Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Weekend in Review

Rocky Top, you'll always be home sweet home to Cronk

NCAA Football

Louisville 56, Memphis 49: Defense wins championships, but lack of it doesn't keep you from winning Thursday night games.

USC 28, Oregon 20: Ugh. If you get an early lead, you have to keep adding on. Otherwise, USC puts up 28 straight points on you and inches closer to a weak undefeated record.

Utah 63, Colorado State 31: Let's see - 42-10 at halftime, 56-10 after 3. Do you think Utah has something to prove to the pollsters? (Alas, it didn't help, as they fell out of the protected #6 spot in the BCS.)

Clemson 24, Miami 17: Sure, Larry Coker drives an Escalade, but can he coach? Nope? OK.


Cardinals 24, Dolphins 23: Now Miami knows how my fantasy team feels every week. Another week, another comeback win for Josh McCown - this time with a TD on the fade-stop route to Larry Fitzgerald.

Steelers 27, Eagles 3: Tom Jackson was actually surprised that you can run easily on the Eagles. Do you watch football much, Tom?

Bears 28, Giants 21: Um, Ellen, I know you like me to comment on the Giants game, but do you really want me to talk about a game where you lost to Craig Krenzel.

Gimmicks and Mimmics: The Mailbag


BACTH NO: WETEC/1213/6610/451004
REF. No: WETEC/EU/1290/0161/901

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Um, OK. Moving on.


Good game this weekend, Kid.


- Matthew Lazear

I love class, don't you?

Hey! I saw I got a mention on your blog.

That is awesome.
- Marcus Barlow, South Bend, IN

Yes, you're now famous to the 10 or so people who read this site. Oh, wait, they already know you. Oh well, see you at Corby's next fall... 'cause that's how I roll.


I was wondering what your thoughts are about Utah and Urban Meyer. As far a
Utah goes, how high do you think they should be ranked in any of the polls?
I mean they are undefeted but the Mountain West conference is bordering on
I-AA status. And what about Meyer. He has obviously done some great things
and turned around some teams but Bowling Green and Utah are not Michigan,
Miami, or Notre Dame. Since he has out clauses to two of those schools
(Michigan and Notre Dame), do you think he could hack it as a head coach
- Ellen Fitzgerald, Colonia, NJ

Well, you can't argue that Utah's schedule is much tougher than Cal's, and Cal is sitting at #4. In fact, if you look at it, they're not too far behind USC in quality of opponent, either. So, I'll hear no arguments about schedule strength, unless it involves Oklahoma's openers against Bowling Green (not a state) and Houston.
As for Meyer - he does have experience at Notre Dame at a good time in their history, so that's a good start. Let's take a look at a few key aspects of being a head coach. It's not a definitive view, so don't hold me to that.
Recruiting: Meyer had Randy Moss coming to ND until the administration turned him down (don't blame them, though - this idiot actually got kicked out of FSU als), and he almost got Allen Iverson to play football at ND. You would think that it was easy to recruit at ND in the 90s - "Hey, this is a great football school, and we're playing really well right now, so come play for us." Alas, a certain former coach proved that it isn't that easy. (Or did that certain coach recruit well, then screw up the players?)
Play calling: Meyer runs a gimmick offense at Utah - the spread option. The spread option puts the quarterback in the shotgun and uses multiple receivers. Now, some could look at this and say it won't work in a big school, especially since the best players are looking for "pro style" offenses. However, you can also look at it this way - maybe Meyer is just so much of a genius, he realizes that a conventional approach in the Mountain West wouldn't nearly be as successful with his talent, so he goes with what works. I'm leaning on the side of genius, and I have a feeling more than a few NDNationers do as well. Plus, Urban was a receivers coach when at ND, so he has experience with a somewhat conventional offense. If not, I'd have to believe he'd be able to use his recruiting skills to bring a quality supporting staff to an ND or a Michigan. You wouldn't think it would be that hard, especially with the coaching talent that has gone through those schools. (In addition, Meyer was a legit special teams coach!)

Dear Kanka:

I thought you might find this interesting:


Contact: Dawn K. Brohawn
Once-and-Future Books
<address withheld>

"Knute Rockne's Only Novel Republished"

After more than half a century, Knute Rockne's first and only novel, THE
FOUR WINNERS, is making a comeback.

Why republish this work of fiction by the legendary football coach of
the University of Notre Dame? As Once-and-Future Books founder, Michael
Greaney explains, the voices from past generations can remind us of the
values we've forgotten as a society. And, they can provide a good read.

The "Rock's" own namesake and grandson, Knute Rockne III, expressed
delight when he learned of the upcoming release of the new edition of
THE FOUR WINNERS. Rockne commented, "THE FOUR WINNERS was written by my
grandfather for the expansion of the game of football, but most of all
to show that it is a game of intelligence and not just pure muscle."

Notre Dame football fan and Professor Emeritus of Law Charles Rice
applauds the values expressed, "This enjoyable little book, by a great
teacher of youth, evokes a positive and clean morality that is not a
curiosity of the past but our hope for the future."

Many people remember "the Rock" (1888 - 1931) as Notre Dame's most
famous football coach. He revolutionized the sport of college football,
popularized the forward pass and put finesse into a game where it had
been notably absent. Less well known is the fact that Rockne was also a
chemist, working in the development of synthetic rubber. To these
achievements we can now add novelist.

Written in the "young adult" genre, the book treats in fictional form
Rockne's philosophy of sports and academics, both essential parts of the
foundation for a well-rounded personality. The book exemplifies how the
proper approach to life can set a young man - or woman - firmly on the
path to what Aristotle called "the good life." Straightforward in its
storytelling, the novel expresses what may seem to today's readers an
almost childlike presumption of the basic goodness of the human race.
Diehard football fans will note the tie-in of the title with the
legendary Notre Dame backfield of the mid-1920s, the memorable "Four
Horsemen," Crowley, Layden, Miller and Stuhldreher.

Republished in September 2004 by Once-and-Future Books, THE FOUR
available from the Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com web sites as well
as by special order from local bookstores. Quantity discounts are
available from the publisher.
- Michael Greaney

Hey, great.


Of the three big time qbs that came out of the 2004 draft, two are in
interesting positions, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. Which if two is in a
tougher spot? Do you think the Giants will get rid of Warner even though
he is preforming better than expected and has adjusted to a completely
different offense well? What about Rivers. All of a sudden the San Diego
QBs don't suck.
- Ellen Fitzgerald, Colonia, NJ

Well, of the two, I would say Rivers is in a better position right now. Drew Brees, who is having a great year, will be a free agent at the end of the season. Rivers has already proven he's Marty Schottenheimer's boy - see last year's senior all-star game (Senior Bowl, was it?) and the draft day trade - so I wouldn't be surprised if the Chargers just let Brees go at the end of the year, using the "he's asking for too much money" excuse. Once Brees is gone, Doug Flutie won't challenge for the starting spot.
As for Eli - I can see another Carson Palmer/Jon Kitna situation here, with Warner sent to the bench no matter how well he does. It may not happen next year, especially if the Giants make a playoff run, but it will eventually. Depending on how old Warner is when it happens, he'll probably try to find a starting job elsewhere.
As for this year's "third" QB - Ben Roethlisberger. Yes, I do think he is the best of the three (maybe that's some of Todd's Miami influence speaking). But, without the good receivers and decent line in Pittsburgh, he wouldn't be on top of the world right now.

Dear Kanka:

I'm curious: how would you rank New York Giants quarterbacks of the last 20
years? They are: Phil Simms, Jeff Hostetler, Dave Brown, Danny Kannell,
Kerry Collins, and Kurt Warner. Personally, I would go Hostetler, Collins,
Brown, Simms, Warner, and Kannel.
- Dave Schmitt, West Islip, NY

Sounds about right. I may put Kannel ahead of Simms, though. Funny you should mention that, though. I was watching a game on Sunday, and they showed a list of quarterbacks coached by Jim Fassel. Now there's an interesing and bitter list. It included Simms, Hostetler, Collins, John Elway, and Kyle Boller. Good good.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

  • Congrats again to Jackie Batteast. Once again, you can add a preseason All-American spot and a place on the 50-player Naismith watch list to her list of accomplisments.

  • Ladies and gentlemen, Notre Dame's All-Century Basketball Team.
  • Thanks to loyal KankaMatic Nick Schumacher for his list of the lastest ND bowl projections. Of course, let's play the last two games before we start making travel plans. (As for me, I can only go if we get a January bowl game, which I doubt will happen.)

  • Thompson Twins Keep Rolling, Become Only Doubles Team To Have Reached Semis In Both Grand Slams This Fall Waaa?

  • From Page 2's latest "What were they thinking?" on the Red Sox: "And here's another little-known fact about the playoffs. That wasn't blood on Schilling's sock. It was Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill." Hey, chicks dig the Boone's.

  • Gammonsesquity strikes again: Not only does the team feature both new Rookies of the Year - Bobby Crosby and Jason Bay, but it also includes AL #4 Zack Greinke and NL #2 Khalil Greene.

See you Thursday with a Pitt preview.