1. Over the past couple weeks the idea of freshman ineligibility has hit the media and is being discussed by the conference commissioners, and particularly by the Big Ten. Would any good come of this proposal?
First, I would definitely read Jon Solomon's report linked above because it covers a lot of the nuance of this topic. That at least brought up some good points and makes you think about what the proponents are trying to achieve.
Yet, this seems like a disaster waiting to happen. One, I agree with the dozens of prominent media members who are saying there just isn't the money to support such a new system. That alone would be bring about a whole new host of problems for every school to deal with each year.
Two, I don't know how much effort should be going into something like this for what amounts to such a small section of collegiate athletes--basically zeroing in on the one and done basketball kids. Sure, there are plenty of other freshmen in football and basketball who aren't taking school seriously but how about the universities actually put in the effort to educate and all that entails, plus seriously increase their standards for enrollment? That'd be a good start but that won't happen will it?
Three, it seems silly to ban the freshmen who are perfectly capable of playing sports and balancing school work because some percentage of others cannot do so. Or worse, because a bunch of suits say rising freshmen can't or won't be able to do so and we need to re-focus the entire landscape.
Just a terrible all around idea.
2. Notre Dame continues to struggle with the location of the annual Blue Gold Game as the Crossroads construction prevents the team from holding the spring game inside Notre Dame Stadium. What should they do?
Each year there's talk about not playing a spring game. Some schools don't even do it anymore and it's a topic that's always brought up all over the country. It wouldn't seem like such a big deal at Notre Dame if they weren't heading into the 86th edition. That'd be quite the break from tradition.
The initial rumor was that the game would be moved to Chicago's Soldier FIeld then possibly to Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium. The only problem with moving the game off campus is that it essentially kills recruiting as schools are forbidden from hosting prospects in such a manner. So, unless the NCAA grants some sort of waiver--and this seems like something that won't happen since Notre Dame isn't the only school ever to have their stadium under construction--it appears the Irish would hold something on campus.
But where? And will the public even be invited? And how many can come?
The baseball, lacrosse, and soccer facilities all hold roughly the same amount of permanent seating and even with the headache of additional seating rolled in you're looking at maybe 5,000 to 6,000 seats and even that might be a high estimate. At that point, is it worth it to hold a fake game with 75% less people than normal?
Adding additional pressure to the situation is the fact that NBC has been televising the game for the last several years. Maybe they don't care either way but they'd probably like the game inside a NFL stadium if possible.
I get the sense that there just won't be a spring game in any traditional sense. The team will hold their 15th practice, maybe they'll scrimmage for all of it, the media will be welcome, and the recruits will be allowed to come visit. If NBC wants to spice it up and televise the scrimmage from the outdoor practice field then that's cool too.
3. With the NFL Combine wrapping up on Monday afternoon we must ask you: Which player currently within the Notre Dame program will run the fastest 40-yard dash in the future at the Combine or Pro Day?
My guess is that the top candidates would be: Max Redfield, Chris Brown, Amir Carlisle, C.J. Sanders, Will Fuller, C.J. Prosise, Shaun Crawford, and Jaylon Smith with Cole Luke and KeiVarae Russell being possibilities, as well.
My pick is going to be Prosise who I think can run in the 4.44 to 4.46 range. I want to say Fuller or Crawford because they're smaller but I think Prosise's last 20 yards will be more explosive to give him the edge. I wouldn't bet on anyone else running a sub-4.50 time at this point.
4. The college football season is only 6 months and some change away from beginning. Heading into spring practice what are some of your most intriguing national matchups that we should be preparing for in week one?
We're lined up for a nice spread in week one although it feels really light on major conference matchups. By my count I have 10 games in week one between power conference opponents, with 5 of them below plus the matchup when Texas comes to South Bend of course. This feels low to me.
9/3 Michigan @ Utah
The era of Jimmy H. begins on the road in Salt Lake City on a Thursday evening. We wonder what kind of shape the Wolverines will come out of the gate in, if a loss portends more rebuilding for Michigan, or if a win signals something far better in 2015.
9/4 Washington @ Boise State
Second-year Husky head coach Chris Petersen will be making his return trip to Boise State on Friday night. I'm sure he'd really like to win this game.
9/5 Arizona State @ Texas A&M (Houston)
The first of a trio of major neutral site Saturday games and for my money probably the best matchup. Both programs should have fantastic offenses which could bring forth plenty of fireworks.
9/5 Alabama @ Wisconsin (Dallas)
I'm not sure if the hiring of Paul Chryst makes this game more or less appealing. I'd say less because he's probably not circling the wagons and beating Saban in his Wisconsin debut.
9/5 Auburn @ Louisville (Atlanta)
The Tigers will be working in some new pieces on offense and handing the keys to massive signal caller Jeremy Johnson. He could be a dark horse Heisman candidate so keep an eye out for him early on.
9/5 Eastern Washington @ Oregon
In case you haven't heard quarterback Vernon Adams is taking a graduate transfer to Oregon this fall. He's leaving Eastern Washington and is expected to win the starting job for the Ducks. They'll host his old school in week one.
9/8 Ohio State @ Virginia Tech
Two strong forces meet in this game. No, I'm not talking about the Buckeyes colliding with the Hokies. I'm talking about the National Championship hangover versus Urban Meyer's unhealthy desire to bury Virginia Tech by 95 points for the loss at home last year. I'm excited.
5. There are 39 more days until the NCAA Men's Final Four tips off inside Lucas Oil Stadium. As of right now who do you think makes it to Indianapolis?
I'm going to use Joe Lunardi's Bracketology to take a look at the possibilities.
Midwest- Kentucky (No. 1 seed)
For some reason the Wildcats look to have the toughest region. Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Wichita State, and Arkansas are the 2 through 5 seeds which might not seem all that crazy until you look at the other regions.
West- Iowa State (No. 3 seed)
Here's my sleeper pick, or should I say the only non-number one seed out of the bunch. They're in a region with Gonzaga, Arizona, North Carolina, and Butler. I believe in the Hoiberg.
South- Duke (No. 1 seed)
This region looks super weak. Kansas, Utah, Louisville, and Baylor round out the top five in a very winnable region.
East- Virginia (No. 1 seed)
Can any of Villanova, Oklahoma, Northern Iowa, or Maryland get past that Cavaliers defense?