Monday, 2 July 2012

Odds stacked against Notre Dame in 2012

2012: A season full of uncertainty
Once the 2012 Notre Dame football season wraps up in Southern California in late November, it is not inconceivable that the Fighting Irish will have faced the Heisman Trophy winner, Matt Barkley or Landry Jones or Denard Robinson, AND the two teams contesting the BCS championship, Oklahoma and USC!

Such is the daunting task ahead of Notre Dame this season, with yet another ultra tough schedule, it is fair to say that Las Vegas are more than generous with their 50/1 price on Brian Kelly lifting the coaches trophy in Miami in January 2013.

Without doing any research while typing this piece, I'd hazard a guess that only two of the 2012 opponents that the Irish will face never made it to a Bowl game in 2011......Navy & Wake Forest.

Notre Dame does not have the luxury of taking on the minnows of the college football world like the BiG 10 out of conference schedules..........Fact: Notre Dame does NOT play any FCS programs.

The 2012 schedule is regarded by many experts as the nations toughest.

If you are an ABND (anyone but Notre Dame) fan, then drop the hating temporarily and go pick out the cupcakes from this lot:

Home Games: BYU, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Stanford, Wake Forest
Away Games: Boston College, Michigan State, Oklahoma, USC
Neutral Site Games: Navy (Ireland), Miami (FL) (Chicago)

Navy (in Ireland) ?
The Middies have won 24 games the past three seasons, and have been the best service academy team over the past 10 years by a country mile. Not to mention that the Irish might be led by a redshirt freshman in Everett Golson.

They won seven games last season and made it to a bowl game.

Boston College?
They put the wind up the Irish last season and are always up for a good ole religious brawl. They also managed to beat NC State and Miami, no slouches there.

Wake Forest?
Ask Florida State about the Demon Deacons. FSU have been on the losing end in four of the past six times in which they have met.

That is the "potential" cupcakes taken care of, the remainder will more than likely all grace the Top 10-15 in the polls at some stage of the season.

Yes, it is a daunting task ahead for Brian Kelly to get the Fighting Irish to a BCS bowl, and if the schedule was not have the issues surrounding the starting QB, the inexperience of the secondary that face the top three QB's in the nation, the need for an emergence of a deep threat at the wideout position.

It's difficult for the most passionate of Irish fans to realistically look at a BCS bid giving the gargantuan task outlined above, but this stage, I'll take the Beno Cook line from last season......if Notre Dame get out of September unblemished......then look out!

Jason is owner and author of and writes for both IrishCentral and domersportsreport You can find Jason on twitter at @jayomahony

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Finally college football has a playoff system beginning in 2014

It is a done deal people!

We will have a playoff system in College Football.

The presidential oversight committee met in Washington on Tuesday to BCS commissioners' plan for a four-team playoff system which will begin in 2014 and run for an estimated 10 years.

The TV package deal has yet to be finalized, but it is expected to be worth in the region of $5 Billion in revenue over the lifetime of the contract.

Fan's of college football have been crying out to the footballing heavens shortly after the inception of the BCS system in 1998.

Controversy flourished in the current BCS system in an attempt to match the number #1 and number #2 ranked teams in the country.

In 2001, for example, Oregon, second ranked in the AP poll, was bypassed in favor of Nebraska despite Nebraska's loss in its final regular season game to the University of Colorado by a score of 62-36.

In 2003, USC was not included in the BCS Championship Game, but beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl and ended up #1 in the Associated Press final poll.

The following season, in 2004, undefeated Auburn University, Boise State University and University of Utah teams were left out of the National Championship Game (the FedEx Orange Bowl), although those teams were undefeated as well.

In 2008, the University of Utah was excluded from the BCS championship for a second time despite being the only undefeated Division I-A team at the end of the season and finished second behind 13–1 Florida.

In 2009, five schools finished the regular season undefeated: Alabama, Texas, Cincinnati, Texas Christian University, and Boise State; however, the BCS selected traditional powers Alabama and Texas to participate in the BCS National Championship Game as they were the top two teams in the BCS rankings.

It was the end of the 2009 season that served as the catalyst in having the powers that be eventually concede to the fact that the BCS solution was flawed and they had to come up with a way to put a fairer and more transparent way to determine the #1 team in the nation.

Not only did the fans voice their discontent with the current BCS selection process, but the controversy had even reached congress. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch asked President Barrack Obama for a probe of the BCS, stating that the postseason selections process violated antitrust law.

President Obama had said at the time he favored a playoff series, as undefeated teams such as the University of Utah, Boise State University and Texas Christian University recently weren’t able to qualify under the BCS system to play for the national title

The proposed system will make such  controversies a lot less frequent......but not impossible. Should five teams remain undefeated, just like the 2009 BCS standings, then we would be faced with similar controversies.

Instead of matching the nation's #1 and #2 teams in a BCS championship game after the regular season, the new format will have two national semifinals where #1 will play #4, and #2 will play #3.

">The sites of those games will rotate among the four current BCS games - Rose, Orange, Fiesta and Sugar with two more bowls that have yet to be determined.

The winner of both semi-finals will contest the National Championship game.

"By making this change we felt we could enhance the regular season but at the same time provide the fans with the kind of postseason that will contribute to the regular season" SEC commissioner Mike Slive said.

Jason writes for IrishCentral and domersportsreport You can find him on twitter at @jayomahony

Brian Kelly allows Tommy Rees to workout with team

Rees cleared for workouts
According to Eric Hanson of the South Bend Tribune, Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly is allowing 2011 starting Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees to participate in summer workouts with the football team.

Rees and fellow team mate Carlo Calabrese were arrested on May 3rd after an off campus party got out of hand which resulted the arrest of the Fighting Irish players.

Many Fighting Irish fans feel that as a result of the arrest, Rees, should be discharged from his starting role as QB.

Brian Kelly had indicated prior to the annual Blue and Gold game that the QB position was wide open between Rees, Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson and true freshman Gunner Kiel.

"They (Rees & Calabrese) are cleared to stay in school. They've been cleared from me to participate in all workouts," Kelly said.

"When all of these things come together, we're not going to wait a long time. We're going to try to get this thing to the point where we know exactly where they are. We want to move and get all of this done."

Rees is to attend a hearing in St. Joseph County court July 17 to address two counts of resisting arrest and one count each of underage drinking and battery, while Calabrese is to appear in court on Aug. 20th for one count of intimidating a law enforcement officer.

Jason writes for IrishCentral and domersportsreport You can find him on twitter at @jayomahony

Friday, 22 June 2012

Notre Dame's Swarbrick announces new BCS playoff format.

All 11 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conference commissioners stood shoulder-to-shoulder behind Notre Dame Fighting Irish Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick, who read the BCS statement from a podium set up in a hotel conference room.

The statement outlined what many considered to be a foregone conclusion.....a BCS playoff system to determine the college football undisputed National Champions.

The agreed proposal will be reviewed by conference presidents prior to being presenting to the BCS presidential oversight committee on June 26th.
It is proposed that the playoffs would be worked into the existing major bowls, thus not extending the season which had been a bone of contention with many. What is not specific is the fact in determining the site of the actual championship after the bowl season.

A genuine solution to this is to market the championship game in much the same way the NFL does with the Super Bowl, by allowing cities to make a bid for the game and all the economic benefits that go with it.

"We're very unified. There are issues that have yet to be finalized. There's always devil in the detail, from the model to the selection process, but clearly we've made a lot of progress", Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said.

Still unclear is how the teams will be selected. Currently the Bowl Championship Series uses a combination of the Harris Interactive Poll, Coaches Poll and computer rankings. This formula is widely regarded as the instigator for a playoff system to begin in my opinion, it more than serve's it's purpose, should it remain.

Swarbrick refuted comments on Notre Dame's stance with regard to joining the BiG 12.

"I’ve said all along that there were three important factors for us," Swarbrick said. "One was the resolution of postseason football, which we are closer to. One is a resolution of our media relationship, which we are in the homestretch of.

"The third is related to the stability of the Big East, which we get more information on every day. In that sense, pieces of that are starting to fall into place, and that will put us in a time and place where we probably take a look at it and decide what we’re doing."

"Our interest was ensuring we had an opportunity to play ourselves into any championship model, and we do," Swarbrick said. "There’s no obstacle to that for us. If we earn it, we can play in it."

Jason writes for IrishCentral and domersportsreport You can find him on twitter at @jayomahony

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Notre Dame Fighting Irish join.............

Time for ND to align with a conference is near
The days of an Independent college football powerhouse are numbered!

The BCS lords will meet this week to decide the future of a possible BCS play-off or plus-one game.

It is a widely accepted opinion that should such a proposal, which seems inevitable and much sought after, be implemented......then it will eventually force the hand of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish sports programs to join a conference to be even considered as a participant in the playoff/plus one format.

In essence expect the two highest rated teams after the bowl season to play for the BCS national title game. That is not good news if your team happens to reside in the ACC, Big East or for Notre Dame.

Currently the University of Notre Dame is affiliated with the Big East in all of it's sports programs except football. The Fighting Irish football team have a lucrative TV deal with NBC who have the exclusive rights to show home games until 2015.

Once the Notre Dame / NBC contract elapses, it is widely envisaged that Notre Dame will establish it's own broadcasting network to showcase it's football and other sports.

The University of Texas already has it's own TV network in place with ESPN.......oh.....and I forgot to mention that Texas is already affiliated with one of these play-off conferences right now.

Reports published on would seem to suggest that an agreement on the proposal is eminent. The conference commissioner's and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, will be presenting the proposal to the BCS presidential oversight committee on June 26th.

Expect an announcement in early July as to the new format in determining the number one in college football.

So what does all this mean for the Notre Dame faithful? is very simple really, affiliate your football program to play-off conference or get left behind.

As to where the Fighting Irish end up is still unclear right now. Spectulation amongst ND fans right now tend to lean towards the BiG 12. I'd be agreement on the BiG 12 as it seems the most logical choice and already has agreements in place with schools (Texas) that want to showcase their schools events on their own networks.

The BiG 12 have also recently entered into a bowl agreement with the SEC, similar to that of the Rose Bowls agreements with B1G & PAC12. The Bowl game will begin in 2014 as both conferences will send their highest ranked representative to a January 1 game, and possibly their respective conference champions if they are NOT involved in the proposed new BCS play-off format.

Still a lot unclear, but if Notre Dame do take the plunge to the BiG 12, then expect some major names from the ACC to follow suite.

Jason writes for IrishCentral and domersportsreport  You can find him on twitter at @jayomahony

Saturday, 16 June 2012

GIFT 2012 American Football event in Ireland expected to make a €4.5 million positive impact on the local economy in Dublin and County Meath

DUBLIN, IRELAND - The Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT) American football event being organized by Global Football in Dublin and County Meath this summer is expected to have a positive €4.5 million economic impact in Ireland.

GIFT 2012 will feature 12 high school and college teams from the United States and Canada playing a series of 'Friday Night Lights' double headers at 4pm and 7:30 pm on Friday, August 31 at Donnybrook Stadium and Parnell Park in Dublin and at Pairc Tailteann in Navan, County Meath.

The competitive regular season games are being held on the eve of the September 1 Navy versus Notre Dame clash at the Aviva Stadium. The list of games are outlined below:

College Game: 
John Carroll (OH) vs. St. Norbert (WI)

High School Games: 
ND Prep. (AZ) vs. Father Judge (PA)
ND HS (CA) vs. Hamilton (AZ)
Jesuit College Prep. (TX) vs. Loyola (IL)
Kent School (CT) vs. UK U19 All-Stars (Ireland/UK)
Oak Park (MT) vs. Villanova (ON)

It is estimated that more than 2,300 visitors associated with the participating schools will arrive in Ireland specifically because of the GIFT 2012 spectacular, and would not be coming to Ireland if not for these games.

Additional sports fans are expected to attend the games from across Ireland, Europe, the United States and even further afield. Tickets available at have been sold to overseas fans from Canada, England, Scotland, Germany, Austria and even Australia. Buyers from 13 different American States and 33 towns within Ireland have already bought tickets.

"First and foremost we are showcasing high school American football at its very best and are providing the experience of a lifetime for the visiting players, coach, families and friends," said Global Football President and former Notre Dame QB Patrick Steenberge.

"But bringing this many people to Ireland specifically for this event also has a very positive impact in that the money they spend and the investment we make in staging the games benefits local businesses, people and the Irish economy. "We believe this spending will have a positive impact on the Irish economy, and we hope in particular that local businesses benefit and that GIFT 2012 is able to leave a lasting impression for all the right reasons."

Global Football has partnered with TodoCast Live Internet Broadcasting to make the games available through pay-per-view and on-demand online platforms. A package offering all six games live and available on-demand following the GIFT 2012 event will be available through and priced $19.95 and fans will also be able to order games in advance.

GIFT 2012 live webcast schedule Friday, August 31:

4pm local / 11am EST: Kent School (CT) vs. Nat. School of American Football (Ireland/UK), Parnell Park

4pm local / 11am EST / 10am CST: Oak Park High School (MT) vs. Villanova College (ON), Pairc Tailteann

7.30pm local / 2.30pm EST / 1.30pm CST: John Carroll University (OH) vs. St Norbert College (WI)

7.30pm local / 2.30pm EST / 11.30am PST: Notre Dame HS (CA) vs. Hamilton HS (AZ), Parnell Park

7.30pm local / 2.30pm EST / 11.30am PST: Notre Dame Prep (AZ) vs. Father Judge (PA), Pairc Tailteann

The economic impact figure is calculated by measuring payments made by 2,300 travelers visiting for the GIFT event and their anticipated spend while in Ireland, including:

Spend at stadium concessions
Visitors for the GIFT event will stay at the Citywest Hotel, Saggart; Bewleys, Leopardstown; Bewleys Newlands Cross; Green Isle, Newlands Cross; Louis Fitzgerald Hotel, Newlands Cross; Knightsbrook Hotel, Trim; Royal Hotel, Bray and Newgrange Hotel, Navan. source

Jason writes for IrishCentral and domersportsreport  You can find him on twitter at @jayomahony

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Fighting Irish Off-Season Woes Continue

Collingsworth will miss 2012 season
And the hits keep coming people!

The University of Notre Dame announced Wednesday that specials teams standout and defensive back Austin Collingsworth will miss between 4 to 6 months due after undergoing shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

Collingsworth, son of former Cincinnati Bengal wide receiver and current NBC play by play analyst Chris Collingsworth, sustained the injury at the annual Blue and Gold game last month and is expected to miss the 2012 season.

Collingsworth's injury further depletes a Notre Dame secondary that is deemed by many experts as the weakness on the entire football team. The Fighting Irish are extremely thin after losing first round pick Harrison Smith, fifth round pick Robert Blanton and undrafted free agent Gary Gray to the NFL.

Collingsworth's injury may not send shockwaves around the NCAA, but when you consider that his replacement, most likely Chris Badger, has zero playing time. Couple that with the fact that Notre Dame faces perhaps the top three QB's in the nation next season in Matt Barkley (USC), Landry Jones (OU) and Denard Robinson (UM).

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Collingsworth's injury is the latest in an off-season of woes that the Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish have had to have dealt with. Highly touted recruited DB Tee Shepherd left the University earlier in the year due to what his father described as "medical" reasons. However, I have been speaking with a very reliable source that Tee's decision was based largely on the academic expectations he faced.

More woes in April last, Notre Dame freshman All-American DE Aaron Lynch decided to quit the University to move closer to his childhood sweetheart in Florida. He has enrolled in the University of South Florida.

And who could forget last month's epic saga provided by 2011 starting QB Tommy Rees and linebacker Carlo Calabrese, after both got into trouble with the law after a house party in South Bend which led to Calabrese being charged with intimidation and Rees charged with assault of a law enforcement officer.

There was some good news of late for the Notre Dame faithful:

One of the nations top prospects in the country, Jaylon Smith, has committed to the Fighting Irish. ranks Smith as the 4th overall recruit in the country and the #1 outside linebacker.

The Fighting Irish also took a huge DE in Isacc Rochell from under the noses of the Georgia Bulldogs. ranks Rochell as the #8 strong side defensive end and #88 overall prospect giving Notre Dame three recruits in Rivals’ top 100.

Record breaking Michael Floyd has signed a lucrative four year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, which will guarantee him $10 million and an option of a fifth season.

Last but not least, head coach Brian Kelly is said to be recovering well from surgery on a nagging chronic lower back pain caused by a herniated disc, which bothered him for the most part of the 2011 season.

Jason writes for IrishCentral and domersportsreport  You can find him on twitter at @jayomahony