Let's get right to the questions and answers...
1. The recent 30 for 30 Documentary "Youngstown Boys" got great reviews. What did you think of the story?
Programs like these are always interesting especially when they involve college football at such a high level. There's no doubting that this story had a lot of intrigue and many different dimensions examining the treatment of a high-profile division 1 athlete.
Truth be told, I couldn't even finish the doc.
That's because they poo pooed Maurice Clarett's culpability in the whole affair and did a terrible job explaining the back-story to him becoming ineligible. I do know the last portion of the documentary basically made the NCAA into this big meanie institution out to get Clarett (gee, how fashionable) while also trying to show how Ohio State University turned their back on their own athlete.
Certainly OSU deserves a lot of blame for fostering the culture that the former star running back became a part of, but Clarett still made the decision to participate in that culture. By his own admission, Clarett participated in rampant cheating on grades and papers, fudged grades to maintain eligibility, he would not go to class for weeks if he went at all, he got paid for phantom jobs, he received cash handshakes from boosters, and swapped cars from an auto dealer every few weeks.
It's nice if Clarett has turned his life around but he's hardly a sympathetic figure.
2. Every year from 1998 to 2009 ESPN would select someone (or multiple people) as NEXT athletes who were destined to become trail blazers in their respective sports. ESPN usually focused on young pro athletes but if you were to pick three right now in the amateur ranks who would you choose?
Jabari Parker, Forward, Duke University
The 6'8" star from Chicago is starting to run away with the Freshman of the Year award in an absolutely loaded 2013 basketball class. He's tied for second among all major conference scorers with 22.1 points per game while averaging nearly 8 rebounds per game.. He still has plenty of work to do on defense but he has the look of a future NBA all-star with MVP-type of potential.
Connor McDavid, Center, Erie Otters
The 16-year old is already in his second season of major junior hockey after being only the third skater ever granted Exceptional Player status in order to be drafted a year early into the Ontario Hockey League. A shifty playmaking athlete in the mold of Sidney Crosby he has 116 points in 94 games with Erie while also shining in international play leading Canada in scoring during the Under-18 World Championship earlier in 2013 and impressing with the Junior National Team currently. Many NHL scouts say he would have been seriously considered at first overall in the 2013 Draft even though he's not eligible until 2015.
Jameis Winston, Quarterback, Florida State
Okay, there's some controversy surrounding him but he wasn't charged with anything and we'll put that aside for now. Winston just won the Heisman as a redshirt freshman and unlike Johnny Manziel he's bigger, has a stronger arm, and will be more coveted by the NFL. His 42 total touchdowns and penchant for making big plays are a big reason why Florida State is the favorite to win the national championship next month. He's also a two-sport athlete who struck out 21 batters in 27 innings and batted .235 with a hose from the outfield when he's not busy pitching.
3. Can you rank the non-home games on the 2014 Irish football schedule from worst to first?
*Syracuse at MetLife Stadium
We do owe them payback from the despicable 2008 loss (sigh) and they played okay with a first-year coach this season. Still, the Orange have been middling for years and the sterile MetLife Stadium makes this matchup worse than if it was in the Carrier Dome.
*Purdue at Lucas Oil Stadium
I kind of wish this was Louisville instead of Purude. Doesn't everybody? It's a decent Shamrock Series game. Nothing more nothing less.
*Navy at FedEx Field
All. The. Neutral. Site. Games. Why is this game interesting? Well, we've never played Navy at this venue and it'll be the first time since 1998 that this rivalry is played in Washington. Plus, I'm excited (and nervous) to see how the new Irish defensive coordinator schemes against the triple option.
*Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium
We tried to get out of this game but it's staying on the schedule. It's also our first trip to Arizona since 1998. The Sun Devils will be looking for payback from last year, it'll be warm, and should be a great game.
*USC at the L.A. Coliseum
Notre Dame will be looking for its third straight win in Los Angeles, the Trojans have a new coach, and In-N- Out awaits the team if they are victorious.
*Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium
We know they'll have the defending Heisman winner and it will be the first time since 2005 (Matt Leinart) that the Irish play against that honoree. Oh yeah, and the Seminoles could be the defending national champions while riding a 20+ game winning streak. Kind of a big deal?
4. With the bowl season upon us what are your least and favorite Irish bowl memories?
I'm not counting last year's get together with Alabama because that wasn't a proper bowl. Obviously that would be the worst if it were to count.
With that out of the equation my answer for the worst is an easy call: The 1991 Orange Bowl 10-9 loss to No. 1 Colorado. That's the controversial game which featured a clipping penalty on Rocket Ismail's 91-yard punt return for touchdown with 1:05 to go in the game. We've all replayed this game in our heads a million times let's stop talking about it.
I don't have much of a memory of the following 3 bowl games from 1991-93---I was probably among Larz' people playing in New Year's hockey tournaments---and in case you didn't know the Irish have gone 2-11 in bowl games (counting the game last year in that record) since then so it's slim pickings.
So, I guess I'll pick the 2010 Sun Bowl? Now you understand why the bowl season doesn't do much for me.
5. There have been rumors swirling for a few weeks that Notre Dame is walking away from its relationship with Adidas as the school's apparel supplier when the 10-year contract expires this spring. The companies vying for a new contract are Nike and Under Armour with the latter believed to be the likely choice. Is Under Armour a good choice?
No, not really.
I've got nothing against Under Armour it's a nice company that's grown a lot over the past 4 or 5 years. But it's not Nike and quite frankly it never will be. UA has done a nice job getting its brand out in the amateur ranks, appealing to a wide spectrum of folks (women's sports, hunting, and a wide range of cold & heat gear for all ages), and making some headway into professional sports.
It's still not Nike, a company that has defined American athletic apparel for 30 years and still defines cool in North America and across the world. And by the way that company that is still enormously larger and more influential than Under Armour is still growing.
So UA is nice popular growing company. So is the Kia Motor Company. Let's not sign with Kia. Let's sign with Mercedes.
"But Under Amour can make Notre Dame it's signature brand!"
What exactly does that get Notre Dame and how long would being UA's centerpiece even last? We were supposedly Adidas signature brand for some time until we weren't and what did that get us?
This doesn't have anything to do with the aesthetics of the Irish football uniforms. Those creative decisions will be controlled by the school. Nike is just better and nothing UA offers can match their total package from top to bottom.
Please don't dangle Air Jordans, Air Force's, Air Max's, Hyperdunk's, Free's, Shox, LunarGlide's, KD's, Soldier's, Kobe's, Vapor Pro's, Alpha Pro's and then make these athletes wear Under Armour footwear.
I can hear the groans from the athletes already.
Timeline would be less busy if recruits tweeted when they didn't get the new Jordans— SB Nation Recruiting (@SBNRecruiting) December 21, 2013
'Bout sums it up.