SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
10/22/2006 02:17:00 PM
Five Things We Learned This Weekend
1) That the changing of the guard in the ACC is upon us. If you watched both Clemson’s 31-7 dismantling of Georgia Tech and Boston College’s 24-19 win at Florida State, you saw the unofficial dawning of a new era, because let me tell you, this isn’t a one-year thing. Those Clemson tailbacks you saw running wild Saturday night? They’re only a freshman and a sophomore. That B.C. team you saw win in Tallahassee? It’s actually fairly young. And the rash of problems you’re seeing in Florida State’s program? They’re not going to get fixed in a year. Which means the ACC -- long the sole domain of the Seminoles -- will likely be up for grabs for the foreseeable future, with Clemson and B.C. (along with Virginia Tech, assuming this year is an aberration for the Hokies) leading the charge.
2) That Notre Dame’s offensive line is a mess. Make no mistake, the Brady Quinn-to-Jeff Samardzija game-winning touchdown pass Saturday was a stroke of brilliance. But how, you might ask, did the Irish get themselves in the predicament in the first place of needing a last-second miracle to beat a mediocre UCLA team playing with its backup quarterback? Because for all the star power on the Irish offense, they continue to be plagued by an overmatched offensive line. Saturday, the Bruins had five sacks and held ND to 41 yards rushing, and the Irish now rank 99th in the country in rushing offense (97.4 yards per game). Charlie Weis’ team has won every game since its Sept. 16 debacle against Michigan, but I’m not sure it’s gotten any better.
3) That there’s going to be a free-agent quarterback on the market this winter. No, I’m no talking about the NFL. I’m talking about the University of Texas, where, if I’m true freshman Jevan Snead -- one of the top QBs in the country in last year’s recruiting class -- I’d be starting to look around for a new lineup to crack. That's because, barring injury, Colt McCoy is going to be the Longhorns’ starting quarterback for a long, long time. After walking into Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium and leading a last-minute comeback in the snow, the boyish redshirt freshman season stat line now reads: 67.7 percent completions, 20 touchdowns, three interceptions. That’s incredible.
4) That Rutgers could be 11-0 headed into the last week of the season. I have no idea whether West Virginia’s defense will be able to contain Louisville’s offense in their Nov. 2 showdown -- but the Scarlet Knights certainly could a week later. Rutgers followed up its eye-opening defensive performance against Navy (holding the nation’s leading rushing team to 113 yards on the ground) by going on the road and holding 6-1 Pittsburgh -- with its top-rated passer, Tyler Palko -- to 10 points and 236 total yards. It’s becoming more and more apparent by the week that Louisville isn’t as explosive as it has been in years past, and that Rutgers defense is awfully good. The Mountaineers host Rutgers the last day of the season, Dec. 2. Could it be a matchup of two 11-0 teams.
5) That conservatism should be left to politicians. With 2:09 remaining and Notre Dame out of timeouts, UCLA needed just one first down to seal a victory, but Bruins coach Karl Dorrell opted for a handoff on third-and-7. You know what happened from there. Given a chance to seize momentum late in the first half of a 3-3 deadlock on the road against the No. 7 team in the country, Alabama coach Mike Shula opted for a field goal on fourth and goal from the 1. This did not sit particularly well with his players. “For [Shula] not to have the confidence to go [for it] at their place and get a yard,” fullback Tim Castille told reporters, “that's tough.” It’s one thing to play it safe when the national championship is on the line. But when your middle-of-the-pack team has a chance to pull off a monumental upset on the road, please, coaches, I beg of you -- GO FOR THE WIN.
As a ND fan I have no more than agree with you. As a team, ND has not shown to be at the level of OSU and Michigan (obviously). The remainder of the top 10 teams have struggled, one way or another, to keep on winning. One of the undefeated teams will fall next week (WV v. Louisville, I favor WV to lose) and the last by Nov-18 unless a catastrophe happens to OSU or Michigan before their match. If the national championship would be played by two undefeated teams, the winner of OSU v Michigan and maybe Louisville will be playing that game
Obviously the UCLA coaching staff missed the Arizona-Chicago game last week. Why do coaches insist on "playing it safe" and stop attacking, when time and time again teams come back and make things interesting or win? I want to puke when I see a team (read: coaching staff) goes into conservative "let's hang on for dear life because we have no confidence in our team to rack up a few first downs and try to win the game instead of trying not to lose the game" mode.
I agree about Notre Dame's offensive line. Quinn is still putting up numbers and Samardzjia and McKnight are having great years. Even the defense has stepped up, playing like a different unit than that of last year. However, unless the offensive line gets fixed in a hurry, they will get demolished by USC, and this is coming from a diehard irish fan.
I agree with Mandel that Snead would be looking around at other schools after the end of this year... specially since McCoy hasnt looked back since the Ohio State game (which by the way wasnt all bad for McCoy--given it was his second start in college... EVER). So Mandel, here's a question for you-- Why in the world is McCoy not getting any love from writers who compose the top 10 QBs list? Is it because he is a freshman? Or is it because he hasnt won a big game? I think the OU game AND the game at Nebraska were pretty darn BIG games. Not to mention an upcoming one against A&M which might be ranked in the top 20 by then.
So… this Nebraska team is the same team USC beat soundly. Oh look… UCLA, a “bottom feeder” with a backup quarterback in the PAC 10 was less than 30 seconds away from beating ND. CAL had to go into overtime to beat Washington. Oh… and another PAC 10 bottom feeder, Wazzu soundly beat a 16th rank Oregon team that beat, or at least was equal to, Oklahoma with AP. Let’s not forget USC beat the razorbacks who are now the only team undefeated in the SEC… Why is it that if USC doesn’t dominate it is seen as a sign of failure but when ND makes a comeback it is seen as an amazing comeback? Why is it that when Michigan plays close games with a key player injured it is “understandable” and does not effect it ranking but if USC has several injuries AP voters seem to think that they should have still blown out teams and it DOES effect their ranking? Why did Texas not drop after barely escaping with a win over a 20th ranked team? Mandel do you think that…maybe…. The computers were right and the AP sportswriters do not give USC enough credit for its wins?
I have been an Alabama fan all of my life. I always took pride in the fact that Bama would take chances and have the testicular fortitude to go for the win. Even if they fall short, at least they left it on the field.
The play calling this season has ben atrocious, and to tell Tim Castille, Andre Smith, and John Parker Wilson they couldn't gain 1 yard showed a)total lack of confidence and b)outright cowardice. Even if Tennesee HAD stopped them, it's first and goal from the one and the way the defense had been playing a pick and a TD was not out of the question.
There had better be some wholesale changes in the offensive coaching staff. Bama hasn't been the best in the west, to say the least, but to not give those young men the chance to prove themselves at the 1 yard line and go for the win was emasculating and embarrasing.
Mandel, you were right on the mark last week! Ever since Texas getting spanked at home by Troy & Co. the coaches have been allowing Colt McCoy and the gang ever so much flexibility with each successive win. The whole team has been flying quietly under the national radar screen until it finally caught your eye with Colt's accuracy and level headed decisions. That and the fact that Texas leads the nation in causing opportunistic fumbles. Those two stats basically did in a very good Nebraska squad and their weather! Colt is the real deal! -Joe in Austin
BC is one of the youngest teams in the ACC. Next year, BC could have a real shot at an undefeated season. Clemson also could be better next year than this, as could Wake Forest. FSU, Maryland, and Nc St should all be no worse. If UVA, UNC, and Miami respectively fail to fire Groh, Bunting, and Coker, in 2007, the best 4 teams in the ACC could all be in the Atlantic division.
I cant stand hearing about notre dame anymore. People should now realize, Charlie Weis is a good coach, definetly not a genious, their schedule isnt that hard and their team isnt that good, especially Brady Quinn. Imagine the stats Troy Smith or Chad Henne would put up if they passed 45 times a game!!! Now that the Irish have been priased for miracle comebacks over UCLA and Michigan State, ive lost all faith in the media. Good teams dont need miracle comebacks against those teams. It should be a sign they are not good, not that they are amazing. ND should be ranked 15 tops.
Washington, off a terrible home loss to a mediocre Oregon State team where they lost their starting QB for the season scored on a last-second, tipped, 40-yard touchdown pass on the road against top-15 Cal from a quarterback making his first start in two years who had somehow managed to keep the keep the game close despite throwing 4 interceptions to that point.
Instead of taking this breathtaking miracle and using the momentum swing to play for the win on a 2-point play, Coach Ty played for overtime. He did so despite the fact that the Huskies Defense could not stop Marshawn Lynch (who ended up with 203 total yards and 2 touchdowns on TWO bad ankles) and Huskies QB Carl Bonnell completed passes to Cal Defenders almost as often as to Huskies receivers.
And just what happened in OT? Cal's second play: Lynch runs for a 22-yard score. Huskies second play: Bonnell's 5th interception.
For the love of God, if you are a 4-3 team that has a chance to finish off a title contender on the road with one play, DO IT. Why in the world would a coach want to give a team extra chances to win? The Huskies had nothing to lose by trying for the 2, and what happened in overtime was a microcosm of the entire game.
CJ Spiller and Jacoby Ford (WR) were back to back 100m and 200m champions in the state of Florda. Clemson has both of them. The sheer speed of the current Clemson team is something that I could not have imagined a few years ago.
Here's an idea: Notre Dame joins a conference. Then, instead of the Irish ekeing out miserably unimpressive victories over horrible (North Carolina, Michigan State) to middle-of-the-pack squads (UCLA, Purdue), dominating wins over the service academies, and humiliating losses against every elite opponent (Michigan, USC) all the while clamoring for a BCS bowl, they'd have to actually earn a berth.
Why should college football fans have to endure (aside from $$$) yet another overhyped Irish team getting smoked in a bowl game? I mean, yes it is great fun watching the Irish get embarrassed by Ohio State, Oregon State (TWICE!!!), North Carolina State, etc., but a team should have other qualifications besides an NBC television contract.
Does anybody really believe that Notre Dame could win ANY of the BCS conferences? Big Ten? Not a chance. Big 12? There are at least 3 better teams there. Pac-10? UCLA and Stanford are a bit lower caliber than USC and Cal. Big East? ND would finish 4th at best. SEC? Are you kidding? They could have a shot at the ACC, especially considering their lone quality victory this year over Georgia Tech; but does that win even mean anything after Clemson's wrecking of the Wreck?
Notre Dame is somehow a Top-10 team that would finish no better than 3rd or 4th in any BCS conference. Why are they so talked up for the Sugar Bowl? Are their fans that eager to watch them lose 41-9 to Florida?
I have been a college football fan for close to 59 years. (I'm close to 59 years old) I have never been so sickened by bad play-calling as with what happened in the ND-UCLA game. The game should have been won by UCLA, except for the hyper-conservative play calling of the moronic coaches of UCLA.
What a shame that those UCLA players that played their hearts out had to lose a game because of the wussiness of their coaches. Seeing Dorrel on the sidelines with the deer in the headlights look on his mug made me puke on my wife's afghan. And she was wearing it at the time!!!!
It should be noted that while you mention a loss to BC earlier in the season as the reason that Clemson is not in the national title picture, you should only fairly mention that a last second hail mary pass against NCstate is the only reason that BC is not undefeated and not in the title picture, Is there a program that gets less recognition year after year than BC?
What if Rutgers runs the table? With their tough D it's not impossible. That would mean beating both Louisville and West Virginia. Would a Rutgers team that began outside of the Top-25 even finish in the Top 5?
It's hard to say how the BCS would treat the Knights, of course, but that would just go to show what a joke the useless preseason Top 25 is.
Coach Callahan, you did the right thing in picking up the first down with a bit over 2 minutes left via the short pass completion on 3rd and 2. It was simply a bad break (the fumble) that cost you the game, and this is DEFINITELY not your fault. As far as the UCLA debacle, SHAME!!! This team instead chose to "sit conservatively on their lead", never attempting [seriously] to pick up ONE first down to seal the win. And we all know what happened. I would fire UCLA's head coach for squandering what should have been one of the most monumental wins in years!!!
I'm really getting sick of everyone talking about how great Rutgers is. They have one of the softest schedules in the country, so guess what, they should be winning all these games!! How many top 25 teams have they beat? How many good out-of-conference games have they scheduled? Their signature wins were against Navy (of Poinsettia Bowl fame) minus their starting quarterback, and now Pitt. Yes, the same overrated Pitt that lost to Michigan State and beat up on the Citadel. Is anyone ever going to stop and realize that it's not about what your record is, but all about who you play. The Big East is having a down year (again), with only one truly elite team, WVU, so coming out of that conference unscathed is virtually equivalent to beating up on a bunch of I-AA teams. So congratulations Rutgers, enjoy the ride all the way until you get blown out of the water in a bowl game you don't deserve to be playing in. I'll be at home laughing.
I think it's funny that you mentioned UCLA going conservative. I think back to the BCS title game with Sc and Texas. SC could have punted on 4th and 1, but they went for the victory. Granted, Lendale White was stuffed. Regardless, that's the kind of confidence you want to see a coach have in his team.
How many BCS games will be wasted on ND? Oh wait, I forgot the BCS is all about money and not quality football. If Notre Dame were to join the Big East Conference the conference debate would be over (as they have in basketball) and they would finish with at least 2 losses this year. There's no way they could shut down WVU's offense. Rutgers defense is too good for ND's offense. Then there's Louisville, I'm giving that game to ND, simply out of courtesy to ND fans. ND gets too much credit. The fact that they came back against UCLA should indicate that they were lucky to win, rather than them being a great team. They may have beaten GT, but I think Clemson showed how good GT is. But, b/c of money, ND will never join the Big East and ND will continue to fans with their national coverage every week. I find it almost hard to enjoy college football with ND in the picture. ND will go to a BCS bowl and get spanked by Michigan, WVU or Clemson.
I love all the "Cries" for Notre Dame to join a conference, especially the ones coming from the Big Ten fans. Obviously, they have the most to gain. First, the Irish don't need a conference in football, conferences need the Irish. They are in the Big East in all other sports. Secondly, they sill have the most National Titles and most Heisman winners so all programs are chasing them. That's why it probably feels good to beat them. Finally, if they ever join a conference in football, great rivalry's like USC or Michagian could end. That would be bad for Collage Footbal. By the way, I am a huge Notre Dame fan. A Great Program and Great Tradition. Deal with it.
with the exception of osu, no one in the top ten has been wining big. so why does notre dame keep getting punished. auburn beats a horrible tulane team and moves up in the rankings. we keep wining and we continue to move down in the rankings
C'mon. Give Rutgers credit where credit is due. They've done everything asked of them. Only a mere two years ago they would be lucky to win three games. Now people want to trash them because of their schedule? Everyone trashed WVU last year and how they were going to get dominated in their BCS game and they won. Against the SEC champion. In what was essentially a home game for Georgia. This hate on the Big East is ridiculous.
As an Ohio State fan, I want Notre Dame in the conference because then we would get to beat them every year and there would be a conference championship game. Other than that, I really don't care what they do. They're the Fighting Ir-relevants.
Gotta love it when Notre Dame fans are resorting to cries of "tradition" to justify inclusion in any BCS discussion. Boy, that 10-10 tie with Michigan State in 1966 sure give you reason to play in January 2007.
Notre Dame has ZERO national titles or Heismans since 1988. The Irish haven't had a marquee win since they beat Bobby Bowden and Charlie Ward 13 years ago.
You guys have barely been relevant since you lost at home to Boston College in 1993.
Hopefully Texas' win over a solid Nebraska team will give them a BCS boost and keep the Irish even further away from a major bowl berth they most certainly do not deserve.
I like the idea of the Irish joining a conference. They would probably be competitive in Conference USA. Or the Mountain West. But BCS conferences? No way. They are exposed year in and year out as an overrated has-been and would be one of those 8-4, 9-3 teams that would fit best in a respectable, late December Bowl.
Been a die-hard Bama fan all my life. Same coaching staff this year as last and we went 10-2 last year. The defense that wanted Coach Shula to "go for it" gave up a 70 yard drive later! The offense could not get 1 yard on a 3rd and 1 earlier. Fair weather fans are like the wind...when we win, Shula & Co. are great...when we lose, they even wanted Bear's head on a platter! The Coaches are getting the players into a position to win the game and the players are not getting it done...some of the time. Bama isn't ranked, has a very young team full of talent, and is almost winning against teams that are much stronger this year. Do I want another NC? Sure thing, but its not the coaching...its the players not getting the job done.
To all you RUTGERS non-believers and haters out there: Shut your traps! All I hear is how the Big East is down and how the Scarlet Knights have a soft schedule. First of all, they're doing all that is asked of them, and that is winning the games on the schedule. The Big East has 3 of the remaining unbeatens in D1-A; that's hard no matter who you play. Second, give us loyal Rutgers fans a break and let us bask in the undefeated sun for a bit - after all, it has been 30 years since RU was undefeated at this point in the season. Lastly, don't be jealous, enjoy the ride! Everyone loves an underdog / Cinderella Story! (Sorry Miami - Schiano isn't going anywhere!)
You anti N.D. people amaze me. Join a conference and you would be the third or 4th team in the conference. Bull, No conference has more than a couple of great teams the rest are like Illinois, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Stanford, North Carolina...etc. So if we were in a conference we would at worst be sitting with one loss and in pretty much the same position. Face it when you count the div II teams that all the conference-mongers play, our schedule rivals any of theirs any day.
Oh yes, only if Notre Dame played the power houses Ohio State plays; Northern Illinios, Cincinnati & last buy not least Bowling Green. Wow, what a schedule!!!
I love all the ND haters out there. Perhaps if ND had no acedemic standards like lets say USC they too would be running the table. Instead all ND players must be able to read write on a college level!! Go IRISH!!!
What do a maggot and an Alabama fan have in common? They can both live off of a dead bear for twenty years!!! Let it go Bama fans. Face it, your program has been mediocre for years and will continue to be.
I,ve been a Michigan Fan for 25+years and am apprehensive about their upcoming game against Ohio State.Michigan has the talent year after year to compete with anyone and do not duck anyone to their Credit.Defence wins Championships and Michigan has that this year.However Michigan will need more than that to Beat Ohio State in the Horseshoe.Michigan has the Offensive Weapons and a New/old coordinator.They still need to be More Consistant,More Creative,less Conservative and less Predictable By the time they get to Columbus.LLoyd Carr can not continue to resort to Field Goal Football at critical times in BIGG Games.That Strategy has not served his team well over the last several years.Chad Henne had an Incredible first year with Michigan But has not improved that much since then.He needs to play even better than he did against Notre Dame minus the early interception.He is Capable of doing so.Since Being without Manningham Michigan has had the (fortunate)opportunity to Develope its other weapons on offence for which they have many.They have failed to so and better do a better job of doing so over the next 3 weeks time..Twice in the last two weeks I would have pulled the Entire offensive unit off the field and put the back up unit for a series or two to send a message to Henne and CO.The Message being Life is short and you only get so many opportunities to achieve Greatness.Michigan has that opportunity this year.Time to get serious Chad&Co..Do not ride on your Defense,s Efforts.They need you to step it up now offence!To LLoyd Carr:Let your Coordinator call the plays especially in key situations.Approach the Ohio State game as if you have Nothing to loose.Do not hold anthing thing back and leave it all on the Field.As Tempting as it is for you to want to make this a Defensive Game,Do Not Fall into the Trap of playing Small Ball with Tressle.He's too good at it.Ohio State is playing near perfect Football right now,Give them credit,Respect them, but know that they are not unbeatable...Michigan,you will have to Play a complete game on both sides of the ball.The closest I have seen you come to doing this over the last 5+yrs or so was earlier this year versus Notre Dame and you did not play to your full potential in a game that was not as close as the score.You will need to Play to your Potential against Ohio State.Do So!Seize the Day,You may never know when the opportunity will present itself again.This could be one of the Greatest games in College Football History.Lets hope it lives up to the Hype.Carpe Diem Michigan!
ND is in a class of their own, really! How can a team be beat so soundly in their past bowl game and receive a ranking as high as 2? To make matters worse on this over-hype, Michigan State and UCLA give way their wins away to the Fighting Irish. With another loss, most likely to USC, they can and will make the BCS bowl season, earn their diminished BCS payout -$5 million, and football nation will be treated to yet another blow out special. Think about how long it has been since ND won a post-season game.
First off, I am a ND fan...go ahead and crucify me. But I would like to direct some of you who choose to harpoon ND for their "Poor" showing this weekend to the CNNSI stat pages. There you will notice that UCLA is 10th in the nation in total defense! We are not talking about a slouch team on the defensive side of the ball. So let's match some of the other "high power" schools in this nation against a top 10 defense and let's see how they strugle!
It is a tradition for USC to drop in ranking whenever they have a by-week. I think there is some hidden factor in the poll system that takes away points from them on weekends they don't play. It happened last year and the year before. I do hope that Cal remains undefeated in the Pac 10 until the usc game. We had joe ayoob last year as our qb and he wasn't too great. Hopefully Cal can redeem themselves this year. The cal vs washington game was an interesting game. Washington is a stronger team this year even though they haven't won many games. The games they lost have all been close games, so I am not surprised that they were able to take the game into overtime even with an inexperience qb.
How many times will an inflated SEC team be placed in the dreaded #2 spot, only to fall the next weekend (Auburn 10/7, Florida 10/14)? Can't folks see that destiny has dictated that USC is to stay there, if only so that the Cal Bears can fill the Trojan men with the bad taste of a true changing of the Pac-10 guard on Nov. 18th? This would be the first Rose Bowl for Cal in... what?..999 years?
Something tells me that the preference for SEC teams has something to do with the 90K-plus crowds that greatly overshadow the paltry 58K-plus crowds seen on a good day in Berkeley. But doesn't an egg-headedly cool "Nobel Prize" chant offset at least a few thousand Bubbas in the stands?
I tend to agree with all of these comments regarding the over-hype that the media places on Notre Dame year-in and year-out. Now, I will give in and say that ND does have some quality players but for them to be ranked as high as they are and to have as weak wins as they do shows me something about the polls and the BCS. I mean, two of their wins were against medicore, at best, opponents and they had to rely on last minure, literally, drives or plays to win. That does show me that they are a good team (one that can win even under pressure) but it also shows me the over-exageration that people give to ND. But of course, those are just my thoughts...
As a fan of a school that seems to always be in the shadows, I have to say that I have now lost all faith in the polls and BCS due to their ideals on two schools in particular; University of South Carolina (who has never been very strong but because of their old past decent coaches that they bring in, they are always put in the lime-light and ranked higher than they ought to be and ND (as explained)...
Houston would be a interesting destination Jevan Snead. There are several Stephenville high school (Snead's alma mater) coaches on the UH staff, including Head Coach Art Briles. He would probably pick up right where future NFL QB Kevin Kolb leaves off.
All this National Championship talk is making me stupider by the second. Clearly the two best teams in the country are OSU and Michigan. The winner SHOULD be considered the National Champion, but unfortunately some unworthy undefeated team that plays in the lousy Big East or some defeated team that happens to leapfrog their way through the polls is going to receive a shot to get bitch-slapped by the cream of the Big Ten. Like I said, it is OSU and Michigan and a bunch of nobodies.
Notre Dame is mediocre at best, USC is weak, Texas has already shown they can't hang with OSU, Auburn and Tennessee are lucky, and West Va. and Louisville are the beneficiaries of some retards manning some voter ballots.
I hate to say it, but the simple fact that so many of you are on here saying how Notre Dame doesn't deserve this and that is the exact reason why Notre Dame will never be irrelevant to college football. So what that Notre Dame hasn't won a championship since 1988. Texas hadn't won a championship since 1970 until last year. Michigan went 49 years between championships in 1948 and 1997. USC didn't win for 25 years until 2004 (yes I am implyinh that they did not win a championship in 2003.) As far as joining a conference goes, Notre Dame prefers to keep tradition alive by playing big games between big schools accross the country. They built their fame by being Rockne's Ramblers and playing any school anywhere in America. Look it up. To even try to pretend that the big conferences have a hard time getting their elite teams to the BCS is crazy (except for the SEC). Texas just has to beat Nebraska every year, Ohio St just has to beat Michigan, and USC basically has a cake walk. The Big Easy... I mean Big East only looks deep, because everyone in that league is incompetent. The bottom line is that Notre Dame will always be one step above the rest of college football and there is nothing anyone can do to stop that. The more you clamor, the more you build it up.
Let's be honest ... the only conference that "needs" Notre Lame is the Big East. With the departure of Miami and VT, the Irish would definitely boost the image of that conference. And there's a reason Notre Dame won't join the Big Ten - they'd never make it. Sure they'd snack on Indiana and Northwestern, but they can't beat OSU to save their lives, and teams like Wisconsin and Iowa would give the Irish fits, just like a very mediocre Michigan State has over the past 7 years. I'll give Notre Dame its tradition and history. But let's remember that Army and SMU have a pretty good tradition as well ... and they haven't been national contenders in a long time.
I am a UCLA grad, but I have to give a lot of credit to Notre Dame. They had been soundly beaten on the line and they did not accept defeat. They refused to lose. Two minutes left and the cameras showed the UCLA team congratulating each other on their victory. The game was over.... yeah right. UCLA played their best game of the year and it was almost but not quite good enough.
The mark of a champion is playing until the game is over.
It is not over until it is over... Yogi Berra.
ND is one of the truly great teams. No doubt top ten. On any given day they can beat anyone.
First of all, Rutgers deserves just as much credit as West Virginia, if not more. WVU's toughest opponent thus far has been Maryland. Rutgers has beat NC(every bit as good as Maryland)in addition to beating Pitt and a Navy team with a potent offense. WVU has blown everyone out that they have played but thats to be expected they play a weak schedule in the weakest BCS conference. As far as Notre Dame goes, they play a much tougher schedule than people will admit. The first 5 weeks of the season were brutal. They did not have a North Texas or some I-AA school to open up with. They played 5 quality opponents from week one to 5. It wears a team down to play a schedule like that. They play the academies sure, but look who Ohio State opens up with in a few years-div I-AA Youngstown State for two years then they open with Army, so you cant criticize Notre Dame for playing weaker opponents when they play in rivalry games for 6 or 7 of the 12 games. As for whoever said think about the stats that Troy Smith and Chad Henne would have if they threw 40 times a game... part of the reason that Smith and Henne are as efficient as they are is that they do not have to throw as often. There is less chance for mistake with those two. The more you throw the more chances you have for an interception or a drop. The fact that Quinn passes as much as he does while gettin hit as much as he does should gain him all the more credit. Notre Dame will play anyone, theyve shown that, they could play in any conference and be fine, except for the loss that would mean for their wallets.
Everyone who thinks that Michigan State and UCLA are cream puffs can just look to your own schedule and see who your team played. I know my Longhorns played Sam Houston State and Rice. No one can tell me that Michigan State and UCLA aren't tougher than that. We played Sam Houston State because of a committment. Notre Dame's been playing many of the same schools for over fifty years. Love the tradition. That's what the college game is all about. Love the guts to play a tough early schedule year in and year out, even in the down recruiting years.
I love the fact that there are so many ND bashers out there. The very fact that you all feel the need to jump on the team every week reinforces the fact that ND is relevant. Notre Dame football is still relevant and has always been relevant. 101 winning seasons, 5 .500 seasons, and only 12 losing seasons in a 118 year history of football. That is the mark of a consistently good football program. ND plays the same type of schedule as everyone else. Every year we play top teams in Michigan, USC, and at least one or two other teams which are having an up year. This is similar to any conference schedule, where a team will only play one or two top teams (Big 12 - Texas, Nebraska, Big 10 - Michigan, OSU, Pac 10 - USC, Cal, etc). Not only does ND have this history of success, it is once again resurging. Look at our recruiting class last year, our recruiting class this year, and our 6-1 record. ND is relevant. Not only is ND relevant, but it does football right. We don't use our football players like most football factories. Instead, 95% of our players earn diplomas. Most of your beloved football factories graduate around 55% of your players. Congratulations on using your players. I'm sure that many of them really appreciate the fact that they played football at your school when they aren't one of the few that go to the NFL, and end up with no diploma. And we don't have football majors either. You won't find a major in "leadership", "criminology", etc. at ND. Football players carry the same classes as every other student on campus (they even all take a required calculus course).
Well Folks, say what you will...the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame are STILL 6-1 ! Doesn't matter who did or didn't do the job or who looks or doesn't look like a contender, the Irish got the wins. Traditions...who cares! Everyone trots them out when they want to...but the bottom line remains the same: "On any given Saturday, it comes down to the final horn & who has the MOST points?" Again, whether the Bruins played well for 59 mins or not...the final 27 seconds were the only thing that counted. Also, if the Bruins played so well, why did the final 27 seconds have to count at all??? Did anyone think about THAT reverse logic? Same with Michigan State, Georgia Tech, ad nauseum. Regardless of coaching, players, intent, desire, etc...who has the most points...that's it. ND 6-1. Winning ugly, winning beautifully...winning is STILL winning.
As much as I dislike the SEC whoever wins that conf deserves to play blow hi o state. Toughest schedule, a USC loss (I'm begging) and a crying result on my birthday of Michigan losing in Columbus should land and SEC team in Tempe. All said and done I'm hoping for a Michigan vs. Florida (boss' alma mater) Fiesta bowl...M GO BLUE
I agree that ND should join a conference. They are the last MAJOR football program not affiliated with a conference. I agree too that they make sense in the Big 10. Big Blue and Ohio State need another team to bully about. The fact is ND is the only school that is joy of the American public (not sure why or who decided that). NBC plunked all that money into showing their games and ND, as I understand, gets to enjoy all that money for themselves without the need to share with other "conference" schools. Notre Shame.
thank you coach Carr for winning against Iowa and potentially giving us another shot to see the number one team in the nation vs the second ranked team. I don't know about everyone else but the UT,OSU match didnt come any where near as close as last years game. if both Michigan and OSU win out the Big Ten title and national championship will be on the line in the biggest game of the year.
As far as ND is concerned....a win is a win is a win!!!! And as sad as it is, I agree that this ND team is rather weak. But believe it or not you'll hear it here first...Notre Dame will end up being a part of the National Championship picture with the remaining schedule of the top 10 teams and as weak as USC is playing, ND can still beat them. I'm a big ND fan but truth is truth no matter how much of a fan you are or aren't of ND.
I really hope that since ND has won the most national titles/Heisman candidates etc....gives you some comfort everytime you get embarrassed by playing the elite schools (THE Ohio State University, Michigan, Texas etc...) of THIS generation. We exposed ND in the Fiesta Bowl last year and Michigan took care of you this year. And conferences need the Irish? Maybe financially....guess that makes ND kinda prostitutes, eh buddy?
what would college football be without notre dame haters...nobody talks about SC looking less than stellar in a weak PAC 10 or Auburn being "exposed" by Arkansas or a host of other "contenders" squeeking by...be a fan, not a fanatic
It's so nice (and easy) to be an armchair critic. Why didn't I go into journalism. You criticize UCLA for running on 3rd and 7 to run out the clock. You would have been even more critical if they had thrown an incompletion instead.
Notre Dame has been down for many years due to bad coaching and bad recruiting so forgive Notre Dame fans if they finally have something to cheer about.
Is the team as a whole playing well? No. The offensive line is the problem. They suck. Quinn is on the ground about 80% of the time and the other 20% he has about .5 seconds to throw the ball so the faact that the Irish are 6-1 against a pretty good schedule says they are a top 10 team.
They have played one god awful team this year. The rest are decent to great teams. They lost to the #2 team in the nation. I would say they are very deserving of a top 10 ranking.
People like to talk about how the Irish are over rated, How they haven't won anything in years, about how Weis is no genius.
They are 6-1 against a tought schedule. The past is the past and Weis is looking at the future. Weis can only do so much. If the players don't perform that is not on him. I think the fact that he turned a team that was like 12-11 the two years before he got there to a team that looks to go 20-5 or 21-4 the two years after he got there with pretty much the same players shows how good of a coach he is.
This team looked, on paper, like a NC caliber team at the start of the season. Now they do not but are certainly deserving of a top 10 spot. Tennessee pull one out of there ass. No one complaining about that. Cal did as well. No one complaining about that. Just becasue it is Notre Dame people are complaining.
Notre Dame is the most overhyped, overrated team in the United States. ANY SEC team should be rated over the Irish. It was easy for Notre Dame to win National Championships before the scholarship rule changes because they could stockpile players forever. I wish we could have a Rutgers vs. Notre Dame matchup and witness how truly overrated the Irish are.
Go Big Red, Comments from the weekend: great job NE vs. TX. I can never understand why skill players cannot have the wherewithal to wrap up the ball with 2 hands, especially in key situations(you know what I'm talking about.) Colt is solid, but not special; he's got an excellent line to protect him(imagine Josh Freeman with that line.); The polls-does anyone really think Rutgers, WV, Boise St., ND-to name a few-should be ahead of NE? WHO HAVE THEY PLAYED? New Mexico St.(recent Boise foe) looked like a high school team. Hey but they're undefeated, right? There should be 2 polls: one for elite teams and one for below average teams that are undefeated. Callahan for coach of the year!
I think it's funny to see all the hate mail thats directed to ND. One thing that I find particularly amusing is that none of these anonymous writers say who "their" team is. I suspect is a so-so team in a so-so conference.
You're hearing a lot about the Irish because a historic program is finally being turned around and headed in the right direction. Sorry about "your" luck!
Finally, the Irish aren't Nat'l Championship caliber...yet. No one said they were. But neither is W. Va, Louisville, Tenn., Auburn, etc.
Oh, and by the way...the Heisman is more than just stats...it's about coming through when you're team needs you to do so....and Brady Quinn has done it....twice. Heisman = Quinn
I agree with the comment about Irish fans having to throw out the most titles and Heismans crap when things go bad!!! So what, you've been around longer than anyone else, won most in an era of no competition. Miami has won 5 national championships in the last 23 yrs when competition has been at the highest level ever, by far!!!
I agree they are good for the sport in terms of viewership, but at what point does the history....just seem like history.
Go Canes, looking forward to a rebuild, we'll be back!! The "U"
ND sux. Overrated every year. Afraid to play BC b/c they get smacked in the mouth every time. Silly green shirts. South Bend sux. Silly corn-field with a school on it. Name sux. Means "Our Lady" in French. French sux. "Our Ladies" shouldn't be playing football. "Fighting Irish?" Please. Come to South Boston if you want the real deal.
Wow, ND's line is a mess. My lasting image of Brady Quinn this season, no matter how many TD's he throws against WEAK competition, is Quinn picking grass out of his helmut after Alan Branch more or less destroyed him in the Michigan game. ND does not deserve to be in the BCS.
Yea Colt McCoy is having a good season, but another quarterback in Texas is having a very comparable season and that is Texas A&M's Stephen McGee. He has more passing yards, less interceptions, and more rushing yards than McCoy, while leading the Aggies to several last minute, game-winning drives this season. Both have led there teams to records of 7-1 on the season.
The UCLA coach should bare the entire loss on his shoulders. Don't forget his BRILLIANT decision to go for it on 4th and 1 (or 2) in the first quarter while on his own side of the field. That decision led to Notre Dame's first touchdown.
Being a Rutgers fan almost all of my life, I can hardly believe their run of good fortune. Usually, the Rutgers teams are plagued by eternal bad fortune.
I just read an article by Steve Megargee on Yahoo. He basically places Mike Hart in the mold of Emmitt Smith and all of the 'fast' running backs like Steve Slaton, Garrett wolfe, etc. in the mold of Barry Sanders.
I've been thinking all year as I watch EVERY RU game that Ray Rice IS the next Emmitt Smith. How many guys run the ball down the gut of the line on every play and get as many yards as Rice. You almost never catch him dancing around in the backfield and getting caught for losses before he breaks a big run like Sanders used to do. Just like Emmitt, Rice is patient and then explodes through the first hole in the line, getting hit several times on every play and seeming to get better as the game goes on. It's truly incredible for a guy his size.
Some things to consider with the comparison to Hart. Rice has more yards per carry(5.6 to 4.8), more carries per game (28.7 to 26.8), and more Rushing TD's per game(1.7 to 1) than Hart. More importantly because Rutgers passing game is not very good, he gets the ball on nearly every 3rd and short play or anything around the goal line. The kid is unbelievable. I haven't seen Mike Hart run, so I really can't judge him that well. The only thing that I can compare are the numbers and Rice has him beat hands down. If you don't believe me...watch the RU-UConn game Sunday night at 8PM on ESPN.
In regard to Jevan Snead, he should transfer to Nebraska. Here is why: 1) He needs to sit out next year, but that is fine because Sam Keller (the ASU transfer) will be the starting QB for the Huskers. 2) With Keller starting, and he is only there for one year, none of the younger QBs on the roster will get much playing time. 3) He will get 3 years to start at a traditional powerhouse that is making positive strides toward becoming a powerhouse again and the chance to play for a former NFL coach. 4) Revenge. Big 12 Championship games in 2008, 2009, 2010….
Until we have a playoff in college football - there really isn't any way to settle things. Is a one loss USC or Texas or Ohio State or Michigan better than an undefeated West Virginia? I think so, the polls probably would agree. Love to see it on the field.
Second, a playoff system can't emerge until we...
a) Get all 6 BCS conferences playing championship games...The Pac 10, Big 10 and Big East need to add teams and add a conference championship game.
b) Notre Dame needs to join a conference...you can't give special treatment to them and then ignore other teams like Boise State.
c) The BCS conferences need to expand out to 16 teams and absorb the smaller conferences. Or the two super conferences need to be formed from the mid-majors. Ideally you would have 8 - 16 team conferences with (7-to-8 team divisions) playing a a chapionship game producing 8 champions.
d) Expand the BCS from 5 games to 8 games. Use the BCS rankings for seeding the champions. Have a true champion determined on the field.
e) Non-champions who qualify would fill out the bowl games.
WOW, interesting to see all the negative hype about ND!! Charlie Weis has done a good job of getting that team back where it should be. When ND has a good season, College Football is better for it. What is up with all this SEC Bashing, what are you guys kidding me? 5 teams in the top 15, and all the Big 10 whiners are complaining about it, give me a break! I checked the polls this morning, OSU and Michigan are still 1 and 2 guys, and as for the PAC 10 whiners, you guys have got to be kidding. USC and Cal guys, that's about all you got. USC is coming off two terrific years with TONS of talent, they are still a team to reckon with, and outside of their stumbling out of the gates (to an SEC Team) Cal is putting together a great season. The SEC has continuously, and repeatidly put 2, 3, sometimes 4 teams in bowl games in January, don't be a hater, learn to live with it, because I don't see that changing anytime soon!!
OSU still plays Michigan which will obviously change these stats one way or another, but Smith will have to throw for 8TD and 492yds, and throw less than 2INT to match Quinn's statistics for common opponents.