Do you have any plans for Wednesday and Thursday of this week? If you answered "Nothing big, just watching sports" I have some terrible news for you. This is the week of Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. The days following that game are typically some of the slowest sports days. My advice? Do other things those days! Crack a book you have been meaning to read, see a movie, and maybe have a nice dinner with those close to you. It is only two days after all. After this last jam-packed week, two days might feel like forever.
Here is a roundabout comparison. Christmas does not occur in December because the events it celebrates occurred during the month. The placement of Christmas was reactionary to the feasts of other faiths happening around that time. It was also symbolic in being placed after the darkest day of the year. In a weird way, the sports calendar has set itself up around the ASG as its own darkest day of the year.
This past week was a whirlwind of sports news activity. The variety of happenings this past Wednesday was probably mostly coincidence, but it almost felt like the sports world was shouting not to forget about it during the All-Star Break. The events were so fascinating and unlikely that several hundred people exclaimed ESPN should put out a 30 For 30 documentary detailing the various stories of July 8th, 2015. Only in the dog days of summer could I spend a late afternoon looking up NBA contract signing rules and HIPAA laws as they apply to NFL. Never would I think so many NBA players would wage emoji war over DeAndre Jordan. I was captivated.
The week ended with a marquee college football event. Top college football recruits descended on Beaverton, Oregon for the Opening and Elite 11 Quarterback Competition to showcase their skills at the Nike headquarters. After the sports-adjacent stories from earlier in the week, it was somewhat refreshing to watch athletes doing athletic things in endless GIFs and looping Vines. It also reminded me I am starving for college football.
This weekend has baseball, tennis, and summer league basketball, but then the break. I'm sure I will watch the ESPYs and re-broadcasts of the ASG Celebrity Softball game (I bet Miles Teller is a five-tool celebrity softball game player) and whatever other placeholders that are aired for those two days. But after the break, we begin the furious push to the college football season. Media days! Practices! Pre-season predictions! College football. It's only a bunch of days away.
"You mentioned 'The Opening' earlier? What exactly is that?"
It is this! Bud Elliott put together a handy page explaining the event and its various components.
In other The Opening news, SI's Lindsay Schnell writes about local football players participating in the event.
If I ever finagled my way to a place of prominence in the NCAA, I would make recruiting commitment videos necessary for any player who wanted to play at the FBS level. Penn State's kicker gets where I am coming from. Everything about that video is wonderful. My favorite part is that Diddy Dirty Money's "Coming Home" was used not a month after Diddy's kettle bell kerfuffle! Not even that event can diminish the power of "Coming Home" as the ideal soundtrack for your sports video circa 2010-2013. There is a light seriousness that Charlie Puth only hopes he can channel one day.
"What are the odds?!" Well, if you are referring to the current odds for the Heisman trophy, check out Bruce Feldman's rundown of the contenders as ranked by the wise guys in Vegas & Bovada. I prefer the Wise guys in Vegas - the ones giving out free samples of Wise potato chips. I have never been to Las Vegas, but I assume.
The latest Audible podcast with Stewart Mandel and Bruce Feldman has a very interesting discussion starting around the 17:24 mark regarding the state of college football media, blogs, traditional reporting, and content distribution. It would be easy for the talk to devolve into louder and louder voices yelling "GET OFF MY LAWN" but Mandel and Feldman give some interesting insight. The rest of the pod is great as well, but I wanted to draw your attention to the middle part since the description of the podcast glosses over it.
FELDMAN TRIFECTA or the TRI-FELDMAN - Bruce and Dan Rubenstein face off in a game of Ty Hildenbrandt's devious design on the latest Solid Verbal pod. The stakes have never been higher (the stakes are delicious chicken parm sandwiches).
From my perspective of constantly being ruined by friends using the South Carolina Gamecocks in the NCAA Football video game, I remain flabbergasted that none of the teams from 2005 to 2010 won national titles. If video game Sidney Rice can score ten touchdowns a game on Playstation, he could probably score two per game in real life, no? On several occasions, a friend would run any of South Carolinas backs to their own 1-yard line and then proceed to make me look foolish for ninety-nine yards. I am very grateful that I graduated college before Marcus Lattimore was translated to the game. Lattimore was a joy to watch on South Carolina. That seems so long ago. Marcus is only 23. Jason Buckland wrote about Lattimore for an SBNation longform.
ICYMI ON OFD
Sometimes recruits commit during the Opening. Chase Claypool committed to Notre Dame during the Opening. From the research I have done, Chase is neither related to Les Claypool nor shares his interests in bass guitar and songs about race car drivers named Jerry.
Speaking of recruits, here are our latest big boards - ATH/ WR, QB/RB, Secondary, LBs, Defensive Line, and TE/OL.
Jamie was on the ground for The Opening and put together some observations from day one and day two.
"Here's the mail/ It never fails/ It makes me want to wag my tail/ When it comes, I want to wail/ Maaaaaaaail!" - the new OFD Mailbag.
The #3 play from the 2014 Notre Dame football season comes to us in the graphics interchange format. You can watch the wonderful animation loop for hours.
Football players are never supposed to look ahead in the schedule. Fans though? They can look as far into the future as they want, whether that be the Singularity or the 2015 Notre Dame football schedule.
Speaking of the future, maybe this is Max Redfield's year. Another thing that could make it Max's year is if he changes his last name to "Power." Opposing offenses would cower in fear. He would be the safety whose name you'd love to touch, but you mustn't touch. That name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn't fear, 'cause his name can be said by anyone.
Pat Connaughton and Jerian Grant both start Summer League play today. In fact, a number of ND alums are playing in Summer League. Jerian's brother Jerami had the dunk of the summer so far. Mario Hezonja thinks that dunk was merely okay. Mario Hezonja might be the NBA's Smoking Jay Cutler.
Speaking of ND alums playing basketball, some old pals are defending their title in this year's The Basketball Tournament.
Following last week's article on the new developments in strength and conditioning, we turn our attention to how information is translated into the workouts and types of workouts football players do. So much power.
Hey, who is going to take some defensive attention away from Will Fuller?
You should read some thoughts about Tiger Woods and his career moving forward. Huge. Quickly. Bye.
IRISH LINKS OF NOTE
Malik Zaire was a counselor at the Elite 11 camp. Trent Dilfer had high praise for Zaire and Irish Illustrated took down his thoughts. Trent Dilfer loves the art of quarterbacking. He also loves destroying the hopes and dreams of 14-year old Giants fans. When the Ravens dismantled the Giants in that Super Bowl, I looked into my father's eyes and asked him what happened to Kerry and the boys. He said nothing and stared at Trent Dilfer on the television, a quiet sports rage in his eyes. It was the closest I have ever come to a real life Cormac McCarthy novel. I've never read a Cormac McCarthy novel, but I assume. In happier news, quote the former Raven, "He is going toe-to-toe with (Penn State quarterback) Christian Hackenberg, (USC quarterback) Cody Kessler, with all of these supposed passers, and he’s ripping it around as good as anybody."
Keith Arnold has a Q&A with Gene Wang of the Washington Post about the 2015 Navy Midshipmen squad. The interview does nothing to ease my fears about the buzzsaw that is Navy football when playing Notre Dame.
To paraphrase Ladies Love Cool James, the football team will be going back to Culver, Culver, Culver. They're going back to Culver. . . Military Academy that is (so says the South Bend Tribune).