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I got the hook up... ESPN 30 for 30: Catholics vs Convicts

I got an advance screener, cracked a few beers, and took it in

Lou Holtz Notre Dame
Lou Holtz on the Irish sideline

If you’re a Miami fan, and I assume you are if you’re reading SOTU, be very prepared for a Notre Dame jagoff session. This 30 for 30 has very little to do with the ‘Canes besides: calling Jimmy Johnson arrogant (duh), Miami thugs (wow! shocking!), then going back on it and saying maybe the Miami guys weren’t so bad after all (or is it really ND wasn’t so holy after all), and the fact that Miami beat a bunch of people leading up to 10/15/1988 (I added the 19 just in case someone is reading this in 2088).

The story begins with the filmmaker explaining his Notre Dame lineage and the connections he made with a bunch of dudes named Pat and some guy named Tony who comes in ineligible and then wins the national championship or something. They then highlight Notre Dame being boat raced by the ‘Canes in 1985. I love re-watching that game and thinking about how much trouble I would be in if my teams behaved that way, but simultaneously realizing I’m the brash and arrogant jackwagon I am because of that game. Jimmy’s relentless nature and cool hair versus the ever-so-pious Fighting Irish as the ideal of college football.

There’s a lot of talk about dorm rooms, t-shirt sales, and a guy trying to walk-on the Irish basketball team...

OK let’s pick back up with the action. It’s 1987, the year Miami went undefeated and stomped a mudhole in the Irish. Tim Brown and Tony Rice were shut down and Miami cruised to a 24-0 win. Lou Holtz’s rise of the Irish was cut a little short and had to wait for another year. Jimmy was finally a national champion and returned for one more run as the head man at Miami. Yeah, this one was glossed over pretty quickly.

Also this dude says he would wear his t-shirts in front of his granny but one says “castrate Penn State” which would be weird to wear at the dinner table.

It’s 1988, the #8 ‘Canes face off against #1 FSU, and we get like almost no coverage of that one. There is some good comeback footage of Miami vs Michigan from ‘88 which required two 2 point conversions to beat the Wolverines and is a ‘Canes classic. Notre Dame also won a nail biter with Michigan in ‘88 which truly set the stage for the 10/15/88 contest.

The 30 for 30 talks a lot about the build up and hard work that came in to play to get Notre Dame from a Faust-led laughing stock to a national title contender. I do respect and admire Lou Holtz’s toughness and leadership as it is portrayed in the film. The story about his first meeting really affirmed a lot of what I do and how I carry myself as a coach. Tough but with purpose, and always fair. That’s all you can ask a coach to be.

Miami vs Notre Dame. We have some intense build up of ‘will this dude make the shirts, will he not, will he pay off his debt...’ if you’ve seen the show Newsroom and there’s that episode (season 1 episode 7) where the journalists are trapped on a plane and make such a big deal about how WE’RE THE MEDIA DAMMIT... that’s about how this feels. Maybe because the protagonist in this story is a college kid making t-shirts in his dorm, maybe because their favorite 80’s movies are Risky Business and Wall Street versus Beverly Hills Cop or something a little less square, maybe because he’s a ND guy and I hate ND... I just couldn’t buy-in to caring about him or his story. It felt like a lot of self important bs and took away from time talking about the actual game itself. Then again, I guess the movie was more about the shirt than the game.

There is a really cool part with everyone including Cleveland Gary (amazing hair for an older dude) watching the “fumble,” and discussing the ref telling JJ and Steve Walsh how they blew the call. There’s also a great scene where the ‘Canes watch the refs call that late game touchdown catch a catch when today it would be incomplete... but it does set up a 30-31 last second 2 point conversion chance. Miami goes for 2 and the rest is history.

Maybe it’s fitting this is a post-Heisman ceremony movie and not being shown before the actual game. In 2016, this game is a mere shell of its former self. The intensity, success, and flair are all gone. Watching Catholics versus Convicts and thinking about the game this Saturday is like watching that final scene in the movie Blow. For the ‘Canes it feels as if, “There are no more white horses or pretty ladies at my door.”

You can watch the trailer here and the full game below

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