Blue and Gold Illustrated

Dec 19, 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 4 of 55 DEC. 19, 2020 5 FAN FORUM INDEPENDENT THINKING A once-in-a-generation pandemic enticed Notre Dame football to join the ACC for 2020. This was a benefit both to Notre Dame and the ACC, as play- ing football this year was in jeopardy. Notre Dame ran through its ACC schedule for a Dec. 19 showdown with Clemson. This has raised dis- cussion about Notre Dame football joining the ACC on a full-time ba- sis. Among the arguments are that it would provide a clearer road to the College Football Playoff. Joining the ACC full time would be an irrevocable mistake and haunt the school forever. The mystic, myth and legacy of Notre Dame football would be seriously diluted. Remember Penn State? It had quite a heritage as an independent and had its own spotlight. Now where is it? Buried in the Big Ten and just an- other one of 14 schools. Sure, it might win a Big Ten championship every once in a while. When was the last time? Who cares? And when it is not in the mix for a championship, does anyone pay attention to Penn State? Notre Dame is mentioned in ev- ery serious discussion on the fate of NCAA football. Its athletics direc- tor is in the mix of discussion and decision-making. Why? Not because it can routinely beat Alabama, Ohio State or Clemson. No, it's because Notre Dame is spe- cial as an independent. It had its own television deal years before the Big Ten, SEC, ACC or Pac-12 had their own. Notre Dame is the best draw during the season and particularly bowl season. The religious and spiri- tual heritage add to the mystique. Re- cruits are drawn to the mystic, myth and legacy. There is more to the brand and franchise than simply improving the chance to get to the playoff. Having a team that excels enough to make the playoff does not hap- pen every year, but at least when it does not, Notre Dame football will still have the prestige and follow- ing every other school in the country would love to have for its own. Stay independent! Mark Bonenfant Seattle QB CLARIFICATION I very much enjoyed your column on Notre Dame quarterbacks trans- ferring history the past 50 years. I do think in your "Deed of Trans- fer," there is a small error. You stated that Ken Karcher started in place of Blair Kiel in Karcher's sophomore year versus Penn State and Air Force. Kiel had injured his shoulder in the 31-16 upset of No. 1 Pitt the preceding week. I attended the 1982 ND-PSU game. It is my recollection that Kiel started, but had to give it up the initial drive. Karcher entered, finished the drive, staking Notre Dame to a 7-0 lead en route to a 24-14 loss. The only other Notre Dame touchdown was an Al- len Pinkett kickoff return. Karcher did indeed start the fol- lowing week versus Air Force. Tom Johnson Philadelphia Mr. Johnson, you are correct, sir! The understanding was that Karcher was going to start because Kiel couldn't practice that week. When Kiel's first pass in that opening series fluttered and fell incomplete, he came off the field, realizing he couldn't be effective. Technically, though, he was the "starter." BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters Blue & Gold Illustrated P. O. Box 1007, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or e-mail to: A second matchup with Clemson seemed almost inevitable after Notre Dame's epic 47-40 double-overtime win versus the then-No. 1 Tigers at home Nov. 7. Depending on how the Dec. 19 ACC title game goes, a third matchup in the College Football Playoff wouldn't be out of the question either. Here is a small sample of some of the thoughts from our readers on Blue- NDrulzinWV: Do you think Clemson defensive co- ordinator Brent Venables dials up even more blitzes? Sticks with his blitz package but with defensive start- ers back? Tries a rush-three, drop-eight approach with a spy on Ian Book? I hope with two weeks to prepare that Tommy Rees draws up a couple new plays and packages off of some of the same looks we've shown before. I'm really glad we've got two weeks to heal some bumps and bruises up and have Braden Lenzy at 100 percent and get Tommy Kramer and Jayson Ademilola back. CharlestonIrish25: No idea what Venables thinks, but I know several Clemson fans who think "James Skalski won't let Book run around like that" … to which I say, James Skalski is not Isaiah Simmons. If they just do the same stuff and think getting their LBs back will completely change the game, it'll be more of the same offensively. My guess is they will have a significantly altered approach. GoldenJudge: It's going to be another chess match, but you can be sure that Rees and Brian Kelly will be prepared on offense. Of course, defensive coordinator Clark Lea, too, as he has to deal with Trevor Lawrence now and whatever they come up with to make Travis Etienne more productive. KevinPS: Their problem is that there is no workable scheme that will allow them to avoid a whole bunch of contact with our very physical team. PreTill1: Book is very good vs blitz. Venables loves to bring pressure. The problem is pressure leaves you vulnerable to big runs by the QB. I think he actually will blitz less. Keep Book in the pocket. Instead of sending more, spy Book more. Desteffm7: Can't fathom having to play Clem- son three times. Or playing Bama and Ohio State. That's an insane road to the title. Irishcliff: Clemson will have its full D-line back, and ND won't have center Jarrett Patterson. I'm guessing Venables will be focused on all kinds of A-gap stunts and blitzes. Hond: It comes down to Ian Book looking like Johnny Manziel and setting the tone in this game like he did in the last one. It's going to be rough because Clemson defensive tackle Tyler Davis is back on the line too, meaning Kyren Williams might have a harder time being productive. FROM THE WEBSITE .com .com JOIN THE CONVERSATION! GET A 60-DAY FREE TRIAL WITH CODE IRISH60 Notre Dame and Clemson will have a rematch in the ACC Championship on Dec. 19, and both the Tigers and Fighting Irish will have a bye the preceding weekend. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS

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