If you tuned in this morning for College Gameday, you surely had high hopes. This is the first time Gameday has broadcasted from South Bend, Indiana since the USC/Notre Dame game known as the Bush-Push back in 2005. This week’s matchup was for the Stanford Cardinal visiting the Fighting Irish in another tough test for a surprisingly good Irish team this year. Chris Fowler welcomed us into the show before Samantha Steele took over the first hour on ESPNU. This week’s outfit got great reviews from everyone polled (my girlfriend Jennifer). It was “very stylish” and she said there was nothing that she would change.
We had the usual banter between Samantha, Desmond Howard and David Pollack before diving into a segment with Todd McShay to break down the Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma. For anyone interested, he picked Oklahoma over Texas on Sportscenter this morning prior to Gameday. I’m sure is a big help to everyone now that the game is over. If I can give my opinion for a minute (as opposed to every other thing I write on here), I still hate that it has been renamed the Red River Rivalry. Every football analyst is still allowed to call high scoring matchups a shootout, but apparently its not politically correct to call this matchup a shootout. Plus its hard to say. Maybe I’m too traditional, or maybe I’m just a jerk, but I’ll be calling it the Red River Shootout as long as I’m hanging around. Let’s move on.
Desmond Howard had on a decent suit today, with a loud pink tie on. He got the usual spattering of boos he gets everywhere he goes, but I’d expect a little more coming from one of Michigan’s rivals. In fact, I was pretty disappointed with the Notre Dame crowd at Gameday today. They weren’t very loud, didn’t get many chants going, and had no funny signs. Apparently they don’t teach comedy at Notre Dame. The ONLY funny sign is the one I borrowed from Deadspin, which I also feature for Desmond Howard’s pink tie. As a side note, Jennifer was not impressed with Pollack’s suit. She said it looked like it was made of felt, and doesn’t like the checkered-stripe pattern.
Other things we learned in the first hour are that David Pollack is still riding the Beaver train; i.e. picking Oregon State to continue their win streak. We got a quote from Dana Holgorsen about Lubbock, TX and their matchup with Texas Tech today. He said “there’s a lot of dirt” and “it’s like landing in Iraq”. We got a replay of last week’s piece on Manti T’eo and the tragedies in his life. See last week’s review for more details. We got some early morning picks from David and Desmond, with Desmond trolling one of his rivals and choosing Stanford, while David went with Notre Dame.
As the main show kicked off on ESPN, Fowler took the reigns from Samantha Steele, and sent David Pollack to go tweet with the rubes on the internet. This week he was on the bus with Digger Phelps tweeting. Digger was writing something on a piece of paper. I don’t remember what it said but it was something generic like “Go Irish”.
Shortly into the show, we got a memorial piece for the late Beano Cook who passed away earlier this week. I can’t say that I really saw him in his prime, but as one of the original panelists on College Gameday it is still a tremendous loss to the sport. I mostly remember him from popping up randomly on Sportscenter, the Herd and other radio shows, and podcasts. He always seemed like a funny grumpy old man who knew everything about college football, and seeing highlights of his old days on Gameday was a nice treat.
After that we got a quick segment for the Gameday crew to review their national championship predictions. It was a big mish-mash of USC/Oklahoma/FSU so pretty much nobody is even in the ballpark. We got another strange Tom Rinaldi 30 second piece entitled “Golden” about the tradition of Notre Dame. These segments continue to mystify me as they seem to have no real point or story, yet we need to make sure Tom Rinaldi’s name is pasted all over it for him to get credit. The only thing I took away fro this segment was that when I see the endzones at Notre Dame and how they have old-timey striping with no color paint on it, I just imagine the Notre Dame administration is still probably mad that the field goal posts were moved to the back of the endzones in 1927. Right after the Tom Rinaldi segment, we got a visit from Irish head coach Brian Kelly. I thought this was also strange, because it seems like he might have something better to do right before a big game.
We got a piece from Gene Wojciechowski about Oregon State head coach Mike Riley. Apparently he’s a pretty nice guy and unique. He rides a bike to work every day. He doesn’t curse. He has his team do water balloon fights, tennis ball homerun derbies, and inflatable tube sumo wrestling. Looks pretty fun. Also he takes his team to In-n-out burger after wins on the road. His dad Bud Riley was head coach there as well, so he is following his dad’s footsteps and having great success, although his dad passed away shortly before the season. Great piece by Gene W.
They had the return of Bald Man on Campus with Scott Van Pelt. This week he interviewed LSU head coach Les Miles. I have to say I prefer him hanging out with the players, because Les Miles isn’t as fun of an interview. Coach interviews are always incredibly generic. We got a reminder from Chris Fowler that there were lots of fans getting an early start to the day with Louisville vs. Pitt which was kicking off at 10AM Central. Yeah, an early start if you wanted to sleep in at my house on Saturday. With about 30 minutes left on the program, the Notre Dame crowd finally woke up. They started a chant when Desmond Howard was talking, and I *think* the chant was “ROCKET’S BETTER!” Irish fans: 1; Desmond Howard: 0. The last piece we got today before the picks was Samantha Steele going to Notre Dame to play beer pong with the football team. Not really, but they play a trick shot game on Mondays trying to get a ping pong ball into a cup of water, and they HAVE to get a trick shot done before they can eat. She joined in the fun, although she never made a trick shot. I present to you Trick Shot Mondays.
But now to the business we all came for. We were reminded by Fowler that Lee Corso has never picked the Irish to win when they are at South Bend. We were then introduced to celebrity guest picker Vince Vaughn, who played a role in the movie Rudy. He had some solid insight for today’s games, and of course chose Notre Dame over Stanford. But then when it was headgear time, we got one for the ages. Lee Corso went with the Fighting Irish, dressing up in full leprechaun gear and doing a jig with their mascot. A great finish to a so-so edition of Gameday this morning.