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Posts Tagged ‘Notre Dame’

No. 105: Kansas

Go ahead. Make his day. Try him. He’ll be your huckleberry. See that line in the sand? Cross it, if you dare. All that’s missing is a gun, a holster, a wide-brimmed hat and a six-shooter: Charlie Weis, the new sheriff in town, won’t take any of your sass-mouth, your weak-kneed cowardice, your yellow-bellying. He’d be the Man with No Name, but Weis is far too recognizable a figure to go anywhere, anytime and go unnamed. Instead, he’s rode into Lawrence like Wyatt Earp, bestride his transportation device of choice and with an incalculable degree of confidence — self-christened or otherwise. How has Weis decided to reverse the apathy that has crept up and invaded every nook and cranny of Kansas football? He’s combined two parts schematic advantage, one part N.C.A.A. graduate-student loophole and four parts no-nonsense accountability. Want to challenge the new sheriff in town? Then draw, pardner. But you should pack your bags first.

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    In Stillwater and Moscow, Two Competitions

    One springtime quarterback battle was decided yesterday, when Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State opted for true freshman Wes Lunt over junior Clint Chelf and redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh. It’s easy to view Oklahoma State’s decision as one made for the future, but in a university statement, Gundy implied that Lunt gives the Cowboys their best chance at maintaining the program’s current standard of success: “We like our system. We like the ability to play fast. We like the ability to throw the ball down the field effectively but also run the football. Wes gives us the best opportunity to stay consistent with our style of play.”

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      And Malik Zaire Makes Five (in 2013)

      Let’s resume our regularly scheduled programming. How was your week? Mine was good — great, actually. I’m relaxed. Tanned. Ready for the next week, the next month and the summer. Some research on the project-that-shall-not-be-named led to one pretty clear conclusion: Texas-San Antonio is coming in last. I’ve tried in the past to leave at least a little doubt as to No. 120 — or No. 123, actually — but the Roadrunners are an easy pick. So what did I miss over the last eight days? A day of catching up, in brief, beginning with quarterback prospect Malik Zaire committing to Notre Dame:

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        2011 Selection Saturday: Full Bracket

        Cutting the bracket down to 32 teams – after going with a 68-team tournament last fall – leaves several talented teams in the cold. Among the B.C.S. conferences: Missouri, Texas, N.C. State and Auburn. Among the non-B.C.S. conferences: Ohio, Louisiana-Lafayette, Toledo and Wyoming. But trimming the list creates a very strong 32-team bracket, one with very few easy pairings outside the first round. Imagine the possibilities: Oregon hosting Virginia in the first round; a week later, if all goes according to plan, the Ducks meet T.C.U. in the round of 16. U.S.C. isn’t eligible, but if the Trojans weren’t under a postseason ban, they’d probably slot in as a three seed.

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          Carrying One-Legged Heroics Over to 2012

          There’s hurt, there’s injured and then there’s really injured, like you’ve broken a bone, torn a knee to shreds or slammed your finger in a door while pulling out your jacket, as I did earlier this week. Ask E.J. Manuel: he knows about pain. Nearly two months after the fact, Florida State disclosed yesterday that Manuel fractured the fibula in his left leg during the Seminoles’ Champs Sports Bowl win over Notre Dame in late December. While it’s not known when Manuel suffered the injury, he was sacked several times in the first half, and seemed less than mobile during Florida State’s second half surge.

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            Is Kiel Notre Dame’s Present and Future?

            Like the rest of the country, Notre Dame is two days away from completing its 2012 recruiting class; national signing day is on Wednesday, so the program will spend the next two days putting a bow on its class and checking and rechecking its fax machine. The Irish, like most schools that recruit on a national level, are still awaiting several recruits’ final decision. And like most, the Irish have already enrolled a few recruits from this class, with three – all high school prospects – on campus and eligible to participate in spring ball. One is Gunner Kiel, the five-star quarterback prospect who was committed to Indiana and L.S.U. at various points during his senior season before opting for Brian Kelly and South Bend.

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              The Year in Review: Notre Dame (8-5, 0-0)

              In chronological order, every Notre Dame turnover on the 2011 season:

              South Florida (L, 23-30)
              1. Fumble. Returned 96 yards for a touchdown.
              2. Interception. In U.S.F. end zone.
              3. Fumble. Bulls recover at Notre Dame 20-yard line.
              4. Interception. Inside the red zone.
              5. Interception. Bulls takes over at its 30.

              Michigan (L, 35-31)
              6. Interception. Wolverines takes over at near midfield.
              7. Interception. Inside the red zone.
              8. Fumble. Michigan takes over at its 29.
              9. Fumble. Inside the red zone.
              10. Fumble. Recovered at Notre Dame 14 as time expired.

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                L.S.U.’s Boring B.C.S. History, Until 2012

                Until Monday evening, and perhaps for the foreseeable future, L.S.U. is the undisputed king of B.C.S. play. The Tigers are 4-0 all-time in the B.C.S., beginning under Nick Saban and continuing under Les Miles, and with a victory in this year’s national title game can tie U.S.C., Florida and Ohio State for the most wins in B.C.S. history. The Tigers already have as many B.C.S. wins as national powers Alabama, Penn State, Tennessee and Nebraska combined — using the title loosely in the case of the latter threesome. L.S.U. wins B.C.S. bowls with ease and style, rolling past opponents with speed and athleticism, and quite frankly, it’s been boring.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.