May 23, 2013

Irish Madness - Snubs R Us

Yes, the poll widget is still broken.  Yes, I'm still actively working on migrating to another site to continue the Irish Madness bracket.  No, I'm not buying time with this snub post - I had planned to do it all along.  OK, so maybe I expanded the list of snubbed games given the circumstances and linked more videos and archived SI articles.  Just trying to keep the rabid reader base at bay with something until we get back to voting on the most memorable ND games.

Speaking of, kudos to everyone who attempted to vote and has spread the word on this Irish Madness experiment.  Thankfully, there's been a healthy dose of positive feedback for the concept.  Nothing like a grass roots movement to determine a fake winner to a carefully constructed fanciful diversion.  All told, there were 612 Notre Dame games spanning the 5+ decades deliberated upon by the selection committee.  Picking the top 10% of games from that pool was fun, but daunting.  The equitable parameters of 13 per decade helped narrow choices, but like any good tournament with subjective criteria, some memorable games felt the wrath of the snub.

To give these snubees a nod to their historical significance, the following Snub List is presented as those games left on the chopping block from the real bracket.  These 50 games undoubtedly perpetuate the snubfest for those games still not mentioned that hold special memories for fans.  Hell, at the fundamental level, every game is memorable with its own commemorative ticket and game program.  But lines must be drawn somewhere, hence snubbery.

For giggles, sub-categories were created to describe the snubbed games' NIT-bound memorableness.

Anytime You Play #1, It's Memorable Principle
1961: @#1 Michigan St 17 - #6 ND 7 -- God bless early-60's pollsters and their ND leanings: The Irish finished 1960 with a paltry 2-8 record, but only needed wins over unranked Oklahoma and unranked Purdue to jump to #8 the following week when Kuharich's squad beat USC for the 5th straight time.  ND rose to their lofty #6 ranking for their battle with top-ranked MSU.  Alas, they stymbled in a close contest, promptly lost their next two and ended the year 5-5 unranked.
1962: @#1 USC 25 - ND 0 -- USC was crowned the unofficial official National Champion after this victory ...some cat named Marv Marinovich was the Trojan captain
1965: #1 Michigan St 12 - @#4 ND 3 -- prelude to the following year's Game of the damn these teams had great defenses...on second look, this game probably should've made the Irish Madness bracket
1967: #1 USC 24 - @#5 ND 7 -- The Juice was loose in South Bend [SI game article]..."Run OJ Run" [Phish joking mid-jam at a show in Milwaukee that fateful night June 17, 1994 with OJ actively on the lam]
1972: @#1 USC 45 - #10 23 -- the "Anthony Davis 6 TD game" probably ranks in the top 10 for USC fans most memorable games of all time...

1980: #1 Georgia 17 - #7 ND 10 -- '81 Sugar Bowl featured freshman sensation Herschel Walker and UGA's 1st national championship... this highlight reel to the tune of "Devil Went Down to Georgia" is well done, minus some static...lord knows what happened on that kickoff where nobody fielded it...this game was one of the "Last Four Out" of the 68-game field...too many other great late 80's games trumped this
1985: @#1 Penn St 36 - ND 6 -- a rainy affair that only one team showed up for

Anytime You Are #1 and Lose, It's Memorable Corollary
1965: @#6 Purdue 25 - #1 ND 21 -- Bob Griese's performance in this game was alluded to in this Boilermaker fluff section...another example of "on second look" remorse
1967: @#10 Purdue 28 - #1 ND 21 -- are current Purdue teams/fans even aware that their school toppled #1 Notre Dame twice in three years?
1990: Stanford 36 - @#1 ND 31 -- 3 fumbled punts for ND...Derek Brown lets the game-winner slide between his fingers at the Stanford wasn't ranked with future NFL'ers Ed McCaffrey, Touchdown Tommy Vardell and Glyn Milburn is beyond thing coach Denny Green didn't do was let ND off the hook
1990: #18 Penn St 24 - @#1 ND 21 -- two home losses as #1 in the same season is pretty hard to do...#4 greatest PSU upset of all-time apparently...Rocket Ismail doesn't play the 2nd half as the Irish don't cross midfield, begging the what if question

When ND No-Shows in a Big Bowl Game, It's Memorable for the Haters Theory
1994: #4 Colorado 41 - ND 24 -- the Bears draft scouts watched this game earnestly
2000: #5 Oregon St 41 - #10 ND 9 -- still amazed Dennis Erickson's tenure in Corvallis hasn't been vacated by the great and powerful NCAA
2005: #4 Ohio St 34 - #5 ND 20 -- okay, not entirely fair to include this loss under this category as it actually was a contested game, but I got lazy so deal with it
2006: #4 LSU 41 - #11 ND 14 -- what is it with giving up 41 points in bowl blowouts?

When Championship Caliber Teams Shut Out Top 10 Heavyweights on the Road, It's Blowout Memorable
1966: #1 ND 38 - @#10 Oklahoma 0 -- a nice can of whoop ass was opened in Norman...even if the Sooners had a down year, ending the season out of the top 20, it's still a helluva loud statement to make

When the 70's and SEC Scheduling Become So Intertwined, Irish Fans Think They're on Allman Brothers Tour
1976: #12 ND 13 - @#19 South Carolina 6 -- 1st clash with the Gamecocks
1976: @#18 ND 21 - #10 Alabama 18 -- after back-to-back bowl showdowns with the Tide in '73 and '74, the powers-that-be saw fit to schedule some regular season meetings between these two illustrious programs, this '76 matchup being the first...ND has yet to play in Tuscaloosa, traveling to "neutral" Birmingham twice ('80 and '86).
1977: @Mississippi 20 - #3 ND 13 -- 1st trip to Oxford...Only blemish on championship season as the Rebels grabbed the lead with 3:28 left...Irish had to wait till 1985 to exact's a great 25 anniversary remembrance from the Rebel perspective
1978: @#14 ND 31 - Tennessee 14 -- 1st run in with Rocky Top...Irish went to Knoxville the next year...Between 1970 and 1980, ND played 7 SEC schools for the 1st time.  The main bracket features two of these with '70 LSU and '77 Clemson, plus the aforementioned '80 Sugar Bowl vs. Georgia.

When Playing Pittsburgh Was a Big Ranked Deal
1973: #5 ND 31 - @#20 Pitt 10 -- 209 yards from freshman Anthony Dorsett was a nice consolation prize for the home team
1977: #3 ND 19 - @#7 Pitt 9 -- Ross Browner plays like a bat out of hell in these clips...Panthers were defending champs, but '76 Heisman winner Dorsett thankfully didn't have a 5th year to torment Irish defenses.  He did enough damage in 4, setting the opponent career mark with 754 rushing yards
1978: @ND 26 - #9 Pitt 17 -- a big momentum win for the Irish as Devine's defending champs stumbled out of the gate, losing their first two...2 close wins over unranked foes followed...beating top 10 Pitt changed the course of the season...I believe a young Keith Jackson is the announcer on this highlight reel
1989: @#1 ND 45 - #7 Pitt 7 -- 2nd week in a row Holtz faced a top 10 team...impressive focus

When Ranked Rivals Meet, It's Almost Always Memorable 
1970: @USC 38 - #4 ND 28 -- Irish bring sterling 9-0 record to Colosseum for final regular season game...Joe Theesman throws for an Irish record 526 yards, but also has 5 denards, I mean turnovers...championship dreams down the denard
1978: @#3 USC 27 - #8 ND 25 -- Irish rode 8-game winning streak out to LA...Montana leads a furious 4th quarter comeback (sound familiar?), but miss out on the 2-point conversion on the go-ahead score...clinging to a 1 point lead, ND's defense has to hold prevent the Trojans from getting into field goal range in 45 what appears to be a forced fumble recovered by the Irish, officials rule incomplete...USC kicks FG with 4 seconds left and goes on to win national championship
1980: @#17 USC 20 - #2 ND 3 -- the nightmare happens again as undefeated Irish (9-0-1) travels to LA for Coach Devine's final regular season game, only to be upended by an inferior Trojan team

When You Go For Two and the Win, Only to Come Up Short, It's a Memorable Coaching Decision
1987: @Penn St 21 - #7 ND 20 -- when everyone is frozen to the core, might as well try to go home're already miserably cold...ranks #10 on Penn State's top moments in Beaver Stadium this game has that going for it...which is nice?

When Drama Unfolds on Rocky Top, It's Heart-Stoppingly Memorable
1990: #1 ND 34 - @#9 Tennessee 29 -- a great spectacle at Neyland between two top 10 teams...gracious Rocket was fast..."He is special"...some awfully awful puns in there as well.

When Heisman Winners Burst Onto the Scene with Heisman Moments
1987: @#9 ND 31 - #17 MSU 8 -- Tim Brown took two punts to paydirt, kickstarting his Heisman campaign in the 2nd game of the season versus the eventual Big 10 champs.
1991: @#3 Michigan 24 - #7 ND 14 -- Grbac to Desmond...I'll spare you the video highlights

When Top 10 Showdowns End in Frivolous Ties
1992: @#3 ND 17 - #6 Michigan 17 -- Reggie Brooks TD run alone should have earned a spot in the field of 68, if he remembered it...Holtz channeled '66 Parseghian's conservative play-calling, but these were vastly different circumstances and the home crowd wanted to walk out victorious

When 2-Heisman Hype Finally Plays His First Game, It's Definitely Memorable for Beano
1994: #3 ND 42 - Northwestern 15 (@Soldier Field) -- Ron Powlus' 1st day under center wearing the gold and blue: 18-24, 291 yards, 4 TDs...Beano's words looked prophetic

When Perennial Doormats Shock the Country En Route to a Historic Season
1995: Northwestern 17 - @#9 ND 15 -- one NU website ranks this the greatest game in Wildcat history

When Backup QB's Almost Win the Orange Bowl
1995: #6 Florida St 31 - #8 ND 26 -- Tom Krug had the Irish up 26-14, but the defense fell apart late as Danny Kanell, off all people, was just too good

When Coach Authors Time Management for Dummies
1999: @#7 Michigan 26 - #16 ND 22 -- I hope Bobby Brown still commemorates life's great moments with "excessive" celebration...this game birthed the legend of Tom Brady, up to that point, Tom Who?
1999: @#20 Purdue 28 - #16 ND 23 -- like it or not, the Bob Davie Era can be summed up with this

When Mother Nature Has the Home Team in a 6-Team Parlay
1999: @ND 25 - USC 24 -- Once the 2nd half started, the winds changed, the rain picked up, the students bared all and Southern Cal knew it wasn't their day

When A Starved Fan Base Exults in Momentous Rivalry Victories
2002: @#20 ND 25 - #3 Michigan 23 -- the smoke and mirrors victories of Ty's "Return to Glory" were extraordinarily satisfying and chock full of suspenseful drama...they just ring a little hollow in hindsight
2002: #12 ND 21 - @MSU 17 -- Pat Dillingham to Arnaz Battle...the most unlikeliest of game-winning catch-and-runs

When Bad Coaching is Syndicated for Re-Runs
2002: @#6 USC 44 - #7 ND 13 -- Return to Glo....oh dear what happened
2003: #5 USC 45 - @ND 14 -- mismatch central
2004: @#1 USC 41 - ND 10 -- thankfully this 3rd deja-vu experience earned Tyrone his cushy severance package

When the Only Game You've Ever Walked Out in Disgust Happens
2004: #15 Purdue 41 - @ ND 16 -- 1st Boiler win in South Bend since 1974, and it wasn't even Drew Brees making mincemeat of the defense...lowlights include a 100-yard kickoff and 97-yard pass...the mad dash for Legends began in the 3rd quarter

When Bad Coaching Surprises Fans with One Last Victory
2004: ND 17 - @#9 Tennessee 14 -- Mike Goolsby's finest moment in an Irish jersey...witnessing this triumph in Rocky Top was the cherry on top a weekend that was going to be marvelous regardless...can't wait to return to Neyland and tailgating on fans in the country

When You Cross Off a Victory in Ann Arbor From the Bucket List and Never Have to Visit That Stadium Again
2005: #20 ND 17 - @#3 Michigan 10 -- sitting two rows behind Darius Walker's parents made this afternoon all the more special

When Securing a BCS Bid is the Prize for an Electric Finish
2005: #6 ND 38 - @Stanford 31 -- video game stats all around in Palo Alto, including a monster day from Darius Walker, who sealed victory with this game-winning rumble...ND out-gained Cardinal by 300+ total yards and 16 first downs, yet still needed to rally at the end

When Tate Forcier Becomes a Household Name (Uggh)
2009: @#18 Michigan 38 - ND 34 -- thinking about this game makes me want to punch cinder blocks

When Rick Moranis Classics Inspire Game-Winning Play Calls
2010: @ Michigan St 34 - ND 31 -- Little Giants, enough said

When ND Stadium Evacuates and Mid-Game Tailgating in the Law School Happens
2011: USF 23 - @#16 ND 20 -- a surreal gameday experience that overshadowed the rather awful performance on the field


Jimmy said...

Running with the NIT analogy, my prediction for the 4 games that reach Madison Square Garden to vie for the Snub Title:

'78 Pitt
'78 USC
'87 MSU
'90 Tennessee

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