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Sleeping with the Enemy: The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame

Under the covers with the Fighting Irish.

Your Fighting Hoyas of Georgetown try to rebound from the putrid loss at South Florida with a nationally televised game tonight against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, and as usual we here at THE AWARD WINNING GLOBAL PHENOMENON are bringing you everything you need to know about Georgetown's next opponent. Today, in a very special Inauguration Day/Martin Luther King Jr. Day edition of Sleeping with the Enemy, we've got AN ENTIRE FAMILY OF NOTRE DAME ALUMS dishing on all things Irish. Special thanks to Mom (SMC '74), Dad (ND '74), Oldest Daughter (ND '01), Oldest Son (ND '05), Youngest Daughter (SMC '10) and Youngest Son (ND '13) for providing answers to our hard-hitting questions. Irish fam, this bomber of CasuALE is for you. Away we go!

Talk to us a bit about what it's like to be not just Notre Dame fans, but a Notre Dame family.

Dad: We all cheer and cry at the same time! We all have jobs! We all have livelong friends from our classes. We understand there are other great places to go to school but none better than ND - SMC. When asked, "Why send your children to that expensive school?", I reply, "If you have to ask that question, you wouldn't understand the answer!"

Son '05: For us kids, ND has been a part of our family experience our entire lives. I'm pretty sure I could recite the fight song before the pledge of allegiance, and because the mascot of our high school was also the "Fighting Irish" about 75% of the clothes in our house at any time had the word "Irish" on it some place.

SMC '10: It's something we share on a different level than just football fandom. Some of my most favorite memories from childhood are those that we spent in South Bend in the Fall. Many of these weekends were spent with our aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins with whom we never shared a hometown... The game was part of the fun, but the time spent with our extended family was what made them so special.

ND '01: ND is just a place unlike any I've ever been to. Most all my friends would tell you it is their favorite place on earth. It's crazy to me that people who didn't go to school there would say that but they do. Being a fan is an all-encompassing experience because I it. You just can't separate ND from who you are. Which is good and bad.

What's your take on Mike Brey? I mean, he's obviously going to win Big East Coach of the Year regardless of how ND finishes like he always does, but are y'all getting a bit tired of the early exits in March?


Mock turtlenecks are all the rage. via

Dad: Coach Brey plays by the rules and has run a clean program. He won't recruit one and dones and can't recruit dopes. He and his players have overachieved in the recent past. He needs to do a better job of bringing four star recruits to ND. Two a year would be enough to develop a breakthrough in the program. It has been too long without at least a regional title. If we are sincere that each coach needs to strive for a national championship, the recruiting needs to get better. Having said all of that, have you ever been to South Bend in the winter????

Son '05: Recruiting needs to improve, I would also like to see a little more emphasis on physicality and athleticism. Living and dying by the three got old about 5 years ago and it makes it hard to sustain a consistent game over time.

SMC: it's frustrating that we seem to always get a streak going in Jan and Feb, do well in the Big East tourney every year, but always manage to lost to (mostly) underdogs in March. We've become a little too comfortable with mediocrity.

ND '01: I was skeptical of him, because I loved Mike Doherty and was devastated to see him go. And it has turned out okay. But I echo everyone else. We need to recruit better, and on a more nationwide scale. I think the ACC will be great for that.

Notre Dame famously defected from the Big East to the ACC for hoops. What are your thoughts on the move and do you think that ultimately, the Irish will join a power conference full-time for football?

Dad: ND was not an "early adopter" in leaving the Big East - which has now become the Big BIG - Coast to Coast. The move to the ACC was brilliant. More high quality academic schools like ND (think Wake and Duke), a geographical concentration, high quality sports teams across the board (ND is one of the few to filed as many as 26 varsity teams), great basketball, etc., etc. ND football will stay independent as long as it is included in the National Championship mix. Honestly, we make too much money on football to share it with anyone else and remember, we have to finance our own way as a school!

Son '05: There are a lot of things about the ACC that feel like a better fit for ND, and I'm excited to see some new rivalries form over time. As for football, as long as we keep selling out stadiums coast to coast, we'll never join a conference.

SMC: Agreed to all of the above. At first it seemed random, but it makes much more sense after having been in the Big East to move to the ACC as opposed to something like the Big 10. Can't foresee any reason why we'd join a conference in football unless we were forced to at some point. It's nice that it gives ND the ability to hold on to old rivalries but also form new ones. Love that we played Oklahoma this year, and renewed the Miami series. But kept with USC, Michigan, MSU. Keeps things interesting.

ND '01: I like it for the reasons above. And, having gone to UVA for law school, I am psyched to play a football game in Charlottesville. That said, it's super weird to have the Catholic 7 without ND.

Which was better: The trip to Ireland to see Notre Dame take on Navy or the trip to Miami to see Notre Dame take on Alabama?


Ah, Ireland. via

Dad: Hard to answer. 30,000+ travelers to the Emerald Isle to take in the sights and game. Probably 55% to 65% of Sun Life filled with Notre Dame fans. Apparently, Stub Hub made 25% more money on the BCS Championship game than any other event they have ever done! Great from start to finish. BCS game proved we are relevant again. In the 1973 Orange Bowl, ND lost to Nebraska 40-6 (it was 40-0 at one point) and came back the next year to win the NC. There is always hope!!!!

Son '05: I did not make the trip to Ireland, but did go to Miami. The energy of that weekend was unlike anything I've ever experienced as an ND fan. I was 5 during ND's last national championship run, and after waiting my entire life, having that moment to celebrate and be proud of my school was an electrifying and once in a lifetime experience. I don't regret going to the game (and shelling out the $). The heartbreak was worth that experience and I'll be on a plane the next time ND makes it!

SMC: As ND '01 was the only to go to both, she's the best authority on this. Although since I went to Ireland I'll give my two cents there- most amazing trip I've ever been on. I can imagine it was a totally different vibe in Miami as there was an excitement in the air that no one in Dublin could have ever anticipated, but passing people on the street in Dublin (or Galway, Aran Islands for that matter) wearing ND gear head to toe was crazy. ND was everywhere. I was blown away that 35,000 people were just as excited as my friends and I were to plan a trip to Ireland around a college football game. I almost had to stop and remind myself where I was the day of the game! Plus drinking a Guinness in Dublin while watching my favorite team destroy Navy made it pretty enjoyable. Everything about it was amazing.

ND '01: I'd do either of them again in a heartbeat. I'd say Ireland was a better experience because of the travel (and the win), but Miami felt like an ND all-class reunion on steroids - really surreal and unlike anything I've ever seen.

How do you feel about the 'Notre Dame football is like Duke basketball' comparison in that people seem to hate the fans of each program as much as the programs themselves? How do you respond to those who wanted Alabama to win the BCS Championship just so ND fans would finally shut up?

Dad: As Nathan Jessup would say, "Some people can't handle the truth". Think Dallas Cowboys, Boston Celtics, New York Yankees along with Duke Basketball and Notre Dame Football.

Son '05: The conversation is fun to be a part of, whether its at work or in other social situations, it's a way to connect and dialogue with people. If things start to get contentious, there's one easy solution, "What was your team doing on Jan. 7th?"

SMC: I get it. I think most people feel that way about certain teams and fan bases, (ahem New England Patriots) but it's just that a large population of people feel that way about the more storied or high profile programs in any sport, college or pros. So it's love em or hate em. But as Son '05 alluded... It's much more fun to be in on that conversation this year than it has in years passed.

ND '01: I get that people hate ND - I probably would too. ND gets special treatment and I'm sure the amount of coverage and love it gets is super annoying. That said, haters usually have never visited campus and had the ND experience. I would tell them to visit and then judge.

If I have one night in South Bend, where am I eating and what am I ordering?

Dad: Rocco's Ristorante - Spaghetti with Aglio e Olio or Linguini with Clam Sauce (White or Red) and don't forget to buy the quart bottles of beer! You can also take home a pizza!!

Son '05: Agree with my Dad, only one answer here - Rocco's is the best! Although I have to say the pizza is what keeps me coming back there. Best thin crust on earth!


Documented. via

SMC: Rocco's: quart beers and the best pizza and pasta around.

ND '01: Rocco's for sure for quart beers and pizza. Then you can walk to the Linebacker Lounge (or the 'Backer as we call it) for the party - just bring a pair of shoes you don't mind ruining and $3 for the door (which buys you a Long Island Iced Tea).

Feel free to use the space below to give your take on the Manti Te'o controversy and please address which parties you believe to be telling the truth.

Dad: Many 22 year-old seniors have some knucklehead tendencies. See Jeremy Schaap's work from Friday night with Te'o.

Son '05: It's a truly modern story, something that's indicative of the new age we live in. Manti got caught up in the hype machine and stretched and embellished the story to create a narrative that's easier to understand. He's such an upstanding guy, it's sad to think that this will always be a part of his legacy. I wish him the best and he will always be one of our school's legendary greats.

SMC: I think it's ridiculous that some people argue he was behind the whole hoax. He didn't need the publicity... he was already going to get it. Last Spring and going into the season he was already the face of the team. Once he decided to come back for his senior season, the team was his. All you ever hear about him from students (Dan can speak to this) is that he is exactly who we see in interviews: friendly, humble, gracious, etc. not like some of the big-headed athletes we hear about from time to time. All of that being said, I think he embellished his relationship with this person, and once it started he didn't know how to stop it. I think he was naive, foolish, and totally duped. But, to be honest, does not change my opinion of him in the least. He was such a positive figure and presence in South Bend.. I hope he's just as successful at the next level.

ND '01: the kid is a Mormon Eagle Scout with a heart of gold. He got duped and then was too embarrassed to retract it. I think the media blew it way up and has realized now that he probably had nothing to do with it. I mean, Ray Lewis killed people and Lance Armstrong ruined people's lives. Let's keep this in perspective.

Georgetown has a class that all freshman have to take called Problem of God. Does ND have any similar religious-themed prerequisites?

Dad: ND requires all students to have taken two three hour credit courses in Theology and Philosophy. Most ND students do not have a problem with God. Must be a Jesuit theme!

Son '05: Part of the college experience is being exposed to new and challenging ideas and being able to form your own opinions. Even if you want to be a doctor or an engineer, I think it's any college's obligation to require you to take the time to think about the big picture.

SMC: St. Mary's students have to take a year of theology as a part of all general education requirements: foreign language, science, math, philosophy. Religious courses range from service based to religious history. Broad variety, something for everyone.

ND '01: I loved that at ND I took intro to philosophy from an atheist. ND prides itself on its well-rounded education and I'm on board.

Is Jack Cooley better than Luke Harangody or are they the same person?

Dad: Same hard workers who will probably have very limited professional basketball careers but have a degree to use when basketball is over.

Son '05: I'm 75% sure they're the same person.

SMC: Wait, that's not Luke Harangody?!

ND '01: Seriously, that's not Luke Harangody?? What happened to Luke Harangody???

Do you think Anne Hathaway should win Best Supporting Actress given that her screen time in Les Miserables was about ten minutes long?

Dad: Yes, the tears and snot bubbles were real - and to have that beautiful hair butchered!!

Son '05: Yes, she was great, and I'm glad to see the academy actually recognizing this category for what it is...supporting! They can give Cristoph Waltz all the Oscars in the world but guess what, he was a LEAD in Django Unchained. He had more lines and than any other character, how is that a supporting role??

SMC: her performance was great and she set the tone of the film. She has my vote.

ND '01: Haven't seen it, but she annoys me. Though she probably deserves it as a consolation prize for James Franco leaving her out in the hosting cold two years ago.

On a scale of 1-10, please rank the overall undergraduate experience at ND and justify.

Dad: 9+ I grew up in the NYC area. My parents drove me to South Bend for freshman orientation with brother, sister, and Aunt Rita. I had never been on campus before. Had four great years earning an engineering degree. Saw a NC in football senior year and three weeks later watched Digger and his troops end the '88 game UCLA winning streak. On January 6th in Fort Lauderdale, spent a great evening at an Irish Pub (Waxy O'Connor's) with 20+ classmates and their spouses from Massachusetts to California, Minnesota to Texas. 39 years after graduation, we were still acting like we are 22 years-old. That is what makes it great!!

Son '05: 9 - It's difficult to compare because it's all we know, but in talking to some of my friends that went to other schools, I think the sense of community and pride at ND is something that's pretty unique. The lifelong friendships you make, and the and the notion that, by graduating, you add your name to the legacy and leave your mark on the tradition is an experience that can't be described. That being said, South Bend kinda sucks (less one point).

SMC: I'm not sure I'd give my experience at Saint Marys anything below a 10. I wouldn't change one thing about my school - okay, maybe location... 9.5. As scared as I was to leave home, after 1 day at SMC I felt 100% at home. I benefitted from having (what I perceive as) the best of both worlds. I went to a small school with about 400 people in my graduating class, but had the luxury of a bigger school environment with ND literally across the street. I formed life long friendships with people from both SMC and Notre Dame. As I bet it is at Georgetown, most people share core values and priorities. School is important, relationships with each other are valuable, people respect one another, and everyone wants to achieve and be successful, all while being part of an electric sports culture. Hard to beat all of that. Plus ND '13 and I shared a year in South Bend which was an added bonus.

ND '01: Honestly, a 10. I got a stellar education, had a ridiculously fun time, met incredible people, got into the best network in the world, watched awesome sports teams compete at the highest level, learned about the importance of social service, and didn't even mind the weather - the South Quad snowball fight every year is epic.

Final score prediction for Hoyas-Irish?

Dad: ND 78 - Hoyas 73;

Son '05: ND 65 - Hoyas 57

SMC: ND 70 - Hoyas 68

ND '01: ND 72 - Hoyas 66