Post Bye Week, Let’s Take a Look at Where Notre Dame Sits in the College Football Picutre

The bye week has come and gone for the Irish, so I thought I’d take this off week as an opportunity to reassess the year that’s been, and preview what’s on the horizon for the now 13th ranked team out of South Bend. Year in and year out Notre Dame’s bye week is typically my favorite week of the year, because it’s the only Saturday during college football season where I can act like a sane person, not stressed over how Notre Dame will find a way to lose this week. This bye week was particularly enjoyable, however, because with four ranked teams falling the Irish rose three spots without having to play a minute of football.

 

Truth be told, this year really hasn’t been all that bad watching Notre Dame. I’m often times too pessimistic about Notre Dame, so that’s about as high of a compliment you’ll get from me. But this team has won convincingly against teams they should beat, went on the road and beat Michigan St. soundly in a night game, and were one stupid penalty and two missed field goals away from beating Georgia, who’s now third in the country.

 

These wins have been team efforts too, which is stunning. A common trend for Notre Dame is one player or group shouldering the load that proves to be unsustainable (2012 defense, Brady Quinn, Michael Floyd). This year though, the team appears to be well balanced on both sides of the ball. Drue (crazy way to spell Drew) Tranquill has looked comfortable in the new defensive scheme as the Rover Linebacker, Wimbush is way more athletic than any QB has been in recent memory, and Josh Adams is having a sneaky Heisman worthy season without getting nearly enough love. He is ahead of Barkley in multiple rushing categories, including rushing yards and yards per attempt.

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All this being said, the second half of the schedule is BRUTAL for Notre Dame. They open up this week with a home game against an underachieving #11 USC, home again against #16 NC St which was the ugliest game of 2016 in a driving hurricane, Wake Forest, at #8 Miami, home against Navy who does nothing but score and run clock so that SCREAMS trap game, and finish the year at #22 Stanford. Four out of six opponents ranked in the top 25, and Navy just fell out of that poll a week ago.

 

If Notre Dame survives these six games and wins out there’s no conceivable way they’re left out of the playoff with their only loss coming from the SEC East Champion. The biggest issue facing this team will be stamina and I just don’t know if a run heavy offense will have enough gas to win all six of those games. Hell, having watched Notre Dame for almost 20 years of my life, it wouldn’t shock me if this team found a way to go 1-5 in these games and play in some bowl game I’ve never heard of like the Avocados from Mexico Bowl (which would actually be sick if a. it was a bowl game and b. they played it in Azteca in Mexico City).

 

But, because I seemingly refuse to learn my lesson, I genuinely believe this Irish team can pull this off. The games won’t be fun to watch, my Saturdays will be filled with stress and a looming threat of heartbreak, but I’m all in on this team finding their way into the four-team playoff. Run the ball, eat up clock, the defense will bend not break. It all starts this weekend with USC.

 

Wake up the fucking echoes.

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NLCS Game 1: Some Dude Vs. Jose Quintana

So as of 11:00 AM Central Time, it looks like we’re going with Jose Quintana to start game one of the NLCS. I’m conflicted. I’m sure some of the takes are “Lackey is a battle tested post season pitcher who knows how to win the big game,” but to be honest, that’s not at all where my minds at. This is where my mind’s at:

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“I said dressing on the side!”

For a lack of a better word, dude kinda sucks. Not at baseball obviously, but he’s just kind of a dick. That’s the guy I want taking the mound for me in 8 short hours. The 15 year vet with three rings who is being told he’s not good enough to start a game in the postseason. I can 100% imagine John in his hotel room staring at himself in the mirror quietly saying “oh I’m not starting this post season Joe? Is that right?” while slowing thumbing the sharp blade of a steel knife, not because he’d ever do anything with it, but just because he wants to know what the pain would feel like as he finally opened himself up to the world where he can literally drink the blood of his doubters. To be honest I haven’t looked at match-ups at all (clearly, that’s not what we do here), there’s a good chance Q makes way more sense. Hell, there’s a good chance Q pitches far, far better than Lackey. But if you want to galvanize a team right now, a team that has needed two starters twice so far this post season, I want to see Crazy Joe Davola staring down Chris Taylor when the Dodgers come up to bat in the bottom of the first.

Either way, in Joe we trust (unless Happ continues to ride the bench while Jason Heyward to record 5 outs in 4 at bats). We’re not in our 3rd straight NLCS after making 3 in 50 years for nothing. Cubs in 7.

–Dubs

P.S. Clayton Kershaw? More like, Clayton “we’re worse off” when he pitches in a postseason game

Meet Your New Browns Starting QB *sighs deeply* Kevin Hogan!

NFL – The Cleveland Browns have changed quarterbacks. Again.

The team announced Kevin Hogan will start Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans in place of rookie DeShone Kizer.

“I’ve made the decision to start Kevin this week,” Hue Jackson said in a statement Wednesday. “We’ve liked what Kevin has been able to do within our offense when he’s been in there and he will start on Sunday because that’s what we feel is best for our team at this point in time. This does not change the way we feel about DeShone going forward. He has worked extremely hard and still very much has a bright future. Right now, it’s better for him and his development to back up Kevin.”

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“I’m so fucking scared right now!” – Kevin Hogan playing football, me watching Kevin Hogan play football.

Ahh the Browns changing their starting QB, a fall tradition unlike any other (because no other team has to do this, ever). Yes, it may be hard to believe coming from such a storied franchise, but the Browns are unhappy with their 21 year old rookie’s performance up to date, and are switching to their savvy veteran* quarterback. Just in time too, I might add, because I’ve got a real good feeling this Browns team may just rip off 11 wins in a row!

In all honesty, I don’t really hate this move. Actually, let me rephrase. On the scale of emotions I use to rate the Browns’ decision that starts don’t hate and ends at a self-inflicting harm level of despise, I don’t hate this move. The Browns play the Texans this week in a game that has a shocking amount of levels to it.

This offseason, the Browns took Brock Osweiler and his ridiculous salary off the Texans’ book along with their 2018 second round pick, which are now so prevalent in Cleveland that they are used as a form of local currency in the city. The Texans used this as an opportunity to dump Osweiler’s salary and pick a proven winner, Deshaun Watson, to be their quarterback of the future. The Browns then later cut Osweiler, still have to pay him the money owed to him, and drafted Kizer to start who is now of course benched.

If Kizer plays in this game, all we’ll hear all game is how sick Browns fans must be that we didn’t draft Watson, and most likely we’ll probably still hear these comparisons even with Kizer on the bench. Even though Watson is throwing to Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller and Kizer is throwing to Seth DeValve and Ricardo Louis, announcers will mention how Watson is “a proven winner” as he inevitably torches the Browns’ secondary. By not playing Kizer, Jackson hopefully will save us some of this pain, although to be a Browns fan is to be one who feels pain all the time.

So, let’s meet the Browns 28th different starting QB since 1999, Kevin Hogan!

Name: Kevin Hogan

Alma Mater: Stanford

Years Experience: 2

Mobile?: He’s an 80 speed in Madden 18 so I guess so.

Handsome?: …eh?

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Concerning Fact: When you type in “Kevin Hogan” to Google Images, the fourth option that comes is his throwing motion, and I definitely see why…

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One scout even wrote, “God his mechanics are terrible.” Great!

Hogan definitely throws a weird ball, but he’s a smart QB that has looked a lot better than Kizer has in most spots this year. My hope is that Kizer will pay attention to how Hogan reads his progressions and makes decisions on when/where to throw the ball. My expectation, however, is that Hogan tears his ACL in the second quarter and the 0-16 bound season is right back on track.

Cleveland Browns football baby, catch the fever!

*second year 2016 fifth round pick