Oct 21, 2010
IBG: ND v Navy
Thanks to Subway Domer for leading the IBG and writing the questions for Navy week:
1. Notre Dame routinely gets blasted by the media and other fans for scheduling Navy every year. It gets especially out of control when Notre Dame decides they want a portion- or all of the Commander in Chief trophy when they put either Air Force and/or Army on the schedule. Would you like to see this series continue or blown up? Why? If the series was forced to end, who would you replace them with that isn't on Notre Dame's schedule in the next decade. Bonus points if youcome up with someone other than Alabama or Texas.
TheNDleprechaun: My latest post, "Blood Brothers: Notre Dame v. Navy" makes the claim that no two teams in college football share a closer history than the two that will be meeting on the gridiron in New Jersey this Saturday. The football rivalry between Notre Dame and Navy goes back uninterrupted to 1927. As if that wasn't enough, many of the greatest figures in the history of Notre Dame football served proudly in the Navy (Do the names Leahy or Lujack sound familiar?) Most importantly, though, the University of Notre Dame owes much of what it is today to the United States Navy. As recounted in my previous post, over 85% of all Notre Dame students at the height of WWII were Navy trainees. Our school would have folded during the war if our brother school had not sent us thousands of transfers to keep our enrollment up and our spirits high. To answer the question, anyone who "blasts" the continuance of this rivalry (one of the greatest in all sports) is either insensitive to the values that our nation was built upon, or just plain ignorant as to the significance of the event. I guess I will be forced to settle for zero bonus points because I find it obvious that no team, not even Alabama or Texas (or USC or even Michigan for that matter), could possibly be more important to our schedule than Navy.
(On a side note: While we currently stand at 4-3, Army is also 4-3, Navy is 4-2 and Air Force was ranked as recently as last week with a record of 5-2.)
((On a side note to my side note: Check back during the week prior to the ND v. Army game for a post covering the significance of the rivalry matchup that put Notre Dame on the map as a football team and as a university.))
2. Before 2007 (and even still) Navy was treated like the neighbor kid with a terminally ill disease that does charity work and plays basketball against you in the driveway, by the media and fans when it came to their game against the Irish. Personally, if I was a Navy player, I would be pissed at the lack of respect given because of all of the "respect" given. Know what I mean? Seriously... answer that poorly phrased question. (I'm a pirate not a wordsmith).
tendomer: I don't endorse the aforementioned analogy, but the Middies come to play both mentally and physically. I think there's a chip on their shoulder, possibly from the respect that might border for some folks on pity. Now, I'm not ready to attribute their great play to that. There are a lot of things at work, such as the notion that football is the easiest part of their day, which I think also plays into their discipline and success on the field.
3. It seems like the injury bug has really hit the Irish this year. We're not talking about leg amputations or eyes popping out of the socket, but there is a trend of frontline players getting injured. Bad luck, or is this staff pushing the envelope with some of the players? Navy is skilled in the dirty tactics art of the chop block. Do you have any special concerns this week in terms of injuries?
tendomer: It's more visible because injuries have hit the offensive skill guys, but the injury bug hasn't been particularly bad this year. Knock on wood, especially with Navy looming. The high risk of injury to our defenders is a huge theme this week. Perhaps the 'coat of armor' that Longo discusses is taking longer to apply than it did at Cincinnati, where in Kelly's first year the same 22 players started at the beginning and end of the year. But I don't fault the Kelly coaching staff for the injuries, just like I don't fault the Weis coaching staff for serious injuries last year to Rudolph, Floyd, and Crist and lesser injuries to Clausen and Allen.
BONUS: Give me your prediction for this weekend. Good. If Notre Dame continues to win, when (homonyms) will they creep back into the top 25?
tendomer: Check back on Friday for our game predictions. As far as getting into the polls, ND's best chance, for once, may well be in the final poll. Three-loss teams appeared in the tenth week of the AP Poll six times in the past four seasons. ND could show up heading into the Utah game, but the schedule's weaker midseason names and the week nine bye will both hurt the cause for ranked status before Utah.