Happy Hump Day, everybody!
As our fearless One Foot Down leader Mr. Vowles explained on Monday, every member of the editorial staff now has a day each week when they will be sharing a number of links and stories concerning the broader college sports landscape.
Unfortunately for all of you, that means this guy gets one of those days.
Sorry in advance for wherever I take this article from here.
Brian Kelly could learn something from other coaches’ dedication to their schools
For the past few months, one of the topics that Notre Dame fans have beaten like it stole somethin’ is whether or not head coach Brian Kelly should have been retained after the 2016 debacle that was his 4-8 season.
I personally don’t think Kelly should still have his job considering the mediocrity he has continued, just like his predecessors, but if he’s going to be my alma mater’s coach, I feel he can pick up some tips and tricks from some other coaches in the news right now on how to go that extra mile to win everyone over and succeed in a major head coaching role.
First and foremost, we need to talk about coaches who make an effort to support their school’s other athletic teams. These guys are invested in their local college communities, and recruits and players really appreciate that in head coaches.
Amazingly, accomplishing this can be as simple as wearing wrestling singlets, folks.
Mike Gundy’s mullet-and-singlet-donning support of Oklahoma State’s wrestling team last week was truly next-level:
The Cowboys are considered a dark horse playoff contender in football next season, so clearly Gundy’s supportive efforts are effective in facilitating success in Stillwater.
The other coach involved in this wrestling singlet extravaganza is Penn State’s James Franklin, and he isn’t doing too badly himself, what with the Nittany Lions likely to be ranked in the top 10 in preseason polls and with their next recruiting class off to an unbelievable start. His copycat move of Gundy may not be creative, but damn it if it ain’t impressively supportive of a Penn State wrestling team that certainly does not get the same level of support as football. That’s quite the gesture.
I guess the main takeaway here is to just be more likable. It’s not rocket science, Brian - although God knows that might help, considering what’s going on at Kansas with their early recruiting success in the class of 2018.
But really, I do think Kelly can do a little more to show his commitment to the school and community and team. Take Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, for instance, who was born just about a month after WWII started (i.e. he is quite old), and who was just diagnosed with throat cancer last week. The man won’t let anything stop him, though, and is going to continue coaching because he’s just that devoted. Old age and cancer be damned.
Even more recently, in the world of college basketball, Bob Huggins had a heart attack during a game on Monday night and proceeded to FINISH COACHING THE GAME. If that doesn’t show the kind of grit and passion that players want to see from the coach they play for and fans want to see from the coach they root for, I don’t know what does.
Now, I’m not saying Coach Kelly should go get himself some sort of life-threatening ailment to show how tough he is, but Snyder and Huggins are proving to be excellent role models in terms of dedication to their craft. He should strive to emulate them as much as possible. Dressing the part is a great place to start.
So until Jack Swarbrick actually terminates Kelly, BK might be wise to take a page out of these coaches’ books and attempt to more strongly display his compassion for, and unwavering loyalty to, Notre Dame. It sure beats getting fired because you keep making very unpopular decisions.
So how does 2017 look, for BK and also for everyone else?
No matter if you think Brian Kelly should don a wrestling singlet/gold suit or not, he will indeed be coaching the Irish next year. And, according to Bleacher Report, he’ll be coaching a team playing the 10th-toughest schedule. Here are the full rankings, which include poor, poor Rutgers staring down the 4th toughest gauntlet of games in the entire country, just behind Ohio State, Alabama, and Michigan.
Along those same lines, Morgan Moriarty of SB Nation just put out a ranking of the 25 games we fans need to start getting excited about right now.
The ones on the list I’m most excited about:
- Alabama vs. Florida State on opening weekend
- Seeing Baker Mayfield and J.T. Barrett somehow still with eligibility the next weekend when Oklahoma travels to Ohio State
- The potential play-in game on November 4th for the College Football Playoff, with LSU visiting Alabama.
The one on the list I’m least interested in:
- Georgia at Notre Dame, because watching the Irish try to tackle Nick Chubb and Sony Michel sounds about as appetizing as a...plate of...dirt...or something. Although both ND and Georgia were identified by Sports Illustrated as teams that have the best chance to have major improvements in wins in 2017, Georgia’s case seems stronger with those guys running the ball.
What’s going on in basketball, though, since it is...ya know...basketball season?
The answer to that great question that I just asked out loud for some reason is, simply put, a lot of stuff.
Lonzo Ball’s dad continues to be extremely, extremely confident in his sons, and although it’s hard to agree with his claims, I definitely appreciate the testicular fortitude it takes to say those kinds of things and to shoot those kinds of shots.
Meanwhile, on the recruiting front, the son of one of my favorite players of all-time looks like the next big thing, just a chip off the old block in terms of his ability to do it all out there.
Bol Bol is the future of basketball in every way, and his father is certainly smiling down on his busy and popular recruitment as I type this (RIP). Bol Bol is probably out of Notre Dame’s league, but man would he be fun to watch in Mike Brey’s offense (and to chant his name in Purcell after he dunks all over Duke defenders).
Speaking of Brey, I personally think he should be up there for both ACC and National Coach of the Year this season considering what he’s accomplished compared to expectations and considering the level of competition in the ACC. However, Sports Illustrated’s look at how best to determine the winner of that award from a couple weeks ago doesn’t even mention him.
No matter, though, as Seth Davis’ interviews with anonymous coaches show just how revered Mike Brey’s work is this season, and gives an awesome, unfiltered view on all other teams in the ACC, Big 12, and Big Ten.
Here’s a bunch of other things I want to show you
I don’t really have a category for these other links, but you all should still check them out:
- Amazing Name All-American Psalm Wooching is forgoing a potential career in what he once called a “girly sport” to pursue a career in rugby. I’d love to hear his thoughts on sports like golf or synchronized swimming...
- Oklahoma running back Semaje Perine did his best Gob Bluth impression in order to make his girlfriend his fiancee the other day. This was pretty damn awesome - I’m definitely a Semaje Perine fan now
- An Ohio State band member may earn a spot on the football team as a kicker after crushing a 55-yard field goal in response to a Chipotle-based bet...Urban Meyer has gotta be excited about this new recruiting tactic, and Chipotle has to be enthused about the marketing opportunities
- Folks, we have found our next Jamarcus Russell (besides the fact that Deondre Francois actually appears to be a good quarterback and isn’t pushing 300 pounds)
- A guy at the ND/NC State basketball game last Saturday was reading something you would never expect. I swear this isn’t clickbait, it’s just amazing and I can’t do it justice like Ryan Nanni can
- Finally, some website called Delish selected the best college bar in every state in the Union and BACKER WAS THE CHOICE FOR INDIANA!!! I’m not sure most would agree with it, but they’re all wrong and I/Delish are right so I’m just gonna take the W and head home
That’s all I’ve got. Sorry for how long this is, I was excited for my first Irish Links and had a lot on my mind (especially the Volvo manual guy).