Leprechaun’s, Falcons, and lighting blots!!! Oh My!! An Air Force Preview

Well folks, it’s already Thursday and we are inching closer to this weekends matchup between The low flying Air Force Falcons and the Fighting Irish. The Irish travel out to Colorado Springs, Colorado where the temperature is cold and Brian Kelly’s nipples are sure to be front and center depend how many layers coach actually wears. The week after a huge win over your rival is always a letdown alert however I think the burning of Troy was just the beginning of a successful second half of the season.

Playing an option team like Airforce is always a headache for both sides of the ball. The defense must watch for the fullback dive, the quarterback keep, or the pitch to the running back. The offense must take advantage of every possession, as option teams tend to win the time of possession battle due to a heavy running game. This matchup will be different from the past few games for the Irish who will now face a run heavy option attack instead of the drop back pro style quarterback in USC or the spread offense of Arizona State. While defending the option is always a tough task, the Irish have a huge advantage in one of the key areas in this game. In the trenches.

To get an effective running game going the offensive line must get a good push off the line of scrimmage and open running lanes. Air Force has been able to run the ball against their opponents very well so far this season averaging 268.6 yards per game with ranks 12th in the FBS. Notre Dame on the other hand is allowing only 123.3 yards per game which is 25th in the FBS. That’s not good force Air Force. What’s even worse is the Irish defensive line is a man amount boys compared to the Falcons. The Irish defensive line has an average of 323 pounds while Air Force is averaging a measly 261 pounds. It shouldn’t be all that surprising since all the players will be serving in the Air Force upon graduation and therefore being a big boy is not encouraged. Can you imagine Big Lou or Tuitt trying to fit in a cockpit of a fighter jet? That would not end well. The defensive line is one of the best in the nation and they will look to disrupt the Falcons rushing attack and force them to throw, which is something they desperately need to avoid as they have one of the worst passing attacks in the nation averaging only 102.3 yards per game.

What I’m really looking forward to this week is to see how well the Irish are able to run the ball against the horrific Falcons defense which ranks 113th in scoring defense giving up 37 touchdowns already this year, 111th in rushing defense giving up a whooping 221.3 yards per game, and a passing defense which ranks 102 giving up 267.4 yards to game. To put it simply the Falcons defense is god awful. They can’t stop anyone and it’s a large reason as to why their only win this season has been against Colgate. The Irish running game, which is only averaging 136.6 yards per game, struggled to begin the season but has played better in the last few outings. This week they can really break out and should have no problem running at will. The Irish offensive line weights an average of 311.4 pounds while the Air Force defensive line weights only an average of 256.7 pounds. Simply put the Irish should own the line of scrimmage and open huge running lanes all game long.

Overall the Irish should win this game with ease. Air Force has lost 5 games in a row and are really just a bad team. Expect the Irish to lean on the running game as they are careful with Tommy Rees as he comes back from a strained neck injury suffered against USC. Notre Dame should have their way with the Falcons and move to 6-2 on the season.

Players to watch

Offense: I’m really looking to see Tarean Folston this week. He showed a glimpse of brilliance with a long run against the Sooners but since then has been nursing an injury and has not seen much of the field. I expect all the Irish running backs to have good days but in especially interested to see how well this kid ca play.

Defense: We all know that Jaylon Smith is a stud. However I have my eye on him this week. This will be his first time playing against an option team and it’s a lot different especially for a true freshman. I’m eager to see how he handles his assignments.

Prediction: Notre Dame 41 Air Force 13

Other games to watch

12 UCLA at 3 Oregon – Oregon has been playing lights out again this season on offense under quarterback Marcus Mariotta and the defense has been outstanding and forcing turnovers. UCLA has been playing well under Brett Hundley at quarterback but they will be playing 3 freshmen on the offense line on the road. Yikes. Oregon 56 UCLA 31

10 Texas Tech at 15 Oklahoma – The Red Raiders are going fairly unnoticed despite their top ten ranking. Since the win at Notre Dame, Oklahoma has looked sloppy causing Irish fans to wonder where this Oklahoma team was when they were in South Bend. Texas Tech 35 Oklahoma 28

21 South Carolina at 5 Missouri – Missouri has been one of the surprise teams in the country this year and I’m pulling for them since it causes chaos in the SEC East. Matty Mauk has played well in the absence of injured QB James Franklin. South Carolina is on the road playing a backup QB with Connor Shaw out with an injury. Missouri 28 South Carolina 21

Upset Special

6 Stanford at 25 Oregon State – Since losing the season opener to FCS opponent Eastern Washington, the Beavers have won 6 in a row under the leadership of Sean Mannion who leads the nation in passing touchdowns. Not many people are giving the Beav’s a shot against the Stanford defense but I am. Oregon State 31 Stanford 30

Bullying? No way.

High school football is one of the staples of life in the state of Texas. I have never been there myself but I know many people who have lived there and they all say the same thing. High school football is king. Some of the best prep football players in the nation play in the state of Texas. Its a prime recruiting ground for college football programs from the SEC, PAC-12, ACC, Big-12, and of course Notre Dame. As popular as high school football is however its not very often that a high school football game makes national news but that’s exactly what happened this week.

Last Friday deep in the heart of Texas, Aledo High School beat Fort Worth Western Hills 91-0. No that’s not a typo, the score was actually 91-0. That in and out of itself is remarkable but the real cause for the story is what happened after the game. After Western Hills was finished getting their asses handed to them one parent decided to do what all high school kids have nightmares about. The father of a player from Western Hills actually filed a formal complaint through the school against Aledo High School Head Football Coach Tim Buchanan, saying that the ass whooping that he just witnessed was bullying. The father who chose to remain anonymous was quoted by a local news station saying, “My son plays for Western Hills Football Team. On Friday night we all witnessed bullying first hand. It was not a pretty sight.” I bet it wasn’t anonymous dad from Texas. It cant be fun watching your sons team get the snot beat out of them on the football field but to call it bullying is a complete joke. It is not Aledo High School nor the head coaches fault that your son’s team sucks pop’s. Lets take a deeper look at this claim of bullying and show why is complete crap.

Coming into their game against Aledo, Western Hills had only 30 players on the depth chart. That’s right I said 30. To put this in perspective USC, who has been dealing with sanctions and scholarship losses due to the fact that they are cheating bastards, only had 48 scholarship players available to play against the Irish this past week. Having 30 players is just ridiculous. How the school allows a team to be fielded with just 30 players is just irresponsible but that’s another argument for another time. Another mind blowing stat is that the starting running back only touched the ball for Aledo five times. Three of those times however were for a touchdown. Aldeo was up 56-0 at the half. The game was already over and after the half it was only the 3rd a 4th string players that took the field for Aledo and yet they still scored 35 more points. This coach did everything he could to limit the score other than just lay down and stop playing all together. Here is what I really don’t understand. What the hell did this complaining father expect the Aledo head coach to do? He was playing 3rd and 4th string players for over half of the game. Did this father expect the coach to tell his bench players to stop trying? Did he expect them to just lay down and quit? Apparently that’s exactly what this father wanted Coach Buchanan to do and I give props to coach for not having his players quitting. Here is why.

I remember when I was in high school playing high school sports. I went to a pretty well known Catholic High School in Atlanta that is pretty damn good at its sports. I was primarily a golfer but since I loved football I wanted to play at least one year to enjoy the experience and all that. Im not afraid to admit this but I was god awful. I mean really really bad. If there was something past the 4th string that was me. The water boy was probably better than me. I barely even played JV ball let alone sniff the field for the Varsity games. But there was one time I actually got to get on the field for a Varsity game and it was in a similar situation to this game in Texas. Our team was up by so many points I cant even remember and the coach was brave enough to throw me in as a corner back. Words can not describe how excited I was to be on that field in front of my family and friends. I didn’t care what the score was. All I wanted to do was hit someone. Somehow I actually got credit for a tackle when the opposing running back bowled me over and I hung on for dear life as we both fell to the turf. I can only believe that the 3rd and 4th string players for Aledo High School felt the same way. No way they were going to lay down and not try in one of their few chances to step foot on the football field. And good for them.

I would love to say that this an isolated incident. That crazy people like this are not all over the country. I cant say that. This incident is just another that has many of us wondering, “What the hell is going on in America these days?”. Its an epidemic of handouts in youth sports. We live in a time when all participants get a trophy even if they didn’t earn one, when all participants are praised for being mediocre. This madness needs to stop. Sports are a competition. There is a winner and a loser. Losing is supposed to hurt. Its supposed to make you feel like crap. Its supposed to make you want to get better so you never have to feel the feeling of losing ever again. This is especially true in youth sports. Children and young adults are at the ages where they are impressionable and are learning valuable life lessons that will help them succeed in life. What message does this behavior send to kids? That its ok to be mediocre because someone will always be there to give you something anyway? This type of behavior is setting kids across America up for failure. The real world after high school or college is really really hard. Its a dog eat dog word. Only the strong survive. Competition is everywhere and if your not prepared for it the real world will eat you alive. Getting a job is hard. Hell, sometimes even getting an interview is hard depending what your trying to do. Not only is this type of behavior ruining youth sports, but also setting up the youth of America for failure.

Fortunately the local school district found no evidence of bullying and the matter is closed. But the real issue is that it was a matter at all. There is plenty of bullying going on in schools around the country and its a large issue. But watching your son’s team get pummeled on the football team is not bullying. So anonymous Texas dad, instead of trying to claim bullying because your sons team is awful, maybe you should try to help them get better instead of looking for a scapegoat. As always this is just my opinion and you are free to disagree with it. What do you think?

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