#14 Notre Dame Deserved Better Bowl, but System Retains Flaws

It’s a familiar refrain from Notre Dame haters everywhere: “the Fighting Irish get preferential treatment in the bowl selection process!” Well, that’s not true to begin with, and this year, the polar opposite is true. Having completed a 10-2 regular season, and ranked #15 in the college football playoff and #14 in the Associated Press, Notre Dame is headed to the Camping World Bowl, i.e. the Citrus Bowl’s junior varsity game.

In 2015, ND went 10-2 and got a Fiesta Bowl bid; where they lost 44-28 to Ohio State. In 1994, Notre Dame got to the Fiesta Bowl despite going only 6-4-1 that regular season. They lost to 11-1 and #4 Colorado by a score of 41-24 in that contest. The bowl system has changed a lot over the years, but the flaws remain.  

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Offshore Guide to Betting on the College Football Playoff

The College Football postseason is here once again and as expected, there is a lot that fans looking forward to it. One of the obvious highlights will be the College Football Playoff (CFP) which was first introduced to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) prior to the 2014-2015 season. Needless to say, ever since it was launched, it has become a favorite among football fans and punters from all over the globe. The upcoming postseason will certainly be no different – as a matter of fact, people are anticipating an even better experience this time.

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2019 Illini Football: What it Was and What it Was Not

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Bill Parcells was completely right: “you are your record.” When you’re 6-6, it means you’re mediocre. However, the epitome of mediocrity that is/was 2019 Illini football feels a little different because being average is a major improvement from where the program has been lately.

Going from really bad to rather pedestrian is real, legitimate progress, but it’s certainly not a magical season by any means and to suggest that it is is laughably and incoherently wrong. Illini football had one amazing upset, against all odds, over a New Year’s Six bowl team. They also achieved a thrilling, record-setting comeback against a fellow mediocre side. The rest was 4-6 with four wins over some pretty bad teams.

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Notre Dame QB Coach Tommy Rees is Ideal for Northwestern OC Job

If there’s one candidate who perfectly fits the now vacant Northwestern offensive coordinator position, it’s Notre Dame quarterbacks Tommy Rees, (or as he’s known today Tom Rees). He actually grew up a Northwestern fan in very nearby Lake Forest, Illinois and he already has a good relationship with NU Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald.

Before we get to all that is right with Rees (we had an exclusive with him, and talked NU somewhat during 2018 Notre Dame Media Day), we do need to take some time to reflect on the Mick McCall era; which just ended. No one who makes free college football expert picks saw the rise of NU in 2018, when they went 8-1 in the league and won the Big Ten West division. Likewise no one in the prediction and forecasting business saw fall this season, in which they finished in last place, just 1-8 in conference play.

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CB Troy Pride Helps Notre Dame Finish the Season Strong

Notre Dame cornerback Troy Pride Jr. helped lead his class of Fighting Irish seniors to a very noteworthy accomplishment in 2019. With a 45-24 win over Stanford today, ND has won at least 10 games for the third season in a row. That hasn’t happened since the early 1990s.

It’s also the first time the Fighting Irish have done that, on the strength of the regular season alone, in school history. Obviously that comes with a big caveat as college football teams play way more games these days, but double digit wins, three years in a row, is hard to do when you play the kind of schedule that the Irish do. When all is said and done, 10-2 is pretty much where the Irish were projected to finish this season.

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P.J. Fleck, #8 Gophers Underdogs in Biggest Game in Modern School History

“When there’s nothing else to believe in, believe in hope,” Homer J. Simpson once said, trying to emulate a stereotypical movie tagline.

Last weekend, the #8 Minnesota Golden Gophers won their 7th win in Big Ten play, the first time that’s happened in school history. They’re now 14-3 in their last 17, and the blowout win at Northwestern gave them 10 in a season for the first time since 1905.

“It’s quite an accomplishment when everyone picked you sixth,” said Minnesota Coach P.J. Fleck in Evanston after the game.

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LOL Hat Game Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini vs Northwestern Wildcats

When the Illinois Fighting Illini football and the Northwestern Wildcats get together, typically the better team wins. We really haven’t seen many upsets in this series lately, as the LOL HAT (Land of Lincoln Hat Trophy) rivalry often goes chalk. Illinois is seeking their first win in this series since 2014, the famous match-up of 5-6 teams that would see one team go on to the post-season, the other home for the holidays.

As it’s Thanksgiving and LOL HAT week, let’s break it all down.

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Revisiting the Michigan vs Ohio Toledo War of 1835, Frostbitten Convention

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This week is rivalry week in college football. Which conjures up memories of the Toledo War and the Frostbitten Convention. This weekend brings awesome games with cool names like “The Iron Bowl” (Alabama-Auburn) and “The Holy War” (BYU-Utah). But only one of these rivalry games can claim an actual war in the history of its geographic region. That’s the Michigan Wolverines vs. the Ohio State Buckeyes, or “The Game,” as it’s called.

The Toledo War is one of the many reasons ESPN Classic is running a marathon of past tOSU-UM games today.

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Northwestern Revenue Sports Having a Really Rough Ride Right Now

Northwestern football is having a generationally bad season, but at least there’s basketba….oh wait, never mind. Northwestern men’s basketball has already lost two “buy games” this season, to Radford and Merrimack, but hey this is a football school. Well, a football school that’s having a season so down that it has reached depths that haven’t been seen in multiple decades.

This is already the first nine loss season since 2002, and they will be heavy underdogs heading into the final game of the season, at their arch-rival, Illinois. A loss there gives NU their first double digit loss season since 1989, when Francis Peay “led” them to an 0-11 mark. We’ve known what 2019 Northwestern football is for quite some time. As for basketball, it still remains to be seen.

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P.J. Fleck, Minnesota Golden Gophers Still Have Plenty to Play For

Barring a tremendous upset in the Big Ten title game, should they qualify, P.J. Fleck and the #10 Minnesota Golden Gophers won’t be in the College Football Playoff. However, in this the program’s greatest season in several generations, there is a lot left to play for.

While today itself, a 38-22 win over hapless Northwestern, was not much to get excited about, there’s plenty of gold left for the Gophers to play for. Next week brings a chance to retain the Paul Bunyan axe, beat your bitterest of rivals for the second straight season (and first time in Minnesota since 2003) and win the Big Ten West/earn a berth in the Big Ten championship game. Then perhaps, the program’s first trip to Pasadena (1961 was the last Rose Bowl berth) in more than a half-century?

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#11 Minnesota Golden Gophers at Northwestern Wildcats Game Preview

Saturday brings the High Energy Head Coach Who Usually Give Entertaining Press Conference Bowl when P.J. Fleck’s Minnesota Golden Gophers visit Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern Wildcats. (I guess the polar opposite of this match-up would be Iowa-Wisconsin, Kirk Ferentz and Paul Chryst). It’s no accident these two men are so similar.

Fleck’s coaching mentor literally is Fitzgerald, the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year. (And this year Fleck could claim the award himself. Back when the very recently extended Gophers coach was just starting out his coaching career, working as a receivers coach at his alma mater, Northern Illinois, he called up all the coaches he had contact info for and offered to take them out to lunch.

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Notre Dame Absolutely Obliterates Navy, Achieves Statistical Pile On

For the first time since 1973 (a run of 273 straight games) Notre Dame did not sell out a home football game. Perhaps it’s coincidentally fitting then that the game which finally ended the streak, lacked entertainment value, as Notre Dame dominated so thoroughly right out of the gate, and never looked back.

“Only” (and we really mean the air quotes here) 74,080 showed up at Notre Dame Stadium today for the Fighting Irish 52-20 rout of the Navy academy, but one of those 74K (77,622 constitutes a sellout) and change was literally a rock star- Jon Bon Jovi. Marching band played “It’s My Life” while the scoreboard saluted him.

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