Showing posts with label Notre Dame. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Notre Dame. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Great Realignment of 2010

I still happen to think that what happened this year, in terms of the realignment of college football, is a huge deal (Relax, ladies. Florida State isn't going anywhere). It's a much bigger deal to see Colorado leave the Big XII and Nebraska join the Big Ten than it was to see Boston College go to the ACC.

So I mostly agree with what Stewart Mandel is saying here:

And so there are a lot of very happy, very relieved administrators around the country today -- not because they staved off a playoff (that was never imminent), but because their prevailing power structure will remain largely unchanged. The Mountain West, which will essentially swap Utah for Boise, will likely remain relegated to the kiddie table while the "Big Six" further solidify themselves. Nearly everyone with a stake in this thing managed to emerge a winner.
The Pac-10 may not have revolutionized college sports, but Scott still sent a strong signal that his league's days as a passive spectator on the national scene are over. His conference will still wind up adding two sensible new members (Colorado and, most likely, Utah). As both the ACC and the 10-team Big 12 have demonstrated in recent weeks, the ceiling for college television contracts has increased dramatically, and there's little doubt the business-savvy Scott will make his conference significantly richer when its contracts come up next year.
The Big Ten will continue to hold out for its ever-elusive dream girl, Notre Dame, but in the meantime, it quite seamlessly added one of the most prestigious programs in the sport to an already stable league. Nebraska, a big winner itself, got out from under the rule of the Texas-Texas A&M-Oklahoma triumvirate while joining a new set of 11 colleagues with which it already shares much in common academically and geographically.
The Big East can breathe easier knowing its league is not facing any sort of grave danger like it did in 2003, and like many predicted it would again this time around. While it remains possible the Big Ten will try to grab an East Coast school sometime before its seemingly interminable "timetable" expires, it looks more and more like Rutgers/Syracuse will only come into play if Notre Dame ever does an about face -- and this sudden halt to the conference dominos gives the Irish little reason to do so.
There will be a time when Notre Dame won't even get a call from the lowliest of conferences as it continues to slide into "Ivy League" status and join my beloved Princeton on the pile of has-beens and also-rans in terms of college football. Television contract notwithstanding, what is the value of a program that never wins and can't compete at the same level with the other big name teams that it plays each year? 
Just out of principle, the Big Ten should never consist of a single East Coast school. It should n't expand any further East than Penn State and it should rate a little more national coverage and consideration.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Will Notre Dame Pull the Trigger?

The New York Daily News says that Notre Dame has already fired Charlie Weis. Well, what does that mean, exactly?
Former Indianapolis attorney Jack Swarbrick knows the next 48 hours could well define his 29-year career in athletics. The Notre Dame athletic director is pondering what to do about football coach Charlie Weis. All reports indicate Swarbrick will sack Weis by tomorrow.

The decision may be easy after this season, which ended with six wins and six losses. But it won’t be cheap, even by Notre Dame standards.

It will cost approximately $18 million to buy out Weis’ contract, and another $2 million to buy out Weis’ assistants. Recall, Weis started so brilliantly at Notre Dame, that his first contract was shredded seven games into his tenure in South Bend and replaced with a 10-year deal. That genius move pre-dated Swarbrick's arrival in South Bend.

And sources have said a high-level replacement (like Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops) will cost Notre Dame at least $25 million in guaranteed money. Sources have confirmed that Swarbrick talked with Stoops over the weekend.

Weis can basically walk away with a retirement fund of his very own. He can take a few years off and then go be a coordinator. He can give speeches. He can write some more books. He can do whatever he want. Maybe, in five years, he'll even come out and talk about how Notre Dame's firing of his successor was because of the ridiculous idea that the Fighting Irish should even try to have a football program in this modern era. Who knows?

Notre Dame Ends the Charlie Weis era:

See you around, Charlie. You were a good guy. You just couldn't win in South Bend. You can probably win somewhere else, but you couldn't do it in South Bend. I suspect it wasn't you, it was them.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

USC Player Gets Called Out By Ignorant Congressman

While I am thankful that this remark did not generate a knee-jerk reaction (calling an African-American a headhunter could set off shockwaves in this racially-charged era), I have to defend USC safety Taylor Mays from some rather unfair charges:
[...] Mays got blindsided by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on NFL head injuries.

Lungren, a Notre Dame graduate, first talked about former Oakland Raiders player Jack Tatum setting the bar for hits designed to injure.

He then complained about Florida quarterback Tim Tebow being rushed back from a concussion before finally getting to Mays.

The congressman didn't identify the two-time All-American by name, but said that while attending a Notre Dame game a couple of weeks ago he "saw a headhunter on the field" tear the helmet off a player.

Lungren was referring to Mays' fourth-quarter hit on Notre Dame receiver Robby Parris, who lost his helmet on the play. Lungren said that no penalty was called on the play, but Mays was actually flagged for a personal foul.

Lungren then pointed out that last Saturday Mays tore the helmet off Oregon State receiver James Rodgers, on a play the Beavers scored a touchdown. No penalty was called on that play, and the Pacific 10 Conference on Monday announced it had suspended the official who should have made a call.

Coach Pete Carroll this week defended Mays' physical style and Rodgers on Tuesday absolved Mays of dirty play.

A so-called headhunter in football is antithetical to the game. No one "head hunts" unless they are being supported by the coaches on that team. In that case, the headhunter is setting himself up for a fall because that coach is not going to be on the field between him and the hit that tears out his knee or knocks him out cold. There's a difference between being a player who hits hard and who hits dirty, and dirty players don't last long at any level--they get taken down a notch quickly.

For example, this is what "headhunting" looks and sounds like:
Browns defensive tackle Gerard Warren announced his plan for stopping the Steelers' star rookie quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who is 6-0 as a starter, including a 34-23 victory Oct. 10 over Cleveland in Pittsburgh.

''Go across his head, just like you would anybody else,'' Warren told reporters Thursday in Cleveland. ''Got to get to him and go across his head. Make him think there's pressure when there's not, so he gets the ball out a little faster. Try to take it to him.''

When asked if he meant that he wanted to get in Roethlisberger's head, Warren said no.

''On his head,'' Warren responded. ''Not in it, on it. One rule they used to tell me, 'Kill the head and the body's dead.'''

He made clear what he meant by smashing his forearm into his right hand.

Hitting a quarterback in the head is forbidden in the National Football League, and Warren knows that from experience. He was fined $35,000 in 2001 for a hard and high hit on Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell while Brunell was standing far away from the play after having thrown an interception.

Nonetheless, Warren said, paying another fine for hitting Roethlisberger ''would be well worth it.'' He added that quarterbacks ''are already overprotected in this league.''

What coach would support that idiocy? What coach is going to go out there and say, "yes, we want Warren to hit the quarterback in the head so hard, the quarterback spits out his own spleen and pees himself."

Do you see any bluster in what Mays is doing? No, he's hitting people hard because he's a safety--that's what they do. He's not a special teams guy, he's not a supercharged wannabe or a perennial bust like Gerard Warren. He's not being thrown out of games. I saw the hit on the Notre Dame player agreed with the fact that he got flagged, simply because the refs are going to throw the flag virtually every time a helmet gets popped off in order to control the game, not to make a deliberate judgement on the legitimacy of the hit--whether or not it was truly a cheap shot or a legitimate hit (not ferocious, btw). In many cases, the laundry hits the field in order to maintain authority and control of the game situation. A good ref knows when to assess penalties to send messages to the teams on the field. A bad ref lets things get out of hand. Mays was flagged on that play, and this is my opinion, because the refs felt that if they didn't intercede, they might lose control of the players and the subsequent retaliation might cause someone a serious injury. He's playing aggressive football, which is like saying he's driving fast as a NASCAR driver.

All too often, members of Congress just run their mouths and don't understand anything. In this case, a young amateur athlete was called out for no reason.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

You Can't Fire Charlie Weis Now

It's 12:42 on the East Coast and Angels-Yankees are still going, and, for the 23,094 time tonight, someone has actually written these words:

12:38 | McCarver's a **** moron | BBop

So, maybe I'll get to baseball, maybe I won't.

Today was all about USC and Notre Dame [USC won, 34-27] played a game that was certainly enjoyable, and all the more so because Notre Dame did not quit. As much as I wanted to believe that this was it for Charlie Weis, how can you fire him now? How can you say that he's not able to coach? He found ways to keep his team in a game against a USC team that should have gone to South Bend and buried them.

It came down to four yards, as the man says, just four yards. This is the part of the article that makes this season for Notre Dame one full of potential:
Notre Dame players choked back sobs as they stood before the student section for the playing of the alma mater. Weis looked miserable. After the final note, as the players trudged toward the locker room, a group of recruits followed them. One was Chris Martin, a defensive end from Aurora, Colo., who favors Notre Dame but who also has offers from USC, Florida and a host of others. "Next year," Martin yelled to a friend, "put me in, coach."

Whether Weis is the coach next year is anyone's guess. Judging by Saturday's result, he seems to have the program headed in the proper direction, but his two signature games are near-misses against USC. He still doesn't have a hallmark win. If the Irish go undefeated the rest of the way, they'll play in a BCS bowl for the third time in his tenure. But the schedule isn't a cakewalk. It wouldn't shock anyone if Notre Dame lost to Boston College, Pittsburgh, Navy or Stanford.

All we know is that Weis loves a bunch of cardiac kids who turn every game into a thriller. "Anyone who doesn't realize the fight in the Fighting Irish," Weis said, "is missing the boat."

Now, go ahead and fire Weis, but remember--Notre Dame can, and has done, much worse. Much worse. That may not be enough, but at least Notre Dame isn't Ohio State right now, and at least Charlie Weis is better than Jim Tressel, and Jim Tressel has won a national championship.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

College Football, Don't Ever Leave Me

The girls at FSU know this to be true--college football is sacred. Don't mess with it. BCS, you need to go away. But, for now, we have to say that this is the first week where there is actual competition.

I had occasion to see some of Notre Dame and Michigan. Had Notre Dame won that game, Charlie Weis would be coaching at Notre Dame next year, for certain. What a kick in the pants to lose that game. It would have been absolutely huge to win it, even though, and I have to whisper here, Michigan probably isn't that good this year if they can't dominate Notre Dame.

UCLA beating Tennessee on the road? Did that really happen? And Lane Kiffin still has a job? How do you lose 19-15?

Houston waltzes into Oklahoma State and beats them by ten? Good, night.

I'm deliberately missing some games, but the big on, USC at Ohio State, is on and I'm trying to figure out how to pick it up. UPDATE: Wow. It looked like USC was going to go down tonight, but what struck me was not so much the brilliant drive, but how Ohio State, at home, couldn't close the deal. They could not stop USC at all. They were getting blown off the line and beaten. With less than two minutes, USC gets two and a half or three yards on a quarterback sneak less than five yards from the goal line--how do you get beaten like that? USC scores on a run around the right side, and the USC player isn't even touched going into the end zone. USC then scores on the conversion, easily, to make it 18-15.

Forget about dumping on Charlie Weis--dump on Jim Tressel and Lane Kiffin. They should have had their teams ready to finish and close today, and they failed.

Mental Floss throws this at us, but their ads get a little annoying.

I, personally, hate having ads on my blogs. The ads themselves don't make money--there's no where to send it! I don't have US banking privileges. How do you link Google Ad Sense to a Nevis bank account that technically does not exist? You see my conundrum.

It's true, though. If you don't have ads on your blog, people think your blog has no value and that you, the blog operator, cannot figure out how to put them on your blog. Oh, well.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Charlie Weis and a Make or Break Year

Oh, the pain...the pain...
A new billboard facing the Notre Dame campus offers a not-so-subtle reminder to coach Charlie Weis that the past two seasons have not been up to the standards of the storied Fighting Irish football program.

It reads: "Best wishes to Charlie Weis in the fifth year of his college coaching internship." Weis said Tuesday he had not yet seen the billboard, about a half mile from his office, but had been told about it.

"Everything was great until the last word," he said, laughing. "So tell them thanks a lot for wishing me best wishes."

Weis is well aware that Notre Dame fans have high expectations after the Irish went 3-9 and 7-6 the past two seasons -- the most losses in a two-year span in the 120-year history of Irish football. Those 15 losses are three more than Knute Rockne had in 13 seasons as coach, four more than Frank Leahy had in 11 years and two fewer than Ara Parseghian had in 11 seasons.

The 15 losses have wiped out most -- if not all -- the goodwill Weis built in leading the Irish to Bowl Championship Series berths in his first two seasons.

Weis ran out of goodwill two years ago, and the Irish could have been spared those dismal seasons:
"Charlie Weis has returned Notre Dame to relevancy. Just two years ago, as Notre Dame spiraled toward mediocrity under Ty Willingham, a shot at a national title seemed improbable. But the schemes and the discipline Weis has installed have revived past glories. The only question on the Irish offense comes on the line. But considering the way Weis turned castoff linemen into solid starters with the New England Patriots, that should not be a huge concern."—New York Times, Aug. 27, 2006

In the entire history of American sports hype, has there ever been any fraud more grossly fraudulent than Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis?

Weis' Fighting Irish now stand at 1-7. This record is only the faintest indicator of just how awful Notre Dame is. They have lost nine of their last 10 games, by an average of 24 points. None has been close. While Notre Dame has suffered very few injuries, three of its opponents have had to play the Irish without their starting quarterbacks. Two of those teams, USC and Michigan, nonetheless beat Notre Dame by a larger margin than either has beaten any other opponent so far this year. Notre Dame's lone win came against UCLA, which had been forced to use its third-string quarterback, a walk-on. In that game, Notre Dame compiled just 140 yards of offense, but won with the help of seven Bruin turnovers, five of them hand-delivered courtesy of the hapless walk-on signal-caller.

Just how bad is Notre Dame? Of the 119 teams in Division I-A, ND is 119th in total offense, 119th in rushing offense, 112th in passing offense, and 118th in scoring. If Notre Dame had doubled its scoring output, it would still rank 108th. If it doubled its rushing output (currently 34 yards a game), it would barely eke out Duke for 118th place.

No one wants to eat his contract, and no one wants to admit failure. Don't worry, kids--Charlie Weis is the kind of coach who focuses on what is important, and he's not about to let distractions or phony issues distract his team:
Weis also said Monday that he put a stipulation on players who want to wear helmet visors, which Notre Dame hasn't previously allowed. The visors must be clear, saying he didn't want players to have "Darth Vader visors" because "I thought were way too Hollywood for Notre Dame."

He also required players who use visors to be clean shaven and clean cut. Most of the two dozen or so players who got the visors needed a haircut or a shave. Weis said he had a "conga line" of players coming through his office seeing whether their hair was short enough after a cut to get a visor.

"We had some fun with it," he said.

Of course, Weis could have just looked up the rules for college football:
Illegal Equipment:
ARTICLE 5. No player wearing illegal equipment shall be permitted to play. Any question as to the legality of a player’s equipment shall be decided by the umpire. Illegal equipment includes the following:

Eye shields that are not clear or made from molded or rigid material. Note: No player wearing illegal equipment shall be permitted to play. If illegal equipment is discovered by an official, the team shall be charged a team timeout.

National Federation of High School football Rule 1-5-3-n the rule is the same as the NCAA's. The eyeshield must be a molded rigid material that is 100% translucent without any color or tinting.

Hope this answers your question,

Vic Winnek
NCAA Football Official

Basically, you have the coach of Notre Dame football not knowing that darkened visors are illegal. It's one thing for the coach to say "dark visors are illegal" but Weis actually said, of the darkened visors, "I thought were way too Hollywood for Notre Dame." What a clown circus they have in South Bend.