Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Weekend in Review

"I've Never Been More Wronger" Edition

Important KankaNation Announcements

  • KankaNation Hall of Fame ballots are due to me by email by 5pm eastern on Friday, December 31. You may vote for up to 10 people, but remember that Gary Godsey, Bill Simmons (Sports Guy), Snoop Dogg, and Coach Yonto have already been inducted. To see some of the runners-up from last year, click here.

  • Entries for the Bowl Prediction Contest are also due by 5pm on the 31st. This is the first component of the 2005 KankaNation Championship, so participation will definitely help your standing.

  • We're still accepting signups for KankaMatic Baseball 2005. Nick? Andy? Anyone else? Klondike, I know the girlfriend is very fired up about baseball - see if she wants to play.

NCAA Football

Oregon State 38, Notre Dame 21: The team played hard, but could you really expect a lot from Kent Baer against a passing team when he fared poorly before having to handle head coach responsibilities. The game started 14-0 OSU, and all I could think was, "I have to commend these coaches. They were controversially fired, and yet the way this game has started, they're trying their hardest to make the University look good by proving the firing was the right decision." I don't know if anyone noticed, but there was a young blonde girl standing behind Baer the whole game, wearing headphones and holding a clipboard. She was probably a manager, but for all I know, she could have been Baer's 10-year-old daughter. Heck, maybe he even had her calling the plays - she couldn't have been any worse than Bill Diedrick. During the game, ESPN flashed a graphic on Chalie Weis. Apparently, he's the "1st alumni to become head football coach." First of all, "alumni" is plural. Of course, ESPN does seem to enjoy the fat jokes. Second of all, Ara Parseghian was the first non-alumnus to be head football coach. In case you were wondering about the quote in today's subtitle: in high school, a friend said something incorrect and caught himself. When he realized his mistake, he blurted out, "I've never been more wronger!" Um, are you sure about that? It became a very early catch-phrase. Today, ESPN seems to continually redefine "I've never been more wronger!" Maybe one day I can go on ESPN and call Trev Alberts a dick.

Wyoming 24, UCLA 21: Wow, somebody didn't show up, huh? On a side note, I know absolutely nothing about fashion (my sister's even given up on me), but I could tell Wyoming's uniforms were about as ugly as possible.

Iowa State 17, Miami U 13: Hey, let's schedule this game for 2 hours and 45 minutes. It's not like Miami's a MAC team that passes the whole game! Brilliant!

tOSU vs. OSU: (in progress at the time of this writing) The game they're playing is the Alamo Bowl, of course near The Alamo. Apparently, one of the Ohio State assistant coaches asked freshman star Ted Ginn if he'd gone to visit The Alamo yet. "The what?" Ginn had never heard of it. Good, good. Ginn is obviously too young for Pee Wee's Big Adventure, too.


Dolphins 10, Browns 7: How much did ESPN despise covering this game? I was 65% sure Paul Maguire was drunk, and about 95% sure Suzy Kolber was drunk. There was a point where Kolber was interviewing Don Shula, and I was waiting for her to say, "I want to kiss you."

Broncos 37, Titans 16: So, it's better to have a stockpile of good offensive linemen than a stockpile of ok running backs? I didn't know that.

Rams 20, Eagles 7: Oh, Mike Martz is crazy! He's running the football! No, you morons, he's smart. Philadelphia has an atrocius run defense, but only Cleveland and St. Louis have figured that out so far.

Transaction Wire

  • Cardinals sign David Eckstein. Wow, if St. Louis plays both Eckstein and Bo Hart at the same time, I may experience "small on talent, big on firedupedness middle infielder" overload.

  • Reds sign Eric Milton. Indians president and ND grad Randy Lerner has been critisized for not wanting to spend money. But, do you really want to spend $10mil+ a year on a crappy starting pitcher?

Finally, a great anecdote reprinted from the Message Board

A girl who's a senior at ND this year works as a teller here in Lorain during her breaks. So, I'm coming back from lunch. As soon as I come in the door, she stops me and calls me over to tell a story, trying to stifle laughter. She was wearing a giant ND button in honor of the game today. Apparently, the customer she just had had noticed the button and talked to her about it. He said he goes to games 3 or 4 times a year. But here's the best part. He actually took his honeymoon in South Bend, just so he wouldn't miss a game!

Emily (the teller) asked me, "why would anyone want to do that?" (honeymoon in South Bend for an entire week). I said that I could see not wanting to miss the game, but other than that "I got nothing." Maybe this guy was just really fired up about The Backer.

OK, I lied when I said "finally." For those ladies who have been googling the site, here are some pictures of Brady Quinn.

Monday, December 27, 2004

ND Football 2004

Issue 12: Insight Bowl vs. Oregon State

Oregon State comes into this game an interesing 6-5. They've won 5 of their last 6 to become bowl eligible (with the only loss in that streak being an 8-pointer to USC in the fog). Basically, they've beaten the teams they were supposed to and lost to the teams they were supposed to lose to (all 5 losses came against teams currently ranked in the top 25 or ranked at the time of the game). Now, the question is, are they supposed to beat Notre Dame?

OSU Rush Offense vs. ND Rush Defense

Pac-10 teams are known for their passing games, and Oregon State is no different. However, the run game is something that can't be ignored. 74.5 yards per game as a team doesn't seem like much. But, if an opposing defense loosens up looking for the pass, leading rusher Dwight Wright can and will take advantage. Wright is averaging 69.1 YPG.
Notre Dame has been solid against the run this year, giving up 94.4 yards per game against tough competition. However, how will they fare out of their nickel and dime packages? Or will they stay in a base defense against 3 and 4 receiver sets? The Irish gave up 99 yards on the ground against pass-happy Purdue, but the runs were very well placed in that game.

ND Rush Offense vs. OSU Rush Defense

Oregon State has a small but very athletic defense. Will the Irish try to pound it against their smaller counterparts (OK, that just sounded dirty), or will they try to run around them with some misdirection? Darius Walker and Ryan Grant (when healthy) have consistently paced the Irish ground game with 74.3 and 62 YPG, respectively. Add in a token single run for 12 (.5) yards by Marcus Wilson, and a goal line rush by RPN, and there's your Notre Dame running game. The key for the Irish is to stick to their guns on the ground, and not get caught up playing shoot-'em-out in the air with Oregon State.
The Beavers are giving up 122.6 YPG on the ground. That's all the more reason for ND to stick to their ground game. OSU's defense is paced by linebacker Trent Bray, leading the team with 112 tackles.

OSU Pass Offense vs. ND Pass Defense

Whenever I see Chad Johnson and TJ Houshmanzadeh wearing the orange and black of the Cincinnati Bengals, I have flashbacks to our last trip to Arizona. Not good times. Oregon State's 304.4 YPG passing attack is lead by QB Derek Anderson (not the former Cleveland shooting guard). Anderson is a pocket passer, "averaging" -13.3 rushing yards per game. Anderson's favorite target is WR Mike Hass, who averages 115.8 YPG on nearly 8 catches per game. Aiding Hass are tight end Joe Newton with 60.2 YPG and wide receivers Marcel Love and Anthony Wheat-Brown, both averaging 40+ YPG. Running back Wright adds a solid 20.8 YPG.
Notre Dame's pass rush will be important in this game, and Oregon State has given up 34 sacks on the year. reports that Justin Tuck will be sidelined for the bowl game, so the likes of Victor Abiamiri, Kyle Budinscak, Trevor Laws, and Derek Curry will have to step up and "sheild" an ND secondary that has been poor against the deep pass. The Bank One Ballpark football turf, which resembles grass glued on sheets of cardboard, will not help the Irish DB's footing.

ND Pass Offense vs. OSU Pass Defense

Again, ND can't get caught up in a shootout. Brady Quinn has spread the wealth this year, but he will reportedly be without big play threats Maurice Stovall and Matt Shelton. This means that Rhema McKnight (47.3 YPG) will have to have a big game, and Anthony Fasano (35.4 YPG) will have to be open when Quinn needs him. Jeff Samardzija (16.8 YPG) will have to be used effectively has well.
But, will Fasano and the other tight ends be open? Oregon State takes pride in its safeties, especially Mitch Meeuwsen. Meeuwsen has 66 tackles (second on the team) and a team-leading 6 interceptions. Add 4 picks by CB Aric Williams and 5 by strong safety Sabby Piscitelli, and Brady Quinn will have to play a smart game. However, this OSU team can give up the big game, surrendering 53 points to Boise State and 49 to Cal.

Special Teams

OSU kicker Alexis Serna has gone 16-17 on field goal attempts this year, with a long of 55 and his only miss coming from the 40-49 yard range. Punter San Paulescu has been solid this year, with an average of 42.5, a (turf-aided?) long of 69, and 22 of 69 inside the 20.
Punt return duty for the Beavers is shared by Sammie Stroughter and Yvenson Bernard, who combine for 5.9 yards per return. OSU kick returners are also nothing to write home about (but nothing to overlook, either) with a committee averaging 18.1 yards per return.
Oregon State's coverage teams are average on kickoffs (22.4 yards per) and so-so on punt returns (11.3 yards per and a touchdown). Maybe this will be the time for Carlyle Holiday to finally shine.
DJ Fitzpatrick just keeps plugging along, 11-15 on field goals (long of 47) and a yards per punt average of 42.4. Maybe the Browns new GM can draft him to punt next year.
Notre Dame's kick returners haven't been great - averaging 18.8 yards per - but Carlos Campbell and his 25 yard average have been a diamond in the rough over the last few games. Holiday returns punts with an 11 yard average, but he did have a season-long 68 yard return in his final home game.
Irish coverage teams have been up and down, giving up 20.5 yards per kick return and 6.8 yards per punt return.

Look for a big game from
Grant, McKnight, Holiday, Abiamiri, BHoyte

ND 31, OSU 26: Grant, RPN, McKnight, Holiday, and one by DJ beats two field goals, three TDs, and a missed two point conversion.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Weekend in Review

"I'm Actually Doing My Own Work" Edition

NCAA Football

Division 1-AA Final: James Madison 31, Montana 21: The Chattanooga sod was in terrible condition, and in the end power pulled the train. James Madison won their first 1-AA championship when their running attack bested the passing attack of those perennial powerhouses from Missoula. It was like a video game, I kid you not - James Madison went entire drives without passing, and The Griz went entire drives without rushing. Ah well, at least Monte is still in the Capital One Mascot Challenge for another year.

Division II Final: Valdosta State 36, Pittsburg State 31: Pittsburg is not a state, and it's not located in Pennsylvania (it's in Kansas). They also didn't win the game.

Division III Semifinal: Mary Hardin-Baylor 38, Mount Union 35: Perennial DIII powerhouse Mount Union suffered just the third loss in their last 123 games. UMHB scored 17 points in the final quarter, including a go-ahead TD with 35 second left to advance to the finals. The last two losses for the Purple Raiders of Mount Union both came in playoff games - in the 1999 semifinals against Rowan and in the 2003 finals against St. John's Minnesota. Mary Hardin-Baylow fell to Linfield 28-21 in the DIII finals.


Chargers 21, Browns 0: Well, is it time to look toward next year and try to find positives? Lee Suggs had 105 yards rushing in his first game back behind a line that had 1 opening day starter playing. Luke McCown, who Hal Lebovitz tabs as a potential starter in 2005, went 11-27. But, considering he played in temperatures that were probably 50 degrees colder than the Lousiana Tech product has ever seen (-10 with windchill), and considering the number of drops the Browns receivers had.

Vikings 28, Lions 27: By now, you probably all know that this game was lost on a botched extra point snap. Steve Mariucci did the class thing and consoled his rookie long snapper, but of course the media "experts" went the "that's his job, and he didn't do it." Oh really? Well, would you agree that a wide receiver's job is to catch passes. The Lions' snapper has only "not done his job" once, but here's a look at how many times the NFC's top receivers have "not done their jobs."

Texans 24, Bears 5: Mike, at least I understand how you feel when it comes to a Revolving Door of Suck at QB.

Colts 20, Ravens 10: It was amusing to watch Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis try to out-audible each other on each play. Of course, I'm still not sure if Lewis was trying to audible, or just running around screaming like an idiot. My vote is "idiot." On another note, my sense of credibility in ESPN dropped another 6 notches when Stuart Scott pointed out that, after the game, class guy Manning shook hands with Lewis, "another class guy." Wow, so I can have four illegitimate children and be involved in a double murder, and that's still classy? Bring on the women, let's start makin' babies!

Dolphins 29, Patriots: Charlie Weis obviously can't handle ND and New England coach at the same time, especially since he was the defensive coordinator and special teams coach for this game, and also personally threw 4 interceptions. Wait, what?

Transaction Wire

A's trade Tim Hudson to the Braves for Ps Jose Cruz and Dan Meyer and OF Charles Thomas. Well, this is a great trade for the Braves, but the A's don't come out too badly. Meyer is supposedly a great prospect. Cruz has been inconsistent, but Oakland does need bullpen help and can obviously develop someone with Cruz's potential. Thomas came on like gangbusters last year, and is a great Timo Perez-esque backup outfielder on a playoff team.

A's trade Mark Mulder to the Cardinals for Ps Danny Haren and Kiko Calero and C Daric Barton. Well, St. Louis's lack of an overpowering starter really came out in last year's world series. The A's get a starter with huge upside and a solid reliever. Plus, they needed a catcher.

Red Sox sign Matt Clement and Wade Miller. Grumble grumble. Does this mean we can add Boston to the list of teams with bottomless pockets? They're underdogs no more.

Angels sign Orlando Cabrera and release David Eckstein. Anaheim was once the poster child of a small payroll that succeeded. Now, they're spending like there's no tomorrow. Could someone convince the Indians to pick up Eckstein?

Giants sign Moises Alou. He was a great match next to Sammy Sosa in the lineup. The Giant lineup featured no pop outside of Barry Bonds, so this is a good pickup.

Dodgers sign JD Drew and reportedly pull out of the Randy Johnson blockbuster. Vasquez and the two prospects (3B and C, the two positions LA needed to fill) are actually good additions, but when you look at what the D-backs and Yanks got, this wasn't a great deal for the Dodgers. Meanwhile, we'll have to see if Jim Tracy can properly manage things so Drew's injuries don't occur at the same time as Milton Bradley's suspensions.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

  • So, apparently the winner of "The Apprentice" was Kelly Perdew. Who forgot to tell runner-up Jennifer Massey that she was supposed to Beat Perdew!?

  • VH1 recently held their "Big in '04" awards ceremony. Included was an award for "Big Catchphrase in '04." Wait, and I wasn't invited to be the presenter? Of course, getting that close to Paris Hilton (winner of the award for "That's hot.") would probably make me even stupider than I already is.

  • Ugh, after watching the last Browns game, I'm convinced that the NFWW would make a better GM than Butch Davis.

  • Indians GM Mark Shapiro pulled out all the stops while trying to recruit Mark Clement. Clement's agent jokingly accused Shapiro of cheating when Clement got a phone call from LeBron James extolling the virtues of Cleveland fans.

  • Back to the Nick/Lou Saban thing. Lou, if you remember, was a coach for the Bills in the 60s. It turns out that Nick's middle name is "Lou," and the two are related. Various websites list Lou as a cousin, uncle, or "distant relative" of Nick. My guess is that Lou is a cousin of Nick's dad, or something similar.

  • After mass on Saturday, my parents, sister, grandparents and I went to a local restaurant. As soon as we're seated, the restaurant's owner walks over carrying three bottles of booze and shotglass-sized paper cups. After speaking to my granpa in Polish for a bit (my grandparents know the owners of all the area ethnic restaurants), the owner offers to have a shot with all of us. (Apparently, he does this every year at Christmastime.) "Appetizers!" the owner shouts in joy, of course in a European accent you can't quite put your finger on. After we finish, the owner moves to the next table to have a drink with the patrons who have just been seated there. Ah, good times.

  • On Monday night, Al Michaels described the weather in Miami as a "chilly 55." Tuesday morning, I took the dog out before work, and it was a "warm 24." (Compared to the arctic front that came through over the weekend, 24 really did feel warm.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Dave: Talking to Ellen, as I quite often do, I have come to the conclusion that there is always a lot floating around in her head. Crazy theories about the way the world works come at you from every conceivable angle. Of course, she has no inner monologue, so whatever she thinks, she says aloud. Trust me, I’ve heard it all. And it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t share it with you! I wrote this interview specifically to drag out all her theories for KankaNation to see. Most of these pertain to football, as she is a football genius. Other items are in here, as well. So without further ado, I give you……

"A Conversation with Ellen Fitzgerald"

D: How sketchy are offensive linemen?

E: Ok offensive linemen are totally the definition of sketchy. I mean you look in the dictionary under "sketchy" and it says "see also 'offensive lineman.'" Granted I'm not sure if this is true for just college or if it carries on to the pros too because Luke Petitigout is my super favoritest football player and he is an offensive lineman and he doesn’t seem sketchy. Although every time I interact with him I FREAK out and probably become more sketchy than all the offensive linemen on the Giants put together so that could out weigh it. But college offensive lineman are so strange. I had a bo bo jock class junior year with all of the quarterbacks and O Line and they were sooo weird. I'm talking Palmer, Molinaro, Godsey, all of them. They did the strangest projects like about hunting and stuff. They really are just dorks trapped in this huge body. I’m sure if they weren’t in college (only there because of football I mean hello can you say Brennan Curtain??) they would be stupid, fat, old men that scratch their balls and play stupid pranks on people. . .wait, that is what they do now. . .

D: Describe the perfect defensive football player.

E: If you want to be a successful defensive player in the NFL you have to have the name and the hair. It is totally about the name and they hair. You have to have the craziest name (not a fun name like Boobie. . that is for great running backs) that no one can pronounce and you have to have long dreds. If you have those two characteristics the skill will follow. Just look at any game. Who is making the big plays, intercepting the ball, etc. The fired up guys on defense with the crazy name and hair. I'm not actually sure if they really have skill or if the name on the back of the jersey first confuses the offense and the hair amazes them. Maybe it is the whole shock and awe thing. . .

D: Does Jimmy Johnson exist simply to make your life miserable?

E: God Damn f%#$& Jimmy Johnson. I hate that guy. Frekin’ ass clown. First he has to coach Miami. Grrrr. Then he goes and coaches the Dallas Cowboys in the early 90s. I mean hello first he is a big enemy of ND then he is a big enemy of the Giants. And to boot, people think he is super. Come one. First he is like 'ooh look at me look at me I am the coach of Miami." Big frekin deal, you take players right after they get paroled from prison. Then he is like "Look at me, look at me I’m the coach of the Dallas Cowboys. I have a man crush on Troy Aikman. He's soo cute!" Now he is like "Look at me, look at me I’m a sports caster." Sports caster my ass. At least Bob Davie accent is amusing. Can’t stand the guy. He needs to go away.

D: Greatest website ever:, KankaNation, or

E: This is totally not fair. I do pledge my allegiance to KankaNation. I mean I'm a KankaManiac 4 Life. For this reason I'm taking this one out of the mix here. NDNation is great especially during times of craziness, I mean I was TOTALLY addicted during the whole coach thing, but I think I'm not old enough nor do I have the right anatomy to claim that as a favorite. So we are going to talk about If you are having a bad day, that website is an automatic pick me up. I'm laughing just thinking about it. I don't know even where to start. First of all, Kim Dunbar, the most scandalous person associated with ND, is basically the staff for the site. Then, the content. So funny. I think the best is the list of DGiv's places he wants to go: The planet Saturn, The Bermuda Trapezoid (yes I said trapezoid, not triangle), Ancient Eqypt. I’m on the list to be notified when the fan club starts.

D: True or false: you discovered Urban Meyer years ahead of the bandwagon.

E: I’m totally ahead of the pack with so many things. I mean hello, wasn't Jesse Palmer on my love ranking BEFORE he was named the Bachelor? I liked him before the rest of the country because he was Billy's brother. Grrrr. So yes, I knew the greatness of Urban Meyer for years. I worked with him a bit at ND then followed him televisionally (I made up that word) after that and said he was on his way here. Well I’m not going to comment on that anymore because it is water under the bridge and he is dead to me. Dead to me I tell you!

D: What is the best method for recovering a fumble?

E: I don't know if all the football players out there realize this, but you don't really have to recover a fumble. All you have to do is have all the other players point. It is a proven fact (I really have yet to be proven wrong) that the team who points the most gets the ball. I think it is because the ref is scared. I mean come on, if you are this puny little man that most people on the field dislike would you want to upset them more by going against popular opinion? So yeah, you fumble the ball, you make sure your team points like crazy, not crazy like Chad Pennington gesturing that he got a first down, but at least a lot.

D: How could Notre Dame better utilize its relationship with Holy Cross College?

E: Notre Dame has the PERFECT situation with Holy Cross College. It is a school loosely affiliated with ND right across the street full of kids that would love to go to ND if they were able to. You know what that smells like to me? A Juco. Yes that is right, ND's very own junior college. Here's what we do, we find athletes that we want but don’t have the grades to make it into ND. We have them enroll at HCC (see even the initials make it sound like a community college), make sure the priests over there inflate their grades, then have them transfer. And see, bada big, bada boom, they get into ND "on their own accord" and beef up our sports teams. It is brilliant I tell you! I have no idea why we haven’t done anything like this in the past.

D: Give your review of the movie "Troy."

E: That movie really pissed me off. I really want a refund. I went to the theater expecting a half way intellectual film and I was totally wrong. I mean poor Virgil and Homer are probably rolling over in his grave from the liberties they took with the script. I mean come on, you just don't change certain things. I mean if you were going to write a movie based on a book, especially books that are like a freakin' million years old, you just don’t change things. I mean they completely negated the roll of the gods in the film which is a big no no. There are too many errors to mention, but I weep, I weep for those dummy writers. I mean I just wanted to scream in the theater, and you know what, I may have. Like when I head some of the stupid shit that Bob Costas (who I used to love) said during the Olympics. I mean he got the whole story about how Athens was named wrong! I blocked out his stupid answer but Athens was most definitely named after the Greek goddess Athena. Zeus had a contest between her and Poseidon to see who would become the patron god of the city. They each had to give a gift to the city; Poseidon gave them a salt water spring (he is the god of the ocean) and Athena gave them an olive tree. The olive tree, which is very useful, won out over a useless salt water spring and Athena won the city of Athens. I've been meaning to write him a stern letter. . .

D: Rank the following in order or cuteness: Don Zimmer, Pope John Paul II, Joe Paterno, Ara Parseghian.

E: Totally not fair again since they are all cute and old. Obviously the Pope wins because he is, hello, the pope, the king of the cute old priests. Where is Father Hesburgh on here? He would be a #2. If I had to rank after the Pope it would have to be Ara because he is ND affiliated, Joe Paterno because he is so fired up, and Don Zimmer because he is cute, old, fat, and not afraid to come to fisticuffs with a buff ball player.

D: If you had a Heisman vote, what would be your criteria?

E: Ok we need to remember what the Heisman award is for. It is for the BEST COLLEGE FOOTBALL ATHLETE. It is not for the best quarterback, there is a separate award for that. So people have got to stop picking the best team out there, then picking the QB from that team to get it. Yeah, I know every so often they throw in a running back, but what about an offensive tackle or a nose guard? It is just like the Super Bowl MVP award. Always goes to the winning team’s QB. That is totally not the best player out there. Try giving it to someone in the secondary this year. I mean seriously, say the Eagles win the Super Bowl, God forgive me for even hypothesizing, they just give the MVP to Donovan "look at me I got my momma on tv" McNabb? I think not. And honestly, do you really think Matt Leinhart is the best player in college football. Even Reggie Bush is better, not that I belive anyone who would play for Mr. Cheerleader himself Pete Carroll is any good. Get a clue boys, he couldn’t win on Sundays and neither will you if you play for that ass clown.

Word association:

  • "football" (said Bob-Davie-style): I ‘preciate that. . .hehehehe. What a fun guy to work for.

  • Jeff Hostetler: Evil, evil man with a bad, bad, pimpstash. He took away Phil Simms glory. He is a freakin' second rate QB that I hated for over a decade. If I saw him on the street I would throw batteries at him.

  • Your face: I hate you

  • Kanka: I miss Kanka, I wish he was here, wait that is what Dave would say. . .I LOOOOVE Kanka. He totally needs to move here.

  • Offensive pass interference: I don’t believe in it. It is the dumbest rule out there. I mean seriously why should it exist? The quarterback is throwing the ball to his receiver. It is not meant to go to the defense. The offensive guy should and should be able to do anything in his power to get that ball. Sanctity of the game, folks. If we continue to have rules like this soon the NFL will be the NFFL (National Flag Football League)

  • Bill Parcells as a Cowboy: The Dark Years. He is currently in the Dark Years. The only reason I acknowledge his presence is because he has Julius. But seriously, how could he coach for them. They were the Giant’s biggest rivals when he was there. He went to the dark side. I mean it is like if Holtz showed up at Miami instead of South Carolina. You just don’t DO those things!

Monday, December 20, 2004

"Hey El, I Talked to Some Domers Today..."

A Story About My Father's Weekend Interviews

by Ellen Fitzgerald, Special to KankaNation

This past Saturday, as many of you know, the New York Football Giants (as Coach Weis likes to refer to his old team) played the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since this was a home game at the Meadowlands, my dad was there - not using our two seasons tickets, but working. After the game was over, my mom asked me to give him a call to see what he wanted for dinner. The only thing I could get out of him was, "Hey El, I talked to some Domers today about the new coach. I’ll tell you when I get home." Now, when he said this, he was using his sketchy voice so I got a little nervous.

When my dad came home he proceeded to tell me the rest of his story. I don’t know if I have explained this before, but my dad is posted at the gate where the players, media, coaches, etc. come in and out of Giants Stadium. So anyway, after the game on Saturday my dad was approached by a family. The woman said to my father, who was wearing an ND sweatshirt over his uniform that said "IRISH," "Great school." My dad agreed and told her that his daughter, me, went there. She then told him that so did her son. My dad, her, and her husband then began to chat about what years their children graduated, what they were involved in, and what they thought of the new coach. Both the man and the woman thought that the hiring of Charlie Weis was a great move for ND which my dad agreed to. Then finally the woman saw her son and wanted to introduce him to my dad. It was none other than Jerome Bettis. He also agreed with his parents that Charlie Weis was a good coach for the Irish. Bettis then got on the team bus and his parents got in a big black limo as they left The Bus, which my dad says is nicer than the Madden Cruiser, back in Detroit.

After they left, my dad finally got the opinion on ND’s new coach from Dick Lynch, 2003 KankaNation HOF nominee. Apparently he is "ecstatic" that Weis was hired. I am personally happy and relieved about this because I know that he was hoping for Tom Clements to get the job both in 2001 and in 2004.

My dad was quite pleased with himself and was happy that all loyal KankaNation readers would benefit from his interviews.

Ellen Fitzgerald is a periodic contributor to Kanka’s Sports Page. She would like to thank her father for allowing her to exploit his position to get the inside scoop on all things that pass through the gates of the Meadowlands, for teaching her how to stalk athletes, and for grooming her in sketchy sketchy ways. She can be reached at efitzge2 @

Thursday, December 16, 2004

A Quick Look at ND Football Under Charlie Weis


Can you name a better available offensive guy than Weis? In a league of overhyped superstars, this guy takes unselfish team players and gets them to play like stars. But will Weis steer the ship and call the plays? Doubtful. reports that recently fired Ole Miss head coach David Cutcliffe will be named offensive coordinator. Cutcliffe was an assistant at Tennessee at the time of Peyton Manning, among others. Also reportedly joining the staff is offensive line coach John Latina. Latina was Cutcliffe's OC at Ole Miss, and had moved to South Carolina as the O-Line coach before jumping ship to the Irish.


Now, Weis is an offense guy. What do you do about defense when you're an offense guy? If you're smart, you hire a great defense guy. Rumor has it that Weis is after Virginia defensive coordinator Al Golden, who is also considered a recruiting guru.

Special Teams

I haven't heard any rumors yet. But, if you want to win at a place that values academics and good football, you can't cut corners.


In his press conference, Weis mentioned that he needs to look for high-character kids who can graduate and play football. He also brought to attention the great support system that is in place academically for student-athletes, and for all ND students.

Player Conduct

Weis went to ND. I'm sure he realizes that he needs high-character kids that are well-disciplined. Besides, how good can a coach be without discipline.

The Schedule

"I don't make the schedule. I just play it. That's what I do. If I answered that any other way, what I would be doing is letting the players have a reason for or have an excuse for failure.

So I can't complain about the schedule. I don't make the schedule. All I do is play the game. That's what we do. Doesn't make any difference, whatever night or day they schedule them, we play them and that includes being able to win on the road and it goes back to having that toughness and playing smart and playing disciplined and being nasty and going in there with an arrogant attitude. Doesn't make any difference where you go, you intend on beating them. "


Weis has little college experience; none as a head coach. So, recruiting will be new to him. But, he has the praise of his players and others. Plus, he has national TV coverage of his offense every week. Kids today want to play in a system that prepares them for the NFL, and who better to do that than the mastermind behind one of the best offenses in the NFL?
What stood out to me was his comment on the academic support system at Notre Dame. This is a guy who has gone to Notre Dame, and he seems prepared to calm any fears a potential recruit may have.
Weis will have offensive recruits flocking to him, but what about defensive players? Hopefully, that is where Golden comes in. Golden is not only a defensive coach, but also a recruiting specialist. Recruiting was a concern of many with the Weis hire, but ND should be in good hands.

"Getting" Notre Dame

Weis went to Notre Dame for four years. Other than the three Super Bowl rings (another nice recruiting tool) and the fact he actually knows what he's talking about when it comes to football, Charlie Weis is no different than any of the fired-up Irish faithful that read this or any Notre Dame football blog.
But, Weis not only "gets" Notre Dame as an alum, he gets it as a coach. To Weis, Notre Dame truly is a dream job (Lou Holtz reportedly said, "if you have to think about wanting this job, it's not for you), and he wants to retire here. Gerry Faust and George O'Leary wanted this job more than anything, but they couldn't put the wins together. Weis wants this job more than anything, and he should be able to put the wins together.


We shall see. He does have the right attitude, though.
"You are what you are, folks, and right now you're a 6-5 football team. And guess what, that's just not good enough. That's not good enough for you, and it's certainly not going to be good enough for me. So, if you think they hired me here to go .500, you've got the wrong guy."

The Book on Weis
Weis Bio
Weis's New England page

Finally, in blog news, please welcome a few new sites to the link list: Classic ND, The Blue-Gray Sky, Pieces of Flare, The National Debate, IrishLaw, Daily Confessions, and In Pectore. Be sure to pay each of them a visit.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Weekend in Review

"Not Like There's Anyone Still Reading This" Edition


Bills 37, Browns 7: Ugh. Butch Davis is approaching Art Modell territory in my mind. How can the team be this bad? Well, I go into detail below. One note, though, on Luke McCown. A fourth round draft pick, McCown doesn't look that far behind the hotshot first rounders this season. One of the CBS annoucers made a good point last week - McCown, from Louisiana Tech, is used to playing in the Homecoming Games for teams like Miami and Florida State. So, he has the poise to be a rookie on a team like the Browns this season. The cold weather was a bit of a shock to his system, but I still see good things in McCown's future.

Ravens 37, Giants: No, really, how bad are the Browns? Cleveland's Fox affiliate actually showed this game during the Browns game, something that rarely happens. Normally, I would have switched to this game when things got ugly in Buffalo, but a Ravens blowout was no solace.

49ers 31, Cardinals 28: After the Giants game, Fox switched to the end of this game as overtime was beginning. San Francisco made some nice stops to pin Arizona close to their own goal line. Nice, I thought, time to see if Arnaz Battle can win it right here. But, for no apparent reason, a local commercial suddenly kicked in right as the ball landed in Arnaz's arms. Fox came back, but it was James Brown in the studio, acting as if nothing had happened. What was the result of the punt? Agggghhhh!

Packers 16, Lions 13: Well, if the Catholic Packer Fan ever has to miss the first half of a Packers game, he needent worry. Just as in the Houston game, Green Bay did nothing in the first half as a slightly overmatched opponent built a decent lead going into the half. Then, just when the other team has been lulled to sleep, the Packers quietly sneak up and score just enough to win it with a late field goal.

Eagles 17, Redskins 14: Early in the game, these two teams were on a pace to go into overtime tied at 140. That's what happens when you're tied 7-7 after 3 minutes. Then, Washington remembered they had a defense, and Philadelphia remembered the Redskins had no offense. So, there's you're final score. My favorite moments: Mr. Talk, Terrell Owens, catches a swing pass and makes a nice move to evade the corner. Then, seeing all three linebackers locking in on him, he sprints straight sideways for the sidelines. I haven't ever seen him move that fast. Should Mr. Talk also be Mr. Tough Guy? Second favorite moment: They showed the Christmas tree in the White House, and one of the annoucers commented that it appeared to be "leaning a little to the left." Joe Theisman replies, "Not in that White House it isn't."

Cleveland Sports - Ups and Downs

Cavaliers: There's a lot to be excited about, but... The Cavs continue to be blown out by bad teams. Why? Bad teams know they normally can't win on talent, so they focus on hustle and good shot selection. While they're doing this, the Cavs are busy not hustling and poorly shooting like every other NBA team. This should be an interesting up and down year. Gordon Gund would like to sell the team while their popularity is high. The leading buyer, reportedly, is Detroit-area Internet millionaire Dan Gilbert, who previously tried to buy the Milwaukee Brewers. Being from the Detroit area, there's a good chance he won't move the team, and Gund said he wouldn't sell to a guy who wanted to move the team. Of course, this wouldn't be the first time in the last year Gund was lied to. To Cleveland fans, it doesn't matter who the owner is, as long as the team stays in Cleveland and is willing to pay for Zydrunas Ilgauskas (free agent at the end of the season) and LeBron James when the time comes.

Browns: Hal Lebovitz probably had the best evidence of Butch Davis's management incompetence. In this past Sunday's column, Hal had a long list of "excuse me" draft picks - picks made one year that seemed to make up for the previous year's picks. Some examples: a year after taking Quincy Morgan in the second round, Andre Davis was taken in the second (both are receivers). Jeff Faine was taken the year after Melvin Fowler was selected. Fowler, originally a center, was moved to guard, which continues to be the line's biggest problem. At least taking Lee Suggs after taking william Green was a good move, but all the running backs in the world are no help if there's no line too block for them. There are a few bright spots on this team, but not many. How could this happen to a playoff team?

Indians: Things are still looking up, but how will the Indians react when they're expected to win? Last week, the Tribe traded Matt Lawton to Pittsburgh for Arthur Rhodes. This team had an awful bullpen last year, with no proven lefty and few if any veterans. So, they added one and saved just a little money. Cleveland was for a time in the running for Matt Clement. Not a bad move in my opinion. I like Clement a lot, but Cleveland's young staff would probably better be served by a cagey veteran innings eater. Of course, if the best innings-eater available is Jon Leiber, why not go for Clement? Well, even he may be out of the question now. The Mets overspent on Kris Benson, and that has caused the asking price of all other starters to skyrocket. People have blasted Benson for his relatively high ERA and losing career record, but that has to be taken in context considering who he's played for. Benson is and will be decent. Of course, since Matt Clement is the same age as Benson, with better numbers, up goes his price. So, it looks like Anaheim will get him now. Why the Angels feel the need to spend, spend, spend after being the shining example of a small market success is beyond me. Meanwhile, the Indians may use the money saved from Clement to resign Ron Belliard, who was a great addition to the team last year. With all this, though, where does Casey Blake play? Aaron Boone is now the man at third. Blake puts up similar offensive numbers to Boone, but is quite inferior defensively. With the logjam at first (Ben Broussard, DH Travis Hafner, and Josh Phelps), Tribe management suggested second base. Not something I was looking forward to. But, now with the potential Belliard resigning and the trade of Lawton, it looks like Blake will be learning on the job in right field until Jody Gerut recovers from knee surgery #2. But wait, why not just trade Blake, and why is Phelps even there in the first place with the way Broussard and especially Hafner are playing? Well, three words answer those questions: right handed power. Other than the switch-hitting Victor Martinez, Cleveland has little in the way of righty power, either at the major league level, or in the higher levels of their minor league system. Meanwhile, with the loss of Omar Vizquel and John MacDonald, it appears that the Indians have strikeout king Jose Hernandez to back up young Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Phillips up the middle. That is, of course, assuming Phillips isn't traded to the A's. It was discussed that Phillips could be involved for one of Oakland's big pitchers. Tim Hudson was out of Cleveland's price range, but Barry Zito was still a possibility. Of course, of Phillips and Peralta, Phillips has the better future. So, the Oakland deal may not go down. The ignorant around here may complain about all Cleveland teams' "unwillingness" to spend money, but those in the know (or, those who think they are in the know) are excited about the future.

Transaction Wire

Yankees sign Tony Womack and Jaret Wright. I'll actually admit that these were both useful pickups for the Yanks, but of course they overpaid for both. Mike, remember that you're allowed to release KankaMatic players without penalty until the end of December. Me, I'm cursing out the fact that I had just snuck in the signing of Wright at the end of the season.

Cubs sign Henry Blanco. Well, he can throw out runners, and... well, he's a veteran, so Dusty will give him tons of playing time. I feel sorry for Michael Barrett.

Phillies sign Jon Lieber. Well, that takes the Indians out of the running. Lieber was the closest thing this market had to an inning eater, but I still didn't think he was what the Indians thinking.

Diamondbacks sign Troy Glaus. Um. Arizona has no money but spent a lot here. Richie Sexson is as good as gone (most likely Seattle), so they needed to replace his bat. Glaus should be a permanent move to first from third, but they already did that with Shea Hillenbrand. So, one of them will have to move back. With Glaus's health, I think the AL would have been best for him so he could take some time at DH, but a place where he needs to remain at 3rd definitely isn't a good idea.

Dodgers sign Jeff Kent. Alex Cora isn't a bad second baseman, but Kent is a big upgrade on offense (look for quite a few late-game defensive replacements with Cora, though). Plus, Kent can move over to first against lefties. But, the big thing here is that an already weak-hitting team needs to replace Adrian Beltre, surely lost to free agency.

Diamondbacks sign Russ Ortiz. Easing the possible loss of Randy Johnson? Overkill. Don't be surprised if the D-backs have to declare bankruptcy. Honestly.

Braves sign Danny Kolb. The Braves need starters, so who do they get? One they already have. John Smoltz moves back to the rotation as unheralded breakout closer Danny Kolb moves from Milwaukee to Atlanta.

Yankees sign Carl Pavano. Grumble grumble.

Red Sox allegedly sign Edgar Renteria. Great pickup if this is true. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and call him the best shortstop in the AL when this goes down. Offense, defense, he's solid. Dave, just shut up now.

Dodgers allegedly trade two no names for Tim Hudson. Sooner or later, the A's will run out of pitchers, and eventually they'll realize they need position players, too.

Blue Jays sign Corey Koskie. Where have you gone, Eric Hinske?

White Sox trade Carlos Lee for Scott Podsednik and Luis Vizcaino. Upgrade all around. White Sox get a big upgrade in their outfield defense while Milwaukee gets a power bat. Meanwhile, I avoid the hearburn of seeing Lee give up two runs to the Indians on a misplayed fly ball, only come back with a 3 run homer in the bottom of the inning.

Mets sign Pedro Martinez. Dave, have fun with "Disgruntled Pedro."

Miscellaneous Ramblings

  • CPF reports on some strange happenings on 31 on Tuesday.

  • So, I was watching Celebrity Blackjack the other day. The contestants, from left to right on your TV screen: that redhead that has her own show on ABC that nobody watches, Warren G, Carnie Wilson, and Ralphie May, the slightly overweight comedian who's a frequent guest of Jimmy Kimmel. Of course, the drinks are free, so the redhead proceeds to get smashed right away. When not trying to show that she's "street" to impress/hit on Warren G, she's trying to proposition the dealer. She went the whole "my husband won't know" route, but kept going on and was way too serious about it. Carnie was doing terrible, so all of the redhead's drunken ramblings were making her even more pissed. If those two were sitting next two each other, it could have gotten ugly (take that joke however you want to). Meanwhile, Ralphie May spent the whole time doing Dave Chapelle as Lil' John and trying to start conversations about blacksploitation films with Warren G. Warren, the whole time, was as laid back as anyone could possibly be. It probably helped that he was winning, though. All in all, tree-mendous unintentional comedy.

  • A summary of Bob Davie talking about ND: "I am a coach who couldn't recruit or win at Notre Dame. Therefore, no one can recruit or win at Notre Dame." Um... no.

  • I caught the highlights of the US womens' soccer farewell tour on SportsCenter. At the half, Mia Hamm switched from a "Hamm" jersey to a "Garciaparra" jersey... and preceded to go down with an injury. You can't make this up.

  • Did anyone catch the UConn-Umass game? It was like neither team wanted to win that one. Up by 4 with under a minute to go, UMass managed to send UConn to the line twice for two shots each. (Yes, I said UMass was winning at the time.) UConn almost made an easy basket on the second foul, too. Now, tied at 89 with little time left, Jim Calhoun decides to keep 4 guys in the UMass backcourt for a press. UMass of course passes right by the defense for an easy basket. Of course, the UMass player who made the shot jumps on a chair on the UMass bench to celebrate with the crowd - while UConn is going back up the court for the tying/winning shot! UConn fortunately missed, ending the game in an upset. Hello, you play to win the game!

  • Per The Backer: Matt Carroll has signed with the Roanoke Dazzle of the NBDL.

  • I went to my sister's band concert last week, and of course I had to sit through the choir portion first. A predominantly female group (there were 3 or 4 guys in a choir of 30-35), they had a smaller feature group called GEM - Girls Entertaining Music (or something like that). While I'm listening, I'm thinking to myself, "Wait, wasn't Gem the villain group in 'Barbie and the Rockers'?" Then, I immediately thought to myself, "Wait, why do I know that?" Moving on.

  • The snowfall in my part of the world started Sunday night and really hasn't stopped yet (Midwest bias! Midwest bias!). So, of course, here's me after work Monday, scraping and brushing off my car... in my Fiesta Bowl windbreaker. Yeah, I'm from Ohio.

  • This of course is our first winter with Harry Dog. The snow doesn't seem to bother Harry too much. You can see three distinct and consistent paths in the snow: right legs (he isn't tall enough to step higher than the level of the snow), left legs, and nose. When he looks up from sniffing, there's a small pile of snow on his nose. It looks like he's trying to do a Lindsay Lohan impression.

Short column this week, I know, but it's the start of Bowl Week. Look for something on Charlie Weis later this week.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

It's Weis

OK, first of all, I see I need to work on my cheesy sportswriter headline puns. But I'll save that for some other day. Thanks to some anxious web browsing by KankaManiac nickyschu, it now appears that Charlie Weis will be the new head coach of Notre Dame football. ESPN says it's official, with a press conference coming Monday, but I hardly consider them respectable any more. doesn't have anything yet, but Fox Sports now is also saying it's official. The deal is reportedly for 6 years and $12mil. Bill Belichick expects Weis to finish the season with the Pats. More thoughts on this in the days to come, I'm sure.

Also, Fox Sports has a rumor that Titans coach Jeff Fisher may be fired at the end of this season, and that he'll be a prime candidate for the Browns or Dolphins.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Weekend in Review

Coaching Prospects Edition

Notre Dame Football Head Coach

Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin Head Coach

Alvarez rose from Outside Linebackers coach to Assitant Head Coach/DC under Lou Holtz from 1987-1989.
The Upside: He has head coaching experience, and ND experience. He's been contacted by ND, and a source has told WNDU South Bend that Alvarez would take the job in a heartbeat.
The Downside: Of course, a source has told a Wisconsin media outlet that there's no chance Alvarez would leave Wisconsin. He has a program on the rise, so I don't blame him for staying put. Plus, according to KankaManiac Nick Schumacher, Alvarez may have some skeletons in his closet.

Tom Clements, Buffalo Bills Offensive Coordinator

Quarterback of ND's 1973 National Champions, Clements finished 4th in the Heisman voting in 1974. Clements wenr from ND QB coach to assitant coach to NFL QB coach to NFL OC.
The Upside: He's an ND man, and he's familiar with winning. Plus, he's Joe Montana's recommendation.
The Downside: No previous head coaching experience that I'm aware of.

Butch Davis, former Browns Head Coach

The Upside: Um, he won at Miami.
The Downside: He won at Miami, but he appears to be the token Florida college coach - he can win when he has gobs more talent than the other teams, but he's not much of a coach. I have a feeling ND's student requirements are a little stricter than what Butch is used to, also. Oh, and did I mention how he ran the Browns into the ground?

Gerry DiNardo, former Indiana Head Coach

DiNardo was a guard on the '73 championship team.
The Upside: Well, he had a successful season in the XFL, but he was recently fired from Indiana. If anything, I can see him getting a job as an assistant under Clements.
The Downside: As mentioned above, this is a guy who got fired from Indiana - whether he deserved it or not.

Randy Edsall, UConn Head Coach

The Upside: UConn's website boasts that the Huskies have won 13 games since November 1, 2002, 11th best in the nation.
The Downside: Notre Dame isn't UConn when it comes to football.

Jim Fassel, Ravens Quarterbacks Coach

The Upside: Previous head coaching experience, plus it would get him away from the Ravens. He's already publicly expressed interest in the position. For those concerned with that type of thing, I believe he attends mass daily as well - don't quote me on that, though.
The Downside: He was fired from the Giants, so Ellen would be your best source on this.

Kirk Ferentz, Iowa Head Coach

The Upside: As Dave put it, he's done quite a bit with very little. Ferentz has also worked with Kevin White before.
The Downside: Just signed a huge contract extension. He said he's basically not going anywhere. Plus, the record isn't so good. That's probably due to talent, but the same was thought of Ty.

Jon Gruden, Buccaneers Head Coach

The Upside: Loves Notre Dame, has a Super Bowl Ring. The fact that he ran the likes of Keyshawn and Warren Sapp shows he's a team-first, discipline-minded college type of coach.
The Downside: Gruden has already said he's staying put, thanks to loyalty to his current team and a fat paycheck.

Dan Hawkins, Boise State Head Coach

The Upside: "Urban Meyer without the media hype."
The Downside: A big contract extension, plus there's no way of knowing if he's ready for the big time.

Lou Holtz, retired Notre Dame Head Coach

The Upside: Do you have to ask?
The Downside: He's retired. Plus, if I were in his shoes, I would be very worried that the second go-round wouldn't be nearly as successful as the first.

Jim Johnson, Eagles Defensive Coordinator

Was DB coach under Dan Devine, and DC under Gerry Faust.
The Upside: Knows what it's like to win at ND...
The Downside: but, I guess he also knows what it's like to lose at ND.

Mark Mangino, Kansas Head Coach

Mangino has reportedly already been contacted by ND.
The Upside: Head coaching experience.
The Downside: That experience has lead to a 12-24 record at Kansas. Plus, his mentor is none other than Jim Tressel.

Steve Mariucci, Lions Head Coach

The Upside: Head coaching experience.
The Downside: Mariucci has already declined an interview with ND.

Greg Mattison, Notre Dame D-Line Coach

The Upside: Ellen LOOOVES him.
The Downside: While that may be on Jessi's list of must-have qualities in an ND head coach, she isn't the AD yet.

Tom O'Brien, Boston College Head Coach

The Upside: Head coaching experience. The last time ND practiced "if you can't beat them, hire them" was with Ara, after his Northwestern team beat ND for a few years straight.
The Downside: Ask the people in charge of cleaning up the visitors' locker rooms at Notre Dame Stadium.

Tom Pagna, former Notre Dame Backfield Coach

The Upside: Assistant under Ara, so he knows how to win at ND.
The Downside: I don't know if he's still coaching, other than at ND fantasy camp. He's retired even from his broadcasting job, so I'm guessing that's a no.

Ara Parseghian, retired Notre Dame Head Coach

The Upside: One of only three coaches to lead Notre Dame to multiple football championships.
The Downside: Retired - considering the health of his family, I would say he has his priorities straight.

Bobby Petrino, Louisville Head Coach

The Upside: Has turned Louisville into a BCS contender. Things should be interesing when the Cardinals join the Big East next year.
The Downside: Another big contract extension. Plus, defense isn't exactly his speciality.

Mike Shanahan, Broncos Head Coach

The Upside: Head coaching experience.
The Downside: I haven't heard if he's been contacted this time around. Plus, he's been known to have the people around him leave with bitter tastes in their mouths. Not what I'm looking for in a leader of young men.

Bob Stoops, Oklahoma Head Coach

The Upside: He can win.
The Downside: He can win with a team loaded with jucos and a terrible graduation rate. I'm sure the administration will keep him in check, but will he be interested?

Jeff Tedford, Cal Head Coach

The Upside: Quickly has made Cal the "other" Pac10 powerhouse. The recent BCS snub may make him think of moving somewhere with more respect.
The Downside: Yet another big contract extension.

Dick Vermiel, Chiefs Head Coach

The Upside: Has a tendency to win championships in his third season with a team.
The Downside: Yet to actually be contacted by ND.

Randy Walker, Northwestern Head Coach

The Upside: The last Northwestern head coach ND hired worked out very well. (It was Ara.) Plus, he's done a decent job with what he has.
The Downside: Northwestern isn't Notre Dame.

Dave Wannstedt, former Dolphins Head Coach

The Upside: Head coaching experience.
The Downside: Mike, your thoughts?

Charlie Weis, Patriots Offensive Coordinator

The Upside: ND grad, he's now a part of the smartest head coaching team in the world.
The Downside: Little if any. One, he has no head coaching experience. Two, he hasn't accepted the job yet. Yep, that's about it for downside.

Doug Williams, Buccaneers Personnel Executive

The Upside: Turned around a Grambling team (not a state) that struggled after Eddie Robinson's retirement.
The Downside: Would he leave the Bucs? Has ND even considered him yet? Would ND get confused and accidentally hire the senior programmer from the place I worked at last fall?

Ty Willingham, former Notre Dame Head Coach

For the record, Darrell Campbell wasn't happy with the firing. Rumor has it that Willingham would have stayed if he was willing to get rid of Bill Diedrick (and perhaps a few other assistants).
The Upside: Sunday through Friday.
The Downside: Saturday.

Joe Yonto, retired Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator

The Upside: Knows how to win at Notre Dame - he played for Leahy and coached under Ara, Devine, and Lou. That's three championships, and it could have been five - after playing in '45, he was injured and missed the '46 season. He retired in '87. He's also an expert on locomotion and cheerleading.
The Downside: He doesn't know how to put a plaid on a band uniform. Scratch that, he knows now. So, make that no downside, other than being retired.

Cleveland Browns General Manager

Ozzie Newsome, Ravens General Manager

The Upside: The Browns Hall of Famer is currently doing well in the same position with the Ravens.
The Downside: According to Terrell Owens, he's a racist. Last I checked, though, Newsome was still African American.

Scott Pioli Patriots VP of Player Personnel

The Upside: Pioli was named NFL Executive of the Year, and is a member of the Super Bowl Champions.
The Downside: Who isn't after this guy, and why would he want to leave a proven winner?

Cleveland Browns Head Coach

Dave Campo, Browns Defensive Coordinator

The Upside: Already involved with the team. Previous head coaching experience.
The Downside: He's a DC now because he was fired from his only NFL head coaching stint.

Kirk Ferentz, Iowa Head Coach

Can you imagine that there was a time where both Ferentz and Nick Saban were coordinators under Bill Belichick in Cleveland? If it wasn't for The Move, very good things would have happened. Fortunately, Belichick was fired at the same time as The Move.
The Upside: See above.
The Downside: See above.

Romeo Krennel, Patriots Defensive Coordinator

Belichick is a defensive genius, which could mean that Krennel is no more than a figurehead. However, smart coaches like Belichick know not to cut corners, so Krennel must be the real deal.
The Upside: The Patriots defense is one of the best in the league.
The Downside: Cleveland won't be able to contact him until February, and they'll probably want to have someone in place by then.

Terry Robiskie, Browns Interim Head Coach

The Upside: Already involved with the team. His tight end minded playcalling has been one of the few pleasant surprises for the Browns this season.
The Downside: He only has head coaching experience on an interim basis, both this year and the year Norm Turner was fired in Washington.

Nick Saban, LSU Head Coach

The man my dad wants to keep calling "Lou" for some reason. Maybe it's a sign.
The Upside: A Belichick guy, Saban has returned LSU to prominence. An innovator, Saban has said he'd love to return to the Browns one day.
The Downside: Is this "one day"?

Charlie Weis, Patriots Offensive Coordinator

The Upside: His innovation on offense and team-minded attitude is just what the Browns need.
The Downside: As with Krennel, the Browns would have to wait until February. Plus, Cleveland would have to fight almost every other team and college with an opening.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

  • Congrats to ND Women's Soccer for winning their second national championship in grand fashion. An overly condensed wrap up: scorless first half, UCLA scores on ND own goal, ND ties on perfect penalty kick. Score remains tied on an amazing PC save by the ND goalie late in the game. Finally, after two scoreless overtimes, ND goes 4-3 on 6 penalty kicks. Wow. Oh, as an aside - could that annoucer have been more anti-ND?

  • Does anyone want to put an over/under on the number of times this year an annoucer will mention that Jordan Cornette and Rick Cornett are not related?

  • My #1 pick in next year's KankaMatic Football draft is down to Peyton Manning and Julius Jones. In case you missed Bill Parcell's quote after the game: "By the way, our running back is running well, in case you haven't noticed."

  • Finally, since it's that time of the year. We have an artificial Christmas tree (better for the allergies) that my dad bought at an after-Christmas sale on the day Notre Dame won the '88 championship. He says we're not buying a new one until the next championship.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

KankaMatic Baseball Update

The Ticket Exchange board is now the KankaMatic Baseball free agent board. You may place bids on newly released free agents, or you may also post a new free agent for bidding - starting at $1mil. Any player posted by username "FA" is a new free agent with no bids.

Remember that the maximum number of players you can carry is 40. Here are the current number of players on each team:
Ellen: 34
Mike: 37
Dave: 36
Klondike: 36
Pete: 38
Cronk (Steve): 36
Kanka: 40
Brittany: 36

At this time, there will be no penalty for releasing a player. However, beginning next season, you will be charged a penalty of the full player's salary until that player is signed by a new team.

Remember that this phase 1 of the Free Agent signing period ends December 31. As another reminder, KankaNation HoF voting also ends that day.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Weekend in Review

Dude, Where's My Coach?

NCAA Football

Toledo 49, Bowling Green 41: It may be the best rivalry in the MAC. Did I mention BGSU (not a state, by the way) was up 27-7 at the half, and had all the momentum? Well, that didn't stop Toledo from scoring 27 points in the third, and another 15 in the fourth. Defense, who needs defense? Meanwhile, look for Bowling Green's head coach Gregg Brandon to move up in the world some time in the next few years. Brandon was Urban Meyer's offensive coordinator at BG, and he helped develop the now-famous spread option attack Meyer uses at Utah.

Pitt 16, WVU 13: Are we sure we want to give the Big East a BCS bid? I mean, I know ND lost to Pitt, but honestly.

Texas 26, Texas A&M 13: The lowest point total one team can get in a football game (other than 0) is 2, right? Not in college. On the rare occurence that there is a safety on a two point try, one point is awarded to the team that scores the safety. Now, you think, why and how would the team going for two somehow run 97+ yards backwards into their own end zone? Ah, but it doesn't have to be that way. Texas went for the one-point kick, which was blocked. A&M picked it up and tried to run with it. Therefore, the refs ruled, this is now a two-point try. But then, the A&M player fumbled into the end zone, where it was recovered by another A&M player, who was down. One point safety!

Arizona 34, Arizona St 34: Hey, Arizona actually is a state. I could tell you what this does as far as setting ND's Insight Bowl opponent, but I'm too lazy right now.

Louisville 70, Cincinnati 7: I'll recall what the Lorain Morning Journal wrote earlier this year, as tOSU prepared to play the Bearcats: "Cincinnati isn't a pushover this year." Right. Well, Stefan LeFors did only have 79 yards passing, so you can't blame the Cardinals for running up the score... Or can you, when you consider Louisville is pushing for a BCS bid at #8 and may be trying to influence the pollsters? Still think human polls are a good idea?

Boise State 58, Nevada 21: Oh, Boise State (not a state) is also pushing for a BCS at large spot? Really?

Virginia Tech 24, Virginia 10: OK, I'll admit it. USC played one decent team this year, but that's it.

Tennessee 37, Kentucky 31: Yeah, but it took a last-minute touchdown to do it. Eh, a win's a win.

Syracuse 43, BC 17: Are you still sure you to give an automatic BCS bid to the Big East?

Missouri 17, Iowa State 14: Aw man, I really thought ISU belonged in the Big 12 title game.


Bengals 58, Browns 48: When you win a game like this, you say "Instant Classic." When you lose a game like this, you say, "where was the defense?" Then you say, "oh yeah, it was there on that last play, when Kelly Holcomb tried to throw a screen and Deltha O'Neal picked it off for the deciding touchdown." Well, I should give the Browns credit where credit is due. As Hal Lebovitz pointed out, they could have just quit on Butch Davis, but they played hard for 60 minutes. They didn't tackle well at all, but they played hard. I'm also very surprised that SportsCenter didn't throw up a "Most Losses While Throwing for 400+ Yards" in honor of Holcomb, who also accomplished the feat in that disasterous playoff game in '02. On a final note, I'm really surprised I'm still not having Fiesta Bowl flashbacks as TJ Houshmandzadeh caught 4 passes for 79 yards, rushed twice for 17, and was even thrown in to return a kickoff.

Colts 41, Lions 9: Maybe I just ate too much turkey, but for a while I thought I was watching Madden's Football 101 (not Bob Davie's Football 101). Jinx alert: You know what, I don't think I've seen the Peyton Manning Face once this season. Oh well, the playoffs are coming up soon, as is the cold weather.

Cowboys 21, Bears: I couldn't be happier for the way Julius played in the national spotlight. 150 rushing yards and two TDs. That's a great way to get the Stephen Jackson monkey off his back. When watching Dallas play the Browns earlier this season, I was extremely worried that Julius would be a bust - he looked extremely overmatched up to the point where he injured himself. But, with 231 yards in two games back from injury, I think it's safe to say he's going to be a good one.

Texas 31, Titans 21: When the NFL was planning realignment, Cleveland offhandedly suggested that the Texans be placed in the same division as the Browns. The reason? The old AFC central got two "gimme" games a year while the Browns were just starting out, so why can't the favor be returned by giving the Browns two "gimmes" a year versus the new Houston franchise? Well, that didn't happen, and it's a good thing for two reasons. One, as painful as it is now to watch division games, it's a great concept to have the only other three teams in your division be your three biggest rivals. Two, Houston looks pretty good this year. I don't think the Browns would want to face them.

Steelers 16, Redskins 7: Roethlisberger was 9-20 for 131 yards and no TDs. Hmm, maybe he's just on a good team.

Eagles 27, Giants 6: Sorry Ellen - again I didn't get to see this one. But, I'll chalk Eli's 6-21 performance up to "growing pains."

Dolphins 24, 49ers 17: And the "Don't Be That Guy" Award goes to Miami this time around. In a "you can't make this up, but you probably should have seen it coming" twist of events, Miami outscored San Francisco 17-14 in the fourth quarter. Coming into this game, Miami had scored 17+ points in a game only 3 times this year. San Francisco has gotten 14+ in a game 8 times, but that doesn't help when you've given up at leat 21 points in every game you've played. (Note: I'm writing this on Monday Night, so hopefully TMQ doesn't scoop me.)

Jets 13, Cardinals 3: So, if you don't give up a lot of points, you don't have to score a lot? Huh.... (Or, should I ask, 'so, if you play crappy teams, you don't have to score a lot?')

Patiots 24, Ravens 3: If Bill Bellichick coached the Ravens, Steelers, or Bengals right now, I'd be in the deepest pits of depression. One, this is a guy Cleveland fired (fortunately, he was gone before the Baltimore franchise started). Two, while I'm sitting through tons of poor football coaching, here's a guy who's doing all the right things - playing guys on both sides of the ball (fun to do, and fun for teammates to watch, especially when they succeed), stressing team players over talent and perceived stardom, and knowing exactly what it takes to win. Basically, I would have a hard time hating this guy, and that would tear me apart to see him do all these things while wearing black and purple.

Packers 45, Rams 17: I was really bitter about having to see John Elway in the pregame piece. Then, I realized that Mike had to put up with an entire game full of Brett Favre butt-kissing. I'm sorry you had to see that, Mike.

Coaching Carousel

  • Yep, Ty is gone. Credit goes to The Backer for breaking the story. Check out the Irish Trojan's Blog for a timeline of the events. (It's days like this when I wish that I would have taken Dave up on his offer to let me become a full time blogger.)

  • I found out myself at about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon. I was still at lunch, my dad had just gotten back. Somehow our lunchtime conversation involved a comment about him putting in a resume for the Florida coaching job (since, as a state university, it's a publicly posted job opening). I get a call from him, "Looks like I don't have to put my resume in at Florida - I can put it in at Notre Dame." "You're kidding!"

  • Kevin White will discuss with the players whether or not they want to go to the Insight Bowl. At the time of this writing, I'm hoping for a scoop from one of my on-campus sources.

  • Butch Davis resigned from the Browns Tuesday, and OC Terry Robiskie was named interim head coach. No, I do not want Davis at Notre Dame.

  • Rumor has it that Norm Chow has accepted the head coach position at Stanford. This likely leaves Washington for Ty.

  • I just got off the phone with the fired up old woman from NSS who's also an ND fan. She had just heard the news at about 6:15pm on CNN. She felt bad that Ty was blamed for the close losses. However, she retold a story about her row 16 seats at a game this season. She paid attention to Ty the whole time, and she became increasingly upset that he coached by body language and a "Devil Stare," and not by actually telling the kids what they did right or wrong. She also told me, for approximately the 75th time, that she has quit donating to ND ever since her husband, the ND grad, passed away. Her husband at timed donated $100, but she says she simply throws away repeated requests for funds.

Random Thoughts on Sports Announcers

Joe Buck: I wanted to like him because of his dad Jack. But, I had trouble standing the Buck/McCarver team. It turns out, I just hate McCarver. Put Buck in the football booth, and he's a great annoucer.

Al Leiter: A great pickup by Fox during the playoffs. I've learned so much about being a pitcher from just a few short series. I don't know how he'd do in a two-man booth, but I definitely found him very interesting.

Steve Lyons: Quirky, but that's Psycho for you. Being the "second team" color guy is the perfect spot for him.

Steve Kerr: Started as a commentator on TNT last season. He's a natural. If you didn't see him play in the finals two years ago, you wouldn't have guessed he was a rookie.

Steve Beuerlein: Ah, yet another Steve. Beuerline is in his rookie year as fourth-string commentator for CBS. There are times when you can tell he's new at this, but he shows signs of being a solid color guy.

Mark Price: In his first season doing local broadcasts for the Cavs. Rough around the edges, but it's freaking Mark Price. I idolized this guy growing up.

Lewis Johnson: NBC's ND sideline reporter, he was in the studio for last Saturday's Grambling (not a state)-Southern game. Didn't appear to be overmatched at all. Can this guy replace Tom Hammond and/or Pat Haden in the booth?

Miscellaneous Ramblings

  • Indians re-sign Bob Wickman. The Tribe needed a reliable veteran at the back end of the bullpen after last year's woes. As a major plus, Wickman isn't Armando Benitez, who Cleveland was also after.

  • The new Sony MP3 Walkman looks pretty cool. But judging by the commericials, the Walkmans can only play crappy covers of otherwise decent songs.

  • Congrats to ND Women's Basketball. Thanks to a 6-0 start, and losses by UConn, Tennessee, and Texas (the team that beat Tennessee), the Irish have climbed to #3 in both polls. I could be wrong (and I know I'm lazy), but I believe this is the highest they've been since the national championship season.

Highlights from my 5-Year High School Reunion Last Saturday

  • The night started with dinner at bar #1. Nothing interesting there. I drove over to the hotel where some people were staying for the night. We left are cars there and walked to bar #2, home of the reunion.

  • The reunion was scheduled for 7-11pm. The ND-USC was scheduled to kickoff at 8pm. No problems, it's a bar - there's bound to be a TV, right? Well, there would be, if we weren't in the private room on the third floor. Dah.

  • Saw a few people I've seen recently, others I haven't seen in 5 years. At least after 5 years, most people had given up their years old little kid grudges.

  • Did I mention the beer at this place was free? Good times.

  • Ran into my first girlfriend from age 14. She's now married with a kid, with another on the way. (Neither are mine, geniuses.)

  • Also there, of course, was my friend and "Professional Student" CJ. CJ started at the U of Dayton in '99 and is still there. On a positive note, I was invited to relive college parties by taking a trip down to UD.

  • Rumors have been confimed that my cousin is now engaged. Naturally, he left it to our grandma to spread the news.

  • My Buddy Matt made a cameo appearance, in from Seattle for the weekend. With an engineering degree from Purdue, a master's at Case Western, and a job at Boeing, he easily won the most impressed looks.

  • I was able to find two TVs on the second floor, but both were showing the Cavs game. Fortunately, a few ND fans showed up around the end of the Cavs game, so they were able to switch a TV over for the second half. I caught SC's drive to make it 20-10, then left after ND failed to cut into that lead on their next drive.

  • After much reminiscing, my next trip down to the second floor didn't happen until after the game. I asked one of the ND fans the final score, unfortunately. Noticing my ring, she asked what class I was in. "'03." Feeling old, she replied, "'95."

  • After my cousin, CJ, "Merc", and I closed out the party with the bartended. Afterwards, we met most of the class back at bar #1.

  • Of course, back at bar #1, everyone wanted to dance. I don't blame them - the cover band there was great. CJ and Merc tried to get me out on the floor, but I resisted. A random guy at the bar felt my pain. "I get bugged to do that all the time. You just have to wiggle and giggle." Sounds like a new catchphrase.

  • The night ended around 1:30 as the cousin needed a ride home after a 3-state day (flight from Arizona to Michigan with the fiancee, the a lone drive from Michigan to Lorain). So, I decided to call it a night, too. Good times.

  • Yes, things were much more fun than I've writting. I'm just a little too distracted by Jeopardy! right now. Suffice it to say, this may have been the best non-ND weekend I've had since graduation.

kankasports KankaNation Hall of Fame

It's back! Voting for the second annual inductions into the KankaNation HoF will start today. Ballots will be due by 5pm on December 31st. All readers of KankaNation are eligible, whether or not they're regulars. To vote, email a list of up to 10 candidates to
This year, as our readership has increased slightly, I will say that it takes 5 votes for a player to make the Hall of Fame. However, anyone who received votes last year, but did not make the HoF, will start off with 1 vote (therefore requiring only 4 people to vote them). Last's years winners and vote getters can be found here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

ND Football 2004

Issue 11: USC

Ladies and gentlemen, these are your seniors. I see selfless position changes, often ending in a loss of playing time, walkons who have gone beyond the call of duties, others who have never seen the gameday sidelines, and above all 4-5 years of hard work, sacrifice, and perserverance. Fans, before you cheer against the Irish to enact change, ask yourself if these players deserve the boos for what they've been handed. Underclassmen and coaches, before you go out there Saturday, ask yourselves if you're willing to do everything you possibly can to get a win for your teammates. Now, on to the preview.

USC Rush Offense vs. ND Rush Defense

Reggie Bush, right? Nope, LenDale White. Bush does average 60 yards per game on the ground, but it's White who leads the team with 85.9 YPG. Throw in backups Desmond Reed and Hershel Dennis, and you have a team that averages 179.5 yards per game on the ground. Oh yeah, and it's Anthony Davis day at the Coliseum.
On the other side of the ball, the Irish have one of the best run defenses of the country. The strength of this team is its front 7, and this front 7 is giving up 95.5 yards per game on the ground. They're definitely stronger than the Pac-10 run defenses USC has come against up to now. However, if the ND offense can't keep its defense of the field, it could be a long day for the front 7.

ND Rush Offense vs. USC Rush Defense

Consistency to a fault. Darius Walker had a good day two weeks ago, but more often than not he's right around his 75.4 yard average. Right behind Walker is Ryan Grant at 57.4 yards per game. Walker has 6 TDs on the ground to Grant's 5. Throw in a single 14 yard rush by Marcus Wilson, and there's your Irish rushing attack.
USC is giving up a stifling 69.2 yards per game on the ground. Granted, that's against teams not known for their running attacks, but opponent's defensive averages have often been all too indicative of ND's performance. USC's tackle leaders are linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Matt Grootegoed. Tatupu has 74 tackles, 12 for loss, while Grootegood has 53, 12.5 for loss. Again, this is a very active defense.

USC Pass Offense vs. ND Pass Defense

Have I mentioned Reggie Bush yet? I didn't bold his name there, so apparently I have. Last year, Derek Curry had nightmares trying to cover him man-to-man. I'd almost suggest putting an extra DB in to spy him, but do we have a DB that good? Besides, if you pay too much attention to Bush, their other receivers will get you. Matt Leinhart, with a 65.7 completion percentage and 23 TDs against 5 INTs, has plenty of options. Dwayne Jarrett is averaging 4 catches and 58.8 yards per game, tight end Dominique Byrd 3 catches and 49.2 yards, and WR Steve Smith is healthy again. He's only averaging 82.8 yards per game. If you're looking for touchdown men, it's Jarrett with 10 and Bush with 6.
Are DB-heavy formations the answer for the Irish? Well, first of all, the Trojans are "only" averaging 255.3 yards per game, while the Irish are giving up 261.2 per. Plus, more DBs in the game means less linebackers and down linemen. In ND's case, the backers and linemen are their best defensive players. Base 4-3 Man Zone anyone? I have no idea. Their best hope lies in a good pass rush, lead by end Justin Tuck.

ND Pass Offense vs. USC Pass Defense

I really could just copy and paste here. Brady Quinn has hit 20 different receivers. Watching the USC game a few weeks ago, the announcers mentioned that the overactive USC linebackers often leave the seams wide open for the tight ends. Watch out for Anthony Fasano and whomever else is healthy in this one.
The Trojans give up 197.2 yards per game in a pass happy league. Their defense averages 4.2 sacks, 1.7 INTs, and 4.7 pass breakups per game. Oddly enough, the INT leader is Grootegood, so be smart on those short passes. (Of course, he could just be a Ray Lewis type linebacker: an oversized safety who plays robber all day then takes too much credit when the D-line tips passes to him.)

Special Teams

Placekicker Ryan Killeen has been average at best. He's 7-16 on field goals this year, including two misses from 20+, 2 from 30+, and 5 from 40+. His long is 42... and he's 2-7 from 40 plus. Are none of the USC coaches paying attention to this guy's range? Of course, they could just have a "why punt, our defense will stop them anyways" philosophy. Speaking of punting, Tom Malone has an average of 43.7 per and a long of 62. Of course, he also has 9 touchbacks.
Returns? Does the name Reggie Bush sound familiar? Bush is most volatile on punt returns, where he has a 16.7 average and 2 touchdown. On kick returns, he has an average of 27.2 yards per on a team that averages 24.4 per.
Meanwhile, the Trojan kick coverage teams have been average. The punt coverage team is solid with a 5.2 average, while the kick coverage team is giving up 20.5 per. Neither has surrendered a TD.
DJ. Solid. 10-13 on field goals with a long of 47. A 42.3 punt average with a wind-aided long of 67 and 26 of 62 punts inside the 20.
I think we finally may be starting to figure out this whole return thing. Give us another 6 games or so and... wait, what's that? This is our last game? Crap. Anyways, Carlos Campbell has been a diamond in the rough with a 27.5 average on kickoffs and a long of 41. Chase Anastasio has an 18.2 average and along of 40. On punts, Carlyle Holiday has an average of 11 yards per return and a long of 68.
Coverage teams have been up and down. Well, kick teams have been mostly down. They give up 20.9 yards per return, while the punt teams are giving up 6.8 yards per return.

Look for a big game from
Everyone, especially Fasano, Grant, and the entire front 7

ND 20, USC 17: Who said being an optimist was easy?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Weekend in Review

Dave vs. Kanka Edition

NCAA Football

tOSU 37, Michigan 21: Someone said last Thursday that the team with the most to lose always seems to lose this one. Again, that was the case. Meanwhile, Ted Ginn, Jr.'s fourth punt return TD of the year is turning the Cleveland-area product into even more of a local legend.

Florida 20, FSU 13: Say what you want about Ron Zook - he got to go out on top in this one. Meanwhile, both Wyatt Sexton and Chris Rix were given fair chances to suck it up in this one.

Iowa 30, Wisconsin 7: Well, apparently I overrated Wisconsin this year. Shows what I know. Of course, when you spend all year covering up a weak offense with a great defense, you're bound to be in trouble when the defense has an off day (or two straight off days in this case).

Clemson 29, South Carolina 7: When I saw the fight, I smiled and thought about the good old times with Lou. Unfortunately, the end of Lou's career won't be good old times - South Carolina and Clemson decided to pass up any bowl offers as punishment for the fight, ending Coach Holtz's career on somewhat of a sour note.


Jets 10, Browns 7: That's the kind of year it's been for the Browns. Phil Dawson hadn't missed a field goal since October '03, and he goes 0-2 in this one. Also on Sunday, the Knicks beat the Cavs, and Kaz Matsui apparently came to Cleveland to give CC Sabathia a kick squar in the nyuts. Enjoy it, Dave. (Hey, at least I got the fantasy win.)

Falcons 14, Giants 10: Well, Ellen, I finally got to watch a Giants game. Eli Manning had poise, I'll give him that. But I wouldn't put the blame of all those drops entirely on the receivers - on each of those drops, he threw the ball behind his receiver. Should NFL receivers still catch those? Sure, probably. Gee, you'd really think I was more of an expert on dropping the ball.

Packers 16, Houston 13: If you missed the second half, you missed a lot of the action. And I definitely missed the second half. David Carr put together a great first half. But, apparently he fell apart in the second, as Brett Favre went to work. Final tally - master 383 yards, student 164.

Where are they now? ND Edition

Nick Setta: Participated in a tryout for the Broncos along with four other kickers.

Julius Jones: Ran for 81 yards in his return to action last Sunday. Julius had 30 carries while Eddie George had 3.

Gerome Sapp: Special teams/occassional DB for the Colts, he has 20 tackles on the season.

Ruth Riley: Plays with the Colorado Chill of the NWBL during the WNBA offseason.

Kelley Siemon: Well, she's now Kelley Deyo, and she's an assistant basketball coach at Liberty College.

Niele Ivey: Just signed with the Spanish team Mann-Filter to play during the WNBA offseason. Special thanks to reader Tara Pillai for the update on Deyo and Ivey.

Apparently I'm Still Doing a Mailbag


What are your thoughts of a Peyton v Eli superbowl in the future? Would it
be a crazy day of face making? Who would Archie and The Other Manning
Brother root for?
- Ellen, Colonia, NJ

Wow, that would be a crazy day of face making. My guess is that this will be the debut of the Eli Manning "I can't believe this is the one time my brother chose not to choke in the playoffs" face. Meanwhile, I wouldn't be surprised if Archie sold advertising on his body, since he's bound to get more face time than the Coors Light twins in that Super Bowl.


Has Notre Dame hit rock bottom yet? First I thought they did with Bob
Davie, then with George O'Leary, now with Ty Willingham. Are they there
yet? I am eager for upward movement.
- Ellen, Colonia, NJ

Well, the 19-30 Joe Kuharich/Hugh Devore was nothing to hang your hat on. Plus, at least the current team isn't following the John Cooper philosophy of "Get away with everything just like the Florida schools but suck anyways." Of course, maybe I should say that ND has hit rock bottom, because that means things can only get better from here.

ND Bowl Predictions

BowlAffiliationProbable TeamProbable Opponent
Fiesta BowlBig East 1BCCBS Sportsline predicts Utah.
Gator BowlBig East 2West Virginia - the Big East may be tempted to screw over BC to give ND this spot, but after WVU CoachRich Rodriguez's whining over ND's Big East bowl tie-ins a few years ago, there's no way WVU gets passed up for this spot.Florida State (Miami/Virginia?)
Continental TireBig East 3/4Pitt or ND - depends on which bowl has the most pull.North Carolina (ACC 4/5)
InsightBig East 3/4Pitt or ND - is it possible this one would outdraw its "big brother" Fiesta Bowl?UCLA (Pac 10 4)
Liberty BowlMountain West 1 (At-Large if Utah goes to BCS bowl)Looks like this one goes to MWC #2 Boise State.Louisville (C-USA 1)
Emerald BowlPac 10 (Not enough eligible Pac 10 teams)Navy has already accepted the Pac 10 spot.CBS Sportsline predicts Wyoming. (Normally MWC 3)
Silicon Valley BowlPac 10 (Not enough eligible Pac 10 teams)Toledo. I believe that it's already been agreed this spot will go to a MAC team - they only have 2 bowl tie-ins but deserve more.
Houston BowlSEC (Not enough eligible SEC teams)CBS Sportsline predicts UConn.Texas Tech (Please no!) or Iowa St (Big 12 5/6)
Independence BowlSEC (Not enough eligible SEC teams)CBS Sportsline predicts Troy.Texas Tech (Please no!) or Iowa St (Big 12 5/6)
Hawaii BowlWAC (Not enough eligible WAC teams)CBS Sportsline predicts Akron.UAB (C-USA 3)
Las Vegas BowlPac 10 (Not enough eligible Pac 10 teams)Apparently, this one also has a MAC "backup tie-in." CBS Sportsline predicts Miami U.CBS Sportsline predicts New Mexico. (Normally MWC 2)

Miscellaneous Ramblings

By no means "miscellaneous" - congrats to the Irish women's basketball team for winning the Preseason NIT. En route to the championship, the Irish knocked off #6 Duke 76-65. The finals, a 66-62 win over Ohio State was highlighted by 3 notables: 32 points by tournament MVP Jackie Batteast, a 12-0 Irish run to end the game, and a block by Batteast on what would have been a tying 3-pointer with 2 seconds left. On the same day they climbed to #6 in both polls, the Irish went to 5-0 by knocking of Colorado State (hey, Colorado is a state) 69-47.

So, I was wearing my ND tie today, and I realized that many ND ties have famous quotes on the back of them. So, I turned it over, and sure enough, there was a very famous ND quote on the back: "The University name and logo featured on this product are trademarks of the University of Notre Dame."

KankaNation-related Things I'm Thankful For

  • "Loyal KankaManiacs" who actually read what I write.

  • Friends who would listen to me even if I didn't have a website.

  • People who LOOOOVE me.

  • The fact that, when I wake up the next morning, it's still just a game.

  • A loving family, roof over my head, and a good job - even though I may complain about all from time to time.

  • The fact that, no matter how bad I think things are here, I could be risking my life in Iraq instead.

  • The fact that the friends I do have in Iraq right now have managed to stay safe.

  • Lou Holtz, the '97 ALCS, NFL Week 17 2002, the Joe Montanas of the world and especially the Rudys, the Indians farm system, the Cavs of the early '90s and mid-2000s, the '48 Indians and Browns' first 20 seasons, die-hard fandom, hope, and "next year."

Finally, part of one of Dave's comments from the message board:

"I'll put this here because we should all be thankful to this great man. I have always loved Lou. Ok, so it's bordered on an obsession at times. Aside from the '86 Mets, the only other team I've ever truly identified myself with has been ND football, and it's largely because of Lou. He was so charismatic, so good at preparation, and so open in his love for ND. He just made everyone feel it. He brought in talent like Rocket, Rice, Zorich, Mirer, and Bettis. He wasn't ashamed of football greatness, and the way it made Notre Dame look. He embraced it as part of God's plan. (it's getting little dusty in here). Christmas 1994, all I wanted was the hat that Lou wore on the sidelines: navy blue, ND over IRISH on the front, Reebok on the back, all stitching in gold. The following summer, I wrote Lou a letter to ask if he'd still be wearing that hat in '94. He wrote me back, saying he wasn't sure. Lo and behold, he switched hats, and the Irish faltered badly. When Lou retired from ND, I retired Lou the Hat, and still it sits in an honored place in my room. God Bless Lou Holtz."