Welcome to this installment of TWIN. I'm going with the fast and furious version this week. Starting elsewhere and ending in South Bend.
The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel finalized the rules changes for 2012 this week. They made the touchback rules confusing and silly in what appears to be an attempt to discourage kick returns. They also instituted some blocking below the waist rules that could potentially make things difficult for the Midshipmen. As an added bonus there's a wussification rule in there about lost helmets and some gibberish about not leaping over players to block punts.
The Mike Leach lawsuit versus Tejas Tech is dead. I suppose he will have to settle for terrorizing Pac 12 defenses and tWWL from Pullman.
A female Texas A&M student hopes to become the first female Aggie Yell Leader. She also refers to herself as a "red-ass third generation Aggie." Sounds like she's qualified.
More after the jump.
Temple is positioning itself for a move to the Big East. They just got kicked out of said conference a few years back for having a terrible football program. Realignment mania is oblivious to such things. It will be interesting to see what all of these conferences look like when the music stops.
Oregon has acknowledged NCAA recruiting violations over the last four years. This could get interesting for Webfoot U. Meanwhile Lake Seastrunk is laying low at Baylor. It will be interesting to see if he's on the field for the Bears this fall.
The Sporting News ran a pretty interesting article on Dayne Crist. The comments from Crist about how this past season went in South Bend are somewhat enlightening. It would seem that he never really got a straight answer as to why he wasn't on the field. Brian Kelly's nightmare 2012 scenario must be Crist tearing it up in Lawrence and Rees continuing to struggle as the starter at ND. Goldrix! Regardless I sincerely hope that Crist has a solid 2012 in Lawrence. I will definitely keep a close eye on the Crist & Weis consortium.
The NFL Combine is underway and will run through Tuesday. You can track the performance of RJ Blanton, Taylor Dever, Darius Fleming,Michael Floyd, Jonas Gray, Harrison Smith on the NFL Website. Best of luck to all of them.
Just as we were discussing which seniors would return for a 5th year, Keith Arnold posted that former walk-on Safety and special teams monster Chris Salvi will be on scholarship next season as a 5th year player. Congrats to Salvi, he earned it. As a side note KA also gave a nice hat tip to our own Eric Murtaugh for his Unofficial Guide to Rebuilding Notre Dame.
The comment of the week is brought to you by jpeters6. Not only does he roll with an H.R. Pufnstuf avatar, he weighed in with some pretty astute thoughts of his own under Murtaugh's first installment on rebuilding.
I just have to imagine that a critical success factor in Swarbrick's process will be to break the death spiral of firing coaches every 3-5 years. Barring a crater(s) (3-6 win type season), I just have to imagine that the program needs stability so badly that even if he isn't the "savior coach" BK will be given a longer runway than his predecessors.
An additional factor in my opinion is that firing/hiring process is very difficult at any school, and even more so at ND given the challenges E described. Plus we have a pretty putrid track record when it comes to post-holtz hiring decisions. While I agreed that Charlie needed to go at the time; watching the Randy Edsall experience at Maryland has really colored my POV on just how big of a gamble replacing a coach is. If BK had not come, by all accounts Edsall would have been the guy, which is pretty terrifying.
We all want ND to be great again, I think its just a difference of some people are willing to accept that could require a stage of "consistently good" to fix a foundation that has this many cracks.
As an aside I also think that the most vocal part of the fanbase that isn't willing accept anything less than instant gratification from ND football is also constantly looking to be right. And candidly its very hard to win at CFB, and even harder for ND than many of the other programs for the reasons Eric laid out (that's not to say ND doesn't have many advantages over other programs, I just don't think they have many over the top programs). I think given that the pessimistic POV is the easy one to take at ND football and can always be defended with "I hope I'm wrong but... [insert 4000 word rant here". If you are wrong who cares ND is great again, but if you are right you're sort of this buffet-esk "Oracle of NDN", that IMO has very little to do with the would be Nostradamuses (nostradmi?) actual predictive abilities.
Have a great weekend.