Another One Bites the Dust; Sykes transferring from ND

-Sgt Shamrock

Well folks it’s that time of year yet again in the yearly cycle of Notre Dame Football. That’s right it’s the offseason and you know what that means. Drama, drama, and yes more drama. Just a few weeks following the arrest of current Irish RB/WR Will Mahone that leaves his status with the football team in question, incoming freshman Nyles Sykes is transferring from Notre Dame just a few weeks after arriving on campus according to multiple media reports. Sykes, who was a three star Linebacker recruit on most of the recruiting sites, chose Notre Dame over schools like Syracuse and Cincinnati.

Now while it is never a “good” thing to lose a player ever for any reason, let’s pump the breaks on reacting like this was a huge loss. First of all it’s never worth getting worked up losing a player that has yet to contribute to the football team. Second, if you take a look at his offer sheet during the recruiting process, there was a lot left to be desired. Don’t get me wrong. The football coaching staff knows what they are doing far more than I could ever imagine and I RARELY question decisions they make about players they want. However Sykes was not the player that was going to come in and contribute right away and who knows just how much he would have contributed over his career. We will never know.

While this single loss isn’t really a big deal, it does bring to light an issue that comes up every season. I can not remember a single offseason where the Irish didn’t lose at least one scholarship player to some sort of off the field issue or to transfer. This is exactly why Notre Dame MUST start over signing players. The staff needs to take into account that they can expect to lose a player or two every offseason. Because now it sure looks likes the Irish will be starting the season with less than 85 scholarship players. This just can’t happen. It hurts roster depth which in turn hurts the chances for Notre Dame to win a championship.

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The Under Armour Era has Begun

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-Sgt Shamrock

The wait is finally over. Notre Dame’s partnership with Under Armour official began at midnight when the doors opened to the Leep Varsity Shop in Purcell Pavilion and hundreds of Irish fans, including myself, swarmed in to get the first look at all the new gear that can really be summed up in about 2 words. COMPLETELY AWESOME. But seriously as soon as I stepped through the doors and got a look at all the brand new gear I instantly saw a difference from the old Adidas apparel. One of the major issues I had always had with Adidas was that most of their apparel was pretty bland and boring. That is not the case with the new Under Armour gear. Our new friends at Under Armour did an absolutely fantastic job creating some really good and new Irish gear that should have tons of fans very excited. The best thing that I noticed was that while a lot of the new designs and patterns looked very good, nothing went overboard on the flashiness. 

In addition to large amounts of fans that came to the unveiling event, that included a prize wheel (which awarded me a pretty sweet free t-shirt) raffles for other Irish prizes, and a DJ that of course made sure to play Crazy Train, there were also a pretty good amount of Irish Football players that showed up to check out the new digs. Among those present were Andrew Trumbetti, Jay Hayes and Romeo Okwara. A side note but Okwara looks HUGE. He really put on some muscle this offseason. Complete beast. Lets hope it translates to the field this fall. From what I could tell the players seemed to really like the gear enough so where some even bought some for themselves.  

Now I know one of the looming questions from fans mostly involve the release of the jerseys as well as the Shamrock Series uniforms. I spoke with one of the Bookstore employees and an Under Armour rep and they informed me that both the normal game jerseys as well as the Shamrock Series uniforms will be simultaneously reveled on August 16th just a few weeks prior to the start of the season. Also while there was a large amount of apparel available last night, there is still a large amount of items that will continue to be released from now until Football Season. Another big question from fans was obviously going to be around the price of all the new gear. Yes it is expensive but to be honest it didn’t seem that much more expensive than it has always been. The free t-shirt I won was priced at 30 dollars while the fitted hat that I purchased was also 30 dollars. Is it a bit more expensive than before? Maybe but if so its not by much.

I made sure to take as many pictures as I could for everyone so take a look and let us know what you think of the new Under Armour gear. I love it. I think you all will too.

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ITS OFFICIAL! Notre Dame/UGA Home and Home Series is a Go.

-Sgt Shamrock

Its been months since the initial reports surfaced but today it has become official. Notre Dame and the University of Georgia have announced that the two schools have agreed to play a home and home series. UGA will travel to South Bend to play Notre Dame on September 9th, 2017 and the Irish will head down south to the Peach State to play the Bulldogs on September 21st, 2019.  

Needless to say this is outstanding news for not only Notre Dame football but also for college football in general. With the College Football playoff looming, strength of schedule will be a key factor determining the 4 teams who make the cut, and this is a prime time SEC opponent. Playing a game in the deep south will also help bolster the already superb recruiting efforts from Brian Kelly and the rest of the staff. The fact that myself as well as Moons, Dixie, and many other of the #NDTwitterati crew are from Georgia makes this even more exciting. While it is a few years away I know I am already excited for the matchup. I see a Down the Tunnel tailgate road trip in our future….. 

Will Mahone Arrested on Multiple Charges

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-Sgt Shamrock

It seems as if the yearly off season tradition of losing a player will continue this year. According to reports, Notre Dame running back/wide receiver Will Mahone was arrested on Sunday in Mahoning County, Ohio on multiple charges that include assault of a police officer, resisting arrest, vandalism, and disorderly conduct. News of a Irish football player having “off the field” trouble began circulating earlier today and now we know who that player is.

Mahone was a member of the 2012 recruiting class but has been limited with injuries and has not seen much playing time. Last season, the Irish coaching staff moved Mahone from running back to wide receiver to see if he could contribute elsewhere with a logjam of talent at the running back position however that never was able to pan out. The University of Notre Dame has yet to comment on the incident and the ramifications Mahone will face, however it seems that his football career at Notre Dame may be in jeopardy.

The arrest record can be found here: http://pii.mahoningcountyoh.gov/(S(0pzeta55ymm5c355mtx4xd55))/Booking.aspx

 

“Tough As Ace” And The St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

For those of you who closely follow the Notre Dame football program and take part in the events that typically surround the game weekends, you have certainly heard of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the organization and their purpose, St. Baldrick’s is a foundation started in 1999 to raise money for childhood cancer research. Most of you have heard of them because of their head shaving events where men and women line up to shave their heads to raise money.

Notre Dame fans will have heard of them mostly because of former Notre Dame player, Mike Anello and his involvement with them. Mike has been participating and helping organize events with them since his time at ND. Today Mike led a team that participated in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathalon with former ND Quarterback Evan Sharpley and others. The team is named after their teammate and former Notre Dame player, Asaph Schwapp who passed away last May from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Since then, money raised by Mike has been donated to St. Baldrick’s in Schwapp’s name. Mike’s goal for today’s event was $44,000 in honor of the number that Schwapp wore – #44. Each member of the team also wore these #44 jerseys in honor of their teammate.

"Tough As Ace" Triathlon Jersey. Courtesy Mt. Bora.com

“Tough As Ace” Triathlon Jersey. Courtesy Mt. Bora.com

Back in April, Evan Sharpley sent out a tweet mentioning his participation in the triathlon and mentioned the team was looking for sponsors. As many of you know, we here at Down The Tunnel support a couple of very important charities whenever we can, from Wounded Warrior to Kelly Cares. We saw the info on the event and immediately wanted in. We all loved to watch Ace play on Saturdays, his grit and determination were an inspiration to many of us. We started putting out heads together and decided that since we are all pretty much already bald, or getting there, we needed to do something better. That’s where our show co-star and artist from Mancave Creations, Josh came in. As many of you know, Josh makes custom hand-made Notre Dame wood pieces and decorations. Josh approached me about donating a piece toward the Tough As Ace fundraiser. Josh has worked tirelessly in his spare time to craft a one off, never to be replicated piece for them.  The piece will be up for auction at the St. Baldrick’s Foundation head shaving event on July 26th, at Barn & Co. in Chicago.

For more info on the event and St. Baldrick’s, visit the event page at: http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/chicago

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Daniels and Grant Readmitted to Notre Dame

-Sgt Shamrock

Notre Dame announced today that Notre Dame Football Wide Receiver Davaris Daniels and Notre Dame Basketball Star Jerian Grant have both been readmitted to the University after serving suspensions during the Spring Semester of 2014. Daniels was placed on academic suspension following a substandard GPA while Grant was suspended for an incident similar to that that got recently reinstated quarterback Everett Golson suspended for the 2013 football season.

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The return of Daniels immediately upgrades the Irish receiving corps. Other than Daniels the only other receiver that that caught a pass from Everett Golson was Chris Brown during the 2012 season. Having Daniels returning back to the receiving corps adds some much needed experience in a group that is very talented but young and inexperienced. In addition to added experience, Daniels becomes a big play threat in the passing game that will finally have a mobile quarterback under center since Golson’s suspension.

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Jerian Grant’s return to the basketball team is big news for Irish hoops. After his dismissal in the middle of this past season, the team struggled mightily in all aspects of the game and their record showed because of it. Grant will immediately add a much needed influx into the offense and should bring back some athletic play on the defense.  

The King of Wishful Lyrics

(Enter overly dramatic intro set to a backsplash of LMFAO). It all started harmlessly enough. An innocent tweet sent by yours truly claiming that the 1990’s was the pre-eminent decade of upbeat music whose lyrics are sad. Yes, I said: “The King of Wishful Thinking” by Go West is a classic example of this principle. Deep down inside, I knew this tweet would go out into the ether with no response. Oh how you surprised me Internet

Rather than let my tweet stand for the un-researched claim for which it stood, there was lash back. Angry, angry tweets followed (I would not testify to this statement), and I was forced to indulge the notion that I was incorrect. Let it not be said that we at Down the Tunnel don’t listen to our fledgling readership. While those other blogs may ignore you, keep you on task with Notre Dame football, or flat out pretend they’re better than you, we leave no stone unturned.

It’s been a labor of love, time…and outsourcing to bring this to you. Faced with the possibility of being wrong, I did what any good writer would do…deflect blame. I asked others to embrace a decade and give me 10 songs to make this the ultimate offseason competition of “Which decade is best at making upbeat songs that have surprisingly sad/depressing lyrics?” If you find this topic overly esoteric, then you’re on to something. However, I find it a much more worthwhile endeavor than spending 6 months discussing the state of Notre Dame’s playing surface. It’s shocking, but true. We’ll still see football in the fall regardless of playing surface, but without this post, there’d be no answer to the question “what decade reigns supreme?”

Initially, this was to be a four decade debate between the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s. However, as the one tasked to do the 70’s, I failed. First of all, I was born in 1983, which brings about a problem of knowing the music well enough. I was cool with that. However, my contributors (pronounced “victims”) came up with far more nuanced lists that made me feel like a sell out for taking the 70’s without adequate knowledge. I’d have stuck to the Billboard Top 100’s and been done with it. I had some good ones too. Among them, “Cecilia” by Simon & Garfunkel, “The Hurricane” by Bob Dylan, and “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. I was, however, being commercial.

The men I recruited used whatever means necessary to make their cases. More importantly, they demonstrated a vault of knowledge about their decades to make me feel guilty about submitting more well known tunes with less substance to the debate. As such, I submit to you the entries for the contest.

The criteria is simple: IT’S A DECADE COMPETITION. No one song gets to win the day. The lists are not in order but rather a compilation of that decade’s music. The goal: “Which decade produced the greatest number of songs that sound upbeat but are actually depressing (if you listen to the lyrics).” Omissions are their own fault. However, direct your ire towards me. These guys dutifully filled their roles to get me top 10 lists, and I’m quite appreciative of that. It was up to them whether they wanted to add commentary or let their selections speak on their face. I add no commentary, as this is for the people and not subject to commentary or editorialism. No need for further delay, it’s time to snap back to reality:

The 80’s – Brought to you by @HLS_BayouIrish

1.) The Smiths “There is a Light That Never Goes Out.” The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRtW1MAZ32M

The Smiths were the most important band in a decade that mostly threw the musical lessons learned to that point to the curb in favor of soul-less synth-pop. This song, is a glorious celebration of the anxiousness and jangled-nerves that accompany the moments before the first kiss — and of the preservation of pre-kiss perfection thanks to a ten ton(ne) bus.

2.) The Pogues “Fairytale of New York.” The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9jbdgZidu8

This is the greatest Christmas song ever written. It swirls like snow and captures what New York City is for the rest of us better than any Macy’s window ever could. The duet between two of pop’s most poignant voices is beautiful. One voice, cut short by a tragic boating accident, is angry and sad. The other, cut short by purposeful poisoning-by-pints, is pleading.

3.) The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star.” The video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwuy4hHO3YQ

Don’t tell me this song doesn’t qualify because it came out in 1979. This was the first video played by MTV, a network that, in its time, was as life-changing and important and iconic as ESPN eventually became twenty (?) years later. This is a thumping dance track that survives intact to this day, as good as, and certainly better than, most any song written since.

4.) Depeche Mode “Never Let Me Down Again.” The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq428DZI-eg

“I’m taking a ride with my best fried.” “I hope he never let’s me down again.” The video, a live version from Paris in 2001, gives an idea of how well this song has fared over the years — how full of exuberance and life it is. Juxtapose Dave Gahan qua Mick Jagger against the lyrics.

5.) Depeche Mode “Everything Counts” The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t-gK-9EIq4

This is an early-80′s track that bemoans the “greed is good” mentality for which the decade is so well-known.

6.) The Smiths “Panic.” The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMykYSQaG_c

Any song that tells you to “burn down the disco, hang the blessed DJ” is a winner. It’s got a children’s chorus.

7.) Nena “99 Luftballons.” The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8Q2VOU4tmY

This song could have been relegated to history’s proverbial dust-bin, if it were not for Vladimir Putin and his Crimean gambit. If you’re of a certain age, you had air raid drills at school and knew that you were a blinding flash of light away from nuclear vaporization at any given moment. You felt so much safer than we do today.

8.) Bruce Springsteen “Glory Days.” The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vQpW9XRiyM

This is every Notre Dame fan ever. The ones who are still alive who remember multiple championships are miserable and those who never knew them are even worse. Don’t mistake the upbeat tune, folks. You’ll be miserable at the end of the bar soon enough, recounting your past to people who aren’t really listening and who don’t really care.

9.) Peter Gabriel “Shock the Monkey.” The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnVf1ZoCJSo

The artist says this is a song about jealousy. I don’t know. I just think it fits this list’s criteria really well.

10.) Public Enemy “Fight the Power.” The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PaoLy7PHwk&feature=kp

Over time, it’s easy to chalk this song up to a summer dance classic or Flava’s antics to his nuttiness. This is an angry song that gets white kids lip-syncing along to words that encourage civil disobedience and talk shit about Elvis and John Wayne.

The 90’s – Brought to you by @oaknd1

1. “Gangsta’s Paradise” – Coolio

2. “November Rain” – Guns ‘n Roses

3. “Spiderwebs” – No Doubt

4. “Jeremy” – Pearl Jam

5. “Long View” – Green Day

6. “Losing My Religion” – REM

7. “Waterfalls” – TLC

8. “Everlong” – Foo Fighters

9. “My Name Is” – Eminem

10. “Bittersweet Symphony” – The Verve

The 00’s – Brought to you by @andrewinn

10. Her Space Holiday – “The Good People of Everywhere”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMY0Vopmaxg

Suggested by: Mike Steedle ND ’03 (@theTopsider):

His comment: “I thought it was just a story of kids poisoning their parents to be free, then simply doing all the bad stuff their parents did anyway. It’s catchy, though, right?”

My comment: RIGHT.

9. The Mountain Goats – “No Children”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRP6egIEABk

Suggested by: Melissa Green ND ’03 (@magreen17).

My comment: You put your arm around your friend’s shoulder as they lock arms and shoulders with their friends. Everyone is drunk. Everyone is swaying to this song. And then the lyrics start. GUT PUNCH. THANKS A LOT, MOUNTAIN GOATS.

8. The Format – “Dog Problems”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGHevQoWsGA&feature=youtu.be

Suggested by: George McKay (@JorgesHome):

His comment: “All about coping with a bad break up”

My comment: …as told by hand puppets.

7. Dashboard Confessional – “Again I Go Unnoticed”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbz0FUhTftY

My pick. I literally had a decade’s worth of emo to choose from, but this one always made me laugh. A song that has become a sing-along for fans of Dashboard Confessional…is about unrequited love.

6. The Gaslight Anthem – “The ’59 Sound”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1lq40tR72Q

Suggested by: George McKay (@JorgesHome).

My comment: Hey! These guys sound like Springsteen! What a great sound! What a rocking tune! Hey, what’s this song about anyway? WHAT? The best friend that died when the band was out of town? Bummer.

5. Death Cab for Cutie – “The Sound of Settling”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pphrk6wE5aw

Suggested by: Matt Nania ND ’02 (@mjnania)

My comment: That drum beat. It gets butts wiggling. And yet…this song is about having regrets for not taking chances in life.

4. Ben Folds – “Zak and Sara”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z7x0V5cm-A&feature=kp

Suggested by: My sister

My comment: Well, she actually suggested “Annie Waits” from the same album, but I think “Zak and Sara” fits our theme even better. Driving piano, handclaps. Very light, very fun song about…a crazy girl who has a dumb ass for a boyfriend.

3. MGMT – “Time to Pretend”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9dSYgd5Elk&feature=kp

Suggested by: High school friend Jay Wyatt.

My comment: A song I once considered the 2000s version of #yolo, Jay set me straight: “He spends the first verse being sarcastic about coming of age and the second verse talking about everything he misses from childhood. It’s really sad.”

2. The Killers – “Mr. Brightside”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyUrH_IOgqI

Suggested by: Lisa, the Lovely Librarian.

My comment: A danceable tune about the time Killers frontman Brandon Flowers found his girlfriend with another dude at a bar. (I offer the link to the remix, because it’s one of the best remixes ever done IMO.)

1. Outkast – “Hey Ya”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWgvGjAhvI

Suggested by: Cracked.com 

Cracked writes: “At its core, ‘Hey Ya’ is an incredibly sad song. The lyrics are basically an indictment of the entire idea of being in a relationship. Not just getting married, but being in a relationship at all. The ‘hero’ of the song has found himself tied down to a woman that he no longer loves, and to make matters worse, it’s pretty clear she’s lost that feeling for him also.”

Oh yeah, I also said I wouldn’t add in, but @oaknd1 both impressed me and disappointed me. Some of his selections were inspired choices. His omissions of “The King of Wishful Thinking” and “Semi-Charmed Kind of Life” made me weep. I’m being harsh though, and it’s not for me to decide. It’s for you to decide. Tweet your votes for best decade to @Downthetunnel and let the anger flow freely.

- Moons