Contemplating Our Lady Du Lac: Thoughts On Notre Dame & Other Things

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Contemplating Our Lady Du Lac: Thoughts On Notre Dame & Other Things
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
We are a quarter of the way through college football's regular season already...unbelievable isn't it? Here are some thoughts on my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish and other topics as well.
 
*How many people thought the Irish offensive line would be playing this well so far? Sure there are still some issues, but it's reassuring to think that Notre Dame may be able to run the ball with success against USC, Pitt and other tough defenses.
 
*Is there any doubt that Jimmy Clausen is the team MVP? Golden Tate, Armando Allen, and Kyle McCarthy have all played tremendously this season, but Clausen seems driven to take this team to the next level.
 
*Is Sam Young the most over-hyped and disappointing recruit over the last twenty years of Notre Dame football? Let's remember he was considered the best lineman, and leader of possibly the worst offensive line in Notre Dame history, and so many people were raving about him coming out of high school. Young is probably the most hot and cold and inconsistent player in recent memory. Where does his NFL stock stand?
 
*How much athletic talent does Golden Tate have? He reminds me a lot of the type of player from the 1930's or 40's who could play five different positions and reach All-American at every spot. We all know he's a great receiver (if still a bit raw), but I was amazed at his speed and shiftiness taking hand-offs from Crist and running the wildcat. Tate is definitely a special talent.
 

*What are we to make of Manti Te'o? It seems the coaching staff is easing him in to more playing time, which is not surprising, but I'd like to see this kid starting soon. I refuse to believe that Toryan Smith is better, especially in pass coverage, which the Irish really need help with. I think it would be great if Te'o started after the bye week and had a strong game against USC.
 
*I'd have to give the coaching staff a solid B grade so far. I think for the most part, Charlie Weis is upholding his end of the deal and there have been significant improvements with the offensive line and running game. I still can't figure out this defense though.
 
*Speaking of the defense, they seemed to blitz less often against Purdue and it seemed to bring about better results. I'd like to think this unit is slowly improving and won't bring Notre Dame down, but I just don't know.
 
*Have two players been better suited to play in South Bend with names like Golden Tate and Dayne Crist?
 
*Back to Crist for a moment. This kid is going to be very, very good. He may never be as accurate as Clausen or put up the big numbers, but he looks like a winner to me. He's physically imposing and has quick feet to go along with a cannon arm. Anyone think Willingham could have recruited two elite quarterbacks within two years of each other?
 
*Most disappointing players in 2009? Sergio Brown, Duval Kamara, and Eric Maust.

 

*I get the feeling this team is a lot like the 2006 squad from a few years ago. Extremely lofty expectations, probably won't live up to them, but will most likely be a solid 10 win team with a BCS appearance. Winning a BCS game could do wonders in South Bend.

*I was really pumped up when Nick Tausch kicked the ball into the end zone late in the game against Purdue. It was definitely one of the highlights of the game for me. I think it's time Weis starts letting Tausch attempt 40+ yard field goals. We're going to need confidence in the kicking game at some point.

*It really bothers me to watch referees after touchdowns are scored in college football. In the No Fun League at least the referee just wants to take the ball, sometimes not even that. In college there's always a referee butting into even the most simple of celebrations. They always seem to be looking to say, "Hey, hey...break it up now" or "If you take one more step you are going to fall of a cliff and die so I'm going to put my hand on your chest and push you back to your sideline" or "Excuse me! (bumping his way into the face of the player who is simply standing with arms raised in celebration) Don't do anything stupid now...give me the ball. Hey! Why are these larger players coming to congratulate you!?!? Go back to your bench!"

*Is this turning into a bad year for the Heisman race? Realistically, Tebow and McCoy are still leading the race, but there is certainly a lack of high profile contenders who are really playing at a high level week in and week out.

*Which top 40 teams are trending noticeably upward for this year and next? I'd say Alabama, LSU, Miami, Va Tech, Michigan, and Notre Dame. You could probably throw in a couple teams like Auburn or UCLA and maybe some mid-majors, but you never can tell with those crazy mid-majors.

*So I can't help but ponder what the 2010 preseason poll will look like, it could be crazy next year. I expect Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Penn State, and a few other "elite" programs to have down years. If Notre Dame plays well this year, don't be surprised to see them in the top 10 to start next year. Think of all the players coming back.

*Speaking of the polls, they make me want to rip my hair out. They were discussing on PTI if the polls shouldn't be released until later in the season. And both commentators were saying that the polls don't really mean anything and that it's not that big of a deal. Really? The polls are an intergral part of the BCS formula! Of course the polls matter.

*Boise State is ranked at number five people. I'm not saying they should or shouldn't be, but odds are they will be in the top 3 in four weeks, if not higher. What if Boise State claims the number one spot at some point? Do the Broncos hold on to number one from late October to December only to see one-loss SEC & Big 12 champions battle for the crystal ball?

*How is Iowa ranked only two spots higher than Penn State? Should Penn State even be ranked? Why is Miami ranked below Penn State? I have a lot of beef with the way Penn State is being treated and I generally like the Nittany Lions. Should Ole Miss be ranked? Why are one-loss Oklahoma and one-loss Ohio State ranked nine and eight spots higher than one-loss Miami?

Here's my top 25:

1. Florida-Number one until they lose.

2. Alabama-Playing like a legit national champion.

3. Texas-My pick to win it all; They've been so-so this year.

4. LSU-They'll be outside the top 20 in two weeks.

5. Boise State-Get used to seeing them here.

6. Cincinnati-I like the way this team plays

7. Houston-This team is good; Honeymoon might be over soon though.

8. Iowa-How will they play with a target on their backs?

9. Virginia Tech-Big win this weekend.

10. TCU-They play some good ball down there in Texas.

11. USC-Still the Pac-10 favorite until proven otherwise.

12. Michigan-Still undefeated; Closer to the Big Ten top than people think.

13. Oklahoma State-Can they join the Texas-Oklahoma party?

14. Ohio State-Is the offense good enough to win the Big Ten?

15. Oklahoma-The road to redemption starts soon.

16. Miami-How will the face adversity? Still a dangerous team.

17. Georgia-They're going to mix it up in the SEC.

18. Oregon-The Ducks have played well since week one.

19. BYU-Might not recover from the loss to FSU.

20. Georgia Tech-Ramblin' Wreck had a hiccup against Miami.

21. Nebraska-This program is headed in the right direction.

22. Cal-They never seem to win the big games they're favored in.

23. Kansas-Quietly sneaking up the polls; Time to beat a tough team.

24. Ole Miss-They have a lot to prove now, let's see it Rebels!

25. USF-Bringing more credibility to the Big East.

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