As I start this, I want to be up front with you right from the beginning; I am a Notre Dame fan and have been since the days of watching coach Ara Parseghian and Lindsey Nelson on the Notre Dame Football Show back in the 1960’s before going to church on Sundays.
Now with that out of the way.
I understand that Notre Dame football is like the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball, the New England Patriots in the National Football League, the Detroit Red Wings in the National Hockey League and Duke in college basketball – people either love them of hate them — there is little if any middle ground. But most fans will also tell you that when these teams are good and winning titles, or at least in the running for a championship, their sport is better.
Such is the case with the Irish.
Not since 1988, under Lou Holtz, have the Irish won a national championship and not since the early 1990’s has Notre Dame football even been considered among the elite of the college football world – despite two 10-win seasons in 2002 and 2006.
People felt Notre Dame football had become irrelevant on the college football landscape and the Irish fan base unrealistic dreams of days gone by, a fight song, old movies of past glories and a TV deal — that other schools could only dream of that was undeserved.
Notre Dame was too proud, too highbrow and with expectations in the classroom that wouldn’t, couldn’t work in today’s world of college athletics and still expect championships.
I admit the Irish have made some mistakes over the years since their last national championship, but this team – which started the season unranked in one poll and No. 24 in the other, is 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings, with only a beaten-down USC standing between them and a shot at the national championship.
Not possible right?
Well, coach Brian Kelly – in his third season — has the Irish poised for not only a title this season, but in position to have a consistent team in the national title hunt for the long haul. Still, hate is what millions of college football fans have toward Notre Dame and they root against the Irish no matter what. But it’s that emotion that Notre Dame drives that has kept the program relevant and now being a win away from playing for the national championship … there will be more attention on this title game than any other in the history of the BCS and TV ratings too.
All I’m saying is this; other national powers, including Alabama the prohibitive favorite to face the Irish for the BCS Championship have had slumps and no, Notre Dame isn’t going to run off with multiple national championships, like in the 40s and 60s. But the Irish are still the Irish and the game is at its best when the blue bloods of the sport are winning.
Notre Dame is among that group, it’s time to stop hating and accept it.
Lady Govs swat Hornets to wrap Bama Bash stay
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team wrapped up its stay at the Hampton Inn Bama Bash with a three-set victory (25-8, 25-18, 25-15) Saturday against Alabama StatE at Foster Auditorium.
Austin Peay (5-9) led the first and third sets wire-to-wire. The Lady Govs secured a 25-8 first-set win with seven kills – four coming from senior outside hitter Nikki Doyle – and three service aces. The Lady Govs needed 11 kills to post a 25-15 third-set victory, including five from sophomore outside hitter Jada Stotts.
Alabama State (0-11) tested Austin Peay in the second set, forcing seven ties and two lead changes. However, the last of those ties came at 7-7 and Austin Peay used a 7-2 run to break the set open. The Lady Govs closed the set with a 9-4 run to secure the 25-18 win.
“I believe the pieces are starting to come together,” said Lady Govs head coach Taylor Mott. “We played hard on every point this weekend. This is the team I want to show up every time.”
Doyle led Austin Peay’s offense with nine kills while Stotts and junior middle blocker Lauren Henderson each added eight kills. The Lady Govs needed 34 kills in the win and posted a .394 attack percentage.
Amber Bennett led Alabama State with eight kills. The Hornets finished with 27 kills and a .111 attack percentage.
Stotts and sophomore setter Cami Fields were named to the all-tournament team. Stotts scored 57 kills in four tournament matches and posted a .347 attack percentage. Fields finished with 140 assists (10.77 assists per set) and the Lady Govs posted a .312 team attack percentage behind her setting performance.
Austin Peay returns to Tennessee and will wrap up a season-opening 15-match roadtrip with a 7 p.m., Tuesday contest at Middle Tennessee.
Lady Govs clip Cardinals behind Henderson’s five aces
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team didn’t show the effects of a short turnaround at the Hampton Inn Bama Bash, downing Lamar in three sets (25-9, 25-23, 25-16) Saturday morning at Foster Auditorium.
Austin Peay (4-9) returned to the court less than 12 hours after a hard-fought four-set loss to Alabama Friday night. Instead, it roared out of the gates with an impressive 25-9 first set victory against Lamar. The Lady Govs needed only eight kills in the set as they scored an impressive seven service aces, including five by junior middle blocker Lauren Henderson.
Lamar (7-6) bounced back in the second set, but only after finding itself in a five-point, 15-10, hole as Austin Peay dominated the early going. The Cardinals would get back within one point, 21-20, but could not get closer as the Lady Govs held on for the 25-23 win.
The third set was close early with 12 ties and five lead changes in the first 30 points and Lamar held a 14-12 lead. But a 6-0 Austin Peay run turned the tide and a final 6-0 run finished the job in a 25-16 match-ending set win.
“We executed our offense well this morning,” said Lady Govs head coach Taylor Mott. “Lauren got on a roll serving in set one and really gave us momentum. Jada continues to excel offensively and our middles came up big as well. I can’t say enough about the job Cami has done this weekend, she continues to make smart setting decisions.”
Henderson finished with eight kills and five service aces to lead Austin Peay. Senior outside hitter Nikki Doyle posted a team-best 12 kills and sophomore outside hitter Jada Stotts chipped in 10 kills. Austin Peay recorded 37 kills and a .301 attack percentage in the win.
Lamar was held to 22 kills and a .049 attack percentage as Austin Peay recorded 38 digs and five blocks. Sierra Whittaker led the Cardinals with seven kills.
The Bowl Championship Series is expected to be replaced by a seeded, four-team playoff chosen by a committee at the end of the 2013 season.
Sometimes you have to settle and life proves that you don’t always get want you want.
With that said, college football made a big step with the announcement that its expected to employ a seeded four-team playoff model when the current and generally hated BCS ends after the 2014 season.
The announcement came Wednesday night that the anticipated playoff would include the bowl system and that a host city would bid for the championship game.
The most intriguing is that the four teams would be selected by a committee and that being a conference champion is not a requirement.
Realistically, Division I Bowl Division Football should have at least a seeded eight-team playoff — my preference is a 16-team model, and let’s not forget the FCS level has a 20-team playoff and could go to 24 in 2013 — that awards the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Pac 12, Big East and Big 10 champions automatic bids with two wildcards.
To me that makes everyone happy. And if you’re not high on the Big East anymore, you could go to three wildcards. Problem solved!
With a 16-team playoff, you could give AQs to all 11 conference champions and then have five wildcards. Are we having fun yet?
You could still have bowls played around whatever model you chose, the regular season would still mean something.
But going with four teams is OK. Just not great.
And here’s why, this year I think everyone would agree with LSU and Alabama. But the Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon and Boise State all would be fine and fair possibilities for the other two spots.
In 2010, it would have been worse with the final regular season AP Poll top seven of No. 1. Auburn (13-0), No. 2. Oregon (12-0), No. 3 TCU (12-0), No. 4 Wisconsin (11-1), No. 5 Stanford (11-1), No. 6 Ohio State (11-1), No. 7 Michigan State (11-1).
So with eight there really would never be an undeserving team that would get left out and certainly not with 16. Ok, yes there could always be some argument over the field, because like with the Men’s Basketball 68-team bracket there are always a few teams that could go either way. But most years it’s easy to figure out the best eight teams in football and again the 16-team model is great because it gives the little guy a chance like in basketball, baseball and virtually every other sport that’s sponsored by the NCAA with a tournament/playoffs.
So if anything at least college football is moving into the 21 Century in selecting a champion. through a playoff. I don’t think the BCS got it wrong too often, but to me the best thing about college sports are the postseason tournaments.
And by the way, imagine how much money there could be had through a television contract. Can someone say cha-ching!
With the NFL Draft getting underway Thursday night in New York City, James Horne and Wade Neely of ‘From the Sideline’, Colby Wilson of Clarksville Sports Network and George Robinson of The Leaf Chronicle showed their draft day prowess in a first-round mock draft.
2012 ‘From the Sideline’ Mock Draft
No. 1 – Indianapolis Colts (James Horne): Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
No. 2 – Washington Redskins (Wade Neely): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
No. 3 – Minnesota Vikings (Colby Wilson): Matt Kalil, OT, USC
No. 4 – Cleveland Browns (George Robinson): Justin Blackmon, WR, Ok. State
No. 5 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (James Horne): Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
No. 6 – St. Louis Rams (Wade Neely): Mo Claiborne, DB, LSU
No. 7 – Jacksonville Jaguars (Colby Wilson): Fletcher Cox, DT, Miss. State
No. 8 – Miami Dolphins (George Robinson): Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
No. 9 – Carolina Panthers (Wade Neely): Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
No. 10 – Buffalo Bills (Colby Wilson): Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
No. 11 – Kansas City Chiefs (George Robinson): David DeCastro, G, Stanford
No. 12 – Seattle Seahawks (James Horne): Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
No. 13 – Arizona Cardinals (Wade Neely): Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
No. 14 – Dallas Cowboys (Colby Wilson): Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
No. 15 – Philadelphia Eagles (George Robinson): Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
No. 16 – New York Jets (Wade Neely): Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
No. 17 – Cincinnati Bengals (James Horne): Mark Barron, S, Alabama
No. 18 – San Diego Chargers (Colby Wilson): Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
No. 19 – Chicago Bears (George Robinson): Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
No. 20 – Tennessee Titans (Wade Neely): Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
No. 21 – Cincinnati Bengals (James Horne): Dre Kilpatrick, DB, Alabama
No. 22 – Cleveland Browns (Colby Wilson): Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
No. 23 – Detroit Lions (George Robinson): Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama
No. 24 – Piitsburgh Steelers (James Horne): Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama
No. 25 – Denver Broncos (Wade Neely): Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia
No. 26 – Houston Texans (Colby Wilson): Shea McClellan, DE, Boise State
No. 27 – New England Patriots (George Robinson): Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
No. 28 – Green Bay Packers (James Horne): David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
No. 29 – Baltimore Ravens (Wade Neely): Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
No. 30 – San Francisco 49ers (Colby Wilson): Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
No. 31 – New England Patriots (James Horne): Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
No. 32 – New York Giants (Colby Wilson): Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina
On April 1, a Sunday motorcycle ride ultimately ended with Bobby Petrino lying injured in a roadside ditch.
And, after nine days of lies and deception about a 25-year-old mistress, Petrino is not only recovering from his injuries, he’s looking for a new job.
On Tuesday night, after a meeting with Petrino, Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long announced that he had fired the coach that led the Razorbacks to their first-ever BCS Bowl appearance.
And while it was undoubtedly a tough decision for Long to make, it was one that had to be made.
As facts began to leak out about Petrino’s April Fool’s Day joy ride, it became clear that the 51-year-old coach was not the lone passenger on the motorcycle that Sunday afternoon.
Instead, Petrino was joined by 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell – who Petrino later admitted to be his mistress.
That alone could have been grounds to remove Petrino as head coach.
In fact, if Petrino hadn’t amassed a 34-17 record over four seasons in Fayetteville and had the Hogs in position to be a contender for the 2013 BCS National Championship, he probably would have been removed last week.
“Coach Petrino knowingly misled the university and athletic department about the circumstances of his accident,” Long said in a statement as he spoke to reporters in the Bud Walton Arena.
“There are a number of things (that led to Petrino’s dismissal), but I think casting a negative light onto our program, university and athletic program was one of the more key factors.”
You know what else casts a negative light on your university?
When Petrino brings his mistress on as a staff employee.
Through the course of the press conference, Long revealed that Petrino directly oversaw the hiring process and eventually hand-picked Dorrell out of 159 applicants to become Razorback Foundation Assistant Director.
Long also revealed that Petrino gave Dorrell $20,000 of his own cash.
What a mess.
Now, in addition to explaining to fans, boosters and trustees that his coach told bold-faced lies to athletic administrators and university officials, Long was also faced with explaining an interoffice romance between Petrino and his mistress?
Imagine Petrino sitting in a recruit’s home telling his parents why he should sign to play for the Razorbacks next season?
And since Petrino’s contract included a morals or ‘conduct unbecoming to the university’ clause, that’s all Long really needed to send Petrino packing.
Termination with cause. No buyout. Bobby Petrino won’t get a single cent.
And while it will be difficult to find a replacement for Petrino on short notice – especially one of Petrino’s caliber – Long said he will begin the search immediately.
Given Petrino’s blatant jeopardization of the integrity of the football offices and direct insubordination, it’s easy to see why Long had to let one of college football’s best coaches go.
In the end, Bobby Petrino thought he was bigger than the university.
And as Long (a Bo Schembechler disciple) said Tuesday night:
“No individual can be bigger than the team, the Razorback football program, or the University of Arkansas.”
MOBILE, Ala. – Austin Peay State University women’s tennis team lost its second straight match this one to South Alabama 5-2 Thursday at the Bruce David Lubel Memorial Tennis Courts.
The Lady Govs fell to 2-9 while South Alabama improved to 6-4 overall.
Senior Vanja Tomic won her ninth-straight match at No. 1 singles, being pushed to three sets by South Alabama’s Alina Volman. Alison Carre picked up the Lady Govs only other win, taking straight sets from USA’s Chane Hines at No. 3 singles.
In doubles action, it was Tomic and Carre earning the Lady Govs only win at No. 1 doubles, 8-4, against Volman and Mariya Krachok. Tomic and Carre have now won four consecutive matches at No. 1 doubles.
Austin Peay will wrap up its Spring Break Trip at 2 p.m. Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette.
(File photo) -- Austin Peay's Vanja Tomic
South Alabama 5, Austin Peay 2
1. TOMIC, Vanja (APSUW) def. Volman, Alina (USA) 6-2, 2-6, 6-2
2. Ghermani, Ramona (USA) def. Di SALVO, Ornella (APSUW) 6-4, 6-1
3. CARRE, Alison (APSUW) def. Hines, Chane (USA) 6-1, 6-0
4. Martin, Mary Angela (USA) def. CORNEA, Andra (APSUW) 7-5, 6-1
5. Newton, Emily (USA) def. TAVAREZ, Vanessa (APSUW) 6-1, 6-0
6. Krachok, Mariya (USA) def. KARAK, Jovana (APSUW) 6-2, 6-0
1. TOMIC, Vanja/CARRE, Alison (APSUW) def. Volman, Alina/Krachok, Mariya (USA) 8-4
2. Hines, Chane/Newton, Emily (USA) def. Di SALVO, Ornella/CORNEA, Andra (APSUW) 8-3
3. Ghermani, Ramona/Martin, Mary Angela (USA) def. KARAK, Jovana/TAVAREZ, Vanessa (APSUW) 8-0
Govs fall to South Alabama
MOBILE, Ala. – Austin Peay State University men’s tennis lost a hard-fought battle with South Alabama 4-1 Thursday.
While the Govs walked won only one match against the ITA-ranked No. 42 Jaguars, they managed to force a trio of three-set matches. Junior Sean Bailey picked up the Govs only win, handing Romain Bocaert his second loss in five matches.
Austin Peay fared well in singles play against the nationally-ranked Jaguars. Freshman Dimitar Ristovski won the second set against Daniel Leitner while fellow freshman Aleksas Tverijonas also won the second set at No. 4 singles. The bottom two singles matches were left unfinished due to time restraints.
In doubles action, the Govs battled in all three matches. Seffrin and Tverijonas lost 8-4 at No. 3 doubles, while Bailey and Ristovski lost 8-6 at No. 1 doubles. The final doubles match ended in a 9-7 loss by junior John Storie and sophomore Jasmin Ademovic.
This was the final match of the Govs Spring Break trip. They return to action with the start of Ohio Valley Conference play against SIU Edwardsville, March 17.
No. 42 South Alabama 4, Austin Peay 1
1. BAILEY, Sean (APSU) def. Bocaert, Romain (USA) 6-2, 7-6
2. Bernard, Alex (USA) def. ADEMOVIC, Jasmin (APSU) 6-7, 6-4, 3-0, retired
3. Leitner, Daniel (USA) def. RISTOVSKI, Dimitar (APSU) 6-1, 5-7, 6-3
4. Hall, Cody (USA) def. TVERIJONAS, Aleksas (APSU) 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
5. Gregor, Blake (USA) vs. SEFFRIN, Iago (APSU) 6-4, unfinished
6. Kruger, Dauw (USA) vs. STORIE, John (APSU) 6-2, 1-0, unfinished
1. Bocaert, Romain/Bernard, Alex (USA) def. BAILEY, Sean/RISTOVSKI, Dimitar (APSU) 8-6
2. Bartsch, Hanno/Kuehne, Christian (USA) def. STORIE, John/ADEMOVIC, Jasmin (APSU) 9-7
3. Leitner, Daniel/Hall, Cody (USA) def. SEFFRIN, Iago/TVERIJONAS, Aleksas (APSU) 8-4