When I was a kid, every Saturday I would pull up a chair about three feet from the television screen to watch that weeks’ Notre Dame game. I would have butterflies for three straight hours. I lived and died on every play. When the Irish won, I felt a sense of relief more so than a sense of happiness. And when the Irish lost, my entire weekend was shattered. I wish I was exaggerating. Even during the later Charlie Weis years when Notre Dame was a .500 team at best, losses still crushed me to the point that I sat in my room moping for the rest of the weekend.
Since then, a weird thing happened. I turned twenty-one. I started going out with my friends for football games as opposed to locking myself in my room. Over the course of last season, when the Irish won I was elated. The National Title game? Well, after the first hour or so of that game, it was evident Notre Dame was no match for the Tide on that night. I was pretty upset for about five minutes. But after that? I was laughing and joking with my friends as if I had not just witnessed a dream season come to an end. Although I had a few drinks in my system; my thinking was clear. “How can I be upset right now? I’m surrounded by my friends watching football…this is great regardless of the outcome”.
Football season is an absolute amazing time of the year. But it flies by. We only have about three months to enjoy watching the games with our friends throughout the year. So, if the Irish happen to lose a game this season, and that is an IF, feel free to get upset for a few minutes. However, after that take a moment to soak everything in. You’re not at work, you’re with your best friends, and your only responsibility at that given time is to enjoy the football that is playing on television. All in all, that’s a damn fine Saturday, whether your team is victorious or not.
THIS WEEK FOR THE IRISH
The Irish will open their season by welcoming the Temple Owls to South Bend for the first ever meeting between the two schools. Over the years, I have developed a bit of a soft spot for the Cherry and White. I live about an hour from Philly, know several current students and former students, have visited the campus several times and have had a many great nights there. All of this being said; Temple is not exactly what you would call a good football team.
The Owls finished last season with just four wins, none of which came over bowl eligible opponents. They have big time questions at quarterback, are without their top two rushers from last season, have a vastly undersized offensive line, and are breaking in a new coach who is putting in an entirely new pro-style offense. These are circumstances that are less than ideal when you are set to square off against a projected top ten defense in the nation.
Defensivley, the Owls return several starters from last year’s squad; unfortuantley their defensive unit last year was not good at all. Temple was second last in the entire country in stopping the run and struggled to force turnovers all season. They were often manhandled up front, so the Irish should be able to get a good look at all three of their backs on Saturday.
This game is what it is; a tune up game. Coach Kelly knows what he has in Rees, so this game will probably feature a run heavy attack involving Carlisle, Atkinson, and Bryant. There are still several players and coaches who were with the team when they opened up against South Florida a few years back, so you can bet they will come out with their foot on the gas and look to make a statement similar to the one they made against Navy last season in Dublin. This game is simply giving the Irish a chance to get their feet wet before they dive into the deep end of the pool next week at the Big House. Prediction: Notre Dame 49 Temple 6
WHAT ELSE I’M WATCHING THIS WEEK
#12 LSU @ #20 TCU
Taking place in Cowboys stadium, this game gives TCU a chance to prove they are a Big 12 title contender. Last season the Horned Frogs had a chance to prove they belong with the big boys, but they struggled en route to a 7-6 mark. This game will mark the return of star players for both teams. Jeremy Hill will return to Tigers’ backfield after facing battery charges last season. For TCU, Casey Pachall will take his place under center after missing the final nine games of last season due to personal issues. Pachall is a true difference maker at quarterback, and his return is a welcome sight for Horned Frog fans. I truly believe with him under center, TCU is a legitimate threat to take the Big 12 this season. A win over an SEC powerhouse like LSU will surely turn some heads in the college football world and prove that this is an elite team, regardless of their school size.
#5 Georgia @ #8 Clemson
This is a BCS bowl caliber matchup with National Title implications, and it’s taking place before we even hit September. We lucked out this season. Death Valley will be rocking on Saturday night when Georgia comes in trying to knock off ACC favorite Clemson. This game features two prolific passers and Heisman hopefuls in Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and soon to be all time SEC passing leader Aaron Murray of Georgia. Between the talk between the two squads (Sammy Watkins stated that Clemson would “beat the mess” out of Georgia), the star power between the two schools, and the fact that one teams’ National Title dreams will die before the calander says “September”, there is almost no way this game isn’t entertaining.
PICKS FOR THIS WEEKEND
Virginia +1 over BYU