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Cardinals Lose Game and White

Cardinals fans... step away from the ledge

Cardinals fans... step away from the ledge

Playing the Army Black Knights this weekend was a team in desperate need of a win. It would silence the critics, relax the heat on Stan Parrish, and perhaps… just maybe… walk some fans in from the ledge that they’ve found themselves on over the first 2 games of this season. Another Saturday, another loss, and now the number of fans on that ledge increases exponentially, assuming they all haven’t went and jumped off.

In what has become a sort of ready-made refrain for games this fall, despite losing, this is a game Ball State very easily could have won. With minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Cards found themselves tied, with the ball, though pinned deep. After an errant Kelly Page pass was returned for an Army TD, the momentum and the chance at a victory, along with hope, went right out the window.

There were some good things though… the defense played well considering the triple option attack they were defending. It’s a challenging opponent for sure, and after the first drive, it appeared to me that the defense held their own. Offensively, the wide receivers, most notably Torieal Gibson

As for the bad… the offensive line was far from dominating. Again. Which largely was the reason for Kelly Page even needing to scramble in the first place. Penalties were killers. Not so much the amount of them, just simply when they happened. Like on a Kelly Page 46-yard scramble in a tie game. Instead, it became 2nd and long, which led to an INT on 3rd down. Quale was largely ineffective, largely because of the O-line failing to open any holes. He finished with 17 yards on 12 carries.

Perhaps the largest loss was not on the scoreboard, as receiver Seth White broke his collarbone and is out for the remainder of the season. After already losing Madaris Grant, this was a team that could not afford any other injuries. White’s loss will be felt.

In terms of the game itself, this is the sort of game I expected from these Cardinals all year long. In all truthfulness, we weren’t defeated because of out of this world play from the opponents, we weren’t defeated because of a lack of preparation or gameplan, and we weren’t defeated by a coaching mistake. We were simply defeated because freshman, which is what the offense is largely composed of, played like freshman. The freshmen on the offensive line didn’t protect, block, or open holes, and the freshman taking those snaps threw three picks. Hard to defeat anyone when that happens.

Up next for this team is another road contest, this time against the Auburn Tigers. Will it be a curb stomping? Potentially. Could lightning in a bottle strike and Ball State upset the Tigers? Perhaps. For now, though, that ledge gets more and more crowded as the losses pile up.

(1-5 Stans, 1 being happy as a Matlock marathon
5 being like Marsh ran out of Metamucil)


Despite the improvement, a loss is still a loss, and at 0-3 with a trip to Auburn looming, the Stan-O-Meter shows no signs of dwindling.


Weekend Carnage Report

Apologies for the delay this morning… stupid real life. We’re back now, though, and playing catch up for most of the morning. The weekend itself was noteworthy more for what didn’t happen (Tennessee not getting destroyed, USC struggling, etc.) than for what did, but it’s another weekend over.

Thankfully, the time for teams to load up on tomato cans from FCS or pitifully overmatched FBS teams is drawing to a distinct close as conference play is just around the corner for most. I, for one, cannot tell you how exciting it was to welcome the 3:30 SEC/CBS marriage back onto my television. It had been gone far too long. Off we go…

Ball State logoBall State Report: More coming in a bit, but frankly, this one was both disappointing and encouraging, if that’s even possible. In what’s sort of become a refrain so far this season… as bad as we played all game, we were still in a position to win it. While it sucks we’re 0-3, this isn’t like we’re getting beat by 60 points. Having said that, we play at Auburn this weekend, where the potential for a beating of epic proportions is entirely possible. Could this be the weekend where lightning strikes? Who knows…

Kentucky LogoKentucky Report: It was an ugly win, but a win nonetheless for the Wildcats. Years ago, that wouldn’t have been the case, as UK tried every way in the world to give that game to the Cardinals. Penalties, turnovers, clock problems, etc. all colored this game, and could have very easily been the reasons why a loss was inevitable. Fortunately for UK, the football Gods and more specifically Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb smiled on them Saturday as they walked out of Commonwealth a winner. Tremendous effort by Louisville, though. Totally unexpected. More a bit later on this one as well.

On to the weekend…

The Good

  • Washington: With a stout defensive effort, as well as some key USC injuries, the Huskies upset #3 USC on Saturday, snapping a 10-game Pac 10 losing streak and announcing to the world that Steve Sarkisian, was in fact, the right man for the job.
  • Oklahoma: No Sam Bradford? No problem for the Sooners, who dismantled Tulsa 45-0 behind the arm of backup QB Landry Jones. The freshman threw for 336 yards and 6 TDs, leaving many wondering how they would have done against BYU without Bradford at all.
  • Oregon: After the punch heard round the world, and their 1-1 start, most had written off Oregon as any sort of threat out west. With Saturday’s victory over Utah, the Ducks announced they are still very much in the picture, while dealing the non-automatic qualifiers a significant blow to their BCS hopes.

The Bad

  • BYU/Utah: Two teams that most thought would be in the conversation for a BCS at large berth, especially given the Cougars upset of Oklahoma to start the season. Both beaten on Saturday, and both virtually guaranteed to not be in the BCS.
  • Maryland: Following the trend of the last few seasons, Maryland certainly played to their competition Saturday in Byrd Stadium as they were upset by Middle Tennessee State on a last second field goal. “Upset” may be a bit much, though, considering the Terps needed overtime to beat James Madison last weekend and were beaten by MTSU last year.
  • USC: Saturday’s upset at Washington was another example of SC underperforming at least once per season. The last 4, to be exact, were all characterized by a Trojan loss to an unranked opponent. It’s not a question whether or not Pete Carroll can coach a big game, it’s whether or not he can coach the run of the mill ones.

The Ugly

  • Kentucky: A Louisville team that is the bottom of the Big East shouldn’t test anyone the way they did on Saturday. It remains to be seen whether this was more Louisville playing over their heads or Kentucky under theirs. With the Gators heading to Lexington on Saturday, we shall have an answer to that question.
  • Florida: Blame the swine flu, but Florida looked far from sharp or dominant in their 10-point victory over Tennessee. Rivalry games have a ridiculous tendency to be close, but the margin in this one was surprising to say the least.
  • Penn State: Another weekend, another win for the Nittany Lions, but like every other victory this season, it was far from a blowout, the Nittany Lions far from dominant, and this one was again against a MAC school. Ugly for not only their margin, but their continuous opponents who provide no real challenge.

OTP Helmet Stickers
From Alan

  • Jahvid Best, RB, Cal: Further proving that he is without question the best running back in college football, Best racked up 131 yards and 5 TDs in the Golden Bears victory over a tough Minnesota team.
  • Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame: 22-31 300 yds, 2 TDs in a victory over Michigan State, a win the Irish desperately needed.
  • Jeremy Avery, RB, Boise State: 186 rushing yards, 83 receiving yards, and a TD in the victory over upset minded Fresno State.

From Edge

  • Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Record setting performance with 6 TD tosses in a Sooner victory… as a freshman.
  • Washington: The entire team for upsetting USC and costing them a good chance at a national title. Congrats.

Better Know…. Army!

ArmyThe Ball State Cardinals head to West Point, NY this weekend to take on the Army Black Knights. The term “must win” gets thrown around pretty frequently in the sports universe, but this time, we actually mean it. Ball State has simply GOT to win this game. In order to turn this season around, avoid an 0-4 start before conference play, and make fans in Muncie reconsider their Regulator-esque angry mobs googling “Stan Parrish Address”, the Cardinals have got to avoid mistakes, problems, and most notably… a loss.

There’s lots of things to consider for this weekend’s game. How will this team respond on the road in a hostile environment? Is there reason to think that situation will breed more success than the friendly confines of Scheumann Stadium? Who starts at QB? Who finishes at QB? Is this the game where Stan Parrish wins his first game as Ball State head coach? The resounding answer to all of that is “Who the hell knows?!” But we do know a little about Army…

Series History: Ball State and Army have met only one other time in football . The Black Knights posted a 41-21 win at Army in 1999.

Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson: Coach Ellerson (Hawaii ‘77) is in his first season as the Black Knights head coach and his 10th season as a collegiate head mentor. He came to Army after spending the last eight seasons as the head coach at Cal Poly. Ellerson spent the 1996 campaign as the head coach at Southern Utah. He owns a 1-1 mark at Army and a 61-42 career coaching record.

GameDay at Army: In 2007, Sports Illustrated ranked Army’s Michie Stadium as the seventh best college venue in all sports. In 1999, Michie Stadium was ranked as the third best sports venue of the 20th century in a Sports Illustrated poll.

Scouting the Black Knights
. . . Army is 1-1 after opening the season with a 27-14 win at Eastern Michigan before falling 35-19 at home to Duke last Saturday
. . . Patrick Mealy leads Army in rushing with 208 yards and one touchdown in two games
. . . Mealy is averaging 104.0 yards per game and 13.9 yards per rush.
. . . Quarterback Trent Steelman has completed 4-of-11 passes for 36 yards, while Carson Williams has completed 8-of-18 passes for 91 yards and one TD
. . . Damion Hunter has caught five passes for 35 yards, while Ali Villanueva has four catches for 68 yards and one touchdown.
. . . The Black Knights posted a 3-9 season in 2008.

Week One… with a Little Help from the Fab Four

Club_ID_by_BeatlesFanClubWith week one in the books, the football machine is now fully operational.  But if you haven’t noticed, this week is a landmark occasion in the music world.  The Beatles are set to release all their albums today, finally remastered on CD, as well as The Beatles: Rock Band video game.  I have had a chance to hear about half of the remastered albums (we rockers get early access to everything, or we find someone who does), and the results are nothing short of incredible.

But as I listened this weekend, a lot of the songs played as great soundtracks to the weekend of college football.  And once again, I did the work for you.  Here are some timeless Beatles songs and their connection to week one.

Here, There and Everywhere
Notre Dame was all over the field Saturday.  And for once, they weren’t being led around it.  They came out fast, and they stayed that way the entire game.  If they keep this up, maybe Crazy Lou was right.

Let It Be
Air Force did anything but let it be.  Demolishing Nicholls State 72-0 should show the rest of the Mountain West that Air Force should probably not be taken too lightly in 2009.

I’m Looking Through You
Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly almost seemed inside Rutgers’ head coach Greg Schiano’s head the entire game.  Taking a 47-15 beating from a fellow conference team is not a pretty way to start the season.

A Day in the Life
Leave it to Ohio State to make a close game out of a sure blowout.  Just another day in the life for Buckeye fans.

You Can’t Do That
LeGarrette Blount committed one of the worst acts of losing one’s temper that I have ever seen on national television.  Next to Ron Artest.  Needless to say, I fully agree with the year-long suspension, and it should serve as a reminder that as much as you want to lay out an opponent for talking shit, sucker-punches aren’t the answer.

Continue reading

Weekend Carnage Report

Football is back, ladies and gents, and with it brings the return of the Weekend Carnage Report, your Monday Must Read for football goings on. While the weekend was short on major earth shaking upsets, there was excitement to be found throughout the land. Blocked field goals, overtimes, sucker punches… and this was all week 1. It’s going to be a good year.

Ball State logoBall State Report: For the Cardinals, it was hardly worth rehashing. It was game 1, it was a learning experience, and we have an FCS team coming in on Saturday. Play like they did on Thursday and they’ll get beat again. Play like they’re capable of, and it’s an easy W. There are some that will tell you that the gap between non-BCS teams and excellent FCS teams isn’t all that large. I am not one of those people. The gap is there and this is a game BSU needs to win, and win big.

Kentucky LogoKentucky Report: What really can you say that hasn’t already been covered by A Sea of Blue? The Cats looked dominant, energetic, poised, and skilled. The things we thought would be troublesome, like pressure and skill from the defensive ends, or the offense picking up blitzing schemes was present, but that’s something teachable and nowhere near the problems that the Legion of Doom expected to be dealing with after game 1. The positives, like Randall Cobb, Mike Hartline, the offensive line’s dominance, and Trevard Lindley all looked extremely good. Yes, it was a MAC school… I get it. But a win like this builds confidence and swagger no matter who you beat… and that’s what this team needed. The most improvement usually occurs between games 1 and 2, and throw in a bye week and I’m feeling good about Big Blue.

On to the weekend…

The Good

  • Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish were lampooned early this season as a team exceptionally overrated and ranked to highly. Most pointed to their season opener against Nevada and their high octane offense as a potential upset for the Irish. After Saturday’s 35-0 shellacking, ND looks like a team to keep your eye on. Charlie Weis silenced some critics, the Irish certainly impressed some pollsters, and Jimmy Clausen finally looked like the Clausen he was expected to be out of high school.
  • Florida/Texas/USC: Three of the teams universally expected to compete for a national championship berth all came out and handled their business against lesser opponents. Impressive, dominating, and totally expected but good all the same.
  • Boise State/BYU: Two non-BCS conference programs that have catapulted themselves into the BCS conversation. Boise’s victory over Oregon was overshadowed by a sucker punch, and BYU’s upset of Oklahoma overshadowed by Sam Bradford’s shoulder injury, but both those wins will be worth their weight in gold come this week’s poll and for the hopes of both of those programs to crash the BCS party come January.
  • Kentucky/Tennessee: Two teams needing large wins to sort of ease the fears of fanbases in worry mode. Both did exactly what was needed as Kentucky took Miami behind the woodshed and Tennessee laid the smack down on Western Kentucky. Welcome to FBS, Toppers… now grab your ankles.

The Bad

  • Virginia: It’s hard to say what’s worse… the fact that UVA lost to FCS William & Mary or the fact that no one seems to really be talking about it. Is that because of the other stories happening? Or because UVA is just expected to be awful. Probably a little of both.
  • The MidAmerican Conference: Some were lauding the MAC as a conference on the rise and in a position to get back some of the prestige lost when Marshall and Miami stopped dominating. The first weekend was hardly anything to warrant celebration as the MAC went 3-10 and the universally thought stronger MAC West went 0-6. The most damaging losses? Ball State’s to North Texas and Temple to Villanova. WMU looked dreadful against Michigan.
  • Maryland: Many were expecting the Terps to be contenders in an ACC devoid of overwhelming talent and skill. After the thorough decimation at the hands of Cal, Terp fans have got to be concerned. The Golden Bears ran absolutely roughshod over the Terp defense, didn’t allow the offense to flourish, and simply dominated.

The Ugly

  • Iowa: In what was nearly the largest upset of the weekend, Northern Iowa played Iowa closer than nearly every expert expected. So much so that the Hawkeyes needed two blocked field goals in the final seconds to seal a win. Iowa has had a ton of injuries but this is a game they have to win… largely… impressively… going away.
  • Ohio State: The Buckeyes were one pass away from a tie game with under three minutes to go Saturday. I’m certainly a fan of not running the score up in any fashion against a service academy, but playing like this next week against the Trojans is going to be an ass whipping waiting to happen.
  • Indiana: Not surprisingly, IU ends up on this list again. But at least this time it isn’t in the bad! Congrats! After a lackluster performance against Eastern Kentucky, it’s looking like it’s going to be a long year for the Hoosiers and their fans.

OTP Helmet Stickers
From Alan

  • WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame: 4 rec, 189 yards, 3 TDs in an impressive win against Nevada, announcing to the fans that ND may in fact, be ready to lay claim to a BCS berth with hopefully different results.
  • RB Ralph Bolden, Purdue: Sure, it was against Toledo. But when you throw up 234 yards and 2 TDs, that gets you some OTP love. Now… do that against Penn State and the Buckeyes, and you’re getting invited to New York for a bronze stiff-arming trophy.
  • QB Max Hall, BYU: 26-38 329 yards and 2 TDs in a shocking upset of Oklahoma. Hall commandeered an offensive unit that was far from dominant, but he got the job done. And that’s all anyone can ever ask for.

From Edge

  • Arizona State LB Mike Nixon hauled in an impressive three interceptions and even took one to the house.  Granted it was against Idaho State, it was still a great effort, and he’s clearly someone to watch this year.
  • Tony Pike threw for a personal best 362 yards and three touchdowns in Cincinnati’s rout of Rutgers on Monday.  One hell of a performance from one surprisingly good team, at least from week one’s showing.
  • Purdue’s RB Ralph Bolden accumulated 234 yards and two touchdowns on just 21 carries against Toledo.  And I thought Ball State’s rushing defense was poor on Thursday… jeebus.

Conference Preview: Independents

crystalballIn an effort to address all the teams and conferences that make the fall so exciting, OTP’s All-Star Editorial staff is putting on their prognosticatin’ hats and taking a stab at each of the conferences and all of the teams in FBS. Alan and Edge are giving you the conference’s order of finish, the records, the superlatives for offense and defense, and the biggest surprise for each conference. At the conclusion of our series, we’ll have the Bowl Projections for all 34 Bowl Games.

OTP Conference Preview: Independents

It’s sort of ironic that we lump all the teams who want no part of a conference in with each other as if they were one. Clearly, they aren’t, and their records and successes don’t hinge on one another, but for simplicity’s sake, we did it this way. I’d hate to have the only 3 teams not covered and prognosticated be one of the most tradition rich programs in history and two service academies.

When it comes to this crew of 3, clearly Notre Dame gets the most attention and publicity, but with that comes an enormous amount of pressure, expectations, and demanded excellence. For Navy, they are looking to take that next step in terms of success and become a team capable of stealing the independent headlines and attention from the Fighting Irish. For the Black Knights of Army, they are looking for improvement as they try to rebuild a historical mystique that they once possessed.

Bowl Tie Ins:
Notre Dame automatically qualifies as an at-large selection in the BCS in years where it finishes in the top 8 of the BCS rankings. Additionally, Notre Dame may be selected by either the Gator Bowl or the Sun Bowl instead of their normal conference tie-ins. Navy will play in the 2009 Texas Bowl and the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl should they be bowl eligible those years. Army will play in the 2009 EagleBank Bowl should they be bowl eligible that year. All three of these teams remain eligible for selection as a replacement team when the conferences do not have enough eligible teams to meet their obligations.

Alan’s Independent Predictions
Order of Finish:
Notre Dame: 11-1
Navy: 9-4
Army: 5-7

League MVP: Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
Offensive MVP: Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
Defensive MVP: Joshua McNary, DL, Army

Biggest Surprise This Season: The Fighting Irish end up in the final 8 of the BCS, earning themselves a BCS berth.

Edge’s Independent Predictions
Order of Finish:
Notre Dame: 9-3
Navy: 7-6
Army: 4-8

League MVP: Golden Tate, Notre Dame
Offensive MVP: Alex Teich, Navy
Defensive MVP: Kyle McCarthy, Notre Dame

Biggest Surprise This Season: Notre Dame thumps DickRod in Ann Arbor but fails to impress against Nevada and Michigan State. Weis keeps his job, and his FUPA is guaranteed to be fed for another season. Flame on, RV.

Prelude to a Season: #25

Just as we did last year, OTP will be getting itself in season mode by revealing our Preseason Top 25 one pick at a time, followed by our conference predictions, All-American teams, and finally our conference winner and bowl projections. It’s still sunny and the pool is still open, but it’s time. Sweet tasty football time.

25.) Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre_DameWhat You Need to Know: When people are asked to evaluate the potential successes of the Fighting Irish, it is nearly impossible to receive an unbiased accurate assessment. The Irish fans, and there are many, will always proclaim ND to be one of the best teams in the country and a contender for a national title. On the flip side of that coin are the anti-ND folks, a crowd just as loud, and just as populated, with opinions just as ingrained. They will tell you that ND is annually overranked, head coach Charlie Weis universally overrated, and Notre Dame is a team that is simply past their prime and unable to compete with the modern day dynasties.

In recent years, the anti-Irish have had much to celebrate while the ND faithful have found themselves in fairly unfamiliar territory. After Weis’ first two seasons in South Bend saw the Irish post a 19-6 record with two BCS Bowl berths, the Irish came back to Earth with a Bowl-less 07 at 3-9 and a largely lackluster 2008 at 7-6. Last year saw rumblings of Weis’ early exit from South Bend mainly because of a large and vocal group of Irish faithful questioning whether or not he was capable of winning there. Three double-digit leads blown through the year (Pitt, Syracuse, North Carolina), and a 6-6 record, relegated the Irish to the Hawaii Bowl, a game that no one expected would produce such positive vibes for the Irish.

Behind a record-breaking performance in passing yards (401) and touchdowns (5), Irish QB Jimmy Clausen showed the world why he was universally regarded as a Can’t-Miss-Prospect out of high school. Granted, the competition was a 7-6 Hawaii team, but it was still a much celebrated victory. It could have been because the Irish hadn’t won a Bowl in 15 years or it could have been because the Irish finally just had something worth celebrating, but one thing is for certain: what started as jubilation on December 24, 2008 has morphed into anticipation and expectations as August 2009 dawns.

The question in many fans’ minds revolves around the ND defense. Notre Dame returns only 6 starters, having lost two of last season’s top 3 tacklers in FS David Bruton and LB Maurice Crum. Bruton’s loss is espcially felt, as he also led the team in interceptions. Sack co-leader DL Pat Kuntz, CB Terrail Lambert, LB Steve Quinn, and DE Justin Brown all must be replaced as well. Hoping to ease that transition is one of the most heralded signees in recent ND history… LB Manti Te’o, a 6’2″ 225-lb. linebacker ranked positionally #1 and overall #2 by ESPN.

Notre Dame finds themselves not only on numerous preseason polls or watch lists, but also in possession of a relatively weak schedule. An offense which showed signs of brilliance to close 2008, a head coach who has recommitted himself to being involved in the minuscule details on the offensive side, and an exceptionally talented recruiting class all bode well for the Irish, but could prove to be the loudest talking points for the anti-Weis crowd should ND not find their way to a successful 2009 campaign.

Who You Need to Know & Their 08 Stats
QB Jimmy Clausen: 268-440, 3172 yds, 25 TDs, 17 INTs
WR Golden Tate: 58 rec, 1080 yds, 10 TDs
SS Kyle McCarthy: 110 tkls, 3.5 TFL, 2 INTs

Game to Watch
Finding must-see television on Notre Dame’s schedule is relatively easy. The Irish may find themselves favorites in 11 of their 12 scheduled games, with the exception being October 17th against USC in South Bend. The game follows a bye-week for the Irish and the Trojans, and is the one game many Irish faithful point to as the sticking point for an undefeated season.

They’ll Do Well If…
… the Irish find viable replacements for their numerous defensive losses. The ND offense will clearly put up points and yardage, it is up to a defense long on talent but short on game experience to ensure those points and yards are enough to win.

Season Outlook
If the season goes according to plan, Notre Dame will finish 11-1, with the lone loss coming to a significantly more talented USC. The Irish will, however, need to perform to their talent level to beat UConn, Stanford, and Boston College, with any sort of major mistakes or significant injuries reducing their chance for victory. As in years past, expect at least one hiccup and potentially more. A successful year would find the Irish with an 11-1 record, a disappointment at 7-5, with expected reality at 9-3.

Notre Dame Potentially Heading to Yankee Stadium

There has been no inanimate object or structure take as much of a beating as Yankee Stadium has in its short three month or so lifespan. Balls are flying faster than the last Peter North movie, seats are ridiculously over priced, and if you end up just short of the restaurant in center field, you’re watching the game on a tv screen instead of the 40% of the field you can actually see.

And, as if having one marquee sports dynasty play there wasn’t enough, there is initial talks between the New York Yankees and Notre Dame for the Fighting Irish to play a football game there. Details are still in the extremely early stages, but Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick has this to say…

“We’ve been in contact with Yankee Stadium and asked and inquired,” Swarbrick said, according to the Times. “We will be discussing games with them, but we haven’t entered into any substantive discussions.”

Ideally, Swarbrick said, Notre Dame would love to play Army at the stadium in 2013 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1913 game, according to the report. In that landmark game, the Irish utilized the forward pass to great success to beat the Black Knights, popularizing what had been, up to that point, a little-used strategy. The results influenced other teams to adopt the forward pass, in effect changing the game.

If there’s football at the new stadium before 2013, Notre Dame would still like to be involved, Swarbrick said. But playing the 100th anniversary of the 1913 game in New York would have great meaning for the Irish, he added, according to the report.

Oh fantastic! Let’s all jump on board as probably the premier major league baseball stadium plays host to a shell-of-its-former-self Notre Dame program and Army. Yes… that Army. The same Army who isn’t even expected to beat Ball State this coming season. Simply fabulous.

I, for one, am all in favor of college teams playing a game in a venue not traditionally known for football, or in areas where some of their fans may not get to watch them play. For example, a Notre Dame-Texas game at Soldier Field… clutch. Kentucky and Miami (OH) at the Bengals stadium? Perfect. Notre Dame playing a scrub ass Army team in a baseball stadium just so they can say they did? Awful. Celebrating the anniversary of the forward pass? Spare me. Let’s just call it what it is… another excuse for Notre Dame to get a win.

If they want something cool, then rock out a game with national interest. Notre Dame-USC at Yankee Stadium would be tremendous. Notre Dame-Oklahoma at Wrigley. For me to look at this any other way than the Irish simply whoring about their team against a helplessly overmatched also ran, Swarbrick and co. need to bring it. A major venue deserves a major game. And Notre Dame-Army isn’t it.

That’s a Lovely Freak You Have There, Army

With the fall date at West Point looming for the Ball State Cardinals it’s never to early to look at the impact players on Army’s roster. Enter one Ali Villanueva, a former offensive linemen converted to wideout who is 6′ 10″. According to Army, Ali runs a 4.8 and weighs 286. Jared Lorenzen scoffs at his lack of commitment to go from “humorously oversized” to “freaktastically gargantuan”.

This doesn’t bode well for opposing DBs if this giant has any semblance of hands. But knowing Army, he doesn’t, so no need to panic. Assuming this whole football thing doesn’t work out for him, he at least will graduate from the United States Military Academy. And God help our national defense budget if we have to start somehow figuring out how to camouflage 6’10” monsters in the middle of the desert. We had best start looking for tall camels with Pamela Anderson sized humps for him to stand behind.

(HT to Orson at EDSBS)

Humpday Quickies

It’s been a couple weeks since we’ve thrown up our Humpday Quickies, but here we are. It’s the humpiest of days. Nothing really of note on the Cardinals that wasn’t already covered, so we’ll move ahead to the Wildcats who face Vandy this week. Is it winnable? Sure. Will they win? Who the hell knows. This Wildcat team is anyone’s guess, as is Vandy, really. We’re just as likely to see a 50-40 game as we are 17-10. We’ll get to all that later in the week, but for now, here’s what’s happening…

Kentucky Quickies:

  • The Spread is coming to Kentucky! Of course, not by choice, more so because of the rampant injury bug going around.
  • Mark Story says regardless of Rich Brooks’ steady assertion that they need a 7th win to get to a bowl, they’re in.
  • Brian Rickerd from The State Journal chats a bit about the “crossroads” that this Kentucky team is facing.
  • Always entertaining TeamSpeedKills provides some humor with an SEC Coaches’ Poker Game. Rich Brooks thinks its bullshit.
  • As expected, DeMoreo Ford’s career is over. But some hope in the coaching department. Good luck, DF.
  • A Sea of Blue gives great insight and evaluation about the Cats offense and season. A must read.

Other Quickies:

  • In case you’re ever down here in College Park, MD visiting the OTP home office, beware large football players hanging out at Cornerstone Bar. They tend to instigate bar brawls and punch cops. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
  • Joel at RockyTopTalk, who we link to often and read even more often, has made his case for Mike Leach to be the next head coach at Tennessee. When my UT friend asked me who I would hire when the story broke, Leach was the first and only name I gave him. If UT is smart, they will throw mountains of money to get this man to Knoxville.
  • The BCS might be heading to ESPN, assuming Fox can’t pony up the same sort of dough. Which they won’t. So enjoy Mark May douching it up during the championship game.
  • Tirico Suave brings the LOLs for Notre Dame fans and haters as the Irish and Coach Weis sort of struggle to find their way.
  • Mike Leach is a helluva coach, and apparently a panic-inducer at the NASDAQ. No one said winning came cheap.
  • West By God Virginia opines on their offensive ineptitude this season in humorous fashion.
  • What’s that Ron Zook? Jealous of Indiana stealing all the press by losing to a MidAmerican conference team. Twice. Ok… you’re up.
  • USC and Pete Carrol? Stoked. But not about that stupid BCS mind you.