Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
Answering the five questions that come down from on high.
1. Everett Golson finished the regular season with 2,135 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Are you surprised by these modest numbers in a Brian Kelly offense and what do you expect to see next season from EG?
I didn't think we'd see such a drastic change towards running the ball, although having Golson out there helps skew the numbers even more. The Irish just finished the regular season throwing the ball just 42% of the time.
Given that Golson missed nearly 2 full games when you add in his concussion, benching against Michigan, and garbage time minutes, his numbers look pretty decent. Only 5 interceptions on 282 attempts is phenomenal and he'd probably have more touchdown passes if the running game wasn't so strong and if he was allowed to throw anything other than a fade inside the 10-yard line.
With the loss of Riddick (and likely Wood) I think we could see the balance go back close to 50/50 in 2013 if not a little in favor of passing more. Golson will have a lot of blossoming playmakers to throw to and of course another offseason of seasoning.
I thought 3,000 yards was possible this season but he just didn't throw enough to get there. I definitely believe it's very much in the cards next year with 20+ passing touchdowns too.
2. What is the most appealing bowl game from the SB Nation projections---other than the title game of course?
How about Oregon vs. Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl?
That sounds like a lot of fun, no? That's new school versus old school in many ways from the coaches to the uniforms. I also kind of want to see Oregon run all over K-State, that much I can admit.
Also, Michigan vs. Georgia in the Capital One Bowl is another interesting possible matchup.
I think the Bulldogs could win that one going away which would be fun to watch.
3. Give us a glimpse at this week's Big E picks. Who you got between Alabama and Georgia?
It's tough to pick Georgia. Everyone has been saying it since the preseason but their schedule was gift wrapped for them to prance in to the SEC title game.
They played Buffalo, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern, and the worst Georgia Tech team in 15 years out of conference.
If that's not bad enough they played only 2 out of the 5 10-win SEC teams this year and got blown out in one of those games. If their Florida win is to Notre Dame's win over Michigan, the Bulldogs really don't have anything else to hang their hats on. They even missed a decent 8-win Mississippi State team in the other division as well.
I'll take Alabama all day and a solid 20 point win wouldn't surprise me.
4. With so much talk about Manti Te'o and the Heisman name one player who you feel isn't getting enough recognition for the award.
With so much bias towards offensive players it's weird that multi-purpose players don't get a lot of love these days.
He's got 2,580 all-purpose yards in 11 games. He still has one more game to play!!
And he's balanced too.
105 receptions, 1,156 yards, 12 touchdowns.
49 rushing attempts, 521 yards, 2 touchdowns.
15 punt returns, 165 yards, 1 touchdown.
28 kickoff returns, 738 yards, 1 touchdown.
He's not going to be invited to NYC because he'll be labeled a system guy and Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey will take plenty of votes away from him, but damn. Not many players are this dynamic in the BCS conferences.
5. Go ahead and power rank the quarterbacks on the 2013 Notre Dame schedule if you would.
1. Max Wittek, USC
2. Blake Bell, Oklahoma
3. Kevin Hogan, Stanford
4. Devin Gardner, Michigan
5. Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
6. Andrew Maxwell, Michigan State
7. Rob Henry, Purdue
8. James Lark, BYU
9. Chad Voytik, Pittsburgh
10. Keenan Reynolds, Navy
11. Chris Coyer, Temple
12. Kale Pearson, Air Force
In terms of proven star power this is the weakest group of signal callers the Irish have faced in quite some time.
I was impressed enough with Wittek's skills to give him the No. 1 spot as he grows in to the job and has Lee and Algholor to throw the ball to.
Blake Bell could be number one but he's yet to throw that much in his career and I'm not sure how he'll handle being a full-time quarterback and not a novelty act.
Hogan and Gardner round out a pretty solid but not spectacular top four in the power ranking. I've been impressed with Hogan so far and I think he'll fit Stanford's offense really well although he won't have many weapons to work with in 2013. Gardner, who is applying for a redshirt season after being "injured" in 2010, has played pretty well to finish the season for Michigan. I still think he's pretty unproven as a passer though.
Outside the top four it's a mess. Kelly has been pretty decent under the first year of Todd Graham's offense. Maxwell has some potential but he's not a game changer, and I think it says a lot that Henry falls in at 7th overall.
Beyond that there's some pretty pedestrian quarterbacks here. The only exception may be current freshman Chad Voytik who was one of the top QB's for the 2012 cycle and might be able to move up this list next year.