I’m back this week for my Monday thoughts and boy do we have some interesting topics to cover. Notre Dame basketball’s season is in a tailspin right now. Football recruiting just wrapped up. Oh, and how about that Super Bowl last night?
I may have jinxed Notre Dame’s season...I’m sorry
Exactly two weeks ago in this feature I came out and said the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were a serious contender for the ACC Championship. Since then, Notre Dame has dropped four straight and hasn’t looked good doing it. First they got smacked by Virginia at home. Then it was a road loss at Georgia Tech. This past week they had another poor performance at home vs. Duke and a slightly better performance in a loss at North Carolina. What has made the this four game slide so frustrating is that the Irish just haven’t played the way we’ve grown accustom to. The offense has not been as prolific, which has exposed their size and defensive deficiencies that much more. Senior guard Steve Vasturia has gone M.I.A. as well.
Their effort against North Carolina did give me a little bit of hope. This team has A+ fight in them and they rarely go down without a sound. They were down by 14 in the second half on Sunday and the Tar Heels looked like they were about to run away and hide, but the Irish came right back and cut it to a two-point game with three minutes left. Notre Dame just couldn’t make shots down the stretch and UNC ended up winning. But for the most part Notre Dame looked more like themselves against UNC, I’m excited to see them get back on track against Wake Forest on Tuesday.
Hats off to Brian Kelly
Kelly has caught a lot of flack lately, deservedly so. From the failed Brian VanGorder experiment to the 4-8 season, but after a number of coaching changes Kelly may have this ship pointed in a better direction for 2017. Kelly and his staff closed the 2017 recruiting cycle with a flurry this past week. Just two weeks ago Notre Dame had a top 25 class that consisted of just 15 recruits. In the last two weeks, the staff got out there and flipped six recruits, which boosted Notre Dame up to a top 15 class. What they did was nothing short of remarkable.
This new staff has some energy we haven’t seen in quite a while. They’ve shown they can get it done on the recruiting trail. Now let’s see if they can produce the results on the field.
Check out all of OFD’s recruiting coverage here.
Another crazy week in college basketball
For the second consecutive week we had craziness in college basketball. Six of the top 10 teams lost on Saturday — including No.3 Kansas, which snapped their 51-game winning streak in Allen Fieldhouse with a loss to Iowa State. It was just head coach Bill Self’s 10 loss (in 14 seasons) in Allen Fieldhouse.
Aside from Kansas, Big 12 foes No.2 Baylor and No.7 West Virginia lost. It was the first time ever that three top 10 Big 12 teams lost on the same day.
After beating UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, No.5 Arizona was getting some talk of being the best team in the country. That conversation was put to rest on Saturday as the Wildcats got whacked at Oregon on Saturday by 27 points.
No.8 Kentucky has lost three of four, and the win came in overtime at home against a mediocre Georgia team. I was high on UK earlier in the season, but after their recent performances I am having second thoughts. The Wildcats lost by 22-points at Florida on Saturday night.
No.9 Virginia blew a 12-point halftime lead at Syracuse on Saturday. The Cavs, the best defensive team in the country, gave up 44 points in the second half. On average, UVA is giving up just 53 points total. It was the second time in a week that Virginia blew a big second half lead — last week UVA blew a 12-point lead to No.1 Villanova.
I think its safe to say we’re headed towards another great NCAA Tournament.
Greatest Super Bowl ever?
Last night we saw the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. After trailing 21-0 in the first half and then 28-9 late in the third quarter, it looked like it was going to be another laugher in favor of the Atlanta Falcons. After the Falcons went up 28-3 I tweeted that the playoffs had kind of sucked, and the Super Bowl looked like it was going to be the perfect capper.
Outside Green Bay vs Dallas...these playoffs have SUCKED— Bobby Norell (@RENorell_III) February 6, 2017
But Tom Brady and Co. had something else in mind. The Patriots stormed back in the fourth quarter by scoring 19 unanswered points to send the game to overtime. Brady marched the Patriots right down the field on the opening possession of OT and running back James White punched it in for the game winner. Brady finished with 2 TDs and 466 yards.
It was the coronation of Brady as the best ever. He now has seven Super Bowl appearance, five Super Bowl Championships, four Super Bowl MVPs and just capped off the greatest comeback ever. There is no arguing it anymore — Brady (even though he went to Michigan) is the best ever.
I can’t go without saying that was one helluva choke job by the Falcons. They had that game in the bag and let the Pats back into it. Why were they throwing the ball on 3rd and 1? That was something we’ve seen from Brian Kelly and Notre Dame. This one will be haunting Falcons fans forever.
Now that this football stuff is over...it’s baseball season!
Anyone who knows me well, knows that baseball is my first love. Football is over and baseball season is officially here. We are six days away from pitchers and catchers reporting — the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians will be the first teams to report.
Even though my Chicago White Sox will probably win around 65 games this season — I’m excited for it. I’m excited to see all the young talent the Sox just acquired. I want to see if Yoan Moncada (MLB.com’s No.2 overall prospect) is the real deal. I want to see Lucas Giolito (No.12 overall), Reynaldo Lopez (No.46 overall) and Carson Fulmer (No.71 overall) get called up and headline the Sox rotation. Can Michael Kopech (No.16 overall), the 20-year old with a 100 MPH fastball, rise through the Sox system this season? Lastly, when/will Jose Quintana get dealt? The Sox can certainly add to their wealth of prospects if they deal Quintana. So while the on field performance of the big league team might not be so good this season, the Sox will be an interesting team to watch this season.
That’s it for this week’s edition of Monday Thoughts. I’ll be back next week. Make sure you keep up with us here at OFD for all basketball and football coverage. Have a great week and Go Irish!