, which is an entirely different issue. This article was only meant to address the “conventional wisdom” that Alabama’s talent far surpasses Notre Dame’s. Well, if you look at the recruiting profiles of starters on the offensive and defensive lines, ND’s starters were actually more heralded on average out of high school.

    It isn’t a perfect comparison by any means, which is why I made a point to mention that in the article. It was just used as an example to show that when it comes to pure talent, the notion ND can’t compete isn’t true. That was the intent.

    Hopefully that clarifies where I was coming from.

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    Beau replied on December 31st, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Good reply.

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  • C-Dog commented on December 27th, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Alabama is not unbeatable. Texas A&M was not a fluke. Notre Dame is also not unbeatable, but as Lou Holtz once said in January 1989, no one has yet to prove that to this year’s squad. Frankly, I think you’ll see a Stanford squad if it comes to play, kick the crap out of Wisconsin. And Wisconsin, while inconsistent, is a very very good squad. What does that have to do with ND and Alabama? Well I’d bet on Stanford against Alabama. Stanford is tough.

    For all the young bucks posting as if football were invented in 1999 and with all the absolutes proclaimed, there is actually becoming some parity in terms of any team in any year. It’s harder to dominate than ever before. The SEC for all it’s recent success may be coming back down to earth with the Pac-12 possibly catching up and the ACC starting to re-establish credibility. The Big 12 may also recover with the Big East all but gone. And for all the dissing on it, the Big Ten ain’t dead yet.

    Notre Dame has established speed in the skill positions, especially defensive line and secondary. This squad has meanness and likes to lay people out. That includes a sometimes angry offensive line. But, man look out if this defense can hang with Alabama in the 1st quarter because once they feel the speed of the game, they will lay it all out.

    The only thing I see stopping this squad from equality is confidence and especially from the coaching staff. If they figure out Alabama and also stay loose and willing to gamble, then you’ll see an Irish squad that has arrived.

    Another long term intangible for Notre Dame is the ability of players not going pro to get jobs paying a professional level salary. I’d hate to be one of those Alabama players pushing a broom at their high school gym in 5 years knowing that age 18-22 were the best years of their lives. ND players can all look forward to a bright future in any career.

    [Reply]

    Steve Smith replied on December 29th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Are you a racist or just stupid?

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    Beau replied on December 30th, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    One of the most arrogant post that I have ever read on any college football site. Comments like yours, give all ND fans a bad name.

    I seriously doubt that ALL ND football players will be succeeding in any career.

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  • Patrick commented on December 27th, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    This game does not come down to 4 and 5 star rankings. It comes down to this – who commits the least amount of mistakes, who capitalizes on opportunities, and the biggest of all, who wants it more.

    This game has been built into Notre Dame vs the past 3 Alabama teams. It is not that. It is a 12-1 Alabama team vs a 12-0 Notre Dame team. Two teams focused and good at the same things. Two teams who overcome difficult schedules, games, etc. Two teams coached exceptionally well.

    I’m 31 and I’ve learned one thing about sports, what’s on paper doesn’t dictate what happens on the field. I’ve seen Appalachian State upset Michigan. I’ve seen a wild card NY Giants team defeat an 18-0 Patriots team in the Super Bowl. I’ve seen the Red Sox win 4 straight in the 2004 ALCS to dethrone the Yankees. Tell me – who predicted those things? Who looked at the stats, the accolades, the media commentary and said, “Yep, Appalachian State will be U of M today” or “I’ll take the Red Sox down 0-3 to the Yankess in the playoffs.”

    I can see Notre Dame winning this game by 10 points or losing by 20. I can see Alabama falling short on a last second field goal or them racking up 42 points. Does it mean any of that will come true? Who knows.

    What I do know is this, I want Notre Dame to win. Desperately. I look forward to them upsetting Alabama, on the grandest of stages, with the majority of America thinking they’ll get rolled. I dream of seeing Nick Saban sulk and Brian Kelly drenched in Gatorade.

    I also know that a “dynasty” does not last forever. There are always “dynasty killers.” Think about it. One team that comes from nowhere to defeat the Evil Empire at its height. The NY Giants. Boise State Broncos against OU. Boston Red Sox. Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series against the Yankees. The list goes on.

    Now, it’s Notre Dame’s time to play the spoiler. Turn the tide. Make the universe right again =)

    [Reply]

    Beau replied on December 31st, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Notre Dame is tied with Toledo with kicking the most field goals inside the redzone @ 29.

    Field goals will not get it done against the Tide’s offense that averages 38.5 points per game.

    ND has a great redzone D too. However, Ala’s redzone Offense is much better than the Fighting Irish.

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    Beau replied on December 31st, 2012 at 11:27 am

    And one more thing…our JR QB has more experience than your FR QB and A.J. is a better passer IMO.

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  • Shazamrock commented on December 28th, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Size Matters.
    Louis Nix 6’1″ 326
    Tony Springmann 6’6″ 300
    Kona Schwenke 6’4″ 290
    Tyler Stocton 6’4″ 290
    Sheldon Day 6’2″ 286

    That’s a lot of beef on our interior defensive line.
    I’m confedent Bob Diaco will utilize these resources to their fullest.
    For example, what if you put Louis Nix on the field at the same time with perhaps, a Tony Springmann? Who ya gonna double now?
    Yeah, I know we’re talking a 4-3, and we would be giving up a little in coverage, but it is still an interesting concept.

    Speed kills.
    GA III
    Chris Brown
    Davonte Neal
    DaVaris Daniels
    TJ Jones

    We all know Kelly would like to run a true spread offense.
    He has the personel to do it, it just takes time and practice to develoup it.
    Think about this.. We didn’t see Chris Brown catch his first pass until the second half of the Oklahoma game. Mid-season.
    With extra time to prepare, it would be surprising to me if Kelly didn’t get more plays to the guys with that exception speed given his true spread/speed offensive style type backround.
    I think speed can be the difference in this game.
    And I think we have the guys to do it.
    Can Kelly get them coached up? Put them in a positive position to succeed?
    Can he find th right plays to get the most from their skills?
    Is this the game where those guys step up? Take their game to the next level?
    If history is any indicator, I can’t wait to find out!

    [Reply]

  • Chuckie commented on December 29th, 2012 at 10:03 am

    The result will be known when the Final Whistle is blown. They HAVE to play the game if a winner is to be known.

    [Reply]

    Beau replied on December 30th, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    You forgot to say….the team with the most points at the end of the game is declared the winner.

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  • Steve Smith commented on December 29th, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    The beating that west Virginia just took puts the notre dame victory over Oklahoma in perspective. West Virginia and Oklahoma both poor excuses for football teams. So now you are left with wins close wins over byu huh? Or the big victory over Pittsburgh . Better bring those officials with you to Miami. This will be a beat down of biblical proportions. I’d say bama by thirty. Saban doesn’t like to run up the score.

    [Reply]

    ETXIRISH replied on December 29th, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    I hope you’re not serious?

    [Reply]

    Steve smith replied on January 12th, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I was serious.

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    ND Southy replied on December 29th, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Brilliant analysis Steve, please give us more.

    [Reply]

  • Steve Smith commented on December 29th, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Ok ndsoutthy, here goes. I’ll get basic for you. Nd has a hard time putting up points against everyone. Bama scores at will at times (late in the game) and methodically against everyone else. If a team can’t score eventually they will lose. To be truly honest I doubt the Irish will score unless they do bring those officials I mentioned in an earlier post.

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    ND Southy replied on December 30th, 2012 at 10:43 am

    That argument is fine, but the argument based on WVU losing a bowl game makes no sense or has no relevance. It would be the equivalent of this: Bama beat WKU, who got beat by Central Michigan, who got crushed by Mich St, who ND beat. Therefore ND is better than Bama. Or Bama lost to Tex A&M, who lost to UF who struggled against ULL, and UF beat LSU therefore the LSU win is unimpressive.

    If you think Bama is going to win then fine. So does 90% of America. Your not really going out on a limb thinking a team that has won repeatedly will win again. We will all find out on the 7th.

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  • Steve Smith commented on December 29th, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Let’s see extirish, saban recruits for five years at Alabama gets a number one class most years and wins two national championships, has the best o line in the country and the best running back tandem ,supplemented with speed on the outside but the luck of the Irish he doesn’t have. I’ll take nick.

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  • JC commented on December 29th, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Steve must have one of those Special Bama football Degree’s in either Basket Weaving or Animal Husbandry. Pure rocket science, I’m impressed.

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  • SteelFanRob commented on December 29th, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    I see “Buckeye” is back under another persona.

    Bottom line is neither “Buckeye,” “Steve Smith,” or “Al L.” are fortune tellers. I challenge anyone of them to give us the exact final score.

    This game will be played on Jan. 7. We’ll find out then whether ND or Bama is going to have bragging rights.

    Until then, let the trolls continue to sound off. After all their opinions are like the a-holes they are, everyone has them.

    JC, I think you’re being too generous with “Steve”. I doubt he even knows what a basket is. Animal husbandry might be more accurate for this goat shagger!

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  • Steve Smith commented on December 30th, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Boys,boys no reason for name calling , just explain on what planet it would make sense for nd to win this game. You know something like your qb has the arm of Aaron Murray or you have running backs like “gurshall” for Georgia or your qb has the legs of jonny manziel. Maybe something like your fastest receiver is not a tight end. What a joke.

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    JC replied on December 30th, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Steve,

    You already have all the answers a proctologist would love to experiment on in the name of science, Atheist.

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  • JC commented on December 30th, 2012 at 12:49 am

    Amen Rob,

    It seems fashionable these days to call everyone a racist. An obvious mischaracterization by a moron like Steve in an attempt to avoid his flawed comprehension.

    Interestingly enough, there is definately a superabundance of double and triple handle kooks to deal with this year.

    By the way, a late Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

    Here come our beloved Irish!

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  • Steve Smith commented on December 30th, 2012 at 1:11 am

    You fellows don’t seem to do anything but name call. Implying that Alabama football players will be janitors is obviously a racist remark. I thought you were proud of your racisim. Maybe you guys aren’t prone to introspection and didn’t realize what you are. If that’s the case I apologize.

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    C-Dog replied on December 30th, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Actually when you realize that ND has as many minorities on our team and we are all saying that our guys will succeed outside of football, what we are saying is that Alabama is a racist institution for using young men and casting them away after football is over.

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  • Steve Smith commented on December 30th, 2012 at 1:21 am

    I know I’m not corresponding with William F. Buckley here but try to raise your game a little.

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  • JC commented on December 30th, 2012 at 1:52 am

    No worries Steve,

    Your overzealous hedonistic human light behavior is expected. You Atheist nut jobs are dime a dozen.

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  • SteelFanRob commented on December 30th, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Steve,

    The SEC (with the exception of Vanderbilt) might as well stand for the Special Education Conference. Just be thankful that the corrupt NCAA doesn’t give a damn about student-athletes and only cares about having latter-day gladiators spill blood for profit, namely their profit. Alabama wouldn’t be able to compete in any sport if it had ND’s academic standards for its athletes.

    You want to raise the level of discourse, Steve. Fine. When the SEC starts to have the admission and graduation standards and rates of ND, Vandy, Stanford, Northwestern, and just a select few more programs in the FBS, then we’ll talk about raising the level of conversation. Until then, troll, you go on supporting a program that cares more about winning than it does about doing right by its players. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul!

    As for ND fans we can be proud about this, Steve: No matter if Bama beats ND 100-0, this year’s football squad was the very first ever to be ranked #1 in both the BCS and the graduation rates. Neither you nor “Buckeye” nor “Al L.” nor any other pathetic troll without a life can take that away from us!

    So, Steve, go stick that where the sun don’t shine!

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on December 30th, 2012 at 3:53 am

    Oh, and by the way, Steve, you’re not William F. Buckley. Far from it! In fact, you’re not even Rush Limbaugh. At least he’s funny once in a while. You’re just a lame troll, with nothing better to do with his sad, pathetic life, than try to piss on someone else’s parade. Your lame parents must be related to “Buckeye’s”. Both your sad excuse for parents and his seem to have raised trolls who seem to think it’s OK to go into someone else’s home and shit on their rugs. What is it with you people? Were you raised by wolves?!

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  • Steve Smith commented on December 30th, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Again the name calling and foul language. You guys aren’t really notre dame students I hope. You make Alabama football players seem like William Faulkner or Steinbeck . This discourse borders on infantile. And I thought nd was an institution of higher learning. Oh well I guess reputation a student does not make.

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  • JTRAIN commented on December 30th, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I can only laugh at the “bring the officials” comments. Really? What officials? You mean the pac12 officials from the Stanford game? The officials that made the correct call on the goal line stand? I’m guessing that anybody that makes the argument about the refs jobbing Stanford didn’t actually watch the game. Instead watched the replay on the bravo channel..oops I mean ESPN.

    So explain the racism thing to me because I seem to be missing something. Somebody makes a joke about players becoming janitors and you claim racism? I don’t recall anybody but you making mention of cultural or ethnic background. The fact the you made that connection tells me you are either racist yourself or just very insecure.

    GO IRISH

    [Reply]

  • Buckeye commented on December 30th, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    SteelFanRob, what is your problem? First Al L., then me and now Steve Smith. I don’t expect you to agree with our comments but why do you have to sink to new lows each time. You don’t know anything about me, my parents or my upbringing. I or someone else says Alabama will beat ND and they are an atheist? Does that actually make you feel better? You don’t want us here and that’s fine but you act like a little kid, like your going to take your ball and go home. Put up an argument!

    Here is mine. I don’t like ND but my analysis has nothing to do with that. It’s my opinion that the four best teams are all in the SEC – Alabama, Georgia, Florida and LSU. Alabama beat two of them and destroyed Michigan. I don’t care who else they played because they have won two out of the last three NC’s, they are proven. Now it seems like everybody but the SEC hates the SEC but again, to me that shouldn’t matter. They have dominated the last few years.

    The Buckeyes got pounded by Florida in the NCG. Did they take them for granted, I don’t know, but they got destroyed. Against LSU the Buckeyes would have to be ready right? I think the Buckeyes gave them a better game that the final score but that doesn’t matter they still lost.

    Now we get to the part you won’t like. Ohio State always plays good defense, some years better than others but if they are in the NCG their D is strong. Against Florida we had a Heisman Trophy QB, a good running game and three receivers who have at least had a look in the NFL. We beat two #2 ranked teams and I think were ranked #1 all year. Against LSU, again great D and an offense led by Beanie Wells and three WR’s and TE who have played in the NFL. They were never ranked outside the top ten all year.

    You really won’t like this. I don’t think ND is as good as either of those OSU teams. You have a freshman QB who has done a nice job but he is not at the level Troy Smith was in 2006 and I don’t know if he can beat Alabama with his arm. You have some decent RB’s but you don’t have a Beanie Wells who ran the ball well against LSU but it wasn’t enough. I am a firm believer that a great D will shut down a great O in big games I’m just not convinced that the strength of your team, your D, is a great D. It’s obviously a good D but Alabama has scored more than 40 points seven times and probably could have put 60 on Michigan. I don’t think you are giving the SEC enough credit. Their fast guys are faster than your fast guys, their big guys are as big or bigger and definitely faster. It’s a different game. They have a rock solid QB, two great RB’s and a line that will maul teams. I think ND’s only chance is to be able to throw the ball down the field and get a couple of TO’s. Don’t think because A&M beat them that diminishes them, it’s hard to go undefeated and dominant teams can be upset. I know that from the 1998 Buckeyes.

    This is business and you are taking it very, very personal. Stop the name calling that only brings us back. I was going to stay away until you included me in your rant against Steve Smith. Now I am not a fortune teller but this one time I will let you ask me about my prediction,

    Alabama – a lot ND – a little

    Don’t get mad that’s just the way I see it.

    [Reply]

    C-Dog replied on December 30th, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Buckeye, why are you still in someone else’s house?

    Also, who cares what a cheating school like that Ohio school is all about? Their players don’t come to play school, they only come to play football

    Why are you so hard up that you are spending so much time outside of your own blogs or on neutral blogs

    You can’t prove anything here you are not one of us. And this iBook is only for US.

    Feel free to voice your opinions on ESPN FOX or CBS

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on December 30th, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    So, you can imply that we’re not very bright by saying none of us are William F. Buckley, but then when we make sport of you (and this is sport on our part), then we’re foul or racists. Really?! You come into our house uninvited (perhaps you didn’t realize that this was an ND football website!), talk smack, do your own bit of sarcastic name-calling, and then expect us to do what exactly.

    I will apologizr for comparing you to “Buckeye.” I can see that you’re in fact trying to make an argument as opposed to just being a sad, frustrated troll. You truly are a William F. Buckley compared to “Buckeye”!

    Having said that, whatever valid points you make go make them on ESPN or some other non-team specific website. This is a site for ND fottball fans. PERIOD! We don’t need outsiders telling us about our team. If you followed this site you’d realize that some of us here aren’t blind to this team’s strengths and weaknesses. We don’t need you or “Buckeye” to tell us that ND has redzone scoring issues. No shit! We’ve been seeing this all season (in fact, since BK got to S. Bend). We don’t need you or anyone else telling us that there’s nothing special about our STs. No shit! Again, we’ve been seeing this trend in BK’s teams at ND for 3 seasons.

    There may be a few delusional ND fans who think that this Irish team is perfect or that our D is the second coming of the 85 Bears. The vast majority of us here, however, are and have been critical of this or that. But our criticisms are the product of genuine love for the Irish. Your criticims stem from something other than an interest in seeing ND become a great team. Unlike you trolls that really don’t care about Declan Sullivan (RIP) or his family or the young lady that was allegedly fondled by an un-named ND player, but instead sling mud just to try to tarnish the ND image, we do truly care about ND and the ND family. We prayed and continue to pray for the Sullivans and accept the findings of S. Bend authorities in the sexual molestation case. These are sad incidents for us. For you trolls they are episodes to allow you to gloat at our misfortune. That makes those who bring up those sad incidents for the sake of scoring a few blog points in your favor and against ND really warped, sick people.

    Bottom line is this, you don’t want to get spanked don’t misbehave. Notice how “Steve” didn’t address the point I made about ND’s historic achievement of finishing the season #1 both in football and academics. I wonder where Bama and other SEC programs (with the exception of Vandy) fell on that ranking? Perhaps that’s just name-calling to him. So sad, “Steve,” so sad.

    Go Irish!

    [Reply]

    Beau replied on December 30th, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    ND will finish the “season “Jan. 7. So don’t count your chickens…just yet.

    It should be a great game.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on December 30th, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    My problem, “Buckeye,” and BTW I’m not the only one who has a problem with you trolls, is this. You’re here uninvited. We don’t need you or “Steve” or “Al” to preach to us as if we were un-infomed little children who knew nothing about ND football or college football. Perhaps you haven’t been following this blog very long, deciding to troll only after ND made it to the NC game. That’s what it seems like to me at least. I don’t recall hearing much from you until ND made it to #1. If you had been following this site regularly you’d realize that many of us here, including JC, fxm, JTRAIN, myself, and others, have been highly critical of BK and other aspects of this team during the season. We’ve been won over by ND’s success, but we’re still not blind to the shortcomings of this team. We don’t need you to lecture us on what we know very well. That’s condescending and rude given that you’re in our house!

    So long as you or anyone else continue to come on here to pretend to talk down to us about our team, expect me and my fellow diehards to continue to smack you down. Take your points, some of which are indeed valid, and go to ESPN where the bottomfeeders reside.

    As for the name-calling, go back and see what we’ve been called. Now “Steve” calls us racists! That’s a laugh. You want to talk about taking things personally, “Buckeye,” and being called names, do a little research and see the anti-Catholic epithets and actions that ND football and their fans have endured over the years. The cod fish throwing at the ND teams in their visit to the South. The yelling of “papists” in the Mid-West, etc. But I guess that’s OK, right “Buckeye”? We can have you and “Al L.” (who at least has had the common sense and decency to disengage) and “Steve” come into our home and lecture us and call us all kinds of things but you’re supposed to get a free pass. No, that’s not the way it works here.

    I do take ND football personally. This is our house and I’m going to defend it. If you don’t like the way I or JC or JTRAIN or others do that, then it’s real easy, “Buckeye,” just leave us to ourselves. Like I say, we don’t need you to preach to us about ND football.

    I seems to me that you should be more worried about Ohio St.

    [Reply]

    Buckeye replied on December 30th, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I will go now but with two points, 1. I don’t have to worry about Ohio State, they are fine and the next few years should be really good. Maybe a date with ND is even in the future and 2. You should save the vitriol for those who use anti-Catholic epithets and name call. I haven’t, in fact all I have wanted to do was discuss football, not religion or academics.

    You can have your site back, it’s not worth it.

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    SteelFanRob replied on December 30th, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    “Buckeye,”

    OK, let’s try this again.

    What aspect of this game do you want to talk about without putting ND down? Try to not tell us how bad ND is and unworthy of playing for the NC. That’s just not reasonable.

    As for Ohio St. I do agree with you and think the Buckeyes will be tough. Look, we ND fans have some hard feelings about Urban Meyer, but he’s a heck of a coach and recruiter. Hopefully ND and Ohio St. can meet on the field with both programs being strong so there can be no excuses either way.

    So talk to me “Buckeye” about something Xs and Os about the Bama game. Where do you think ND can attack the stout Bama D if you were calling plays for the Irish?

    [Reply]

    C-Dog replied on December 30th, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    You don’t talk about ND without talking about academics or religion. At our small university it is all integrated. Our athletes live with the rest of us. Our rectors our priests and religious. Outsiders just don’t get it

    [Reply]

    Beau replied on December 31st, 2012 at 11:22 am

    And then again, most ND football players are not Roman Catholics.

  • Steve Smith commented on December 30th, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Well said steelfanrob. I will stay away, as I posted just because I’m so tired of hearing about the upstart nd team I thought you guys would enjoy hearing from the other side. Apparently you do not. Also, I thought it amusing for a country lawyer from Alabama to out wit the wise boys from up “nawth”. I stand by my racist accusation, whether intentional or not ,to say Alabama football players will be janitors is code for something untoward. We grew up down here by being sensitive to those kind of issues. At the very least the comment was ignorant.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on December 30th, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Steve,

    I don’t think anyone on here was intentionally racist. I think you’re being too sensitive. BTW: I hate to bring this up, Steve, but it’s not like Bama doesn’t have a history of racial intolerance. Not only that, but the South’s long-standing anti-Catholic bigotry is also well known. So forgive me if I find it just a bit ironic that a Bama fan would call ND fans racists.

    We do enjoy hearing from the other side assuming the other side does so with a bit of respect and humility, acknowledging that you’re in someone else’s home, so to speak. Like I said, Steve, I agree with a lot of what you and even “Buckeye” say. I just don’t like the way some, esp. “Buckeye,” feel they have to lecture us on our own team. When you start a debate by putting a chip on your shoulder, then don’t be surprised if someone tries to knock it off, Steve. “Buckeye” came on our site like a bull in a China shop trying to overturn everything ND accomplsihed this year. What did he think was going to happen?

    If you want to engage us in a dispassionate way, and talk Xs and Os, Steve, we will do that. We have coaches, ex-coaches, and generally knowledgable football people on this board. We can do that.

    Forgive the offense that I’m all too prone too when it comes to ND football. (Ironically, I’m far more ecumenical about poltics and religion!)

    A belated Season’s Greetings to you and yours and Happy New Year!

    [Reply]

  • JC commented on December 30th, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Steve is the new normal vituperate Atheist evolving from our schizophrenic multiple personality blogger society. Steve’s only real purpose in life is waiting on his new cell phone coming in the mail from the government.

    [Reply]

  • Steve Smith commented on December 30th, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I understand where the racist government assistance remark came from, but atheist, I live in the bible belt. We go to church from the time we are born!

    [Reply]

    C-Dog replied on December 30th, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    We see what a Notre Dame education does to help guys like the Honorable Allen Page. Page is a Minnesota Supreme Court justice and was a famous defensive lineman for the Irish and the Vikings. We think that while ND tries to help minorities, that Alabama may just use them for football. And since Notre Dame is a top 20 ranked academic institution while Alabama is not even close, we also deduce that ND provides better opportunities. So we are saying that Alabama and most other SEC schools are racist. You have it backwards Steve

    [Reply]

  • JC commented on December 30th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    What about it Steve!

    I live in the bible belt too. A northerner with an SEC area driver’s license imagine that! You and Buckeye can dish it out, however, neither of you are capable of talking in terms of healing vs wounding people vaingloriously. Your tag team brand of forced football authoritarianism is indeed typical for trolls.

    Furthermore, just showing up for church does not negate your actions on this board or the fact you are demonstrating away from the church atheist boorish behavior period. Like, Mr.1st blood: “Are you racist or just stupid?”, pat yourself on the back again on how you faked out us boys from up north, Atheist. Fact of the matter is, you came looking for trouble with your so-called cryptic agenda Atheist. Do you really think whining racism falsely here will achieve salvation on your part? Your watching NBC too much! Atheist! Yeah, we are tired of listening about Bama and OSU history, however, we don’t come looking for trouble on your sites like you misfits do! Drop the holier-than-thou nonsense and attack someone else with your BS. Definately chase football ambulances somewhere else. Warm and fuzzy to you too!

    Here come our beloved Irish!

    [Reply]

  • Steve Smith commented on December 30th, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    My aren’t we crabby?

    [Reply]

  • Beau commented on December 30th, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    ND and Ala both have excellent defenses. However, Alabama with it’s veteran OL, veteran QB, and great running backs will be the difference.
    Alabama scored 41 on Michigan and played back ups the entire 4th quarter. From what I read, (I did not see the game) MI and ND went toe to toe for 4 quarters.

    ND’s quality wins over OK and USC, without their starting QB are not that impressive.

    Talk is cheap and on Jan 7 two storied programs will battle it out in a great game.

    [Reply]

    C-Dog replied on December 30th, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Nice 3rd grader level analysis. Actually it is PhD level analysis in an SEC school. Do you have PHDs at SEC schools?

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on December 30th, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Talk is indeed cheap!

    [Reply]

  • Steve Smith commented on December 31st, 2012 at 11:24 am

    No more Monday’s until the beat down. I predict that mancow tayhow will square up to tackle Eddie Lacey and literally get cleat marks on his stomach and chin guard.

    [Reply]

  • JDH commented on December 31st, 2012 at 11:33 am

    To All ND regulars on this site: Have any of you EVER gone to an Alabama, OSU, or (fill in the blank) to “discuss”/talk smack/tell other fans what’s what?

    Yeah, me neither. Isn’t it just spectacularly odd?

    [Reply]

  • C-Dog commented on December 31st, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Why would I go to their site? It’s classless. Only losers hng out on another fan site to smack talk. I guess if you are some weenie or trail or trash you would do that. But any time I have ever gone to a rival site it is only to be gracious and offer positive comments.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on December 31st, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Trolls do what trolls do, JDH and C-Dog.

    Notice that I offered both “Steve” and “Buckeye” an olive branch to start over again and talk about the NC game in a dispassionate, respectful manner. What did they do with my peace offering? Well, “Steve,” who promised to leave our site and accused us of racism (laughable that a person from Alabama would have the audacity to call anyone racist!), responded by dehumanizing Manti T’eo’s name. Who’s the real racist?! This guy claims to be a lawyer but is in reality a thin-skinned hypocrite who is a cry baby to boot!

    I offered “Buckeye” a chance to start over again and talk Xs and Os. Hopefully, if he comes back, he will do so in a more respectful fashion. But in reality it seems that if it doesn’t involve putting ND down and crapping in our home these inbred trolls really couldn’t care less about showing any class. All they want to do is come on here and tell us how ND football sucks and is unworthy of the NC game and expect for us to be welcoming. In addition to classless they’re truly clueless!

    These people are losers who have clearly nothing better to do with their sad lives. Like I’ve said in the past it makes you wonder about their upbringing. God forbid any of you should raise your children to be as gutless and classless as these trolls on our site.

    “Beau” is right. Talk is cheap. We’ll see who has bragging rights by midnight on Jan. 8. Until then opinions are like a-holes, everyone’s got them. (Of course, not everyone is enough of an a-hole to go into someone else’s home and take a dump on them. That takes a real special breed of a-hole!)

    [Reply]

  • Steve Smith commented on December 31st, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I’m sorry I should have said it differently. Manatee would just be an undersized linebacker in the sec. Or he might be a third string corner in the sec due to lack of speed. I think he could best be used in a nickel package.

    [Reply]

    C-Dog replied on December 31st, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    How old are you? What an amazingly ignorant and uninformed comment. I suppose that’s why he won all those awards. oh and let’s not forget that he’ll be able to get a professional job after pro football. Well, I guess Forest Gump really does come from Alabama .

    [Reply]

    C-Dog replied on December 31st, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Hey Steve Smith, why don’t you go find a pro Vladmir Putin blog and just tell him and all the Russians that. You want to fight them or that you think they are gay or some smack like that. Maybe you can get your jollies pissing of al Qaeda It’s about as intelligent. You remind of a fat kid named Melvin who just exists to be a pain. Total waste of organic. Matter.

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on December 31st, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Manti is a manatee now? More degrading, dehumaninzing, truly racist remarks from a true hypocrite known as “Steve Smith”!

    Manti T’eo is only the most decorated D player in college football history. That’s more than any SEC D player past or present can say!

    He’s also getting a degree from the University of Notre Dame. That’s worth a thousand useless University of Alabama degrees.

    How ironic that a KKK Bama fan should accuse anyone of racism. Compare your racist remarks to those you claim are racist by us and there’s no comparison. You, sir, are the one who is a true racist.

    Notice that my olive branch was thrown back in my face by this troll. It’s clear that this liar and hypocrit (didn’t you say you were leaving this board?!) never really intended to have a respectful dialogue.

    [Reply]

  • ripperduck commented on December 31st, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    As usual, most people seem to have missed the mark. Brian Kelly is COY, deservedly so. No one, and I mean no one, thought of this ND team coming close to an unbeaten season. Last years qb play was, to say the least, uninspiring, and it had to be corrected immediately. Not with a schedule that included subdivision teams, but one of the toughest SOS, all D1′s. Along with an unsettled qb, ND lost its best receiver, two starting corners, a freshman All American left, a bunch of freshmen who would have to step up and become significant.

    Given all that, what was a coach to do? Create the best ball control offense in CFB. The stat that amazed me was that ND had the most time consuming drives that led to scores. In other words, Brian Kelly devised his version of “small ball,” i.e., you don’t need heroic qb play, 500 yard offenses, big plays. All that was required was to take what was given, make few mistakes, intelligent players and a solid run game. Reading some of the ND critics, it’s seems that too many of us have been jaded with the spread, up and down offenses, mediocre, if any defense, and the spectacular sizzle reels concocted by ESPN. Solid open field tackles, excellent interior trap blocks, qb’s who know when to throw it away rather than risk a TO don’t make it on to the promo, but it is essential to a 12-0 season.

    For all that, the coaching staff at ND, imo, has outdone that of Bama, and is the factor which will make ND victorious. The ND brain trust is the best in college football this season, and should be what allows us to win the BCS…

    [Reply]

  • ripperduck commented on December 31st, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Man, how old do you have to be to play at Bama??? Some of those guys look older than Saban….

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on December 31st, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    ripper,

    Most of the Bama players failed kindergarten two or three times at least. That’s why they llok so old. They just couldn’t master fingerpainting and nap time. At least now they’re able to get a BA in fingerpainting and napping from the University of Alabama. Practice makes perfect, ripperduck!

    [Reply]

    ripperduck replied on December 31st, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Yup, it sure was, that’s why they learned to pass out….

    [Reply]

  • C-Dog commented on December 31st, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    If I’m Kelly, I have beaten the team up a bit through mid December, but not smashed it’s confidence. I’ve let them know that they are equal in potential to Alabama, but that now is their chance to show it. If these coaches know their team, and I think they do, then I’d expect Kelly to notice details with a keen eye and to make sure that this team is tuned up and ready to execute. Strength and speed are not an issue. Notre Dame showed every team this year, that team speed was not an issue. Weis said it in his final couple of years, that defensively he and his staff needed to get guys making the right reads and moves. The secondary that everyone feared would be leaky, is an example of how coaching and tuning make the difference. Among any top 30 team, there just isn’t that large of a difference in true speed, just technique and ability to read and react.

    So, my hope is that Kelly has this team focused to remember the bad times and understand what they have to look forward to if they focus and maintain poise.

    I do think two things are very possible. I think a less than sharp ND squad will get clobbered. But I also think that an ND squad like the one that faced Oklahoma, with the improved offense since then, can beat Alabama by 10 to 17 points.

    I like that this is an outdoor game and on reasonably neutral ground.

    [Reply]

  • Steve Smith commented on January 1st, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I hear the beat down comin,
    It’s Rollin round the “bend”
    Nd has seen no sunshine
    Since they don’t know when
    They are stuck with a crummy football team
    And the dreams are gonna die.
    When they hear the tide a comin
    They hang their head and cry.

    To the tune of ” folsum prison blues”

    [Reply]

    JDH replied on January 1st, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Thanks for that. I mean, you’re adorable, what with making up cute songs and such. And a second thanks for explaining to us what melody we needed to match it up with. Otherwise we wouldn’t have known.

    [Reply]

    JDH replied on January 1st, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    “I can see my sister comin’,
    She’s waddlin’ ’round the bend,
    She been shoppin’ down at the Walmart since, I don’t know when,
    Ya know I had her once or twice before,
    But I don’t count too good,
    I’m just fixin’ to get me some,
    And take her to the woods.

    Ya’ll know we burned a cross in Hunstville, cause ya know that’s just what we do,
    We don’t like the smell of yankees, especially colored ones and Jews,
    Yeah we live in SEC land, where foo-ball reigns soo-preme,
    But when it comes to “school stuff”, our boys are sorta lean…”

    (See I can do it too Smithy. It’s not hard. Disclosure: I love the south and have nothing against it. I’m just giving what we’re getting.)

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on January 1st, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Steve,

    Didn’t you say you were leaving? I guess down there in the Bible Belt let your yes be yes and no be no doesn’t mean much. So much for the words of Jesus among Bible-thumping hypocrits!

    I love how you faked feeling wounded by our insensitivity and protested that all you wanted was to have a respectful dialogue about the game. So, I offer an olive branch. But it turns out that you’re just a BS artist who just wants to spew hateful garbage.

    JC was right. You’re really just a hate-filled, godless reprobate, regardless of how much you go to church.

    [Reply]

  • Steve Smith commented on January 1st, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Now steelfanrob let’s get or facts straight. I have just been poking fun at you guys. Nothing vicious like you boys have returned. I don’t have any hate in me. I do love bama though as you guys do nd. Most of the attacks from you guys have been plain mean. I only brought up racism as it seemed to me the janitor remark came from that mentality or a place like it.
    Win or lose I won’t categorically hate anyone from anywhere for any reason. I really do judge on the content of character if I judge at all which I try not to do so. Rtr

    [Reply]

    JDH replied on January 1st, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Steve,
    I wasn’t being hateful either. I was just joking around with the “song” I wrote. I love the south, have no problem the Tide etc. Hell I’ve even got some cousins in Bama. You have to understand though, there have been some real trolls and a-holes coming on this site. If you are telling us that all is in good fun than I’ll take you at your word.

    Although at ND we do take alot of pride in the academics first and those accomplishments, I would not put Bama in the category of most SEC football factories. This year, if I’m not mistaken, Alabama graduated 80% of its players. That is respectable and dwarfs the “winning football at all costs” like the Ohio States of the world.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on January 1st, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    You know, Steve, it´s one thing to have fun at the expense of people you know. It´s another to do it here, with unknowns, and at this time, when ND is playing for a NC.

    Cut the crap already and either stick to your promise and leave us be or talk some Xs and Os.

    [Reply]

  • Steve Smith commented on January 1st, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Well ok. I do have some news to report. Barrett Jones practiced today for the first time. Honestly we didn’t have faith in our backup center in a game like this. Nd and bama played last centuries 1st game that was called game of the century. It looks like we are playing this centuries first one too!

    [Reply]

    Ron replied on January 1st, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Dear Steve Smith, Alabama sucks and so do you! Case closed, end of story!

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on January 1st, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks, Steve, that´s big news. Too bad for ND. I agree with you. Hopefully it´s a great game, and a true game of the new century, and there´s no controversy. Let the game be decided by the players on the field.

    [Reply]

  • JC commented on January 1st, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Stevey Jo Bim Bob Smith,

    Listen to this “NAWTH” Boy! Mr. Bearer of false witness, the truth is the way whether you like it or not! Especially, ND’s academic position is without question ranked nationally superior to Alabama whether you like that or not also! I know you think your a clever demon to skew a baseless position of racism out of our academic success. Howbeit, we really don’t give a damn what you think!

    Poke this! Do us all a favor and super glue your lips to your beloved Bama site. They deserve your evil choir! Couple that with your mean-spirited-hate: “Are you a racist or just stupid?”

    So here is your 1st clue Mr leaving. Make like a tree and really leave! Along with your evil-antagonistic-filthly-racist-atheist-ways!

    Bless your heart Mr. get our facts straight!

    [Reply]

  • Steve Smith commented on January 1st, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Dude that’s harsh.

    [Reply]

  • Steve Smith commented on January 1st, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Steelfanrob, I am uncomfortable with the PAC twelve officials myself. I am not worried about their bias , just they like to insert themselves into the game too much for me. Your wish for no controversy, I can say amen to that, but do I think we will get that, let’s just both hope so!

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on January 1st, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Steve,

    I´ve heard the same thing about PAC referees.

    I just don´t want excuses from either fan base. I´ve always said sports fans are the worse hypocrits in that they always recall the bad calls that go aganst them but not the bad ones that go their way.

    [Reply]

  • Steve smith commented on January 12th, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Any notre dame fans left? I want to talk about the game.

    [Reply]

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