Notre Dame will get back on track after painful loss
Posted: Friday October 21, 2005 12:55PM; Updated: Friday October 21, 2005 6:29PM
Before we move beyond 34-31 in South Bend, here's another item for Irish fans writhing in agony: All five of USC's rushing touchdowns, plus MattLeinart's rollout on the game's penultimate play, came on plays to the Trojans' left. If Justin Tuck, Notre Dame's 2004 defensive MVP, had not entered the NFL Draft a year early (he's now a rookie with the New York Giants), he'd have been playing right defensive end for the green-and-gold last Saturday. Would it have made a difference? We'll never know.
From Clemson sports info director Tim Bourret, a Notre Dame alum ('77): The last time the Irish defeated a No. 1 (Florida State, '93), the game's decisive play saw an ND defensive back wearing No. 22 named Wooden (Shawn) bat down a fourth-down pass thrown by a Heisman Trophy winner (Charlie Ward). Last Saturday, with No. 1 USC facing fourth down, a Heisman Trophy winner completed a pass that was nearly batted down by an Irish defensive back wearing No. 22 named Wooden (Ambrose).
Imagine, just imagine -- we're talking an En Vogue-like Free your
mind/the rest will follow level of imagination here -- that the Huskies upset the
Trojans in Seattle. Will the pundits reverse field (yet again) and
write, "You see, Ty Willingham was the better coach all along"? Or will they wrestle with the logic (as Louisville fans do every time their team travels) that there's no such thing as a sure thing in college football?
Is it just me or is the Big Ten flat-out the most fun conference to watch BY FAR this season? Five incredible games, without even stopping to think: Michigan-Wisconsin, Michigan-Michigan State, Wisconsin-Northwestern, Ohio State-Penn State, Wisconsin-Minnesota and Penn State-Michigan. I know, that's six, but I couldn't stop. Six ... or about five more memorable games than the SEC has given us.
Red Raiders coach Mike Leach has a law degree. Do you know what that means? It means that as Leach was sitting through those 80-minute Civil Procedure lectures, he was diagramming plays inside his notebook. Just like you and I did. Now Leach is a success. Those students doing the Jumble, on the other hand, they're wasting their time.
Which that you've seen recently made your stomach turn more? The shot of the Crimson Tide's Tyrone Prothro landing in the end zone, his leg
bent at a 90-degree angle just above the ankle? Or the one of the python that exploded after ingesting an alligator? Which leads to the natural segue of whether Bama, 1-9 against the Vols in their past 10 meetings, is biting off more than it can chew in its quest to go unbeaten through the SEC.
With the nation's 75th-best scoring defense, the Bruins are living on borrowed time as an unbeaten. Then again, if Maurice Drew and Drew Olson can outscore the Beavers, the Powder Blues are 9-0 when Arizona State visits Nov. 12. The Beavs' Mike Hass leads the nation in receiving yards, despite having just four catches for 17 yards in last week's win at Cal.
Jessica Biel was named "Sexiest Woman Alive" by Esquire? I mean, is she even the cutest Jessica -- Alba, Simpson, Rabbit -- alive? But that's what I hate about Esquire's SWA series. They decide it by a vote instead of settling it on the field! Two Tigers living under the radar after early-season home losses, each with a future date with an elephant (Alabama), play for the right to keep their BCS hopes alive. My pick? Angelina Jolie. It's a good year for repeat champions.
Do you realize -- trust me, everyone in Lincoln does -- the Cornhuskers are one fumbled-and-lost game-clinching interception (versus Texas Tech) away from being 6-0? Then again, the only docket less taxing than Nebraska's is Leinart's class schedule (you knew I was headed there). What the Huskers do best is stop the run (No. 1 nationally), while Mizzou has an outstanding journalism program.
The most prevalent name in sports right now? How about "A.J.", as in Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk, Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, Florida Marlin pitcher A.J. Burnett and San Diego Chargers quarterback A.J. Feeley? Thus it's refreshing to discover Bulldog quarterback D.J. Shockley, whose exploits, it should be noted, are often recorded in the A.J. (Atlanta Journal) Constitution.
Horned Frogs quarterback Tye Gunn possesses the most apt name in the history of Lone Star State quarterbacks. (You were thinking maybe Major
Applewhite?). Speaking of Texarcana, Gunn hails from La Grange,
erstwhile home of the infamous Chicken Ranch that inspired both a
musical (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) and a ZZ Top tune (La
Grange). Just let me know if you wanna go.