Bloguin Around With In The Bleachers

We are kicking off a new feature here at Subway Domer. It has come to my attention that Fighting irish fans don’t always see the whole picture. [Pause for nervous laughter] It is in that spirit, that I have decided to use the resources that are spread all over the Bloguin Network- and talk some college football. I’m not sure how often this feature will appear, but it may be a pretty regular occurance during the offseason.

Who better to kick this off, than Mike Felder over at In The Bleachers. I have been a guest on his award-winning podcast several times, and I follow him on the daily on Twitter (@InTheBleachers) as he breaks down college football, morning television, and ABC Family. Honestly, your football blogosphere is incomplete without him.

Let’s do this:

1. Bowl season is about to get started. What are the two games (other than the BCS Championship Game) that you have gots to watch? Also, give these Irish fans your prediction for the Champs Sports Bowl.

The two games that stand out for me, outside of the obvious title game, are the Sugar and TicketCity bowls. In Sugar I’m excited to see the ACC get a second team in and a pretty interesting match up in NOLA. Michigan in their first BCS Bowl game since 2006’s Rose Bowl and the Wolverines have a chance to get a much needed big win against a respected out of conference opponent. Virginia Tech has a shot at taking down one of the long time fixtures in college football as they are still looking to grow their star on the CFB landscape.

In the TicketCity game we’ve got Houston taking on Penn State. Two teams with bruised egos and honestly I think this game could be one of those “damn, we should have seen this coming” moments if Penn State’s coaching staff doesn’t get their players minds wrapped around the idea of Houston beating them. Houston’s got a chip on their shoulder to go with the bruised ego, while Penn State has been complaining about falling to this bowl game on account of the little, er, public relations issue they have become.

Orlando should be a fun one with this year for the Irish and the Noles folks as they get together for the first time in a while for a little football game. Last year Notre Dame took on Miami in the Sun Bowl, this year it is Florida State in the Champs. Unfortunately I doubt the outcome is the same, Florida State was a lot better than Miami a year ago and they’re a lot better now. Expect a different type of ball game than what the Canes gave Notre Dame a year ago. This FSU squad is talented, their fast and Jimbo has them ready to ball.

2. From March to now, this season has been one of the weirder ones that I can ever remember. Conference realignment, NCAA violations, coaching fires, a scandal at Penn State, and much, much more. What the hell is going on? Did any of this off the field stuff “taint” the season for you? How will you remember the 2011 season?

Only the Penn State stuff was an oddity to me; the realignment is something we’ve seen coming for awhile, NCAA violations are business as usual and coaches are hired to get fired. Seeing as Penn State is a case about child abuse and institutional cover-up it doesn’t have as much to do with football for me as it does to others. Really this is all old hat for folks who’ve been close to the game.

For me 2011 is going to be, hopefully, the year people finally get the point that defense needs to come to your party if you want a freaking title shot. Stop the BS “I’ll outscore you” logic that has polluted the game and bring a defense to the party. Don’t attempt to reinvent the wheel folks; play some damn defense, tackle people, get sound in your technique, cover your area and/or your man and put talent on that side of the ball.

That’s 2011 to me.

3. Recently, I have become a STRONG advocate for Notre Dame to the ACC. For me, nothing else even has to change- I want ND in the ACC as a full member in ALL sports. What are your thoughts on this? Do you see this as a real possibility? Is it a good fit for both ND and the ACC? Discuss, discuss, discuss!!!

Come on in sirs. I think it is clear the ACC would welcome Notre Dame with open arms. From a football standpoint it would be interesting to see how many of the long time ND series would be kept given a conference schedule. On the non-revs side of things, which I am an admitted sucker for, we’d have you guys all set up besides hockey. Lacrosse, soccer and all the rest would be a great addition to the league. Oh and we’d welcome you all to real actual baseball play.

4. 3 for 1:

  • What are your thoughts on RG3 winning the Heisman? 
  • The Oklahoma State “snub”? 
  • The BCS Championship Game (with prediction)?

 Love RG3 winning the Heisman! He was, in my opinion, one of the two best football players in the nation this season; Mathieu being the other. He deserved it and how about him giving the Baylor recruiting pitch on national TV? That’s big time.

It isn’t a snub when you’re not as good. Oklahoma State is better than Alabama at exactly one thing on the football field; throwing the football. They aren’t better at running the ball, they aren’t better at stopping the run, they aren’t better at stopping the pass and their special teams are not better than the Tide’s. They are not as good of a football team. Period.

Love this title game. For a guy like me, this is the creme de la creme of football. Two great defenses that are so very different squaring off on the biggest stage in our sport. Watching the nuance and how they try to pick each other apart is going to be fun. Right now I’m riding with LSU on the strength of Jordan Jefferson and the issues 11-man football causes for the Tide.

5. You are a North Carolina guy. You played for the Heels and you cheer them on each Saturday. Discuss your school. Spin a tale if you will- anything goes.

For me the story of UNC will be who we hire as the defensive coordinator and the staff surrounding that side of the ball. Larry Fedora is not the guy I wanted, I’m not a fan of the spread, so I’ve already come to terms with not being a big fan of the offense. On defense Fedora needs a guy with some balls. A guy in the same vein as Kevin Steele at Clemson or Charlie Strong during the Florida years that is capable of telling the head coach, “get out of my meeting/off my practice field, I got this.” Someone who is capable of designing the gameplan himself and most importantly is willing to fight to get his own guys.

There’s a reason the defenses in certain conferences suck as a collective. It isn’t coaching or scheme or the offensive potency; it’s simply the fact that the best players are all on offense. In a system where the head coach is so wholly invested in scoring points so much of the recruiting is driven towards filling his coffers with talent. It takes a true badass leader on defense to tell a coach “no, I need this 6’2″ four star wide receiver/safety that runs a 4.4 to play defense, not another guy playing the X in a rotation on offense.”

BONUS: What are your general feelings about the Irish?

I like them to be honest. Still not much of a Brian Kelly fan personally but as a football team I think they got close several times and really are just two games away from being in BCS Bowl. The first two games not the USC and Stanford contests. If the Irish come out of the gate safe with the football against South Florida and stop Shoelace that second Saturday in Ann Arbor then we’re talking about a 10-2 football team that could be lining up against Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl instead of heading to Orlando.


About The Subway Domer

Warlord and Emperor of the Subway Alumni... also, I do this "dad" thing pretty damn well.