Quality And Quantity: The Irish Quest Continues

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Quality And Quantity: The Irish Quest Continues
(Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

On Sept. 30, 2006, Notre Dame beat the Purdue Boilermakers 35-21 at Notre Dame Stadium. Rhema McNight had two touchdown catches, Brady Quinn threw for 316 yards, and Darius Walker rushed for 146 yards and a score.

It was one of Notre Dame’s ten (quantity) wins over a good (quality) team in '06.

I’ll come back to all of that later.

For now, let’s jump in the way-back machine and take a walk of shame down memory lane. 

Warning: this will be about as much fun as being chased down from behind by an irate 18-year old from Hawaii with that crazy “Aloha means goodbye” look in his eye.

Nevada was a great start to the 2009 season. Techmo Bowl with the Raiders and Bo running off-tackle wasn’t as much fun as watching the ND offense on Saturday. But alas, they play in the WAC and that means a tough back-to-back is Fresno and San Jose State.

Hawaii was a great end to the 2008 season. Techmo Bowl with the Bears ’86 offense wasn’t as much fun as watching Jimmy, Golden, Mike, and Armando light up a team from the…oh yeah, a team from the WAC. And a 7-7 WAC team, no less.

Navy. Coach Weis gets arrogant, Jonas Gray fumbles away the football on the goal-line, and the “good hands team” discovers that you actually need guts and a little heart to recover an onside kick against eleven angry guys still upset over Plebe year. A win is a win, unless it’s over an 8-5 independent that lost to Ball State and Duke.

Washington was a feel-good thumping but we all felt a little dirty beating Ty like that in his sayonara season. They were 0-6 at the time and headed for 0-12. This one was not a quality win.  No, this was a mercy killing.

It’s always fun to get a win over a Pac-10 team. But, a win over a Pac-10 team that finished 5-7 with wins over juggernauts like Washington, Washington State, and San Jose State didn’t feel as good as you’d hoped. Thanks for nothing, Stanford.

It’s always fun to get a win over a Big Ten team. But, a win over a Big Ten team that finished 4-8 with wins over juggernauts like Colorado State, Central Michigan, and Michigan didn’t feel as good as you’d hoped. Thanks for nothing, Purdue.

RichRod brought the entire clown car to South Bend for Michigan week. Notre Dame looked very good, very early, but they beat a three-win team that lost to an average MAC team called the Rockets. Oh, and the Wolverines didn’t exactly have Elvis, Tommy Brady, or even Drew Henson at quarterback for this one. 

Opening day brought San Diego State to town. Raise your hand if you were nervous until about the five-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Yes, the Irish pulled out the 21-13 victory but don’t forget that the Aztecs went on to a 2-10 season. You can put your hand down now.

2007 finished with wins over a terrible Stanford team that wrapped up a 4-8 season and a Duke team that played remarkably like a team from Duke. UCLA was the first victory of the season in week six. But no, UCLA did not finish with a winning record either.  Stanford plus Duke plus UCLA equals 11-26 and the only victories for ND in ’07.

The last three wins of 2006 were over an Army team that won three games, an Air Force squad that won four, and a rebuilding North Carolina unit that beat only Furman, NC State, and Duke.

ND beat Navy in early October for their seventh win of the season. The Midshipmen went on to a 9-4 season.

On Sept. 30, 2006, Notre Dame beat the Purdue Boilermakers 35-21 at Notre Dame Stadium. Rhema McNight had two touchdown catches, Brady Quinn threw for 316 yards, and Darius Walker rushed for 146 yards and a score.

It was one of Notre Dame’s ten (quantity) wins over a good (quality) team in '06.

That was the last time Notre Dame beat a team, not named Navy, that finished the season with a winning record.

Sept. 30, 2006. Nearly three years ago. Over 1000 days ago.

I want quality. We all want quantity. The college football world demands both.

Lou Holtz is a god in my house and my dog has been trained to urinate on pictures of Mark May. I’m naming my first son Rudolph and my first daughter McCarthy. I believe in Charlie Weis and I’m fired up for 2009.  But I need proof. 

Beat Michigan. Beat Big Ten sleeper Michigan State. Make a loud offensive statement against Purdue and beat the religion out of Washington. 

Then it’s SC.

The Trojans will come to town in week six and quality and quantity will collide on the hallowed grounds of Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Beat USC and Lou can smile, Mark can cower, and I can find a restful night of sleep set in the knowledge that a quality Notre Dame football program is back and ready for national prominence.

Quality and quality is all any of us ask for.

Together we pray.

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