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Oct 30, 2012

Fightin' Words: Stay Perfect.


With upcoming games against Pitt, Backup College, and Wake, just about everyone, myself included, seems to be looking ahead to the 2012 season finale against U$C in the LA Coliseum on Nov. 24.  

As fans, we have that luxury.  As a football team, Kelly's Fightin' Irish don't.  Notre Dame fans know all too well what it feels like to watch a team get caught looking ahead beyond their current opponent, and I assure you they'll agree that it doesn't feel good.
  
Luckily for us, Kelly won't let that happen.  He won't rest at 8-0, and last week's "signature win" won't make him complacent.  When he came to Notre Dame his stated purpose was to win National Championships (plural).  He keeps that goal in his sights through a week to week approach, and come Saturday his squad will remain focused on staying perfect.


Score Prediction:
Notre Dame: 34
Pittsburgh: 13


Oct 28, 2012

Notre Dame is 8-0. Do you believe?


"Ya gotta believe!" - Lou Holtz

Not many did, including most of the Fightin' Irish Faithful.  
Yet, here we stand.  

Notre Dame is 8-0.
  
Four games stand between Kelly's squad and perfection.
  
The final battle will take the form of a showdown in the LA Coliseum against the Men of Troy, 
featuring fallen preseason favorites and their once-hopeful Heisman candidate, now yearning to spoil the hard fought success of a band of underdogs led by their grieving warrior-hero...

 a seemingly fitting climax to a script that would leave many a Hollywood writer green with envy. 

My suggestion?  Enjoy the ride.

Oct 23, 2012

Fightin' Words: Sour Sooners


Don't get me wrong... 
This Saturday's matchup between #5 Notre Dame and #8 OU is a big deal (and I didn't need ESPN to tell me that by featuring the Fightin' Irish on College GameDay for the 2nd time in 3 weeks).  

The outcome of this game will largely determine Kelly's chances at leading his team to the promised land come January, and Norman, OK will undoubtedly serve as archetypal proving grounds upon which will the fate of the season rests.

I find this game riveting due to the fact that OU has been considered much more of a football powerhouse than Notre Dame has of late, and it presents the proudly independent Fightin' Irish with an opportunity to show the world they can hang with the big boys in any conference (let's not forget the recent dismantling that left the Big 10 (B1G?) in shambles at the hands of Notre Dame, along with the destruction of recent Pac 12 powerhouse Stanford, and the forthcoming annihilation of everyone's favorite Pac 12 pretty-boy-poster-children (albeit Spoiled poster-Children), in addition to the inevitable embarassment of our new friends in the ACC... all within the same season).  When all is said and done, adding the Big 12 to our Kill List just might boost our resume enough to make Mark May shut up (actually... probably not).

What I do not feel as this game approaches, however, is any sense of animosity towards OU (other than disapproval of the relatively loose academic and moral standards with which their football program has been run historically).  Maybe I'm too young to appreciate the history of the ND v. OU series (which means the players, and even Kelly probably are too) but nothing gets me particularly riled up when I hear "Boomer Sooner!" or see the Sooner Schooner take the field (not gonna lie... that part is actually pretty cool).

As you may expect, I was beyond surprised to learn that OU fans apparently HATE NOTRE DAME! Now, I'm not sure if Sooner Boosters hate the Fightin' Irish more than the average ND Hater, but I'll let you decide for yourself with this collection of bulletin board material collected from newsok.com:

David Allen from Mustang, OK: “My own dislike with the Noters stems from what I call the Notre Dame spot. If they need a few inches for a first down against Slippery Rock, the refs oblige. Instant replay has curbed some of this activity.” 

Not sure where he was going with that "Slippery Rock" reference, but here's a fun fact: David won the Mustang, OK Spelling Bee with his close-enough spelling of "the Noters."(Also note the classic Oklahoman usage of "oblige")

Mike Shockley from Oklahoma City, OK: “My hatred of Notre Dame comes from the fact that they haven't been relevant in football since the early ‘90s and are still considered a powerhouse or blue blood. The amount of media attention and money that the football program raises is unbelievable considering they have largely been terrible save a few years here and there.”

Which is it, Mike?  Powerhouse, or Blue Blood?  Do you know the difference?  Oh, and two words: television ratings...

Mark Hall from Owasso, OK: “It is partly the breaking of the streak. The biggest reason is that they are treated specially. The BCS had special rules for them. And if they had just joined the Big Ten, then the Big Ten wouldn't have taken Nebraska. Then maybe Nebraska joins muscle with OU and others to get a better deal with Texas and a league network of some sort. Instead, Notre Dame thinks that their football program is so special it should stand alone.”

C'mon, Mark!  You just made me throw up in my mouth a little bit when you mentioned Notre Dame in the B1G.  Sorry I'm not sorry we couldn't succumb to such filth so you could leach off your arch-rival for a "better deal."  Have some self respect!

Rex Renfrow from Atlanta, GA: “It is Touchdown Jesus. It is the homer announcers on CBS (NBC). It is the over rated hype they receive. Whatever, I hate Notre Dame.”

I'm not sure if those are sentences.  I'm also not sure why OKNews decided to throw a resident of Atlanta in the mix, but at least it shows how irrelevant we are on the national scene... oh wait... Seriously though, hating on Our Lord and Savior TDJ?!  Blasphemy!  (And just to clarify it for you, Rex, our lucrative television contract is with NBC, which as a corporate entity is distinct from CBS.

Jeff O'Dell from Ada, OK: “I'm a third generation hater. I learned this from my Grandpa, who hated Texas (naturally) Notre Dame and USC. Notre Dame because of OU's poor record against them and the fact that they ended the 47-game win streak. For me it's also the elite private school aspect of Notre Dame that helps me be a hater.”

This one is so Oklahoman (naturally), I can't even touch it.

Matthew Allen from Oklahoma City, OK: “As a younger OU fan, my dislike for Notre Dame stems from the following: They're killing us in the series; they bookend The Streak; they are the benefactors of some of the most unfair, antitrust violating, undeserved, borderline cheating treatment out of any program ever. Their SPECIAL BCS rules are the biggest scam happening in college football right now, and people act like it's just A-OK. Like it's a part of the landscape. Why do they get better rules than everyone else? Why don't people talk about this more?”

Whoa! I didn't think they taught their young'uns big words like "benefactors" or "antitrust" (or "lanscape") in good ol' Oklahoma...  Let's be real though, Matthew... people do "talk about this more" so I think you can relax with the capital letters now.

Caymen Bishop (location unknown): “I am a big OU fan, but I am not mad at the 1-8 record, or them snapping our losing streak, or because they're Catholic. I hate Notre Dame because they didn't let Rudy play until the last game. That just really frustrated me. JUST LET THE KID SUIT UP FOR HIS SENIOR SEASON!”

Wouldn't Caymen (cool name, I'll give him that) be glad if we had in fact snapped their losing streak?  I'm pretty sure he is referencing the aforementioned 47 game OU winning streak the Fightin' Irish broke.  I'm glad he felt the need to assure us that he doesn't hate Catholics, though.  Finally, I think he might be missing the point of the heartwarming story / almost entirely fabricated cinematic masterpiece that is Rudy.


Score Prediction:
Fightin' Irish: 24
Sour Sooners: 14


Oct 21, 2012

Game Day Pics: BYU @ ND

Post-Victory Alma Mater
After each home game, check with Irish Creed as TheNDleprechaun brings you a series of pics from the weekend.  You can also view the pics as they are taken by following on Instagram: "theleprecon" or on Twitter "@TheNDleprechaun"


Early Morning Shots with Rock
Shake Down The Thunder
Heeeere Come the IRISH!
Cheerios
Gold & Blue
Golden Mirror
Manti inked
Diaco BIA
Manti's gameface
Manti breaks down
Golson's gameface
Golson warms up
Press Box
Bon Jovi livin' on a prayer and searchin' for his seat
Hines Ward & Doug Flutie
ND: 17  BYU: 14
Celebration at The Backer



Oct 18, 2012

Fightin' Words: 6 down, 7 to go

Midway through the regular season, the Fightin' Irish stand at 6-0 and #5 in the BCS standings.  Leading up to the matchup with BYU on Saturday, senior captain and All-American LB Manti Te'o spoke with Jim Rome about the adversity he has faced this year and what Notre Dame means to him.  Rome described it as "one of the most astonishing, inspiring conversations I've ever had with an athlete."  MUST LISTEN: catch the broadcast here, and take some time to ponder the quote below.
God bless, and GO IRISH!

Oct 15, 2012

Game Day Pics: TIMBER! (Stanford @ Notre Dame)

After each home game, check with Irish Creed as TheNDleprechaun brings you a series of pics from the weekend.  You can also view the pics as they are taken by following on Instagram: "theleprecon" or on Twitter "@TheNDleprechaun"














Oct 12, 2012

Fightin' Words: GO IRISH! SMOKE TREES!




Fightin' Word(s): 
“Irrelevant”

By employing such buffoons as Mark May and Rick Reilly, ESPN can usually be counted on to supply more than its fair share of Notre Dame bashing (possibly out of jealousy due to our exclusive licensing with NBC).  Prior to this season, the aforementioned buffoon Mr. Reilly published a "story" (if it can even be called that) pleading with the college football world to end all praise for Notre Dame.  Well, good ol' slick Rick could not have crammed his foot any harder into his own mouth if he tried...  

The Fightin' Irish stand at #7 with a 5-0 record, and even ESPN found room on Brian Kelly's bandwagon when they announced the arrival of College GameDay to campus.  To add insult to injury, the below graphic proves poor little Ricky wrong in every way possible (Networks and their ratings don't lie).



On a weekend during which the national spotlight will shine brightly on Our Lady atop the Golden Dome and her Loyal Sons, the Fightin' Irish Faithful have an unprecedented opportunity to prove once and for all that Notre Dame is far from irrelevant.  That's right, NOTRE DAME IS BACK!  ... and the best part is, we're doing it the right way.  

What does all this mean for the average fan?  Let's not let this moment pass us by.  Let's wear our Fightin' Irish pride on our sleeves with dignity, poise, and fervor.  Let's accept our praise humbly with the class and gratitude of true champions, and let's show the nation just how powerful the Notre Dame Spirit can be.  



Score Prediction:
Fightin' Irish: 34
Fire Wood: 20

Oct 11, 2012

Windy City Weekend Recap: from a former Leprechaun




Irish Creed sought out former Fightin' Irish Leprechaun, and now current guest writer, David Zimmer ("Leprechaun Diz") to share his weekend experience with the Fightin' Irish Faithful after making the trip to Chicago for the Catholics v. Convicts matchup in Soldier Field.  Not only is David a great friend, and a true Notre Dame Man, but he has a knack for capturing the essence of what will go down as a weekend to remember for thousands of current and former Notre Dame students.    

Catch his Windy City Weekend Recap below, and check out the Irish Creed Exclusive Interview with Leprechaun Diz for some great perspective from someone who truly understands what the Fightin' Irish Spirit is all about: 
Part I Part II



As I woke up last Friday morning I knew that only a couple classes and an exam stood between me and a trip to see my beloved Fighting Irish take on the Miami Hurricanes at Soldier Field in Chicago. Unfortunately on my current campus of Purdue University, where I now attend veterinary school, there was no buzz about the upcoming Catholics vs. Convicts matchup and I was hard pressed to even get a college football conversation out of any of my fellow students. So, during lecture I made do by reading Irish Creed articles and following any recent tweets from @TheNDleprechaun. Luckily, I soon I found myself packing my monogram jacket, lucky suspenders, and faded old ND T-shirt as I prepared for the Windy City.

As I drove down Lake Shore Drive I witnessed the sun setting and the city come alive as if to express its joy that it could once again welcome home a dominant Notre Dame football team. The city lights replaced the setting sun and the monstrous shadow of that spaceship they call Soldier Field loomed overhead as I passed into the city. Arriving at a friend’s apartment in Lincoln Park (home to a solid population of Irish alums) my phone exploded with texts from old friends who were spreading the word of what bars everyone would be at to celebrate our reunion in Chi Town. It wasn’t long before we reached the bars and I got my first glimpse of exactly how many Domers had made the trip to Chicago for the game. Two bars on opposite corners were overflowing with Irish students past and present as lines snaked around the edges of the buildings. When I arrived at the door the bouncer asked me in an exasperated tone, “What’s the occasion? We haven’t been this busy in years.” I simply informed him, “Notre Dame is in town for a football game. And wherever we have a game, this is what a city should expect.”


The following morning I awoke to the sounds of Cathy Richardson belting out the lyrics to “Here Come the Irish” as I joined my friends in jigging around the apartment like six year olds on Christmas morning. As we got ready to hit the Soldier Field parking lot we turned on College Gameday in time to catch Manti Te’o explaining to the nation what it truly means to be a part of a university and college football team that treats its own like family.


Out in the parking lots it was a blur of old friends, Irish faithful, and excited fans as we prepared to descend en masse on the stadium. As I had scavenged tickets at the last minute from a family friend, I made my way to the upper decks of the stadium not sure what to expect. As I looked down on the field I realized that there is not a bad seat in that stadium, especially when it’s hosting our smashmouth football team.  


As the game played on I found that I couldn’t be more pleased with the other fans I got to share my gametime experience with. Even in Section 440, Row 36 (second row from the top), we did pushups for every score, screamed our hearts out on every key play, and never sat down for the entire game. When fans all the way in top of the stadium participate like that, it says something about your university and your football team.


The game ended in dominating fashion and the following day I packed up to head back home for another week of tedious schoolwork, now seemingly a method of passing time between Irish football games. And as I once more drove down Lake Shore Drive, this time heading in the opposite direction, I found myself marveling at the sun as it shown down on this beautiful city. 

I realized that with a 5-0 start, College Gameday coming to The House That Rockne Built, and a chance to beat up on the Stanford Cardinal, the sun was definitely shining down on the Fighting Irish as well.

David Zimmer
Notre Dame Leprechaun 2010-2012





Oct 10, 2012

IC Exclusive: Interview with the Leprechaun


Each spring, a new student is chosen to become the Face of the Fightin’ Irish during the following year. Not only must the chosen one exhibit extraordinary skills and embody the tough, edgy spirit of the Fightin’ Irish, but he must be really really ridiculously good looking as well. 

Ironically, this Irish Creed Exclusive interview with the handsomest of all college mascots comes during the week leading up to 
#7 Notre Dame v. #17 Stanford
a matchup to be featured on College Gameday during which the ugliest of all college mascots will visit our campus (that is, if the Indiana State Excise Police don’t get to "the drunken tree" first).

Check out the exclusive interview with this year's Leprechaun below, followed by a UND.com video recapping last spring's Leprechaun Tryouts:

The Stanford Tree, who often attempts to drink away
 the pain of his jealousy due to our Leprechaun's
good looks, is no stranger to the breathalyzer

The Notre Dame Leprechaun, on the other hand,
can't help but smile as he is constantly recognized
by beautiful celebrities for his handsome charm.




Introducing your 2012-2013 Fightin’ Irish Leprechaun: 


Name: Bryce Burton
Hometown: Newburgh, IN
Height: 5'7" (5'8" on a good day)
Favorite Food: a good steak

How long have you been a Notre Dame fan, and when did you first know you wanted to become the Leprechaun?

My family used to take a vacation during the fall of each year. When I was 9 or 10, I remember watching a football game with my dad and questioning which team we were supporting. My father looked at me as if he had failed in raising me. I was instructed that we always support Notre Dame and he went on to discuss with me the history and pageantry of the school. I have been a fan ever since and vowed to him that night that I would attend Notre Dame as a student. 


How did the real Irish receive you during your recent trip to Ireland? Did they welcome you as a symbol of their fightin' spirit, or did they treat you like a crude caricature of their nationality?

The Irish could not have been more accommodating. They were so welcoming to me and the cheerleaders, and all of the fans that made the trip. Ireland was such a good experience and one that I will never forget. On Friday before the game I thought we would be attending a pep rally, but it turned out to be a great spectacle that blended Irish heritage and the spirit of Notre Dame. Events like that really showed how much they appreciated us being there. 


What is the one lasting memory you will take away from the game in Dublin? 

I think the most lasting memory will be walking through the streets of Dublin and seeing Notre Dame fans literally everywhere I looked. They made the trip simply because they love the university, and support like that makes me very proud to attend this school.


Does your red hair make you more authentic as a leprechaun? 

I believe my red hair absolutely makes me more authentic. I am actually saddened that Notre Dame went away from their original mascot logo that had red hair. He also had a pipe, which I can understand Notre Dame moving away from. I have seen a lot more of the vintage logos in the bookstore lately so maybe I can make a push to bring it back full time. 


How many pushups can you do without stopping? 

I can do about 100 pushups without stopping. We cannot be called the Fighting Irish and have a weak Leprechaun. 


How does it feel to represent Notre Dame as the face of the Fightin' Irish? 

I love this university, so being able to travel the country, and even to Ireland, to spread the spirit of this place is an opportunity I take very seriously and cherish. I know that when I travel, for many people their interaction with me might be the only time they get to experience Notre Dame, and it may be the only event they use to form their entire perception of the university. As such, I take many measures to make sure each interaction is especially memorable. 


What one message do you have for the Fightin' Irish Faithful?

It’s no secret that for the past 20 years on the football field Notre Dame has not experienced the kind of success we would have all hoped for... but each year the university is constantly talked about and when we win, or even when we lose, the media blows up. There is a reason that the BCS will make special deals with us and that conferences will not make us commit our football team. This is because of the fans. They ensure that we are relevant. We have sold out over 200 straight games and sent thirty thousand people to Ireland. This is why top recruits and coaches still want to come here…. and this is why Notre Dame will once again rule over college football. Our spirit makes this place so special. So, keep it up! 
What though the odds be great or small, old Notre Dame will win over all.






Oct 8, 2012

Game Day Pics: CHI-RISH

After each home game, check with Irish Creed as TheNDleprechaun brings you a series of pics from the weekend.  You can also view the pics as they are taken by following on Instagram: "theleprecon" or on Twitter "@TheNDleprechaun"












Oct 2, 2012

Fightin' Words: Catholics v Convicts



The Fightin' Irish will take to Soldier Field this Saturday, their historical home away from home for Knute Rockne's 1929 National Championship campaign, during which they went 3-0 in Chicago.  Not only will this weekend's matchup feature a meaningful venue, but it also signals the continuation of a longstanding rivalry between Notre Dame and Miami that will now go on into the foreseeable future due to new scheduling commitments with the ACC.  
The rivalry peaked during the 80s when both football programs consistently fielded elite squads, and the bad blood that ensued branded the matchup between bitter foes as 
"CATHOLICS v CONVICTS
when they met in Notre Dame Stadium with the National Championship on the line in 1988.  

To the Notre Dame players who emerged from that battle victorious en route to the 1988 National Title, it was known as "BRAWL MIAMI"... None can explain its significance with more conviction than the legendary Rocket Ismail, who supplies our "Fightin' Words" for the 2012 version of the rivalry in the below 
MUST WATCH VIDEO:



FIGHTIN' WORDS:
"It was about... hey, this my brother, this my brother, 
and some body tryin' to come to our house and disrespect us... 
I'm standin' up for my people..." 
-Rocket Ismail

2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule

2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule
Overall
12-1
Home
6-0
Away
4-0
Neutral
2-1
DateOpponent / EventLocationTime / Result
09/01/12vs. Navy Dublin, IrelandW, 50-10
09/08/12vs. PurdontNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-17
09/15/12at SpartyEast Lansing, Mich.W, 20-3
09/22/12vs. SkunkbearsNotre Dame, Ind.W, 13-6
Shamrock Series
10/06/12vs. Da UChicago, Ill.W, 41-3
10/13/12vs. TreesNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-13 (OT)
10/20/12vs. BYU Notre Dame, Ind.W, 17-14
10/27/12at Oklahoma Norman, Okla.W, 30-13
11/03/12vs. Pittsburgh Notre Dame, Ind.W, 29-26 (3OT)
11/10/12at Backup College Chestnut Hill, Mass.W, 21-6
11/17/12vs. Fake Worest Notre Dame, Ind.W, 38-0
11/24/12at U$C Los Angeles, Calif.W, 22-13
1/7/13vs. AlabamaBCS CHAMPIONSHIP
(Miami, Florida)
L, :(