Notre Dame will officially be exiting the Big East and joining the ACC on July 1st, as announced on UND.com today. Just as NDtex hypothesized as one of Notre Dame’s options last week, the Irish athletic program came to an agreement with the Big East to allow a separation earlier than the 27-month timetable that had been laid out when Notre Dame announced the change in conference affiliation last September.
While most believed the Irish would join the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014 at the latest, it was also widely believe that it would require a large exit fee to be paid to the Big East. Though early reports suggested that the July move would cost ND $2.5 million, it was later reported that there will be no payment made by Notre Dame. According to ESPN, Savvy Jack was able to swing the free move because Notre Dame agreed not to go after any of the $110 million in entry and exit fees obtained by the conference over the past few years.
Speaking of the $110 million, after $10 million is paid to the departing Catholic 7 and about $15 million is paid in legal fees (I should be a lawyer), the remaining $85 million will be distributed to Cincinnati, Connecticut, South Florida and whatever new schools join the conference. That should provide some nice incentive for a few new members to join…or maybe the remaining 3 from the Little East will take the money and run.
Though Mike Brey already stated that he fully expected to play in the ACC next year, the official news brings some extra importance and excitement to the Irish taking one final run at a Big East Tournament championship at Madison Square Garden this week. Brey & Co. are set to meet the winner of today’s DePaul vs. Rutgers game at 9:00 PM EST on Wednesday. Make sure you catch the game on ESPN2.
Eight players from national runner-up Notre Dame’s 2012 squad will be participating in this weekend’s NFL Scouting Combine. Potential first rounders Manti Te’o and Tyler Eifert are joined by Braxston Cave, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Zeke Motta, Theo Riddick, Cierre Wood and Jamoris Slaughter.
Though we are guessing that most of you will not be part of the small group of people that will be inside Lucas Oil Stadium to watch a bunch of men in their early 20′s run, jump, throw and catch all day, you will still be able to catch the action on NFL.com and the NFL Network.
While kickers, tight ends and offensive linemen kick of the 2013 combine today with medical exams and interviews, the real workouts do not start until Friday. Unfortunately exact times for workouts are unavailable, but the following schedule should help you catch your favorite former Irish players in action:
Tyler Eifert and Braxston Cave
Thursday: Media interviews, medical exams, measurements
Friday: Bench press, psychological testing
Saturday: On-field workouts (40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill, shuttle run)
Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood
Friday: Media interviews, medical exams, measurements
Saturday: Bench press, psychological testing
Sunday: On-field workouts (40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill, shuttle run)
Manti Te’o and Kapron Lewis-Moore (KLM likely will not participate in drills)
Saturday: Media interviews, medical exams, measurements
Sunday: Bench press, psychological testing
Monday: On-field workouts (40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill, shuttle run)
Zeke Motta and Jamoris Slaughter (Slaughter will not participate in drills)
Sunday: Media interviews, medical exams, measurements
Monday: Bench press, psychological testing
Tuesday: On-field workouts (40 yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill, shuttle run)
- Braxston Cave, the only Irish player capable of out-benching punter Ben Turk, reportedly completed 38 or 39 repetitions at 225 lbs during 2012 spring practice. If Cave can match that performance, he will become only the 6th offensive lineman in 6 years to have 38 or more reps. Prediction: 40 repetitions
- 10 running backs ran the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds or less in 2012, and I expect Cierre Wood to juuuuust join that group this year. During his 62-yard touchdown run against Oklahoma, Wood cleared the first 40 yards in approximately 4.7 seconds. Of course, this was with pads and a helmet on and included a couple small juke moves. Prediction: 4.49 seconds.
- Manti Te’o vs. Luke Kuechly: The NFL’s defensive rookie of the year and Boston College grad lived up to his top-10 pick last season. Along with making seemingly every tackle for the Eagles during his time in Chestnut Hill, Kuechly also had a phenomenal combine. How will Manti Te’o fare relative to Kuechly this year? Prediction (with Kuechly results): 40-yard dash – slower (4.58s); bench press – higher (27 reps); verticle jump – higher (38 inches).
Now that over a week has passed since the-game-that-will-never-ever-be-watched-again, I thought it was stomachable to look back at what was otherwise (you know, other than that whole football thing) a glorious celebration of Notre Dame, its alumni, its students and its fans. Some of my thoughts from my time in Miami and my day at Sun Life Stadium are below. Please share your thoughts about the experience in the comment section following the post.
*Sitting in the Notre Dame end zone I was astonished to see that Notre Dame fans made up about 2/3 of the crowd in the stadium. After taking some time perusing the gigapixel panorama from the game, though, it seems like closer to 3/4 of Sun Life was supporting ND – great job, Irish fans.
* The video montage followed by the Irish running out of the tunnel was one of the most electric moments I’ve ever been a part of at a sporting event. No, it was one of the most electric moments I’ve ever been a part of – period. I am getting chills just writing about it now.
* The booing of Marqise Lee and Johnny Manziel was aaaaamazing. Supposedly Lee took a similar boo-bath at the Dierks Bentley and Flo Rida concert (seriously – they had a BCS concert together on the beach) the night before as well. In case they didn’t show it on TV (I deleted my recording as soon as I got home, so I’m sorry if they did) there was a brief ceremony honoring college football’s award winners before the game. Manti Te’o's and and Tyler Eifert’s parents were met with a thunderous ovation, while Lee and Manziel felt the wrath of ND Nation.
* The video boards were enormous and entirely useless. I might have been able to handle the horribly loud, annoying and never ending commercials if I at least was able to see replays, but they only showed replays from field level cameras so they were generally unhelpful. I am a supporter of video boards at Notre Dame Stadium, just make sure the guy running them at Sun Life stays far, far away.
* Notre Dame won the tailgate in a landslide. I am not exaggerating when I say there were 8-10 Irish fans for every Bama fan in the parking lot. A huge Irish tailgate on the West side of the stadium looked more like a night at the ‘Backer with a DJ blasting music and about 40 people dancing on top of trucks.
* Dolphins fans must not tailgate, because there was about one porta-potty for every 1,500 people in the parking lot. By 4:00pm lines were about 25+ deep. I hope you had a rental car, because if you were parked close to the stadium there is about a 90% chance that someone who didn’t want to wait in line used your bumper sin
* A huge percentage of the students (I couldn’t tell if it was all of them) were up in the back of 427 and 428 in the Notre Dame end zone. It would have been nice to get some of them closer to the field.
* I was shocked by how many ND fans left early. As painful as it was to watch, this team gave us everything they had this year and deserved our support to the final whistle. C’mon, man.
* Alabama fans did an S-E-C chant before even doing an Alabama chant. The conference pride is stupid, especially coming from Alabama fans. You ARE the conference. Everyone else is just latching onto your success – don’t help them do it.
* On our way out of the stadium, we ran into Manti’s parents watching the press conference on some TVs on the 200 level concourse. It was tough to see them at the end of Manti’s ND career, but we can thank them enough for sending their son so many miles away. It’s not an exaggeration to say he helped change the course of Notre Dame football.
While we walked out of Sun Life Stadium late Monday night, my fiancee suggested that I stay away from Twitter, ESPN and the ND blogosphere until the weekend passed and the sporting world moved on from Alabama’s dominance and started refocusing on the NFL playoffs. Of course I should have listened, but I didn’t.
There has been an extremely broad array of reactions from the unrealistic “the refs screwed us” knee jerk, to the “I still love thee Notre Dame” goodwill following the worst beating the Irish have taken since 2007. The one reaction I have seen so much of, though, is that Notre Dame is still no where near a championship caliber program. That Alabama exposed Notre Dame’s true weakness and the Irish simply have too many deficiencies that need to be fixed. That Alabama showed us the bar that Notre Dame falls well short of – where Notre Dame will be lucky to be five years from now. Well, I am calling bullshit.
First, let’s take a step back and realize that Notre Dame just played in the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. You know, that game that 118 of the 120 FBS team didn’t qualify for? The one that Notre Dame entered as one of only two teams to not lose a game during the 2012 season?
It was readily apparent that Nick Saban was able to put a more talented group of 22 starters on the field on Monday night. I think most Irish fans would have agreed going into the game that, when you look at the players on an individual basis, Alabama had the edge. As we all know, though, having more talent doesn’t guarantee you anything, doesn’t necessarily make you a better team and certainly does not mean you are going to win every game. You won’t find many people arguing that Texas A&M has more talent than Alabama, that Georgia Tech has more talent than USC, or that Baylor has more talent than Kansas State.
It is incredibly difficult to win 12 regular season games even if you are “better” than every team you face. Hell, the national champ didn’t even do it this year. But Notre Dame did.
At the end of the day, yes, closing the talent gap with the best college football dynasty of our time would make it more likely Notre Dame is going to win a national championship in the near future. But let’s not pretend the Irish are far from it, and that all of a sudden Brian Kelly isn’t a championship caliber coach even though he was when he woke up on Monday. Alabama played its best game of the season and Notre Dame played one of its worst at the most critical time. If the Irish defense had tackled as well against the Tide as they had done in the 12 previous games and the Irish lost by 10 points instead of 28 how much would fans’ tunes have changed? Instead we’d be talking about how if a few breaks could have gone ND’s way that beautiful crystal trophy would be en route to South Bend.
It was a blowout, a drubbing, a demolition – it was whatever horrible adjective you want to use. But Notre Dame was close, and to say otherwise is an insult to a team that accomplished so much this year and rejuvenated this program. One game doesn’t define a program. Notre Dame was 60 minutes away. Notre Dame went 12-1 against one of the most difficult schedules in the country with an incredibly talented group of players. Notre Dame went 12-1 with a first year starter at QB. Notre Dame went 12-1 despite playing 11 teams that ended the season bowl eligible (including Alabama and Miami).
Brian Kelly will have Notre Dame back playing for a championship soon. We can hope that next time the Irish peak at the right moment like Alabama did on Monday. But this team and this program are back at the top of the college football world and as of now there is no indication that is going to change.
If you are like me, you have spent the majority of your time since Notre Dame beat Southern Cal on November 24th thinking about the National Championship Game. During that time I have thought out every possible scenario that may unfold and have come up with these 12 bold predictions that will without a doubt be 100% accurate.
- Cierre Wood will run for over 140 yards. In what most people expect to be Wood’s last game in an Irish uniform, he will lead the Irish rushing attack with a performance similar to what Theo Riddick did against USC.
- Everett Golson’s performance will put him into the 2013 preseason Heisman discussion….but he won’t be a finalist until 2014. Look for two TD’s through the air and one on the ground as EG manages the Bama D.
- Irish fans will outnumber Crimson Tide fans in the stadium. Despite having nearly 4 times as many undergraduates and far more living alumni, the Tide Pride section will be dwarfed by a stadium painted blue, gold and green (and probably gray and white too – seriously, let’s work on getting a uniform color scheme going for next season).
- No matter what the scoreboard says, Alabama will claim this game – victory or defeat – as their 27th national title. Or is it their 32nd? I lost count.
- Tommy Rees will complete a pass to Tyler Eifert. After Golson loses his helmet and has to sit out a play, Rees comes in and checks into a play for his favorite target.
- Louis Nix will exert his will on an ailing Barrett Jones. Plan on Irish Chocolate creating big issues in the Tide’s run game with Alabama’s 4.0 GPA center still dealing with a sprained foot.
- Manti Te’o won’t force another turnover, but Stephon Tuitt will. Manti officially hands over the reins of the defense to Tuitt, the next top 10 draft pick suiting up in an Irish uniform.
- SEC dominance officially ends, Clay Travis makes weak excuses and fights with Twitter followers. Oh, he does that every day already?
- Both Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon will score touchdowns for Alabama. While not many have been able to find the end zone on the ground against Notre Dame this year, the Tide’s two-headed monster will find some success behind the left side of the offensive line.
- These will be the Tide’s only two touchdowns. Add on two field goals, and Alabama ends the day with 20 points.
- I will be in the stands crying. Whether tears of joy or sorrow, you can count on some waterworks from Twibby in the Notre Dame section.
- AJ McCarron will also be crying. Just, ya know, the opposite of my tears.
- Brian Kelly and the Irish will raise the crystal football. In a game that will come down to the 4th quarter, the Irish will win with the same resilience that led them to an undefeated regular season. Irish 24, Crimson Tide 20.
- Tommy Rees appears in the locker room celebration ICON wearing an “I <3 Grantland-X” t-shirt.
-NDtex sarcastically yells “Roll Tide” to at least 6 Bama fans following an Irish victory.