Saturday, January 06, 2007

Army All American Game

Now on NBC I am watching the Army All American Game. I tuned in thinking that this would be much like the pro bowl with sugar coated defenses and very boring offenses. I also didn't expect to see much hitting.

I was wrong. Grant the West is blowing out the East but I feel reassured that the Irish are in good hands. A few years ago we were lucky to get one or two players in this game, now we have at last count, 8.

I know its a high school all-star game so to say but I enjoy this day. Watching it has made me feel a helluva a lot better about things than I felt at about 10:15 Wednesday night. It would be nice to see a couple linebackers or defensive linemen dawn the interlocking ND on their heads but with what I have seen so far I can't complain.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Where did it all go wrong? After a well played second quarter, with 1:44 to go in the half the Irish looked as if they were onto something. They hadn't allowed any points in the quarter and fought back to tie the game at 14 after trailing 14-0 to start off the ballgame. That is when things got ugly.

Real ugly.

LSU marched down field and scored just before the half to put the Bayou Bengals ahead 21-14 and they never looked back. They came out guns a blazin' in the third quarter and the Irish were lucky to hold them to a pair of field goals. Two more second half scores made it a 41-14 ballgame and thats how it finished.

"Where do we go from here?" is a question that will be asked.

What unemployed looks like

In all likelihood I feel that Rick Minter has coached his final game at Notre Dame. On defense Notre Dame does a very bad job of disguising blitzes and the defensive backs are out of position too much. Those both showed tonight. To an extent you can blame the players but there comes a time when you have to question who is running the defense. It was as if they had no idea what was coming at them, not real sure why because LSU didn't run that complex of a defense.

Can't put all the blame on the defense either, offensively in the second half the Irish looked miserable. Recievers dropped too many balls, offensive line didn't play their best game, and Brady had seen better evenings as well. A lot will be gone next year, we will have to wait and see what the rest of '07 has to bring.

Many will say that Charlie Weis is yet to deliver a top notch win at Notre Dame and they are completely correct in that assessment. I am not going to jump all over him and call for his head though. I am guilty of drinking a little too much "Notre Dame Kool-Aid" as you all call it. I apologize. However look what has happened under the Golden Dome in the past two seasons. A combined 19-6, with five of those losses being against top 5 teams in the nation. He doesn't lose games that he is supposed to do, a credit to him. Maybe all Irish fans alike are guilty of expecting too much, too early.

Two BCS bowls in a row, sure Notre Dame gets a break on bids when it comes down to it, but its a helluva way from a combined 1 BCS bowl in 8 years and its a better to be playing in New Orleans on January 3rd than in Bank One Ballpark before the New Year. Give Weis time. Next year doesn't look the best on paper but only time will tell. Even after tonights shalacking, there is not a doubt in my mind that the Irish are headed in the right direction and will be a force to reckon with as long as Weis is there.

Thank you seniors, what you were able to contribute to this team in your four years is remarkable. It ended biterly, but you have a lot to keep your heads up about.

BCS Wrap

As asked for, heres my Rose Bowl (and other New Years Day Bowls) wrap up.

Obviously, the most important football related event took place in the Rose Bowl. That is shown above with the song girl who forgot her spankies. The investigation of which song girl it was continues on Deadspin as you read this...

Sidenote: Those sweaters get hotter every time I see them. If you put Rachel Bilson in one it would be the hottest cheerleader imaginable.

The Big Ten had an impressive day on New Years Day with Penn State upstaging Tennessee along with Wisconsin holding off Arkansas. In both of the games one thing was more obvious to me than anything. How much more physical the two Big Ten teams were than the SEC teams. Sure the Vols and Razorbacks showed at times how much more team speed they had, I won't argue that. However they physicalness of the Big Ten was just too much in both cases.

The Rose Bowl was a different story however. What we saw in the morning and early afternoon games was turned around 180 degrees in the Rose Bowl. You could tell that USC's defense was just too much for Michigan. The Wolverines were outplayed really from the middle of the second quarter on, which made Lloyd Carr's record in big games during the 21st Century something like 2-13. Dwayne Jarrett also showed off why he will be the first reciever taken in next April's NFL Draft, and the most questionable celebrations after big catches (being patted down, slowing down before endzone, and tossing ball on opponents chest). Needless to say, Michigan was a disappointing.

The night ended with one of the craziest damn games you will ever see. Spending $1.99 for the condensed version of this one on ITunes is amongst the greatest investments you will ever make.

I'll admit that I was a Boise State doubter, when Marcus Walker ran the pick back I was more than sure the game was over. Whoops. However, before you beg for a playoff make sure you are aware that the Broncos #9 rating in the AP and Coaches polls would not have allowed them to be in an 8 team playoff.

Last night was the least exciting of the BCS games so far this year. I was hoping for a Wake Forest win but it wasn't meant to be. The Big East has two consecutive BCS victories, so much for taking away that berth that everyone was so set on doing two short years ago.

Tonight the Irish take on LSU in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. I'm still confused about this game because for as long as I can remember it has been the Nokia Sugar Bowl. Allstate is making my head spin.

Nonetheless the Domers go into tonights ballgame as the obvious underdog, +8.5 as of 5 pm to be exact. News has come of a few LSU players being suspended for the first quarter/half for missing team curfew. How much of a difference will it make?

To me the Irish must be on the attack early. Slow starts against Michigan and USC doomed them earlier in the year. Get out to a quick start is a must for tonight. If that does not happen I do not like the Irish's chances.

Keep a watchful eye on Rhema McKnight tonight. He struggled with several drops on key plays in both the Michigan and USC losses this year. If he can get the butter off his fingers the Irish offense will without a doubt fair better. The defense, as is obvious, must make a few stops. Way too many big plays this year. If they allow the big plays that they did against Ohio State last year ND could be in trouble.

With a surprisingly good day from the defense and a strong Rhema McKnight output, I would expect an Irish upset as the midwest shows the southeast once again how football is really meant to be played.