Friends, here is your Hangover for Notre Dame's triple overtime victory over Pitt 29-26. We all face obstacles in our lives that hamper the spring to greatness. Take your Emperor, for example. There was a very well written and detailed hangover post ready to publish last night- and then it was lost forever because Joomla is a motherfucker. Now, you must suffer a hastily thrown together pile of crap.
This is very much like the game Saturday. We were expecting quite a bit of fun- and then we were handed a heart attack on a plate.
On to the Hangover...
Please keep in mind the "top" doesn't exactly mean "the best." It's the top things on my mind coming out of the game. I guess I could change the title- but I won't. Screw you guys:
The Top 5
1. This whole "special teams" thing is getting out of hand. The kick return unit was lethargic and perhaps George Atkinson III was still feeling under the weather after staying home last week due to illness. Either way, it was an absolute non-factor. The punt return team is still unbelievably bad, and it sunk a bit lower thanks to a few poor decisions by freshman Davonte Neal. Add all of that to missing a field goal AND an extra point and see your average offense look even more pedestrian.
2. So I guess I wasn't too far off in the Pitt Anti-Preview when I was discussing the MVP's. I called for Dan Fox & DaVaris Daniels to be the clear MVP's for the Irish. Fox led the team with 9 tackles and Daniels led the team in receptions and receiving yards. Having said all of that... Prince Shembo was a MAN out there with 8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass breakup, and 2 QB hurries. And while I'm amending things, Theo Riddick gets the nod on offense from me. The guy just does a little bit of everything and balls hard. HARD.
3. Brian Kelly might be feeling the stress of the expectations of an undefeated season at Notre Dame. I saw a much more animated Brian Kelly on the sideline Saturday, and there were a couple of times that I thought we were pretty close to a CODE PURPLE ALERT. The more obvious signs were in the post game presser. It wasn't just the overreaction to the "chicken soup" question, it was Kelly's whole demeanor. The same questions each week are eating at him like a flesh-eating virus. If Notre Dame would have blown Pitt out if the water, I'm sure we would have seen the more political Kelly that we have seen most of the season. Hang on folks... shit could get even bumpier.
4. This is a team of destiny. At least for the moment. Sure, the moniker would have had much more credence if one or more of the 3 teams ranked ahead of the Irish would have lost, but I think we can still use it after the type of games ND has played and won. If you haven't been a believer up to this point, I suggest you think it over a bit more. This is the type of season that 2010 Auburn & 2002 Ohio State had- ALL THE WAY TO THE FUCKING TITLE Y'ALL!
5. Everett Golson is the keystone of this offense. Duh. Look, I don't think it can be overstated enough about how much Golson's ability to keep plays alive with his feet mean. As much as this offense has struggled at times, could you REALLY imagine Tommy Rees at the helm full time? Yup- you just had a stroke. The future of ND quarterbacks is here and is still learning. This shit is exciting!
KeiVarae Russell. Russell had 2 TD saving tackles & still has not looked much like a freshman that was recruited to play running back.
Louis Nix. The flu sucks ass when you just have to go to work and be present. None of us would go to work after 2 nights in the infirmary. Louis Nix is a Holy Warrior.
Ray Graham. I normally don't give the opposing team headbutts- but when you rush for 177 yards on this defense... my hat is off to you sir.
Swift Kick To The Nuts
Double numbers. 99 numbers. 85 scholarship players. Kelly must do what he will because of recruiting, but I'm looking right at you NCAA. Right at you.
Mike Mayock. Mayock had a lot of fun Saturday and wanted to let everyone know that he was, like every 3 minutes. Only Musburger can get away with that Mike. Know your god damn role.
Dan Hicks. BC 2002. South Florida 2011. Pitt 2012. DO NOT BRING THIS SOB BACK. EVER.
As the saying goes, "A win is a win is a win." I'm fine with all of that. Unfortunately, when you are nearing the end of a title run and so are 3 other teams, you really can't put that "shadow of a doubt" in voters minds. So, a better showing would have been nice. However, with a lot of football left to play, Notre Dame is still sitting in a great position because they have not lost. Take the win. Learn from it. Use it. KEEP FUCKING WINNING.