Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sixteen Discriminatory Major League Baseball Teams And The Proposed Compensatory Counterparts, In Increasing Volume Of Groups Discriminated Against

by Klondike, 2007 KankaNation Laetare recipient

Editor's Note: If you'd really rather see my Purdue wrapup, just scroll down.

MASCOT: A down-on-his-luck saxophonist.
HAT COLORS: Midnight blue with smoky white pinstripes.

COMPENSATORY TEAM: Jefferson City Smoothies
MASCOT: A giant smoothie cup that carries around a huge plastic straw.
HAT COLORS: Soft, pastel orange with a cream-colored bill.

COMPENSATORY TEAM: Montgomery Madres
MASCOT: The Swinging Nun.
HAT COLORS: Black with a white bill.

COMPENSATORY TEAM: Portland Peasants
MASCOT: A gnarled, grubby man in tattered clothes with a garden hoe over his shoulder.
HAT COLORS: Mud brown.

COMPENSATORY TEAM: Providence Midgets
MASCOT: A whole cheering squad of midgets.
HAT COLORS: Anything bright enough to help people notice them.

COMPENSATORY TEAM: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
MASCOT: Rally Monkey
HAT COLORS: Red with white details.

MASCOT: The color yellow.
HAT COLORS: Yellow pinstripes against a yellow background with yellow detailing.

COMPENSATORY TEAM: Topeka Teetotalers
MASCOT: Eliot Ness
HAT COLORS: Milk-white with tea-brown and cranberry-juice-red highlights.

DISCRIMINATORY TEAM: Washington Nationals
MASCOT: Average Joe
HAT COLORS: Collar blue.

COMPENSATORY TEAM: Cheyenne Only Children
MASCOT: A whiny, spoiled, bratty child.
HAT COLORS: Whatever the other team is wearing, only better.

MASCOT: John Wayne
HAT COLORS: White cowboy hats for home games, black cowboy hats for away games.

COMPENSATORY TEAM: Columbia (SC) Confederates
MASCOT: A confederate soldier with accompanying cannon.
HAT COLORS: The Battle Flag of the Confederacy against a white background. Victory hats will have red bills.

COMPENSATORY TEAM: Indianapolis Capitalist Sox
MASCOT: Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson. Grant can make an appearance in clutch games.
HAT COLORS: Green with microprinting, holographic ink, and embedded security strips.

COMPENSATORY TEAM: Oklahoma City Lazy Fat-Ass Couch Potatoes
MASCOT: A really fat guy that slumps on a couch in front of the dugout and eats Cheetos the whole game.
HAT COLORS: Potato-brown with Cheetos-orange details.

COMPENSATORY TEAM: San Juan Recording Industry Association of America
MASCOT: A lawyer.
HAT COLORS: Pale yellow with red and blue pinstripes, in the fashion of a pad of legal paper.

COMPENSATORY TEAM: Santa Fe Minority Sox
MASCOT: The collective fans in the stadium, being the best representatives of all that the world has to offer. Except for the white guys.
HAT COLORS: Every beautiful color in the spectrum, except white, somehow given precisely equal prominence.

All the best.

Purdue 33, Notre Dame 19

The Irish have played two good halves this year. Unfortunately, those two halves haven't come in the same game. Notre Dame spotted Purdue a 23-point lead, and try as they might, they just couldn't come back.

Quarterback: Purdue defensive coordinator Brock Spack wisely chose to shut down the run and force Jimmy Clausen to make plays. However, surprisingly, Spack put very little pressure on Clausen, and the freshman QB was able to make plays. Clausen completed 18 of 26 passes for 169 yards, with a TD and a pick, before leaving due to an injury. However, it probably wasn't the rib injury that knocked him out. Clausen also injured his left foot, and had trouble planting on it. This caused him to lose some touch on passes downfield.
Clausen was replaced by Evan Sharpley, who performed rather well, completing 16 of 26 passes for 208 yards, 2 TDs, and one interception. Despite what ESPN commentator Andre Ware said, there is no QB controversy. Both Irish passers played well, and the starting job next week will solely come down to Clausen's injury status.

Running Back: As mentioned above, Purdue tried to stuff the run and force the Notre Dame QBs to beat them. At halftime, Charlie Weis was asked what he planned to do to get the running game going, and he replied that he was going to do whatever it took to score, run or pass. With the passing game working, the running game was shelved. The Irish finished with 52 pass attempts and 26 rushes, including 2 sacks. Armando Allen and Junior Jabbie had the best days of any Irish rushers. Allen finished with 6 carries for 26 yards, and Jabbie 4 for 16.

Fullback: Asaph Schwapp finished with 1 catch for 5 yards.

Receiver: After picking up 3 catches, David Grimes left with an injury. With Grimes out, the younger smurfs needed to step up, and they did. The headlines went to Golden Tate, who benefitted from Coach Weis' "If it works, keep going to it" philosophy. On three occasions, Tate streaked up the right sideline and displayed great hands for a reception. One of those catches came on a key fourth down, and another went for a touchdown. But with less aplomb, Robby Parris and Duval Kamara established themselves as future stars. Parris caught 7 passes for 93 yards, and Kamara added 6 receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown. Congratulations to both Tate and Kamara on their first of many touchdown receptions.

Tight End: As the Irish have struggled on offense, John Carlson's draft stock has slipped. However, in this one, Carlson appeared to have gotten back on track. The fifth-year senior had 5 receptions for 30 yards and a brilliant touchdown.

O-Line: The line had their best performance of the season, as they gave up only 2 sacks, and the team put up 426 total yards of offense.

D-Line: Trevor Laws again had a solid day, with 6 tackles. Three of those stops were in the backfield, including one sack.

Linebacker: Purdue had quite a few big runs straight up the middle. But when the Boilers were stopped up the gut, it was probably Joe Brockington doing the stopping. Brockington finished with a team-high 9 tackles, including one in the backfield. John Ryan had his best game of the season, with 6 tackles, which included two for a loss, one being a sack.

Safety: It was a solid performance by backup safety Kyle McCarthy. McCarthy finished with 3 tackles and a key interception. Tom Zbikowski had an even bigger day, with 7 tackles and an interception of his own.

Cornerback: Ambrose Wooden, Terrail Lambert, and Darrin Walls each had 3 tackles, and Raeshon McNeil added a pass breakup.

Kicker: It was a tough day for the Irish placekickers. Brandon Walker had a field goal blocked and missed a PAT. Nate Whitaker replaced Walker and only made one of two PAT attempts.

Punter: Eric Maust punted for the Irish in this one. From what I could gather, Geoff Price was simply replaced due to inconsistency, no injury. At least, if Price is injured, no one is admitting it. Maust filled in admirably, averaging 44 yards per punt on 3 kicks.

Kick Returner: Armando Allen had the most returns for the Irish, averaging 20 yards per on 4 tries. His long was 33.

Punt Returner: Tom Zbikowski had only one punt return, for 6 yards.

Special Teams: The Boilermakers were not able to return a punt. They did average 20.8 yards per kickoff returns on 4 tries. The Irish field goal unit had trouble this Saturday. As mentioned above, a field goal was blocked, and Nate Whitaker's first PAT was missed after Evan Sharpley had trouble handling the snap.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Notre Dame Football 2007

Purdue Rush Offense vs. ND Rush Defense

Purdue has feasted on lesser opponents so far this season, so much so that their pass-happy offense is averaging 202.8 rushing yards per game. They're led by senior 24 Kory Sheets, who is averaging 25 carries, 94 yards, and a touchdown per game. Sheets is backed up by 25 Dan Dierking, who is averaging 6 carries and 39 yards per game. WR 9 Dorien Bryant has 6 carries through 4 games, and FB 44 Frank Halliburton has 3 rushes in as many games. QB 12 Curtis Painter has been credited with a total of 7 carries and 13 yards this season.
Notre Dame's run defense has been porous, to say the least, giving up 232.8 yards per game on the ground. Though the Boilermakers like to pass, Sheets and company are probably licking their chops at those numbers.

ND Rush Offense vs. Purdue Rush Defense

Notre Dame is finally starting to establish itself on the ground. James Aldridge is the leading rusher, averaging 8-9 carries and 43 yards per game, and more importantly 4.9 yards per carry. Armando Allen is averaging 6 carries and 18 yards per game, but was not seen much against Michigan State. Robert Hughes appears to have established himself as the short-yardage back; he's picked up 33 yards on 6 carries this season. Fullback Asaph Schwapp has carried twice without any success, and any positive scrambles made by QB Jimmy Clausen are overshadowed by his sack numbers.
Purdue hasn't exactly spectacular against the run, as they are giving up 147 yards per game on the ground. Linebackers 59 Stanford Keglar and 17 Josh Ferguson have combined for 48 tackles, and are second and third on the team, respectively, in that category. Fellow LB 42 Anthony Heygood leads the team with 5 tackles for a loss. Surprisingly, none of those five stops have been sacks. The Irish would love to establish the run and build on the small success they had against MSU; Purdue should give them that chance.

Purdue Pass Offense vs. ND Pass Defense

Curtis Painter has put up scary numbers in his first four games. His average day consists of completing about 29 of 41 passes for 323 yards and 4 touchdowns. That's an average day! Painter has completed a staggering 68.7% of his passes thus far, and has only one interception. Dorien Bryant has been Painter's main target; Bryant is averaging 8 catches and 92 yards per game. Tight end 28 Dustin Keller is averaging 4 catches and 70 yards per game, and WR 21 Greg Orton is averaging 4 for 45. 1 Selwyn Lymon and Kory Sheets are also averaging 3-4 catches per game; Lymon for 36 yards and Sheets for 22. Keller leads the team with 4 TD receptions, and Bryant is right behind with 3. Orton, Lymon, and TE 85 Kyle Adams have two each. In other words, WATCH FOR THE TIGHT ENDS IN THE RED ZONE!
Notre Dame's pass defense has been respectable, giving up 119 yards per game. But again, why pass against ND when you can just run? Darrin Walls and David Bruton each have an interception, and Bruton, Kerry Neal, and Morrice Richardson each have a sack. Those singular interceptions and sacks both lead the team.

ND Pass Offense vs. Purdue Pass Defense

Jimmy Clausen is growing, slowly but surely. His average day consists of completing 10 of 17 passes for 76 yards. A pittance compared to Painter's numbers, but they could be worse. David Grimes is ND's leading receiver, averaging 3 catches and 21 yards per game. Armando Allen and George West are each averaging 2 catches per game; Robby Parris and Duval Kamara are each averaging more than one a game.
Purdue is giving up a respectable 227 passing yards per game. CB 5 Terell Vinson leads the team with 29 tackles. Safety 23 Justin Scott's 2 picks lead the Boilermakers. DE 32 Cliff Avril has a team-high two sacks.

Special Teams

14 Chris Summers is Purdue's field goal kickers. He's 4 for 6 on the season, but both of those misses have come from 40+ yards. For Notre Dame, Brandon Walker is still 2 for 2 from inside 30 yards, while Nate Whitaker has missed a 50-yarder.
11 Jared Armstrong punts for the Boilermakers. He's averaging 4 punts per game, and 39 yards per punt. For the Irish, Geoff Price has been very good and very bad. He's now averaging 41 yards per punt. Backup Eric Maust has now punted 4 times, and is averaging 43.5 yards per boot.
Dorien Bryant is the do-everything man for Purdue. He's returned 10 kicks for an average of 35.6 yards per. He also has a 91 yard TD. Nate Whitaker is now getting 61 yards per kickoff. But the Irish are giving up 27 yards per return, meaning opponents start at the 36 on average.
Golden Tate and Armando Allen now share kick return duty for the Irish. Tate is averaging 24.9 yards per return with a long of 40; Allen, 19.3 yards per return with a long of 25. Chris Summers kicks off for the Boilermakers. He's averaging just 53.9 yards per kick, but Purdue's coverage team has held solid at 18 yards per return. That gives opponents an average start at the 34. Hopefully, that field position will give the Irish the little extra it needs.
Bryant has also returned 4 punts. He's averaging 11.5 yards per return with a long of 24. Notre Dame's coverage team is giving up a so-so 10.9 yards per punt return.
ND's Tom Zbikowski is still averaging 14.4 yards per punt return, with a long of 47. Purdue's punt coverage team has good, giving up just 7.7 yards per return.

Look for a big game from Aldrige, Hughes, Grimes, Trevor Laws, Pat Kuntz, Bruton.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Michigan State 31, Notre Dame 14
or: The Charlie Weis Fact Sheet

"They played the way they did in the first half because of the full-contact practice. But... they played the way they did in the second half because of the full-contact practice." - Mike

"You gotta believe. This school was founded on faith and on belief. I told you last week how when Notre Dame burned down, Father Sorin said the mistake we made was that we didn't build it big enough. Everything here at Notre Dame has been done on faith and a commitment to excellence. A commitment to each other. At the luncheon yesterday I was asked what Notre Dame meant to me. One, it means religion. Two, it means family. Where people care about you. Not just because you win or because things go well, but they genuinely care. The other thing it means to me is a set of standards, a commitment. In 1986, people were saying Notre Dame would never win again. We had a group of guys that wanted to win but didn't know how. Then we progressed to the point where we had guys that wanted to win, knew how to win, then we progressed to the point where we have a group of guys that know how to win, but we sometimes don't exhibit it. That's a thing of the past. We're not going down defending anything. We're going out to fight for it, to compete for it. Nobody gives you anything in this world. The people can give you money, can give you wealth, can give you fame. The one thing nobody in this world can give you, men, is respect. The self-respect you have for yourself, the way you play the game, and the way you believe. The way you do things. This is a game of respect. You are Notre Dame. You are special. You represent Notre Dame. You represent everyone that came before you, and everyone that'll come after you. At Notre Dame there's a spirit. The spirit is something that's within you. And you gotta listen to that spirit, you gotta fight for it, and you gotta believe." - Lou Holtz

A new reader on the message board asked why no one seems to be calling for Charlie Weis's job, and why Notre Dame was so quick to fire Ty Willingham. I pulled up the Ty Willingham Fact Sheet not as another rationalization of Ty's firing. Instead, I'm using it to determine if and when Coach Weis should be put on the proverbial hot seat.

1. Tyrone Willingham has lost 8 games by at least 3 touchdowns. By comparison, Bob Davie lost 4 games by 3 touchdowns and Gerry Faust lost 3 games by 3 touchdowns. That means that in 3 years Tyrone Willingham has lost more games by 3 touchdowns than Bob Davie and Gerry Faust did in their 10 years combined.

Counting a 20-point loss to USC last year, Coach Weis has three such losses in each of the last two years. That ties Davie and Faust's totals.

2. Notre Dame was shut out by at least 30 points twice in 2003. The last time that happened was 1904.

It's already happened once in '07, and there are still eight games remaining.

3. In Tyrone Willingham’s first 3 years, Notre Dame has lost by at least 30 points 5 times. For perspective, in the previous 40 seasons (1961-2000), Notre Dame lost by at least 30 points a total of 4 times. Bob Davie only lost by 30 points 1 time, as did Gerry Faust.

There have been two such losses so far this year.

4. The 38-12 loss to 6-6 Syracuse was Notre Dame’s first 3 touchdown loss to an unranked team since 1960.

It's still early, but the Georgia Tech and Michigan losses both fall into this category.

5. From the 44-13 loss to Southern Cal in 2002 until the 20-17 loss to a 5-6 Brigham Young team, Notre Dame lost 10 games over a 15 game stretch. That was the worst 15 game stretch since 1960.

Notre Dame is 8-7 in their last 15 games, the worst 15 game stretch of Coach Weis' tenure.

6. Tyrone Willingham is the first Notre Dame coach since Joe Kuharich (17-23) to have fewer wins by 3 touchdowns (5) than he had losses by 3 touchdowns (8). Bob Davie had twice as many 3 touchdown wins as losses (8 wins, 4 losses). Gerry Faust had over 4 times as many (14 wins, 3 losses).

Coach Weis has 10 wins of 20+ points, and three more wins by 19 points. As noted above, Weis' teams have 6 losses by 20 or more.

7. In 2003, Tyrone Willingham became the first Notre Dame coach to have consecutive 4 TD losses to Southern Cal. In 2004, he had his 3rd in a row.

In the last two years, Notre Dame has lost to Michigan by a combined 62 points.

8. Tyrone Willingham has been a Notre Dame coach for 3 years out of the school’s 117 years (2.6% of the seasons) and has coached in 36 of Notre Dame’s 1,106 games (3.3%), however, he has coached in 23.8% (5 out of 21) of Notre Dame’s losses by at least 30 points.

Weis has overseen two 30 point losses, out of 23 for the program. That's 8.7%.

9. After starting out 8-0, Tyrone Willingham’s record since has been 13-15.

As stated above, the worst stretch of Weis' coaching career is his current 8-7 run.

10. When Tyrone Willingham took over, Notre Dame had the #1 all time winning percentage, with a record of 781-247-42 (.749), ahead of Michigan’s 813-265-36 (.746). At the end of the regular season of 2004, Michigan now has the #1 all time winning percentage, with a record of 842-274-36 (.747) while Notre Dame is #2 with a record of 802-261-42 (.745).

Michigan still has the lead, but it has shrunk to a mere .001, at .744 to .743. Obviously, though, both teams have slipped since the original fact sheet was written.

It's probably obvious at this point, but Coach Weis really needs to cut down on the blowout losses. He has had more big wins, but that doesn't serve to excuse or cancel out the big losses. But looking at criterion #1, Weis is in the same category as Faust and Davie, and that's not a good place to be.

Faust, Davie, and Willingham were all asked to make changes among their assistants following bad years. Coming into this year, Coach Weis brought in a new defensive coordinator. Presumably, more will be on the way after this year. If not, Weis may be the one moving on.

Finally, it's fairly easy to recruit following winning seasons. The difficult task is recruiting after losing seasons, or - Our Lady forbid - multiple consecutive losing seasons. Coach Weis' first recruiting challenge presumably comes this offseason, and it will be followed closely by the Irish faithful.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Notre Dame Football 2007
Issue 4: Michigan State

MSU Rush Offense vs. ND Rush Defense

Once again, MSU's backfield feature some familiar faces. 23 Javon Ringer and 30 Jehuu Caulcrick have shared the load this year for a team that is averaging 194.7 yards per game on the ground. Ringer has the slight advantage in carries per game (18 to 15) and yards per game (85 to 72). But Caulcrick has been the man in goal line situations, scoring 6 of MSU's 8 rushing TDs. 20 AJ Jimmerson and 28 Andre Anderson have each carried the ball at least 8 times in relief duties. In addition, WRs 5 Devin Thomas and 6 Mark Dell each have multiple carries. FB 45 Andrew Hawken only has one rush on the season, for four yards. New starting QB 12 Brian Hoyer has a combined -31 rushing yards, so it doesn't look like he's much of a threat to run.
For all that you can say about the offense being unable to stay on the field, and the good rushing attacks faced, there's still no excuse for the Irish defense giving up 237 rushing yards per game. With a new quarterback and two experienced rushers, the Spartans would be more than happy to run the ball down ND's throat all day long. While the Irish defensive line has played decently this year, it's time for the linebackers to step up as a unit.

ND Rush Offense vs. MSU Rush Defense

Um, yeah. James Aldridge and Armando Allen are the closest ND has to a rushing attack right now. Aldridge is averaging 5-6 carries and 22 yards per game, and 3.9 yards per rush. Armando Allen is averaging 6-7 carries and 20 yards per game, and 3.0 yards per rush. But both can only do so much unless the line creates holes from them.
As usual, the Spartans are rather solid against the run, giving up 88.7 yards per game. However, they're only returning two starters along their front seven. Linebackers 43 Eric Gordon and 53 Greg Jones are tied for 3rd on the team with 18 tackles apiece; the pair have combined for 5.5 tackles for a loss.

MSU Pass Offense vs. ND Pass Defense

With a new QB and two experienced rushers, MSU has wisely gone with a 1.6:1 rush/pass ratio this year. Still, when Brian Hoyer has had to pass, he's been very effective. Hoyer's, average day consists of completing 15 of 25 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown, with maybe an interception thrown in there. (Hoyer was a year ahead of Robby Parris at St. Ignatius in Cleveland, so I'm assuming that he was Parris' high school QB. Oh, and on behalf of F-Bomb, go St. Ed's.) Devin Thomas is far and away the Spartans top receiver, averaging 4 catches and 105 yards per game. Those numbers are aided by a 76-yards touchdown reception, one of Thomas' two scores on the year. When Hoyer is in a pinch, he likes too loft the ball towards athletic 6'6" TE 80 Kellen Davis in the seam. Davis is averaging just over 2 catches and 35 yards per game, and has a TD reception on the year. Javon Ringer, Mark Dell, and WR 84 Deon Curry are each averaging 2 catches per game and 16-20 yards per game.
Presumably, Terrail Lambert will draw Thomas this week. But how will ND choose to guard Davis? With the 6'2 safety David Bruton, or with 6'3 former safety Anthony Vernaglia. And how will that assigment affect the run defense?

ND Pass Offense vs. MSU Pass Defense

Jimmy Clausen's average day consists of completing 10 or 11 of 18 attempts for 84 yards, and perhaps an interception. Armando Allen has been his primary receiver out of the backfield, averaging 3 catches and 15 yards per game. But David Grimes has quietly tied Allen for the team lead in catches (9); Grimes averages 19.7 receiving yards per game. George West, John Carlson, Robby Parris, and Duval Kamara are all averaging more than one reception and 13-24 yards per game.
The good news for Irish fans is that Michigan State's two leading tacklers are a cornerback (38 Kendell Davis-Clark, 22 tackles) and a safety (13 Travis Key, 19). The bad news is that DE 94 Jonal Saint-Dic has 5 sacks, and 6 overall TFL. LB Greg Jones has added 2.5 sacks. TE Kellen Davis is sometimes used as a rush end, and he has 2 sacks on the season. S 21 Otis Wiley leads the team with two interceptions.

Special Teams

14 Brett Swenson is back as MSU's field goal kicker. He's 3 for 5 on the year, missing in the 20-29 and 40-49 ranges. For Notre Dame, Brandon Walker is 2 for 2 from inside 30 yards, while Nate Whitaker has missed a 50-yarder.
Freshman 18 Aaron Bates is the new Spartans punter. He's averaging 5 punts per game, and 39 yards per punt. Six of his punts have been fair caught. For the Irish, Geoff Price is now averaging 8 punts per game, and 42.3 yards per punt.
Star WR Devin Thomas also returns kicks for the Spartans. On 8 attempts, he's averaging 29.5 yards per return with a long of 39 Nate Whitaker is now getting 61 yards per kickoff. But the Irish are giving up 25 yards per return, meaning opponents start at the 34 on average.
It looks like Golden Tate may have one the primary kick return job for the Irish, although Armando Allen still has the most returns of anyone on the team. Tate is averaging 26.7 yards per return with a long of 40; Allen, 19 yards per return with a long of 25. 15 Todd Boleski is MSU's kickoff specialist. He's averaging just under 65 yards per kick, and MSU's coverage team is surrendering 22.6 yards per return. That gives opponents an average start at the 28.
Receivers Mark Dell and 18 Terry Love have each returned 2 punts for the Spartans. Dell is averaging 1.5 yards per return; Love 12.5. Notre Dame's coverage team is giving up a medicre 12.2 yards per punt return.
ND's Tom Zbikowski is averaging a decent 14.4 yards per punt return, with a long of 47. MSU's punt coverage team has been very good, giving up just 7 yards per return.

Look for a big game from Clausen, Parris, the O-Line (especially Tom Bemenderfer, whose older brother is a very cool guy), Trevor Laws, Pat Kuntz, Vernaglia.

ND 20, MSU 17: MSU is decent, but they're nowhere near the level of talent ND has seen to start the season. The Spartans have their flaws, and the Irish need to exploit them. It may take bonus football, but Notre Dame will finally get the job done.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Content Dump

There is a brief Michigan wrapup below, if you really want to read it. Otherwise, check out the random cleaning out of KankaNation's inbox...

First, courtesy Andy Gray and SI on Campus, a tailgate report card from the Georgia Tech game.

Second, Juiced sports takes on a Plain Dealer sports mailbag column.

Third, a few Fire Mark May-esque celebrity blogs form Yardbarker.

Finally, catching up on the Sports Minutes, again.

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)
Written by Steve Hofstetter, Adam Hofstetter, Cody Marley, Ryan Murphy, Rich Ragains, Elliot Steingart, and Chris Strait

Harrah's has announced that it intends to build an arena in Las Vegas capable of housing an NBA team. Tim Donaghy has already volunteered to referee all 41 home games.

The Houston Rockets have made a contract offer to defensive specialist Dikembe Mutombo. The offer is for one year or six points, whichever comes first.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will be a cast member of Dancing With the Stars. We're not sure how he'll be able to stay on his feet while they're constantly in his mouth.

A judge has set bond at $5 million each for the two men accused of robbing Antoine Walker's home. Ironically, that's almost as much money as Walker stole from the Heat last season.

Barry Bonds was honored in San Francisco when the mayor presented him with the key to the city. Given Bonds' popularity, we're surprised he didn't just leave the key under the mat. Next up is a visit to the Wizard to finally get a heart.

Red Sox reliever Jonathan Papelpon invented a new pitch: a combination cutter and slider that he calls a slutter. The pitch is also known as "The Paris Hilton."

After being cut by the Padres, David Wells has joined the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers are looking forward to increased sales of Dodger Dogs. However, fans are complaining about the loss of a handicapped parking spot.

And Gary Sheffield will miss several games with a sore shoulder. Sheffield has already come out against the shoulder for being racist.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)
Written by Steve Hofstetter, Adam Hofstetter, Cody Marley, Ryan Murphy, Rich Ragains, Elliot Steingart, and Chris Strait

We can't predict the future, but we'd like to wish Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr good luck on the new job he'll probably have soon.

NFL coaches Mike Nolan and Jack Del Rio will be outfitted exclusively by suit maker Joseph Abboud this year. Unfortunately for Bill Belichick, Abboud does not create oversized sweatshirts.

The son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid has been charged with drugs and DUI. Who does this kid think he is, a football player?

Speaking of drunk, the Tampa City Council will not allow the Buccaneers to sell hard liquor at Raymond James Stadium. Clearly, the city council has never had to sit through an entire Buccs game.

Tough break for the Minnesota Timberwolves. A bum shoulder from a jet skiing accident could cause Mark Madsen to miss three months. Only three months. The Wolves are currently trying to negotiate a torn ACL.

In other injury news, one of Canada's top gymnasts broke both his legs while practicing, forever silencing anyone who'd ever wished him luck.

And 1967 Masters champion Gay Brewer died at age 75, still hating his parents. But ironically loving beer. Gay Brewer. We had no idea Mike Piazza had been traded to Milwaukee.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

The National Lampoon Sports Minute (Or So)
Written by Steve Hofstetter, Adam Hofstetter, Cody Marley, Ryan Murphy, Elliot Steingart, and Chris Strait

The Milwaukee Brewers are making postseason tickets available to their fans for the first time in 15 years. Milwaukee fans will have to dress for the cold because hell has frozen over.

How bad are the Pittsburgh Pirates? A day after the Honus Wagner baseball card sold for $2.8 million, it batted fifth.

A Cubs fan built a one-third-size replica of Wrigley Field so he'll only have to wait one-third of a century for a World Series. Wow. You can really get a lot done when you're not distracted by women or friends.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is on a five-city tour of Asia. That's how far he has to go to find people who still like him.

Speaking of people who don't like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal plans to return to the Heat after shedding over 120 pounds of useless weight this off-season. His ex-wife.

Chivas USA Soccer has hired former NHL and NBA exec Shawn Hunter to help increase home attendance, by one.

A neurologist has concluded that former WWE star Chris Benoit suffered from brain damage. The brain damage was brought on by years and years of watching wrestling.

A punter who was cut by the Patriots was charged with assaulting his own father later that night. Convicting him will be easy, since Bill Belichick probably taped it.

And world champion Tyson Gay has decided to pull out of the Golden League 100 meters due to fatigue. Gay was exhausted after years spent running from his last name.

For more of the Sports Minute (Or So), visit

An Open Letter to Appalachian State Fans

Congratulations! Last week, you pulled off one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports. Since then, your merchandise has been on back order, your website crashed due to all the traffic, and your 16,000 seat stadium is sold out for the first time. Way to go. You've really put Boone, North Carolina on the map. Enjoy it, because any day now, you'll wake up and remember that you're in Boone, North Carolina.

It is true that you won a football game. But consider that tomorrow and for the rest of your college career, you will be attending classes on a remote mountain top while the Wolverines will be in Ann Arbor, home to the largest population of hot slutty chicks north of the Mason-Dixon. Ann Arbor has so many hot chicks you could still get laid if you were a paraplegic midget wearing an Appalachian State shirt. Seriously, if you can't get any in Ann Arbor, cut it off.

Actually, looks like Boone is getting a hot chick, because your rigorous admission standards allowed that idiot miss South Carolina to enroll there next fall. That's right - all it takes to go to Appalachian State is a complete disregard for knowledge and the utter inability to make sense. The Mountaineers may have won in Ann Arbor, but they're going to lose in South Africa and the Iraq and everywhere like such as. I'm surprised she can spell Appalachian State, let alone enroll. It's nice that you put Boone on the map - now if only more U.S. Americans had maps. That girl is so dumb your football players are going to end up tutoring her.

Yes, you had your way with the Michigan Defense like they were an attractive cousin after a box of wine. But the reason everyone is going so crazy over your win is because normally you suck. You're one of the best teams that the I-AA subdivision has to offer. Which makes you the 121st best team in the country. Yay. Look, the Kansas City Royals have a team MVP every year, but you don't see him bragging. The only thing this victory did was prove that moonshine just might make you invincible.

Yes, you took down Goliath. Congratulations David, but you're still I-AA. That's three steps up from intramurals. It was great that you won the game - and maybe you'll do it again when you go back to playing community colleges. That blowout this weekend against Lenoir-Rhyne College was something. All 16,000 people in attendance must have really enjoyed it. 16,000. That's adorable. More people go to hockey games.

Michigan may have been ranked number five when you beat them. But this weekend's loss to Oregon clearly shows that Michigan was not a true number five. I wish you were playing USC this Saturday so you could be knocked back down a peg. You'd fare as well against the Trojans as Miss South Carolina would on Jeopardy. Forget Jeopardy - that girl wouldn't make the cut for Wheel of Fortune.

"I'd like to solve the puzzle Pat. Is it 'The Iraq'?"

You've got two alumni in the NFL right now. Michigan had more than that go in one round of this year's draft. Michigan has won eleven national championships and your division isn't even eligible to compete for one. Michigan could lose every game for the rest of the season and they'd still be the winningest college football team in history. Remember what you were doing last year when Michigan was playing in the Rose Bowl? Watching the Rose bowl. Yes, you're the two-time reigning I-AA champions. I'm sure Lenoir-Rhyne College is jealous.

Yes, it was embarrassing for Michigan to lose to you. But that's because you're not an actual college football team. Were you normally any good, that game wouldn't have even made sportscenter. If the Knicks lost to the Rutgers women's basketball team, it'd be a big story, too. The headlines would all read "Nappy Headed Hos Lose to Rutgers."

Everyone cares because you suck so much. So bask in your temporary non-suckiness because pretty soon you will fade into the answer to a trivia question. Maybe Disney will make a movie about your improbable ability to win a pre-season non-conference exhibition game. It could star Hannah Montana as Miss South Carolina, and Cuba Gooding Jr. as the retarded fan who thinks this game actually matters in the long run.

Enjoy the moment, because that's what this is - a moment. When it's all over, you'll have to be content with going back to being simply a good academic school. With your classes in Ainglish and the History and everywhere like such as.

Michigan 38, Notre Dame 0

Not many positives came from this one. Two things did stand out to me, though. First, there's that old adage about controlling the line of scrimmage. On both sides of the ball, Michigan move the line of scrimmage two yards on every single play. They dominated the rushing stats 289 to -6. But ND's rushing stats would have been a lot worse if it wasn't for James Aldridge's performance against Michigan's second team. Aldridge finished with 51 yards rushing. But against the first team defense, Aldridge tried to wait for blocks that simply didn't develop and he was eaten alive.

The second thing is something that scares me - fundamentally unsound play on both sides of the ball. You can say what you want about Notre Dame's talent, depth, and experience this year. But it doesn't take any of those three ingredients to play at a basically fundamental level. When fundamentals are in question at the college level, the finger of doubt gets pointed directly at the coaching staff. With all that being said, I never played organized football and still have much to learn about the game. So I hope I'm just wrong.

Jimmy Clausen is still learning on the job. He's starting to throw downfield a little more, but eight sacks are never a good thing. He'll learn, but it will take time. And don't forget - Michigan may have struggled mightily in their first two games, but they're still a very good team.

The defensive front seven was simply outsized by Michigan's line. The Irish will have another tough test next week against familiar faces Javon Ringer and Jehuu Caulcrick of Michigan State. MSU has a new starter at quarterback, so the Spartans would love to take the ball out of his hands and feed Ringer and Caulcrick all day long.

That's all I have to say right now. We can't do anything now about the last three games, so we just have to look forward towards the rest of the schedule. Go Irish.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Notre Dame Football 2007
Issue 3: Michigan

Michigan Rush Offense vs. ND Rush Defense

For another year, 20 Mike Hart is Michigan's workhorse. At this point, he's one of the few things that's gone right for UM. Hart has averaged 24 carries and 158 yards over the first two games, and has 3 total rushing touchdowns. Backup 4 Brandon Minor has also gotten his fair share of carries, averaging 10 rushes and 4- yards per game. WR 86 Mario Manningham has 3 carries for 25 so far. As one of the Wolverines' top weapons, I'm sure he's been used on both end-arounds and flat passes. Michigan fullbacks have yet to record a carry. Saturday's starting QB 15 Ryan Mallet is not a mobile quarterback; last week, he recorded 5 attempts for -16 yards.
Notre Dame's run defense has shown flashes of competence, yet is still giving up 211.5 yards per game. This team isn't as deep as it looks, and when the offense can't stay on the field, the defense will tire. That's how teams have days of 200+ rushing yards against the Irish. With a freshman QB, look for steady doses of the veteran Hart if the Wolverines get a lead over the Irish.

ND Rush Offense vs. Michigan Rush Defense

Well, if you take out the sacks... Notre Dame's run offense is still lousy. Junior Jabbie is the only runner with a decent YPC - 5.0 - but he's only had one carry. That's the definition of a small sample size. Armando Allen has looked the best out of any Notre Dame back so far, at 3.3 YPC. Allen is averaging 5 carries and 18 yards per game so far. James Aldrige is averaging 3-4 carries for 8 yards, and Travis Thomas 6 carries and 2.5 yards. Jimmy Clausen, like Mallet, is not a mobile quarterback. So far, Clausen has 12 rushing attempts for -39 yards.
Michigan has struggled mightily against the run this year, largely due to Appalachian State and Oregon's spread option attacks. Does that mean Demetrius Jones will make an appearance for the Irish? I doubt it. Coach Weis has named Clausen his starter, and even one play with Jones would seem like a vote of no confidence in Clausen. Michigan's front seven returns only two starters, DT 67 Terrence Taylor and OLB 2 Shawn Crable. Taylor and Crable share the team lead in tackles for a loss, with 4. Crable also leads the team with 18 total tackles.

Michigan Pass Offense vs. ND Pass Defense

7 Chad Henne was injured last week, and won't be back to face the Irish. After finally figuring out how his helmet, chin strap, and mouth guard worked together, Ryan Mallet made his Michigan debut. The results weren't pretty, as Mallet completed only 6 of 17 passes for 49 yards. He also had one interception. Still, Michigan's wide receivers scare me to death.(TM) Mario Manningham is averaging 5-6 receptions and 92 yards per game. 16 Adrian Arrington and 13 Greg Mathews are right behind Manningham. Arrington is averaging 5 catches for 61 yards, Mathews 4 for 37, and each has a TD reception. Starting TE 83 Mike Massey has 3 catches on the season, and lanky backup TE 85 Carson Butler has 2. Backup RB Brandon Minor has 2 receptions out of the backfield.
Notre Dame's pass defense has surrendered 126 yards per game. Are they that good, or is it simply a case of opponents not needing to run. Opponents have averaged 23 pass attempts per game, but they are completing only 50%. To me, that indicates a combination of the two situations. Of course, what do I know?

ND Pass Offense vs. Michigan Pass Defense

In two games, Jimmy Clausen has looked like a freshman with promise. So far, he's connected on 55% of his pass attempts. Thanks largely to Coach Weis' gameplan last week, Armando Allen is ND's leading receiver, with 7 catches. David Grimes is right behind with 6, followed by Robby Parris, George West, and John Carlson with 4 each.
Michigan has looked poor against the pass as well, giving up 260 yards per game. Crabel and Taylor each have 2 sacks, and S 31 Brandent Engelmon and CB 14 Morgan Trent each have an interception.

Special Teams

Michigan is breaking in a new field goal kicker, 34 Jason Gingell. It's been rough going so far, as Gingell has made only 2 of 5 field goals, including 2 famous blocks in the ASU game. For Notre Dame, Brandon Walker is 2 for 2 from inside 30 yards, while Nate Whitaker has missed a 50-yarder.
41 Zultan Mesko has won Michigan's punting job, and it's little surprise why. Mesko has had 9 opportunities to kick the ball away, and he is averaging 46.8 yards per. For the Irish, Geoff Price is now averaging 41.9 yards per punt.
CB 25 Johnny Sears is now Michigan's primary kick returner. He's averaging 22 yards per return after 6 tries, with a long of 31. Backup RB Carlos Brown has made 3 returns and is averaging 21 yards per, with a long of 24. Nate Whitaker has done fairly well as ND's kickoff specialist, getting 62 yards per kick. But the Irish are giving up 26 yards per return, meaning opponents start at the 34 on average.
Armando Allen has been ND's primary kick returner, averaging 19 yards per on 8 returns, with a long of 25. Golden Tate has returned 2 cicks for 20 and 34 yards, respectively. 43 Bryan Wright kicks off for the Wolverines. He's averaging 65 yards per kick with one touchback. Michigan is giving up 20 yards per return, meaning opponents on average start at the 25.
Michigan has only had 3 chances to return punts, and two of those returns have been by Johnny Sears. His returns have been for 0 and 14 yards, respectively. Notre Dame's coverage team is giving up 15 yards per punt return.
It's been all or nothing for Tom Zbikowski as a punt returner. He's had two returns - one for -1 yard and one for 47. Michigan's punt coverage team is holding opponents to a very respectable 8 yards per punt return.

Look for a big game from Allen, Parris, Carlson, Trevor Laws, David Bruton.

ND 20, Michigan 17: Allen breaks through, Clausen finds Carlson in the back of the end zone bread-and-butter, and Walker chips in two.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Penn State 31, Notre Dame 10


Courtesy AP/Gene J. Puskar

Well, it's a start. Coach Weis kept things simple at first, allowing Jimmy Clausen to throw only screens and swing passes. He handled those well, and threw downfield later on. Despite his early success, though, Clausen completed just over 50% of his passes, was sacked 6 times, and threw a pick

Running Back: Four backs combined for 25 yards on 16 carries against Penn State's stout front seven. Armando Allen, who got the starting nod alongside his fellow freshman, did have success catching passes out of the backfield. Allen led the team with 6 catches and totalled 38 yards.

Fullback: Asaph Schwapp did not touch the football in this game.

Receiver: David Grimes stepped up as best he could, with 5 catches for a team-high 45 yards. George West had 2 catches for 9, Duval Kamara had one for 6, and Robby Paris had a big one for 35.

Tight End: John Carlson has struggled so far this season. Of course, he spent most of this game helping with the pass blocking. He finished with 1 catch for 5 yards. Will Yeatman added one catch for 6 yards.

O-Line: Six sacks and 0 net rushing yards. Going across the line, Paul Duncan got his name called far more often than a lineman should have. Michael Turkovich gets credit for playing hard despite getting popped in the mouth early, but looked slow on plays when he was required to pull. (But in Turkovich's defense, Allen does need to learn to wait for his blocks.) John Sullivan actually played well, but there's only one of him. Dan Wenger looked overmatched. Sam Young appears to be trying to hard, assumedly because he feels a need to take a leadership role as the line's second most veteran member. Then again, it's not his fault that that's the case.

D-Line: Trevor Laws had a busy day, tying for the team lead with 10 tackles and recovering a fumble. Pat Kuntz also came up big with 8 tackles, 0.5 for a loss. Justin Brown was demoted to backup, perhaps due to his ejection from last week's game, but he still managed 3 tackles and half a sack. Ian Williams added 3 of his own in a backup role.

Linebacker: Once again, Joe Brockington has quietly but deservedly worked his way into the starting lineup. Brockington had 10 tackles, 1.5 for a loss, and recovered a fumble. Mo Crum added 6 tackles, John Ryan added 4, including the other half of Brown's sack, Anthony Vernaglia had 3 tackles, and Mo Richardson had a sack.

Safety: Tom Zbikowski turned in a decent performance, recording 6 tackles and forcing two fumbles in run support. David Bruton added 2 tackles, and in an increasing role Kyle McCarthy had one stop.


Courtesy AP/Gene J. Puskar

It was the highlight of the game for the Irish, but unfortunately one play's worth of momentum does not a win make. Still, Darrin Walls made a spectacular interception and finally got a good chance to show off his return skills (after what may be considered a failed experiment as a kick returner last year) with a 73-yard touchdown. Walls, Ambrose Wooden, and Leo Ferrine - who came in after an injury to Terrail Lambert - each had 2 tackles.

Kicker: Nate Whitaker missed his first collegiate field goal attempt, from 50 yards. But it had the distance and was simply wide, so I'll take that as a positive. Brandon Walker made his attempt from 22 yards.

Punter: Geoff Price is back, averaging 44.8 yards per punt with a long of 57. Eric Maust added a 45 yard punt of his own.

Kick Returner: Armando Allen averaged 22 yards on 3 returns, while Golden Tate's lone return went for 34 yards.

Punt Returner: Thanks to solid work from Penn State, Tom Zbikowski managed only one punt return. Of course, he did take that one for 47 yards.

Special Teams: Derrick Williams should have been stopped for no gain on a punt return. Instead, he sidestepped a tackle and went 78 yards for a backbreaking touchdown. Notre Dame gave up 25 yards per punt return and 32 per kick return. Bluntly, neither is an acceptable number.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Notre Dame Football 2007
Issue 2: Penn State

Penn State Rush Offense vs. ND Rush Defense

33 Austin Scott steps in as Penn State's starting tailback this year. Last week, he ran 11 times for 47 yards and two scores. He's backed up by 20 Rodney Kinlaw and 22 Evan Royster, who both had good showings against Florida International to the tune of 8 carries and 8+ yards per carry. Starting fullback 34 Matt Hahn did not have a carry in the game, but backup fullbacks 38 Dan Lawlor had 5 and 44 Larry Federoff had one. Receivers 24 Jordan Norwood and 2 Derrick Williams also had a carry apiece. Penn State isn't afraid to let anyone, except maybe QB 14 Anthony Morelli, run the ball. Like last year, I'd expect to see a Lions receiver line up at QB a few times, especially after GT's success in that package last week.
Notre Dame's new front seven showed some growing pains last week, to the tune of 265 rushing yards. Middle linebackers Maurice Crum and Joe Brockington combined for 16 tackles. But the entire front seven had only one tackle for a loss (Crum), which perhaps tells a story of their inability to penetrate into the backfield. ND did have one interesting formation where they entered Kyle McCarthy as a third safety, essentially dropping Tom Zbikowski down to linebacker. Of course, both Zbikowski and McCarthy watched the Tech back run right by them, so that particular formation wasn't too effective in that particular situation. This defense will mesh as a unit over time, but Penn State isn't going to make that meshing process any easier.

ND Rush Offense vs. Penn State Rush Defense

Notre Dame gained 92 yards on the ground last week... but lost 100. It seemed like every skill player on the team except Luke Schmidt played, and overall four backs had carries. Armando Allen had the most success, gaining 25 yards on 3 attemts, mostly out of the spread option look. James Aldridge's 3.2 yards per carry on 6 attempts isn't bad for a big back, but it isn't that great, either. Travis Thomas and Asaph Schwapp had terrible days running the ball. Thomas finished with 7 tries for -7 yards. Meanwhile, on a "here's what's coming, try and stop it" fullback dive, Georgia Tech did stop Schwapp for -1 yards.
Florida International actually had a better day than the Irish running the ball. They picked up a whopping -3 yards on the ground against Penn State. The Nittany Lions are again led by LB 40 Dan Connor, who had 5 tackles last week. 45 Sean Lee, PSU's other returning starter at LB, led the team with 7 stops, including 2 for losses. If there's any hope, it's in the fact that Notre Dame's young offensive line is facing a Penn State defensive line with only one returning starter. Of course, guys like Connor and Lee more than make up for any experience among the down linemen.

Penn State Pass Offense vs. ND Pass Defense

Anthony Morelli sure wasn't afraid to pass last week. The second year starter threw the ball 38 times, completing 28, or 60.5%. Morelli also 3 touchdowns to 0 interceptions, and 295 total passing yards. His primary receiver was Jordan Norwood, with 5 catches and 92 yards. WR Derrick Williams and TE 82 Mickey Shuler each had 4 catches. As with their running game, PSU likes to spread the wealth in the passing game. Ten players caught passes in the FIU game, including the 4 by Shuler, 1 by RB Rodney Kinlaw, and 1 by FB Matt Hahn.
Notre Dame actually did a good job defending the pass last week. One could argue that Georgia Tech simply didn't need to pass that much thanks to their success on the ground. But GT quarterbacks did attempt 24 passes, completing only 11. ND had decent pressure at times, but finished with only one sack. That sack came from FS David Bruton, who had a busy day. He tied for the team lead with 9 tackles, some coming after the front seven failed to stop the run, but others coming from well-timed blitzes. Bruton also led the team with 2 tackles for a loss (one being the sack). One one of Tech's lone big plays, safety Tom Zbikowski bit on an underneath route, leaving Terrail Lambert alone in single coverage. But it still took a spectacular catch by the Tech receiver to beat Lambert, who had a solid game. Darrin Walls left the game last week in favor of Ambrose Wooden, and there were grumblings that it was due to injury. It will be interesting to see if Walls is back out there this week. But it looks like ND may finally have the guns to let the corners play in single coverage. Hopefully.

ND Pass Offense vs. Penn State Pass Defense

I somehow doubt that this humble blog is your lone source of ND football news. So I'm sure everyone knows by now that Jimmy Clausen is starting for the Irish on Saturday. Clausen is the beneficiary of the Quinn Defense: yes, he did well against GT's backups. But he also did well with ND's backups. Those backups include Robby Parris, who tied John Carlson for the team lead with 3 catches. Watching the young quarterbacks work with Parris and Duval Kamara (2 catches) reminded me ofBrady Quinn's, when he used garbage time to build a rapport with Jeff Samardzija. That worked out pretty well, didn't it? As I mentioned about, almost all of ND's skill players saw action in this game. Nine Irish players made at least one catch, including Parris, Carlson, George West (2), Kamara, Will Yeatman, DJ Hord, David Grimes, Junior Jabbie (who appears to be ND's third down back, good for him), and Armando Allen.
Penn State sacked Florida International seven times in their contest. Lee and DT 93 Chris Baker each had 2.

Special Teams

23 Kevin Kelly returns as Penn State's field goal kicker, and he has quite a leg. He made one from 45 yards last week, and missed from 50+. Brandon Walker provided ND's only scoring against Tech with a 24-yard field goal. It appears that Neil Whitaker will be used for longer field goals.
Penn State lost a Ray Guy finalist, and replaced him with 41 Jeremy Boone, who only averaged 47 yards per punt last week, with a long of 54. Boone actually had 5 punts against FIU - 3 of 50+ yards! I'm not sure if Penn State's offense was inconsistent, or these punts occurred after the backups were already in. On a day when seemingly nothing was going right for the Irish, Geoff Price averaged a mere 38.3 yards per punt. He did have a long of 55, which means he could have just had a bad day.
Who are Penn State's kick returners? Your guess is as good as mine. That's right, PSU put up a 0 in the kick return category last week. (FOr being shutout, FIU had one kickoff, a touchback.) Meanwhile, ND walk-on Nate Whitaker surprised by booming 67.5 yards per kickoff. His first kick went a few yards deep into the end zone. ND gave up an average of 14 yards per return, giving opponents an average start at the 16.5 yards line.
Armando Allen and Golden Tate are ND's kick returners, although George West also lined up there late in the game. Allen returned 5 kicks for a total of 84 yards (16.8 yard average), while Tate returned one for 20. Kevin Kelly averaged 62.7 per kickoff, a number probably hampered by the fact that his leg was numb after the 8 PATs, 2 field goal attempts, and 10 kickoffs. PSU did give up 22.8 yards per return, meaning opponents start on average at the 30.1 yard line.
Derrick Williams is PSU's primary punt returner, although CB 25 Brendan Perretta also got in on the act last week. On 4 returns, Williams averaged 13.2 yards with a long of 25. Perretta's lone return was for 2 yards.
43 Tyler Evans was Tech's best punt returner in terms of yards per return last year, at 9.6. For this, Evans was rewarded primary punt return duties this year.
Tom Zbikowski had one chance to return a punt last week, and it went for -1 yard.

Look for a big game from Clausen, Aldridge, Allen, Parris, Trevor Laws, Bruton.

ND 23, Penn State 17: We'll go with this score until it actually wins me something.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Know Thy Enemy
Penn State

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Eleven Ways To Make Sports In The United States More Delightfully English, In Increasing Magnitude Of Stereotypical Awfulness

by Klondike, 2007 KankaNation Laetare recipient

Editor's Note: Really? You'd rather see a GT wrapup? I'll include my thoughts in the PSU preview.

David Beckham was my inspiration for this month's attempt.

#11 - Soccer: Import some extremely well-paid English players. This seems so obvious, I'm not sure why nobody else has already thought of it. Also, the sport would have to be renamed "English Football".

#10 - Boxing: Boxing would be called "fisticuffs" instead. The common boxing stance would be modeled after the University of Notre Dame's leprechaun mascot. Wry commentary would be delivered in a dry monotone.

#9 - Tennis: Tennis would remain relatively the same. The main difference would be in scorekeeping: you wouldn't say things like "15 love" any more, but "15 luv". Also, clay courts would be eliminated. Clay courts are contemporarily French, which is by-definition not delightfully English.

#8 - Basketball: Pronounced acts of exuberance, such as slam dunks or congratulatory butt-slaps, would be replaced with exceptional displays of reserve and politeness. The sport would thenceforth be called "Ye Olde Baƒketballe".

#7 - Football: Traditional football pads would be replaced with full metal suits of armor. Physical trainers would be referred to as "pages", and the coach would be addressed as "my liege". Further, all instant replays would be depicted via cartoonish animation à la Monty Python.

#6 - Auto Racing: Instead of the normal stock or formula cars, we would race hackney carriages and double-decker busses. Also, the racetracks would all turn in the opposite direction. "Gentlemen, start your engines!" would be replaced with "Tally-ho and whatnot."

#5 - Polo: The only way this sport could be more delightfully English would be if they ground the horses into a variety of sausages. This would include the parts of the horse not normally considered meat, such as the kidneys. (The kidneys will be important later.)

#4 - Lacrosse: A large influx of hooligans would make Lacrosse more delightfully English, with the attendant riots before and after any given win or loss. Also, team names like "Titans" and "Roughnecks" would have to be replaced with names like "Whigs" and "Gentry".

#3 - Baseball: Umpires would wear tall, black, furry hats, and be trained not to show any emotion under any circumstances. Also, no more cold beers and hotdogs for the fans. Instead, they could get a warm beer and a delightfully English kidney pie. Finally, replace the bases with wickets.

#2 - Professional Wrestling: Most of the outside-the-ring drama would be replaced with frank but witty round-table discussions of differences. The convenient weapons of choice, such as folding chairs and ladders, would be replaced with pieces of Stonehenge and Holbein's portrait of Henry VIII.

#1 - Hockey: All players would skate around holding their hockey sticks in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. Pinkies out. Goalies, in keeping with their special equipment requirements, would hold teapots in lieu of trappers. Bad teeth would stop being an unfortunate occurrence and become a strict requirement.
All the best.