Monday, October 21, 2013
Notre Dame Gets Snubbed In the BCS Poll, But Has Much Bigger Concerns With Rees Being Day To Day
A day after defeating USC at home for the first time since 2001, it was really disappointing to see Notre Dame not ranked in the first BCS poll. I certainly don't think Fresno State, Northern Illinois, or Central Florida play a level of competition that makes them better than Notre Dame. I even want to scratch my head on Louisville. But regardless, I can understand that in the Fighting Irish's first 5 games they were not impressive even in the games they won. But since then they had a great game against Arizona State and the defense dominated USC. The offense was solid in the first half but after Tommy Rees got hurt, the offense did nothing. But if the team keeps playing like they are capable, I have no doubt that Notre Dame will be in position to clinch a BCS bowl with a win when they travel to Stanford at the end of the year. It would not hurt if one of the Michigan teams made it to the Big Ten title game, Oklahoma wins the Big 12, and Arizona State wins the PAC 12 South.
All that talk is mute though if the Irish lose even one more game. With the Rees injury, that is definitely now a concern considering just how bad the offense was without him. Let's just put this in perspective how bad it was. He had two touchdowns in the first half and was well on his way to having close to 400 yards passing. The offense had 269 yards with him and just 26 without him. Keep in mind that this is a defense that has given up well over 600 yards in the last two games. They are notorious for wearing down in the second half and gave up 63 second half points the previous two games, and yet our offense could generate nothing without Rees. That is quite disturbing honestly.
I don't want to beat up on Andrew Hendrix, but you would expect a guy who has been in the program have a better knowledge and honestly have more hunger than he showed. This was his one shot at glory after being behind Rees and Everitt Golson for so long. And look what he did with it. He was 0 for 4 passing and they honestly weren't even close, nor were they difficult passes. Then another ball fell out of his hands when he tried to pass. I understand he is a good kid and is probably trying his best, but this is Notre Dame, not Pop Warner.
Rees's injury does not appear to be serious as he is day to day and expected to practice Tuesday. He has a sprain in his neck. This week, the Fighting Irish have to prepare for an Air Force team that is 1-6 against competition that does not compare to Notre Dame's schedule. I mean no disrespect to the Mountain West conference by that statement because a few good programs got their start in that league. But facts are facts, Air Force is struggling against lesser competition and from what I understand are down to their fourth string quarterback. Given those conditions, I would normally say just sit Rees for this because we should be able to win with a back up. But with as bad as Hendrix was against USC, I have no confidence that Notre Dame can beat anybody with him. We certainly don't want to remove the red shirt from Malik Zaire, not for Air Force. I almost want to say give Charlie Fiessinger a chance. I am sure he can throw a bubble screen to TJ Jones or DaVaris Daniels which is really all he would be expected to do. But then again, there is a reason why he is behind Hendrix.
Good thing we are playing Air Force this week, but we still need to be able to do something offensively. Coach Kelly will definitely have to earn his pay check this week in how he prepares them.