blueollie

Notre Dame Does Not Belong in a Bowl…

The game ended 38-3 with

1. ND not getting its first FIRST DOWN of the game until the final play of the 3′rd quarter.
2. ND being held to less than 100 yards of total offense.

But listen to what the ESPN announcer said at the end of the game: “the game was not as close as the score would indicate”. 38-3 “not as close?” Yet one would have to agree with the announcer.

The ND defense hung on as well as it could; it did get 3 interceptions.
But mostly they were overmatched as well.

Now to watch the OU-OSU track meet football game. I’ve had it on for about 90 seconds and have seen two touchdowns.

Right now it is 44-41, OU, with 9 minutes to go.

Ooops; I spoke too soon. 51-41, OU.

There must be something in the air: Kansas beats Missouri 40-37, this game, and Oregon beating Oregon State 65-38.

(photos from here)

November 30, 2008 Posted by | football | Leave a comment

Famous Last Words

From the Daily Kos:

I love coming across great punditry like this, from Peggy Noonan in February 2006:

Conservatives are always writing about the strains and stresses within the Republican Party, and they are real. But the Democratic Party seems to be near imploding, and for that most humiliating of reasons: its meaninglessness. Republicans are at least arguing over their meaning.

The venom is bubbling on websites like Kos, where Tuesday afternoon, after the Alito vote, various leftists wrote in such comments as “F— our democratic leaders,” “Vichy Democrats” and “F— Mary Landrieu, I hope she drowns.” The old union lunch-pail Democrats are dead, the intellects of the Kennedy and Johnson era retired or gone, and this–I hope she drowns–seems, increasingly, to be the authentic voice of the Democratic base.

How will a sane, stable, serious Democrat get the nomination in 2008 when these are the activists to whom the appeal must be made?

Now you have Republicans crediting the netroots for the Democratic victory:

Dick Morris (hawking his own 527)

New York Times

Of course, Noonan merely cherry picked what she wanted to see at the Daily Kos.

But there is something for us to remember as well: the Republicans, while down, are not dead.

Far from it.

(ps: yes, I know that I wrote a sentence fragment).

November 29, 2008 Posted by | 2008 Election, Barack Obama, politics, politics/social, republicans | Leave a comment

Other 29 November Thoughts

I am watching the wild Missouri-Kansas game. The Jayhawks lead 10-0 after having taken advantage of an interception and a fumble. There is just tons of action in this game; the fans are in a frenzy and Missouri is wearing an unusual uniform combination: black pants, gold jerseys and black helmets.

Update: it is now 10-7.

Ooops, make that 12-7.

Update This game is wild. Kansas lead 19-10 at the break and took it in for a TD on the opening possession of the second half. So it was 26-10 and Kansas was on its way?

Not so fast; Missouri cut it to 26-16 on a drive (went for 2 and missed); then a defensive tackle made an interception and the Tigers hit a 35 yard bomb to cut it to 26-23. But now the Jayhawks return the kick off to midfield.

If you blink, you miss a big play!

This game is nuts. Missouri had taken the lead 30-26, but Kansas made a long drive to retake the lead 33-30. But there are 4 minutes plus left; just plain craziness!

Mind you, I neither cheer for Missouri nor Kansas. But I love see-saw contests like this one.

Update: What did you expect? Missouri scores with about 2 minutes to go; they lead 37-33. But Kansas got the ball back; and with 27 seconds left hit a touchdown pass; Missouri got burned on a blitz. 40-37 Kansas.

But the Tigers return the kick off to the 40. A long pass put it on the Kansas 36; one incomplete pass left only 5 seconds. So Missouri tries a 53 yarder; it was short.

This game was one of those in which you honestly didn’t know who was going to win until the very last kick.

Wow.

One thing I have noticed: both teams run out of the spread; their quarterbacks are almost never “under center” (they did go under center to down the ball at the end of the half). That is a relatively recent innovation, sort of.

There was a time when all teams ran from a spread/single wing/shotgun formation, and then the T formation came along.

So, then I grew up, the quarterback was always under center, until the Dallas Cowboys started to use the shotgun at times (1975, I think). Gradually more teams adopted it for certain situations. Now, you actually have “100 percent spread” teams and I am watching two of them as I type this.

I am old enough to remember the I formation (Notre Dame and USC ran this) and I remember when the wishbone was new (Texas, 1968-1969).

Other stuff I had posted some snarky comments about Kentucky’s policy which assigns some of their “homeland security” responsibilities to their deity.

But if you think that I was hard on them, check this out:

As if we didn’t know that “homeland security” was a complete crock [...]
Kentucky State Rep, Tom Riner (a Democrat) hijacked the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security as a vehicle for promotion of superstition.
[...]

If there was a God, the mere fact that there are enough morons alive that Riner could be voted into office would be proof that God hates the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

:)

Black Friday Shopping This frenzy has lead to someone being trampled to death (literally) and to lethal altercations. Dependable Renegade has some thoughts on that along with a funny (sort of) photo/caption post.

Other topic: I sometimes search the net for yoga photos; one of my favorite set of yoga photos are Yoga Chickie’s.

But another one of her photos really brought a smile to my face. :)
That is one adorable toad!

Here is one of her sets of yoga photos.

November 29, 2008 Posted by | football, politics, politics/social, ranting, religion | Leave a comment

Folepi 4 mile race (Updated)

FOLEPI stands for: “East PeoIa Festival Of Lights”. The race starts on a residential road and then connects to the East Peoria bikepath (where I frequently train) and goes along that from about miles 3.5 to the East Peoria trailhead; it then continues on for about 100 meters to finish on the road.

Here are some photos of the trail part of the course.

Mile 2 (roughly)

Mile 3.5

I’ll update this post with photos and a link to the results when they become available.

Short version: 7:57, 7:30, 7:44 (23:12), 8:14 (31:26). Mile 2 was a bit too quick and perhaps cost me 15 seconds. But this represents an improvement over my recent performances.

My race: I met Barbara’s son Mark at the race; we chatted and took a bus to the start of the race. There was a SNAFU with some of the buses getting their late; hence the start was delayed by 15 minutes; fortunately it wasn’t THAT cold (high 30s low 40s; or perhaps +3-4 C or so)

I lined up about 3/4 of the way back so as to keep my early pace under control. I managed to do that and weaved my way past much of the crowd until we turned onto the bike path.

I noticed Larry Jeffries in the distance; I figured that he isn’t going to be in reach for me for another several months or so, if ever. I settled down and just enjoyed “the sights”. :)

Mile one came at 7:57.

Then came the most downhill part of the course; I focused on keeping the turn over quick…ok, not “quick” but, uh, “less glacial”? :)

I kept passing people, many who were going to pass me back, eventually. It turns out that I took this section at 7:30; not too fast in the past, but perhaps too quick for me now. Mile 2 was 15:28. I was starting to feel it and the third mile felt a bit too much like the last mile of a 5K; fortunately I knew the course and knew where I was at all times. Some people started to get me back; still mile 3 wasn’t THAT bad (7:44; 23:12) and I knew that I had a downgrade left.

But by then even the visual motivations weren’t enough to get me going; I started to go into survival mode. In fact, I walked in sight of the bridge that signaled .5 miles (800 meters) to go; but I only walked for few steps prior to resuming running.

Much to my surprise Lupe Martinez passed me; I never thought that I’d ever be ahead of him at all.

I kept going and really didn’t try to fight anyone off; I wanted to keep moving forward. I am just NOT in running shape.

I saw the end of the trail coming up and knew that the finish was just a 100 meters away or so. The last mile WAS ugly (8:14) or 31:26.

Afterward I walked around and waited for Mark to come in; he made his goal (35:26) and even had a kick at the end (unlike me).

One embarrassment: someone thought that I was racewalking; I really was attempting to run.

But it was fun to run a race with Mark and to see most of the gang.

The after race spread (pizza, sandwiches, yogurt, fresh fruit, diet pepsi,) was magnificent.

Update Place: 136/350.

Photos: (from the IVS website)

I’m the one with the bushy beard….

Lupe got me at about mile 3.25; he used to weigh 300 pounds or so and has been this size since the mid 1990′s)

Pat ran in the 21s; he is a bit faster than I am. :)

I often see him at the Riverplex.

November 29, 2008 Posted by | family, Friends, Illinois, Peoria, Peoria/local, running, time trial/ race, training | 6 Comments

29 November 2008 Thoughts

Workout notes Nothing yet; yesterday after swimming 4000 yards I decided to NOT run or walk the 2 mile race; I helped out at the finish line instead.

The good news: it was fun to help, as it almost always is. The winning time was 9:50 or so, but the leader had no one at all to push him.

The interesting thing about this race is that they ran on the parade route; hence the runners had lots of spectators.

This morning I am meeting Mark (Babara’s youngest son) to run the 4 miler.

I’ve been running these races because faster walking (for me, 10 minute miles) makes my piriformis howl.

Football I had a bit of a feast yesterday: I watched Pitt vs. West Virginia; this was a bruising battle that saw Pitt pull it out 19-15 late in the 4′th quarter. The Panthers had a big statistical lead at the half but it was only 7-3 due to turnovers and mistakes.

Then I caught the second half of the Colorado-Nebraska shootout. It was tied 24-24 at the half; the Buffaloes scored on a weird fake field goal attempt by Nebraska.

Nebraska attempted to run this type of play:

But Colorado intercepted the lateral and ran it in for a touchdown.

The game settled a bit in the second half; both teams played hard but the depleted Buffalo offensive line had a difficult time with the Cornhusker pass rush.

The game was 31-30 Colorado when Nebraska had 4′th and 25 at the Colorado 40 yard line with 1:50 to go; the Cornhuskers had only 2 time outs and used one of them to think about the call. I thought that they were going to go for it but instead lined up for a 57 yard field goal.

The kick was good! 33-31, Nebraska.

(photos)
The Buffaloes got the ball back but Nebraska ran an interception back for a touchdown to ice the game at 40-31.

See the highlights here:

(hat tip)

Note: I am not a fan of Nebraska or Colorado, but I do love a good game.

Other stuff

The anthropology.net blogger won’t be blogging anymore (in the near future) as he has gotten accepted to medial school. Congratulations!

Math is hard! At least it is for some conservative bloggers such as K-Lo (National Review)

But nothing justifies the concerns of anxious Mormons like the current controversy over Proposition 8 in California. This initiative protecting traditional marriage won by the same margin as Barack Obama did in that state — getting the support of some Obama voters, in fact. Its victory has led supposed agents of tolerance to blatant acts of bigotry; gay-marriage advocates are blaming the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their electoral defeat.

Well, gee: Prop 8 won 52-48 whereas Obama carried California 61-37. As far as “blaming the LDS church”: they did lobby for the proposition, didn’t they?

And note how she uses the term bigotry!!! I suppose that those who worked against the KKK when the KKK attempted to deny basic rights to African Americans were also “bigots” in K-Lo’s world.

I admit that I still don’t get the “protection of traditional marriage” bit; I do know that the traditional vows say something like “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer” which would indicated that health and economic factors do affect marriage. I haven’t seen any vows that say “even if gays get married” as part of the things that a marriage might have to endure.

Then again, maybe I wouldn’t be checking out all of the female spandex at yoga classes or at races if gays weren’t getting married? :)

More on religion-state wingnut issues

This would be hilarious if it weren’t about a serious topic: Did you know that some wingnuts are blaming Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion for a suicide?

In perhaps one of the most ridiculous and sleaziest things the Worldnutdaily has ever published – and imagine how stiff that competition is – they are now blaming Richard Dawkins for a 22 year old who committed suicide after reading The God Delusion – and even blaming a college professor who suggested the book to him.

“Three people told us he had taken a biology class and was doing well in it, but other students and the professor were really challenging my son, his faith. They didn’t like him as a Republican, as a Christian, and as a conservative who believed in intelligent design,” the grief-stricken father, Keith Kilgore, told WND about his son, Jesse.

“This professor either assigned him to read or challenged him to read a book, ‘The God Delusion,’ by Richard Dawkins,” he said.

Jesse Kilgore committed suicide in October by walking into the woods near his New York home and shooting himself. Keith Kilgore said he was shocked because he believed his son was grounded in Christianity, had blogged against abortion and for family values, and boasted he’d been debating for years.

You can bet that this will immediately become part of that artifice of silly myths that make up the fundamentalist “worldview” (a term I despise), a cautionary tale against reading dangerous ideas because they’ll make you go crazy and kill yourself.

(hat tip: Science Avenger)

I am not so much blaming the parent; after all, the grief over the suicide of a kid would be enough to drive anyone insane. I am blaming the wingnut media outlet that pushed this idea, and I will blame any other wingnut outlet that carries this line of “thought” though.

More wingnuttery from government: A state anti-terror law talks about getting protection from “their” god.

Under state law, God is Kentucky’s first line of defense against terrorism.

The 2006 law organizing the state Office of Homeland Security lists its initial duty as “stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth.”

Specifically, Homeland Security is ordered to publicize God’s benevolent protection in its reports, and it must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, “The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.”

State Rep. Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister, tucked the God provision into Homeland Security legislation as a floor amendment that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved two years ago.

As amended, Homeland Security’s religious duties now come before all else, including its distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and its analysis of possible threats.

The time and energy spent crediting God are appropriate, said Riner, D-Louisville, in an interview this week.

“This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky,” Riner said. “Government itself, apart from God, cannot close the security gap. The job is too big for government.”

Nonetheless, it is government that operates the Office of Homeland Security in Frankfort, with a budget this year of about $28 million, mostly federal funds. And some administrations are more religious than others.

Under previous Gov. Ernie Fletcher, a lay Baptist preacher, Homeland Security interpreted the law at face value, prominently crediting God in its annual reports to state leaders and posting the required plaque.

No, this isn’t from Norma Jean’s blog. :)

Sigh…some parts of the US are clearly behind other parts, and the most backward parts tend to be prone to religious fundamentalism.

November 29, 2008 Posted by | Blogroll, football, injury, morons, Peoria, politics, politics/social, religion, republicans, running | 6 Comments

A Few Post Thanksgiving Remarks (post Thanksgiving 2008)

Workout notes 4000 yard swim with Mark (Barbara’s son); 500 warm up, 10 x 50 (25 kick, 25 swim) on the 1:10, 5 x 100 (1:36-38); started on the 2 but slowed to 2:30, 5 x 100 IM on the 3 (got 3 under 2), 5 x 100 (25 sfs, 75 free) on the 2:10, 5 x 100 (25 catch up, 75 swim) on the 2 (1:45-46, one slow one), 5 x 100 (fly/swim/fly/swim with fins) on the 1:50, 5 x 100 (paddle/f/p/f/p).

It was fun to have someone to swim with and the pool was all but empty this morning.

Walking/Running remarks Here is what I have found: I don’t sweat all that much when I walk slowly (13:30-15 mpm) but I sweat like a pig when I run slowly (10-10:30). I sweat more when I walk at 12-12:30 but not as much as when I run easily; and yes I sweat hard when I walk all out or when I run hard.

I am sure that this means something; it probably has to do with easy walking being more efficient than easy running.

Football
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I watched UT destroy A&M last night 49-9 (went to bed when it was 42-3 in the 4′th quarter); aside from a quick drive by A&M late in the second quarter (to cut the lead to 14-3) it was total domination by UT.

83776376BB019_TEXAS_A_M_V_T

The Texas defense harassed the Aggie offense mercilessly and they Longhorn offense was sharp.

83776376BB014_TEXAS_A_M_V_T

What was amusing is that many of the UT fans had “45-35″ signs reminding people that UT beat Oklahoma 45-35 in their head to head match up. UT is 1 second way from being undefeated.

(photos from here)

Social issue: I think that this blogger at Friendly Atheist gets it wrong about free speech. To me, free speech means that the government doesn’t regulate speech (save the “cry fire in a crowded theater” or “give away national security secrets” type exceptions). But it does not mean that we need to sit idly by while, say, a billboard with, say a KKK or a neo-nazi message appears.

Sure, the government should outlaw such boards, but it is well within our rights to denounce such boards and to condemn them, and even to threaten to boycott those businesses that support such boards.

In short, you have a right to speak your message but you don’t have a right to have me as a captive audience.

November 28, 2008 Posted by | family, football, Friends, politics, politics/social, religion, swimming, training | 2 Comments

Thanksgiving 2008 Part II

Of course I can’t leave well enough alone. :) Right now I am watching the Cowboys whip the Seahawks; the ‘Boys are up 24-3 with 1:37 left in the half; it has been as one sided as the score would indicate. But the Seahawks are driving and have the ball at the 15. Sack; now back at the 20 so they’ll probably have to try a field goal. They made it; it is now 24-6, Dallas.

Update: the Seahawks are at the Cowboy 6 yard line; perhaps they can make a game of it? Sure, a TD is what they need, but a field goal still cuts it to a 2 touchdown game (albeit with one 2 point conversion). They kick the field goal; 24-9.

A family lunch at Wildlife Prairie Park spared me the 47-10 pounding that the Titans gave the Lions.

As far as Wildlife Prairie Park experience: prior to the lunch we went out to look at some of the animals. We had good luck; the various animals (bobcats, mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, foxes, black bears, bison) were out in full view.

Then came the lunch itself: the buffet was hard to beat. It featured a large fresh fruit bar, salad bar, full breakfast bar, Smogasboard of meat, potatoes, rice, chicken, turkey, then several types of “fresh cut” meats. There were waffles and a “watch them make it” omelette bar.

It featured something for everyone; I can recommend it.

Now for other topics: some gratitude
I am grateful for our new President Elect, who addresses us today:

(hat tip: DemComWatch)

Speaking of Politics and Issues

I am grateful that I have instant access to expert opinion; here Robert Reich talks about how to recover the economy:

But between now and late January, when the stimulus package will be voted on, we’re likely to be treated to a great debate over the wisdom of Keynesianism. Fiscal hawks will claim government is already spending way too much. Even without the stimulus package, next year’s budget deficit is likely to be in the range of $1.5 trillion, considering the shrinking economy and what’s being spent bailing out Wall Street. The hawks also worry that post-war baby boomers are only a few years away from retirement, meaning that the costs of Social Security and Medicare will balloon.

What the hawks don’t get is what John Maynard Keynes understood: when the economy has as much underutilized capacity as we have now, and are likely to have more of in 2009 and 2010 (in all likelihood, over 8 percent of our workforce unemployed, 13 percent underemployed, millions of houses empty, factories idled, and office space unused), government spending that pushes the economy to fuller capacity will of itself shrink future deficits.

Conservative supply-siders, meanwhile, will call for income-tax cuts rather than government spending, claiming that people with more money in their pockets will get the economy moving again more readily than can government. They’re wrong, too. Income-tax cuts go mainly to upper-income people, and they tend to save rather than spend.

The Jed Report talks about stuff that Democrats might be grateful for; All that is necessary links to a similar article for conservatives. He also links to a mini-quiz of the “what is your political orientation variety.

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What a shock, huh? :)

Racing: racewalker Tammy had a good 6 km race and won a walking award. I am grateful that there are fast walkers who are out there to inspire us. I was wondering whether or not to do both the 2 mile and 4 mile races (2 miler on Friday and 4 miler on Saturday) and now realize that I can racewalk one of these!

Thanksgiving for physicists: really.

You will sometimes hear physicists explain that elementary particles come in two types: bosons, which have a spin of 0, 1, 2, or some other integer, and fermions, which have a spin of 1/2, 3/2, 5/2, or some other half-integer. That’s true, but it’s hiding what’s important and emphasizing what’s auxiliary.

When it comes to classifying elementary particles, it’s not really the spin that’s important, it’s the statistics. And really, the word “statistics” in this context makes something deep and wonderful sound dry and technical. A boson is a particle that obeys Bose statistics: when you take two identical bosons and switch them with each other, the state you end up with is indistinguishable from the state you started with. Which only makes sense, really; if you exchange two identical particles, what else could you get? The answer is, Fermi statistics: when you take two identical fermions and switch them with each other, you get minus the state you started with. Remember that the real world is based on quantum mechanics, in which the state of a system is described by a wave function that tells you what the probability of obtaining various results for certain observations would be; when we say “minus the state you started with,” we mean that the wave function is multiplied by -1.

This difference in “statistics” seems a bit esoteric and removed from one’s everyday life, but in fact it is arguably the most important thing in the universe. This simple difference in what happens to the state of two particles when you interchange them underlies the most blatant features of how particles behave in the macroscopic world. Think of two identical particles that are in the same quantum state: sitting in the same place, doing the same thing, right on top of each other. If those two particles are bosons, that’s cool; we can switch them and get the same state, which just makes sense. But if they’re fermions, we have a problem; the two particles are purportedly in the same state, but if we switch them (which doesn’t really do anything, as they are in the same place) the state becomes minus what it used to be — seemingly a contradiction.

Read the rest of the article; it goes on to point out that bosons are force particles; fermions are, well, “particle” particles; they have to obey the Pauli exclusion principle (e. g., can’t be in the same place/state at once).

Anyway, these folks are grateful for spin statistics and I love that. :)

And I am grateful for other kinds of statistics, including those that are used to analyze elections. Of course, you know better than to use the binomial distribution to model vote counts, right? ;)

I am also grateful for scientists who don’t take gruff from the ID(iot) crowd; including some senior ones and some who will make their mark sometime later in the future. Either way, I enjoy a good rationally based rant. :)

Ok, what about those scholars in the “soft” areas? Yeah, I sometimes ridicule them, but at times they give us stuff to think about.

In this post, SEK talks about a series of Peanuts cartoons and, among other things, points out that his having a black character that

1. Can swim
2. Has a dad in Vietnam and
3. Is attending a school with white kids

was, at least in some circles, controversial in its day.

Yes, I went to grade school during that era, and no, I wouldn’t have thought anything odd about the cartoons. Why? I grew up on Air Force bases and has black friends who

1. Could swim
2. Had dads either in Vietnam or had come back from Vietnam and
3. Attended school with me.

No, no one was surprised when a black kid made good grades either.

But yes, when my dad retired and I went to high school in a lower educated, lower middle class high school in Texas, well, the racial attitudes were completely different. Note: we had the Confederate battle flag as our school flag, and we were called “The Rebels”. Yes, “Dixie” was our fight song.

And yes, even as a brown guy, I was affected by it. It took me many years to outgrow some of the attitudes that I picked up, all the while “knowing better” in my head.

What I learned from this is that intellectual knowledge is not enough to outgrow bad attitudes; it isn’t enough to “know better”. There has to be some emotional work as well.

November 27, 2008 Posted by | 2008 Election, Barack Obama, creationism, Democrats, education, evolution, family, football, Friends, Illinois, mathematics, obama, Peoria, Peoria/local, politics, politics/social, racewalking, ranting, religion, republicans, science | 1 Comment

Thanksgiving 2008

Workout notes yoga, then 7 miles of running (riverplex, gooseloop, dam, back home) in about 1:12.

Barbara went to yoga class; I noticed that she was downright awful. So evidently it wasn’t my teaching that was causing her trouble a couple of days ago, though she says (correctly) that today’s teacher did a much better jub.

The run home was ok, though I am still not quite at the “running free” stage; the motion is still a bit “forced”.

Mood: I am still somewhat “down” so I am going to post some of my favorite photos (compiled from many sources)

November 27, 2008 Posted by | 2008 Election, family, Friends, humor, political humor, politics/social, religion, running, science, training | Leave a comment

Better Swim

Today: 4000 yards (as usual) but I felt better in the water.

500 in just under 9, then 25 x 100 on the 2: 5 x (front, 75 swim; mostly 1:50-1:51), 5 x (sfs, 75 swim; 1:49-1:51), 5 x (3g, 75 swim 1:44-1:45), 5 x (catch up, 75 swim 1:44-1:46), 5 x (100 fist, 1:43-45), then 5 x (fly/back/fly/swim; 1:48-1:51), then alternate paddle/swim (50s) for 500.

I got there later than normal and saw some of the people that I used to swim with about 3-4 months ago. What I noticed is that none of them have improved at all; one must constantly work with a focus on improving in order to improve.

What I also notice is that my leg/butt/piriformis tingles more while swimming than while running or walking; there must be a back issue there somewhere.

November 26, 2008 Posted by | injury, swimming, training | Leave a comment

The Upcoming Notre Dame vs. USC Bloodbath

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I admit that I still cheer for Notre Dame; that is probably the last vestige of my Catholic upbringing.

The cheers haven’t helped much lately as ND has suffered through a 3-9 and now a 6-5 season.

ND has one regular season game left: against number 5 ranked USC (which boasts a 9-1 record).

USC needs to pile it on to move up in the BCS rankings and possibly get a shot at the Championship game. ND lost to 3-8 Syracuse, giving up 14 points in the 4′th quarter.

Put it another way: ND got the ball three times inside the Orange’s 25 yard line. They got ONE FIELD GOAL out of it.

In short, ND’s loss has earned them a place in ESPN’s Bottom Ten:
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They are ranked at number 5:

“November Rain:” It’s been raining losses for the Irish in November. If their 1-3 record this month isn’t bad enough, a shower of snowballs directed at them from the student section during the Syracuse loss made it worse.

And so the game is to be played. This is how the Los Angeles Times puts it:

Now, five days from the teams’ 80th meeting, men (and women) on the Leprechaun side are balling up their fists, all right. But in anger. Those riding the Trojan Horse to yet another season of success are merely dismayed. Both know the hard truth.

This rivalry is on shaky ground.

That doesn’t mean they will stop playing anytime soon, even if the embarrassment factor starts to become a real issue. Case in point: Syracuse 24, Notre Dame 23.

Things will go on for a while simply because hope springs as eternal as the need for TV ratings and the need to fill a couple of stadiums with more than 80,000 people every year.

But let’s face it. This is starting to look like the Russian army against David and his slingshot.

USC is having a bad year, meaning it might not be a player in the national-title picture for a change. But the Trojans are still a one-fluky-loss powerhouse with so much talent and depth that the first team’s toughest opponent each week is the second team.

Notre Dame?

The Irish, fresh from nearly blowing a 20-point lead nine days ago before escaping with a victory against vaunted Navy, blew another big lead Saturday against Syracuse.

That was 2-8 Syracuse, a 19 1/2 -point underdog, which had fired its coach, Greg Robinson, the week before, but let him take his team to South Bend for what everybody expected would be some nice goodbye bonding and a loss.

But the Irish misused their timeouts, mismanaged the clock and took one of the biggest missteps in their storied football history. As a reward, they can now come to the Coliseum and face getting stepped on.

Rivalry? Please. [...]

But now it is six in a row for the Trojans, including their most lopsided win ever in the series, 38-0 last year. In South Bend, no less.

USC seems to have it nicely lined up for years to come.

Pete Carroll is captain charisma, who might as well have a lifetime contract. Charlie Weis is a self-proclaimed “sarcastic New Jersey guy,” who got a 10-year contract three years ago that may now be as secure as working for a newspaper.

Mark Sanchez has three guys behind him who can rush for 200 yards on a given night and as many receivers who can catch for that number.

Jimmy Clausen — still learning, we are told — has an equal number of good receivers, but a tendency to throw to the guys covering them.

A rivalry that looks, year after year, like a cat chasing a mouse is hardly a rivalry. A rivalry that has Las Vegas putting double-figure odds on the team that has won the last six and outscored the opponent by 246-92 in that span is hardly a rivalry.

The worst thing is that the Trojans, who truly understand the value of this rivalry and the need for its tradition and quality to be retained, may be starting to feel bad for the Irish.

That is how far down this has come. The spread is currently at 30 points.

So, what will happen? My guess: the Trojans come in bored; ND keeps it close for a half; USC shows up in the second half and “only” wins by, say, 35-10.

So what say you, football fans? How bad will it be?

For ND fans (and others), here are highlights from other (mostly happier) days:

2005: USC (then no. 1) wins, but ND makes a game of it.

1988: Both USC and ND come in at 10-0; ND is 1 and USC is 2. ND wins.

1966: ND comes in ranked no. 2, USC in the top 10 and Rose Bowl bound.

1973: ND is ranked in the top 5; USC the defending National Champions and in the top 10.

1977 The Green Jersey Game; two top 10 teams; ND goes on to become National Championship.

1986: ND came in with a 4-6 record, USC was in the top 20. ND pulled off the upset.

1992: both teams are bowl-bound; ND was to finish at no. 4.

1989; ND is ranked no. 1 and the defending National Champions; USC is a ranked team.

1993: ND was to finish number 2 with a 11-1 record; Florida State finishes no. 1 with a 11-1 record; their sole loss was to ND. I still don’t understand that one. Nevertheless, this game was no contest.

Ok here is one for the USC fans: 1974. Note that ND went up 24-0 in the first half and lead 24-6 at half time. In the third quarter, USC scored 35 unanswered points and 14 more in the 4′th.

Note also that Pat Haden was the USC quarterback at the time; he was also a Rhodes Scholar.

November 26, 2008 Posted by | football, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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