This week’s gathering is brought to you by the letters U, H, N, and D. And it’s made us stop and think for a moment (and furiously dig through Scout.com recruiting archives).
A 1, a 2, a 3…
- With our beloved Irish on the bye this weekend, how much college football will you be watching Saturday and what games are you most looking forward to watching? I’m hoping to maximize my time by watching Vandy take on Georgia and then Missouri at Texas. I got an eye-full of Texas last week, but I haven’t really seen much of Missouri aside from highlights. I’ve not seen much of Vanderbilt either, and I think Georgia will be an excellent litmus test for them even though they already got Croom’d last weekend. I’ll check in on Michigan State v. Ohio State often, as we have a real interest in seeing MSU win and OSU lose. We need OSU to lose because otherwise OSU may find itself playing next week for Big Ten hand, and I hate it when OSU has hand. They have a way of turning it into some unfathomable reason to play in the national championship game. I’d really like this year’s national championship game to be more entertaining than the mild salsa I’ll serve at the game watch.
- Not to look too far aheadâ€¦ but in looking at the 2009 schedule, do you think the Irish will be set up for a title run if they continue to improve each week as they are doing now? Not to get too literal on you, but if this Irish squad really does continue to improve each week, they’ll annihilate everything on the 2009 schedule in Old Testament fashion. True improvement every week by this offense could put it on a trajectory where the ceiling is between “Unpossible” and “Great Googly Moogly.” The defense could give up 30 a game and ND would still likely win it all. But I have a feeling the ceiling is a little lower than that. So to answer the question in the spirit in which it was asked, the team as it is now could, potentially, run the 2009 schedule without a loss. A much improved team, where we see an actual running game, a defense that gets off the field after long 3rd downs, and 2+ sacks by the defense each game would only get “tested” by Southern Cal, assuming Pete and his merry band of 5-star running backs don’t implode.
- If you could take 1 recruit we missed on from each of the last 4 years (1 from each year), who would they be and how differently would this team look like right now if we had gotten that 1 player each year? (Note, the players should be players the Irish either led for at one time or were at least a finalist for). These will probably seem obvious, but there’s a reason for that. While the Irish talent pool is light years better than it was a few years ago, there are glaring holes that these guys could have (instantly?) helped fill up. 2008: Omar Hunter. It’s so rare to find a 5-star DT who can qualify for ND (I’ve got lots of theories about that), and this kid just seemed to love the Irish at one point in time. It would be absolutely shocking to have lost him had the Irish not lost out on him due to that snake-oil salesman in Florida being the guy who tore him away. 2007: Martez Wilson. Just an amazing prospect, though he’s apparently in the doghouse at Illinois now. Who knows, maybe he’d have been a star at ND? 2006: Gerald McCoy. Became a freshman AA at Oklahoma. 2005: Lawrence Wilson. Though the guy seems to have been hit with the injury bug his entire college career.
- If Notre Dame could only land 1 more recruit on each side the ball in this recruiting class, who would you like it to be? (Again, it should be someone we have a reasonable chance with). I’ve paid an oddly low level of attention to this recruiting year, but getting Shaquelle Evans would be great. It’ll just help continuing the momentum of an awesomely high-powered offense. On defense, how sweet would it be to get Manti Te’o? Kid plays like an animal, and it would be like a recruiting point swing for ND to get him and Southern Cal not to get him.
- If you could take one of Notre Dameâ€™s bowl losses since the 1994 Cotton Bowl win over Texas A&M and turn it into a win, which one would it be? Why? And What if any impact do you think that win would have had on the Irish. Really tough call between the last 2 bowl games, but I’d have to take the Fiesta Bowl over Ohio State. For one, it would have put Quinn so far ahead in the next season’s Heisman race and hurt Troy Myth that the Irish might have yet another Heisman trophy in the books, even if the 2006 season still played out as it did. It would have eliminated the bowl-losing streak all the sooner. And not to start twisting causation around a bit, but winning that bowl would have meant the Irish were playing on a level where they could contain a Troy Myth, and where they could beat that OSU defense, meaning in 2006 essentially the same core of players would have been darn near impossible to stop. So who’s to say a #1 ranking in 2006 would have been impossible? Even with a win in the next bowl, against LSU, the recruiting that year may have gone better, but the trench of talent would have still needed to have been addressed and navigated in 2007.