Wait....what? Did you rethink your prediction? I got news for you...M is going to win this game.
Punt-Counterpunt: Notre Dame 2013
Something's been missing from Michigan gamedays since the free programs ceased being economically viable: scientific gameday predictions that are not at all preordained by the strictures of a column in which one writer takes a positive tack and the other a negative one… something like Punt-Counterpunt.
The Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry may lack history to Brian Kelly or to Irish fans who suddenly care about justifying why they don’t care. For me, it's the only history I know.
The first Division I football game I ever watched was Michigan vs. Notre Dame in 2009. Having moved to Ann Arbor just a year earlier, I wasn’t yet a Michigan fan (or even a college football fan) and after the 3-9 season didn’t really want to be. That Saturday, I went to down by the stadium only to tailgate.
Sometimes sports can be like used car salesmen though. All they need is for you to walk in the door. “Here is a used car! It got totaled last year, but look, a new paint job! Let me tell you about the new engine! There are 110,000 people who totally want this car!”
With 11 seconds left on the clock, Tate Forcier rolled out of the pocket and fired to Greg Mathews. The 110,000 other buyers roared, and I said, “Okay, deal.” What a sucker.
Michigan didn’t win many more games that year. It didn’t matter at first. I watched every one diligently, trying to understand how things worked by agonizing over them when they didn't. I rode out my investment as it sputtered in October and died in November. In December, I was done being a Michigan football fan.
But the next year Denard happened, and then Michigan-Notre Dame 2010 happened. Again, the used car salesman analogy: “Here is a used car! It's the same model as last year’s car, but we fixed all the problems! We replaced the engine with an even faster one! We even kept the old one if you want it! We’re not sure the airbags work, but who needs airbags? Or free safeties?!”
As Denard plunged into the end zone beneath Touchdown Jesus to give Michigan the go-ahead score, I was like, “Yeah! F--- airbags. What's a free safety?”
To satisfy my curiosity, I started reading about Michigan football. I discovered mgoblog. When reading wasn’t enough, I began streaming press conferences. One thing led to another, and a few weeks later I found myself at a Michigan Daily Sports meeting (probably the only med student ever to show up to one of these things) thinking like an idiot that I could volunteer to help them cover football, only to discover that the Daily doesn’t work like that. Didn’t matter. I joined anyway. In half a year I produced a modest portfolio (one that I'm still quite proud of), which was enough to convince Brian Cook to hire me.
The rest you know, and here I am today.
In Fourth and Long, John U. Bacon talks about some of the crazy things college football inspires us to do. I would submit “becoming a sports blogger while trying to get an MD/PhD” for consideration. And I would specifically point out that it all started with Michigan vs. Notre Dame.
I’m sad the series is going away. It has given me my best memory of Michigan football (Roy Roundtree caught the game-winning TD right in front of me in 2011) and my worst (Devin Gardner crashed into the corner of a metal platform in 2012, again right in front of me, and I thought for a horrifying moment that he was dead).
Very soon, however, these kinds of memories will no longer be made. Not for you, not for me, not for any other budding doctors who might also possess an unrealized passion for college football like me. You know, it's funny that the Irish think the rivalry lacks history. They're the ones keeping it that way.
So I have an idea: let’s not think about this game like it’s the second to last time Michigan will play Notre Dame. Instead, let’s think about this as the second time Michigan will play Notre Dame … Under the lights. In the Big House. Ever.
What little history there is, at least it’s on our side.
Michigan 34, Notre Dame 14.
Notre Dame 2013
By Nick RoUMel
The new Punt looks a lot like the old. Heiko’s outlandish “Homer” pick has, as usual, relegated me to being the bad guy. You know when you were a kid, and your ball went into a certain neighbor’s yard, and you didn’t dare go over there? Yep, that’s me. Grouchy ol’ Counterpunt. I’m going to keep your ball, and when your Dad comes over to reason with me, I’ll kick his ass.
I do have to admit, Heiko’s enthusiasm is fetching, if not a bit nutty. I’m not sure what’s crazier – driving without airbags, or slowing down medical school to work for mgoblog. He’s like the guy who comes late to the party. You know, when the beer is all gone, and everyone else is slipping upstairs or nodding off, Heiko’s the guy who shows up with his iPad and a bag of Doritos, to show off official Michigan Athletic Department promotional videos, while chatting a mile a minute about free safeties and the deficiencies of the Cover 4 defense - all with Dorito breath to boot.
My grumbliness aside, I must admit I am completely psyched for this game. I have even been invited to a “tailgate.” I understand this is a pre-game party involving food and drink. I just may bring a bag of Doritos myself. The nice thing about night games is that we can do this tailgate thing all day. As much fun as we’re going to have, with this very special second night game in two years, do you realize they do this in the SEC every damned week? I mean those people start real early every Saturday, chattering away in those silly southern accents of theirs, saying “y’all” and arguing about Billy Cannon and whether a three year sentence is sufficient for the guy who poisoned the Toomer’s Corner oak trees at Auburn, and whether he will have a boyfriend in prison named Bubba.
Me, I’m not going to do any of those things. I’m thinking of going to the Farmer’s Market in the morning, and whipping up a batch of lamb-sweet potato hash with fried eggs, and some beverages. Like orange juice, with perhaps a shot of ouzo.
Then after breakfast, when there are still 12 hours until kickoff, I will take my first in a series of naps for the day. During these naps I will dream about the big game. I will dream about Brian Kelly and whether he is even grouchier than the neighbor who beat up my Dad. I will dream about Jon Bon Jovi’s son who plays for Notre Dame – no, actually, my sister will. I will dream about Devin Gardner, and Taylor Lewan, and Notre Dame’s stout defense, and 110,000 fans screaming for Bon Jovi.
And then I’ll go back to sleep, and have a nightmare.
NOTRE DAME 20, MICHIGAN 16
Lou Holtz predicted a Notre Dame victory. I guess there's not much more to discuss.
I'm joking. Lou Holtz drained all credibility from his ND predictions years ago.
For what it's worth, I don't think Notre Dame wins this. Michigan may lose it through mistakes, but Michigan is the better overall team and if they do things the way they've been coached, Michigan wins by 10.
Michigan kept it close last year despite nearly double digit turnovers.
With a weaker team.
In South Bend.
Today, the other half of the bell curve breaks the Irish like Bane on Batman's back across the knee.
If he had made this statement upon his hiring, it would have been tantamount to not being aware of the No. 1 jersey. He made this statement with full knowledge that the series would resume as I pointed out immediately after his utterance. I don't know what Brady was trying to do, but imagine it was being done in fun. They both know this is a tremendous rivalry and the television viewers will far outnumber another signigicant game by two teams with adjoining borders. *To say it is not a rivalry is as ridiculous as the reasons they give for playing the cadets and midshipmen, "because they helped us get on the map." Well, let's face it, without someone teaching them there was a map, they would never have known about a path leading to it. Although many spoke as if it were actually the last time ND would visit AA, Brian Kelly, placing his footsteps on a career that will end in the Hall of Fame in Allendale, Michigan stated it best when he said, "And I'm sure there will be many great memories when the series resumes." There are tremendous memories for fans of both sides of this contest. But anyone over the age of 40 of has done a small bit of reading knows that when past contracts were signed, they always included the number of years and then provided for what was known as a "cooling off" period that was normally three to five years. Given that a "cooling off" period was necessary, I would suggest the mere addition of those words would make the unitiated suspect it was a tad more than just a mere footbal game against two teams separated by only a couple hundred miles. ^I'll go so far as to suggest the first time these two teams play after 2014, both will be back among the top ten in the nation on a perennial basis.