Her Loyal Sons http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog A Notre Dame Football Blog Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:00:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Notre Dame 2014 Opponent Preview: Southern Cal http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/27/notre-dame-2014-opponent-preview-southern-cal/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=notre-dame-2014-opponent-preview-southern-cal http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/27/notre-dame-2014-opponent-preview-southern-cal/#respond Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:00:44 +0000 http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/?p=25413 We have finally come to the end of our Notre Dame opponent previews with a familiar foe and our biggest rival: USC Southern Cal. The sanctions are over as is the Lane Kiffin era. The Trojans are climbing their way back to full strength with former Washington head coach, Steve Sarkisian at the helm. Let’s […]

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We have finally come to the end of our Notre Dame opponent previews with a familiar foe and our biggest rival: USC Southern Cal.

The sanctions are over as is the Lane Kiffin era. The Trojans are climbing their way back to full strength with former Washington head coach, Steve Sarkisian at the helm.

Let’s find out what’s in store for the end of the 2014 Irish campaign.

Previous Opponent Previews:

Vitals

Coach Steve Sarkisian (1st year)
Conference Pac-12
Record vs. ND 35-45-5
2013 Record 10-4 (6-3)
2013 Bowl Las Vegas Bowl vs. Fresno State 
(W,45-20)
2013 S.O.S (Sagarin) 21
2013 F/+ Rank 11

Offense

Returning Starters 7 (1 QB, 1 RB, 2 WR, 0 TE, 3 OL)
Returning OL Starts 53
2013 Rushing Yards/Game (Rank) 172.8 (59)
2013 Passing Yards/Game (Rank) 227.1 (70)
2013 Total Yards/Game (Rank) 399.9 (72)
2013 Points/Game (Rank) 29.7 (60)
2013 Offense F/+ Rank 37

Pop quiz: who was Southern Cal’s leading receiver in 2013? If you answered Marqise Lee, you would be wrong. That would be Nelson Agholor who returns to the Trojans this season as to Southern Cal’s top two rushers, Javorius Allen and Tre Madden.

Simply put, Southern Cal is still loaded with talented weapons on offense. That was never their issue in 2013, consistency was. The Kiffin and Orgeron swap had them looking for identity all season. The Trojans never hit their stride and it showed throughout a simply terrible season.

With Cody Kessler returning to the helm again this season, Sark has a chance to lead the Trojans back to a level of offensive excellence that they are used to.

Don’t let 2013 fool you, this is a dangerous offensive unit.

Defense

Returning Starters 7  (1 DL, 3 LB, 3 DB)
2013 Rushing Yards/Game (Rank) 120.6 (15)
2013 Passing Yards/Game (Rank) 214.6 (32)
2013 Total Yards/Game (Rank) 335.2 (15)
2013 Points/Game (Rank) 21.2 (16)
2013 Defense F/+ Rank 5

One thing that was never an issue for Southern Cal last season: their defense. In fact, if it wasn’t for their defensive performances, the season could’ve been far worse.

The huge F/+ adjustment shouldn’t be a big surprise, especially when you consider that the inept offensive continued to put these guys out on the field continuously.

The defense only loses four starters; however, they are being replaced some solid talent. To put it another way, the depth has slowly started to return for Southern Cal.

What to Expect

With Sark having all season to prepare and work this talented Trojan squad, this will rank right up there with Florida State in terms of difficulty. That isn’t hyperbole in the least, that is my 100% honest-to-God opinion.

Of course, there is also the small matter of this being ND/USC which will crank the intensity up on this game to a level that only ND/Michigan will match in 2014.

This will be a very, very hard game for the Irish to win. The offense will face a solid defense and the young ND defense will face on of the most talented offensive units in the nation. It won’t be as big of an uphill battle as Florida State will be, but make no mistake Irish fans, this ain’t Kiffin’s group of failure any more.

Study Your Enemy

I recommend checking out the following USC sites:

Looking for Tickets?

Get Great Tickets at Ticket Monster!

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Know Thyself, Know Thy Enemy: Coach http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/27/know-thyself-know/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=know-thyself-know http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/27/know-thyself-know/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:00:39 +0000 http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/?p=25859 Fittingly, I hope, we end this year’s installment of Know Thyself, Know Thy Enemy with the position that defines an era: Coach. Years, if not decades, are defined by the men at the helm of the program. Rockne connotes herky-jerky newsreels and chamiponships. Leahy, Parseghian, Holtz, Devine, Willingham, and Weis each conjure images or feelings. Entering […]

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Fittingly, I hope, we end this year’s installment of Know Thyself, Know Thy Enemy with the position that defines an era: Coach. Years, if not decades, are defined by the men at the helm of the program. Rockne connotes herky-jerky newsreels and chamiponships. Leahy, Parseghian, Holtz, Devine, Willingham, and Weis each conjure images or feelings. Entering his fifth year at the head of Fighting Irish, the big fig himself, Brian Kelly’s name is beginning to define the times. One ignores the centrality of scandal at one’s own peril, but there as an unmistakable aura of success permeating the place, too. Whether it be the continuity of lofty graduation rates or the return of multiple players to the NFL Draft, or the legitimate presence in the national title discussion, and, in 2012, in the game itself, Brian Kelly’s hands on the tiller have begun to turn the Titanic. Whether there be more icebergs lurking is unknown.

THE IRISH: BRIAN KELLY, FIFTH SEASON, 37-15 overall

Kelly PresserMy introductory remarks about coaches conjuring images was, like much of what I do, deliberate, for few coaches immediately force a face, a purple, rage-twisted face, on the Irish faithful. That a new coach could be taken to task for screaming struck some as appropriate, others as offensive as the language the networks took pains to show. I don’t know if Coach Kelly has ever recovered from that uneasy place before us and frankly wonder if he wants to. He is a man comfortable in the front of his guys and he clearly buys into his players and his program, with the program always the more important. That dedication to the “next-man-in” philosophy saw him through the loss of Everett Golson at the start of last season, and now the loss of three other starters at the start of this one.

Kelly has the most wins of any Irish coach in his first four seasons in history, and he is second to only Bob Stoops in total number of wins since 2001. He is the second-youngest and fifth-fastest head coach to win two hundred games and he’s brought the Irish to a bowl in each of his four, Tommy Rees-dominated seasons. Still, there are many who still question his control, his supervision, and his methods.

Without question, though, Brian Kelly has brought Notre Dame results and the program is in a better place than it was when he arrived. Gone are the years of lost recruiting-classes and empty NFL drafts. While I don’t think the sun is yet at its apex on the Kelly years, I wonder if it won’t begin to set after the series with Georgia, when Brian Kelly can say he brought the Irish back to relevance, to the championship, and into the SEC, and walked away a winner.

THE ENEMY: DAVID SHAW, STANFORD, FOURTH SEASON, 35-6 overall

 

via gostanford.com

via gostanford.com

David Shaw graduated from Stanford in 1995. Let that sink in, sports fans. When I was starting my law school career, Shaw was starting off his coaching career at Western Washington, where ran the outside linebackers and tight-ends. From there, he went to the NFL, through stints with the Eagles, Raiders, Chargers, and Ravens. Finally, back at his alma mater in 2007, he was the Offensive Coordinator and, since 2011, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football.

You see? That’s why Stanford and David Shaw make me nuts. N-V-T-S nuts. The don’t have a head coach, they have a Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football. There’s just that little je ne sais quoi of asshat-ery about Stanford and David Shaw that makes me want to crush them every single year. But we don’t. Every year, win or lose, it’s a tough, physical game. And one for which Shaw always has his troops ready.

His record going into his fourth season as a head coach is very impressive. He’s won back-to-back Pac-12 Championships and the Rose Bowl, over Wisconsin in 2012. His list of personal accolades even more so: the 2013 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year and Eddie Robinson Award finalist, the 2012 and 2011 Pac-12 Coach of the Year. His team’s academic performances are superlative across all metrics.

Still, Shaw’s smug disappointment after Notre Dame’s epic stand to steal seal a win in 2012 was for the ages. Watch it again, below, and listen to crowd’s roar drown out the whistles of the phantoms:

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Kelly Speaks: Rice, the Two Deep, and “Limited Democracy” http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/27/kelly-speaks-rice-two-deep-limited-democracy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kelly-speaks-rice-two-deep-limited-democracy http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/27/kelly-speaks-rice-two-deep-limited-democracy/#respond Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:00:08 +0000 http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/?p=25857 Brian Kelly addressed the media today in a press conference that covered the waterfront that is Notre Dame football. Of course, all eyes, and ears, were on the four players currently suspended as the investigation into academic misdeeds continues, but the kickoff against Rice, the vacant captaincies, and the newly-released Two Deep got as much, […]

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Brian Kelly addressed the media today in a press conference that covered the waterfront that is Notre Dame football. Of course, all eyes, and ears, were on the four players currently suspended as the investigation into academic misdeeds continues, but the kickoff against Rice, the vacant captaincies, and the newly-released Two Deep got as much, if not more, attention. And, if his comments today were any indication, Coach Kelly wants to focus on the players available to him and not on those who may or may not return from purgatory.

Rice: I don’t think that much of what Coach Kelly said was pablum or coach-speak, but I do have the sense that he’s looking forward to playing, and beating, Rice. The official kick-off will be 3:42 p.m. He praised Saturday’s opponent and singled out their head coach, David Baliff, as having accomplished singular things at Rice, such as a Conference USA championship last season. With an “aggressive defense” and a player in Christian Covington, who is “very disruptive,” Rice is going to be a “good test” for the Irish. Here’s hoping that Notre Dame needs no academic assistance to pass it.

Academic Investigation: If this segue were any rougher, it would have resulted in a products-liability claim. In any event, mum’s, apparently, the word as to the suspensions of Messrs. Daniels, et al. Coach Kelly is very much out-of-the-loop as to what’s going on, but that does not mean that he feels he was “blind-sided,” or that the program does not have “a seat at the table,” as it were. Coach is pleased with the speed and manner in which the AD informs him as to what’s going on, and absent anything this week, Coach Kelly plans reach out to him. Kelly noted that he’s very familiar with this process thanks to Everett Golson and he knows not to build a time-table at this point.

Two Deep: Player and personnel were very much the talk of the day, and the media and Coach Kelly spent some time and questions addressing the two-deep they were all looking at for the first time. Evidently, Coach Denbrock determines who makes the two deep. Neither Torii Hunter nor Jarrett Grace will be ready for Rice, but Kelly sounded very optimistic as to their return. Jarron Jones, who can bend sufficiently and is athletically-gifted enough to make his 6’6″ frame work on the inside, and Sheldon Day will form the interior of the defensive line, with Romeo Okwara and Andrew Trumbetti on the outside. Corey Robinson underwent surgery to repair a fractured thumb and will be a “go” on Saturday. Ben Koyack has polished his game as a pass receiver and looks to be a force down the middle of the field. Steve Elmer has completed a remarkable transition to the (right-) tackle position.

Unity Council: This little-discussed player group was at the front of much discussion today, relative to the Alma Mater (it will be sung) and captaincies. Coach Kelly praised this year’s Unity Council as his most active, and full of young leaders. Coach was quick to point out that it was the players via the Unity Council who decided not to participate in the post-game singing last season and it was the players who voted to do so this year. Captains will be decided in the next twenty-four hours. The Unity Council acts as the bridge between the coaching staff and the players, offering a degree of “limited democracy” within the team.

The full transcript can be read here.

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TCB Poll: Preseason Playoff Predictions http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/26/tcb-poll-preseason-playoff-predictions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tcb-poll-preseason-playoff-predictions http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/26/tcb-poll-preseason-playoff-predictions/#respond Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:26:17 +0000 http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/?p=25778 Beginning in 2014, a playoff selection committee will determine which four college football teams play for the national title. Some are skeptical of the committee, so we — the Elvii of college football — have joined together to present our weekly playoff nominations. We call it the T.C.B. Poll. Playoff Rankings: Preseason Each week, the T.C.B. Poll is […]

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Beginning in 2014, a playoff selection committee will determine which four college football teams play for the national title. Some are skeptical of the committee, so we — the Elvii of college football — have joined together to present our weekly playoff nominations. We call it the T.C.B. Poll.

TCB Elvis Presley College Football Poll logo

Image courtesy @AuburnElvis

Playoff Rankings: Preseason

Each week, the T.C.B. Poll is an aggregate of all our inputs. Scroll down to see individual selections and opinions.

Rank

Team

Record

1 Florida State 0-0
2 Alabama 0-0
3 Oregon 0-0
4 Oklahoma 0-0

Also receiving votes: Michigan State, Auburn, Ohio State.

TCB Committee Member Comments

@TheLSUElvis

  1. Florida State – Coming off last year’s National Championship performance it does not look like Jimbo Fischer and crew will be slowing down. Heisman winner Jameis Winston looks to have all the off-the-field issues settled (at least for now) and can focus all his attention on football and maybe a little school work too.
  2. Alabama – It is Alabama and it is Nick Saban. There need not be more said than that. Unless something dramatic happens they will be competing in the first college football playoff come the end of the year.
  3. Oklahoma – Riding high after their impressive win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, Coach Stoops has the Sooners playing hard, tough football. They should do well this year.
  4. Michigan State – Moves into my #4 preseason slot with the loss of Braxton Miller of Ohio State. Who is there to stop the Spartans in the Big Ten? Traveling to Oregon in week two will determine if Michigan State stays at #4 in the polls or jumps out.

Week 1 Elvis fact of the week: Of my top 4 teams and their cities of Tallahassee, Tuscaloosa, Norman, and East Lansing, Elvis played the most concerts in Tuscaloosa, AL with 3 shows from 1971-1976.

@AuburnElvis

  1. FSU - Reigning Champion; returns tons of talent; should make it through ACC schedule undefeated.
  2. Oregon - Strong team; will advance from the Pac-12 (I’m not sold on UCLA)
  3. Auburn - Returns most of last year’s runners-up team; loaded on offense; tough schedule, but I believe they’re up to the task
  4. Ohio State - Even without Braxton Miller, I think they win the B1G and sneak into the playoff

@HawkeyeElvis

  1. Florida State – They are the kings until someone knocks them off. Or until Jameis steals some more crab legs and ends up doing the Jailhouse Rock.
  2. Alabama – Best of the SEC….for now. LSU Elvis is hoping they get sent to the Heartbreak Hotel on November 8th.
  3. Oregon – Somebody out there has to become Oregon Elvis. They could even make a jumpsuit out of some of the Ducks different uniform combos.
  4. Oklahoma – Out of my pre-season Top 4, Bob Stoops is the coach most likely to don a sequined jumpsuit.

@IrishElvis

Preseason polls are a bit like substitute teachers: they’re there to eat up space & time, they’ll allow some shenanigans to slide, and they’ll be replaced by the real deal in fairly short order. So I cast my preseason ballot for Florida State, Alabama, Oregon, and Michigan State.

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Leprechauns: The 8th One http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/26/leprechauns-8th-one/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=leprechauns-8th-one http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/26/leprechauns-8th-one/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:00:59 +0000 http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/?p=25581 Yo peeps, tweeps and Little Nobodies. Biscuit is BACK BABY! And that can only mean one thing. THE LEPRECHAUNS ARE DANCING! Dance, Leprechaun, DANCE BABYYYYYYYYYY! Historically, I’m not that great at predicting the season in detail before seeing a single game. Shocking, I know. That said, I have my good years and individual games as […]

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Yo peeps, tweeps and Little Nobodies. Biscuit is BACK BABY! And that can only mean one thing. THE LEPRECHAUNS ARE DANCING! Dance, Leprechaun, DANCE BABYYYYYYYYYY!

Historically, I’m not that great at predicting the season in detail before seeing a single game. Shocking, I know. That said, I have my good years and individual games as well, and last year I am pretty sure I called as many games FTW as any HLS peep, and I did so BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED. That is, simply, victory my friends.

So last year I was a bit overly optimistic. Called 10-2 (maybe 9-3) and we hit the 8-4.

Misses:

I missed Skunkbears (still can’t believe it), Oklahoma (Stoops’ Revenge), Arizona State (thought we’d drop that one but we came out and seriously performed against a legit squad) and Pitt (of course – still have no idea how we lost that game).

Hits:

I got the rest right obviously, but a few big “nailed its” stand out. Before the season started, I called that ND would beat MSU 17-14 and the W was 17-13. That’s not bad at all. And I called the USC win as 13-10, with the scoreboard reading 14-10 Irish when the final whistle blew. Also legit. And I called the Stanford game as an L 24-21 and the ending score was 27-20. So, even a blind squirrel, etc etc but I came up with some nice calls last season.

Anyway, onto this year, and those leprechauns!!! Quickly, to recount the scale:

This is just as likely to be wrong as it is to be right (aka the BadKermit Effect)

I’ve got a good feeling, but am leaving myself some wiggle room

This is a lock, I am a genius, I cannot be wrong.

This isn’t about hard-hitting analysis. This is about getting some of the basics down and going with gut. Because, seriously, not a down has been played. But a dance? It’s been danced. By leprechauns.

So…off we go!

Rice

It’s a starch. It’s boring. It’s Stu according to his not-quite-yet-father-in-law. I will also be at the game. It should be ugly early, though it’s gonna be toasty and humid and drunken and BACKER HERE I COME.

Anyway, ND rolls early and the backups get a taste. We ride a wave of THUNDER (Bryant) and LIGHTNING (Folston) for the first half, and let EG get comfy in the 3rd, before they’re all on the bench resting in the glow of a great first game W. So very excited to see this new offense in action. Kelly is back calling plays (don’t know why he keeps pretending like he’ll really give it up), the up-tempo dream will be a reality with Golson back, we have a talented WR group and the best set of running back talents I can remember. If we can execute, this O should be a thing of BEAUTY. And given the massive holes created on D by the departure of the LEGEND LNIII, Tuitt and Diaco’s hair, we’re gonna need it!

ND Wins 38 – 13

And that’s 3 leps baby! Feeling good here. Hit me up at herloyalsons at gmail if you want to hang pre/post-game!

Skunkbears

The last chance for all the HATE to come out for quite some time. It will be HATE HATE HATE week the second the Rice victory ends. The winner here will have the ‘last’ win for years and years. I am not even going to research the Skunkbear squad for this post. Because, frankly, we simply CANNOT LOSE THIS GAME. My brain and my heart and my soul cannot handle a Loss here. After some of the crap that’s gone down recently in this series, the Irish simply cannot allow UM to take the ‘last’ Win, especially at Home. So, ND Wins! ND Wins! ND FREAKING HAS TO WIN!

ND Wins 24-23

Sure, it’s gonna be close. Sure, it’s gonna be madness. Sure, it’s a 1-point call. But I am CONFIDENT WE WILL WIN by that one point because, well, because we HAVE TO WIN! 3 LEPRECHAUNS DANCING ON THEIR SKUNKBEAR GRAVES!!!!!!!

Purdue

Sooooooo glad we’re saving this most restful of a rivalry. I have crushed Purdue for being boring for years. Yes, many, many times. This year, things are no different. World’s Biggest Drum still isn’t actually the biggest. The ZZZZZZ’s come easy, and Purdue continues to flail around in football. Things aren’t improving at our southern neighbor any time soon coming off 1-11, and this should be a nice walk in the park for the Irish.

ND Wins 31-9

Feeling pretty certain here – certain of sleep.

Syracuse

Time to hang with the HEY-CC a bit! The ‘Cuse are orange, the ‘Cuse are ready, the ‘Cuse are gonna Lose. Syracuse wasn’t some horrible squad last year, winning 6 games and a few against ‘decent’ competition. But they are over-matched here in talent, and it’s not really close.

ND Wins 28-15

A safety against ND is the only real intrigue in this ACC victory. Orange you intrigued?

Stanford

Stanford comes to town riding the on back of 2 Pac-12 Championships and a solid and consistent dynasty building under Shaw. They have their stuff together. While the Pac-12 win will be tougher with a surging UCLA and ever-tough Oregon, I fear the tree will have our number again this year. At least for now, fear the tree. After a loss by 7 last year 20-27, I see a somewhat similar result this year.

Stanford Wins 33-27.

2 ‘chauns dancing here. This isn’t a dominating performance, and next year I believe ND wins this ever-evening-rivalry as this squad matures. Yep, calling it a full year and change in advance!

UNC

EDIT: We can call it Battle of the Good Schools with Recent Cheaters. Rolls off the tongue, no? Too early? Ah, get over it!

UNC comes into town after tough games against Clemson and Va Tech, so they’ll be a bit tired from both a tough stretch and travel. ND comes out smarting from the Stanford loss and goes to work. The ND Defense is starting to come together, and the Offense is really humming at this point. The combination of a young but now maturing receiving corp, plus Golson with Thunder & Lightning in the backfield? Just too much for UNC

ND Wins 30-16

2 tiny elves dancing here as well. I don’t know the UNC squad all that well, but feeling pretty solid.

Florida State

Whoooaaa-whoa-whooooooa. Whooaaaa, whoooooa….YOU SUCK!

Okay, so no, they don’t suck. But the freaking 1-chant-only thing, much like USC, does. FSU is legit, and they’ll still be legit when this battle kicks off. ND has plowed through a pretty challenging schedule and has come out largely unscathed, but FSU is rolling through a weak schedule by comparison (playing OK State, Citadel, NC State with only Clemson a legit contender) and feeling good. I would love to call an upset here, but I don’t think we’re there yet, and FSU is just reaching the pinnacle of their turnaround.

FSU Wins 30-17

ND isn’t back to this level yet. But we’ll get there.

Navy

After a rough loss to a top tier team, ND faces the (god bless em) midshipdudes. (Question: Why midship?) While the Option Attack will take a bit to prep for and adjust to, and ND will come out a bit slow, the athleticism in this newly-fast-newly-nimble ND offense is far too much for the boys in uniform. I expect a somewhat close first half, some half time angst, and ND rolling in the back half of this annual match-up. Bank it fellas, the ship be sunk.

ND Wins 38-17

Lock it in.

Arizona State

So ND plays the toughest schedule in the country, and ASU is right behind at #2. This means a long slog for both teams to this point, and likely some injuries to boot. And if things continue as they’ve been at ASU, this team is still really strong on O. And if things come together for the ND O as I expect, this has SHOOTOUT written all over it.

Unfortunately for ND, I think I need to call a random loss that’s an upset. Pitt from last year has me spooked. Now, I could be wrong on where that rule bites us in the…booty, but I think it could be here in a crazy, crazy high scoring trick play laden shootout.

ASU Wins 45-41

Madness! This is all I can predict, sheer, sheer Madness!

Northwestern

I still can’t believe these ‘football players’ freaking unionized. Super tough, fellas! Can’t wait til you have to pay taxes on the value of your education. WAY TO THINK IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH BOYS! Seriously, this ain’t no job. Some things are wrong with college football, and college athletics in general. But this isn’t the answer, and it’s not going to fix, it’s just going to confuse. Anyway, the result?

IRS: $Bajillion. Football: 0.

Just due to my sheer annoyedness I am calling WHOMPING. They deserve it, they asked for it, and when it happens they can ask their Union Leader to negotiate less ass kickings in the future. Good luck.

ND Wins 31-6.

WAH! CRY BABY CRY!

Louisville

Louisville is a matchup that I’m actually interested in. If their coach hadn’t gone to Texas it would’ve been way more interesting – but still, a different, cool, new matchup for the Irish in their first year in the ACC. Strong is gone, Petrino is in, and Louisville has a decent core to build upon.

But I don’t think there’s enough talent there to overcome the first-year-coaching-blues. (Can you tell I’m losing steam? Sorry, I’m human, and this is a ROUGH schedule folks!)

ND Wins 27-20.

Lots of variables here, so not an easy one to call. So this dance is a solo.

USC

Sark is in town and we all mourn the loss of Kiffykins to Bama. I can’t wait to see what crap he screws up over there for the tallest midget. Anyway, Sark is a decent coach and USC is always super talented. Except, they lost a LOT this year. A lot more than Kiffy.

This should bode well for the Irish as they come out to hang with me and Tricerapops in LA LA Land. We’ll be tailgating it up bright and early, so come grab a cold one.

Feeling optimistic about an Irish win here, but feel the teams will be fairly evenly matched. At this point, USC’s team is more senior than the first half of the year when they drop a couple due to inexperience and the growing pains of a new staff. That said, it’s freaking USC, and I’m not sure I see us ending this season 9-3. So, it’s an ND win, but a nailbiter.

ND Wins 17-16.

Only 1 leprechaun to dance on their Trojan Grave. (I hope it’s their grave, this one is a toss-up).

Net Net

If you take this straight up, we’re a 9-3 team this year. But, we have a few tight games in the Skunkbears, Louisville and USC that could flip this quickly to a 7-5 year. I’m going to make the official call 8-4 and hope I’m being pessimistic. Here’s to it!

EDIT/Note: These were all done prior to the information that we might lose a couple starters due to academic issues. I am not going to adjust now, but pending where we net out on that, it could have a material impact. I am definitely sticking with 8-4 given this new info, and if all 4 or even the more impactful 2 starters end up out for the season, I would drop this to a good chance of 7-5. Not the end of the world, but it’d be a disappointment as we build toward what should be a contender year in ’15. Hoping this clears up a bit and without the big fraud we all fear.

Go Irish, Beat Everybody.

While maintaining integrity unlike everyone else.

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Notre Dame Football Will Sing the Alma Mater Win or Lose http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/26/notre-dame-football-will-sing-alma-mater-win-lose/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=notre-dame-football-will-sing-alma-mater-win-lose http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/26/notre-dame-football-will-sing-alma-mater-win-lose/#respond Tue, 26 Aug 2014 04:58:32 +0000 http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/?p=25847 Last season, after a home loss to Oklahoma, there was a lot of confusion as some Notre Dame players hung around for the alma mater while others went into the locker room. To no surprise, this sudden development created massive amounts of anger and confusion with the fanbase. The “tradition” was instituted in 2005 by Charlie Weis […]

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Win or lose, this will be the scene at Notre Dame Stadium (via 125.nd.edu)

Win or lose, this will be the scene at Notre Dame Stadium (via 125.nd.edu)

Last season, after a home loss to Oklahoma, there was a lot of confusion as some Notre Dame players hung around for the alma mater while others went into the locker room. To no surprise, this sudden development created massive amounts of anger and confusion with the fanbase.

The “tradition” was instituted in 2005 by Charlie Weis who felt that the team should salute the students after the game regardless of the result. Weis also extended this to standing behind any armed forces opponent as they sung their alma mater as well.

The confusion that happened that day stemmed from a policy that was instituted prior to the 2012 season. Kelly felt that the players should be able to regroup as a team after a home loss, which does make some sense as the alma mater after a bad loss would sadly morph into an exercise to see who was pissed off enough to not sing, remove their helmet, or just look angry in general.

Of course, the 2012 team went undefeated so a home loss didn’t happen for some time and it appears half the team forgot about the change.

Regardless of the reasons, confusion, and hair-pulling the players decided to place this policy into their own hands late Monday night:

Personally, I liked that the team started singing the alma mater to the student section during the Weis era. I thought it was a fantastic touch.

However, I’m also of the belief that my warm and fuzzy feelings on the situation do not matter. This should be a decision that the players make and stick to.

So I’m happy they’ve taken control of the situation themselves (and I’m sure Kelly doesn’t care either way). Especially since it will remove any kind of “controversy” that is really nothing more than excess noise.

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Does Notre Dame Really Only Employ Three People for Athletic Academic Support? http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/25/notre-dame-three-academic-support-staff/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=notre-dame-three-academic-support-staff http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/25/notre-dame-three-academic-support-staff/#respond Tue, 26 Aug 2014 00:30:30 +0000 http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/?p=25837 This evening, I saw what I thought was a very strange factoid pop up in my timeline. Bruce Feldman had claimed that Notre Dame only had three people on an academic support staff for its student-athletes: Interesting. RT @ChrisVannini: Per Bruce Feldman, Texas has 20 people on academic support staff, Alabama has 12, and Notre […]

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This evening, I saw what I thought was a very strange factoid pop up in my timeline. Bruce Feldman had claimed that Notre Dame only had three people on an academic support staff for its student-athletes:

This didn’t make any sense to me at all. For long time readers of this site, you are likely aware that I was a student manager while at Notre Dame. As a manager, I had access to the same academic support as athletes did and boy did I ever need it for an EE course, Signals and Systems, that was, quite frankly, handing me my ass.

I know I had at least three different people help me out. Certainly there had to be something I was missing here. So I made the following conjuncture on Twitter:

After some back and forth with ND fans, my DM inbox got a message from Bruce Feldman himself. I was able to have a brief conversation with him about the claim, so here is the answer from the horse’s mouth (and this, by the way, is re-posted with his permission):

Feldman DM 1

Feldman DM 2

Feldman DM 3

Feldman DM 4

 

So, yes, Feldman was only going off of the full-time academic support directly employed by the athletic department. Further, this was a part of a larger discussion in which someone yanked a quote from. Let’s be honest, Alabama and Texas having more academic support staff than ND is truly eye-popping. Hell, it got my attention and I wasn’t even aware of the context when I started my theory-crafting.

Further, Feldman is completely right in regards in ND not being able to “hide borderline students” as other schools can/do. Nick Saban, in my opinion, made the kind of push that Bruce mentions to make sure he had a group of people with only one job: keeping people academically eligible. Further, he’s playing his odds. If he has 20 full-time staff members, he is practically guaranteeing that the majority of his starting 22 will be on the field. Of course, I doubt Saban worries that 20 out of his 22 starters will have issues, but Saban strikes me as the kind of guy that doesn’t like to take chances on something he feels like he can have some level of control over.

Notre Dame on the other hand relies on people not directly employed by the athletic department. Back to my earlier example of when I had to get tutoring, I know the person I talked to at the desk was a student and the person that tutored me was a student as well. These are all paid positions and I do know there are quite a few staff members that assist student athletes whom are employed outside the athletic department.

In fact, Christianne Harder of FIDM and Bryan Fischer confirmed it:

To me, this is another case of how ND operates differently than the rest of the powerhouses in college football. I honestly don’t think that system is broken in the least. I felt overwhelmed (in a good way) by the amount of support that I received. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have survived my junior year at ND without it.

So people will have their soundbite from Feldman and it looks damning to ND. However, as is often the case in the situations, the truth is far more nuanced and, yes, Feldman is very much aware of that.

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UNVERIFIED: Southern Cal CB, Josh Shaw, Suffers Injury after Saving Nephew’s Life http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/25/usc-josh-shaw-saves-nephew/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=usc-josh-shaw-saves-nephew http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/25/usc-josh-shaw-saves-nephew/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 23:05:36 +0000 http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/?p=25833 EDIT [8/26 1:46 PM ET]: There is a chance the below story could be false based on information from USC today: USC coach Steve Sarkisian says the story of Josh Shaw saving his drowning nephew might be false and will be vetted by the university. — Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) August 26, 2014 Sources told me incident […]

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Shaw-WSU-McG-thumb-800x532-42758

via The Ripist Blog

EDIT [8/26 1:46 PM ET]: There is a chance the below story could be false based on information from USC today:

I will continue to track this as it develops. – Tex.

Usually I don’t ever see a need to create a post specifically for a story about a player on a rival team. What Josh Shaw did though definitely warrants it.

According to the Ripsit Blog on the official USC football site, Shaw will be out indefinitely after suffering two high ankle sprains while rescuing his nephew that was drowning. Shaw jumped off a second story balcony (yes, you read that right), suffered the ankle sprains, crawled into to the pool, and managed to save his nephew using only his upper body to hold him and grab a nearby ladder.

As if that selfless act wasn’t enough, get a load of this quote from the story:

“I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew,” Shaw said today.  “My ankles really hurt, but I am lucky to be surrounded by the best trainers and doctors in the world.  I am taking my rehab one day at a time, and I hope to be back on the field as soon as possible.”

What a class act, color me impressed.

Unfortunately for Shaw, his heroic acts has placed him on the shelf indefinitely. I can only imagine how hard it is for a CB to rehab off of one ankle sprain much less two. I’m sure the recovery will be rough for Shaw, but I’m also sure that’s really the last thing on his mind right now.

You never wish any kind of injury on your rival (well, okay some terrible people do) much less one caused by something this crazy off the field. The most important thing is that both Shaw and his nephew will be okay.

Get well soon, Shaw, and I hope you will be able to line up against the Irish come November.

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Introducing Park n’ Party http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/25/introducing-park-n-party/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=introducing-park-n-party http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/25/introducing-park-n-party/#respond Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:30:54 +0000 http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/?p=25825 You have probably noticed a new banner on our site this week for Park n’ Party who I’m excited to announce as a new partner for Her Loyal Sons. So what do they do? Think of it as Rent Like a Champion, but for parking spots. The only thing worth more than Notre Dame tickets […]

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Park N PartyYou have probably noticed a new banner on our site this week for Park n’ Party who I’m excited to announce as a new partner for Her Loyal Sons.

So what do they do? Think of it as Rent Like a Champion, but for parking spots.

The only thing worth more than Notre Dame tickets are parking passes for the stadium and library lots. Actually, let’s be honest, it’s easier and cheaper to find a ND ticket than a parking pass more often than not.

At that point, you are stuck in a public lot that requires a shuttle to get you to campus or back. Or you hope you find a homeowner that is offering parking. And what if you have a big group wanting to tailgate? You’ll probably be stuck in the shuttled lots at ND unless you are willing to gamble that the homeowner you just found will let you party in their lawn.

What if you are one of those few that knows every small lot like the back of your hand? You wake up early, drive out, and all of a sudden that hidden spot you knew about is full of ND fans!

Park n’ Party solves all of these issues.

When you head over to their site, you’ll find five lots listed. Four of these lots are within a mile of the stadium and the fifth, just 1.9 miles away, allows for RV parking. All lots allow for tailgating and you can even reserve a spot in the Eddie Commons parking garage!

Each reservation with Park n’ Party comes with an On Time guarantee. Show up “On Time” (30 minutes before kickoff), and your spot is guaranteed. If it isn’t, give them a call and they will find a lot for you to park in. If nothing’s available, they’ll transfer the reservation to another game. If you don’t want that, you get your money back. Either way, they are going to make it right.

So if you have you are looking to organize a large party, or if you are just looking for some hassle free parking, head on over to Park n’ Party and make your reservation today!

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Notre Dame 2014 Opponent Preview: Louisville http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/25/notre-dame-2014-opponent-preview-louisville/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=notre-dame-2014-opponent-preview-louisville http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/2014/08/25/notre-dame-2014-opponent-preview-louisville/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 13:30:35 +0000 http://www.herloyalsons.com/blog/?p=25408 A Heisman candidate departs. A familiar coach returns. A move to a new conference. That is what’s in store for the next Notre Dame opponent in our preview series, the Louisville Cardinals. This will be the Cardinals first year in the ACC as Bobby Petrino returns to the helm after his firing in Arkansas thanks […]

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A Heisman candidate departs. A familiar coach returns. A move to a new conference. That is what’s in store for the next Notre Dame opponent in our preview series, the Louisville Cardinals.

This will be the Cardinals first year in the ACC as Bobby Petrino returns to the helm after his firing in Arkansas thanks to an outing of an affair with an ex-volleyball player and member of Arkansas’ athletic department. With an impressive 2013 campaign led by new Texas coach, Charlie Strong, and current Minnesota Viking, Teddy Bridgewater, what’s in store for the Cardinals in 2014?

Previous Opponent Previews:

Vitals

Coach Bobby Petrino (1st year back, 5 years prior: 41-9)
Conference ACC
Record vs. ND None, first game vs. ND
2013 Record 12-1 (7-1)
2013 Bowl Russell Athletic Bowl vs Miami
(W,36-9)
2013 S.O.S (Sagarin) 103
2013 F/+ Rank 12

Offense

Returning Starters 7 (0 QB, 1 RB, 1 WR, 1 TE, 4 OL)
Returning OL Starts 121
2013 Rushing Yards/Game (Rank) 146.8 (86)
2013 Passing Yards/Game (Rank) 314.0 (16)
2013 Total Yards/Game (Rank) 460.8 (28)
2013 Points/Game (Rank) 35.2 (25)
2013 Offense F/+ Rank 23

Life after Teddy will certainly be interesting. That isn’t to say Louisville is completely depleted on offense. They return their leading receiver and rusher along with a very experienced offensive line. Plus, the Cardinals add former Auburn RB Michael Dyer to the mix which gives them yet another weapon.

But despite all of that, I’m really not sure what to think of the offense. Not only is Teddy gone, but Petrino coming back in is yet another wild card that makes this very hard to analyze.

The offense could be solid or they could experience some serious struggles in this major transition. I’m honestly not sure which way to call it.

Edit: Of course, after I push this out, Louisville gets some big injury news:

That would be Louisville’s leading receiver out 6-8 weeks with a broken toe. While he’ll likely be back for the ND game, that could be an interesting wrinkle for an offense that already has a lots of question marks.

Defense

Returning Starters 4  (1 DL, 1 LB, 2 DB)
2013 Rushing Yards/Game (Rank) 80.7 (1)
2013 Passing Yards/Game (Rank) 170.8 (5)
2013 Total Yards/Game (Rank) 251.5 (1)
2013 Points/Game (Rank) 12.2 (2)
2013 Defense F/+ Rank 10

While much attention was given to the Cardinals offense last season with Teddy trying to make a Heisman run, the defense was really the ones making the biggest noise.

A quick counterpoint to their defensive performance would likely be that they played a weak schedule in 2013. However, that’s why I include the F/+ rankings in here. That stat takes opponent difficulty into consideration in an attempt to put everyone on the same level. With schedules varying so much, it is practically essential to include this on a preview.

Even with the F/+ adjustment, Louisville still remains in the elite in the top ten. So top defense in the nation? No. An elite defense? Definitely.

Louisville does see quite a few starters depart, but their projected starting lineup features loads of upper classmen (6 Juniors, 2 Seniors). This won’t be some kind of young and inexperienced squad.

What to Expect

Of all the previews that I’ve done so far this season, this is one where I honestly am not sure where to lean. All I know for certain is that the loss of Teddy will not make this an easy game in the least. It will very likely be tougher than any of us want it to be.

It will be Louisville’s first trip to South Bend and the first game against Notre Dame in their history. The new ACC member will certainly be looking to make all kinds of waves with a big win against the Irish in their own house and this team full of upper classmen will certainly be looking to go out on a high note.

Study Your Enemy

I recommend checking out the following Louisville sites:

Looking for Tickets?

Get Great Tickets at Ticket Monster!

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