Daily Archives: September 14, 2007

Wake up the echoes

Wow.  Just wow.  The New York Times, in a story about Michigan and Notre Dame falling on hard times this season, rips on the Irish big time:

… In assessing Penn State’s 31-10 victory over Notre Dame, Coach Joe Paterno said at his weekly news conference: “Notre Dame has got some problems. They didn’t challenge us, really.”

Such underperformance raises a serious question about whether Notre Dame, and similarly Michigan, can hope to contend regularly for national championships without lowering their academic standards. This quandary occurs as many top recruits seem less sentimental about tradition and more interested in positioning themselves for big money in the N.F.L.

“The balance of power will shift to universities that have the lowest resistance to taking the top athletes with weaker academic preparation,” said Michael Oriard, an English professor at Oregon State and a former Notre Dame captain. “It’s already happening.”

Effectively, Notre Dame is now a third-tier team, Stanford with a national television contract. The Fighting Irish are 19 years removed from their last national championship, and they have endured nine consecutive losses in bowl games.

There’s also a pretty good one liner in the article about Lloyd Carr – “Carr appeared to be stunned, resembling an East Berlin apparatchik, circa 1989, who had just been told that the wall was open and people were free to cross.”

How bad has it gotten for the two schools?  Bad enough that Norfolk State feels free to mock…

Others speak dismissively of these suffering teams. Asked about facing Rutgers this week, Norfolk State Coach Pete Adrian told reporters, “I’d rather be playing Michigan.”

… and it doesn’t seem outrageous.

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Notes of Steele

In case you don’t know, Phil Steele puts up weekly notes at his website (linked on the right).  They’re as hard to read as his magazine, but worth taking a look at.

Here are a few nuggets that might be of interest to Dawg fans from what he posted this week:

  • Kent State completely outplayed Kentucky in the 1st half with a 268-98 yard edge but fumbled twice and was intercepted to stop 3 drives and also got to the Kentucky 11 at the end of the half but out of timeouts they could not get off a FG attempt so 4 scoring opportunites were wasted… [Ed. note:  UK is +4 in TO margin so far this year.  The ‘Cats will be trouble if they keep up that pace.]
  • Alabama won for the 20th consecutive time over Vanderbilt and was even more comfortable than the final would indicate. They finished with a 371-232 yd edge but VU gained 85 of their yards on the final 2 drives including a TD with 7:22 left. VU QB Nickson was hampered by a sore hamstring all game and struggled hitting 5 of 18 passes for 67 yards and Bama fans outnumbered VU fans…
  • Auburn/USF was a strange game in the fact that Auburn turned over the ball 5 times but USF missed an amazing 4 FG’s. Auburn’s D was already playing without LB Blackmon and S Savage and lost CB Whilhite and LB Johnson during the game to inj and Tuberville said “We were so beat up we played our 2nd Tm LB’s and DB’s in the 2H.” USF jumped out to a 14-0 lead but needed OT for the victory…
  • Oklahoma St QB Bobby Reid was talked about as a possible All-Big XII candidate at the start of the year but he found himself on the bench for the final 3Q’s vs Florida Atlantic and backup Zac Robinson hit 14 of 20 for 250 yds engineering the 36 point rout…

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Western Carolina thoughts

This isn’t an Appy State the Dawgs face Saturday. ‘Bama hung 56 on these guys. They’ve lost 11 straight games and they’ve got five starters out with injuries. In other words, even if Georgia brings its “C” game, it’s going to win easily.

The outcome isn’t in suspense, but who plays and when for Georgia is. Richt is being coy about the linebacking situation, but it’s now apparent that the coaches are trying to send a message there. The AJ-C speculates on five freshmen and sophomores that may see playing time tomorrow. Cox and maybe Barnes should see the field, as well.

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One day, they’ll burn a couch in his honor.

That Noel Devine kid looks like he can play a little.

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Filed under College Football