There was an old, recurring character on Saturday Night Live many years ago (back when the show was good) named Leonard Pinth-Garnell (pictured). He was played by Dan Aykroyd, and the premise of his character was that he was a snooty critic of really awful "highbrow" entertainment. Every sketch started with the word "bad," and it included such ones as "Bad Ballet," "Bad Poetry" and "Bad Opera."
Mr. Pinth-Garnell would end each sketch with such memorable lines as "Now that wasn't so good now, was it?" and "Oh, awful! Couldn't be worse! Couldn't be worse!" He would then take his program of the ersatz show he was watching and drop it into a garbage pail right next to him.
I couldn't help but think of Leonard while watching this afternoon's Notre Dame-Duke game, which was an epic battle of two 1-9 teams.
Notre Dame looked like a really undisciplined team in the first half, making stupid penalties, especially one that killed their first drive of the game. But Duke was just as bad, and ND finally broke through at the end of the first half, scoring two TDs on passes from Jimmy Clausen, one right after a Duke fumble. Clausen was probably the best thing about the game, as he fired three TDs and was sacked just once. His confidence appears to be growing and he showed some good poise under pressure.
The fans had a treat near the end as Charlie Weis put in safety and fan favorite Tom Zbikowski in at QB once the game had gone to 28-0. Zbikowski had bothered Weis for years to put him in one day at QB, and since this was his last home game of his career, Weis relented. He just ran the ball when he was in at QB, as I bet Weis told him he'd probably kill him if he dared to throw it.
Duke broke the shutout in the closing minutes with a touchdown, but Notre Dame got the win, 28-7. It was the Fighting Irish's first and only home win of 2007, and they gave the fans something to feel good about as the season comes to a close. They also avoided another indignity, as if they had lost to Duke, it would have been the first Fighting Irish team to go winless at home in 74 years.
But this game also showed how really horrific Duke is. They maybe the worst team in Division 1-A.
It was truly a day of "Bad Football."
I bet Leonard Pinth-Garnell would be proud, and is probably smiling somewhere.