How High Is Too High And Where Should One Set The Bar or Draw The Line ?

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 .

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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.

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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.

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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

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

Picture and slide show details below .

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(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 ……..

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NFL news

NCAA Football

NCAA Football news’ headlines

Notre Dame official athletics’ website

Notre Dame/ Fightin’ Irish news

Notre Dame coaching staff

Notre Dame football team roster 2011-12

Notre Dame football schedule 2011-12

Notre Dame team statistics 2010-11

Notre Dame team individual stats 2010-11

FBS Football Polls from various sources

I’ve Got A Pot To Pi_s In And My First Task Would Be To Pour It In The Direction of The Following …….

I’ve Got A Pot To Pi_s In And My First Task Would Be To Pour It In The Direction of The Following …….

I don’t know about you but I found this past weekend to be something of an uneventful one sports-wise. OK, so it was Valentine’s Day weekend and the girlfriend brought me a puppy as a gift. I’ve decided to name him ‘Buster’. And hopefully he can get me some ‘play’ when she’s out of town away on business or visiting her family on the West Coast ! And the one thing that Buster had better be is domesticated, in the fact that he won’t be urinating all over the home. That’ll be an ongoing thing no doubt. !

As I stated , I found the weekend’s noted sport’s activities to be one big monotonous bore ! And my interest in the Winter Olympics rates up there somewhere alongside my interest in Sarah Palin’s thoughts on the economy. Her knowledge of it, when matched against that of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers is essentially like measuring the difference between night and day. She ought to stick with what she knows best and that’s placing lipstick on a pig and making a complete ass of herself . Any other utterances out of her mouth just isn’t worth a damn !


The NBA All Star Weekend was the personification of exuberance and ostentatiousness . And even thought the events were staged at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington , Texas. One had the feel that everything about the event was superficial and lacking in real substance. There, you had Mark Cuban as host of the event , as the game was meant to be originally set at the Dallas Mavericks’ home venue. But what better way for David Stern , Jerry Jones and Cuban , himself , to show off everything that’s meant to truly gaudy, while still at the same time trying to appease the fans of the NBA ? And it wouldn’t at all surprise us to know that each of the trio has never been known to shy away from the prying eyes of the media. As each craves the press almost as much as a junkie craves a hit of their next fix. They’ll essentially whore themselves out to the highest bidder if it gets them the print or tv coverage that they desire.

Dallas -February  15th ,2010. New Dallas Mavericks player <strong>Caron Butler </strong>(l) and Mavericks' head coach Rick Carlisle appear at a news conference at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. photo appears  courtesy  of  NBAE/Getty  Images/  Glenn James  .........
Dallas -February 15th ,2010. New Dallas Mavericks player Caron Butler (l) and Mavericks' head coach Rick Carlisle appear at a news conference at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Glenn James .........

Well, what was meant to be ‘NASCAR’s showcase event’ of the season , their ‘Superbowl’ , essentially became a comedy of errors. And no one other than NASCAR is to blame for the events that took place at Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500 . And though the race was won by Jamie McMurray with Dale Earnhardt Jr finishing a close second. One can’t help but feel that the race and the events in the midst and subsequently surrounding it made it all more of an afterthought. And no amount of PR hoopla that was forthcoming could actually stave off the warranted criticism of the event and of the officials presiding over Daytona , itself. ISC , the holding company and umbrella operation of NASCAR , which owns the track, doesn’t even have the decency to apologize to the fans for the debacle. But then again what would one come to expect of a a hierarchy that has literally lost touch with its fan-base over the years. Brian France as CEO and Chairman of NASCAR alongside Mike Helton , NASCAR’s President , have about as much insight and intelligence as that of a mentally challenged child. But the belief is that as custodians of the sport they have it now going in the right direction. With the loss of several major corporate sponsors and the still acute situation of the domestic auto industry. These are still some very acute times for the sport in general and financially as well as competitively it is becoming extremely tough to remain competitive as well as financially viable. A number of the smaller teams operating within the upper echelons of the sport will either cease operations , scale back or leave the sport altogether . It’s not just the economy that’s playing a factor in this but the mere fact that the rules within the sport isn’t consistent and is forever changing. Hardly an emphatic endorsement for a sport that is meant to be fan friendly.

Team owner Chip Ganassi, left, and NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray are interviewed after winning the Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.  photo appears  courtesy of  Associated  Press/ John  Raoux .......
Team owner Chip Ganassi, left, and NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray are interviewed after winning the Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ John Raoux .......

Much of the pre-hype leading up to the race itself was the official baptism of fire Danica Patrick. She will now drive in the sport but in the lower level of the Nationwide Series for the Jr Motorsports team, co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr and Rick Hendrick . Now considering the hype over Patrick , who has but one win in the Indy Series . I find it somewhat asinine the attention that she’s now getting, when in Jimmie Johnson , the sport has its first four time consecutive NASCAR champion. The PR that NASCAR has used their champion for, borders on being insulting. It has been minimal at best and on a national scale the print media hasn’t shown little evidence of supporting the NASCAR champion. But that’s something that’s best left for their erstwhile fans to discuss. I mean if Jimmie Johnson’s feats aren’t worth discussing then why the f_ck are they falling over themselves concerning Danica Patrick ? When last l looked she wasn’t racing stark naked , nor was she adorning the front of her vehicle scantly clad. So why all the hype ?

 Jamie McMurray, driver of the (#1) Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  photo appears courtesy  of Getty Images/  NASCAR/ Jason  Smith ..................
Jamie McMurray, driver of the (#1) Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2010 in Daytona Beach, Florida. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ NASCAR/ Jason Smith ..................

Can the travails of the New York Knicks get any worse at the moment ? Here you have a team that is so inept and lacking in overall talent. That one has to wonder why they’re simply not playing in the developmental league of the NBA . That way the alleged players on this ‘so called Mike D’Antoni coached team’ can hone their talents. Having posted a 19-32 record within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . It’s hard to see what direction that D’Antoni is trying to lead the team in. Young and naive at heart this team doesn’t even possess the natural ability to play as a cohesive unit. But yet I’m being told that they have some rather good young players on their roster.

 Nate Robinson (#2) of the New York Knicks celebrates his third dunk title during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night as part of the 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at the American Airlines Center on February 13, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo appears courtesy  of NBAE/Getty Images/  Nathaniel  S.  Butler ...................
Nate Robinson (#2) of the New York Knicks celebrates his third dunk title during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night as part of the 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at the American Airlines Center on February 13, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Nathaniel S. Butler ...................


Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Knicks in serious talks for McGrady

By Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears , Yahoo Sports Writers

The New York Knicks are getting closer to reaching the Houston Rockets’ demands for Tracy McGrady(notes) and his $23 million expiring contract, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Knicks and Rockets have designed the framework of a deal that would unload New York’s Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill and either Al Harrington or Larry Hughes for McGrady, Joey Dorsey and Brian Cook.

As talks stood on Monday, the price of dumping the burdensome contract of Jeffries – who is owed $6.9 million next season – comes with the Knicks and Rockets exchanging 2011 first-round picks and the Knicks’ 2012 first-round choice going to Houston. New York also might include a 2010 second-round pick.

The Utah Jazz own the Knicks’ first-round pick in 2010.

The discussion on potential draft picks changing hands remains fluid.

The completion of the deal isn’t imminent, but sources involved in the discussions are increasingly confident that after months of back and forth, which intensified over All-Star weekend, an agreement is within reach. TNT’s David Aldridge first reported that talks between the teams had picked up.

One of the hang-ups in the deal, sources said, could be the Knicks’ inclusion of either Harrington or Hughes. There are slight variations of the trade that would change depending on which of the two veteran Knicks’ expiring contracts are included. With Harrington over Hughes in the deal, the Rockets wouldn’t need to include Cook.

For the Knicks, the trade would accomplish two important things: First, it would get Jeffries’ salary cleared out, something general manager Donnie Walsh has tried to do since taking the job. This would give the Knicks even more flexibility to be a major player in this summer’s free-agent market. Also, the Knicks want to take a good look at McGrady and let him play as much of a role as he can handle the rest of the season. They may consider re-signing him for next season, based on his performance.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey would get Hill, the untested eighth pick in the 2009 draft, and first-round picks that could prove valuable. This will get the Rockets a significant measure of value for McGrady, who they exiled in December. McGrady, sources said, is excited about the possibility of joining the Knicks.

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And when the claim to fame of your so called best player is that he’s a three time NBA Slam Dunk champion that doesn’t exactly set the opposition running for cover. But that’s what we see as the evidence in watching Nate Robinson play. For all of his posturing, I seriously doubt that he’d even make it on the bench of the New Jersey Nets the one team in the conference that is considerably worse than the Knicks ! And for my buddy the sportschump , who simply lives to breathe and gush over anything that’s worthy of mentioning, concerning a Florida Gator athlete. I won’t disappoint him, by saying that although David Lee is having a solid year for the Knicks. On any other team he might well be a backup. But for the New York Knicks , he’s the lone star on this seemingly dysfunctional team !


Were the playoffs to start today the New York Knicks would miss that scenario entirely. In fact being some 5 1/2 games behind the 8th placed Chicago Bulls (25-16) in the seedings, indicates how dire the situation is at present for the organization. And with the conference actually now showing signs of competitiveness. It comes as something of a surprise to find the top eight teams playing .500 ball . As to whether or not that will be the situation at season’s end remains to be seen. But raises hopes that within the Eastern Conference there’s signs of life beyond the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics , Orlando Magic and the surprisingly resilient Atlanta Hawks. Never mind the fact that the Charlotte Bobcats might just now be the ‘surprise team’ within the Eastern Conference.


Knicks’ Vice President and Head of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh has his work cut out for him in the off-season. It certainly doesn’t make sense for him at present to enter into the fray in terms of acquiring a player before the trade deadline. And even if it amounts to a salary dump in order to clear the way for a full fledged assault on landing LeBron James , as part of the ‘free agency’ sweepstakes that may well take place in the off-season. What will Walsh be surrounding the player with, in the terms of a complementary roster to begin with ? It’s not as if any of the parts of this current team is moderately good to begin with ! This has been a team assembled from ill fitting pieces that essentially hasn’t understood what it takes to play as a cohesive unit and win as a team. And all this, coming from the tutelage of Mike D’Antoni, whose effective communicative skills when it comes to basketball , borders on that on that of a mute !

Now if the rumors now sweeping NBA circles are true , then the impending departure of the Rockets’ guard , Tracy McGrady to the Knicks would come as a great surprise to many. Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey would like nothing better than to rid himself of the player , who of late has become nothing more than a whining prima-donna. And who if anything, his best days as a once ‘elite player’ is no longer visible on the courts, in terms of his play or his desire to win for that matter ! The thoughts of McGrady being on a Knicks’ team while not necessarily enthralling, brings about as much desire, as being forced to see Rosie O’Donnell naked and her acting provocatively, while enticing you to have sex with her . Not a pleasant sight at all ! And for the devoted Knicks’ fans out there who immediately think that the addition of McGrady will automatically make them a legitimate contender within the Eastern Conference. Think again , as nothing could be further from the truth. Having McGrady on board is essentially like, having Sarah Palin being added to John McCain’s Presidential ‘election race ticket’. On appearance, it was thought to be quite attractive and a winnable prospect. But when the evidence arose that Palin was nothing more than an unintelligent buffoon. Then all bets were off and it’ll be the same scenario with Tracy McGrady and the New York Knicks ! He’ll bring absolutely nothing to the table other than a player with a declining skills and an attitude that still borders on being narcissistic. And any aspirations that the Knicks might still possess with regards to obtaining a playoff spot are somewhat remote at this juncture.

Did I miss something during the college football season ? Can someone help me out please ? Unless , I’m mistaken Notre Dame had a woefully inept season and their coach Charlie Weis was abruptly fired after four lackluster years of sheer ineptitude . Why the school’s AD, Jack Swarbrick didn’t possess the ‘balls’ to do this sooner , is still beyond me ! But given the fact that NBC is by far in a way, the school’s biggest donor in terms of their tie-ins with the establishment and the ongoing relationship between NBC’s Head of Sports Programming, Dick Ebersol . This may well have been one of the primary reasons that it took Swarbrick so damn long to come to a decision. Ebersole as a graduate of the school, has shown far too much obeyance and partiality to the establishment. But when one considers how poor the station has been doing as of late, as a producer of quality programming. It’s easy to understand the reason why they continue to pin their hopes on crap such as ‘Notre Dame football’ and their continuous coverage of the Winter and Summer Olympics . Is there anyone actually still showing a keen interest in either ? With their coverage of the Vancouver Games said to be bringing the station losses estimated that will be in excess of $300-$400 million. One wonders who the hell has the common sense to be over bidding for the so called privilege of covering the games ? Only an idiot, without the business acumen would continue to wonder down this path while continuing to see the mounting losses and diminishing viewership for the spectacle to begin with ! But NBC is no longer being ran by sane people , more like it’s being ran by a bunch of brainless, moronic zombies !

Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly talks to reporters after his press conference about prospective student-athletes who have signed and submitted their letter of intent to Notre Dame on national signing day, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 in South Bend, Ind.  photo  appears courtesy  of  Associated  Press/ Joe Raymond ......
Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly talks to reporters after his press conference about prospective student-athletes who have signed and submitted their letter of intent to Notre Dame on national signing day, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 in South Bend, Ind. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Joe Raymond ......

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports -Blog ( Shutdown Corner)

Combine Watch List : Quarterbacks

By Doug Farrar , Yahoo Sports


With the 2010 Scouting Combine coming up next week, it’s time to take a look at the potential stars at every position in this year’s draft class. Yours truly will be in Indianapolis to cover the event (it will be my fourth), and we’ll start with the five quarterbacks who will be on most minds.

Sam Bradford (Oklahoma): Bradford might have been the first overall pick had he declared for the draft after the 2008 season, but he stayed to see if he could win a national championship with the Sooners. The departure of four offensive linemen from what had been the NCAA’s best line showed its effects in the 2009 season opener against BYU, when Bradford was slammed to the turf and suffered a shoulder injury. Another injury against Texas ended his season. Bradford has the arm strength and accuracy to make any NFL scout drool, but there are questions about his durability at 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds, his ability to adapt to pro-style offenses. Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen (pictured) is now seen by most to be the most pro-ready quarterback. Bradford, however, is the pick with the most potential over time. Scouts already know about his arm, but it will be good for Bradford to prove that it’s all still there and ready to go.

Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame): Clausen declared for the draft after the firing of head coach Charlie Weis — he had gone to Notre Dame specifically to learn under a coach who had NFL experience. He doesn’t have a rocket arm, but in a slightly depressed class at the position, Clausen’s probably the most interesting to those teams who need a franchise quarterback now. He’s the one draft-eligible quarterback with specific NFL-ready tools, extended experience in the kinds of offenses he’ll work at the next level, and the kind of intangibles that will endear him to his new teammates. As such, he’s a good bet to go first among the quarterbacks, especially if he does well in the throwing drills.

Colt McCoy (Texas): He fell short of a BCS Championship after a shoulder injury took him out against Alabama, but McCoy is an interesting prospect for certain kinds of teams. His high efficiency and favorable touchdown-to-interception ratios tell a story of an offense predetermined to shorter throws, but the Saints just won the Super Bowl with a 70 percent completion rate and a lot of screens and quick outs. McCoy’s toughness and intelligence aren’t questioned, but like Bradford, he’ll do well to answer questions about his shoulder with his throwing session.

Tim Tebow (Florida): No draft prospect causes more division among scouts, analysts and columnists than Tebow. There are those who believe that if the NFL can’t find a place for him, it’s the NFL’s problem. And there are those who believe that Tebow will never make it in the NFL as a quarterback. His experience in option offenses and super-slow delivery are precedents which seem to relegate him to the NFL scrap heap as a quarterback, but his intangibles have some willing to take draft chances they probably shouldn’t. No player will benefit more from a great session on the turf of Lucas Oil Stadium — if Tebow shows a buggy-whip release and an ability to zing 30-yard post-corner routes, he’ll have a lot of draft boards scrambling. Still, he’d probably be wise to catch passes with the tight end group as well…

Tony Pike (Cincinnati): Another guy with size and injury concerns (6-6, 212), Pike blew it up for the Bearcats in 2009 and really impressed during Senior Bowl practices. But he missed three games during 2009 with an injured (non-throwing) forearm, a year after a six-inch plate was inserted in that same arm. Pike met with Ben Roethlisberger before the Senior Bowl to get some tips on the next level, but he’ll certainly want to avoid Big Ben’s tendency to attract sacks.

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Irish QB Jimmy Clausen has never seen the type of attitude in Notre Dame's players that they are showing at this year's spring practice.
Irish QB Jimmy Clausen has never seen the type of attitude in Notre Dame's players that they are showing at this year's spring practice. photo appears courtesy of Getty Imges/ Christian Petersen ............

If the machinations of ESPN’s NFL Draft guru, Mel Kiper Jr, is anything to go by . Then it’s likely that the Irish’s quarterback Jimmy Clausen may well be taken as the first quarterback picked in the upcoming NFL Draft in April. He’s viewed by many as the best NFL ready college quarterback available in this upcoming draft. Now don’t get me wrong it’s Kiper’s and others’ own assessment of Clausen and their belief in the player’s worth. And while I admire what it is that Kiper does. Let’s just say his idea of blowing smoke up everyone’s ass, differs from mine, in the assessment of Jimmy Clausen as a player and most definitely as one of the better college quarterbacks on display last season and for his entire college career. He’s a solid player but he’s nowhere near the player that Kiper and others are making him out to be ! At best he’ll be a mid first round or early second round pick for an NFL team in need of a quarterback . When judged against the body of work and the abilities amongst his peers such as , Sam Bradford , Colt McCoy and Tony Pike, Clausen does leave a great deal to be desired. But then again, I get the feeling that when the likes of Kiper and Kirk Herbstreit assess the talents of Jimmy Claussen. I somehow get the impression that they’re swooning over a busty young female while they’re seemingly enjoying their respective erections ? Oh damn , both Herbstreit and Kiper have both shot their wads at the same time. Talk about premature ejaculation ? These guys are stark staring mad !

Golden Tate #23 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs the ball past Blake Carter #1 of the Navy Midshipmen on November 15, 2008 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. Notre Dame defeated Navy 27-21.
Golden Tate (#23) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs the ball past Blake Carter (#1 ) of the Navy Midshipmen on November 15, 2008 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. Notre Dame defeated Navy 27-21. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images North America/ Jim McIsaac ................

The sole reason why Clausen looked so good may well have been the fact that he had Golden Tate as a receiver on his team, while he was Notre Dame. If Tate couldn’t catch it, then it couldn’t be caught by anyone else within college football. Because of his sheer athleticism ,Tate was able to make the impossible happen when it came the passes of Clausen. And it wasn’t as if Clausen was all that accurate a passer to begin with. Never mind as a player he lacks leadership skills and his character at times has come into question. The great quarterbacks within the NFL possess a number of these traits , and those are leadership, accuracy , being able to adapt under pressure but most of all being able to lead by example. And that’s something, Clausen clearly hasn’t exhibited over the course of his college career. And I’m to believe that an NFL team will be prepared to invest anywhere between $45million-$60 million in his abilities as a player ? Can someone please throw this pot of pi_s I’ve got at both Herbstreit and Kiper, before I do ? These two buffoons are about as insightful on the college game , as Pat Robertson is on the tenets of the bible and Christianity. And given Robertson’s asinine outbursts and his denigration of the Haitian people , I’m inclined to believe that fuc_ing racial bigot wouldn’t know his ass from his elbow, much less what time of the friggin’ day it is !

There you have it guy my pot of pi_s and who I’d now be squarely aiming it at. Is there anyone or any team that you’d be directing a pot of pi_s towards because the sheer stupidity that they’re said to be showing ? By all means vent by leaving a comment on this particular subject matter. I look forward to reading and then responding to each of your comments accordingly. Thanks as always for the continued support. It’s most definitely appreciated !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………

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The Family Stand gives you ‘Ghetto Heaven’. Feel the beat , it’s a great deal better than a lot of the crap that’s been espoused as good music nowadays !

And for the young guys out there who’ve never heard of or even appreciated what Rosie Perez was about . Then sit back and watch as she lays it out all on the line. The ‘original ‘Fly Girl’ who created and choreographed the dance troupe that appeared on the Fox satirical comedy show ‘In Living Color’ . Appreciate also Public Enemy’s socially conscious track ‘Fight The Power’ . This is the theme to the Spike Lee joint ‘Do The Right Thing’ . On a side-note , this is where Jennifer Lopez first came to our attention, as she was an original ‘Fly Girl’ .

The 1,000 lb Gorilla In The Room ……….. Charlie Weis

The time has come for the University of Notre Dame to do the right thing and ask their football coach, Charlie Weis to relinquish his position as the team’s coach. It now makes no sense for him to continue in his role. Over the course of his tenure, this present team and the program overall has not improved, nor have they shown signs of improvement. And to see the decline of this program further under Weis, is a sign that the program’s belief in signing a big time name from the NFL, clearly hasn’t worked out. Pedigree or not , Weis’ failure can squarely placed on the shoulders of the coach and that of his staff.

Weis is seen here after the team’s embarrassing 23-21 loss to Navy ,discussing the game. And now the continued speculation surrounding his future is on the rise, once again.

The talent on this roster, if one can call it that, can be best described as being marginal at best. There has been a preponderance of missteps by Weis and his staff. Now we’re to believe that Weis has steadily improved the program ? If that is the case then what ought we to use as that perceived template ? An appearance in a non descript lower tiered Bowl Game has shown how far the program descended into an abyss of mediocrity. If one looks at the legacy of the Fighting Irish program and that of the achievements of Weis. Then,clearly it shows that this program is a long way off from where it needs to be.

Navy  midshipmen  celebrate the  team's  upset victory of  Notre Dame 23-21 in   game played in South Bend , Ind,.  picuture  appears  courtesy of   ap/photo/ Darron  Cummings  ............
Navy midshipmen celebrate the team's upset victory of Notre Dame 23-21 in game played in South Bend , Ind,. picuture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Darron Cummings ............

There’s growing dissent amongst the masses but there’s also the view that there ought to be more patience given to Weis in trying to turn the program around. If it means having to further watch the banality of what has been served by Notre Dame in its present format ? Then , the answer has to be undeniably no ! Under Weis, the program has regressed to such an extent. That, in watching this team play, has bordered on being downright monotonous. And for those who are of the belief that the team’s present quarterback, Jimmy Clausen has what it takes to make it at the next level as an NFL quarterback ? Then clearly the signs being shown by Clausen is one of a player, with bright ambition but marginal talent. Leadership wise, Clausen is still in a maturation mode, that has yet to fully meet its potential . The one bright spot may well be the play of the team’s wide receiver Golden Tate and the fact that he’s viewed as a playmaker and ready for the next level in the NFL.

Jimmy  Claussen , second  from the  left  alongside his  teammates  on the  sidelines  watch  as  the Notre  Dame alma mater   song  is  sang  after  the  team's  inexplicable  23-21   loss to  Navy in  a  game  played  in South Bend ,  Indiana ,.   picture appears courtesy  of ap/photo/ Darron Cummings
Jimmy Claussen , second from the left alongside his teammates on the sidelines watch as the Notre Dame alma mater song is sang after the team's inexplicable 23-21 loss to Navy in a game played in South Bend , Indiana ,. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Darron Cummings

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and Irish Illustrated.com :

The burden of proof lies with Notre Dame

By Tim Prister , IrishIllustrated.com , Senior Editor

Charlie Weis stared in the face of adversity Thursday night-or at least at the thought of the adversity the Irish will face Saturday night in Heinz Field against No. 8-ranked Pittsburgh-and shrugged with nonchalance.

Will the Irish, fighting for their post-season life-and quite possibly their head coach’s future in the program-be a bundle of emotions and play hampered by their own anxiety?

“I think the (Notre Dame) team will be loose,” Weis said. “(We’re) going in as an underdog playing on the road. (We) have more reason to be loose than the other team.

“The other team is a BCS contender, playing at the top of their game. They’re 8-1, 5-0 at home, sold out stadium, raucous crowd, night game, national TV?We’ve been on national TV plenty of times before. This isn’t our first rodeo.”

No, this isn’t Notre Dame’s first rodeo. But in this rodeo, the cowboy will throw his lasso, and if he catches it just right, he will pull the noose tight around the head of the Fighting Irish and tie up Notre Dame’s chance of salvaging a season that turned precarious with one simple loss to Navy last weekend.

To be sure, there is a lot at stake for Dave Wannstedt’s Panthers, who are playing at a level not seen around these parts in nearly three decades. Their defense suffocates teams at the line of scrimmage. Their offense has balance and quick-strike ability in the running and passing games. Wannstedt’s teams are always a threat to block a kick.

Pittsburgh’s BCS bid, however, doesn’t hinge on the outcome of this game. That is connected to the next two games against West Virginia and Cincinnati. The Panthers could lose by four touchdowns to Notre Dame, yet still would land the Big East’s BCS bid with victories over the Mountaineers and the Bearcats. All that would be lost is its quest for a national title, which wasn’t a realistic expectation anyway.

As for the hoopla inside Heinz Field Saturday night, that’s not likely to disturb Pittsburgh’s focus on the matter at hand. No, they’re not accustomed to playing in front of a full house. But the difference between 45,000 fans and 60,000 fans shouldn’t have any bearing on the Panthers. A national television audience? This is 2009. Ho hum.

No, the heat is on the Fighting Irish. If either team is feeling the pressure of the noose around its neck, it is Notre Dame, which is battling to live another day and trying to give their head coach a sixth year in the program.

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Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo, middle, is congratulated by safety Jarred Shannon (10), left, and running back John Howell (5) after Navy defeated Notre Dame in an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009.   picture appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Darron Cummings ................
Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo, middle, is congratulated by safety Jarred Shannon (10), left, and running back John Howell (5) after Navy defeated Notre Dame in an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Darron Cummings ................

Charlie Weis, for all of the mistakes made and you have to believe that many have been made. He continues to make the same old excuses for the diatribe that his teams continue to show on the field of play. Now, were this any other coach without the pedigree of being a former NFL assistant of Bill Belichick. Then, it shows that Weis has been given a pass by the AD, Jack Swarbrick and that of the faculty. And clearly,when judged against that of his predecessor, Tyrone Willingham. Then, it clearly shows that there’s something amiss with the policy of the faculty and that of its athletics department. The only reason why Weis is at present being kept in his position , is the mere fact that the faculty and the AD are weighing up the potential financial loss to the athletics’ program. Tens of millions of dollars rolls into the coffers, each season for the university. Much of that came from the interest shown in Weis when it was announced that he was to succeed Tyrone Willingham. And were that money to dry up , it could lead to some sort of call for Weis to be kept in place for the moment , in the hope for things to change for the better. And at this moment in time, those financial positives outweigh that of the negatives on the football field. The thought though, is how much longer can this go on for the fans of the program and that of the boosters ?

Navy fullback Vince Murray (47) runs against  Notre Dame safety Sergio Brown during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Navy fullback Vince Murray (47) runs against Notre Dame safety Sergio Brown during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Darron Cummings .................

Now clearly, if there’s a case here for Charlie Weis to remain in his position as the coach of the football program.. I for one, cannot find an answer to see how the situation can remain with him in tenure as the program’s coach. Questions have been asked and the answers that have been given thus far has resulted in a mess. The university for its part , has shown nothing more than a passing interest in the predicament that it is now faced with. Money more than anything else, is the clear driving force behind their indecision. And that indecision has led to the morass of denials from all of the parties closest to the situation. Weis is in denial , as too, in large part are the continued supporters of the coach, faculty and the AD. So the course of action now to be taken, is a wait and see method ?

Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate (23) is tackled by Navy tackle Steve Spada (51) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate (23) is tackled by Navy tackle Steve Spada (51) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Darron Cummings ............

The 1,000 pound gorilla in the room, is that of Weis and the belief that he can still be viewed as the savior of the football program. If ever there was a basis in fact that he can still make the program a success. Well ,clearly it has yet to happen. The only thing that we’ve witnessed so far, is the program’s fall from grace and the fact that the excuses are still forthcoming in the support of Charlie Weis. Who not only because of his size but also because of his proclivity to be in denial, as to how far the program has fallen under his tenure. The 1,0000 gorilla in the room is Charlie Weis and the whole world is now beginning to notice that very fact. The voices of dissent are being kept quiet by those who clearly do not want the well to run dry. Mediocrity, it appears and the financial gains that the program is now attaining far outweighs that of common sense. Or could it be that one of the greater mistakes was the fact that Notre Dame signed Weis to an 6 year long contract extension and having to terminate that contract could cost them in excess $30 million ,as well and that of his coaching staff ?

In the midst of this all, it just goes to show how irrational the coach has been. As too, has the faculty and the whole internal organization of the university. The question I’d like to ask of the fans boosters , alumni and die hard apologists of the program. Is what now ? Where’s the program going to go now ? Presently, it’s not going up and it appears the only way is further down into the abyss of mediocrity. Where do you see things going for the program ?