Archive for the ‘Notre Dame Fightin' Irish’ Category

Catching Up

July 7, 2009

Homerism has come across a few items in the last couple days that I thought were worth passing along.

*This will be Urban Meyer’s final season in Gainesville.
We know this “because his lips were moving” when asked about his interest in taking over at Notre Dame, per noted SEC authority Paul Finebaum.
In his weekly column that ran in the Mobile Press-Register today, Finebaum postulated–with curious certainty–that Meyer will light out for the greener pastures of South Bend after the season. Seeing as Charlie Weis’ ample frame is still keeping the coach’s seat plenty warm at ND, this seems just a bit premature. But that’s not the most shocking revelation in Finebaum’s missive; Meyer apparently slept with Finebaum’s wife!
OK, so we don’t know that for sure, but what else could have spurred Finebaum’s vitriolic hatred for arguably the best college football coach in the country?
*Texas, West Virginia have the right stuff; OU doesn’t.
The good people at Doc’s Sport Service have identified five criteria shared by all BCS champions. They eliminate all but six schools from competition this year: Florida, Iowa, Ole Miss, Texas, West Virginia and Virginia Tech. What’s wrong with OU? The Sooner defense finished outside the top 20 in scoring defense last season.
Oh well, I used to think my life had some kind of meaning. Cancel the season. Thanks for ruining the party, Bin Laden.
*Sports information directors, although slow and dangerous behind the wheel, can still serve a purpose.
SIDs usually are quick with a stat sheet or directions to a press conference. So imagine Homerism’s surprise when he came across this insightful take on college football scheduling from Oklahoma SID Kenny Mossman. By the way, if you’ve never seen “the little Chinese gal” Mossman references in action, it’s breathtaking. (Few halftime acts could top this one, although Quick Change would give her a run for her money. Also, Homerism’s mom claims to have seen “Little E,” a midget Elvis impersonator, perform during a college basketball game once. Sounds spectacular, but I have yet to find evidence of his existence online.)
*The season seems so close.
In addition to the season preview stuff I’ll be writing for BH, I’m also going to be contributing to Tilting at Windmills’ ongoing Big 12 preview series. Somehow I drew Baylor and Colorado. Anyway, check it out if you have time.

Bustin’ Out: Golden Tate

May 23, 2009

Speculation this offseason about Notre Dame’s possible return to glory has centered around the maturation of quarterback Jimmy Clausen as he approaches a make-or-break 2009 season, and rightfully so. Especially when considering the lack of gamebreakers in the Irish backfield, a potent passing game will have to be the team’s bread and butter this year. If Clausen trends more Joe Montana, the Irish are looking at a potential title shot. If Clausen goes the way of his quarterback coach Ron Powlus, Charlie Weis will be looking at a pink slip prior to his team’s trip to Shrevport for the Independence Bowl.

Just the Irish’s luck: the 2009 schedule is loaded with creampuffs, which should allow ND to put up the kind of gaudy offensive numbers witnessed in Weis’ first two seasons in South Bend.

Wideout Golden Tate should benefit from Pear Bryant’s passing proclivity as well. The athletic Tennessean turned into ND’s top receiver during his sophomore year. Besides catching 10 touchdowns, Tate also eclipsed the 1,000 yards receiving mark, averaging nearly 20 yards per catch. He capped off a stellar 2008 with three touchdowns and 180 yards receiving on just six grabs in the Hawaii Bowl.

Tate probably lacks some the overall athleticism of his sophomore-to-be cohort Michael Floyd. However, he still poses a strong downfield threat with good speed and quickness. Having Floyd lining up on the opposite side of him should help open up some holes for the dynamic Tate as defenses try to account for the growing number of weapons at Clausen’s disposal.

Bottom line is that if Charlie Weis wants to revive his passing attack, Clausen is going to be looking for Tate early and often. Once the ND hype machine kicks in gear, expect Tate to begin to garner All-America talk.

Yankee Doodle Dandy

May 22, 2009

Today’s news that Notre Dame is exploring the possibility of scheduling a game at the plush new Yankee Stadium got Homerism to thinking.

Media reports had the Fightin’ Irish targeting Army as its opponent for the first-ever football game at the House That Jeter Built in 2013. But OU is currently scheduled to play ND in South Bend that same year. Why not move the game to the Big Apple?
Homerism would go for that in a New York minute.

Bustin’ Out: Arthur Jones*

May 5, 2009

One of the most impressive inidiviudal performances Homerism witnessed all season in 2008 came during the Syracuse-Notre Dame game in South Bend in November.

The Orange, headed by lame-duck nice guy Greg Robinson, entered the game as a 20-point underdog. They left trying to escape a hail of snowballs aimed at the Irishmen following a stunning ‘Cuse upset.

The play of Orange quarterback Cameron Dantley, who threw the game-winning touchdown pass with less than a minute to go, may be the most memorable from that game. It was Arthur Jones, however, who carried the ‘Cuse on his back that day. The 290-pound nose tackle ended the game with 15 total tackles, eight of which were solo. He also had four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks for good measure.

At the end of the year, Jones was the only Orangeman–there, I said it, political correctness police–to make first-team All-Big East. With a new coach brought down from the NFL, things had started to look up in Syracuse. Jones was expected to provide a strong veteran presence to key the coaching transition before heading off for greener pastures.

‘Cuse football fans–and I suspect there aren’t too many of you in existence or who read this blog regularly–know all too well what happened next. In February, Jones tore a pectoral muscle during an offseason weightlifting session.

So this edition of Bustin’ Out comes with an asterisk. The few reports coming from the ‘Cuse locker room have been pretty positive, and it sounds like Jones is on track to play in 2009. Of course, how often have we heard that before? Still, if all goes according to plan, Homerism hopes Jones emerges as a potential All-American in 2009. Seeing as he’s been forced to play for the ‘Cuse for three years already and given up a pec in the process, it only seems fair for a warrior like Jones to receive a little recognition.

Path of Less Resistance

April 11, 2009

On a recent podcast (April 1 edition), noted Notre Dame honk Beano Cook boldly–but not surprisingly–decreed the Fightin’ Irish would be in the hunt for the national title in 2009.

Beano is 137 years old, so Homerism was willingly to cut the old man some slack for mistaking 2009 with 1969. However, when Methuselah’s ESPN colleague Ivan Maisel piped up in something close to agreement, Homerism started to wonder if Ron Powlus‘ biggest fan was onto something.

The source of Beano and Maisel’s enthusiasm originated in part with Pear Bryant‘s recruiting success. Yet, they seemed more excited about ND’s schedule.

Hold on, I thought, these two have lost it. After all, Homerism tends to remember the Notre Dame of old, a team that arrogantly defied convention and stayed independent, enabling the Irish to play a bevy of college football heavyweights each year. Sure, there were always the Service academy games, but you couldn’t really knock the Irish’s willingness to schedule as tough as they come.

This year, though, ND will be playing a sheep in wolf’s clothing–lots of big names, but little overall challenge. Admit it, Irish fans, a schedule that includes Purdue, Pittsburgh and Washington sounds much tougher than it actually is.

ND has the usual toughie with USC, but this looks like a bit of a transition year for the Trojans and the game is at South Bend. Boston College rolls into Notre Dame Stadium the next week, and despite the success of “Fredo” against the Irish this decade, the Eagles also look to be in for a down year. The toughest road game is probably Michigan–not particularly worrisome.

Keep in mind that Homerism isn’t accusing ND of whimping out. The Irish usually have most of their games scheduled well in advance, so it’s not really ND’s fault that teams like the Apple Staters have fallen off the map since the contracts were signed. 
But Homerism is accusing the national media (well in advance) of overhyping the Irish after ND starts the season undefeated through five games. Trust me, by mid-October, the papers and Web sites will be loaded with “wake up the echoes” headlines. ND will be a better team in 2009 than it was in 2008. But that’s still not a squad that will be ready to compete for the national title.