It was another disappointing Saturday for Notre Dame football, in which they dropped to 4-5 after a loss to Tulsa, a school that—unbeknown to many—is in the FBS. It left many fans wondering who was to blame.
Was it Brian Kelly for the questionable pass call at the end of the game, putting it in the hands of his freshman quarterback with a Groza semifinalist warming up on the sideline?
Was it the special teams who gave up a punt return for a TD and two points on a blocked extra point return?
Or was it Dayne Crist who decided to tiptoe the sideline to pick up extra yards instead of stepping out of bounds, thus suffering a torn patellar tendon on a sideline hit by Tanner Antle?
The 80,795 in attendance felt it was none of the above, instead pointing the finger at one another.
Every year several Notre Dame fans and alums make the yearly trek back to Notre Dame for the annual fall ritual of watching Notre Dame football. And every year with a bad loss, the fans look to each other to figure out which one of them is responsible.
"I hadn't been back to Notre Dame since the 2008 Syracuse debacle, and I don't think they'll allow me back on campus," stated 2004 alum Sarah Callahan. Sarah's fears were confirmed by Coach Brian Kelly in his press conference after the game. She has been banned.
Robert Ballas, a 53-year-old resident of Skokie, Illinois, was given tickets to the game as a birthday present from his son. He may not have lit enough candles at the Grotto to lift his own curse. If he is the one responsible.
The math and engineering departments were contacted to figure out who among the 80,795 could be at fault. While the engineering department was largely clueless about the recent loss on account of studying through the weekend, the math department crunched some numbers for us. Professor Laura Stanwicz had this to say: "We know since there was a 'sellout' on Saturday, there were 80,795 at the Tulsa game. If you take out Tulsa's fans in the stadium, you get roughly 79,795, give or take 1000. Then after subtracting fans who were present for at least one National Championship (the 'good luck' fans), ushers, the band, cheerleaders, blow-up dolls filling empty seats, managers and ballboys, you come up with 45,000 people who may be responsible for the loss. Do you want me to calculate standard deviations?"
What a nerd.
In fact, lawyers from the University of Notre Dame have been busy working overtime since Saturday afternoon sending cease and desist orders to many of the Notre Dame faithful, preventing them from coming within 100 yards of Our Mother's university. Though not reached for comment, Regis Philbin declared he was being asked to stay away on football Saturdays. With his propensity for taking part in the annual Zahm Hall Bun Run even at age 79, this may or may not be related to Saturday's football game.
That Norm guy from Cheers has not yet responded to our calls and emails.
A spokesperson for the ticket office at the University intimated that they are tracking down ticket applications to figure out who was issued tickets to both the Tulsa game and to this year's drubbing by the Naval Academy. Applications will not be accepted from these alumni for next year. With the state of the football team currently, many applicants may not be that disappointed.
"We try to run a clean program here at Notre Dame," noted Jack Swarbrick. "We can't have 'fans' (air quotes by Swarbrick) attend games who are going to interfere with our play-calling. Especially if we have a 2nd-and-4 with mere minutes left in the game and are going to run a bubble screen. Had things worked out differently, we may have won by 30, who knows." Swarbrick stated he is in the process of vetting candidates who may be responsible.
The impact has not been felt just by current fans, students and alumni. Some recruits in attendance have defected over the past few days because they are afraid their attendance at the game is responsible for cursing the Irish, despite being reminded that they were 1 year old the last time the Irish fielded a competitive football team. One such player who was reached on Facebook stated he would rather attend a future Notre Dame opponent than curse the team for the next 10-20 years. "I don't want that kind of pressure on me through to when I retire from the NFL."
Affected greatly by the recent football team's loss was God Himself. General consensus around Northern Indiana was that if God was with the Irish, who could be against them? But fans are afraid God may have forsaken them. God admitted in a burning bush moment to Michael O'Grady, a class of 2012 business student, that he was not in attendance at Saturday's game, instead choosing to focus his attention on the Iowa-Michigan State game. Reached for comment, God stated, "I thought I didn't have to be at that game... are you sure Tulsa won? Touchdown Jesus Christ..." Called out for being a fair-weather Notre Dame fan, God set a Bleacher Report reporter afire.
One thing is for sure, Notre Dame is doing everything it can to prevent another football meltdown like the one experienced on Saturday. And the previous Saturday. And Syracuse in 2008. And USC the last eight years. And pretty much the last 16 years in general.
The Notre Dame Administrators have invited every Notre Dame fan who attended the 1989 Fiesta Bowl, Notre Dame's last National Championship win, to the Utah game hoping for an upset to get the team back on track. They also asked freshmen working in the athletic department to sneak in a push for donations as well. Speculation is that the money may be used to help pay off Tyrone Willingham's contract.
All in all, Notre Dame fans are left at this point to wonder who among them is responsible for poor coverage on Michigan State's fake field goal, passing the football when we should be running, Kyle Rudolph's hamstring injury, Bob Diaco, etc.
Notre Dame fans continue to hope the University will be able to pinpoint the individual responsible and will deal with him or her swiftly.
We can only hope.