How High Is Too High And Where Should One Set The Bar or Draw The Line ?
Well the short lived Labor Day weekend came and went in the blink of an eye . Not much to be had by way of the sporting festivities unless you were completely enthralled by the first week of the college football schedule ? For myself I simply am not overcome by the events to be had until the third or fourth week of the actual schedule and by then no doubt many of prognosticators out there are already telling us who will be on the bubble and who may well be simply be playing for their reputation. No doubt a case can be already made for Notre Dame and the fact that they suffered a rather embarrassing loss (23-20) in their home opener to USF of the Big East . Far be it for me to suggest that “The Fightin’ Irish’s program is no longer relevant but I simply refuse to see how NBC Sports can continue to gain any traction from televising any game of Notre Dame ! I understand that the school is still beloved by its alumni across the country but let’s get real here , with the coaches that have recently held tenure of the post as head coach of the football team , theirs is in essence, a really pitiful story and list of accomplishments .
Slide show for your perusal .
Brian Kelly as the present incumbent as coach of Notre Dame succeeded Charlie Weis whose accomplishments with the school was simply to drag it down to such depths of mediocrity , that it is hard to explain how was as such , he was successful as as an assistant with Bill Belichick . But I guess when you’re simply being rewarded for riding on someone else’s coat-tails that basically assures of a well paid position at your next vocational stop off point ! Now with that being said I do believe that Kelly can turn things around for the program but herein lies the caveat for the school , in particular for Kelly , his coaching assistants and AD Jack Swarbrick . One understands that the criteria set for entrance into one of the nation’s most respected parochial establishments of higher learning is exceptionally high and those student athletes granted entrance are gifted . But I do feel that the school is now fighting a losing battle in terms of recruitment when adjudged against such powerhouse programs such as USC , Florida , Alabama , Penn State , Auburn and a slew of other programs across the country. Granted , tradition has its place within every sport and Notre Dame carries a proud tradition of success and scholastic achievement but that no longer seems to matter for the vast majority of the players who seek to use the school as a stepping stone for their upward progress to the NFL . And it certainly isn’t the case where two of the school’s most recent athletes to have made the jump to the professional ranks have been a resounding success with their respective teams.
In this photo taken Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly calls a play against South Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame fell out of The Associated Press Top 25 poll after losing to South Florida. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……
For Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate ——- the duo have yet to catch on with the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks . But it is still early days yet in both of their professional careers and it would appear that Claussen for his part may well be the one who has more to lose at this juncture . The young quarterback is second on the team’s depth chart in terms of the quarterback position with the Panthers having selected Cam Newton the number one overall in the past NFL Draft . For Tate he may well be able to provide the spark that the Seattle Seahawks need in order to make their offense much more potent . But I hardly think that either Tarvaris Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst will be the cure for Pete Carroll’s need in a signal caller for the team .
As an Independent within the College Football Subdivision (D1 level) Notre Dame is afforded way too much prestige merely because of its name and the mere fact that as a school it’s literally bankrolled by NBC . One should not be at all utterly surprised by this when you consider that one the broadcast outlets most powerful executives is none other than Dick Ebersole the former head of NBC Sports and the creator of the network’s Olympic broadcast coverage . Ebersole has since been succeeded by Mark Lazarus and the Notre Dame television contract still remains in tact . Should the fact that Ebersole’s close affinity and ties with Notre Dame be misconstrued for sheer solicited bias and be seen as the primary reason why the school is s such a benefactor of the station’s largesse by way of its yearly multi million dollar television contract ? At some point NBC’s parent company Comcast may well want to review this matter and decide upon whether or not they are still in fact getting value for money in terms of their continued coverage of the school's football program. It's one thing when you're getting 5.5-6.5% ( Neilsens’ Ratings) point share but when it now borders on a mere measly 3.5% some questions will indeed have to be asked . As of yet nothing has been forthcoming by way of a formal statement from the broadcaster but one can surmise that nothing will be left off the table as they assess the strengths and weaknesses within all of NBC as a whole.
When tradition simply becomes long in the tooth insofar as Notre Dame is concerned should the public at large be asked to endure each season the football program be given unadulterated coverage in the way it has been by NBC ? Granted , the school still has its loyal legions of fans and alumni across the nation but in reality that simply counts for nothing when the school itself simply hasn’t been a part of the the college postseason fare in terms of a major BCS Bowl appearance in over a decade .
This season Notre Dame’s schedule isn’t one that can be looked upon with sheer gratification and the thought should they meet the bare requirement of having a 6 win season as part of that calendar they are automatically guaranteed a Bowl appearance . A 10 win season might just guarantee a BCS Bowl appearance but let’s not get ahead of ourselves at this juncture in terms of that premise ! The loss to USF shouldn’t come as much of a surprise albeit that Vegas had the USF Bulls as a 10 point underdog but then again Vegas is in the business of making money and not much else beyond that !
Brian Kelly and his coaching staff has a roster of players that will be looking to prove themselves . Certainly perhaps none more so than Dayne Crist , their senior quarterback on the team. Alongside Crist , also there are also fellow seniors , Matthew Mulvey , Andrew Plaska , David Pozluszny , Trevor Robinson , Chris Salvey , Ryan Sharpley and John Goodman . But this season simply won’t be about these seniors leading this team , it will however be about a collective effort in terms of the contributions all-round . If anything anything last season was proof of that for the team and the statistics posted over the course their schedule .
Having finished with an 8-5 record overall with an appearance in the Sun Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes which resulted in a 33-17 victory for Notre Dame . This season however , you can be sure that Brian Kelly will be hoping for a far more productive and successful season than last year. Anything less than a major BCS Bowl appearance has to be viewed as a major disappointment for a program that allegedly prides themselves on being amongst the elite within college football. But as I have alluded to earlier within this piece that simply is no longer the case ! The coach may well feel that the players (freshmen) recruited to complement his existing roster will be enough to make a full on run at the national championship or one of the major bowls but they will have raise the level of their play beyond what was exhibited against the USF Bulls .
The next scheduled game for The Irish will be against one of their most heated and some might say hated rivals __ Michigan (Wolverines) in Ann Abor , Michigan. With a national television audience and what is sure to be a stadium filled with rabid Wolverines’ fans , I am more than certain that Brady Hoke with have his team more than ready to acquit themselves against Notre Dame .
Amongst the players that Brian Kelly will be looking to also to provide some potency to the offense will be Michael Floyd whose own off the field issues have been well chronicled this season . But there can be no denying what the wide receiver brings to the game . He might just be one of the most prodigious talents within the collegiate football and his athleticism especially in the yards after the catch category makes him a desirable future NFL Draft prospect for a team in search of a wide receiver. My own feeling is that as good as this team may well appear to be on paper it can only go as far as Dayne Crist can lead take them ! He appears to be a player a player who is willing to learn and who applies himself to his craft but that in ofitself alone is all that is needed . It will be encumbent upon Brian Kelly , offensive coordintor and quarterbacks’ coach Charlie Molnar to have Crist and the other quarterbacks on the roster , as well as the offense well prepared. From a defensive standpoint also this team needs to be far more aggressive in its play if it is to have any chance being successful over the course of the season. I certainly don’t believe that the opponents that they will be facing will give any ground to Notre Dame . Most certainly not the likes of Michigan , Michigan State , Boston College , USC (Trojans) , Stanford or Wake Forest for that matter . It will be interesting to see how the team fares against these teams on their 2011 schedule and whether or not they are indeed good enough to mount a serious enough challenge for a BCS Bowl appearance , much less an actual championship run.
Picture gallery for your perusal .
What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this article and what if anything do you hope to see from the College Football season ? By all means do leave a comment as to your thoughts on this and anything else you feel pertinent with regard to the subject matter . Thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !
Alan aka tophatal …….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) In this photo taken Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly calls a play against South Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame fell out of The Associated Press Top 25 poll after losing to South Florida. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……
(2) SOUTH BEND, IN – SEPTEMBER 03: of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish of the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend , Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …..
(3) Evan Landi (9) of the University of South Florida Bulls catches a touchdown pass under pressure from Carlo Calabrese (44) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. USF would go on to defeat Notre Dame 23-20 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …….
(4) Tommy Rees (11) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks for a receiver as Trevor Robinson (78) and Braxston Cave (52) move to block against the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …….
(5) Theo Riddick (6) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish leaps to catch a pass in front of Michael Lanaris (55) of the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …….
(6) Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick (R) greets Brian Kelly as he is introduced as the new football head coach at Notre Dame University on December 11, 2009 in South Bend, Indiana. Kelly most recently led the University of Cincinnati to two consecutive Bowl Championship Series appearances including a perfect 12-0 record this past season. Getty Images North America / Frank Polich …….
(7) Dick Ebersol former Head of NBC Sports and under whose direction the television contract for Notre Dame was negotiated to cover the team’s football schedule . Ebersol’s successor Mark Lazarus was named by NBC Sports Group Chief Executive Steve Burke . The <a href="http://www.und.com/genrel/061908aab.html deal itself is set to expire in 2015 but there has been no indication that NBC’s parent company Comcast is willing to further tie itself to a long term commitment with the football program . USA Today / Mark Pitt ……
(8) Mark Lazarus successor to Dick Ebersol as Head of NBC Sports is seen here in London at a meeting of IOC Executives to discuss the 2012 Summer Games for which the broadcast outlet has the sole proprietary North American rights. AFP/Reuters/ David Morris …….
(9) Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish talks with Dayne Crist (10) during a game against the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……..
Notre Dame football schedule 2011-12