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Adams: 95 Theses on Notre Dame football

| Monday, May 10, 2021

(Disclaimer: This is not intended to be sacrilegious in any form.)

  1. When the founder, Fr. Edward Sorin, arrived in South Bend that fateful winter, he set into motion the events that would bear the greatest college football program man has ever beheld.
  2. Despite being founded by French priests, Fr. Sorin dreamt of his school being likened to a bunch of Irish hooligans.
  3. The Catholic identity of the Congregation of Holy Cross is imbued in the football program.
  4. As such, the team attends Mass the night before every game and prays the Lord’s Prayer in the locker room before taking the field.
  5. The Catholic identity of the football program may very well be the reason the program has remained an independent for its entire non-COVID existence (see thesis No. 27).
  6. Should the pregame prayer be broadcast, the Irish faithful are obligated to join in the addendum to the Lord’s prayer: “Our Lady, Queen of Victory, PRAY FOR US!”
  7. No matter the weather report for the game, thou shalt get hype; all Midwest weather is football weather.
  8. Before kickoff, thou shalt scream along to “Here Come the Irish” as off-key as necessary, then start jumping to “Shipping up to Boston.”
  9. Thou shalt do pushups in the air after every Notre Dame touchdown, equivalent in number to Notre Dame’s point total.
  10. Thou shalt direct a certain word at the Men of Zahm House during “Celtic Chant,” even if thou art thyself a Man of Zahm House.
  11. The Men of Zahm House are entitled to wield an “X” rather than perform uppercuts during “Celtic Chant.”
  12. Students shalt perform an Irish jig atop the bleachers with arms around one another for balance.
  13. Thy cheeks must NOT touch the bleachers except during halftime.
  14. “May I have your attention, please?”: Thou shalt grossly overreact to the hilarity of the late Sgt. Tim McCarthy’s puns to begin the fourth quarter.
  15. Thou shalt NOT wave your phone’s camera light at the start of the fourth quarter, because it is a rip-off of Georgia and makes Notre Dame look like wannabes.
  16. Notre Dame sets the standard in all facets; they do not mimic.
  17. Thou shalt lock arms and sway to the Alma Mater after the game.
  18. Thou shalt end the Alma Mater raising thy right hand, pointing and emphasizing “Love thee, Notre Dame.”
  19. Actually learn the first two verses of the “Notre Dame Victory March” rather than just singing the chorus twice!
  20. Thou mayest wear “The Shirt” during football games…
  21. …but thou must recognize that “The Shirt” is a non-fashionable, over-designed and overanalyzed piece of apparel.
  22. Notre Dame boasts 22 national championships in all, not merely 11.
  23. This is because it is pointless to leave national championships unclaimed.
  24. When it comes to being the leader of something in college football, ties are to be ignored.
  25. This makes Notre Dame’s 22 national championships the most all time; this is not up for discussion.
  26. Likewise, Notre Dame’s seven Heisman winners are the most all time; this is also not up for discussion.
  27. The name of Fielding H. Yost, former Michigan coach and athletic director (and purported anti-Catholic), shall be spoken of only in hushed tones.
  28. At the same time, regardless of his motivations, Yost shall be awarded his due (modest) credit for helping Notre Dame to become what it is today.
  29. For it was through Yost’s adamant defiance that the great Knute Rockne ceased his fruitless attempts to join the Big Ten, went to the east and west coasts and built Notre Dame into a national program.
  30. The name of Michigan shall also be spoken of only in hushed tones.
  31. As former Notre Dame and newly-minted Baltimore Ravens defensive end Daelin Hayes so wisely spoke: “The best players in Michigan: They come to Notre Dame.”
  32. The name of USC shall also be spoken of only in hushed tones.
  33. The “Bush Push” was an illegal play that would forever place an asterisk beside USC’s 34-game win streak…
  34. …if not for the fact that 14 of those wins were vacated by the NCAA.
  35. The Trojans and Wolverines must always be mocked whenever possible.
  36. Notre Dame’s own vacated wins from the 2012 and 2013 seasons are not legitimately vacated; this is because the NCAA is stupid.
  37. “The NCAA is stupid” deserves its own thesis.
  38. The third toughest job in America is being the head coach at Notre Dame.
  39. The only jobs tougher are president of the United States and mayor of New York.
  40. The fourth toughest job in America is being the starting quarterback at Notre Dame.
  41. “The winningest quarterback in Notre Dame history” is not a token honor, especially when held by a former three-star recruit.
  42. Three-star quarterbacks should not be relied upon so heavily at Notre Dame, however.
  43. It must never be forgotten that Notre Dame boasts the two coaches with the highest winning percentages ever.
  44. No head coach may boast a statue and gate at Notre Dame Stadium without earning the school a national championship.
  45. This because the standard at Notre Dame is competing for and winning national championships.
  46. Having actual academic standards as a school is not an excuse for lowering the standards on the gridiron.
  47. Gratitude may be awarded to the ACC for sheltering the Irish when so many wanted to leave them in the cold of COVID-19.
  48. However, while it would actually make MORE financial sense for Notre Dame to join a conference than to remain independent…
  49. …aside from acts of God (such as global pandemics), Notre Dame is to never join a conference.
  50. When it comes to the College Football Playoff, being independent and having less margin for error in terms of final record is a fair tradeoff.
  51. Notre Dame’s NBC broadcast crew should never be taken for granted, if for no other reason than the dulcet tones of Mike Tirico.
  52. Notre Dame home games deserve live airtime; aside from the Blue-Gold game, none should ever find themselves exclusively on Peacock.
  53. The Blue-Gold game should never have a funky (i.e. stupid) offense vs. defense scoring system.
  54. The SEC coach most to be admired is Clark Lea.
  55. The ACC coach most to be despised is Pat Narduzzi.
  56. The ACC coach second most to be despised is Dabo Swinney.
  57. The ACC referees most to be despised are all of them.
  58. The referee to be blackballed among all others is Teddy Valentine (I know, basketball, but c’mon).
  59. Navy is an honorary rival of Notre Dame; they are not an archrival.
  60. It would be best that the Navy series came to an end, or at least went away from an annual game.
  61. This is not to say that brave cadets of the Naval Academy should not be shown the utmost respect and admiration…
  62. …it’s just that the triple option and cut blocking lead to more injuries than necessary.
  63. Thou shalt always seek to #RTDB (run the damn ball) behind some big hoss offensive linemen.
  64. Thou shalt also seek to balance the run game with a competent pass game.
  65. Notre Dame is THE “Tight End U”; no one else is in the discussion.
  66. Michael Mayer shall not be referred to as “Baby Gronk”; have some originality.
  67. Thou shalt never refer to Tommy Rees as “Tom.”
  68. The pass game should consist not only of tight ends, but quality receivers as well.
  69. If freshman receivers are consistently struggling to produce for your team despite a lack of star upperclassmen, an examination of conscience is advised.
  70. Thou shalt put Kyle Hamilton at receiver if thou art truly desperate for pass game explosiveness.
  71. Thou shalt put Kyle Hamilton at receiver even if thou art NOT truly desperate for pass game explosiveness.
  72. In short, thou ought to put Kyle Hamilton at receiver, post haste.
  73. Thou shalt also get Kyle Hamilton some competent help at strong safety.
  74. Thou shalt make the most of Kyle Hamilton and Michael Mayer as they are most certainly three-year players.
  75. Should Kyle Hamilton or Michael Mayer suffer injury, fans shalt offer their own appropriate appendages to expedite the recovery.
  76. Thou shalt put Chris Tyree and Kyren Williams on the field together.
  77. Thou shalt take every measure to ensure Tyler Buchner does not regress like every other Notre Dame quarterback of the last decade.
  78. It is imperative that weaker opponents be blown out so quarterbacks of the future may receive meaningful reps.
  79. Elite defense will only get you so far in the modern age.
  80. Elite defense is nonetheless far superior to Big 12 defense (i.e. none).
  81. Being a developmental program is superior to doing nothing but amassing five-star players (see: Florida State, Texas).
  82. However, being a developmental program is not mutually exclusive with being a recruiting powerhouse.
  83. Star rankings matter.
  84. Stars are also not the be-all-end-all of college football success.
  85. While battles may be won and lost, it is unacceptable to be outworked on the recruiting trail.
  86. The head coach at Notre Dame should take more initiative in recruiting in the modern age.
  87. The head coach at Notre Dame should allow green jerseys to be worn by his team more often…
  88. …and that doesn’t just mean neon green with clashing navy and gold.
  89. Thou shouldst try taking on the 2018 Clemson defense and 2020 Alabama offense in the CFP…
  90. …but the Irish are still advised to not return to Dallas for bowl games for the foreseeable future.
  91. The night of Nov. 7, 2020 was absolutely magical.
  92. The Irish have no breaking point.
  93. RIP Regis.
  94. Win just one for the Gipper.
  95. Rudy wasn’t offsides.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Hayden Adams

Hayden is the former sports editor of The Observer. When he's not working toward his four majors (physics and film, television & theatre) and three minors (journalism, ethics & democracy), you can probably find him hopelessly trying to save his beloved Zahm House from being wiped out. He plans to attend law school at a TBD location after graduation.

Contact Hayden