South Bend, Indiana
Returning to his alma mater at an hour of greatest need, Umphrey’s McGee guitarist, singer and founder Brendan Bayliss opted to forgo his continued path to rock stardom at least temporarily so that he could play quarterback for The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
With two years of eligibility left and a cannon that would surprise many Umphreaks and Irish alumni as well, Bayliss held a brief press conference to confirm that he would be taking a leave of absence from Umphrey’s McGee, at least temporatily, while he fills in at quarterback for Notre Dame, which has suffered greatly since Bayliss graduated in 1998.
“Look, we’re 1-2 and even the win against Michigan State wasn’t fulfilling. I’m doing what I have to do, as a proud alumni, as a great quarterback and as someone who knows how to win,” said Bayliss to an enthusiastic crowd outside The Store in Chicago. Wearing the Notre Dame jersey of Joe Montana, Bayliss evoked an image of a leader on the field, commanding the Irish down the field in victory. There was not a dry eye or panty in the house.
Bayliss’ senior year of high school netted a spectacular season
264 Passing Yards Per Game
13.7 Points Per Game
3502 Passing Yards
28 Passing TD
Qb Rating 121.1
Rushing Yards 1348
Early scouting reports note that Bayliss’s quarterbacking skills are great, with over 3500 yards in his senior year of high school. He threw for 28 touchdowns and ran for 12 more. In workouts, scouts notes that he could evade defenders, a skill likely gained after years of dodging adoring female fans during and after shows. “Even though he hasn’t played in a competitive game in over 13 years, what I saw in practice the other day puts all doubt out of my mind,” observed scout Charlie Dixon. “I rode on the tour bus with the guy for four days and he was spending hours practicing bullet passes down the middle corridor of the bus, perfecting his throw (to a solid receiver in Ryan Stasik, a fellow alumni) and getting in quick games in the parking lot before he took the stage each night. I tell you, this kid is ready.”
Even Bayliss’ band mates are supportive of the idea. Bassist Ryan Stasik as well as keyboard/piano player Joel Cummins each were supportive of his move from frontman for Umphrey’s McGee to quarterback for their shared alma mater. “I’ve always felt Bayliss could be quarterback based on all our mid-tour pick up games. We continually smoke moe. at Summercamp each year with him behind center and we are undefeated against Cornmeal and the Kansas City Chiefs. I am proud to take a few months off knowing he’ll be leading Notre Dame to victory,” shared an enthusiastic Cummins. “We are wrapping up the ‘Death by Stereo’ tour shortly and we will be back in Chicago in no time. Brendan is taking off the Saturday show at the Norva and we’re clearing the schedule till the end of the season. He said he’d do double duty between the band and Notre Dame, but we can wing it as a five piece till the end of the season, and likely next year as well. He has two years of eligibility left after all.”
A gleeful Stasik chimed in “And guess who gets to sing finally? That’s right, I’m taking over Bayliss’ vocals till he returns. Best silver lining to this whole thing.”
Fans are mixed on the idea, wondering why Bayliss is forgoing tour this fall when there is a new album to promote and potentially a conflict with New Years Eve in St. Louis if Notre Dame makes it to a bowl game on the 30th or 31st of December. Many fans on The Bort, a popular Umphrey’s McGee fan forum, expressed dismay because they had given up on Notre Dame years ago, like most of the country. Jeremy O’Malley, longtime Umphrey’s fan and frequenter of The Bort shared his thoughts. “I don’t see how he can rescue that sinking ship. He’s not playing special teams and defense too is he? Cause they need more than just a quarterback that shreds. Fuck it, I love Bayliss and Umphrey’s, I’ll support him. Go Irish!”
Fans from The Bort have already been suggesting names for play calls, including Blue Echo, Ocean Billy, 2×2 (2 receivers on each side), Conduit (creating a seam up the middle), Divisions (to split the defenders), Gulf Stream (when playing the SEC), and Push the Pig (QB sneak). If recommendations are taken, fans of both Umphrey’s McGee and Notre Dame will have all audibles now referred to as ‘Jimmy Stewart.’
Head coach Brian Kelly said in a statement, “If Bayliss can throw as good as he can shred, then we’re looking like champions again.”