Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Ahh, it's that time of year again! Saturday was the beginning of the NCAA football season, when seemingly every team in the country takes the opportunity to kick the dogshit out of the someone lower in the pecking order, as Tech did with SMU, and Texas with North Texas. In fact, it looks like the only 2 exceptions to this rule were California (who foolishly thought they could whip up on Tennessee; even when the Vols are on a rebuilding year, you better bring your A-game to that one or you're gonna get embarrassed) and Notre Dame (as every year).
One of the things I love about Irish football is that ND doesn't believe in padding their schedule with early season cupcakes like other teams do; there aren't gonna be any Indiana States or Florida Internationals on the list. Sure, we play the military teams this year, but Notre Dame has a long, long history of playing those teams, good or not. And frankly, the sheer pageantry of those games makes it worth it.
The downside to ND's schedule, however, is early season scares like we had on Saturday. I'm rarely right when I talk about football, but even I knew that Georgia Tech, a team that last season beat Auburn and Miami-- at Auburn and at Miami-- wasn't going to be a pushover. Why everyone expected a blowout is beyond me.
Despite some disappointments with the game, like Quinn's maddening (and very much new) tendency to overthrow his receivers, there were 2 things about the game I found promising. One was the performance of the Irish defense, as everyone has noted. The other, less talked about, observation I had was the lack of turnovers. In fact, the utter lack of turnovers (there were 0 on either side). On the one hand, it may show a D that has forgotten how to cause them, but it definitely shows an offense that could keep them under control despite extreme pressure and frustration. It shows patience and poise. The Brady bunch had faith that their teammates and coaches would figure this team out in time, and didn't try to force big plays. And sure enough, by the end of the first half the adjustments had been made, and it was all over for Georgia Tech.