Notre Dame-Alabama: Jimmy Clausen Fires the First Salvo and Shows Why the World Hates Him
I have to say that for a potentially historical battle between two behemoth football programs with the two most bruising, physically pounding defenses in the country, the lead up thus far to the January 7 BCS Title Game between Notre Dame and Alabama has been proceeding rather softly.
The captains of both teams, ND linebacker Manti Te'o and Alabama center Barrett Jones, became fast friends on the banquet circuit the last couple weeks, and the two head coaches (Brian Kelly and Nick Saban) were practically making each other mix tapes in the coaches' press conferences.
We needed some good ol' fashioned HATE injected up into this mother, and by God, if you need hate, you go straight to the top of the "loathing food chain." You want to get everybody on both sides of this bitch pissed off? You look to the master. The leader. The center of the vitriol universe.
You look no further than former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
For those of you wondering "Hey yeah, I remember that guy. What the hell is he up to these days?", well don't worry, you're not alone. Actually, he is currently pulling an NFL paycheck toiling as a backup quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, which apparently means he has a lot of time on his hands. Enough time to tweet out the latest acquisition in his t-shirt collection, this little number that was apparently sent to him over the weekend:
This t-shirt, of course, is a play off of the wildly popular, kind of arrogant, and somewhat controversial "Catholics vs Convicts" shirts from the Notre Dame-Miami rivalry back in the late 80's that recalibrated the hatred scale between universities. Only this time instead of implying that the entire Hurricane team belongs behind bars, this shirt implies that all Alabama fans enjoy inbreeding with their cousins. Whatever.
I would have embedded Clausen's tweet that served as the gateway to this picture, but showing more elusiveness with the stroke of a "DELETE" button than he's shown in the pocket in three years, Clausen managed to remove the tweet shortly after SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel called him to task:
For those who are unfamiliar with Clausen's work, on the field he was a highly productive quarterback at Notre Dame, a holder of several passing records who unfortunately played in very few important games because he came in at the back end of the dreadful Charlie Weis Era. Off the field, there might not be a player (or person?) in recently memory who was more disliked for merely "being [fill in name of player here]." Jimmy Clausen's mere existence -- his smug look, his affluent upbringing, his spiky hair -- angered people.
The culmination of this fury was perhaps the night after Notre Dame's home loss to Connecticut in 2009, the final home game of Clausen's star crossed college career, when a random fan punched Clausen in the face for reasons heretofore untold. However, I think we can all safely assume the reason was that Clausen was "being Jimmy Clausen."