The Franciscan nuns at Holy Family Grammar school in Canarsie, Brooklyn in the 1960s weren’t watching Hanratty to Seymour, or Huarte to Snow, or Theismann to Gatewood. Or saying novenas for Joe Kuharich and Huey Devore (no prayers were necessary once Ara showed up and he wasn’t even Catholic).
The only interest they had in sports was confiscating our baseball cards. (Sister Louise no doubt has been retired on her own private island in Tahiti after trading in those Mickey Mantle rookie cards.)
So us Irish boys running pass patterns between the parked cars on the crowded streets had no fans in those brown habits. But little did we know that things were far different in other parishes throughout the land.
Enter Sister Barbara Anne Hallman, a Franciscan nun from the Our Lady of Angels convent in Mishawaka, Indiana. She is a big Notre Dame fan, so much so that she "can see the Dome from our roof" at the convent.
She missed last week's opener against Purdue because she was rooting on Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, the former Conestoga High School star who made his return to the field after recovering from chemotherapy and radiation from a bout with a bone cancer, Ewing's sarcoma. Sister Barbara Anne is also a cancer survivor.
So NotreDamus wanted her predictions on Saturday's game: He sees all, but she probably has better connections.
"Notre Dame will win, 28-17," she said. "Michael Floyd will have a big game and Dayne Crist will get some of the kinks out (from last week's opener, his first career start).
Last year, Tate Forcier had the game of his life in one of the moist exciting games of the season as Michigan, at home, came back to beat the Irish. Floyd injured his shoulder on a touchdown catch and the season was never the same for Jimmy Clausen and the exciting, if not so fighting Irish.
New coach Brian Kelly had his team play tough defense last week in the win over Purdue, and the offense got the job done, although the biggest weapons, Floyd, Kyle Rudolph and Armando Allen, have far more upside.
Nevertheless, this week’s game at home against the Wolverines (NBC10, 3:30 p.m., ESPN-950 AM and 97.5 FM in Philadelphia) will be a much tougher test. Michigan QB Denard Robinson runs a 4.3 40 and coach Rich Rodriguez’s future in Ann Arbor may hinge on a win.
If the Irish win, they will lead the Big Ten standings at 2-0. A win next week at Michigan State would clinch the unofficial title. Can an invitation be far behind?