Be it "pep talks", "Dr. Lou", or the fact that he once coached at Notre Dame, Lou Holtz annoys me. Being a former coach of the Fighting Irish, the irritation comes natural to anyone supporting the men of Troy, just as I still view Pat Haden’s work with the Notre Dame Broadcasting Company as treason. But ESPN’s initial hiring of Lou Holtz was tolerable, before quickly moving to irritable. Its one thing to be a homer, as I am, but the rationale and analysis should at least be sensible.
It just wasn’t sensible to pick Notre Dame to win damn near every game in the past two seasons, as it wasn’t to select Southern Cal to falter in the majority of theirs. Those opinions are strictly based on love for the Irish and Hate for the Trojans. Those opinions are clouded by rivalry, and it happens. But it’s when idiocy is used to support theories, that high paid network employees are transformed into jackasses.
An example of one of those occurring moments, In an earlier ESPN Rose Bowl preview, Lou Holtz says Penn State can hang with anyone in the country “particularly if you give Joe Paterno time to recover from that hip surgery”, to which Reece Davis made a remark about the 92 year old man suiting up and playing in that game. No disrespect to Joe Pa, but his players have been physically prepped for every game by more youthful assistant coaches. Paterno has been coaching from the box, and I think it makes little difference, as he's both won and loss big games from that position. But I think the capper of Holtz’ Penn State praise came with his listing of everything Penn State does and doesn’t do:
“…they play sound defense, they’re fundamentally sound, they don’t beat themselves, they don’t make mistakes, they don’t turn the ball over..”
Penn State has one loss this season. Iowa was able to pull the upset, because the Nittany Lions “beat themselves, made a mistake, and turned the ball over”, as Daryll Clark threw an interception to set up Iowa’s winning drive with under 4 minutes to play in that game.