UHND Football Friday: Week 4

Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans cheer from the stands during the first half of the 2013 BCS Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans cheer from the stands during the first half of the 2013 BCS Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Football Friday returns this week – albeit a day late (blame it on Frankie V and the Eagles getting embarrassed on Thursday night football).

This past week, Sports Illustrated released a story on the Oklahoma State football program, and the measures they allegedly took to reach elite status in the NCAA world. The five part article detailed how players received money, sex, and how coaches looked the other way if an elite player had tested positive for drugs during the season.  The article is an extremely interesting read and recommend it if you have the time to take a look.

After reading part one of the series, entitled “the money”, which goes into detail about how the players received cash in exchange for playing well, I looked at the comments section of the article. I was surprised to see that the majority of people shifted the blame from the OSU players onto the NCAA. They claimed that if the NCAA simply paid their student athletes, this type of thing would never be an issue. After all, the NCAA makes ridiculous amounts of money off of these kids, and the same kids never see a dime of it.

In a vacuum, paying student athletes certainly does make sense. However, it is just not as easy as it sounds. I mean, you can’t just pay a select few players; you would have to pay everybody. So, Joe Schmo who does nothing for the university financially is getting paid as much as the Heisman contender. Also, do you really think boosters would stop giving players the performance bonuses? These guys have deep pockets and will stop at nothing to motivate the kids that play for their former school. Oh, and football is not king everywhere. Plenty of schools make more money off their basketball, baseball, and hockey programs. If you pay athletes in one sport, you probably would have to pay them all. Would smaller schools be able to handle that burden financially?

Other comments suggested letting the players sell their signature. This comes from the Johnny Manziel incident this past summer. Readers suggested that players should be allowed to receive compensation for signing merchandise, and that they should be able to sign contracts with memorabilia companies to ensure themselves an income. Again, this seems like an okay idea, but it would take about three seconds before this started getting thrown into the mix recruiting wise.

“Oh, so Tennessee has a company willing to give you X amount of dollars as part of a signing deal? Well I know a guy and I think he could do better than that…”

It’s likely that top talent would start going to the highest bidder, and that is just one more thing that would make it harder for smaller schools to compete with the big boys.

I’m not saying it’s not a good idea that players should get paid. I do feel they deserve something. Especially football players who are putting their bodies through hell for four to five years at a school and bringing the school tons of money while doing it. The point of this rant however, is to show that there is almost no fair way to do so. If you have suggestions, please leave them in the comment box below, as I feel this is an extremely intriguing debate to have. But until we find a fair way to pay players for their participation, just remember that these athletes are receiving free education and world class coaching in exchange for their letter of intent. They are far from victims.

GAME BALLS: WEEK 3

Brett Hundley, QB UCLA

Finished 16-24 for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns in UCLA’s 41-21 victory in Nebraska. Led the Bruins to 38 unanswered points to close the game.

AJ McCarron, QB Alabama

Was 20-29 with 334 yards and 4 touchdowns in Alabama’s 49-42 win over Texas A&M in college station.

Mike Evans, WR Texas A&M

The first player to get a Donchez game ball in a losing effort. Caught 7 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown in a 49-42 loss to Alabama. Honorable mention goes to Johnny Manziel.

This week for the Irish

Notre Dame will return home this week to host the Michigan State Spartans. Sparty is unbeaten thus far with victories over Western Michigan, USF, and Youngstown State. Connor Cook looked sharp last week and has officially taken the starting quarterback job held by Andrew Maxell. The Spartan offense has struggled this year, but a duel threat quarterback like Cook could be a problem for the Irish, as they struggled to contain the mobile quarterbacks they’ve played so far. Defensively, MSU is as solid as ever, holding the #1 national ranking on defense. The defense is led by Max Bullough, a pre-season All-American and arguably the best linebacker in the Big 10. Bullough and the rest of the Spartan front 7 will be a huge test for the Irish running game, and they may have to lean on Tommy Rees more than ever to win this one. Forgive me for being cliché, but this game will be your typical grind it out war we’ve come to expect from MSU and ND in years past. The Spartan defense does scare me. It will be very tough to get the backs going and its likely Rees will have to win this game with his arm. Fortunately, the MSU offense has sputtered at times this year and I believe the Irish defense will do enough to keep them in check so that Rees and company won’t have to match the opposition score for score like they had to in the Big House two weeks ago. I think Diaco can force Cook into mistakes and that will be the difference in the ball game. Don’t think it will be easy though; Sparty is tough.

Prediction: Notre Dame 21 Michigan State 17

What else I’m watching this week

#23 Arizona State at #5 Stanford

The Sun Devils grabbed national headlines this past week with their crazy victory over Wisconsin, so plenty of eyes will be on this one. Both of these teams will play the Irish later in the season, so during an otherwise weak schedule in the NCAA this week, this game is worth a look.

Breaking Bad, Sunday AMC

Last week this show put on quite possibly the best hour of television I’ve ever seen. If you follow it, you know that we should be in store for craziness this week. If you haven’t seen it, don’t waste another minute. Hop on Netflix and binge on it.

Week 4 Picks

Last week 0-1

Overall YTD 3-2

Last week hurt. I was incredibly confident in my UCONN +7 pick, but a pick six in the fourth quarter broke my back and ended my hopes for a cover. So it goes. For this week, I actually do not have a play at this time, but if you’re interested check on twitter as that could change later in the week.

Comments or questions? Contact me via Twitter. @TylerDonchez.

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30 Comments

  1. TR threw 167 yards less in the Michigan State game vs Purdue. It will be interesting to see if this downward trend continues? Further, we will definitely find out this weekend if Michigan State’s defense was overated and/or if Oklahoma’s is better. Oklahoma has good reason to be well prepared for the Irish this time around.

  2. Why all the sour grapes with BK. What do you expect with Dayne Crist (Who sucked at Kansas as well) and Tommy Rees as his QB’s. It was not his fault Golson got kicked out. Hendrix is not playing because he sucks too.

    Next year, this team will hopefully have 3 spread QB’s in Golson, Ziare, and Kiser. Then maybe for the first time, we will see the offense that Kelly had at his other stops.

    This team is not going to blow anyone out, but they are in every game and they have gone 15-2 since the beginning of last season. Yes it is not pretty, but neither was averaging 7-5 for 20 YEARS!!! Kelly has turned ND back into a legitimate Top 25 team, not a Top 5 Team, a Top 25 team.

    I know several of you are going to blast me because I’m standing up for BK, but guess what, I don’t care because this is just a game and ND is not my identity. I’ve been rooting for them for almost 30 years now and I’ll take 15-2 no matter how they win.

    Next week is OU and I will be cheering on the Irish, but win or lose, the sun will come up the next day.

    1. Scav, If BKs goal is to run a spread offense then why did the staff waste there time luring Gunner Kiel away from LSU? Seems like they shouldve been trying to sign another dual threat to compete with Golson. Last time I checked Kiel was a Pro-style QB. I agree with you that BK has turned the program around and the future is bright although i feel that BK and staff have failed in landing and developing the right QB to lead this team. We wont see a true QB competition until year
      5 of BKs tenure. In my worthless opinion its taken to long.

      1. Jeff,

        The revolving door of 4-5 star recruits is just part of the game rebuilding the team. However, with some of the recruits, they are just filler material to keep the class rankings high to attract more nationally. They knew Kiel would not stick around. Further, I don’t see Zaire sticking around either if Golson returns. BK has not kept any QB happy other than TR. The most critial position on the team continues to be an after thought.

  3. where is swarbrick? he had to address this folly now. they were completely uninspired for bama, the first chance for a national title in twenty years. the guy publicly visits the eagles. unbelievable. we lose several big recruits because they know that kelly’s word is no good. everybody has been griping about the special teams for many months. he has produced no real offense in four years, but golson was great. but he wasn’t on top of the guy’s academic fears. we have no great bcs quarterback anywhere on the roster. and now the defense gives up. ever here the rocket or reggie brooks talk about lou. they believed in him and produced for him. swarbrick has to tell kelly has to to learn how to inspire these guys and make them believe in him. they dont believe in him now. time for swarbrick to take this guy to the woodshed, and tell him he has to make them believe. now

  4. The chickens generally come home to roost. This guy (Kelly)is a fake.He has a spin for every mediocre (coaching) performance.And we keep buying his crap.The whole damn coaching staff is oversold. Kelly thinks (dreaming) that the NFL just can’t wait for his coming. Diaco thinks he should be a head coach.
    Gimme me an effen break.
    Allegedly we have top rated recruiting classes each year but continue to play uniispired, dispassionate, unimaginative football on both sides of the ball.
    We weekly make mediocre teams look good. And that falls smack on the shoulders of the coaches. Period.
    We have a head coach, face purple with rage, spitting profanities and berating his players for every miscue in front of 80,000 in the stadium and millions on TV. Does he think that those kids are making those mistakes on purpose, and does he think that those tirades on the sidelines will improve their performance. Those things are taken care from Tuesday to Friday – by GOOD head coaches. He probably has the same effect on his coaches. Everybody plays tight. Afraid to incur his wrath. And he is rewardedby a contract extension and a raise. And at some point his staff is going under the bus and they know it!
    We have good players. Why can’t we ever come up with good coaches like other
    teams.

  5. I miss the days of Lou, Dan, and Ara. In 2010 I told myself look at year 3-4, that will usually tell you how a coach is doing. What I am seeing today certainly is not matching why I was expecting in year 4 to happen. I am thinking last year was an exception not the beginning of a rule. The team just looks so uninspired to play. It makes me really wonder if the NFL “exploration” by BK pissed off more players than maybe what we are aware. I certainly expected better play, especially by the D side.

    Lets go Irish

    1. Ride on SFR I am with you my man. Here are the “Facts of Life with Brian”. Recruiting of running backs will be ON THE SHELF after guys like a Bryant, Tolston sit through a season of BK play calling eg One run into stacked 8 man fronts and then passes from Turnover to the sideline chain gang. Recruiting of Receivers will be flushed as they watch BK calling the Fade, the Bomb over the sidelines, and the Bubble screen that every DB we play has worked out. Tight Ends can forget passes to them period except as a last resort when noone else is open. Scoring 18pg a game will not attract any quality Offensive game breakers. Fact NO ONE EVER GETS A LOOK once your the Guy eg Atkinson on kickoffs, Rees at QB,etc means if you don’t start first game of the yr your there for a year unless someone injured then you get to be the next Cam McDaniel or Robby Toma sitting on special teams for 2-3 yrs. The real crime here is with Chip Kelly coaching we have the talent to put up 50+ with these guys (no comment re Defense but sure Saban handling that would also improve the current crop)and instead we get BK’s crap play calling which is CRIPPLING the offense with Turnover in charge. If Kelly disappeared for 3 games and Hendrix moved to QB, Bryant and Tolston to running backs,(still have not seen Mahone)Tolston to kick returning with maybe Carlisle and we started running patterns other then the crap Bubble screen and Heave Ho over the sidelines we might put up 50. Ask yourself this question. If we go 10-2 and get into a BCS bowl game vs a Texas A&M, Oregon, Baylor,LSU, Bama etc would you really think we would not get “pantsed” on National TV AGAIN aka NC game?? Yeah that’s what I thought. See winning by 3pts every week vs the Pittsburgh’s, Purdue’s, BYU’s, MSU’s really does not cut it or watching BK calling another CRAP 60minutes of sleep-walking. And it is KILLING recruiting. Biggest recruiting weekend of the year coming vs USC a CRAP team if ever I saw one (see Boston College game)and we SMASH them 9-7 in front of 85,000. Stand back and watch the avalancher of commitments on Monday morning following that one right?? NOTTTTTTTTT!!! Sheesh!!

  6. Hooray, we won a frickin’ game! Ticker tape parade on Monday at Woody’s. Perhaps Obama should invite the whole team to the White House, too. Oops, sorry, only champs get to go to the White House. But Woody Woodpecker is all orgasmic about barely beating MSU. I’ll celebrate when we actually win a BCS bowl or better yet a NC. But Woodrow will settle for barely beating Temple. And then he has the gall to call himself a ND fan. With fans like Woody Woodpecker we don’t need Ron Burgundy or Buckeye.

  7. Woodrow Peckerhead wouldn’t know good football if it smashed him over the head with barbells. Maybe the steroids are not only shriveling your nuts, Woody, but your brains as well.

    Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, Woody Woodpecker! You’ll lose every time!

  8. The only disgrace here, Woodpey Woodpecker is you, mediocrity lover, settling for less, internet tough talker. Oh, and I’m sure I could out run and out lift you, peckerhead.

    We root for our team more than you do. I guess you don’t really even watch the games. If you did, you’d realize that what your watching is garbage. But I guess with a name like Woody you used to trash.

    People, I’ll say this til the cows come home, people like Woody Woodpecker aren’t fans. If they were they’d want the best for the Irish. They wouldn’t settle for over 20 years of pittiful play. They’re so used to losing that the confuse shit for caviar.

    Woody go root for the Cubs. They’re used to loser fans like you.

    BTW: For the record you started the name-calling. So don’t cry like a little bitch later about the lack of politeness.

    Do us a favor and stay in the gym.

  9. jeez…..lighten up, boyz! We won the freakin game!

    Why don’t you get your fat rear ends off the couch and hit the gym. You guys are a disgrace. STFU and root for your team!

    Go IRISH !!!

    Cheers,
    Woodrow

    PS Go Cam Mc D. you da man!

  10. D-Train,

    I’m not sure EG or any other QB could make this broken down system work. The O line is pathetic. The D line is over-rated. BK is beginnig to sound like a spin doctor. Reminds me of an even bigger BS artist, Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh. If we don’t get a lot more talent in S. Bend BK’s fate is sealed. After all, if he can’t win with 4-5 star recruits, he won’t do it with 2-3 star ones. At this point I’m not sure ND football is viable long-term. Nothing and no one seems able to fix it. Humpty Dumpty has fallen and all the king’s men seem to not be able to put him back together again. I hope I’m wrong but 20 odd years of rancid mediocrity is enough to sapp the hope out of all but the most blindly optimistic. We may all be the generation that is witnessing the decline and fall of ND football. Like I said I pray that I’m terribly off the mark.

      1. Now now Toul, I would go back to smoking that wacky tabaccy you are usually on because you are about to be ridiculed by a Steeler fan.

  11. Fort Wayne News Sentinel reporter is SPOT ON in their game summary. This is not an EXCELLENT team or defense. This is a very mediocre team. Michigan is a “mediocre” team see their results vs Akron/Conn. Nevertheless just read PG quotes and my above article was on the money re BK quotes (after 4 yrs of this PG drivel it has become predictable). There is an old saying “you can’t polish a turd” but BK is a master of trying to do it. We do not have an offensive running game period. Our OL is over-rated. We do not have a QB and don’t give me his W-L career stats and this seasons 300+ rubbish. Guy put up 10pts in last 6 qtrs of football vs. one TERRIBLE team and one MEDIOCRE team. Our punt return team is RUBBISH for 4th yr in a row. MSU’s penalty tally was best part of our off. production. Our def cannot stop FLORIDA A&M on third down I am guessing. I AM SICK AT LOOKING AT A DOZEN TEAMS PUTTING UP 50-70 pts a game week after week while we put up 17-18 on Off (I do not count kicking and def. team pts in our game avgs.) Most of all I AM SICK TO DEATH OF LISTENING TO BK”S DRIVEL game after Post game for 4 yrs. If we win 8 games this yr (Pitt just put up 50+ and gave up 50+) it will be a miracle. Gators QB done for the yr and he could play “a little”. Why can’t that happen to our Turnover machine (Kelly even praised him for his ability to throw the ball away in the Red Zone when there was nothing there BK he does it every week for 4 yrs he should have it mastered by now so hold the praise)so not sure if I am more sick of TR or BK after 4 yrs of the same crap they dish up week after week. Now all of Tommy and Brian’s supporters will rally to their defense for another week before we sit down next Saturday to another game of this garbage. 2014 and EG cannot get here soon enough.

  12. I honestly believe that if ND had played FIU or FAMU today (teams the lost by 72 and 76 points, respectively), BK team would have won by no more than 2 or 3 TDs. Not because BK is more merciful that Urban Meyer, although he seems to be so, but because ND right now doen’t have the O to score more than 40 points on anyone. Moreover the D will give up a couple of TDs. So what do I think a ND-FIU score would be? 31-10 for the Irish. That’s against one of the absolutely most horrid FBS teams. That’s where we’re at with this BK led team.

      1. Michigan(Conn), Wisconsin (Tempe AZ) + ND (W. Lafayette IN, Ann Arbor MI) have all struggled this season away from home. (to be fair minded the season is only a third of the way to completion)

  13. Yes as several “pundits” on this site last week pointed out Purdue is a program on the RISE under a great coach so Badgers have TWO running backs put up 140+ yds EACH (unlike ND backfield last week) and smash them as we should have. But let’s look at Irish performance today. Up against a Juggernaut offense that put up 40+ on perennial POWERHOUSE Youngstown St. last wk today they still managed 16 first downs to our 14. Heisman candidate (in Kelly’s eyes only) Tommy Turnover master-minded another outstanding performance. 142 yds passing with multiple INCOMPLETE passes on overthrows and underthrows (several of which resulted in Pass Int calls that were in some cases QUESTIONABLE) in 4th qtr in particular “masterminded 4 3 and outs to run out the clock by going backward on running plays as our VAUNTED (by Kelly)offensive line got man-handled by MSU def line. MSU managed to convert more third down plays then the Irish with their fearless leader Turnover making all the right calls at the line (when time did not run out or a time out needed to be called eg on FIRST PLAY after Half Time)etc. Bottom line what do we now know heading into OU game? Robinson is a potential game winner at wide receiver (now if only he had AJ McCarron at QB throwing to him). We have no Punt return team and GA going nowhere on kick returns other then the usual 20yds so why not just take it at 25 and be done with it. Still no pass rush penetration ONE SACK for the day. Pass def on 3rd downs still a rabble vs one of WORST QB’s probably in Div One. Running attack NON-EXISTANT behind this OL (if we cannot get anyone who can run for FIFTY yds a game how would we beat Bama’? But we know BK will put his usual SPIN on it in Post Game. eg We did a great job vs No.1 Def in the nation (vs 3 dud teams that could not beat some Florida HS teams) Tommy did a great job getting us into a GOOD rhythm (10pts AGAIN in 3 quarters) our D did a great job against a top Big Ten Offense (give me a break have seen better QB’s in Women’s Arena league) etc, etc, etc, Sooners and Swoops must be licking their lips for next weeks game They should be able to put up 40 vs this band. It is going to be a LONG SEASON me-thinks.

    1. Wisconsin looked crappy versus Arizona State the week before though the referees affected the ultimate outcome of that Tempe AZ night game. So which Wisconsin team is the “real” team? Yesterday’s versus the Boilermakers? The team two weeks ago? The Badgers next week? It’s CFB man.

  14. fxm,

    But remember that some here told us that Purdue was a great, talented team. you would’ve thought they were talking about Bama.

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