Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shut Out The Irish? — Missouri Head Coach Pinkel's Comments Towards Notre Dame Raises Questions


By Kent Smith—BlockONation College Football Analyst


In an interview with ESPN, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel made comments about Notre Dame and whether or not the Irish should be allowed in the College Football Playoff being an independent rather than being a full-­time member of a Power ­5 conference.

“Give Notre Dame a year to join a league. They don’t have independents in the NFL," Pinkel said.

Though there is no rule that says Independent’s can’t make the college football playoff, it does make one wonder if Gary Pinkel is right.

The current system in place has a selection committee that picks four of college football’s best teams and those teams that are most likely to be selected are teams that play in the Power ­5 conferences, i.e. the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, and SEC.

Notre Dame is not a full-­time member of any of those conferences, though, they are a “part-­time” sorta-­kinda member of the ACC, while still claiming Independent status.

Again, the CFB committee’s job is to pick the four best teams in college football, not just members of the Power ­5 conference. By staying Independent, many believe it gives Notre Dame an unfair advantage by having a mixed schedule and no conference championship game.

As frustrating as it may be to some that Notre Dame won’t join a conference, myself included, I also get why they don’t. Notre Dame has built their brand on being an Independent program that can schedule anyone they want, whenever they want, while being the only team played on a major television network.

Not only were they scheduling anyone anywhere—they were beating anyone anywhere.

America quickly fell in love with the Notre Dame program, with their championships, their winning big regular season games, those shiny gold helmets, the catchy fight song, countless All-­American players, legendary coaches, academic prestige and famous alumni.

The problem is, this was all happening from the 1930’s to the late 1980’s. Since then, Notre Dame has accomplished little to nothing. Zero national championships, a losing record against ranked teams, a losing record in bowl games, multiple seasons under .500, including losses to Navy and Air Force, several coaching changes, no Heisman winners, fewer All-­Americans, fewer NFL draft picks, fewer top national recruits, poor player conduct and last but not least, a dead, fake girlfriend.

All of this is enough to bring up one good question: What conference would Notre Dame win if they were a full-­time member?

If you go as far back as to the first year of the BCS in 1998, Notre Dame has only been in the discussion for the national championship four times (02, 05, 06, 12) and only once did they actually play for a national title back in 2012. They were embarrassed by Alabama 42-­14.

Though they lost in the title game, Notre Dame did go undefeated during the regular season that year, but many questioned the toughness of their schedule and the fashion in which Notre Dame won those games..

After all, style points do matter in college football—like it or not. 2012 might be the only year in which Notre Dame would have won one or two BCS/Power 5 conferences, but even then, I doubt it.

Yes, Notre Dame swept their B1G opponents, but would they have beaten a 12-0 Ohio State team that year? Unlikely.

Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde would’ve done to Notre Dame’s defense than what Alabama did to it in the BCS National Championship Game.

Would they have won the ACC in 2012? Very doubtful. Even though the ACC wasn’t very deep, both Florida State and Clemson had talented teams that would have likely been too fast and strong for Notre Dame, also like Alabama.

When you try to think back all the way to 1998 and figure out which conferences Notre Dame would have won you immediately think of the weaker conferences, like the old Big East or the ACC.

Looking back at all of Notre Dame’s records in the past 17 seasons, there are plenty of years where Notre Dame would have been a bad team in a bad conference.

If you were to go from 1998 to 2005, Notre Dame wouldn’t have won the Big East once. In that span, Notre Dame had 3 losing seasons and had just one 10 ­win season (2002).

During that span, the University of Miami had returned to national dominance and was still a member of the Big East. There is zero chance that Notre Dame would have beaten any Miami team in that span when Miami was a member of the Big East. Not to mention, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. Each had good teams as well while in the Big East.

The conference America has been begging Notre Dame to join since the very beginning is the Big Ten Conference. It not only makes geographical sense, but it also makes sense for Notre Dame to annually play other Midwestern powers such as Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Penn State.

The addition of Notre Dame to the B1G would likely make the B1G the most powerful conference, not only in college football but, in college sports. With the huge media markets the B1G already possesses, the addition of Notre Dame would bring a much bigger New York City following with the large amount of alumni living in New York City, and the fact that Notre Dame is a giant name itself.

TV revenue would be even higher, TV ratings would be higher, there would be less SEC bias (maybe) and more elite recruits throughout the country would commit to B1G teams. Notre Dame could play in the West Division where the opponents aren't as high profile or elite as several in the East Division are. The Irish could play for a B1G title almost every single year against a traditional power from the East.

Notre Dame would also be joining the best conference for academics, and the conference with the largest alumni bases throughout the country. I mean, what better way to promote a conference when Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan alum’s get together for a game at a bar while living in Southern California or Florida?

Instead Notre Dame not only chooses to remain independent, but to no longer schedule B1G teams and play five ACC teams per year. But why not join the Big Ten? Well I for one think it’s obvious and it’s a reason that Notre Dame and their fans will never own up to—Notre Dame would get crushed, and get crushed often in the B1G.

I looked up Notre Dame’s records every year from 1998 through 2014 to see what years they could have been competitive in the B1G and I was only able to find four seasons: 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2012.

In 2000, Notre Dame lost two games during the regular season and one of those losses was to Michigan State. 2000 was not a strong year for the B1G. The top 5 teams all won eight games while the non-­conference and bowl record was not impressive either.

Notre Dame’s other regular season loss was to Nebraska and they would eventually get crushed in the Fiesta Bowl by Oregon State, 41-­9. No conference championship for Notre Dame.

In 2002, Notre Dame finished with a 10-­3 record. They swept their B1G opponents, but again, it was not a strong year for the B1G.

They were having a good run until an upset loss to Boston College ruined their perfect season and then a beat down from the hands of USC in Los Angeles, losing 44-­13. Notre Dame would go on to lose the Gator Bowl to NC State 28-­6.

While Notre Dame did go 3-­0 against the B1G that year winning close games against Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue, it was another team in the B1G that brought home the national championship that year—The Ohio State Buckeyes, who pulled off what some called a huge upset over the "unbeatable" Miami Hurricanes.

Notre Dame may have given Ohio State a tough game and the final score could have been close, just like most games for Ohio State that year, but I don’t see Notre Dame defeating Ohio State, a team with arguably the best defense and special teams in America that year. Once again, no conference championship for Notre Dame.

Finally in 2005, Notre Dame was supposed to officially be “back” after hiring offensive guru Charlie Weis, the former offensive coordinator for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, and also a Notre Dame alum. Notre Dame finally had the right coach with the right QB and they were going to return to elite status.

They got off to a good start by defeating Michigan in Ann Arbor in week 2 of the season, only to lose to Michigan State the following week in South Bend. That same year Notre Dame was involved in one of the most controversial games in college football history. Notre Dame hosted #1 USC and lost in the final seconds of the game on a play now referred to as “The Bush Push”.

Eventual Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush illegally pushed the current Heisman winner Matt Leinart over the goal line for a touchdown with just three­ seconds left in the game.

Notre Dame would go on to face Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl that year, and Notre Dame was actually favored. Many felt that given a month to prepare, Charlie Weis could pick apart any defense and his offense could not be stopped.

The game started off as a shoot­out like most expected, but it was the Buckeyes who put up the big offensive stats and came out on top with a 34­-20 win. The B1G was a little deeper in 2005 and Notre Dame wouldn’t have won the conference.

Finally that brings us to 2012. Notre Dame was coming off a disappointing season in which they were expected to make the BCS and possibly play for a national championship, as they had most of their starters returning and a favorable schedule.

They had a new true freshman QB in Everette Golson but also the eventual Butkus Award winner, LB Manti Te’o leading the defense. Other than that, they didn't have a lot of options and depth, hence why they were ranked 24th in the preseason by USA Today and not ranked at all preseason by the AP.

So to much surprise, Notre Dame not only swept their B1G opponents, but they ran the table and got to play for a national championship for the first time since 1990. Though they would go on to lose to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game 42-­14, it still gave Notre Dame a boost back into national relevance after going through five straight painful seasons.

Does that mean they would have won the B1G that year or any other conference (except the SEC obviously)? Yes, Notre Dame went 12-­0 during the regular season, but how many of those games did a call late in the game go in Notre Dame’s favor?

For example, the Stanford game? Or the following week where they avoided an upset to BYU, escaping 17-­14? Then, two weeks later against Pitt where Pitt missed multiple, costly field goals to keep Notre Dame in the game. Notre Dame would eventually win 29­-26.

Other notable games that year include a 13-­6 win over an average Michigan team, a 20-­3 win over an improving Michigan State team, a 41-­3 win over a bad Miami Hurricanes team, a 30-­13 win over Oklahoma in which OU collapsed by mid-season, and a 22-­13 win over USC, a team under NCAA sanctions and reduced scholarship players.

The 2012 Notre Dame Fighting Irish might be the only Notre Dame team in the last 17 years that would MAYBE win the B1G. Again, Notre Dame did sweep their B1G opponents but they did not have to face Ohio State or Wisconsin. My final answer is maybe.

The remaining 13 seasons going back to 1998 would have been forgettable years for Notre Dame if they were full-­time members of the B1G. If Notre Dame had a losing record against Rich Rodriguez when he was the head coach at Michigan, then how in the world could Notre Dame have competed against the consistent teams in the B1G like Ohio State?

You could even do a “what ­if” of Notre Dame vs. Ohio State between 1998 and 2014 and Ohio State would have a similar if not better record versus Notre Dame as they do against Michigan in that time frame. Since 2001, the Buckeyes are 12-2 vs. the team from Ann Arbor. That is just in case any TTUN fans might be reading this!

Notre Dame will always be a recognizable and admired brand to many, and whether or not you like them, they are good for college football.

Notre Dame joining a conference would do even more positive things for college football and it’s fans, but Notre Dame seems selfishly content remaining an Independent for now.

Until they do join a conference, this college football fan sees Notre Dame as a program that many of today’s recruits will only recognize as a program that used to be great—many, many years before any of them were born.



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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

MUST SEE VIDEO—Ohio State Football 2015 Returners Edition

By HD Handshoe—BlockONation Founder

This will be short and sweet, because words are not needed. Just watch!





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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Deja Vu For The Wolverines All Over Again And Again And Again—A Look At What's / Who's Coming To Ann Arbor This Fall

By HD Handshoe—BlockONation Founder

The Buckeyes will most certainly be steamrolling their way through Ann Arbor this November, led by preseason Heisman hopeful and favorite, RB Ezekiel Elliott, a slew of talented WRs, and whichever of the Big Three QBs gets the nod, or whichever is healthy by then. It's nice to have extra starters, not just backups!

Stephen Collier, Joe Burrow, and Torrance Gibson, be ready just in case young fellas!

Those of you reading this may be well aware that very often, I refer to the team up north as Ann Arbor Community College, or AACC for short instead, 1) because they call us Ohio and 2) they barely resemble a DI-level football program and they haven't won an outright national title since 1948, but I digress.

You are also aware that I keep track of how many days it's been since our last loss to AACC, which was during our 6 win, 7-loss, 2011 Tressell-less, Fickell-led season.

Enter Urban Meyer. Since 2001, the Buckeyes are 12-2 vs. AACC and Meyers' Buckeyes are 3-0. In spite of AACC hiring Jim Harbaugh, I have a hard time believing Urban and company won't rack up at least 2-3 more wins in The Game before they could actually be legitimately challenged by AACC.

Let's just say they have a lot of ground to make up to become a threat to the recent, lopsided, Buckeye dominance in the series.

It's entirely realistic that a lot of Buckeyes end their college football careers with four pairs of gold pants!

Get the gold pants mold ready again this year Bucks!

Much to your dismay, I'm sure.....see you in November Ann Arbor CC!



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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Five Deep—A Closer Look at Ohio State's 2015 Running Backs

By HD Handshoe—BlockONation Founder

Image courtesy of Taylor Wilhelm

missingA lot has been made — and rightfully so — of the unique position Ohio State finds itself in this coming season, with essentially three starting quarterbacks returning, but that's a discussion to save for later this fall.

While what happens this coming season at quarterback is about as clear as mud right now, the running back hierarchy should be a lot less cloudy.

Despite having off-season wrist surgery, certain 2015 Heisman Trophy candidate Ezekiel Elliott sits atop a heap of young and talented backs.

Running back coach Stan Drayton left the Buckeyes and took a job with the Chicago Bears in February causing some speculation that the production of Elliott and company could tail off without him.

Drayton was instrumental in developing the Buckeye's potent rushing attack during his three years in Columbus.

He also played a huge role in the recruitment of highly-touted running back Mike Weber, who signed with the Buckeyes just one day before Drayton's departure. Initially, Weber seemed to react somewhat negatively on Twitter but in the end was happy with Drayton's replacement.

Ohio State hired former Notre Dame running backs coach Tony Alford, whom many consider a very ample replacement and possibly even an upgrade.

Truthfully with each of their exceptional running abilities, I could go Eight Deep with this article or list Braxton Miller, JT Barrett and Cardale Jones at 3, 4, and 5 on the RB depth chart.

That's how great Ohio State is at running the ball, but since the QBs aren't RBs, I'll shelve that thought for the sake of this article.


How I see them stacking up

5. Mike Weber — 4-star incoming freshman that could potentially challenge Ball and/or Dunn for the backup to the backup spot. If my memory serves me correctly, being the 3rd man up wasn't a bad thing last season,...not at all...

4. Warren Ball Jr. 2014 Stats — 18 carries, 88 yards, 4.7 yards per carry.

3. Brionte Dunn 2014 Stats — 9 carries, 63 yards, 7.0 yards per carry.

2. Curtis Samuel 2014 Stats — 58 carries, 383 yards, 6.6 yards per carry, 6 rushing touchdowns and 11 receptions for 95 yards.

1. Ezekiel Elliott 2014 Stats — 273 carries, 1,878 yards, 6.9 yards per carry, 18 rushing touchdowns and 28 receptions for 220 yards.

We may know a little more about where the RB chips will fall under Elliott once Spring football concludes on Saturday, April 18th.

Than again, there could still be some jockeying behind Elliott and Samuel through the end of August and right up to kickoff in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech on Monday September 7th.



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Friday, February 13, 2015

Ohio State 2014—The Most AMAZING Championship Season Highlight Video EVER!

By HD Handshoe—BlockONation Founder

This Championship season by the Ohio State Buckeyes was one of the most epic title runs by any college football team in the history of college football!

But why write a long, wordy article talking about about it when you can RELIVE THE CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON by watching THE AWESOME video below after checking out the Championship HQ image first!


Photo courtesy of Taylor Wilhelm





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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Week Two: No. 3 Ohio State vs. San Diego State—History Lesson, Trends, Thoughts and Score Prediction

By HD HandshoeBlockONation.com Founder

The No. 3 Buckeyes look to improve to 2-0 on the young season this week as they host the San Diego State Aztecs.

The Buckeyes came out the gate fast last week against Buffalo before turnovers and the youthful inexperience of their defense allowed Buffalo to keep the game closer than was expected by myself and most college football analysts.

The Aztecs were among a handful of FBS teams that fell to FCS opponents last week, suffering a 40-19 defeat at home to Eastern Illinois.

On paper, this game should translate to an easy victory for tOSU, but only if the Buckeyes protect the ball better and improve defensively from last weeks performance.


Here are this weeks historical-data-tidbits and a few recent and/or ongoing trends for your consideration that might be of interest.

Ohio State—Buffalo History Lesson And Recent Trends

• Urban Meyer coached teams are 74-14 when ranked in the Top 25.

• Ohio State is 67-7 at Ohio Stadium since the start of the 2002 season.

• Ohio State is an astounding 276-0-1 all-time when scoring 35+ points.

• Head coach Urban Meyer is 43-4 in his career in games played in August/September.

• Ohio State's defense has only allowed 13 100-yard rushers in their last 62 games.

• Ohio State's defense has held opponents to 10 points or less 37 times since 2006.

• Ohio State looks to preserve the nation's longest winning streak, currently 13 games.

• Ohio State has held 74 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.

• Ohio State has won 62 consecutive regular-season non-conference home games against unranked opponents.

• Ohio State is 3-0 all-time vs. San Diego St. and 7-1 all-time vs. current members of the Mountain West Conference.

A Couple Thoughts and Score Prediction

Last week, I, like many others, underestimated Buffalo. They had 17 or 18 returning starters from 2012 and as far as individual players, Bulls outside linebacker Khalil Mack might be as good of a pro prospect, though very much less heralded than, South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney.

After a lightning fast start in the first quarter, the Buckeyes jumped out to a 23-0 lead. That lead was cut to 10 twice after turnovers put the inexperienced Buckeye defense against the wall.

The good news is they say the biggest improvement all year comes in game two — AND — the Buckeyes are the big fish in the pond compared to the minnow that is San Diego State football.

Also, let's not forget that Ann Arbor's current coach was the SD State coach just a couple years back, so that's worth at least 2-3 extra "running it up" TDs in my book.

For the sake of bookies and/or betting men everywhere, hopefully the trends hold true for favored Ohio State this week.

Ohio State 66
San Diego State 10



"It takes a little something special to be a great player. We don't have enough great players. TO HELL WITH THAT! We don't want to coach average! I don't wanna be around ya, why be around average?! Did you push yourself to be great today?" - Urban Meyer


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6/05/2009

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We'd like to take a moment to both acknowledge and thank those sites for their support in helping make BlockONation one of the most popular new Ohio State Football blogs on the web!

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