Believe it or not there were actually several interesting things that happened this week that weren't related to Manti Te'o. Here is your chance to catch up on what you might have missed while we were all otherwise occupied with the Te'o hoax! I will reserve the right to go back a tad further than a week since this is the first TWIN installment of the offseason.
You know how this works.
Starting elsewhere and ending in South Bend.
The 2012 season officially wrapped up with the BCS Championship game 13 days ago. Has it really only been 13 days? It feels like a few months already. The full slate of 35 bowl games suffered some serious attendance issues hitting the mark for the lowest average attendance on record since the 1978-79 season. Back then there were only 15 bowl games! TV ratings remain strong, and that is ultimately what drives us to 35 games, but bowl officials and universities would like to actually sell a few tickets as well. All conference contracts with bowls expire at the end of next season with the current BCS deal so we are on the cusp of a mad re-shuffling of bowl tie-ins and conference deals. It will be interesting to see how many games we end up with on the 2014-15 slate and how all of the contracts shake out. This is a good time for Notre Dame to be trotting a Top 10 team out onto the field.
Notre Dame won't be the only team in college football wearing exceptionally shiny gold helmets next fall. Yesterday the Baylor Bears leaked a photo of their new gold lids for the 2013 season. To me they basically look a gold version of the Oregon chrome helmets, complete with the matching facemask. Does anyone know if Hydro Graphics Inc. is a public company? Just curious...
So the Southern Cal Trojans went down to the West Texas town of El Paso and had themselves a big time at the Sun Bowl. Actually not really. No adventures at Rosa's Cantina, no Felina no nada. I did see a photo of Lane Kiffin wearing a sombrero though. Anyway, after publicly lamenting their Sun Bowl bid the Trojans showed up late for events, generally annoyed everyone around them, and then for a finale they managed to screw around and get beat by a Georgia Tech team that needed a waiver to go bowling with a losing record. For an encore the Trojans reportedly decided to have a post game brawl of some sort with one another in the locker room. Weren't they the preseason #1 team in the nation? These are the sort of things that can happen when you stray away from wearing black shoes! And hire Lane Kiffin. Don't forget that part. Stay at Southern Cal forever Lane!
With very good reason Alabama fans are still celebrating Nick Saban and their 3rd National Title in 4 years. Tide fans showed up in droves at a Birmingham Walmart this week to take photos with the championship trophy. We got an anonymous tip that J Tadpole tried to cut in line but got "corrected" by this family. Tough break J Tad. Roll Dayum Tide Y'all. Little do those Bama fans know that trophy was once used as the backboard for "Trick Shot Monday." Wait, didn't Sam Ponder win that day? That totally jinxed the game! It had nothing to do with that NFL offensive line, Eddie Lacy or the evil genius that is Nick Saban. This one is all on Sam Ponder and a ping pong ball. From this day forward she will be referred to as the Jinx. Or maybe we should go big and just refer to her as Jinx Steel Ponder with JSP as the acceptable abbreviation.
You owe it to yourself to take a look at the renderings for this new UNLV football stadium. Seriously, follow the link and scroll down to the right side where you can click on "View Gallery." The city obviously plans on using this stadium for a ton of events other than the train wreck that is UNLV football and I'm already dreaming up an excuse to go just to check it out. The stadium is going to be a ridiculous miniature Jerry World complete with a 100 yard video screen. This stadium screams "Vegas baby, Vegas!"
Are there any non-AQ conferences left? I am generally able to keep the MAC straight as it still makes geographic sense and sets up a bit like a bunch of B1G JV teams. But the rest of the small conferences are all over the place. Let's see if I can get this straight. The Mountain West is hanging on, the WAC is officially dead and the Big East is on life support? Is that right? I'll wait for Phil Steele to tell me in June. Oh yeah, this was prompted by the announcement that San Diego state will leave the Big East which it never actually joined to re-join the Mountain West which it never actually left.
Hokies rejoice! Logan Thomas will return as the Virginia Tech quarterback in 2013. Pass, ball, oskie. ACC secondaries are celebrating by playing catch with beach balls while drinking copious amounts of cheap tequila and firing six shooters into the sky.
Texas A&M Athletics Director Eric Hyman met with the parents of Johnny Manziel to discuss Johnny Football's behavior and image. Wait, I can't do this. This sort of thing was a lot more fun before Wednesday...
Here's some good news for Notre Dame fans. Pep Hamilton is no longer the Andrew Luck Director of Offense at Stanford. He left that job to get back to coordinating offense with the real Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. Will this really affect the trees? No telling, but for the time being I'll take all forms of attrition out of Palo Alto.
Hey do you guys remember when we all thought that Brian Kelly might leave Notre Dame to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles? Then the next thing we knew CBK decided to stay at ND and we all celebrated while the Harumphers screamed Fire Kelly! That already seems like it happened a long time ago doesn't it? Has it really only been 13 days since the BCS Championship game? This off-season has gotten off to quite the start for us has it not?
So back to the CBK leaving bit. Our artistic hero ND MS Paint came through in the clutch to commemorate BK's triumphant return. I mean stay. Or whatever. You know what I mean. Print yourself a high quality copy of this and frame it before he starts charging $29.99 for signed prints. ND MS Paint has some legit mouse skillz.
They didn't get our Kelly but the Philadelphia Eagles did manage to get themselves another Kelly from the college coaching ranks. Oregon's Chip Kelly was announced as the Eagles new Head Coach on Wednesday. Remember when the national media was slamming CBK for not "doing it right" like Chip? Hahahahaha! Does this mean sanctions are looming for Oregon? Will Chip's style of offense work in the bigs? What's the over/ under on what game Mike Vick gets KO'd in next year? All kidding aside I am very curious to see how Chip's offense does in the copycat league. If he's even moderately successful he could race right past Jim Harbaugh and really jump start the next major wave of change in NFL offenses and defenses. X's and O's geeks everywhere can't wait.
Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter was denied a 6th year by the NCAA this week. This is a tough break for Slaughter who went down with an achilles injury against Michigan State in week 3. Slaughter is appealing the decision though. Hopefully he gets some resolution soon so that he can focus on trying to get onto an NFL roster if it his appeal gets denied.
Cierre Wood and his Rolling Stones tongue mouthpiece have decided to forego a 5th year at Notre Dame to enter the NFL draft. Wood will depart South Bend as the 7th leading rusher in school history with 2,447 yards on 450 carries. His 5.4 ypc is the highest of any back in ND history with at least 450 carries. Best of luck to Cierre in the leage. We'll miss you 20. Hopefully someone else can step into that home run threat role in the Irish backfield.
As we creep closer to signing day we do have a little bit of recruiting news. This weekend the Notre Dame coaching staff hosted 7 official visitors. Miesle will tee up a piece on the visitors for next weekend later this week. Bring us the one called Vanderdoes!
In another recruiting tidbit running back Taurean Folston committed to Notre Dame at the Under Armour All-American game but decided to go visit Auburn this weekend. Did Malzahn retain Trooper Taylor? We'll see how this one goes...
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Comment of the Week
I considered attempting to dig back through the 1200+ comments from this week to find the "best" one, but I quickly decided that such an attempt would be futile. Instead I would like to thank the entire commentariat for maintaining your standard level of rationality throughout the discussion surrounding a relatively insane week. Our community has managed to stay relatively sane due to your continued effort to police yourselves and each other. Thank you for that. Seriously.
Enjoy the NFL playoff games today and (hopefully) your day off on Monday! Many thanks to Dr. King for all that he accomplished and still represents. Thinking about Dr. King is a nice reminder that it wasn't easy getting to a place where we could spend all week yammering on about catfishing.