See if you can spot Upchurch in his bucket hat | my phone
There’s a Kryk article in the 2011 HTTV about how Nebraska and Notre Dame spent much of the first bit of the 20th century beating down the doors to the Big then-Nine (actually nine). In the days when everyone had to travel by train, Lincoln was WEST man. As for Notre Dame, they were well within the conference footprint, but far outside the preppy conference’s idea of a fit. Said Kryk:
“[Expanding beyond nine members] wasn’t the biggest reason for keeping Notre Dame out. Academic snobbery was, followed closely by religious prejudice. The Big Nine was run by academic elitists, and they viewed the education provided by religious institutions of higher learning such as Notre Dame as purely second-rate.”
If you know your University of Michigan history, you’ll remember James Burill Angell’s biggest battles with regents and the rest of the brass were around his hiring Catholic faculty and saying nice things about papists. It’s a little snapshot of the prevailing prejudices of the day, and the genesis of the Notre Dame psyche.
You’ll also know that from these early days we too were arrogant enough to go it independent for a time. But while Michigan evolved toward benchmarks of greatness that involve our in-conference rivalries, Notre Dame’s established themselves as a fearless lone wolf. It’s why we balk when our chief rival is moved to another division, while they see nothing untoward about canceling the Michigan series to guarantee one West Coast game per year.
Fast forward a century with plenty of independent glory and this is what we hath wrought: a group of exceptionalists who are in many ways truly exceptional. Like how a mountain range of new or recently renovated megaliths spring out of an industrial Northern Indiana town. Like how in this craven era they can play on dirt and grass in an 80,000 seat bowl with no jumbotrons, no bad seats, and overlooked by a great big mural of religious figure who may be praying, may be calling touchdown, or may be exclaiming “Oy vey.” And yet they will also exclaim six times, with Michigan in attendance, that their fight song is the greatest. They will mike their band and have them drown out the visitors’ whenever our guys strike up. They’ll blare pump-up music deep into the opponent’s snap count on 3rd downs. And they’ll scoff at our 100-years-late invitation to finally sign on as half-members of the Virginia and Duke conference, keep the extra home game of this now odd-numbered series, and then tell Yost’s team to go screw.
Calling them arrogant when we’re the school that shows up to other stadiums with a trailer painted all over with the message “mine’s bigger” is pot-kettle-ish. They are the hot chick, and we can’t have them anymore. Cue the diaries of Notre longing. Start with conference realignment at the end game as oakapple, rehashes the four axioms that drive college football relationships. Then DanRareEgg reminisces over the latest series that spanned, with a few two-year hiatuses, from Dan Devine to Denard’s derps. Big Will the Gazelle thinks canning the Michigan rivalry to keep MSU and Purdue is a departure from the “We’ll play anybody, any time” ethos that built the ND brand. And if you’re really not ready to let go, here’s k.o.k.Law with a present tense poetic retelling of his ‘06 experience.
Let’s do THE JUMP here, and rejoin for the weeklies and the best of the board.
That Happened (the Weeklies):
Inside the Boxscore. So you think Denard’s stat line was a horror show do you? Let’s all remember Demetrius Brown against State. Actually scratch that; let’s all remember Peyton Manning in the 1st half last week. And let’s remember that the difference between Brown’s bad day and Denard’s is that we have a far superior offensive coordinator now who did finally make major game plan adjustments in the 2nd half. ST3 is down on the receivers in this game. He is high on the defense.
Hoke for Tomorrow. Why is Air Bud in this post? That is not a teaser, that’s an honest question. At least Lordfoul noticed Mealer was having a really good day, and some other quick points about the game that make this one of his better columns minus the random football playing golden retriever I don’t get. I’m waiting for the UFR to confirm the Mealer thing but I want to get it out there now anyway since I went into the season very wary of him and kind of annoyed he had bumped Barnum back to guard. Instead I think Mealer has been the better of the two, which is part Barnum not progressing as much as I thought he would, and more Mealer doing some very nice things so far.
Statistics and FEI Prediction. No prediction since it’s Wife Week. Our team still looks very middling at the quarter mark—they’re saying 6-6 at the moment—but the defense took a big step forward and this early in the year you really have to add two wins to whatever FEI is saying.
Onside Kick: Probably the Right Move
So thanks to a personal foul Michigan got to kick off from the 50 yard line. We kicked off, the ball went in the end zone for a touchback, and ND took over on the 25. And I was all “this is so wrong!” Think about it: if you have a 25% chance of collecting the onsides kick, even against the other team’s “hands” team, what you’re giving up for that chance is really just 10-15 yards of field position. I give this Yeoman’s work the Diary of the Week, even though it was bumped from the boards, because I was praying at the time somebody would write this up. I still hope the Mathlete tackles it too.
Et cetera: If you’re new in town and want to know the ropes before tarnishing your image forever by breaking some unspoken posting rule, JeepinBen kindly put together a little primer. Somebody wants to have the argument over the 2010 Wisconsin game again, basically. Open this just so you can read that Northwestern, Minnesota, and Purdue are the not-Bad, not-Ugly parts of the conference this year. The Blockhams has incrementally improved; if you’re still anti-this, there’s a danglies version linked in the comments.
Best of the Board
Let’s all use this clip from this week’s Podcast (warning: autoplay) to emphasize how awesome the Big Ten is this year. Let’s get this season started before we lose to any more MAC schools, eh? Videoed:
OF MICE AND MEN, AND HATS
Mr. Kass, better known as husband to disapproving Mrs. Kass, noticed that most kids who have elaborate signing ceremonies don’t work out. Needs more study, but the helpful readers posted a few more data points that are at least very entertaining.
SPEED ROUND: SHORT ANSWERS TO THREAD TITLES
- Rooting Interest in this Weekend's Meteor Game: Staee vs Ohio
Ohio State because Pasadena, winning division. I can’t believe I just said that. Damn you terrible B1G realignment and Dave Brandon for not seeing this coming.
- Denard was a better passer in 2010 than now: Why?
He’s better now; in 2010 lots of opponents walked a safety up to combat Denard ISOs, which meant there was always a receiver open. Secret reason Michigan in 2010 was No. 3 offense in advanced metrics: Tate Forcier down 2+ scores vs. 4th quarter defenses.
- Should Jeremy Gallon be M's third down back?
No. But you’re not an idiot.
- Legendary Nebraska Coach/AD Tom Osborne to retire
That’s too bad. The other NCAA coaches should all do something nice for him. (Yes everyone else went there too. Why else post this?)
ETC. FSDetroit is having a poll for what you might want to watch instead of the Red Wings. Choices are replayed Red Wings games, Pistons preseason, Grand Rapids Griffins, or ACTUAL PEOPLE PLAYING HOCKEY FOR OUR COLLEGES. You can also add other thoughts or ideas, like “Do you really have to ask?” and “Is this a trick question?” and “Play the Alaska-Fairbanks Hockeybear Show!”
Your Moment of Zen:
Washington D.C. Justin Wilcox beats Stanford, dreams of facing MSU in the Rose Bowl this year. (HT)