Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Manti Te'o Gets It Off His Chest and Now Needs to Focus on NFL

In an interview with Katie Couric, Manti Te'o answered some unanswered questions. He also provided his phone records as well as his bill for the white roses. There is little doubt that he was not part of the hoax and that he was for the most part telling the truth.

The only part he lied about was when he answered questions at the Heisman ceremony about the girl when he got the call two days earlier. His answer made sense to me. He basically said that he didn't know how to say on national TV how to make this public that he knew his girl never died. That makes sense because nobody would feel comfortable saying that. It would have caught everyone off guard and would have been embarrassing. More importantly, the night was about the Heisman and not a time to introduce drama.

Watching the BCS Title Game, I never saw him like that in four years. That was the worst I ever saw him. He missed more tackles in that game than he did all year. It is clear that he had a huge distraction over him.

Now that he has said what he had to and has all but exonerated himself, it is time to focus on what he needs to. That is finishing his degree and preparing for the NFL draft. Before this drama came out, he was projected as a top 10 pick. Based on the evidence that he is telling the truth, that shouldn't change. He needs to perform well at the combine as well as his Pro day. Also, he needs to be prepared to answer from 32 teams about the drama. 

We all wish him the best unless he goes to the Raiders or Jets. Just kidding on that one.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why I Choose To Believe Manti Te'o at This Point

This story regarding Manti Te'o has caught us all off guard. His season was an inspiration about overcoming personal tragedy. Now it comes out that the whole thing was fake. Te'o claims he was fooled but claims he was in on it. After a great season, it is so disappointing to see something like this come out. The question is which side do we believe? On one hand, how can you really fall in love with someone you never met? This girl had so many personal issues such as a car accident and being diagnosed with this deadly disease and yet he never went and visited her. He apparently never went to her funeral either. All those things do make anybody scratch their head. However, we are in a day and age in which online relationships do happen. The reality is that as much as we think we know Manti Te'o as a person, we don't unles we met him. The image of him being a man of faith and a great leader is something that we only read about unless we actually met him. We had this image of Tiger Woods that was shattered in a moment when he was in a car accident with a woman who was not his wife. Based on that how can I possibly believe him? The answer is one word (MOTIVE). I don't see one. To suggest that this was a publicity stunt just doesn't make sense to me. He was already regarded as the best linebacker in the country and was already on national TV every week. Therefore he didn't need help getting on TV. It would be one thing if he played for Northwestern or some FCS team, but Notre Dame is shown every week on different networks. The other part is that he lost his grandmother on the same day. That was real. So he already had a tragedy. He didn't need another one to build a story of inspiration. In spite of the red flags and how we don't really know his character, there really is not enough of a motive. He had to have known that in today's world of social media that there is no way he could of pulled this off. The risk just doesn't seem worht the reward. This seems like a very easy thing to prove if you ask me and it doesn't require private investigators. All we need is his phone record and his tweets to her. That seems like it would reslove a lot in terms of his innocence or guilt. Regardless of Te'o, Notre Dame had no role in this and they should not get penalized at all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Notre Dame Fans Should Expect and Hope For More Scares In Future Years

The Philadelphia Eagles have hired the other Coach Kelly from Oregon a few days after Brian Kelly announced he was going to stay at Notre Dame. I always find it funny when fans make it sound like a coach is somehow disloyal by doing what anybody in any other profession does. That is talk to those who want to offer you a job and see what they have to offer. It doesn't mean you not committed to the job you are at, you are just keeping your options open.

The fact that our coach Kelly talked to the Eagles should surprise nobody considering that is how he advanced in his career. There is nothing wrong with it and we didn't mind when he bolted Cincinnati. There is a reason teams want to interview him. HE IS REALLY GOOD. When you have someone really good it is only natural that someone else will want him. That is how it is in any business.

I hope and expect that he gets more NFL interviews next season. The reason why is that I hope and expect to keep winning. As long as Notre Dame keeps winning, the NFL and even other college teams will keep wanting him. That is the reality. Just ask Les Miles and Nick Saban. It is up to Notre Dame to take care of their man to keep him in South Bend.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

To Irish Fans: Don't Be Mad at Coach Kelly

Two days after the Fighting Irish got blown out to Alabama, Brian Kelly interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Of course, Irish fans are feeling shocked and betrayed. Neither feeling should be happening.

This should not be a shock to anyone considering what happened with his previous two jobs. First he left Central Michigan after they had won the MAC and then he left Cincinnati. In both cases he left for a better job. Based on the fact that he did that before, is it really a shock that he would do it now?

I understand wanting to keep Coach Kelly and I hope as much as anybody that he does stay. However, I will not hold it against him if he leaves for the NFL. Players leave for the NFL and some do it before their eligibility is up. Golden Tate and Kyle Rudolph are a couple of examples. Fans were sorry to see them go, but understood that it was the best decision for their future. So we wished them well.

Why should it be any different for coaches? Going from college to the NFL is a step up and who could honestly blame him? One rule I live by is to never critique people for doing the same thing I would do in that situation.

I put myself in his position and here is what I am thinking. "I got a great job here. An NFL team wants to talk to me. I am not sure if I want to go to the NFL or not, but there is no harm in hearing what they have to say."

Be honest with yourselves, how many of you have ever got an interview for a job that you weren't sure you wanted but just went to hear what the job was and what it offered. I have and I actually plan to do that next week. There is nothing wrong with that. It is called keeping your options open. It in no way makes the commitment of where are any less.

That is what I am guessing is happening here. The reason is that he stopped on his way for vacation for the interview. If it was something he really wanted, he would not do it like that. The Eagles have many candidates they want to interview this week including Lovie Smith. If Kelly was really the guy they wanted, they would not have let him out of the building.

I know how important Coach Kelly is and the fear of losing him can cause anxiety. But don't be mad at Coach Kelly. He didn't do anything wrong.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Notre Dame Can Still Hang Their Heads High

Although it was a humbling experience in Miami, Nobody can deny that the future for Notre Dame is looking bright. Notre Dame is once again a place where recruits want to come. When I think of this season, I think that it is only positive that can come out of it. For the Irish to get to the Title game in the first place was a huge accomplishment.

Looking at the game itself, although the result was ugly it is a nice learning experience for them. Playing on a stage like that was like no other these players have been on. The experience of being there will be good so they know better how to prepare next time. Like Steven Tyler of Aerosmith said, " You've got to lose to know how to win."

I have no doubt that Notre Dame will be contending again next year. Everett Golson will continue to grow and be even better. There is lots of guys coming back and another class coming in.

There will be some notable holes to fill. Theo Riddick is gone for sure while Cierre Wood has the option to return but it is uncertain whether he will. With or without Wood, George Atkinson needs to take his game to a higher level.

Tyler Eifert is a huge hole to fill at Tight End as well as Zeke Motta at safety. Obviously the biggest hole to fill though is Manti Te'o. That is not only as a linebacker but also as a leader. He and all these others will be sorely missed.

While the BCS game didn't go as planned, Irish fans for the first time in a long time have a lot to be excited for next season.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Just One Day Before the Biggest Game Since 1988

There is really not much more to write or say. In just 24 hours, we will have the biggest game in 25 years. Notre Dame and Alabama are arguably the two biggest names in the history of college football. They have 18 National Championships between them. This will be the highest rated BCS Championship of all time.

It is really no secret what will be the X-factor and that will be Everett Golson. Notre Dame's front and Alabama's line will be a battle that both sides will likely have wins and losses. Therefore, how Golson performs leading that offense is what will make the difference.

It is really hard to say how this will go. For Alabama, the pressure is on them. They are already the champs and are defending their crown. For Notre Dame, it has already been a great season and the future looks bright regardless of the outcome.

One thing I have noticed from Alabama is a bit of arrogance and underestimating the Irish. That could cost them. I love the fact that Notre Dame is staying at a family resort a few miles away and the Crimson Tide are at a hotel that has one of the hottest clubs in town. That could make a difference.

In closing, I just want to say that this has been the most fun year in a long time to watch no matter what happens tomorrow night. It is a great time to be an Irish fan.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The SEC is Suddenly Not Looking So High and Mighty

One of the reasons that many college football fans and experts are not giving Notre Dame a chance in the BCS Title game is the myth that the SEC is on a level that is above the rest of college football. In some respects, they have earned that reputation with six straight national championships. I am one that won't deny what they have done but also don't like the soft non-conference scheduling featuring many FCS  and mid-major teams.

This year it appeared that the conference was dominant as ever with Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Texas A &M, and South Carolina all in the Ten.  Many predicted that the conference would dominate in the
bowl season, but following Florida's humiliating loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl the conference is just 3-3 so far.

It all started with Vanderbilt getting a 38-24 victory over NC State in the Music City Bowl on New Year's Eve. That gave the SEC a win. Later that night Clemson pulled off a major upset in a great Chik Fil A Bowl against LSU. That heartbreaking 25-24 loss put the conference at 1-1.

Then came the annual three Florida bowl games that feature the SEC against Big Ten. It started with the Gator Bowl where Northwestern ended a 9 game losing streak in bowl games by dominating Mississippi State 34-20. That put the SEC at 1-2.

Georgia took care of business against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl by beating the Corn Huskers 45-31.  That put the conference even at 2-2.

The Outback Bowl featured South Carolina and Michigan. It appeared early with a long pass and huge punt return that the Gamecocks would give the SEC another dominating win over the Big Ten. They got out to a 14-3 first quarter lead. That was only to see the Wolverines come roaring back to actually take the lead. South Carolina pulled off a miracle by scoring with only 11 seconds left. Although it wasn't pretty, put the SEC at 3-2 and set them up to take control the rest of the way.

That was until Louisville shocked Florida and dropped the supposedly dominant SEC to 3-3. Being that Florida was not impressive against Bowling Green, Louisiana Lafayette, and Jacksonville State, the loss shouldn't be all that surprising.

The next bowl up for the SEC is the at&t Cotton Bowl Classic. That game features former Big 12 rivals Oklahoma and Texas A&M. I find it a bit ironic that the Aggies were a mediocre team in the Big 12 for years but they come to the SEC which is supposedly so dominant and have a breakout year.

The other part of this match up that is intriguing is that it features Notre Dame's signature win against Alabama's only loss. From that standpoint, if Oklahoma wins it is a good sign for Notre Dame. But if Texas A & M dominates, they could mean trouble.

The last SEC bowl game before the big one features Ole Miss to take on Pittsburgh from the Big East in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Being that both teams are 6-6, it is hard to pick a winner on this one.

That of course all leads up to the big one in Miami in which we all believe Notre Dame will pull it out.The argument that the SEC is better than the rest of college football can really be thrown to the curb if they lose their remaining three games. All three games appear losable for the SEC. That can put them at 3-6 and be anything but dominant. Then again, they could finish 6-3 in bowl games and continue the dominance. However, I have a feeling that they lose all three. That is based mainly on the arrogance I have seen from the conference and it's fans.

It is time for the rest of college football to shut them up. The rest of the country is off to a good start so far. The Sooners and Panthers can now set the table for the Irish to end it all.