Posts Tagged ‘Notre Dame Fighting Irish’

HLL: CFB Coaches 2009-10: In Memoriam

Headlines, Links & Lies | Gate 21

A solemn remembrance of the coaches that are no longer with us after the 2009 football season from the inimitable LSUFreek.

Video: CFB Coaches 2009-10: In Memoriam

Ashes to ashes…

Tis only proper that we reflect on those gone by…

2009 CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot: Week 14

Here’s my ballot for this week’s CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 hosted by — as you might imagine — CBS Sports.

Week 14

Through 29 November 2009

Ahh, Championship Week.  How quickly the 2009 regular season has passed us by.  Still, even this late in the game there were still a few surprises this past week in the world of college football.  Thus, here’s in my BlogPoll Top 25 ballot for week 14.  Most of these should be fairly obvious.  Either way, here is is:

My Ballot for the Week

Rank Team Delta
1 Alabama
2 Florida 1
3 Texas 1
4 TCU
5 Cincinnati
6 Ohio State
7 Boise State 2
8 Penn State 2
9 Oregon 2
10 Brigham Young 3
11 Virginia Tech 3
12 LSU 5
13 Nebraska 8
14 Southern Cal 4
15 Georgia Tech 8
16 Pittsburgh 8
17 Miami (Florida) 2
18 Houston 2
19 Wisconsin 3
20 Oklahoma State 8
21 Iowa 3
22 California NR
23 Stanford NR
24 Utah 9
25 Clemson 9
Last week’s ballot
Dropped Out: Navy (#23), Mississippi (#25).

Explanations after the jump…

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Urban Meyer to Notre Dame?

Wait.  Before you pop the champagne corks, let me flush this one out.

I only have one source have two sources saying that Urban is heading out.

Here are some things to consider, though.

1.  Urban Meyer’s buyout clause is only $500,000.  Notre Dame sneezes at that kind of money when it comes to buying championships coaches.

2.  Urban may have suggested, by implication, that Notre Dame is his dream job.  That comes from a guy who says “I’m not leaving X for anywhere” and actually means “The movers came last weekend and my house is empty.”  He wants that job.

3.  Urban Meyer>Bob Stoops.  Do you really want to debate this one?  Fine.  Talk to the Honorable Corrine Brown.YouTube Preview Image

4.  $50,000,000 over 10 years or $25,000,000 over 5 years.  Yeah, that’s a five million a year base salary.  Plus, a Nike Contract, three “projects” (read: JUCO players), and $1.2 m for a national championship. Urban’s current base salary: $4m.   [Editor's note: states secrets privilege invoked, information redacted]

5.  The SEC is getting crowded.  Urban knows he can count on Kiffin, Richt, and Surrier every year and plays the odds on getting Saban, Nutt, or Miles every other year.  Kiffin is hellbent on crushing Meyer and he knows it.  There’s nothing quite as unsettling as knowing that someone has your number.

What does this mean? Well a few things.

1.  I will be in Neyland next year for the Florida game.  Florida – Tebow and Meyer= Ole Miss.  Year Two of the Reign of Kiffin at home against my generation’s most hated rival?  I’m bringing my Florida fans with me. I may even buy their tickets for this one.

2.  Bob Stoops is going to have some ‘splaining to do.  It’s like when you try to upgrade your dating profile at your fiancee’s expense.  You usually end up on the couch.  You may end up single.

3. Pete Carroll better have this year’s ND game edited and made into a commemorative DVD.

4. The Tennesse-Notre Dame rivalry is back.  With a vengeance.

5.  Or I am completely and totally wrong on all of these points and Brian Kelly will be the next head coach of Notre Dame.

I have the honor to be, the VolAmbassador | Gate 21


Image(s) Courtesy of:   xx   •   xx   •   xx

2009 CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 Ballot: Week 5

Here’s my ballot for this week’s CBS Sports BlogPoll Top 25 hosted by — as you might imagine — CBS Sports.

Week 5

Through 26 September 2009

This was one screwed-up week for my ballot.  I suppose this is my proverbial “adjustment week” wherein I re-align everything now that I’ve had a chance to actually see how teams are going to play.  That said, some the weeks changes are the result of nothing other than the unexpected highs and lows for the teams across the country.  Lots of movement this week in my BlogPoll Top 25 ballot.  Most of these should be fairly obvious.  Either way, here’s my ballot:

My Ballot for the Week

Rank Team Delta
1 Florida
2 Texas
3 Alabama 1
4 LSU 3
5 Boise State 4
6 Southern Cal 5
7 TCU 5
8 Ohio State 5
9 Oklahoma 1
10 Iowa 4
11 Penn State 8
12 Virginia Tech 7
13 Mississippi 7
14 Cincinnati 9
15 Georgia 2
16 UCLA
17 Notre Dame 1
18 Houston NR
19 Miami (Florida) 11
20 Kansas
21 Oklahoma State
22 Nebraska
23 California 18
24 Pittsburgh 9
25 Michigan
Last week’s ballot
Dropped Out: Florida State (#24).

Explanations after the jump…

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So, did the Butler do it?

No Pass Out Checks | Gate 21

Brian Butler has been called many things by many people, not all of them are nice.

Butler is a former rapper and call-center manager, and a seemingly respectable football trainer based out of Wichita, Kansas.  At present, Butler is the principal and operator of the Potential Players recruiting service through which he serves as a self-styled, come-lately, “recruiting adviser” to high school football standouts across the country.  A “gifted” self-promoter, he is also the subject of a recently announced investigation by the NCAA.

Brian Butler working a recruit (NY Times / Simmons)

There are many questions being asked about Butler by many people, especially those recruiting high school standout Bryce Brown (which includes Tennessee).  The fundamental question, however, centers on whether he is essentially seeking to act as a sports agent for players being recruited by college football programs.

For now, at least, there is no definitive answer to this query.

The reason that this is an issue is that Butler has widely taken the position that the only way that college recruiters can speak with high-schoolers that he is “advising” is by going through him.  To many, this appears—at least outwardly—that Butler is serving as an “agent” rather than simply as an “adviser.”

Again, why does anyone care?  Under NCAA bylaws, current and potential student athletes are prohibited from retaining agents, and requires that all prospective athletes undergo an amateurism certification process, which includes, among other things, certifying that the athlete has not agreed to be represented by an agent.  On the issue of agents, NCAA Bylaw 12.3 states that:

An individual shall be ineligible for participation in an intercollegiate sport if he or she ever has agreed (orally or in writing) to be represented by an agent for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation in that sport. Further, an agency contract not specifically limited in writing to a sport or particular sports shall be deemed applicable to all sports, and the individual shall be ineligible to participate in any sport.

See NCAA Operational Bylaw 12.3.1 (PDF )

The NCAA’s website offers additional guidance stating that:

…a student-athlete (any individual who currently participates in or who may be eligible in the future to participate in intercollegiate sport) may not agree verbally or in writing to be represented by an athlete agent in the present or in the future for the purpose of marketing the student-athlete’s ability or reputation. If the student-athlete enters into such an agreement, the student-athlete is ineligible for intercollegiate competition.

Also, a student-athlete may not accept transportation or other benefits from an athlete agent. This prohibition applies to the student-athlete and his or her relatives or friends.

The term “agent” includes actual agents, runners (individuals who befriend student-athletes and frequently distribute impermissible benefits) and financial advisors.

It is not a violation of NCAA rules if a student-athlete merely talks to an agent (as long as an agreement for agent representation is not established) or socializes with an agent.

• via: Overview of NCAA Bylaws Governing Athlete Agents | NCAA.org

Thus, Butler acting as the only means of communication with a recruit could be troubling and potentially a violation of NCAA rules, hence the NCAA investigation.

This raises a particularly thorny set of issues for high school athletes and their families, college athletic departments, high school coaches, college boosters, the NCAA, and State Legislators.  That’s right, I said State Legislators.

For these reasons, I am personally of the opinion that someone—whether it be Butler, athletes, college institutions, or otherwise—will end up paying for what amounts to an infraction that lies in the proverbial “gray area” of the NCAA’s rules.  A violation in spirit, if not in the letter.  The problem is, however, that whether Butler’s conduct violates many rules or none all depends on the perspective applied to the facts, and for the record, I make no assertion that I know or understand all of the facts.

Still, let’s use a hypothetical to illustrate the complexity of the situation.

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This Week = Money

On Remote | Gate 21

“Separation” Saturday?

Last week? Weak. This week? Matchup-wise, it’s the opposite. I have yet to hear to cliche that ESPN has dubbed this coming week. “Separation Saturday” sounds typical enough…

That’s really what this weekend is, particularly in the SEC East and the Big XII XI. In the East, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee all face “must-wins” according to CBS analyst Gary Danielson. The Vols and Dawgs go at it head-to-head, while Florida hosts LSU in their yearly grudge match.

In the Big XI (inspiration from Pat Forde on ESPN), you of course have the Texas-Oklahoma Cotton Bowl showdown, but also Missouri plays host to the surprisingly unbeaten, chest-bumping Oklahoma State Cowboys.

These three games form quite the nice triple-header for your viewing pleasure. There’s some other quality football on, and as always that’s where I come in. I should say now that this will be the longest “On Remote” preview to this point. Don’t worry, it’s alllllllllllll worth it!


SEC Football | Gate 21
SEC Games

South Carolina at Kentucky (12:30, RayCom): I was wrong on South Carolina last week, as Chris Smelley threw all over Ole Miss’ defense in the Chickens’ 31-24 win in Oxford. The question is can a Carolina QB put together two straight consistent weeks? Kentucky has a better D than Ole Miss, and the Cats’ strength is their front seven.

Despite coming off their first loss of the year, Kentucky should have gained confidence from last week’s game at Alabama. If the Cats offense improves a little, or even limits its mistakes, this team could be dangerous down the road this year. These two always seem to play pretty close games, and Kentucky shot themselves in the foot both last week and in Columbia last year. Still I think Carolina’s QB inconsistency will be the difference in a Kentucky win.

Vanderbilt at Mississippi State (2:30, ESPN GamePlan): So I was wrong on Vandy too. A win in Starkville would put the Dores at 6-0 for the first time since 1928. Yes, 1928. It’s that kind of year. Last year, State was the Alabama State Champions. They have a chance to claim Tennessee the next two weeks.

Bobby Johnson has Vandy on the verge of bowl eligibility

As fundamentally strong as Vanderbilt is and as bad as Mississippi State’s offense is (ie, worse than Auburn’s), Vandy should SHOULD continue their historic year. Oh yeah, a sixth win would mean the Dores’ first non-losing season since 1982.

Tennessee at Georgia (3:30, CBS): Last time we saw Georgia, they were getting smacked at home by Alabama. The Vols are trying to avoid an 0-3 start in the SEC. Basically, it’s an SEC East elimination game, but isn’t every week?

As everyone knows, Tennessee has won three of the last four, the last two in Athens, and the last two years by a combined 86-47. The revenge factor comes into play, but Georgia’s banged up and the Vols have no offense. How healthy is Knowshon Moreno? The Dawg defense took a hit with the loss of Dannell Ellerbe, and appears to have a weakness along the offensive line. Tennessee just plain likes to shoot their toes off in the most frustrating of ways I won’t go into. Nick Stephens, meet the fire.

Yet another reason to miss Mr. Ainge: he was 3-0 against Georgia

I have low expectations. Very low. Tennessee seemingly matches up pretty well, but most reasonable Dawg fans (an oxymoron, I know) will remind you of David Cutcliffe’s absence. Coach Fulmer has struggled – mightily – against Mark Richt without Cut (two wins against UGA without Cut: ’99 and ’04). He doesn’t have Cut anymore. T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Not just this week, but this entire season for the Vols.

Tennessee’s defense keeps it close, but I just don’t see Tennessee getting enough offense to win Saturday. Think Auburn. I’m expecting another frustrating Saturday…

Arkansas at Auburn (5:00, ESPN GamePlan): So much for the Spread Eagle. Probably using the fan’s vote, Auburn fired Tony Franklin Wednesday, probably meaning the beginning of the Kodi Burns era and Chris Todd and the bench and headphones/clipboard becoming best of friends. Playing Arkansas should also help, as the Hogs are bad enough that even Tennessee could score on them (I think). Though they are bad, they played Florida much, much tougher than the 38-7 final showed, and I expect Petrino to get an upset at some point…

LSU at Florida (8:00, CBS): Personally, this is one of my favorite SEC games each year. The athletic ability on the field between these two is ridiculous. The coaches (and their egos) are a great match-up. And it’s always a game Florida could very well lose – and I could watch Florida lose every day.

That said, I like LSU in this game, and here’s why: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – LSU has the SEC’s best lines (Bammer is a close second). Florida’s lines? Probably their weakest aspect, due to the athletes everywhere else. While LSU has some questions in the secondary, they should be able to keep it close and be able to wear down Florida with Craig Scott and that offensive line, much like they did at Auburn. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I really like this LSU team – as in I think they’re the best in the SEC.


OH THERE’S MORE!

Tonight‘s game has some intrigue. For Vols fans, fellow underachiever/coach-on-the-hot-seat Clemson/Tommy Bowden travel to Wake Forest in an important game in the ACC Atlantic, where Florida State is also in the mix (the Noles are off this week after beating Miami).

The NEW Weekly Duke Update: After being shutout by Georgia Tech last week, Duke has granted Cut a one-week release to be Tennessee’s offensive coordinator for the Georgia game. UGA is screwed and there are rumors of a forfeit. Yeah, WE WISH. Duke hosts Miami next week. Meanwhile, Lawvol’s Tar Heels, fresh into the rankings, host Notre Dame. C’mon, UNC…

Throwing conference affiliations aside, here are the other great games in chronological order…

Colt McCoy

Sam Bradford

Texas vs. Oklahoma in Dallas (12:00, ABC): Ah yes, the battle of the two outstanding QBs who look like they are still in middle school – Texas’ Colt McCoy and OU’s Sam Bradford. My deal with Texas is that they are generally underachieving. They are in Texas. They have recruits fall into their lap from Texas, and Louisiana, where LSU is the only competition. Yet Mack Brown hasn’t won much without Vince Young. OU has the edge defensively, and the Texas secondary is ripe for Bradford and his seemingly countless receiving targets.

And Bob Stoops has Mack’s number. While the QB matchup is essentially a push and the athletes on the field are also at a high level like the LSU-Florida matchup, I like OU. Also, why is this game being played at 11am local time? I know they have the Texas State Fair, but that’s too early for such a big football game….

Michigan State at Northwestern (3:30, ESPN2): Don’t laugh. MSU is ranked and Northwestern is unbeaten. Both have zero Big Ten losses. A State win puts them firmly into the mix heading into mid-October. A Wildcat win continues the “Revenge of the Nerds” theme dominating the season’s first six weeks. I like Sparty…

Mmm...53.4 ppg

Oklahoma State at Missouri (8:00, ESPN2): Quietly, Okie State is 5-0. Missouri is just sick on offense. The ‘Boys aren’t too shabby on offense either, so first to 60 wins. That would be Mizzou. Missouri is second in the nation in points. Oklahoma State is third. Hello fireworks…

I’ve been all “over” the Tigers these past weeks, and as you know by now I almost went there. Obviously the offense is unstoppable with Jeremy Maclin, Chase Coffman, and runnings back are always productive (Tony Temple last year, Derrick Washington this year). Defense was the issue, but there was improvement as the Tigers held Nebraska, who scored 30 on Virginia Tech, to just 10 measly points. Not gonna be much chest-bumping on the OSU sidelines Saturday…

Penn State at Wisconsin (8:00, ESPN): Is Penn State the best team in the Big Ten? So far, it’s almost a certainty. Big Test #1 is Saturday night in Madison, where band-less Wisconsin is coming off a heart-breaking late loss to Ohio State. I like the Lions to continue their roll, though I’m not very confident in Wisky losing two straight home games after a two-pus year streak of never losing. The Lions are in Columbus the 25th.

Whew! That was quite a bit. College football = awesome.


Images Courtesy of: Mark Humphrey / AP (Daylife)Tom Mihalek / AP (Daylife)MackBrown-TexasFootball.comOU Official Athletic SiteDave Weaver / AP (Daylife)

On Remote: More of the Same

Welcome This “New” Feature to Gate 21

After a few warmup weeks and people actually reading these weekend previews, we have souped it up a little bit, giving it a neat little banner (thanks again to Lawvol for the excellent work) and it’s own special title: “On Remote,” or what football you can look forward to this weekend.

Also, this post will normally be on Thursdays, like in the past. It’s just that lawvol’s Open Letter yesterday was such a great work that I felt it should stay up for a day. And that’s about the only difference you’re going to see in the post. We’re still focusing mainly on the SEC, and the couple big national games this weekend as well.

More big SEC games on this weekend, and hopefully they are as quality as the LSU-Auburn game was last weekend as opposed to what I witnessed in Neyland Stadium last Saturday afternoon.

Also, I’d like to offer a quick thanks to the Oregon State Beavers for beating “mighty” USC. All that talent, and they can’t go through the Pac-10 unbeaten. Seriously, to have the run of talent they’ve had, to have just one national title? Granted they’re still in it because it’s September, but last night didn’t help them in the eyes of us down here in God’s Country…

What’s on my remote this weekend? Well, last Saturday night there a double feature with the aforementioned “Tiger Bowl” and Georgia’s physical whipping of Arizona State (yes, we pulled out an extra TV in our apartment to watch the game. This weekend I’ll be in Auburn, so who knows how much other football I’ll be watching.

That doesn’t mean I can’t help you all out – here’s my attempt…


SEC Football | Gate 21
SEC Games

Ole Miss at Florida (11:30, RayCom): An intriguing matchup to start the day off in the SEC. The Rebels won their last visit to the Swamp, but Jevan Snead is no Eli Manning. It should be interesting to see how the Rebels respond after losing to Vanderbilt in a game they probably should have won (statistically they dominated minus the turnovers).

The Gators face Ole Miss and Arkansas before they host LSU in two weeks. I still think the Gators are the team to beat in the East, and while Auburn won in the Swamp this time last year, Ole Miss isn’t good enough to pull it out. They’ll stick around and put up a fight, but the Gators are the better team and at home.

Tennessee at Auburn (3:30, CBS): Amidst the sad state of the football program, the Vols – and myself in a couple hours – head down to Auburn to face a good team coming off a physically tough, late home loss to LSU. The Auburn defense showed again the ability to score, but LSU’s big offensive line and Charles Scott wore them down late, so there’s something to think about. Offensively, the Tigers showed signs of improvements from the Mississippi State debacle.

And you thought the Florida defense was really good...

Honestly, I have no idea how Tennessee is going to score on Auburn. And don’t think for a moment that Auburn will come out flat, as they are occasionally prone to do at home to inferior teams (see Mississippi State last year and Georgia 2006) – Tennessee’s not very good, but we’re still Tennessee. I’ll be there cheering on my Vols during these dark days, but let me be honest: I’m not expecting a win. Who knows, maybe Phil and the boys pull something out of their you-know-whats and Tennessee beats Auburn.

Arkansas at Texas (3:30, ABC): After getting steamrolled by Alabama, Arkansas travels to Texas. Not good news, and the Hogs are probably going to get pounded. I don’t think many would argue against saying Arkansas might be the worst team in the SEC this year (some Tennessee fans might say otherwise…). Arkansas is going to become a player under Bobby Petrino – just not this year.

Western Kentucky at Kentucky (7:00): We all know what happened the last time UK hosted a Sun Belt team – they won by a yard – literally. While MTSU is probably better than the Toppers, I just don’t see UK having the offense to blow people out. After Saturday night, both Kentucky and Vanderbilt are going to be 4-0…what?!?

UAB at South Carolina (7:00): Another tuneup for the Gamecocks, who struggled against Wofford last weekend. The Chickens go to Ole Miss and Kentucky the next two weeks. Does Carolina score more on UAB’s horrid defense than Tennessee?

Mississippi State at LSU (7:30, ESPN2): See, I told you people LSU was the West’s best team. That talent is sick, and once Jarrett Lee calmed down, looked pretty good. Like I said, simply adequate QB play and watch out for these Tigers. That’s what happens when you have the best offensive and defensive lines in the SEC. I have pledged never to call Les Miles “dumb” or “stupid” ever again after the guts he showed last week. LSU wins by a bunch – maybe a shutout?

Alabama at Georgia (7:45, ESPN): This is the Daddy of Saturday’s games. I’ve accepted the fact that Alabama is really good this year, and Georgia looked really good at Arizona State last week. What have I noticed with these two teams? They are both really physical football teams. Physical football teams playing each other = quality game for football fans (see LSU-Auburn).

Alabama can win this game, but they’re really gonna have to play well. UGA decided they weren’t going to need the blackout antics to beat Tennessee, so they decided on using their little ploy this week. J.P. Wilson will have to play a very good game to beat UGA. I think Georgia is better in the passing game and just slightly better on defense and they’re at home, I think they get the win.


OTHERS TO KEEP YOUR EYE ON:

Virginia at Duke (12:00, ESPNU): I miss the discipline of David Cutcliffe’s offense. This is one of Duke’s very winnable games, as UVA lost their starting QB. Potentially after Saturday: Duke 3-1, Tennessee 1-3…

Duke could be 3-1 with a win at home over Virginia Saturday

Fresno State at UCLA (3:30, ABC): This is going to once again show us how inexcusably bad that loss to UCLA was when Fresno pounds the Bruins – Arizona Arizona ARIZONA beat UCLA by 3 TDs last week…

Colorado vs. Florida State in Jacksonville (3:30, ABC): I said Lawvol was foolish for ranking the Buffaloes in his Top 25. Guess I was wrong. I know it was just a JV League team in WVU the Buffs beat, but this should tell us more about Colorado – and the depth of the Big 12. FSU had 4 more turnovers than points – at home – against Wake Forest last week.

TCU at Oklahoma (7:00, FSN?): Remember, TCU beat OU in Norman in 2005, and the Frogs are pretty good this year. The top of the MWC – BYU, Utah, and TCU – is very, very strong. TCU played Texas hard for three quarters last year, but they’re better this year, and they can give the Sooners a test. But at home, and the mere fact it’s in the regular season and not a BCS Bowl has me liking OU’s chances…

Virginia Tech at Nebraska (8:00, ABC): Another chance for a big non-conference win for the Big 12. For the Huskers, it’s a two-week stretch of home games against VT and next week Mighty Mizzou (my second favorite team…) comes visiting. Personally, I think Nebraska pounds VT, who just hasn’t been very good offensively this year, even with the redshirt coming off Tyrod Taylor. They scored 24 points on Furman for goodness sakes.

The first big games of the Bo Pelini era at Nebraska are Saturday against Virginia Tech and next week against Missouri - both in Lincoln

Northern Games: Only if you’re into that sort of thing. A couple of Big Ten showdowns – Wisconsin at Michigan (3:30, ABC) and Illinois at Penn State (8:00, ABC) – and “mighty” Notre Dame hosts Pur-don’t (win big games…EVER). Don’t sleep on 4-0 Minnesota beating the struggling Buckeyes either…

Enjoy it while you can, because it’s flying by!


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