Wednesday, January 7, 2015
And so the drama starts. Earlier this week there was a report that Everett Golson was interested in transferring to LSU. As it always goes, Golson and his people denied it. But there will be rumors like this all offseason. Golson along with Ohio State's Braxton Miller could be the missing piece for a team that is otherwise looking ready for a title run. LSU certainly fits that profile as they have arguably the best defense in the SEC and an outstanding young runner in Leonard Fournette. But they are weak at the quarterback position. It's no wonder that both Golson and Miller have been rumored to go there.
With all the schools out there, the odds of him ending up at LSU are probably slim. But let's just humor ourselves for a little bit. I can certainly see why LSU would be interested in Golson. He made some big passes in the Music City Bowl despite limited playing time. He is on the one who engineered the late drive that led to the game winning field goal. That was after taking a vicious hit that required a shot at halftime.
I can also certainly see why Golson would be interested in LSU. He will have a great line which will help with the turnover problem. He will have a great defense and an explosive back. The Tigers would immediately be set up to be a contender in the SEC and also for the playoff. The only problem is that they would be set up for one year as that is all Golson has left. That would require Golson to learn a new offense in a very short time. That is not easy.
It would also place a lot of attention on Notre Dame and Brian Kelly. Although Malik Zaire was very impressive in the Music City Bowl with the plays he made, he really was more of a running threat than he was passing. He had less than 100 yards passing and most of his throws were safe. Kelly would be letting a big name like Golson get away for a prospect who has a lot of potential. Zaire certainly has potential but potential means you have done nothing yet. That is definitely a risk.
Can you imagine if LSU makes the Playoff with Golson and Notre Dame is in another Music City or Pinstripe Bowl? Kelly would certainly have a lot to answer for there. At the same time, if Golson were to struggle at LSU and Notre Dame made the Playoff or even New Year's Six with Zaire, Kelly would look like a genius.
Golson to LSU probably will not become a reality, but it certainly would create drama if it did.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
One of the most interesting stories for the offseason not only for Notre Dame but all of college football will be the decision of Everett Golson. After the Music City Bowl, he stated that his immediate plans are to return to Notre Dame for the spring semester in which he will graduate in May. After that he is unsure. He basically has three options. He can remain at Notre Dame, transfer, or enter the NFL Draft. It will not be an easy choice for him as each one has risk and reward. Let's look at those choices.
Option #1-Stay at Notre Dame
As a Notre Dame fan, I hope he picks this one. After watching that Music City Bowl, it appears to many that Coach Brian Kelly has decided to give the ball to Malik Zaire as the regular quarterback. However, Kelly can never be predicted and I am not sure that it is as set in stone as it would appear. Zaire did get most of the snaps in the Music City Bowl, but I am not sure that would have been the case if Golson hadn't taken that vicious hit in the second quarter. He had to take a halftime shot for that.
Also, Zaire had less than 100 yards throwing and most of his passes were short and safe. It was Golson who hit most of the deep passes and especially on that critical last drive. So I am not convinced at all that Kelly has it set in his mind that Zaire is the main guy going forward.
I do think that Kelly wants to use more of a two quarterback system with the two. While the old adage is that if you have two you have none, there are exceptions and this is one of them. Golson is the veteran but only has a year left. Zaire has a lot of skill but is still raw. Each is different. When Golson is in, it seems like he is trying to do everything himself where as when Zaire is in, it appears like you have 11 guys working together.
Golson does need to learn that being a leader doesn't mean doing everything himself. Kelly said that two years ago he was riding the bus but driving it this year. Well, he looked like a good driver at times, other times he looked afraid to get behind the wheel, and other times he looked like he was driving drunk. Consistency is an issue but that gets back to using your teammates.
Maybe with a two quarterback system he will be more relaxed.
Option #2-NFL Draft
I still haven't heard his draft grade, but I only advise quarterbacks to come out early if they are a likely first day pick. With Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston out there, I am not seeing it. I really think the turnovers would rub the NFL teams the wrong way. They want to see him clean that up first.
Earlier I said as a Notre Dame fan, I hope he stays. But if I were advising him, I am not sure if that is in his best interests. I have no doubt that the two quarterback system can work. I am not questioning that at all. What I am questioning is whether Golson should want anything to do with it. Transferring in his last season did wonders for Russell Wilson. NFL teams will scratch their heads though on a guy who split time his senior year. So being that he is graduating and will not have to sit, it might be smart to look at this.
He will have to learn a new system quick so it might be advisable to pick a school that he has some familiar faces. One school that immediately stands out is Miami of Ohio. He is familiar with Chuck Martin. Although the team was not good, Andrew Hendirx had a good year throwing for them. There is no reason to believe that Golson can't do really well there. Another choice that makes since is Connecticut. He knows Bob Diaco and I am sure the OC is someone he is familiar with. Another choice might be Northwestern as Tommy Rees who was a good mentor to Golson is there now.
Those are his options and it will be interesting to see what he decides.
Friday, January 2, 2015
When Notre Dame made the decision to play LSU in the Music City Bowl, I am sure that starting a streak of losses for the SEC West was the last thing they were worried about. After a season that began so strong but ended in a big collapse, ending on a positive note was the only thing the Fighting Irish was worried about.
Nonetheless, Notre Dame and their fans have had to deal with what all other college football teams and their fans have to deal with. That is constantly listening to ESPN talk about how great the SEC is. Nobody can deny the impressive run they have had. However, I find it especially irritating that they schedule lots of FCS team and are never held accountable for it. That is especially true for the SEC West. The SEC East at least has end of season rivals with the ACC.
For years the conference has gotten away with that and we still hear how their schedules are so tough. This season was a little different as there was the perception that the SEC West had actually separated itself from the SEC East and was dominant in all of college football. The Playoff committee clearly showed SEC West bias in the early polls before they ultimately did get it right.
Notre Dame and all college football fans grew tired of hearing about the "mighty SEC West." Ironically when the bowl season began it looked like the entire SEC would just dominate once again. South Carolina from the East defeated Miami in the Independence Bowl. Texas A & M from the West defeated West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl. That same day Arkansas from the West destroyed Texas in the Texas Bowl.
Next game Notre Dame's great win over LSU. That did not look like a streak would be created though because that same day Georgia from the East crushed Louisville in the Belk Bowl. At that point, the conference as a whole was looking good as they were 4-1. The East was 2-0 and the mighty West was 2-1.
Ironically since then the East picked up another victory via Missouri over Minnesota in the Citrus Bowl. The SEC East is 3-0 so far with a chance for their division to go unbeaten. Tennessee will be favored over Iowa in the Taxslayer Bowl and Florida can end on a positive note against ECU in the Birmingham Bowl. But for the supposed superior West, the Notre Dame win created a streak that let's just say has made it a bad three days for the "best division in all of college football."
TCU crushed Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.
Georgia Tech kept in going against Mississippi State in the Orange Bowl.
Wisconsin shocked Auburn in the Outback Bowl.
But the biggest blow of all was Ohio State over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl/Playoff Semifinal.
So although they didn't plan it that way, Notre Dame began something big. The SEC West had a belief that they were just better than the rest of college football, but the rest of college football would have none of it. It kind of reminded me when Hitler had this belief that Germans were the master race but Jessie Owens came in and won all those Gold medals and blew his theory out the door. What these wins showed is that the SEC West is simply not superior to anybody in college football. They lost to the Big 10, ACC, Big 12, and the Independent that started it all. Maybe next year the committee won't show such bias in the early polls.