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Notre Dame San Diego State

College Football predictions

Today is opening day for my two favorite teams, Notre Dame & San Diego State. Here are my predictions on their seasons.

  1. Notre Dame – The Irish have a tough schedule. The first five games are as tough a schedule as you’ll see anywhere because teams always “play up” for Notre Dame and their National TV audience. If you look at their order of schedule and the style of football each team plays… it’s really hard to adjust. This team is better, but not quite of the power to roll over teams just yet. I think they will handle USF today and Michigan next week, stumble at home to Michigan State and again at Pitt. But then go on a bit of a tear until and beat Purdue, Air Force, and USC. Then they will lose to Navy before beating Wake, Maryland, and Boston College. Then we’ll see how good they are in November at Stanford. If Andrew Luck is healthy they will be tough to beat. Overall- I’m seeing 8-4 and a trip to the lowest BCS game. (It’s about money, friends.)
  2. San Diego State – Last season, the secret weapon was the defense which made the offense look better than they really were.. They’ve leveled up a bit on D. But I think the combination of Rocky Long (a defensive-minded guy) and the flip-flop from a talented WR core to an all rookie one will kill their ability to move the ball. Ryan Lindley is a great pocket passer. He’ll need to depend less on the long ball and more on short passes and screen with the weapons he has available. Ronnie Hillman, if he is healthy, is explosive and rips yards off in a Barry Sanders kind of method. He’ll got 2-3 yards at a time, then rip off 25 when you aren’t looking. That will all depend on their ability to spread teams out with WR and TE. The opposite of the Irish, they have some playing styles with opponents that will help them. Secret weapon of the Aztecs? Kicking. Holy cow they have guys who can kick it miles. Remember last years 88 yard punt in New Mexico? I think they’ll beat Cal Poly and Army before losing to Washington State, Michigan, and TCU. Then they’ll win four in a row against Air Force, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Colorado State. They’ll get pounded by Boise State and then beat Fresno and UNLV. As long as Hillman and Lindley stay healthy they will be 8-4 and play again in the Poinsettia Bowl.

Other thoughts on college football, in general.

We need to see some teeth from the NCAA. Both Ohio State and Miami deserve the death penalty. Their fans disagree. But the reality is that they completely ignored NCAA rules and made a mockery of the whole thing. I think USC got off easy and it’s awesome they can’t get ranked in the coaches poll. (If only Pete Carroll had gotten punished…)

I hope the Mountain West defectors get pounded this year. TCU lost to Baylor last night. I hope Utah loses 8 games in the Pac-12. And BYU has just become BY-Who? (Who do they think they are to go independent? They are no Texas or Notre Dame.) None of the Mountain West teams want to schedule them. (I see one MWC game on this years schedule. What’s that tell you about the cheating they do?) Speaking of, I heard Texas A&M is looking for a conference home. I hope they jump on the bandwagon for next season with Fresno State, Nevada, and Hawaii.

Is it the year of the Ducks? They sure are fun to watch. And I’d love to see the tomahawk chop back in prominence in Tallahassee. If you just look at the mascots… it’s a great year. Could it be a BCS game of the cowboys vs. indians? (Oklahoma State vs. Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl?)

Categories
Notre Dame Sports

College Football Season is Here

All summer I’ve waited for college football. With the NBA and NHL completely irrelevant to me, both Phil and Tiger non-competitive on the PGA Tour, and MLB failing to find a storyline to draw me in, it’s been quite a sports draught since the end of the World Cup. In truth, I stop caring for the World Cup when the United States was eliminated.

Back to football.

This is a turning point year for the team college football teams I am most vested in.

San Diego State University

I’m not a native fan. But SDSU is a couple blocks from my house and for less than $200 I was able to get season tickets on the 50 yard line. (This year I moved back about 5 rows for a better view)

With second-year coach Brady Hoke settling in the Aztecs were noticeably better last year. There is a tremendous amount of talent in high school football in Southern California and Hoke knows that if he can put a winning team on the field, establish some tradition, and get a couple players drafted high he can pull a lot more talent from the area. So I was excited to see that Hoke has added a couple of traditions for this year. Before they open against Nicholls State tomorrow players will make the “Warrior Walk” from the bus to the stadium. It’s not much, but it is a step towards creating a football feel around town.

With a veteran QB in Ryan Lindley and star WR Vincent Brown… it will be clear that the Aztecs can move the ball. The question will be if they can hold teams under 20 points.

My prediction: They will go 7-5, but will include one showcase victory against either BYU, Utah, or TCU.

University of Notre Dame

Photo by Ryan Greenberg via Flick (Creative Commons)

Growing up near the campus has secured me as a life-long fan. And as a life-long fan it has been a tough decade. As much as I liked Charlie Weis and was sad to see him let go I think everyone knew he had given up and didn’t have any solutions to get the Irish back to prominence.

In came Brian Kelly. A proven winner at every level of college football yet desiring the one thing that has alluded him– a BCS Championship. He seems to have figured out what both Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis missed, that winning and losing is only half the battle in South Bend. More than just winning and losing, the head football coach in the ambassador of the county’s largest employer. It’s a very big deal that the locals like coach Kelly.

Two categories separated Notre Dame from a BCS bowl appearance last year. Their pass defense was horrid. And their red zone TD percentage was embarrassing. As I’ve kept tabs on the news stories it has become clear that these were points of emphasis for the new coach. Let’s hope they can get in the top 50 in both of these categories.

Coach Kelly’s offensive scheme doesn’t really depend on talent at every position. He’s always lacked talent and found ways to win. It’s a fast-paced style that will confuse most of their early opponents. Even if Dayne Crist is mediocre as a starting quarterback, TE Kyle Rudolph and WR Michael Floyd are NFL quality and will score a lot of points. The key to the offense working is preventing the defense from loading up outside the box and slowing down the pass game by successfully running the ball and controlling the clock. It concerns me that the Irish are weak at RB.

Another concern about Notre Dame this year is their lack of away games. While Notre Dame is an amazing place to play college football, it is actually a tough place for the Irish to win because of the national TV coverage. They only go on the road to play Michigan State, Boston College, and USC. In recent years they have gotten pounded at those stadiums. Their only hope for those games is at USC. With fewer professional athletes on the field USC’s offense was fine last night, but giving up 36 points to Hawaii shows they are a joke. The tradition lately has been that first-year coaches win 10 games. But I think Kelly is on more of a Lou Holtz trajectory than a Tyrone Willingham one. With a new QB and a completely new system, I see the Irish struggling early and often. (Unless the pace just outsmarts people)

My prediciton: They go 8-4 and advance to a the Gator Bowl to play Cincinnati. I think they start off their first 5 games 2-3 but rally later with a schedule that includes Navy, Army, Tulsa, and Western Michigan. I do think they beat Michigan and USC– which makes him a winner in South Bend no matter what.

USC sidenote: Anyone give Kiffin more than 2 years? That dude’s mouth would make Bob Knight blush. And how many more weeks until the NCAA reveals that Pete Carroll is under investigation? I have a feeling they have the death penalty coming.

Categories
Marketing Web/Tech

2008 Buzz Words to Watch

2008 Buzz WordsLet’s review the buzz words of 2007, then I’ll provide 5 buzz words to look out for in 2008. (Weighted towards internet stuff)

Web 2.0, Digg.com, social networking, twitter/tweet, viral marketing, Mac, offline relationship, Facebook, search engine optimization, widgets, add value, and text lingo.

  1. Micro– Social networks, blog networks, online advertising, and a whole lot more are going to be gearing more and more to tiny, micro sized everything geared at your interest. You’ll see online marketing getting extremely exact and precise determined by your marketing niche. Macro-stuff like Digg.com will give way to micro-stuff like Mixx.com.
  2. Video– 2007 saw a huge uptick in video content on the web as broadband internet connections become as normal as dial-up used to be. In 2008 and beyond you will see more video podcasting and a lot more “little videos” that explain how to do just about everything. Watch as micro-producers get better and better and watch out for websites popping up that are going to make creating broadcast quality videos accessible to all. YouTube will still be hot. But watch for a video production site to pop-up.
  3. Mobile apps– Smartphones and the next generation of iPhone will bring power to the mobile phone as their prices get cheaper. Broadband for mobile! Any website worth its server space will offer a mobile app to your micro-network and video content.
  4. Campaign fatigue– It’s December 31st, 2007. With 300+ days until the election people are tired of the election coverage. Expect to hear about campaign fatigue negatively impacting voters attitudes late Spring.

What do you think buzz words will be in 2008? What about words for 2007, what did I miss?