Saturday, October 25, 2014

Just Cut Justin Brent Already

Up until two days ago, nobody even knew who Justin Brent was. He is a bench warmer who has not caught a single pass all season. I am not sure if that is due to being red shirted or just not being very good. Regardless, there are 100 receivers in the country who would love a chance at a school like Notre Dame. It is a privilege to wear the gold dome. With that comes certain standards that a player is expected to live by. One of those standards is to not do anything that would publicly embarrass the school.

Who a player dates is his own private business. But when you publicly post a picture of yourself with a porn star over the internet, it is no longer private. Instead of bragging to everybody about hooking up with her, he should have kept a private matter private. This was just dumb and is not the kind of distraction Notre Dame needs.

He should just get cut from the team. He can go to an SEC team. He would fit right in and would be a team captain.

This is one of the negatives that can happen on a bye week. I don't trust anybody with two first names anyway.

Friday, October 24, 2014

What My Criteria For The Playoffs Would Be and The SEC Would Hate It

I have been a bit of a critic of this new 4 team playoff for college football. The main reason is because it is left up to a selection committee whom have not really had a criteria for how they will select teams. Or at least they have not been transparent about it.

Another fear I have is the idea of human bias. I have a funny feeling that the SEC will get preferential treatment. They currently are considered the toughest conference. I have been a critic though because they really don't schedule tough non-conference games. For example, look at the two Mississippi schools who are the supposed darlings of college football right now. There is no doubt that they have taken care of business in conference, but their non-conference schedules are jokes. The Bulldogs have on their schedule Southern Mississippi, UAB, South Alabama, and Tennessee-Martin. The Rebels have Bosie State, Louisiana-Lafeyette, Memphis, and Presbyterian.

The SEC is known for this and their justification is that they play tough conference games. Nobody is denying that but if they truly are the best conference, they should have no problem with teams from the Big Ten, ACC, Big 12, or PAC 12.

But looking at the current situation, only those two schools and Florida State remain unbeaten. The two Mississippi schools will play each other, so at least one of them will lose. That means that there will be some one loss teams to choose from.  Besides Notre Dame, there are currently 15 teams with just one loss. The SEC has Georgia, Alabama, and Auburn. The ACC has Duke. The Big 12 has Kansas State, Baylor, and TCU. The Big Ten has Michigan State, Ohio State, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Finally, the PAC 12 has Oregon, Arizona State, Arizona, and Utah. Many will play each other and knock each other out, but still it could be a sticky situation.

Earlier I was listening to ESPN radio talking about what will be the criteria for what teams they choose. They just said pick the 4 best teams. But the problem is that that is subjective. So in order to pick that out you need a process of elimination and that is where the criteria would really help.

I would have two simple criteria that would eliminate a lot. One would be that you have to be a Conference Champ. How can you be the best team in the country if you can't even win your conference. Now the obvious question is what about Notre Dame. For Notre Dame, make it simple. Go 12-0 and your in. Go 11-1 and your eligible to be selected. Seems simple to me.

But that begs the question is that there are 5 conferences and only 4 spots and if Notre Dame is in, it will be only 3. That brings be to the second criteria. That would be scheduling other power conferences. What I mean is that in order to make the playoff, you would have to have at least one win over a team from another power conference. If that criteria were in place, both Mississippi schools would be out for not playing a worthy schedule. Only TCU from the Big 12 would be alive. Only Nebraska from the Big Ten would be alive. Arizona from the PAC 12 would also be out.

On that scheduling note, it should also be a rule that to make the playoff, you are only allowed one FCS team. For Notre Dame not being in conference, I won't make it easy. 10 out of 12 games need to be against power 5 competition.

Prior to this, we had 3 unbeatens and 16 one loss teams. That is trying to pick 4 from 19. With this criteria of elimination, we got it down to 11 teams to choose from. Given that many will play each other, the odds are you may only have 6 teams to choose from in the playoff. That would almost take the subjectivity out of it. This seems like a fair way to do it. I am curious to see what the actual criteria is.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Teams I Will Be Rooting For This Weekend On The Bye Week

With Notre Dame not playing this week, Irish fans all over the country wonder what games they will be watching. Although the Irish aren't playing, there are games that could impact their playoff chances. With two Mississippi schools and all the other one loss teams, seeing a few of them go down wouldn't break my heart. So here are some of the teams I will be rooting for this weekend.

This one will be tough to root for but we picked the wrong year to leave Sparty off the schedule. Both of us have a single loss and we need them to lose. So I hope Michigan can pull off a miraculous upset against their in state rival.

It would really help if another PAC 12 team can knock off Oregon. Go Cal.

Although the Irish will open their next two seasons against Texas, this weekend they can help Notre Dame by pulling off a great upset against Kansas State. So for one weekend, Hook 'em Horns.

Although a traditional basketball power, this year they have a really good football team. Are they good enough to knock off Mississippi State? It will help Notre Dame if they are.

I am feeling good about this one. LSU can knock off Mississippi and end their fairy tale.

Tennessee used to be a regular opponent for Notre Dame. This weekend they can help the Irish by knocking off Alabama. That one might be tough but the Tide might be on a real high after demolishing Texas A & M.

Lou Holtz's other team, South Carolina, can help Notre Dame by knocking off Auburn. This one can happen.

Our last bowl opponent Rutgers can help by taking out Nebraska.

Finally, another old Notre Dame rival, Penn State, can get back on track with an upset of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Those are just a few games that the Irish fans can watch with interest this weekend. I will sit back and watch them and then next week is Navy week.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tarean Folston Needs To Be The Featured Back At This Point

One of the few concerns the first weeks of this season was the Irish running game. Maybe the appropriate term is lack of running game. Coach Kelly used a three man rotation with Tarean Folston, Cam McDaniel, and Greg Bryant. The problem is that would never allow for one guy to get into a rhythm. I understand that Notre Dame has three talented backs and wanting to use them all, but here's the problem. We all agree that Malik Zaire is a talented young quarterback, but does that mean we will rotate him with Everett Golson? Of course not. Zaire can play in blow outs and will have a chance one day.

That is exactly how the running back situation should be handled as well. Folston has really done so much better these past two games when he was given a bulk of the carries. For the season he has 383 yards with 2 touchdowns. That may not seem like a lot but more than 200 of those yards came in the last 2 games. That gets back to the point of letting one guy get into a rhythm. He also showed in the North Carolina game his ability in receiving game as well. He caught 5 for 71 yards and a touchdown.

Meanwhile, Bryant and McDaniel don't even have as many yards rushing as Golson. I am not saying we just kick them to the curb. They both can have valuable roles. McDaniel can be the bruising short yardage and goal line back. That is a very important role. Bryant can be brought in every now and then to spell Folston and be the change of pace.

So Bryant and McDaniel both have their places on this team, but the key to really getting the running game going is with Folston getting most of the carries.

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Open Message To Florida State and Their Fans

Congrats on the win Florida State. I believe that referees are there for a reason and part of their job is to call penalties. I also believe that if it is a penalty on the first play of the game, it is a penalty on the last play of the game. So I will not complain about the call. 

However, here is what I do have a problem with. Spare me the the crap about "we know how to win." Acknowledge that you were very fortunate to get the victory. Was it a penalty? Yes. Would Robinson have scored if not for the pick? Not sure, but probably. I remember two years ago when we were lucky to dodge a missed field goal in OT to escape Pittsburgh. We weren't arrogantly saying "we know how to win." We were feeling fortunate to still be unbeaten. That is how Seminole fans should be looking at this. 

Celebrate your win. Fine. 23 straight wins is a big deal. You are on pace to win a second straight National Title. But at the same time acknowledge that you are a bit lucky that your winning streak is still alive. Good luck the rest of the way. I hope you not only win the rest of your games, but I hope you blow everybody off the face of the earth. The reason is that I want a rematch in the playoffs. Nothing was settled in this one and deep down you guys know that.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Congratulations Florida State, I Want a Rematch

Going into this game, I really did not know what to expect. Notre Dame was 6-0, but I like so many was still not sure how good this team is. Their signature wins were Michigan and Stanford. Michigan is horrible and the jury is still out on Stanford. Then last week North Carolina gave the Irish a scare. However, I have a feeling that that win will look better in the upcoming weeks. But the point is that there was real uncertainty as to how Notre Dame would match up against the elite teams in the nation.

Well, that question was answered by the end of the first quarter. Not only was this game on the road against the defending national champions, but it was probably the most hostile environment the Irish have seen in a long time. Often when Notre Dame is on the road or at a neutral site, the Irish fans are just as loud if not louder than the opposition. That was clearly not the case tonight. Before the game was the loudest tomahawk chop I have ever heard. But the Irish came out and were unphased by it.

They attacked the Seminoles and really dominated the line on both sides early. Notre Dame actually had a 17-10 halftime lead. Then the second half was back and forth. Notre Dame kept taking the lead, but Florida State kept answering it. It was not until the 4th quarter when the Seminoles took the lead at 31-27.

Then Notre Dame appeared to have come back late for the win when a touchdown got called back for offensive pass interference. It was a controversial ending and you hate to see a game get decided by a flag. But if it is a penalty, it is a penalty. By rule it was the correct call.

Although Notre Dame came up short, a lot of positives can come out of this one. This is the premier program in the country right now and the Irish dominated the line of scrimmage for much of the game. That is a much needed confidence boost for the offensive line.

Everett Golson was able to throw for 313 yards and 3 touchdowns. He did have two more interceptions but one was on an attempt to win the game and he did not fumble. His best receivers were Corey Robinson who caught 8 for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns and Will Fuller who caught 8 for 79 yards and a touchdown.

Tarean Folston had another big day with 120 yards rushing. He has established himself has the primary runner.

The primary concern I would have is that the defense looked solid in the first half but really wore down in the second half. They could not stop the Seminoles in the second half.

But even with a loss, I have a much more certain feeling about this team going forward. Notre Dame's playoff hopes are alive and well. In fact, once it was apparent that this game was going down to the wire, I thought to myself that the final score is somewhat irrelevant because both teams will be in the playoffs if they win out.

The reason why I am so certain of that is because of how the schedule is set up. After a bye, the Irish have their third neutral site game against traditional rival Navy. That is kind of a tune up game for 4 really tough games to finish it up. They have two road PAC 12 road trips to Arizona State and USC. Northwestern really has been up and down in the Big 10 and Louisville is no slouch as their last ACC opponent. The good thing about it is that the Navy game is first which means no more trap games.

For Florida State, they do not have a team on that schedule who will challenge them with the possible exception of Louisville.

What also helps is the fact that Baylor lost and is likely out of the picture due to a weak non-conference schedule. That will make it tough for the Big 12 to be represented because all the teams could end up with multiple losses. In the SEC the two Alabama schools and two Mississippi schools still have to play each other and will knock each other out. In the Big 10, Michigan State and Ohio State will cancel each other out when they play. Oregon could possibly get in if they win out but they still have a brutal PAC 12 schedule ahead.

Bottom line is that Notre Dame will make the playoffs still as long as they win out. So I really have just two things to say to Florida State and their fans. 1) Congratulations and great game. 2) I want a rematch.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Notre Dame And Florida State Both Have Questions About Their Teams

It is just a day away. The game we have been talking about since Notre Dame's schedule game out. Two teams who have played in the last two BCS Title Games. Both have quarterbacks who know nothing but winning. Neither team has lost a regular season game with their current quarterbacks. Both teams have hard hitting defenses. But both teams have had their problems with the offensive line.

Turnovers for both offenses have been a problem in recent weeks as well. Although both teams are 6-0, there is still questions about how good either team is because at this point, neither has really played a tough schedule. Neither program can be faulted for that though. 

Notre Dame Scheduled annual Big Ten rivals Michigan and Purdue. It is not the Irish's fault those teams aren't up to par this year. Florida State cannot help who is in their conference. They were not that impressive in their opener against Oklahoma State. But Oklahoma State is a legit program and has not lost since. Their only other notable game was Clemson. In that game, Jameis Winston was suspended. The Tigers were in position to win but self destructed. Florida State knows how to win. The following week they had a let down against North Carolina State. They were down 24-7 after one quarter before they put together a huge rally in the second half. 

Getting back to the Irish, they had a similar situation after the Stanford game when North Carolina got a big lead in minutes before the Irish got going. So neither team is really been that battle tested this season. It is hard to say how good Clemson, Oklahoma State, and Stanford are at this point. We shall see how as the season plays out and how they do in their conferences.

To this point, they have had one common opponent is Syracuse and the score was very similar in both cases. Notre Dame won 31-15 while Florida State was 38-20. That is almost equal. 

This is really a hard one to predict because there is still a lot that needs to be found out about both teams. This is really Notre Dame's first true road game. They only had two neutral field games up to this. It is also their first game on grass. That is an advantage for the Seminoles. But where Notre Dame will have an edge is that they will have a bigger chip on their shoulder. 

Time for talk is done. Let's get it on. 

Go Irish!!!!!