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CFB Live "ND Week" Recap Mon-Wed

My original intent was to wave off on watching "Notre Dame Week" on the afternoon skip across the college football wave tops that the World Wide Leader calls College Football Live. I figured it would most likely be much like I predicted last Thursday in "The week in news." I expected it would most likely just end up being the standard WWL propaganda piece complete with Mark May Anti-ND commentary. Despite my better judgment on Sunday night I decided to go ahead and DVR it and I just got around to watching the first three installments tonight. For any of you other Notre Dame fans out there that might have gone through a similar internal struggle and now find yourselves curious here is a synopsis of the first three days. Please excuse the shorthand.

-5 min segment that essentially followed the predicted format.
-John Saunders in the studio. Perfect.
-Ed Cunningham up via satellite as the Analyst. He actually did a pretty decent job.
-ND Segment opens with what I’ll call a glory years montage spanning Rockne to Holtz.
-Saunders asks Cunningham who his all time favorite Irish player is. This applies how? Cunningham goes in depth about how for him it is the Rocket alluding to how they were in the title hunt at the same time etc. Cunningham played at Washington.
-The stats go up establishing the winning tradition at ND.
-They run the clip from the Weis initial presser where he said "If you think they hired me to go .500 you’ve got the wrong guy." Standard WWL propaganda.
-As predicted Saunders states the obvious "Weis’ job could hinge on his performance this year." Total shocker.
-They run clips of the interview Coach Weis did with George Smith a few weeks ago. That video is no longer on For those of you that have seen it they showed the portions where Coach Weis talks about being disappointed in having his personal character attacked by people that don’t know him and how he had a laugh with President Bush about not listening to the media. I find those to be curious statements when shown back to back. If you don’t listen then how do you know….. Whatever, for all I know he’s talking about people heckling him from the stands.
-The stats go up showing how 07/08 were heinous.
-Saunders asks Cunningham if this is "the year." Cunningham comments that the "Pro style practices" with lack of pads etc. early in the Weis tenure really hurt ND especially on the OL where recruiting had been lacking under Willingham. At least he called The Molder out. Cunningham goes on to say that 10-11 wins are "doable even though next year they lose Jimmy Clausen." Total head scratcher there and it comes up again Tuesday.
-Ends with a mention of an Eric Olson phone interview on Follow THIS LINK and on the right side of the page the entire phone interview with Olson is there as well as interviews with Corwin Brown and K Mac that I’ll mention in the Tues/ Wed portions. I’m not sure how long they’ll be up as the WWL cycles through these pretty quick then they disappear.

-The segment was practically the whole show. More Saunders and Cunningham.
-Saunders asks Cunningham if ND should join the Big East or Big 11? Cunningham says no on both counts, and states the obvious in essentially saying it makes no sense for ND to join a conference. Saunders makes a smart ass comment about ND being "In the conference of Notre Dame."
-More glory years highlights of Montana, Rice and Mirer.
-Stats on all time leaders at QB, RB & WR- Quinn, Denson & The Shark.
-That was the lead in to "Can the Offense return to glory?"
-They run a few snippets of the Olson phone interview linked above about Jimmy stepping up as a leader etc.
-Saunders asks Cunningham if the OL is a concern. Cunningham mentions Verducci being a great coach and describes the OL by saying that they "hold the key to the entire season."
-Mandatory stats go up of paltry rushing and mediocre sacks allowed stats from 08.
-Saunders asks Cunningham how Clausen has improved since starting as a "Redshirt Freshman" and Cunningham predicts a big step for Jimmy in 09. Nice work.
-Saunders states that "There is a lot of speculation that this will be Jimmy Clausen’s last year at ND." For the second time Uhhhh OK. Cunningham says he has no idea what Jimmy will do after the season.
-Cunningham goes on to say that Weis has made good coaching hires recently and that the same guys that have been taking lumps since 07 will again be on the field in 09.
-Shift to Defense throwing up stats showing improvement from 07 to 08 but still some big plays allowed etc.
-They run snippets of the Corwin Brown phone interview linked above.
-Regis Philbin calls in and makes a series of obvious statements & predictions. "It all starts with Clausen", no excuses this year etc. Regis goes on to predict 11 wins with USC being the lone loss. Boy that hurts, not even Reege is feeling an upset of the Trojans.
-Saunders states that Weis "has gone on the record" as saying that he thinks this year is "the team". Cunningham predicts 9 total wins and a BCS game with a "toe stub" prior to USC against either Michigan or Michigan State. I assume he was counting USC as loss #2 though he never actually said it. In the process he makes what is probably the most astute comment of the three days "Talent wise they are right there, but I’m not sure they have quite gotten over the hump believing they should win." "Maybe that comes next year if things go well this year." I actually agree with this, as being the biggest obstacle of the 09 campaign.
-Saunders asks Cunningham about the "Allure and popularity" of Notre Dame. Cunningham gives him a pretty decent answer referencing his own recruiting trip. Cunningham visited ND prior to committing to Washington. He talks about how the historical winning tradition mixed in with the Catholic and Irish spirituality make Notre Dame unique. He elaborates on how his Catholic mother was "in love with the place."
-Saunders throws in the obligatory "Fans either love them or hate them." True.

-Kevin Negandhi in the studio. Saunders must have a hockey day off. Roughly 10 minute segment.
-Subject was ND mixed in with Michigan for a "how the mighty have fallen" theme. Annoying as all hell from the start.
-More obligatory stats from 07 & 08.
-Cut to Kirk Herbstreit, Brock Huard & Jesse Palmer in the studio. All appear to be sporting extra hair gel. Herbie poses two softball questions to the group.
-Herbie softball #1 "Who will be better in 09 ND or Michigan." All three agree ND.
-Herbie softball #2 "Who is under more pressure Weis or Dick Rod" All three agree Weis.
-More obligatory stats from 07 & 08.
-Negandhi to Tom Luginbill, who appears from nowhere, on why ND’s "vaunted" recruiting classes haven’t panned out. Luginbill references the weakness in the Weis/ Willingham handoff class and how 6 of the top 12 kids from the first full class that Weis signed in February 06 have left the program. Luginbill goes on to hit on the weakness in the DL recruiting specifically which "finally got upgraded in the last two classes" then makes a curious statement about Clausen. "He better get over the hump because I don’t think he’s good enough." Interesting assessment to say the least.
-Switch gears to defense with snippets of the K Mac phone interview linked above.
-Negandhi asks Cunningham, who re-appears, what to expect from the Tenuta/ Brown brain trust in year two. Cunningham predicts even more blitzing which will put pressure on the ND secondary. He goes on to say he thinks they can handle it as he thinks the secondary is the best position group on the Notre Dame defense.

For the most part the whole thing followed the script I thought it would. I was pleasantly surprised with Ed Cunningham I thought he did a pretty nice job overall at least giving straight answers. The whole angle on Tuesday about Clausen leaving after this season was strange and Luginbill’s comments on Clausen also surprised me. I was also wondering why they didn’t bring Mark May in to deliver the hate. Surprisingly Saunders was relatively low key minus a few really stupid questions and a couple of slight digs. I’ll post the Thursday/ Friday synopsis on Friday night.