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5 Thoughts - The Notre Dame Fallacy
Notre Dame QB Evan Sharpley
From not falling for the SEC hype, to all the officiating problems, to the LSU thrill ride, to the ongoing love always given to anyone who beats Notre Dame, check out the CFN 5 Thoughts.
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When parity might equal
you want to beef about Ohio State being No. 1 in an
awful year for the Big Ten, I’ll join the discussion. If
you want to dog the Big 12 for being awful, and Oklahoma
the flaky leader of the bunch, let's rap. If you want to
start ripping on the Pac 10, well, I can’t help you if
Arizona State plays past your bedtime and you can't find
the Oregon games, but the league isn't the SEC. With
that said, there's no reason to just assume the top SEC
teams deserve any special consideration this year just
because they're in the SEC.
Yes, the SEC is the best conference in America, and it’s
not even debatable. Why? From LSU to Ole Miss, there’s
not a total dog among the 12. That’s where the respect,
at least this year, has to stop. Just like you shouldn't
rip on Big Ten teams when they start beating on each
other, you can't over-inflate the SEC teams just because
they play classics week after week..
Everyone couldn’t dump on South Florida fast enough
after it lost a tough, nationally televised road game
against Rutgers. Didn’t the Bulls beat Auburn at Auburn?
Didn’t Auburn lose to Mississippi State? Didn’t the West
Virginia team USF beat just destroy Mississippi State?
Everyone has done a Peter Pan off the Cal bandwagon
after two straight losses to Oregon State and UCLA.
Didn’t the Bears beat Tennessee rather easily?
Everyone has made it fashionable to dump on Florida
State after losses to Wake Forest and Miami. Isn’t this
the same team that beat Alabama just a few weeks ago?
Stop making hotel arrangements for LSU for New Orleans
in the first week of January, like the loss to Kentucky
didn’t exist. Yes, if LSU wins out, I'll be the first to
say it belongs in the national championship if no one
else is unbeaten, but the defense appears very, very
beatable by an above average offense. I'm sorry, but
it's Kentucky, not the 1995 Huskers. That's why, after
the win over UK, I don't want to hear any Florida
national title talk, and it's not just because of the
two losses. Who’s the best win over, Tennessee?
Kentucky? Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Arkansas,
South Carolina … throw them all in a vat of the
above-average and move on.
With that said, next year, oh … my … goodness. Then
the SEC will be unbelievable. Then it’ll be
time for everyone to get out the ChapStick for the
butt-kissing that’ll be done from pillar-to-post when
most of these teams are more experienced. Until then, go
ahead and give the SEC its just due respect, again, it's
the best league in the nation by far, but don't just
assume the teams are all that much better than the top
teams from everywhere else.
Enjoy the 2007 LSU
Hollywood. You can keep your daytime soaps. No one these days is
capable of delivering more drama than the LSU Tigers, a program that’s
played one of the wildest, most exhilarating three-game stretches in
college football history. Two weeks ago, the Tigers scored 14
unanswered points in the final quarter to beat Florida. A week ago,
they go down to Kentucky in a three-overtime thriller. And on Saturday,
they may have topped even themselves, spurning a potential game-tying
field goal in the waning seconds for a game-winning touchdown pass from
Matt Flynn to Demetrius Byrd, beating Auburn. The decision by Les Miles
to go for the jugular with a timeout left in the quiver was gutsy,
memorable, and borderline insane. It very likely, however, would not
have prevented LSU from getting a crack at a field goal after all.
While everyone is feeding you the fact that the Tigers scored with one
tick left in regulation, that’s technically not accurate. Watch the
tape. Byrd is on his back in the rear of the end zone with the ball
secured with four seconds left on the clock. He rolls through the end
zone at three seconds, and is standing up at two ticks, saluting the
frenzied home crowd. The clock then moves to one second, but that was
long after the play had ended. Although Miles’ call was curious and up
for a ton of scrutiny, even if Byrd briefly bobbled the ball, a review
almost certainly would have added time to the clock, giving Colt David
an opportunity to kick for the tie.
Now the Tigers can return to some degree of normalcy, right? Forget
it. After a well-deserved bye week, they’ll head to Tuscaloosa to play
former boss Nick Saban and an Alabama team that’s tied with LSU atop the
SEC West. Make a little more room in the 2007 time capsule…LSU and the
SEC might have another instant classic in store for a nation that’s been
on the edge of its seat every time they’ve played over the last month.
Oh those zebras
3. It’s hard in some sense to have a true respect for all that
college officials have to handle during a 60 minute highly intense
college football game, but this past week the officiating was as
blatantly bad as any week I’ve ever seen.
Start in the UConn win over Louisville on Friday night. How could seven
sets of eyes miss Larry Taylor wave his arms to signal a fair catch and
watch both Louisville and U Conn players stop playing once he caught the
ball, without blowing the whistle? One play doesn’t determine the
outcome, but that one was a bit absurd. And, it wasn’t an isolated
The LSU-Auburn had at
least three horrid calls. However, it was a non-call on the obvious
chop block on soon-to-be millionaire Glenn Dorsey that irritated me (and
I’m sure many others in purple and gold). Some nasty stuff goes on in
piles and scrums on the field, but this incident occurred right in front
of the umpire who was looking right at it and didn’t call anything.
Costing a team a game is one thing (see U Conn/Louisville), but watching
a kid get blatantly chopped, a potentially career-ending move, and
nothing’s called?!? That’s horrible! The thing that is most bothersome
is that it’s not like a ref needs to be a rocket scientist, especially
on the aforementioned missed calls.
People, it's just Notre Dame
no, I know what you’re thinking, and I know it’s
tempting, but you're going to make the same mistake. Let
me stop you.
Don’t fall for the Notre Dame opponent hype.
Ohio State beat the Irish with ease in the 2006 Fiesta
Bowl, and was basically anointed the number one spot in
the nation the following season because of it. LSU
obliterated the Irish 41-14 in the 2007 Sugar Bowl, and
now pollsters and media types are giving the Tigers the
benefit of every doubt ever since. Why? Because like it
or not, everyone watches Notre Dame.
Heck, Michigan has lived off the hype from the Notre
Dame wins over the past few years. Its 2006 season got
kickstarted by blowing out the overhyped, overrated
Irish 47-21, and everyone believed Michigan was a
juggernaut. The hype only snowballed against the average
Big Ten schedule until Ohio State and USC showed
It’s happening again now. Michigan’s craptacular season
turned around when Mike Hart guaranteed a win over the
Irish, which is sort of like guaranteeing you’ll get run
over by Britney if you take pictures of her car long
enough. Penn State, Georgia Tech, Michigan State and
Purdue all got too much love after beating the Irish,
and now, people are starting to buy into USC again
because of a blowout win over the hapless South Benders.
USC might actually turn out to be USC again once it
starts to get healthy, but for the love of a Charlie
Weis haircut, don’t start thinking the Trojans are
“back” off this win. Just one week ago, USC stunk it up
in a win over Arizona, and it was just two weeks ago
when it lost to Stanford.
At the moment, USC still has to be viewed as just
another team until it goes out and proves otherwise.
Winning at Oregon would do that. Now, if Navy breaks its
43-game losing streak to the Irish, then you can
hype it up all you want.
Oh those zebras, part two
5. To the people who run
college football, its respective conferences, and the replay system
throughout the sport, a very simple plea:
Starting next year, replay must be able to review anything and
everything, anytime and all the time, in every game, in every
After Friday's Louisville-Connecticut game, the need for complete
and unfettered replay jurisdiction (brought to national attention
the previous weekend by a string of replay controversies) has been
made obvious, if not more than obvious.
If you didn't see it or read about it, here's the play that should
reform replay jurisdiction/governance issues forever and ever in
Louisville punted to Connecticut. The return man clearly waved his
hand in the air to signal for a fair catch. The returner ran,
however, after catching the ball.
Delay of game penalty, right? Wrong. The officials missed the call.
Here's where it gets better: if you're a properly-trained kick cover
man, you're obviously not supposed to hit the return man if he
signals for a fair catch. Don't want to give up 15 cheap yards,
right? Well, that's exactly what Louisville's cover men did--they
refrained from making contact, as they were coached to do.
This meant that when the Connecticut return man started running, he
kept running and running... all the way to the end zone. Louisville
allowed the run to the end zone because... well... the runner made a
fair catch signal before catching the punt.
Still following this?
Here's the whopper: for some ridiculous and unexplained reason,
determining a fair catch signal on a punt isn't subject to replay
review. (Just who the hell makes these arbitrary rules, anyway?
Hopefully, they'll be dead and gone after this season.)
Connecticut, then, got a cheap touchdown--actually, a free
touchdown--while Louisville players and coaches did all the right
things. In fact, the touchdown occurred BECAUSE Louisville players
and coaches did all the right things. The replay setup in college
football--as currently structured--presided over one of the greatest
miscarriages of football justice ever seen in the sport's 138-year
Next year, replay must be able to review EVERYTHING at ALL TIMES.
Anything less would not just be uncivilized. Anything less would be
criminally unfair to all the people who play and coach college
football... and to the officials on the field who, if backed up by
fairer replay review provisions, would also look better as well.