Tag Archives: Notre Dame Stadium

A Cuddly Bear Defense of Field Turf

There’s an axiom out there of “don’t poke the bear.”  It’s a good rule of thumb whether that bear is holding a Coca-Cola or a pic-i-nic basket.  Look, it’s already in possession of a commercialized good, and bears are nothing if they’re not commercial.  The Snuggles bear, Winnie the Pooh, Teddy Ruxpin, etc., they’re all vicious killers just begging for you to poke them.  DON’T DO IT.  The axiom says so.  Just leave it be because the results might just be…cuddly.

I know what you’re thinking:

“Moons, you’re an idiot.”

Fair.

I know what else you’re thinking:

“What the f— is he talking about? These are all cartoon bears.”

Also, fair.  Your second thought is more salient to my thoughts about the ongoing debate about Notre Dame daring to defy tradition by installing field turf. Ugh, field turf again.  I know, just like the axiom of “don’t poke the bear” it just won’t go away.  Despite our best efforts, there still rages a debate about what this means for Notre Dame’s program.

I guess it’s best to start with the “argument” against, which is best summarized as tradition.  Want to avoid discussing an issue…particularly one you don’t have a reasonable leg to stand on, invoke the word “tradition” and watch the opinion divide.  This line of reasoning increases in effect at a school like Notre Dame that is constantly chasing its own shadow. Sometimes the detractors mask their arguments in “injury potential” or “aesthetic appeal,” but I’m still waiting on the concrete evidence of either.

Tradition is not a bad thing. However, it should (and does) mean something more than “we’ve done it for a long time.”  Once we associate “tradition” with “we’ve done it for a long time,” we might as well give up on the notion of progress.  I don’t mean to be hyperbolic on this point as I think that degrades it.  However, when I see people espouse the point of we can’t change in the name of tradition, I can’t help but think we’re poking Winnie the Pooh.  Of course what I mean is we’re anti-honey.  Of course what I mean by that is there’s no merit to the notion of poking the bear.

The “traditionalist” sentiment is a fair one.  For many fans, “tradition” is something that binds them (like honey to Pooh) to the University of Notre Dame.  I tend to recoil a bit when I hear this, as what is traditional is a fleeting concept.  That’s a problem of a greater magnitude.  No need to poke the bear. For something like field turf, the equation should be much simpler:  1.  Does it make economic sense?  2.  What’s the impact on the on-field product?

Not to get Snuggles’ fur up in a bunch, but there’s probably a fairer argument against the jumbotron than there is against field turf.  The jumbotron quite directly invites additional commercialism into the stadium by giving an increased opportunity for ads to invade the mums.  I’ve been to my share of college football stadiums, and I’ll admit that this can be an annoyance.  For the record, I’m not opposed to a jumbotron.  Hypothetically alive in the 21st Century Knute Rockne would agree with me.  Even if you’re not willing to join our club on that issue, field turf poses no such issue.

The notion of having a reliably consistent, much more easily managed playing surface should be welcome. What about tradition begs that players be subjected to inadequate playing surfaces? What about tradition begs that Notre Dame not embrace highly improved 21st century technology? We’re not talking about the horrid Astroturf surfaces first introduced in the 70’s and 80’s. To paraphrase the great Allen Iverson:  “We’re talking ‘bout [field tuf].  We ain’t talkin’ about the game.  We’re talkin’ bout [field turf]. A competent argument will have to do more than point to what we’ve done prior to the technology existing.

Lest I be accused though of completely ignoring the “traditionalist” point of view, let me pop open Teddy Ruxpin’s tape deck (seriously, this is what proponents of natural grass are hanging their hat on?  A tape deck wielding bear in the age of iTunes?) and broach the topic of tradition.  When I think of ND, I think of many things:  The National Championships, the Heismans, a sense of community, a sense of academic rigor, and a sense of uncompromising standards.  The question is:  Why would we then compromise standards just to maintain the illusion that natural grass (from time to time) contributes something to the game?  What does natural grass over field turf add that leather helmets over modern helmets didn’t?  Technological advancement, and embracement thereof, is not the same thing as abandoning the ways of Notre Dame. I’ve seen no study to suggest that injury risk increases, that it’s more difficult to maintain, or that there’s any inherent advantage to natural grass over modern field turf.

I’ll admit that I’m posing a whole bunch of rhetorical questions, if you (proponent of natural grass) admits that you don’t have any grounded reason to deny progress.  That you’re just worried that if you poke the bear, you’ll find it to be just as benign and adorable as I do.  It’s okay if you don’t want to do it now.  You’ll probably have to in the near future anyways.  What’s funny is you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between now and then.

I write this because I care.  I care about what the word “tradition” should actually mean.  I love all the things that truly embody Notre Dame and refuse to degrade tradition by suggesting that something like natural grass versus field turf belongs in that definition.  I’m open to good, reasoned arguments, but please don’t tell me to avoid poking the bear on this one.  Tradition is Smokey the Bear armed with a semi-automatic when he sees a car recklessly flick a cigarette into a forest.  What you’re talking about amounts to Yogi choosing between a pizza and a foot long sub.

– Moons

Take a staND? More like take a seat.

– Sgt Shamrock

Notre dame stadium - Notre Dame Stadium

Notre Dame Stadium, the home of the Fighting Irish. One of the most iconic and revered venues in all of sports. One would think that a venue rich with such tradition and history of success would also be one of the most difficult places for opponents to play. But as many Irish fans know, that is not the case. For years Notre Dame has held the reputation for being hospitable and welcoming to visiting teams and fans instead of being an intimidating environment that opponents fear. I was sick of people telling me how much they enjoyed coming to Notre Dame, and how often teams who had no business even being on the same field as the Irish were able to come away with a victory in South Bend. I was sick of being yelled at and scorned by “fans” to sit down while trying to cheer on the Irish. So when Notre Dame announced the beginning of the “Take A StaND” campaign at the beginning of last season, I was excited at the possibility of change in the culture and I know other fans were too. However after two full football seasons of the “Take a StaND” campaign, I am sad to say that that excitement was very premature.

Notre Dame announced the unveiling of the “Take a StaND” campaign prior to the first home game of the season against Purdue last year. On the official Notre Dame blog, senior associate athletic director John Heisler wrote the following,

Notre Dame Stadium, its ushers and other University ambassadors have had a long history of extending hospitality to visiting teams. It’s common, particularly when an opponent plays in Notre Dame Stadium for the first time, for visiting fans to remark on the welcoming atmosphere they find.

Swarbrick would like to see that welcome end once the opening kickoff is in the air. He’d like to see a change to the 17-16 home record Irish teams have recorded over the last five seasons combined.

If you’re paying attention this weekend and in the weeks to come, you are likely to come across the phrase “Take A StaND.” It’s a subtle, yet pointed, way of encouraging fans at all Irish events to become more participatory.

Notre Dame students have participated in a long tradition of standing throughout the entire football game at Notre Dame Stadium—and that group generally makes its share of noise. However, students make up only about 10,000 fans out of Notre Dame Stadium’s 80,795 capacity. So there’s plenty of room for assistance in the decibel category.

Midway through the 2011 season, Notre Dame introduced recorded music (mostly on opponent third downs) to the in-game experience at Notre Dame Stadium. Expect that to continue this fall, with the Irish marketing staff tweaking the plan with three 2011 home games of experience now under its belt.

The 2012 also season marks a celebration of 125 years of football at the University of Notre Dame. You’ll see the logo marking that celebration just about everywhere. That means there are 125 years worth of reasons to throw a season-long party.

Long-time rival Purdue visits Notre Dame Stadium today to open the 2012 Irish home season. The Boilermakers won here in 2004, but, prior to that game, you have to go all the way back to 1974 to find a Purdue win in Notre Dame Stadium.

By Swarbrick’s tastes, that’s more like it.

So, any time you have a chance today, take a staND and cheer for the Irish. It just might make a difference.

Seems pretty simple right? Stand up and be loud. That’s what the initiative calls for. I also emailed the Notre Dame Game day folks trying to get some more information on the initiative but I did not receive a response. Now while its just flat out sad that one of the premier college football programs in the country has to even consider starting an initiative like this to increase fan participation, its good that the university FINALLY realized that it was a problem and began to work to fix it. I still remember when LSU coach Les Miles described Death Valley as “A place where opponents dreams come to die” and hoping that one day Notre Dame Stadium would have the same effect on opponents. I thought the “Take a StaND” campaign was the first step towards fixing the problem of the game day atmosphere. The problem, however, has not only not been fixed, its actually seemingly getting worse with each passing home game.

Since the “Take a StaND” campaign started I have been to home games against Michigan, Stanford last season, and Michigan State, Navy, and BYU this season. Minus the Navy game (I was fortunate enough to be able to sit in the student section) I have been asked by multiple people and ushers on multiple occasions to sit down. In each instance, I was told by ushers that I was not be courteous to others sitting around me, and by other fans that they could not see because they did not want to stand. This is just inexcusable and it aggravated me more and more each time it happened. For people who claimed to be fans of Notre Dame, they sure didn’t act like it. And its not like the games were blowouts either. Every single one of those games was close until the clock hit zero. I could not believe that even after the university made a distinct effort to help solve this problem, that fans still were getting told by ushers in the stadium to sit down. This weekend I finally hit my breaking point. And it was not just because of what happened to me, but more so because what I had heard was happening to others.

I had always seen complains from other people on twitter complaining about being told to sit but I never really got any details. So following the game against BYU, I invited anyone who had a story of being told to sit down at games by either ushers or fans to email me so I would be able to see just how big of a problem this really was. The results were astonishing. The first email I received was by far the worse. Michelle, who also attended the BYU game this past weekend, was actually kicked out of the game because she refused to sit down when asked by ushers. When she asked the ushers what she had done wrong, they told her that she had done nothing wrong but they needed to keep the peace. This is appalling. The university comes out with an initiative to try and get fans to stand and be loud, and than the ushers in the stadium kick someone out for doing just that.

I received another email from a man who son regularly attends games with his friends. Every game last season, a group of older fans told the group to sit down every time they stood to cheer even if it was for a third down or when the Irish scored. The older groups of “fans” would always get the ushers involved and each time the ushers would tell the group to sit down. This season the older group moved to a different section but that did not cause the problems to stop. At the Michigan State game, a couple sitting behind the group launched right into them, saying “We sure hope you don’t plan on standing during the game!”Some Michigan State fans were sitting nearby and jumped into the discussion telling the couple to “Shut up at least they are real fans” and “They can stand all the want, isn’t this is what  fans are supposed to do?”. I’m sorry but the fact that visiting fans are doing more to stick up for Notre Dame fans and students than the ushers are is flat out embarrassing.

Another fan named Stan was able to provide even more saddening details. During the Wake Forest game last year, some fans that were sitting near him were escorted out of the stadium by police following a verbal exchange because they refused to sit down. On multiple other occasions, after Stan was told to sit down by ushers, he tried to show them that tweets using the hashtag #TakeAStaND and asked them if they knew what the university was trying to do. The ushers did not know the rules and continued to tell Stan to sit down. Even other fans seemed to be lacking knowledge on the campaign. One group of fans even tried to tell Stan that the “Take a StaND” didn’t even exist anymore.

Reading all of the testimonials of other fans and their experiences since the “Take a StaND” campaign was started, just reaffirms by belief that the entire campaign has been a complete failure. The ushers inside the stadium are as clueless in supporting the initiative as officials in college football are at correctly calling the targeting rule. While the ushers are volunteers, they still represent the University of Notre Dame. The fact that they are unable to help enforce a program that the University itself created is a complete embarrassment and needs to be addressed by the not only Jack Swarbrick, but the entire university as well. The university needs to get together all the ushers that work in Notre Dame Stadium and educate them on “Take a StaND” and what exactly what it means. Notre Dame has some of the most passionate and loyal fans in the world but until the University of Notre Dame takes a long hard look at the “Take a StaND” initiative and the major problems that have been identified with it, the home field advantage that Notre Dame is trying so hard to create will never become a reality. The game day atmosphere in Notre Dame Stadium has been a problem for far too long. I challenge the University of Notre Dame to find a real fix to this problem instead of  just an initiative with a catchy name and no enforcement. Its time that the Notre Dame Football team that we all love, gets the home field advantage that it deserves.

Irish win one for the Seniors. A weekend in review

– Sgt Shamrock

Notre Dame vs. Brigham Young

In what was one of the coldest games to ever be played in the Notre Dame Stadium, the Irish were able to play with a spark and pulled out a 23-13 win over the BYU Cougars to improve their record to 8-3. While the snow was falling and the temperatures were dropping, the Irish played the type of football that Brian Kelly said they should be playing every single week. And I agree. It was one of the few times this season that the Irish played well in all aspects of the game. Well maybe not the special teams but lets just forget about that. The defense made big plays when they needed too and the Irish offense moved the ball effectively and did their job of keeping BYU off the field and limiting their scoring chances.

The Irish defense set the tone early against the Cougars and really stood out to me during the entire game. BYU was coming into this game as one of the hottest offenses in the country, yet the Irish defense only allowed one touchdown and 13 total points. Dan Fox led the team with 9 tackles and the Irish front seven played inspired, even with out the big man Louis Nix who is out for the remainder of the season. What really impressed me with the defense however, is how they responded following a horrible loss to Pitt. Following the loss, a lot of people, including me, were concerned how the team would respond after their goal of a BCS Bowl game appearance was dashed. The defense played one of their worst games of the season against Pitt and I honestly did not know how they would respond. The defense responded by having one of its best performances of the season.

BYU came into the game against the Irish as one of the toughest defenses in the country led by superstar Kyle Van-Noy, but on Saturday afternoon the Irish offense amassed almost 500 yards of total offense including over 200 yards on the ground. As I stated in my preview for the game, the Irish needed to establish a steady and effective running game to open up the passing game and provide balance to the offense. Notre Dame did just that. On their first offensive series, ran multiple running plays in a row before Tommy Rees went play action and hit Davaris Daniels deep for a touchdown. The running game was effective throughout the entire game thanks to the tough running from Cam McDaniel and some ridiculously shifty moves from Tarean Folston, who continues to get me excited about his potential. Folston is clearly the most athletic running back on the Irish roster and his ability to make defenders miss is something Irish fans have been waiting to see out of the backfield. On multiple occasions in the stadium you could hear the excitement and awe in the moves that Folston was able to make to shake Cougar defenders.

As Saturday was Senior Day, I was really happy to see many of the seniors play very well in their final home game. Tommy Rees finished his career in Notre Dame Stadium the way he deserved. Being one of the most polarizing figures for Notre Dame football in recent memory, Rees was able to win his final game at home. While he did throw yet another awful red zone touchdown, Rees played an otherwise good game. Rees made multiple nice throws to TJ Jones, and minus the interception, made good decisions through out the game. Jones finished the game with 95 yards receiving and Dan Fox and Carlo Calbrese played very well making multiple key tackles and keeping the BYU offense in check. Austin Collinsworth was able to haul in an interception on the final play of the first half and Zack Martin helped anchor an offensive line that allowed zero sacks, and opened running lanes that led to over 200 yards on the ground.

Overall it was one of the most complete games the Irish has played all season. While the offense did leave some points on the field, they still played a very good game and the defense stepped up and took over allowing the Irish to pull out the victory. With the win, Notre Dame clinched a fourth straight eight win season under Brian Kelly with the chance this year to win 10 games. With the losses this team had on defense due to the NFL draft and injury this year, and playing with a backup quarterback due to Everett Golson being suspended from school, Id have to say the Irish did more than people expected of them. Even so its easy to look at the losses to Michigan and Pitt and wonder how much better it could have been if the Irish had been able to pull out those victories. One final game remains before the bowl season begins as the Irish travel to Stanford this Saturday.

Other Observations

– The field conditions were again abysmal and embarrassing. I really think the turf led the game in tackles and Im surprised more players were not injured as we say against Navy. I even heard some of the older crowd, who normally are reluctant to call for change, calling for field turf. Its time Notre Dame. Make this happen. If I were you I would start installing it Monday morning.

– Lost in the spotlight of Senior Day, Jarron Jones played an outstanding game filling in for Louis Nix making multiple tackles around the line of scrimmage and also blocked a field goal late in the game that helped preserve the Irish victory. While many, including myself, are concerned about depth on the defensive line its nice to see Jarron Jones start coming into his own.

Oh you silly Pollsters

Notre Dame gets back into the AP Top 25 this week placing 25th. Yet again its another week its another instance of a team that Notre Dame beat ranked ahead of the Irish. USC has the same amount of losses as the Irish and yet are ranked two spots ahead of the Irish at 23rd. Sure that makes sense. USC lost to Washington State, Arizona State (another team Notre Dame beat) and of course Notre Dame.

Louisiana-Lafayette is ranked 21st this week in the AP. Wait what? Yes this is not a typo. I really have no idea what the pollsters are thinking here. The Cajuns have not beaten a single ranked team this year and have two losses. They play in the Sun Belt. Plain and simple this is not a top 25 team.

Arizona State is ranked 13th this week while Oregon is ranked twelve. This needs to be switched. The Sun Devils are going to the Pac 12 title game and the Ducks are not. That alone should place ASU over Oregon.

Three loss LSU is ranked 15th this week. Why I have no idea. They are ranked ahead of an undefeated Northern Illinois and Fresno State. I don’t care if you play in the SEC or not, three losses are three losses and that does not make you worthy of a top 15 ranking.

What is Texas A&M still doing ranked? They got blown out by LSU this weekend and now have three losses. The Aggies have not beaten a ranked team all season long.

Heisman Rannkings

1. Jameis Winston (Barring an arrest)

2. Jordan Lynch

3. Derek Carr

4. Kadeem Carey

Irish down the Cougars. Knee Jerk Reaction

– Sgt Shamrock

Notre Dame defeated the BYU Cougars 23-13 on a bitterly cold and windy Saturday afternoon. The Irish rushing attack finally got going amassing 235 yards on the ground. Cam McDaniel led the team with 117 yards and Tarean Folston added 78 yards and a touchdown. The offensive line played a very strong game opening running lanes and protecting Tommy Rees. Rees, in his final game at Notre Dame Stadium, threw for 235 yards, one touchdown, and one ugly interception. Even in the cold and windy weather, the Irish offense looked very much in sync at times and did their best to keep the Cougars off the field. The BYU defense was one of the better units the Irish have faced this season, and the offense handled their scheme very very well.

The Irish defense stood strong against a BYU offense that had been firing on all cylinders coming into South Bend. The front 7 played one of their best games of the season, getting a lot of pressure on Tysom Hill, even with the absence of Louis Nix. While the defense did allow over 200 yards on the ground, they only allowed BYU to score one touchdown. The defense also made a key stop late in the game when BYU had a first and goal following a horrific showing of tackling by Matthias Fairley that allowed BYU to break off a huge run. The Irish did a great job forcing field goals for BYU instead of giving up touchdowns. The secondary only allowed 168 passing yards and really made the BYU offense one dimensional.

With the win the Irish ensured they would finish with at least 8 wins in each of Brian Kelly’s four seasons at Notre Dame.

Make sure to check back tomorrow for a complete recap of this game and the other big games around the country.

Irish sink Navy late. A weekend in review

 

It felt a lot like 2010 yesterday at Notre Dame stadium. Navy sailed into town to play a game that most believed wouldn’t be close. The Irish were coming off a 45-10 win over Air Force and seemed to have figured out how to defend the option. Tommy Rees was playing possibly his best football of his Irish career and the defense had seemed to have found its swagger after some early season struggles. The Irish just seemed to have started to put everything together just in time for November, when playing your best football is key. Notre Dame was primed for another blowout victory as they continued to play for a BCS berth at the end of the season. Instead what they got was an unexpected shootout with the Midshipmen, a slew of injuries, and a lot of questions as to exactly how Navy was able to almost pull off a win in South Bend.

Navy came to play. Notre Dame’s defense didn’t. That’s really the only reason I can think of how Navy was able to run up and down the field seemingly at will. The Midshipmen rushed for 331 yards and converted 10 of 16 third down attempts against the Irish defense who, even though playing Air Force’s option attack last week, looked like they have never seen the option before. Navy was averaging 4.7 yards per carry. The key to defending the option is to play assignment football and make tackles. The Irish did neither for a good portion of the game, looking confused and making it very easy for Navy to move the ball down the field. Even when Notre Dame was able to put Navy in third and long and knock their offense off schedule, the Midshipmen still seemed to convert every third down attempt they faced. Everything seemed to be going perfect for the Navy offense. Even their passing game, which only attempted nine passes all game, was working for the Mids going for 88 yards including a 34 yard touchdown pass from Keanan Reynolds to Matt Aiken which gave Navy a 34-31 lead with 8:55 left to go in the 4th quarter. Navy was clicking, but in the end it was not enough.

Notre Dame’s offense was the reason the Irish won this unexpected shootout. While the Irish defense could not keep Navy off the scoreboard, the Irish offense kept pace which heavily utilized the running game which was a site for sore eyes. Notre Dame racked up 506 total yards on offense which included 264 yards on the ground. Tarean Folston stole the show Saturday, having a breakout performance running for 140 yards on 18 carries and the game winning touchdown. Folston showed why he was such a valuable recruit for the Irish, showing off his speed, power, and field vision. Multiple times he made moves on defenders that were just silly. Cam McDaniel and George Atkinson split time as the number two back each receiving 7 carries and running for 72 and 54 yards respectively. Moving forward you would have to think Folston will be the number one back for the Irish. His play deserves it. Tommy Rees threw for two touchdowns and 264 yards but also threw two interceptions, which helped Navy keep the game close. Tommy’s first interception could be blamed partially on the horrific field conditions. Tommy was targeting TJ Jones, who looked open on the play, when he slipped on the grass allowing a Navy defender to intercept the pass. The second interception however was all on Tommy as he overthrew a deep ball to Davaris Daniels. Daniels could have fought for the ball but the pass was bad.

After being embarrassed all game long by the Navy rushing attack, the defense finally came up with the stop it needed. Navy faced a 4th down inside Notre Dame territory with a minute and a half left in the game down four. Jaylon Smith showed off his amazing speed running across the field to make the tackle to stop Navy short and put the game on ice for the Irish. The defense played bad all game but when the game was on the line, they stepped up and avoided an embarrassing upset loss. Notre Dame moves to 7-2 on the season and still control their own destiny in their chase for a BCS Bowl berth.

This game showed me a lot of things that need to be addressed both on and off the field. First things first. I know its already been talked about but Notre Dame needs field turf and they need it now. The condition of the field is a complete embarrassment and the fact that it has gotten this bad could warrant someone getting fired. Notre Dame is one of the most prestigious college football teams in the country and yet we seem to be ok with playing on a playing surface that is worse than some high school programs. This needs to be fixed. Having a field in that bad of condition is dangerous and puts all the player on the field at greater risk for injury. I have heard from many people, including my father, that they prefer the natural grass because it slows down our opponents. What an awful reason to keep natural grass. Do these people not realize that this would also mean that it limited the speed of the Irish players as well? Brian Kelly has done an outstanding job bringing more speed to both sides of the ball. Its time to realize Notre Dame has speed and instead of trying to limit other teams speed at Notre Dame, the Irish need to utilize their speed.

The second thing might not be a popular sentiment with a lot of Notre Dame fans but for me it has to be said and should be addressed in the offseason. Bob Diaco needs to go. What happened against Navy is a complete embarrassment. This same Navy team only scored seven points against Duke and Western Kentucky. There is no excuse as to how the defense can allow 34 points and over 300 yards rushing. Notre Dame should never be in close games with a team like that. Ever. I’m tired of the conservative play calling. I’m tired of the defense under achieving with the amount of talent and skill it possesses. I’m tired of continuing to allow inferior teams to hang around because the defense cant get off the field. Last year was great but Diaco has been here for four years now and even last year there were games that the defense just didn’t step up. There is no consistency. Last week the Irish faced an option attack on the road and only gave up 10 points, yet this week at home they faced an almost identical option attack and gave up 34 points. There is no excuse for this. Its time to move on.

This weeks polls

Notre Dame finally cracks the AP poll and comes in 24th. The Irish remain 25th in the coaches poll.

Oh look Arizona State is ranked ahead of Notre Dame yet again in the AP poll. This makes no sense. Notre Dame beat ASU on a neutral field head to head and hold the exact same record. Michigan State moves up to 18 in the AP poll ahead of Notre Dame but with the Spartans only having one loss compared to the Irish’s two, this is no surprise.

More SEC garbage in this weeks polls. The AP has two loss Texas A&M and two loss LSU ahead of one loss Oklahoma. Uh what? Again it makes no sense. LSU has yet to beat anyone of merit and Texas A&M’s best win is Vanderbilt? Having these teams ahead of the Sooners is a complete joke.

How the hell is Miami still in the top 15? Miami is still overrated even after being embarrassed by Florida State and exposed as a pretender instead of a contender. Other than the loss to FSU, Miami has yet to play a team of any merit. No guys Florida is not a quality win. Just because they are in the SEC does not mean anything. They are awful. Miami doesn’t belong in the top 15 and is a borderline top 20 team especially with Duke Johnson now out for the season.

Get Texas Tech out of the polls. They have lost their last two games, which were the only two games they have played against quality opponents. This team cant stop the run and are not a top 25 team. They have not beaten anyone worth while.

Observations from around the country

It was a pretty dull weekend of games with not many good matchups but here goes:

Florida State is really good but Miami was very over rated. I am not doubting that FSU is one of the best teams in the country or that they can contend for the National Championship. I’m just not ready to claim the win over Miami as a huge win. Miami was ranked way to high to start with. Second Florida State was the first half decent team that Miami had played. No Florida is not a half decent team. They are awful. Florida State is defiantly one of the top teams in the country this year but their weak schedule could come back to haunt them. What’s even worse for FSU is they will probably play this same Miami team in the ACC Championship in a few weeks and the result will probably be even worse for Miami.

That Michigan State win earlier this season is starting to look pretty good now isn’t it? Michigan State dismantled Michigan this weekend using their elite defense to smother the Shunkbear offense. Michigan State moved to 8-1 on the season with their lone loss being to the Irish and look to be headed to the Big Ten Championship game against Ohio State.

Texas Tech is doing exactly what I expected. The Red Raiders benefited from a ridiculously easy schedule to get to 7-0 but have now lost two straight games to ranked opponents last week to Oklahoma and this week to Oklahoma State. They have fallen out of the Big 12 race and don’t be surprised to see them lost one or even two more games this season.

My Heisman rankings

1. Marcus Mariotta

2. Jameis Winston

3. Johnny Field Goal

4. Derek Carr

5. Bryce Petty

Irish avoid shipwreck. A quick recap

Notre Dame defeated Navy 38-34 at Notre Dame stadium in a game that should never have been that close. Tommy Rees threw for 242 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. The Irish defense, which played like it has never seen the option before, allowed Navy to do practically whatever it wanted on offense. Only on 4th down with less than a minute and a half to go did the Irish defense finally make a play, when Jaylon Smith made an outstanding play to preserve the Irish victory.

It appears Brian Kelly has seen the light with the running back situation. Tarean Folston, who out on a clinic enroute to 140 yards on the ground and a touchdown, split most of the carries with Cam McDaniel allowing the Irish rushing attack to run wild. George Atkinson scored the first touchdown of the game, but it was Folston and McDaniel who stole the show.

Jaylon Smith continues to shine and show why he was such an important recruit for the Irish. The defense as a whole however played awful and had arguably their worst game of the season. Irish escape with a win and move to 7-2 on the season. Pittsburg is up next. A more in depth recap of this game and others around the country will be up tomorrow.

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