Tag Archives: Texas

Irish Invade Indy. A Weekend Preview

-Sgt Shamrock

shamrock_logo_2014_final
The 11th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish head down to Indianapolis this weekend to take on the Purdue Boilermakers in the annual Shamrock Series game. Notre Dame (2-0) is fresh off a complete destruction of Michigan while Purdue (1-1) got blown out last weekend by CENTRAL MICHIGAN AT HOME. That fact alone paints a pretty good picture of how this game should play out this weekend. Now normally this is the type of game that Irish fans have had to worry about in the past. Coming fresh off a huge win and playing a completely inferior opponent the following week has spelled trouble for the Irish in the past and I have already seen a bit of concern from some fans about if the Irish will come out flat Saturday night. Normally I could sort of understand that sentiment. I mean it has been a problem in the past and Notre Dame has lost to teams that they had no business losing too however that will not be the case this season. When Notre Dame originally announced that the Shamrock Series was going to be played in Indianapolis, this early in the season, against PURDUE, I was a bit confused. In the past Notre Dame had traveled to places like Dallas, New York City, and Chicago to play against opponents like Arizona State, Army, and Miami. The locations were places where in areas where Notre Dame usually didn’t play that often and against teams that are not on the schedule as much as maybe some of the normal staples like Navy or Stanford. However now I can completely appreciate the choosing of this game and per usual Jack Swarbrick is a smart smart man. The Irish knew headed into the season that their first big test of the season was against Michigan and that the first bye week of the season was fairly early (Its in week 4 this year). I actually had a chance to talk to Jack Swarbrick last weekend when some of my buddies and I ran into him in the bookstore. He was great and took some time to talk to the three of us. When talking about the Shamrock series he said that the program knew if they good get to the first bye week at 3-0 that the season would start taking shape very nicely. Having the Shamrock Series in week 3 against a team that is just not very good is going to completely get rid of the chance of a letdown game. The players are not only excited to wear the special Shamrock Series uniforms but are also just as excited to play in an NFL stadium. The players will be amped and I really expect them to come out firing on all cylinders from the time the game starts to when the backups are closing out the game.

Offense

Everett Golson has looked fantastic through the first two games of the season. After looking a bit wide eyed in the early stages against Michigan this past weekend, he quickly got a hold of himself and made some fantastic throws and led the Irish to a 31-0 win over the Wolverines. Golson has eight touchdowns to his name thru the first two games of the season but has yet to throw for over 300 yards. If you look at it closer though the yardage can really be attributed to the fact that Notre Dame has had fantastic starting field position in each of the first two games. Regardless, this week he will break that 300 yard mark and I actually think he has a good shot at 400 yards. The Purdue defense is pretty bad ranking 108th in the country in scoring defense allowing an average of 34.5 points per game so far this season. They are also giving up close to 225 yards through the air per game and that was against two very mediocre quarterbacks. Golson is on a completely different level than what Purdue has seen so far and their secondary is going to be in for a LONG day. Speaking of long days the front 7 for Purdue is in for one too. While the Irish didn’t run the ball nearly as effectively against Michigan as they did against Rice, part of that was due to Michigan’s defensive game plan of trying to stop the run and make Golson throw. As dumb as that sounds, that was their plan and the Irish were more than happy to oblige. This week expect the Irish backfield to have a field day against a Purdue run defense that for lack of a better word is..well..BAD. The Boilermakers rank 97th nationally allowing a whopping  187 yards on the ground per game. The Irish should have no problem dominating the line of scrimmage and running the ball at will. I dont think it is farfetched for the Irish to have 300 total rushing yards by games end.

Defense

I could not be more surprised by how the defense has played through the first two games of the season. After losing the big names of Nix, Tuitt, and Shembo to the NFL Draft and Williams and Russell to the ongoing academic fraud investigation, I had very tempered expectations of just how the defense was going to play this season. That defensive unit has gone above and beyond those expectations and the great thing is I think they can keep getting better. Cody Riggs has been a huge addition to the team and Cole Luke has more than just filled in for Russell. After a pretty plain look against Rice, Brian VanGorder unleashed the dogs against Michigan with multiple blitz packages that had the Wolverines guessing the entire game. Expect that to continue. Purdue’s offense is nothing to write home about either ranking 95th nationally and averaging close to 350 yards per game. And those games were against Western and Central Michigan. Thats not good. Add on the fact that Purdue still doesn’t even know who is going to start at quarterback saturday and its pretty safe to say the Purdue offense has some major issues. Something that I noticed when looking back at the defenses performance through the first two games of the season really caught me by surprise. Through the first two games, Notre Dame has played EIGHT freshman on defense and have committed only ONE penalty. With the amount of young players on the field, that is just insane to think they have only been called for one penalty. The younger players while inexperienced, have a ton of speed and are really out performing my initial expectations. Not only does that bode well for this season but it makes the future look very bright for the Irish defense.

Prediction 

Notre Dame opened up as a 30 point favorite and I believe the line has dropped to 28. Both of those are too low and if you are a betting man put your money on the Irish. Notre Dame is a flat out better team in every aspect and its not even close. I fully expect the Irish to have close to 600 total yards of offense and the defense should have another stellar performance. Notre Dame rolls over Purdue and heads into the bye week at 3-0 and a possible top 10 ranking. Notre Dame 51 Purdue 6

Other Games around the country

This weekend has a bunch of dud games and not very many good match ups but here a couple of the not so bad, bad games.

Tennessee at 4 Oklahoma- While I don’t think Oklahoma is as good as everyone is giving them credit for, they are going to be too much for Tennessee. Butch Jones is taking the Vols in the right direction and will have them back in contention in the SEC but not this year. Oklahoma 35 Tennessee 17

6 Georgia at 24 South Carolina- Georgia looks like a bonafide SEC title contender and playoff team hopeful led by Heisman candidate Todd Gurley. Gurley is a beast and by far the best running back in the nation. I have no idea how South Carolina is even still ranked at this point after getting flat out embarrassed by Texas A&M but that ranking will be gone soon enough. Georgia 31 South Carolina 20

12 UCLA at Texas (Arlington Stadium)- UCLA received a bunch of preseason hype as a playoff contender for some reason but through the first two weeks of the season they look far then impressive. However they are taking on a Texas team this weekend that is practically in shambles. The Longhorns are missing their starting quarterback as well as countless other players. UCLA 41 Texas 14

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?