Tagged with "Navy"
The "Shutdown" Games
Category: NCAA
Tags: CollegeFootball Army Navy AirForce BostonCollegeEaglesFootball

I just read an interesting little article over on the Comcast Sports news site.

While the government shutdown has predictably ticked off the people both political parties laughingly claim to be doing this for, it seems there is another set of victims on the way.

There is a possibility that a couple of college football games scheduled for this weekend are now in jeopardy because no one knows if the funds used to put the games on are government appropriated monies or not.

First off, the soccer match between Navy and Howard that was scheduled for tonight has been postponed with no word on whether or not the game will ever be made up.

Not being much of a soccer fan, this is no great loss to me.

But this weekend, Air Force is supposed to play Navy in football and Army was set to kick off against Boston College.

But until someone gets off their ass and figures out where the money comes from, the games are up in the air.

Wouldn't that be a bite in the ass? To not have sports to distract the general population from how bad they are being screwed by the politicians? 

Politicians who, by the way, are not among the 800,000 federally paid employees wondering when the next time they'll see a paycheck.

Irish Shu's game-by-game predictions
Category: NCAA
Tags: College Football Notre Dame Shamrock series uniforms Temple Michigan Purdue Michigan State Oklahoma Arizona State USC Air force Navy Pitt

Once again, WELCOME to another college football season!!!  WOO-HOO!!!

Irish Shu is here to offer his game-by-game predictions for the just-started Notre Dame football season...yeah, I know, I’m late.  The first game has already taken place.  Shut up.

Anyway, this year’s schedule is another tough one.  At N.D. they always are…question is, will the Irish rise and conquer all 12 like they did last year?  Last year I doubted…and this year I, ever the pessimist in spite of my hard core Irish fandom, doubt again.

Why?  Well, because that’s just me…and also because of some personnel losses at key positions including in the offensive backfield and at linebacker…but part of why I doubted last year was because the Irish had an unproven secondary that I thought would get picked on and picked apart and, well, it didn’t turn out that way much to my delight!  We shall see.

I’ll digress a moment here and comment on the “Shamrock Series” uniforms that were unveiled recently.  The Irish will wear these “plan B” duds for the October 5th game vs. Arizona State at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  Much less colorful than the ones worn vs. Miami last year, they look like this:

My opinion?  Don’t like.  I call this the “surrender look” – too much white.  It looks weak.  Granted, many a team have shown-up wearing surrender look gear and have kicked ass in them anyway.  Still, I don’t like all-white or almost all-white.  I think they’d look better with a green shamrock on the helmet instead of gold-on-gold.  Also, green pants would have made this!  Why not?  They’ve used green jerseys in rare past games.  Oh, well.  It’s done and it’s just one game.  Many teams pick a game a year where they tweak the uniforms, so I have no beef with ND doing it, too, as long as it’s not permanent.

With that, here are my predictions for this year in my usual poetic form…ahem:

8/31 vs. Temple:  The game is over, played and done, a milquetoast effort made.  But Irish won, I knew they would, so call a spade a spade!

Irish won.

9/7 @ #17 Michigan:  Last year I predicted right…Denard Robinson contained!  But it’s on the road at the Big House, and Devin Gardner will bring pain.

Wolverines win…this prediction is the one I’ll be happiest to be wrong about should that happen.

9/14 @ Purdue:  ND will look to rebound in road game number 2.  Purdue will have no answer for the mighty gold and blue.

Irish win…and it could be BIG.

9/21 vs. Michigan State:  Sparty plays the Irish tough and beats them here and there, but they don’t have the usual horses to make this one a scare.

Irish win.

9/28 vs. #16 Oklahoma:  Last year in Norman the Irish amazed and caused some Sooner moans.  This year the game is in South Bend, and there’s no Landry Jones.

Irish win…it’ll be close, though.

10/5 vs. Arizona State: The Shamrock Series heads down south for mighty ASU.  They say in Tempe “fear the fork”, but in Texas Irish don’t fear you.

Irish win.

10/19 vs. #24 USC: Well-rested Irish come off a bye to face the men of Troy.  The Trojans aren’t what they once were, and ND will destroy.

Irish win.

10/26 @ Air Force: God bless the men of service, and thank you for our rights.  But the Irish and their weapons will have YOU in their sights.

Irish win.

11/2 vs. Navy:  The infamous option ground attack gave the Irish defense fits…that’s in the past, and Irish tough D will give the Middies shits.

Irish win.

11/9 @ Pitt:  Last year the Panthers gave ND a tough overtime scare.  This year at Pitt at old Heinz Field this game will not compare.

Irish win.

11/23 vs. BYU:  Another bye, just like last year, before Cougars came to town.  That team was tough but lack the D, they’ll leave with tails hanged down.

Irish win.

11/30 @ #4 Stanford:  Defending Pac-12 champs will fight, revenge be on their mind.  The Irish face their biggest test and will find themselves behind.

Cardinal win.
 

And then: BCS will be the game the Irish will play in.  They’ll bring their best and finish strong, and bring…

…an Irish win.

Some may say I’m being bold and letting the success of last year dictate my prediction of a 10-win regular season…maybe I am, but it feels right.

Other predictions:

Montana Grizzlies:  A lousy year the Griz had last, crime and scandal purged the team.  This year they leave that all behind, and fulfill the playoff dream.

Nebraska:  The Huskers aren’t quite stacking-up with the Big 10’s best so far.  They need to bring the “Blackshirt D” or they won’t even be on-par.

Colorado State:  The Rams of old that won most games have been gone some years ago…if they are to turn the program around, this is the year to show!

WELCOME BACK COLLEGE FOOTBALL!  I MISSED YOU!!!

GO IRISH!!!

The Beeze's College Football Wrap up
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NCAA College Football Johnny Mnziel Manti Te'o Collin Klein Tommy Tuberville Butch Jones Heisman Mount Union Army Navy Trent Steelman
 
 
                                     And the winner is............



Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M....Kid has a decent Heisman pose, ain't that right Alabama?

Manziel, made history Saturday night, as he was the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy....Now it won't come as a shock that I was rooting for Notre Dame's Manti Te'o...But it wasn't just because he plays at Notre Dame...It's because I'd really love to see defense start getting some credit these days...Te'o lead a defense that only allowed 10 TD's this season...But it's always been clear, no matter what kind of defensive numbers get put up, the Heisman is all about offense...

And that said, Manziel definitely put up some big offensive numbers...43 total TD's...19 rushing, and 24 passing...Rushing for 1,181, and passing for 3,419 yards...And while I wanted to see Te'o buck the system for all defensive players...It was good to see a Freshman buck the system...There had been so much talk against Manziel, just because he's a freshman...If he earns it, who cares...This isn't an award based a players career...It's for each season...

One thing was clear about each of the three finalists...If it isn't for them, their teams aren't sitting where they are...ND doesn't go undefeated without Te'o...Kansas State doesn't lose just 1 game, and wins the Big-12 without Collin Klein...And Texas A&M doesn't walk into the SEC and finish with a 10-2 record, including going to Alabama and rolling the Tide, without Manziel...All 3 deserved the trip to New York...I really wouldn't have been upset about any of these guys winning...And it was great to see a few guys in New York, that no one was expecting to see there....(Well, except for me picking Klein as my dark horse this pre-season)

Te'o did win the Maxwell Award, the Bednarik Award, and the Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year Award...

-Saturday we also had the Army/Navy game...Pride, and tradition in all of it's glory...Two teams full of young men, who won't be moving on to the NFL...Instead, they'll be moving on to serve our country...Every year my Dad bets Army, since that's the branch he served in...It's the only bet he'll ever make with his heart...And he was hoping to see Army turn things around...Army was looking to break a streak of 10 loses in a row, and were lead by Senior QB, Trent Steelman....



After 3 quarters Army was ahead 13-10...But young Navy QB, Keenan Reynolds drove his team down field late, and scored the go ahead TD...There was under 5 minutes left...Steelman started his team on a 70 yard drive...With time winding down, at the Navy 14 yard line, a hand-off to fullback Larry Dixon, some how, somewhere, went wrong...Dixon fumbled it...Navy recovered it...11 Navy wins in a row...And Steelman took it hard...He was inconsolable after the game...



Honestly, it was hard to watch how broken up this young man was...Even the announcers seemed uncomfortable...

But it was great to see Army in the game...So many in the past few years have been one sided...

-The Cincinnati Bearcats have a new head coach...Tommy Tuberville has left Texas Tech to become the new man in Cincy...Tuberville leaves the Big-12 to go to the Big East? Or where ever Cincy ends up, because the Big East is just about dead...This should be good for Cincy, since it's been a jumping off point for a number of coaches...Now they have an established guy, who should stick around awhile...This of course was made possible, when Tennessee hired Cincinnati coach Butch Jones...

-The Mount Union Purple Raiders (14-0) are headed to their 8th straight D-3 Championship game...Looking to win their 11th National Championship, they'll face St. Thomas (Minn) Friday, in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl...Seriously people, this is one of the finest football programs in the country, year in and year out...Support the small divisions that do it right, with a playoff...Watch this game!

That's it...See ya Monday...

The Beeze.

 
Irish Football Mid-Season Review
Category: NCAA
Tags: College Football Notre Dame Everett Golson Tommy Rees Manti Te’o Navy Purdue Michigan State Michigan Miami Stanford BYU Japan

Konichiwa fellow You Gabbers!...what the hell happened to the first half of college football season?  Half-over already???  You gotta be shittin me! Irish Shu is a bit late with his mid-season review as he made a rare trip to Japan during the last 2 weekends and needed time to settle back in, but now that that’s done I will present my look back at how things have gone thus far for my beloved Fighting Irish of Notre Dame…and I’ll digress here and there as I share a couple pix I took in The land of The Rising Sun along the way, such as this one:  

HIYAAA!!!!

The short version?...Well, they’re undefeated at 7 games with 5 to go.  How can I bitch?  Well, I still can, but I am pleased with the record, at least.  I had predicted they’d be at 2 losses by now but they just keep winning.  Their defense is doing most of the work with as strong a front 7 as any team has and a young, but surprisingly-good secondary…but it is working so far.  The question is: how much longer can they keep this up?  The offense is great at the line, but struggling with consistency behind it.  In 5 of the first 7 games the Irish have scored 20 points or less.  A BCS-or-better win will only be possible if the O makes some bigger jumps in the last 5 games and starts putting-up more points.  They’re working on it, I know.

Looking at it game by game:

NAVY:  Considering that Notre Dame was breaking-in a new quarterback, missing 4 players (including 3 starters) due to suspensions, playing against a triple-option football team that has been tough for them to deal with in recent years, and enduring a long trip to Dublin, Ireland, to open against a pesky Navy team at Aviva Stadium where a different kind of football game is played, this opener could not have gone much better.  The Fighting Irish eased in Everett Golson to his QB role as he went 12 of 18 for 144 yards and a touchdown.  He got help from the big O-line as well as the running back tandem of Theo Riddick and George Atkinson III who combined for over 200 yards and 4 touchdowns as they whipped the undersized Midshipmen 50-10.  The defense, of course, dominated.  They even got a 77-yard fumble recovery for another score from 300-pound Defensive End Stephon Tuitt for good measure.  Good start!

Here’s the Tokyo Dome where I saw my first and only Japanese baseball game:



PURDUE:  A lot of buzz was made about the Boilermakers having the strongest D front 7 in the Big 10 going-in to this one.  It proved true as the Irish struggled to score much, but still won 20-17 in a game that should not have been that close when one considers the statistical domination the Irish had over the Boilers.  So why was it close?  Because it was a sloppy game.  Golson was sacked 5 times, both teams committed 8 penalties and the Irish D allowed Purdue to go 3-3 on 4th down conversions.  The cool thing about this game – besides it being a win – was the Irish revelation of the “relief pitcher” approach.   Subbing late for a banged-up Golson who was having trouble gripping the ball towards game’s end, Tommy Rees stepped-in and drove ND to the game winning field goal with 7 seconds left as the Irish survived Purdue’s own 2-headed QB tandem of Caleb Turbush and Robert Marve.  Marve sustained yet another ACL injury of which he’s had many.

MICHIGAN STATE:  This game was called Notre Dame’s first “real test” on the road against a top-10 opponent that had beaten Boise State in their opener (yes, the Broncos are over rated, but still).  Final score was 20-3 Irish.  I’d say they passed.  The Irish D started to show just how dominating they are as they held Spartan running back Le’Veon Bell to 77 yards…by the way; Bell is one of the best in the Big 10 as he now has 8 touchdowns and nearly 1,000 yards for the season.  Mich. State also had not been held to 3 points since facing Nebraska in the 2003 Alamo Bowl.  Anyway, the story line to this game was that, just a couple days prior, All American Irish linebacker Manti Te’o lost his grandmother to natural causes and his girlfriend to leukemia.  Rather than go home to Hawaii to mourn right away (and I would not have faulted him at all if he had), he stayed with his team, gathered comfort from his teammates, coaches and fans, and played a helluva game as he made 12 tackles (1 for a loss) and broke-up 2 passes in the win…

…More spectacular than the baseball game itself, which was pretty good, was the spectacle that was the Japanese beer girls.  They were constantly running up and down the aisles all game long selling their wares while carrying 10-gallon kegs on their backs and smiling all the way through.  WHAT STAMINA they have!!!  And so pretty to boot!  Here’s one of them:



MICHIGAN:  Defense prevailed again and the Denard Robinson monkey was shaken from the Irish back as ND prevailed 13-6 in a somewhat bizarre game.  Last year, the Irish dominated statistically, but lost.  This year, it was the opposite.  Michigan led in total yards, first downs, rushing yards and time of possession…and also in turnovers 6 to 2 which was the difference.  The Irish D rose to the occasion with relentless pressure on Robinson which resulted in 4 interceptions and a fumble to key the win.  The Irish O was not pretty as Golson was benched after 2 first half interceptions.  The relief pitcher in Rees did just enough to win and protected the football.  The defense did the rest featuring Te’o’s 8 tackles, 2 interceptions and 1 forced fumble.  Since then, Michigan has not lost and has quietly crept back into the top 25….

…Here’s another beer girl…if this one were to have gotten on her knee like this in front of me I’d buy whatever she’s selling:



MIAMI:  The Offense looked like it finally came alive and Golson looked like he finally started to realize his potential in a 41-3 win that might have been closer had the ‘Canes not choked on their first drive.  On the game’s first play, Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett got behind ND’s secondary and was wide-open for a long bomb touchdown…but he dropped it.  Then he dropped a second TD pass later in the same drive and it went downhill for the ‘Canes from there.  Golson and company shredded a weak Miami D with a 17 for 22 passing effort and a dominating running game that saw Wood and Atkinson III have over 100 yards each and 3 touchdowns between them.  Both time of possession and total yards went to Notre Dame by nearly 2 to 1…but those “Shamrock
Series” uniforms still sucked, okay?  Overall, though, this was probably the best-played game the Irish have had thus far.  Another interesting fact: neither team had any turnovers…strange that it
wasn’t a factor…

…This beer girl was actually selling whisky on the rocks…nonetheless a pretty lady:



STANFORD:  It was the toughest opponent the Irish have faced thus far.  It was expected to be a hard-hitting, smash-mouth, toe-to-toe battle to the end and this game, indeed, lived up to that.  With both starting quarterbacks struggling to pass against tough defenses and turning to their running games, it was the Irish who had the better day and prevailed 20 to 13 in overtime.  2 weeks later we are still hearing some grumbles that “Stepfan Taylor was IN!!!” on that last 4th down run…no, he wasn’t.  His forward progress had stopped and the whistle was blown before he stretched over the bodies on the second effort.  The play was reviewed and even the national coordinator of NCAA football officials backed the call as correct after reviewing it himself.  So to those Stanford/anti-Irish fans who are still grumbling about it: let it go and move-on.  It’s over.  It’s not as though N.D. always gets the breaks, either (the “Bush push comes to mind as an example).  It may not have seemed so, but this game really was dominated by the Irish statistically.  They led in total yards, first downs, passing, rushing and time of possession against a Stanford team that has beaten USC and is currently ranked #17.  It was a signature win that made a statement about how good the Irish can be…too bad I didn’t get to see it live.

BYU (a.k.a. Boy You Ugly!):  Many of the so-called experts had this down as a trap game.  Understandable because N.D. was: coming-off a big win over Stanford, had another big game upcoming at Oklahoma they might get caught looking ahead to, and had just finished a break week from classes that might deter their focus.  In addition, Golson was benched with a concussion from the previous week and the less-versatile Rees played at QB instead.  Maybe all of this was true as they did struggle against a BYU team what was solid defensively, but The Irish overcame a deficit for the second week in a row, gutting one of the nations’ best rushing defenses with a 270-yard effort and won 17-14.  Theo Riddick had a career day with his 143-yard effort in a game that was closer than it needed to be.  Afterwards, it was reported that the Irish were rather quiet in the locker room and not in a mood to celebrate the win…I’d take that as a good sign that they know they could have played better in spite of the win.  Let’s hope that today in Norman against the Sooners, they do.

So, now that the first 7 games are in the books we now look ahead to the remaining 5 games.  I am certainly pleased that the Irish have surpassed my prediction that they would be 5-2 at this point (I had Michigan State and Stanford down as losses) and from here I do feel a 10-win season and BCS bowl is the worst case scenario.  I am optimistic that an undefeated season is possible, but to do so the Irish have to win at Oklahoma today and at USC for the season finale…that’s a lot to ask of a team that struggles offensively with a rookie quarterback who has not attained his full potential.  With that defense, though, they CAN do it…the question is: will they?  We shall see.  Strange and wonderful things happen in college football every weekend.

My big concern is with Everett Golson.  He has so much potential he will only realize as he gains more experience.  Right now, though, he tends to have problems with the following fundamentals: panicking too soon in the packet when the pressure starts to get to him and making poor throws; cradling the ball in the wrong arm when re rolls-out on a run – he’s been bitten a couple times carrying the ball in the INSIDE arm when he should switch to the OUTSIDE arm.  Opposing defenses have forced fumbles when he has done that; and Everett, for God’s sake SLIDE DOWN OR GO OUT OF BOUNDS when the defense gets to you on a run!!!  Don’t duck your head and take a hit!  That is how the Stanford player gave you the concussion.  Hopefully he improves with these fundamentals sooner rather than later, but I know we all need to be patient with him.

Manti Te’o – what more can one ask of this man?  That guy is an incredible athlete, has played very inspired football following his personal losses and is a Heisman candidate because of it.  He, Kapron Lewis-Moore , Zeke Motta and others have been the rocks in that incredible defense…but they have a job to finish.

Team health is not bad, either.  The Irish did get snake-bitten early as a couple defensive secondary starters suffered ruptured Achilles tendons and a couple others had concussions they have recovered from, but other than that, overall team health seems good for the final stretch of the season…let’s hope it stays that way.  We’ll see how the rest of the season plays-out.  GO IRISH!!!

How I Would Reorganize College Football, Part III
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football ACC Army Big East Big Ten Cincinnati Connecticut Navy Notre Dame Rutgers South Florida Virginia Tech West Virginia

LSU note: This is only the Tigers’ fourth 8-0 start (1973, 1958, and 1908). See also the updated LSU/Auburn edition to my Rivalry Series.  I'm trying not to be too happy about Wisconsin and Oklahoma.

Big East/ACC recombination

I’ve already gotten some responses to the first section along the lines of “What about West Virginia? Virginia Tech?” I put them both in this group. As I did before, I’m going to have the two divisions both vertical next to each other with the permanent rivals (other-division team to play every year) paired horizontally.

Miami-BC
Va. Tech-WVU
Virginia-Maryland
USF-Rutgers
UNC-Syracuse
Duke-Army
Wake-Navy
NCS-Connecticut

It’s not the best set-up for West Virginia admittedly, but I think they would have good rivalries with Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Navy. I don’t think they’d be much better off staying in the current Big East with Pitt leaving. I was a little haphazard with the last 5 permanent rivalries, but they wouldn’t really be necessary. The teams could alternate over time. Virginia and Va. Tech could swap occasionally. Breaking up Miami and BC would not be allowed as long as Doug Flutie is alive though. I’m somewhat kidding. You could argue the two Florida teams don’t belong at all, but I’m OK with allowing for custom to prevail over geography in some places.

Full blog, including Big Ten +2 +4

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