5 Things I Didn’t Like: Notre Dame vs. Stanford

Last week I said it was hard to find five things I didn’t like in Notre Dame’s blowout of Wake Forest.  Well this week this column felt like mission impossible when I first sat down to write it.  I had to get a little creative to find 5 things I didn’t like in a resounding win over the 7th ranked Cardinal of Stanford, but I think I found five things most of you will agree with.  I know at least two of them, everyone will agree with any way.

1. The Injuries

Winning didn’t come without a cost for Notre Dame.  The Irish suffered several injuries in the game but none were more serious than losing 5th year senior and captain Alex Bars for the year.  As soon as Bars got completely bent backwards everyone knew it was a bad injury.  When he limped off the field on his own we may have fooled ourselves into hoping it wasn’t but 300+ lbs men were not made to bend the way Bars ended up bending.  Devastating end to Bar’s collegiate career that saw him ascending up the draft boards this fall.

Notre Dame will move Trevor Ruhland into the starting lineup to replace Bars.  Ruhland has played well this year so in place of Tommy Kraemer at times for injury and at times for ineffectiveness.  In fact Ruhland started the Wake Forest game with Kraemer out last week.  He doesn’t have the size of Bars, but he does bring some more quickness to the line.  Kelly said sophomore Aaron Banks will get more work now as well.  Still, no way to sugarcoat losing a 5th year senior, captain along the offensive line.

It sounds as though the injury to Tony Jones Jr isn’t as serious as it looked thankfully but the Irish will be without Jafar Armstrong until after the bye week most likely.

2. Doug Flutie

I haven’t complained enough about Doug Flutie in this column, so we’ll devote an entire section to him this week.  He is awful.  Especially if you are a Notre Dame fan.  We all know that NBC wants to be impartial and not look biased towards Notre Dame even though they pay Notre Dame millions of dollars to be the exclusive broadcaster of Notre Dame home games.  Fine.  Flutie isn’t impartial though, he fawns over the opposition week in and week out and generally glances over Notre Dame’s big plays.

I tweeted about Flutie twice this week and this one got over 200 likes.

So Notre Dame fans tend to agree.  Amazingly some in the comments didn’t like Mike Mayock either apparently.  Personally, I loved Mayock because of the level of detail he provided and didn’t get any bias at all from him.  Flutie though, is just awful.  Mike Tirico on the other hand is pretty good as the play by play commentator in my opinion.  I know that might be sacrilegious given his Michigan ties, but that also just goes to show you that my thoughts on Flutie aren’t just fueled by me disliking anyone who isn’t a Notre Dame homer.

5 Things I Didn't Like in Notre Dame's Very Likeable Bowl Game

3. NBC’s Coverage in General

While there isn’t a lot to write about not liking given the beating Notre Dame gave Stanford, let’s stick with the NBC coverage for a minute.  There were multiple instances of NBC not showing replays of some critical plays/penalties.  Take the block in the back on the Chris Finke for instance.  I’m not saying it wasn’t a block in the back, I’m saying I have no idea if it was since NBC never showed it.  How is the fan at home supposed to know whether or not they are supposed to angry about the call if there’s not replay.  The penalty wiped out a 33 yard punt return too so it was a big gain negated.  Show the damn replay.

In general it seems as though NBC puts very little effort into the broadcasts these days.  Remember all of those memorable intros back in the 90’s when the NBC contract was still new? And remember when they occasionally did a pre-game show?  With both teams in the top 10, how about a pre-game show on NBCSN?  I get that most years Notre Dame didn’t give NBC a whole to work with, but it would be nice to see NBC invest a little more into their coverage.

4. The continued lack of hold calls on Notre Dame’s opponents

Maybe it’s just me but it seems like this is happening at the NFL and college level this year, but it’s like offensive holding is barely getting called anymore.  At this point I am giving up on it getting called with any consequence against a Notre Dame opponent this year.  They did call one defensive holding on Notre Dame’s touchdown from Ian Book to Chase Claypool and there was one Stanford offensive holding penalty that was declined because they didn’t get the first down on the 3rd play it occurred on, but in general it just feels as though every week there are multiple pretty egregious holds that go uncalled.

5. Notre Dame & Virginia Tech’s wins getting next weekend the primetime slot

This is part me getting old and part me wishing Notre Dame could have avoided Lane Stadium at night when it will be even crazier.  With both teams winning this weekend, ESPN/ABC decided to make this game an 8:00 start time on ABC after they placed the game on a hold last week after Tech’s embarrassing loss to Old Dominion.  The Hokies won this weekend though and snuck back into the top 25 at #24 after beating Duke.  Pollsters must have forgotten that loss to Old Dominion already.

5 Things I Liked from Notre Dame's Inspired Effort in the Camping World Bowl

Anyway, I generally don’t mind the late start times but three primetime games in the first half of the season is just a bit much for my liking.  Additionally, I would have loved for Notre Dame to avoid Lane Stadium at night.  That stadium is a bit less hostile during a day game, but at night it is going to be rocking.  We all remember what happened the last time Notre Dame went on the road at night in such an environment.

I get it though, with Notre Dame 5-0 fresh off a beating of Stanford and Virginia Tech bouncing back, it makes sense for the game to be an 8:00 kick-off.  It doesn’t mean that I won’t complain about having to stay up late writing about the game after another late start though.

That’s it.  That’ all I got this week.  There were things Notre Dame did wrong that I could have mentioned here, but you know what?  Notre Dame just beat the 7th ranked team in the country by 21 points.  The same team that has been a thorn in Notre Dame’s side for too many years, so we’ll let Brian Kelly and his staff worry about all that for this week.


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  1. dj 1 year ago

    what’s your problem with Flutie. you and jeff both. give it up! he’s great. he doesn’t make stupid comments like, “the running back shouldn’t have fumbled the ball.” Like no running back has ever thought of that! he says, “heads up play by the linebacker to go after the ball when his teammate already had the tackle sealed.” if doug flutie is your biggest problem this season, then just leave the 5 things you didn’t like as 4 things and stop being a whiner about extraneous stuff. talk about ball!

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  2. duranko 1 year ago

    Pssst. Joseph Varese should post more often.

    I am a self-confessed dinosaur. I am more intrigued by what goes on during the unforgiving moment, the three
    hours of combat and contest and striving on the field of honor.

    I am an agnostic on espn-ism the tweet verse, the effeminated oohing and ahhing over what some announcer, fan or commentator said.

    What stirs my blood is men on the field, ’66 in East Lansing, ’69 Ohio State michigan, ’73 ND TIDE and many many more.

    This board, but not its fans, is at a tipping point. An article appeared earlier which attempted to incite a contretemps over a MISQUOTED and MISREPRESENTED
    (those are the mortal sins of journalism,albeit the twin virtues of ESPNism) out-of-context statement by Derek Mason of Vandy. The author knows who he is and how shameless an attempt that was to
    ESPNIZE this stie.

    Back to Varese and his pluperfectly clear statement on player development.

    And a quiz for this beautiful Autumnal Thursday.

    Which coordinator, since his hire, has been the most significant contributor to the current success of the 2018 Fightin Irish of Notre Dame du lac.

    Discuss among yourselves, but share you discussion.

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  3. Jeff 1 year ago

    I’ve been on the #fireflutie train for over a year now. Hell I’d settle for Pat Hayden over Flutie. As for NBC it used to,be great. The intros, the ND moments in history. No more. Notre Dame is no longer the nice place for opponents to play, NBC shouldn’t be nice to them either. To keep going, we have a new radio contract too. I miss Don Criqui and Allen Pinkett. Ryan Harris is ok, but the new play by play guy can tie Criqui’s shoes, yet alone Tony Roberts.

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  4. david 1 year ago

    Here’s something not to like. Wat if ND had lost to either one of Ball St or Vanderbilt…simply because they couldn’t score points. Could have very easily happened.

    And THEN Book took over, the next week and, say just for giggles, they proceeded to run the table, Some of them blowouts.

    11-1. A game late and a win short. Thanks to a head coaching brainfart by the gassiest head in the game.

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    1. ndcrazymike 1 year ago

      WAT ( WHAT ) if you would just go away, your not even smart enough to know when to quit!! WAT do you think we all know your a dope!! EVERYTHING YOU SAY IS WRONG!! And dopey davey STOP checking the LIKE box after one of your asinine comments we all know its you dope!!!

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      1. Bruce G Curme 1 year ago

        And we nearly did lose to Vanderbilt. Thus the change.
        David you could have argued after the Citrus Bowl to start Book in BK’s classic offense (+ a lot of Coach Long) and to put BW into the “three headed monster” , which runs perfectly well without any QB on the field at all, with a jumbo unbalanced line. But you did not, sir. I did though.
        But Coach Kelly and Coach Long knew they could beat Michigan with Wimbush (who took a hell of a beating in the game). But it was one of those games kept close only by a great special teams play by Michigan…like we did against a NC Nebraska team under Bob Davie. We really were NOT close in that game, which went into overtime. Take away TWO ST returns for scores, and it never gets close to overtime! The Michigan game was similar. Ball State…they all played like crap. they hit hard all game, but were just bad other than that. So BK gives BW one more look (along with the rest of them half the team screwed up, not just Brandon)! Then we stall again against Vandy, and almost lose…we almost got into a position with very little time on the clock and trailing by more than a field goal. So at that point, BK says “Go” to Book.
        Say whatever you want David – hindsight is 20-20, as they say. I like where ND is right now. I like the way it turned out. And I like that BW is still at ND too.

        BGC ’77 ’82

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      2. david 1 year ago

        The name crazy…..is that actually true? Medically diagnosed?

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      3. david 1 year ago

        Funny how rational and logical you make it all sound Bruce…simply and only because ND did NOT lose. Had they lost, which was my point, you’d have lost your mind, soiled your entire underwear wardrobe, and be crying in your beer all season.
        But you can’t think through a what-if scenario…because your mental capacity is too limited.

        You’re a bunch of transparent, predictable idiots with bipolar states..euphoria and depression.

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      4. Bruce G Curme 1 year ago

        David, if you are referring to me, I am medically diagnosed three times…the first in 1974. The third time they got it exactly right…Bipolar One disorder around 2009. My father was also similarly diagnosed…and even though he was never diagnosed, my father’s father, who died 10 years before I was born, almost certainly was bipolar. Personally, I prefer Manic-Depressive to “bipolar”, but “crazy” will do.

        BGC ’77 ’82

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      5. Bruce G Curme 1 year ago

        And David, I guarantee you that more “scenarios” run through my bipolar manic brain every day than run through a “normal’s” mind in a decade. And I wish I could turn it off. Really, I do. Thus an attempted suicide rate of about 15% for untreated bipolar.

        BGC ’77 ’82

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      6. david 1 year ago

        No, it was crazymike…I was thinking that was dogballs obvious. Apparently not.

        You do seem pretty proud of it though. Good for you.

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      7. Bruce G Curme 1 year ago

        I am only proud of never going on disability and being a burden on the working people of this state. I am proud that I was able to make a contribution, David. Someone once said “A disability makes everything harder, but nothing impossible”. Oh yeah, I said that. I have quoted myself here.
        No one in their right mind would be pleased, let alone proud, to be mentally ill!

        BGC ’77 ’82

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  5. NemesisTheDestroyer 1 year ago

    I too am not a huge fan of Mr. Flutie’s commentary on ND games. Since NBC pays to exclusively telecast the home games, I would not be opposed to a little more bias toward ND, really no different from ND radio broadcast which have bias. Even if one of the crew on TV had a little bias and the other did not, I’d be OK with that. I didn’t mind Mayock though at times I thought he over analyzed the plays. Really unfortunate about Bars season ending injury.

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  6. Hank 1 year ago

    Tirico doesn’t have Michigan ties. He just lives there. He went to Syracuse. Anyway he’s not much better than Flutie. Thinks ND is located in South Bend and says it often.. I muted the entire broadcast last Saturday.

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  7. Fitz 1 year ago

    I’m pleased that the Hokies from Miscokee made it back in the Top 25 as if the Irish, LSU and Clemson win out it may come down to strength of schedule. Given its weak schedule to date and the remainder of the season I don’t see a good case for Clemson being in the top four.

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