OMGZ it's football time!!! After yet another long offseason, the Fighting Irish are set to kick off another season, and as Subway Domer has done for many years... ANTI-PREVIEW TIME!
This is obviously a season that will start off with a whole shitload of questions. No matter what, I'm sure all of those questions will be answered, but some of them may be "god like" in that we may not even know it until much later.
All of this as the Irish open the season up in Dublin, Ireland against...
We know what the Midshipmen are all about. Option football ran with incredible precision and each player plays the game with enough heart to make Rocky Balboa look like a stoner-slacker.
It's a tale we hear each and every year, and as much as I respect and appreciate all of those who choose to serve our country... it gets to be a bit much. This is a football game after all, and I mainly choose to respect the Middies as formidable opponents every year despite many disadvantages.
This is why I say, "FUCK NAVY!" Not as a sign of disrespect to those in uniform for our military, but as a sign of respect to those players in uniform on the field. After 3 losses to Navy in the past 5 years, I give them as much respect as any opponent we face. That's a credit to them and you should know the difference.
What Should You Be Drinking?
I almost omitted this part of the AP this week. Why? I know that probably 99% of you will be drinking Guinness or some version of "Irish Coffee." I want to bash my head into a spiked wall tainted with Hepatitis at the thought of such things. This ain't St. Patricks Day. A little more imagination would be nice, but I have always catered these drinks to the environment around the game- whatever that may be. So, I give you an awesome compromise. Enjoy:
What Should You Be Eating?
This too is an interesting choice. Certainly, any form of breakfast that includes over easy eggs, thick bacon, and soda bread with whatever else would be acceptable. Shit, even if you want to do corned beef and cabbage, I wouldn't hold it against you. However, I love a good casserole for breakfast- especially when I want to load up before a good binge.
- 1 pound bakery white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (16 cups)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound sliced applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 28 ounce can whole Italian tomatoes, drained, chopped and patted dry
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 pound extra-sharp cheddar, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons snipped chives
- 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 8 large eggs
- Hot sauce, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. In a large bowl, toss the bread with the olive oil and spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, tossing once or twice, until the bread is golden and lightly crisp.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain; reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet. Add the onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and crushed red pepper and cook until any liquid is evaporated, about 3 minutes.
Return the toasted bread cubes to the bowl. Add the contents of the skillet, along with the bacon, shredded cheeses, chives and broth. Stir until the bread is evenly moistened. Season with salt. Spread the mixture in the baking dish and cover with lightly oiled foil.
Bake the bread mixture in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the top is crispy, about 15 minutes longer. Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and, using a ladle, press 8 indentations into the bread mixture. Crack an egg into each indentation. Return the dish to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Serve the breakfast bake right away with hot sauce.
For most of the season this will have one ND player or coach tweet and one from the other team. I'm taking both for the Irish this week. Tasting the old and the new school with this. Either way, THEM SUITS IS SO DOPE!
Theo Riddick. This choice is strangely familiar. It's like this is 2011 all over again, right? Theo Riddick is going to break out, right? Well... yes. Why? Because it's not 2011, Riddick isn't only a slot receiver, and as far as this game goes; Theo Riddick is the starting running back.
With Notre Dame breaking in a new starter at quarterback, playing a Navy defense that will be small and most likely not nearly as effective as the 2011 version that allowed 182 yards on the ground to Notre Dame, the Irish will run and run often.
Jamoris Slaughter. So much of how this Notre Dame secondary will play this season rides on its best and most experienced defensive back. Slaughter was asked to put on a couple of different hats last season as the DOG linebackers were proving to be ineffective. Slaughter was inserted into that role and played well. This season the Irish really can't afford to do the same with injuries in the secondary hindering any flexibility.
Good safety play, in my mind, is essential against the option. Not only do they need to come up hard against the run, but their responsibilities against the pass actually increase. Look for Slaughter to play this role well, and could be involved in a turnover or two.
Something Else To Watch For
Notre Dame will wear white jerseys as they are actually the "away" team in this contest. What I'm really curious about, is if they try to do something to match these:
The Rip Miller Trophy is named after the legendary Rip Miller who was a part of Notre Dame's 7 Mules that blocked for the 4 Horsemen. Rip went on to coach for Navy and then became their Athletic Director. He was one of the key figures in Navy sending students to Notre Dame during WWII as so many of Notre Dame's students went to off to fight. It saved the school, and is why Notre Dame and Navy will play a football game every year until the second coming-and beyond.
Different from a typical rivalry trophy that is held by the winner each year and inscribed with the score of the game, the Rip Miller Trophy is composed of two symmetric halves, each of which will be inscribed with the names of the team’s captains for each year and will be held by the respective institutions during the year, being reunited whenever possible for the weekend of the annual game. Notre Dame’s half will reside in the trophy case outside the Alumni Association office in the Eck Center.
At The End Of The Day...
This is not the same Navy team that gave the Irish an ass whopping in 2010. It's not even the same team that Notre Dame knocked the shit out of in 2011. In fact, I'm not sure what Navy has to offer. They have too many questions along both lines and the Irish seemed to have figured out this whole crazy option offense. Notre Dame uses power that turns into flash to make this one get ugly in a hurry. IRISH 42-13.