Category Archives: Notre Dame’s Faint Echoes

The suspense is killing me.

Be forewarned, college football world.  The Notre Dame-Georgia game could be ugly, sez the AJ-C’s Connor Riley, because… well, because a troll’s gotta troll.

Factor in the potential for bad blood stemming from last year’s College Football Playoff, and there’s a chance that it might be one of the biggest games in Sanford Stadium in quite some time.

Yeah, if it hadn’t been for some of Georgia’s players noting that ‘Bama Clemson rolled the Irish last year, hardly anyone would pay attention.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

Context, strength of schedule edition

In his preview, Bill Connelly thinks pretty highly of Notre Dame.  Some examples of that:

  • The header reads, “Can Notre Dame gain any ground on Clemson and Bama?”
  • The sub-header reads, “Brian Kelly’s building a case to perhaps be considered the most successful coach outside the top two.”
  • “Mind you, they’ll likely be a top-15 team again.”
  • “… they’re perhaps just an upset or two away from a return to the Playoff.”
  • “Per S&P+, the Irish are double-digit favorites in nine games…”

The finish to that last quote?  “… and a two-touchdown underdog at Georgia.”

Maybe we should be asking if Notre Dame can gain any ground on the Dawgs.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, Stats Geek!

Maybe it’s early…

… but should we talk about the Notre Dame game a little now?  Here’s what Brett McMurphy has to say about it.

No. 1 – Notre Dame at Georgia, Sept. 21
Projected point spread: Georgia -10.5

The last time Notre Dame faced a team from the South, it wasn’t pretty (Clemson 30, Notre Dame 3 in last year’s Cotton Bowl). This game, pitting a pair of top 10 teams, will have huge College Football Playoff implications. While a loss won’t eliminate the loser from playoff contention, they would likely have to run the table the rest of the way since we’ve never had a two-loss team in the five-year history of the playoff.

Last year, Notre Dame’s defense surrendered its fewest yards since the 2012 team that reached the BCS title game. Six starters return off that unit, which will be tested by quarterback Jake Fromm and running back D’Andre Swift. The Bulldogs return 15 starters, 11 of which were freshmen or sophomores last season.

Notre Dame’s offense made huge strides when Ian Book replaced Brandon Wimbush as starting quarterback four weeks into last season. The Irish averaged 37 points a contest over their final nine games until Clemson held Notre Dame to three points.

This is a rematch of the 2017 contest in South Bend, won by Georgia 20-19 (in Fromm’s second career start, while Wimbush attempted a career-high 40 passes) on its way to reaching the College Football Playoff championship game. This will be Georgia’s biggest home non-conference contest since hosting Clemson between the hedges to open the 2014 season.

The first thing that catches your eye is that double-digit point spread over a team that just played in the CFP.  The second thing is the Clemson comparison.  Yeah, I know it’s a different season and all that, but that’s an easy narrative to hatch and we all know how the national media loves itself an easy Georgia narrative.

This game will get plenty of attention as it gets closer.  The 2017 road win jump started the Dawgs’ run towards their national title game appearance.  Will a 2019 win do the same?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

We’re cuckoo for Notre Dame tix.

Crazy, man, crazy:

Stunning, for sure.  For all the sneering we do about Notre Dame being overrated these days, our wallets seem to be telling another story.

Meanwhile, Greg McGarity wishes there was someway B-M could tap into that sweet, sweet secondary market for itself.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

“What interest does everyone else have in supporting that legislation?”

C’mon, Notre Dame.

In lieu of playing in a conference championship game, Notre Dame would gladly add a 13th game to its schedule if the NCAA would allow it, Fighting Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick said on Sunday at the College Football Playoff.

“We would love the opportunity to play a 13th game to take that issue off the table,” he told ESPN. “Nothing would make us happier.”

Swarbrick said he has spoken to NCAA officials about it “a little bit” but acknowledged the difficulty in changing a rule that impacts the majority of its membership. The NCAA limits teams to 12 regular-season games, plus a conference championship game if they qualify.

The Irish are already halfway in the ACC.  Occam’s razor suggests a much easier solution to Swarbrick’s problem than carving out a special exception.

I didn’t think it would be possible to come up with a scenario where most people would dislike Notre Dame’s place in the college football world even more than the one it already occupies, but never underestimate athletic directors, I suppose.

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Filed under Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

Wait… you weren’t serious about that?

Not a good look, Notre Dame.

The wild recruitment of Thompson’s Station (Tenn.) Independence four-star wide receiver TJ Sheffield took another turn on Wednesday. Just days after announcing his commitment to Notre Dame, the 5-10, 170-pounder from the class of 2019 has reopened his recruitment and will now consider other schools.

Clearly there was a miscommunication on this front and Sheffield shed some light on this on Twitter earlier today.

“After establishing a long-term relationship with coach Alexander, the receivers coach for Notre Dame, I called him on the morning of the 6th of July and stat to him my intensions to commit,” wrote Sheffield in an announcement on Twitter. “Coach Alexander then congratulated me on committing and he spoke with my parents as well, stating that he looked forward to coaching me. Today I received a call from coach Alexander stating that Notre Dame was not going to honor my commitment due to a change of plans. Coach Alexander stated that he should have let me know on the 6th of July that Notre Dame had different plans. As a result of the information that I received today, my recruitment is now back open. I completely accept Notre Dame’s decision as God’s will for me and know that God has an open door that no man can shut. Thats again to Notre Dame for considering me as a possibility for their program Sincerely, TJ Sheffield. #2.”

So, to recap:  Notre Dame had an outstanding offer to a kid, kid accepts the offer, coach accepts the kid’s commitment, even speaks with the kid’s parents and then the school reneges.  Nice.

I’m sure the amateurism romantics here will be happy to explain to the rest of us how this is no big deal and Sheffield has plenty of other options, blah, blah, blah, but for a sport that loves to bill itself as teaching kids life lessons about honoring commitments (kids, you need to risk your future earnings by playing in a meaningless bowl game, because, team!), this sure seems like pure garbage.

It’s another good example of why the NCAA ought to blow up the whole signing framework and require schools to treat these deals as straight contracts.  One side offers, the other side accepts and, boom, you have a binding arrangement.  Until then, the lesson learned is that coaches control until they don’t.  Welcome to the real world, TJ.

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Filed under Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, Recruiting

“We’re trying to find some nice, gray-haired people who want to do some good things for the University.”

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Notre Dame’s Guest Services Team should be deeply flattered by this.

What was really cool and unexpected was Georgia’s announcement that it would be utilizing the “Silver Dawgs” to serve as campus hosts at the Bulldogs’ home football games in the future.

What in the world are Silver Dawgs, you ask? Well, that’s yet to be established. But if you were at the Notre Dame game in South Bend, Ind., this past September, you have an idea what Georgia is shooting for.

While on the beautiful campus occupied by the Fighting Irish, you no doubt came in contact there with one or more green-jacketed individuals who were incredibly cheerful and very willing to help. Notre Dame calls those guys its “Guest Services Team.” They are just one small part – and the most visible part — of what is actually an army of personnel that Notre Dame unleashes to provide hospitality for guests visiting their pristine campus on game days. On its website, Notre Dame numbers its “Usher Corps” at 850 people, about 350 of which are volunteers. Many others are full- or part-time employees of the university.

Basically, they’re there to make sure spectators – and visiting fans, in particular – have an enjoyable game-day and game-weekend experience. So, they’re deployed all over campus on Fridays and Saturdays of a home game and stationed at key points to answer questions, provide directions to restrooms or points of interest on campus and even to provide historical information.

Speaking as one who was there, I thought those folks were great.  They really added to what was a terrific stadium experience.  That Georgia is looking to emulate that is something I can heartily commend.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes