Posted by Frazier
Look, we hate Notre Dame over at the 323. As native Bostonians we have had to deal with an over-hyped, over-exposed generally evil national sports team in the Yankees, and so we are not about to cut the Golden Domers a break. They suck. They get more love than any other team even when they are mediocre at best, and they have continually crash the BCS even when everyone knows that they are going to be destroyed, are unworthy, and are general a pain in the ass to watch. The only bright spot is when they get shellacked, which is pretty regular.
So we are celebrating another typical Fighting Irish season by handing out the first-annual Anti-Golden Globes to the Golden Domers. Since the real globes go out next week, we decided to get a jump on it, and name our winners now. So, with no further ado...
Worst Screen Play:
Frazier - I am giving this one to Brady Quinn's reliance on fade patterns and jump balls. Weiss consistently put him in a position of throwing passes up and betting that Samardzija and company would make the play. This drove me crazy. Quinn never took proper advantage of his accuracy, and never found an adequate replacement for Fasano. Against Penn St. the Irish worked the middle of the field and wore out the Nittany Lions linebackers, but they sort of stopped doing this, and Quinn started heaving the ball into coverage. Just a lousy script.
Walter - I gotta give this one to Charlie Weis steadfast refusal to max protect against the LSU front four. Notre Dame has had trouble all season protecting Brady Quinn, there was absolutely no reason to believe that the Irish O-Line would be able to do anything against an incredibly talented Tiger front. Charlie knew he couldn't run the ball against LSU so I don't take issue with his calling pass play after pass play. Given the athleticism of the LSU secondary and the size of the Notre Dame WR, I can't even really fault his reliance on fade passes. But not utilizing maximum protection when your star QB is running for his life is just unforgivable.
Frazier - This one is no-brainer for me. It goes to Weiss's decision to go for it with the fake punt on 4th down deep in their own territory early in the Sugar Bowl. I mean, there is a difference between having balls, and having zero faith in your defense. This was the latter. The quick LSU score made it 14-0, and any hope for a stunning upset was lost. Sometimes Charlie is too clever for his own good.
Walter - An absolute no-brainer. The decision by Weis was way too early in the game, and it wreaked of desperation. If he had left his offense on the field to go for it I almost would have been able to understand. Charlie had to know his team wasn't as good as the Tigers so trying something unorthodox may have been necessary. But faking a punt is just stupid. If you want to go for it on fourth down, perhaps you should put the ball in the hands of your all-world QB-WR tandem.
Worst Picture (Comedy):
Frazier - To the game so bad it was funny, the USC game. At least against Michigan hopeful Irish fans could claim that they shot themselves in the foot, and everyone was hoping Charlie could pull another close one against the Trojans. They were hilariously wrong, as the Irish were thoroughly out-gunned. A laugh riot.
Walter - To the Michigan game. I mean what is better than an overblown, overhyped, overconfident Notre Dame team getting absolutely shellacked at home? I mean, the Wolverines rocked the Irish by 26 points and the game wasn't even nearly as close as the score. After the Irish tied the game midway through the first quarter, Michigan all but put the game out of reach with four straight TD's before halftime to build an insurmountable 34-7 lead. This game looks even more ridiculous for the Irish after Michigan was completely exposed as frauds by Ohio State and USC.
Worst Picture (Drama):
Frazier - This one goes to the game so bad it was pathetic, the Sugar Bowl against LSU. It must have been depressing that there was no hope of winning, and it was inspiring that they even bothered showing up. It was also a downer because it was a waste of a BCS game. This contest was very sobering for any Weiss-apologists.
Walter - To the triumverite of Notre victories over the service academies. Seriously, Notre Dame should be ashamed of themselves for scheduling Army, Navy, and Air Force every year. The preeminent program in the history of college football should not lower itself to padding their own stats against these teams. Even though Navy was a pretty good team this year, all three of these games were over before they even started.
Worst Supporting Actor (Comedy):
Frazier - To the many with the funny hands, Rhema McKnight. Yuck. He dropped virtually everything thrown his way this year. It was hilarious to watch Quinn grimace every time he threw Rhema's direction and the ball ended up either in the turf, or ricocheting to some fortunate DB. Good times.
Walter - I dislike McKnight as an NFL prospect as well but it's hard to denigrate a man who was able to hault in 15 TD passes. Instead I will denigrate Tom Zbikowski. Yes everyone loves his toughness, and that he is a boxer, and that he is a sure tackler, blah blah blah. I'll tell you something, I have NEVER EVER EVER seen a division 1A starting safety who is worse in coverage. Zbikowski's feeble attempts to cover the likes of Mario Manningham (did you see how open he was en route to three TD), Dwayne Jarrett, and Dwayne Bowe was nothing short of comedic.
Worst Supporting Actor (Drama):
Frazier - This one goes to the offensive line. There was nothing funny when I was scared for Quinn's life as defensive linemen flew passed their overmatched foes. It was a very serious when Quinn and company weren't getting any support from this cast.
Walter - To Charlie Weis' future in South Bend. First he signs a 10 year extension when everything is all hunky dory. Then he stinks it up against USC and LSU, and his name surfaces for nearly every high profile NFL vacancy. Then the NY Giants decide to keep Tom Coughlin, thus removing Weis' most likely landing spot. Believe me, as a loyal Patriots fan I know that Charlie Weis is an outstanding play caller, but he has yet to prove he is any better of a head coach than, say, Ty Willingham. I just don't understand all the drama surrounding where he will end up next season.
Worst Actor (Comedy):
Frazier - There is a special circle in hell reserved for the Notre Dame secondary. Everyone knew that they were totally out-classed, especially in the speed department, and yet it was funny watching their poor little legs churning trying to catch up to elite receiver. Zibikowski gets special notice here because he has terrible range, and his crew looked totally lost at times. He didn't exactly right the ship in this area. Overall, a terrible, terrible, performance, but I laughed my ass off every time a receiver blew past.
Walter - I already gave it to Zbikowski as a supporting actor, but he wasn't the only one in the Irish secondary to stink it up all season. In fact, everyone and anyone they put back their sucked. Even after a full season working together to get things right and improve, the Notre Dame secondary was the worst in the country. Just look at what John Davis Booty and Jamarcus Russell did to them. In the last two games, the secondary combined to give up nearly 600 passing yards and 5 touchdowns. High, high comedy.
Worst Actor (Drama):
Frazier - This one can only go to Quinn himself. He showed absolutely no improvement over last year, and if anything got worse. He over-relied on his receivers to win battles, especially on fades, and threw a ton of jump balls. Samardzija probably saved a half-dozen interceptions this year. Quinn didn't take advantage of his accuracy, failed to get his tight ends involved enough, and got rattled in big games. His decision making with the pressure on was atrocious, and he cost his team opportunities. He was basically the most anti-clutch player imaginable. It's like he was channeling the spirit of A-Rod. A choke artist of the highest caliber, Quinn acted like a man desperately needing the heimlich.
Walter - Couldn't agree more with the Quinn call. I have been down on Quinn for some time now, and I'd like to go on record as saying I was the first person to give Jamarcus Russell and Brian Brohm serious consideration as the best college QB. Quinn's mechanics are spotty, his accuracy in inconsistent, and he has rarely had to muscle throws in. He made his living in college throwing up fades to Jeff Samardzjia (6'5''), Maurice Stovall (6'5'') and Rhema McKnight (6'2''). Worst of all, Quinn is always at his worst when he plays legitimate NFL caliber defensive players, especially with his accuracy. Against Michigan, USC, and LSU Quinn completed only 50%, 49%, and 43% respectively.
The Anti Anti-Golden Globe:
Frazier - I wanted a place to give credit to Darius Walker, easily the MVP of the Irish this year. Darius churned out almost 1,300 yards, and averaged a very respectable 5 yds/carry, and had 52 receptions for another 400 yds of offense. He also bothered to show up in big games. Against USC he was fine, averaging 4 yds/carry in a game where everyone else was terrible. He did struggle against the excellent Michigan run defense, but he made seven receptions, and certainly out-played Quinn who was atrocious. In the Sugar Bowl Walker had an excellent game with 130 yds on the ground and 30 through the air, although he almost didn't touch the ball in the second half as things got desperate, and Charlie got impatient with the run (as he tends to do). Darius played hard, ran well, and kept the offense honest, at least until Charlie went pass-happy. For all the failures of the Irish this year, Darius Walker was a complete success, who actually raised his game and became a better player. I can hardly blame him for leaving, since he was completely unappreciated in South Bend because everyone fell in love with the Quinn hype machine.
Walter - Outstanding points by me esteemed co-blogger. I noted earlier this season that Walker was the most important player on the Irish, and he proved it against the big boys. Walker is going to make someone a very nice draft pick.