Sports Outside the Beltway

Notre Dame fires coach Charlie Weis

This news don’t surprise me in the least.

Saying its expectations on the field have not been met, Notre Dame fired coach Charlie Weis on Monday after five seasons.

A brash offensive coordinator with the NFL champion New England Patriots when he was hired five years ago, Weis excited the Irish faithful with back-to-back appearances in BCS bowl games in his first two seasons.

Since then, one of the nation’s most storied football programs has gone 16-21.

“We have great expectations for our football program, and we have not been able to meet those expectations,” Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement announcing Weis “will not be retained.”

“As an alumnus, Charlie understands those goals and expectations better than most, and he’s as disappointed as anyone that we have not achieved the desired results,” Swarbrick said.

Weis, who has six years left on his contract, was 35-27 in South Bend. His .565 winning percentage is worse than the .583 marks that got his two predecessors, Tyrone Willingham and Bob Davie, fired.

Weis will be working in the NFL again in 2010. I read a report that several teams had already approached Weis.

As to who Notre Dame will hire next, I haven’t a clue. All that I will say is- The school shouldn’t sign any coach to a contract lasting more than 5 years.


Arizona State Baseball Coach Pat Murphy resigns

Before coming to Tempe he had coached at Notre Dame. From AP-

Pat Murphy abruptly resigned after 15 seasons as baseball coach at Arizona State on Friday.

University vice president for athletics Lisa Love said she accepted the resignation to allow Murphy and the program to move in a “new direction,” the Arizona Republic reported.

According to the report, Love said Murphy’s resignation was not directly related to an ongoing two-year school investigation into allegations made against him by a former baseball employee, including claims of academic fraud and improper recruiting travel.


The colorful and often outspoken Murphy led the Sun Devils to the College World Series four times — 1998, 2005, 2007 and 2009. The program has produced several major league players, including Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox, who appeared along with Muhammad Ali at a recent Murphy fundraiser.

He took over the historically successful Sun Devils program in August 1994 after seven seasons at Notre Dame. Under Murphy, Arizona State was 629-284-1.

“Coach Murphy has an outstanding record of success on the playing field,” Love said in a prepared statement. “I thank him for 16 years of hard work and service to the university and the sport.”

The Sun Devils had won the past three Pac-10 titles, with Murphy named conference coach of the year each time. Murphy, 50, had offered no hint publicly of his impending resignation in recent interviews.

This is definitely an odd time to resigning. It would seem Murphy’s resignation to tied to the troubles currently under investigation at ASU.


Ship wreck- Navy beats Notre Dame 23-21

The last time the Midshipmen won back to back games in South Bend was when I was two years old. From AP-

Navy did it to Notre Dame again — and this loss to the Midshipmen is even more costly.

Craig Schaefer sacked Jimmy Clausen in the end zone with 60 seconds left Saturday and Navy held on for a 23-21 victory, its second straight at Notre Dame Stadium.

No. 19 Notre Dame (6-3) scored with 24 seconds left on a 31-yard pass from Jimmy Clausen to Golden Tate to cut the lead to two, but the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds.

The win sends Navy into the Texas Bowl and effectively ends any hope Notre Dame (6-3) had for a Bowl Championship Series berth.

Notre Dame last went to a BCS Bowl game in 2006 and this year’s team I didn’t think was worthy of that high a game before today’s loss. Losing to Navy is nothing to be ashamed of, but a top college football team shouldn’t be defeated by a service academy.


Dallas Cowboys 2009 Undrafed Free Agents

The Dallas Cowboys signed eight undrafted players Monday: Travis Bright,  G,   Brigham Young; Rudy Carpenter, QB, Arizona State; Julian Hawkins, WR, Boise State; Jamar Hun, FB, UTEP; Greg Isdaner, G, West Virginia; Kevin Ogletree, WR,  Virginia; Asaph Schwapp, FB, Notre Dame; and Michael Turkovich, G, Notre Dame.

This team is talented and just drafted an even dozen players.  It’s doubtful, then, that any of the players above will make the active roster, let alone land starting jobs this year.  Mostly, they’re being added to the roster as practice fodder; that’s especially true at QB, where you only have three guys otherwise.

I don’t know any of these guys or their talent levels, aside from the fact that 200-odd players were thought worthy of drafting and none of these were.  If I had to take a guess, I’d say one of the fullbacks has the best shot at making the roster just because the Cowboys only have one on the roster.


Are you ready for some bowling?

No I’m not talking about some middle aged man propelling a ball at some objects at the end of a lane, but the games that climax every college football season. Bowl season officially starts this Saturday, here are the matchups for all the college football fanatics out there.

Dec 20
Eaglebank Bowl- Wake Forest vs Navy
New Mexico Bowl- Colorado State vs Fresno St
MAGICJACK ST. PETERSBURG BOWL- Memphis vs. South Florida
PIONEER LAS VEGAS BOWL- Brigham Young vs Arizona
Dec 21
Dec 23
Dec 24
SHERATON HAWAII BOWL- Hawaii vs Notre Dame
Dec 26
MOTOR CITY BOWL- Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan
Saturday, December 27
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL- West Virginia vs. North Carolina
Champs Sports Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Florida State
Emerald Bowl- Miami (FL) vs. California
December 28
Independence Bowl- Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech
PAPAJOHNS.COM BOWL- North Carolina State vs. Rutgers
Valero Alamo Bowl- Missouri vs. No. 23 Northwestern
Tuesday, December 30
PACIFIC LIFE HOLIDAY BOWL- Oklahoma State vs. No. 17 Oregon
Texas Bowl- Western Michigan vs. Rice
Wednesday, December 31
Sun Bowl- Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh
GAYLORD HOTELS MUSIC CITY BOWL- Boston College vs. Vanderbilt
Insight Bowl- Kansas vs. Minnesota
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL- LSU vs. Georgia Tech
Thursday, January 1
OUTBACK BOWL- South Carolina vs. Iowa
CAPITAL ONE BOWL- Georgia vs. Michigan State
Gator Bowl- Nebraska vs. Clemson
Rose Bowl- Penn State vs. USC
Fedex Orange Bowl- Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Friday, January 2
Cotton Bowl- Mississippi vs. Texas Tech
AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL- Kentucky vs. East Carolina
January 3
INTERNATIONAL BOWL- Buffalo vs. Connecticut
January 5
TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL- Ohio State vs. Texas
January 6
GMAC Bowl- Ball State vs. Tulsa*
January 8

That’s 34 games, 68 schools spread over a period of 20 days for those of you keeping score at home. An ample supply of college football for any fanatics out there.

A few notes

*- There are a few bowl games remaining without corporate names in their title. Gator, Sun, Texas, Independence. Were these games unable to find sponsors?
*- Will Oklahoma St. and Oregon combine for 70 pts or more in the Holiday Bowl? This annually has been of the most high scoring affairs.
*- Oh how has the Orange Bowl dropped. A game that featured early triumphs of Joe Paterno led Penn State, Nebraska and Oklahoma in their glory days, the first major bowl appearance of Florida State, and the all time classic 84 battle between Nebraska and Miami, has Cincinnati and Virginia Tech playing this year. I’m sure they are talented football teams, but how many people are drooling to see them play in a prime-time network slot?
*- Arizona and BYU meet in a bowl 30 years after the former left the WAC conference for the higher profile Pac Eight(Now Ten, Arizona State joined also)
*- Vanderbilt makes a rare bowl appearance. Congratulations to Commodore fans, but this is a sign of how bowls are grown way out of proportion. 6-6 college teams get bids. When I was growing up I could remember Florida State going without a bowl in 1978 even though they finished the season 8-3.

It is my humble opinion that bowl season has gotten out of hand. Someone may say what’s the big deal? If someone wants to start a bowl game and there are two schools willing to play in it, does their records matter. A good football isn’t only a contest between stars at big name schools.

All true, but how much public money is spent on these affairs? Many of the teams are state universities who get funded by taxpayers. Then there is the game itself where police have to be taken from other tasks to work the day or night of the game or paid over-time.

With the economic downturn right now, you have to wonder if there will be less bowls in the near future. That would depend on how long a deal a corporate sponsor signed on for. I wonder how many fans of some schools plan to make a bowl trip. Are there 1,000 or more FAU Owls willing to journey from Florida to Michigan in December to watch the team play? Even if I were a Owl fan and had money, I’d stay home.

Enjoy the games.


Notre Dame keeps Coach Charlie Weis

For at least one more year. From AP-

Charlie Weis will return for a fifth year as Notre Dame’s football coach despite posting his second straight disappointing season.

“Though this past season fell short of the expectations that all of us have for our football program, I am confident that Charlie has a strong foundation in place for future success and that the best course of action is to move forward under his leadership,” athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement released by the university Wednesday.

Weis has seven years left on a 10-year contract signed midway through his first season, but some fans had been clamoring for his firing after the Irish got off to a 4-1 start this season and finished 6-6.

Weis has an expensive 10-year contract. I suspect Weis will be around for at least 1 or 2 more years.


Navy beats Notre Dame in triple overtime

The streak is over.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – It took 44 years and three overtimes for Navy to beat Notre Dame. navy.jpg

The Midshipmen snapped an NCAA-record 43-game losing streak to the Fighting Irish on Saturday with a 46-44 victory in triple overtime.

Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada threw a 25-yard TD pass to Reggie Campbell on the first play of the third overtime, then found him again in the end zone for the 2-point conversion.

Notre Dame cut the lead to two on a 5-yard TD run by Travis Thomas. But after a pass interference call gave Notre Dame a second-chance at the 2-point conversion, defensive lineman Michael Walsh and linebacker Irv Spencer tackled Thomas well short of the end zone.

It was the first time Navy (5-4) beat Notre Dame since a 35-14 win in 1963 when Roger Staubach was quarterback for the Midshipmen.

The Midshipmen celebrated the long-awaited victory at midfield, jumping on top of each other.

For Notre Dame (1-8) it was its school-record fifth straight home loss, another low point in a season of lows.

I watched the end of this exciting game. Some comments

1- The pass interference on the first two-point try by Notre Dame was a bad call. Navy kept their cool and recovered.

2- NBC was commercial happy during the last minutes of the 4th quarter. One play, one commercial break. I’d like some football with my commercials.

3- Is Charlie Weis’ job in danger? Tyrone Willingham was never 1-8, but he was shown the door.


Brady Quinn Line of the Day

“Everyone was saying that I was losing money. Well, I never had it to lose. In my wallet, I have, like, maybe a dollar in cash.” — Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn on the money his first-round slide cost him on his rookie contract. (via ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli)

I like this kid and think he’s going to be an excellent pro quarterback. Since Cleveland traded the Dallas Cowboys their first pick next year to get him, though, I hope he doesn’t do it right away.


NFL Draft 2007 – Round 1 #22 – Cleveland Browns – QB Brady Quinn

Brady Quinn fell to #22 with the Dallas Cowboys on the clock. The Cleveland Browns traded up to grab him, fearing that Kansas City would grab him at #22. The Cowboys move down to the #3 spot in the 2nd round and pick up Cleveland’s first rounder in 2008.

Quinn, whose astonishing fall has been the story of the draft day, is going to the team he grew up rooting for. It’ll cost him a few million dollars in his initial contract but he’s going to be in a good situation.

What the Experts Say: Profile: Profile:

Brady Quinn Notre Dame Passing Photo Player Evaluation: Possessing the size, arm strength and intangibles to be a starter at the next level, Quinn is an incredibly productive college quarterback who translates well to the next level. Comes off a poor senior campaign and needs to refocus, fine-tune his decision-making and play within himself.


  • Arm Strength
  • Mental Toughness
  • Pocket Awareness

  • Decision-making
  • Field Vision

Biography: Four-year starter who Pos:ted 61.9%/3,426/37/7 as a senior. Junior totals included a career-high 3,919 passing yards, a Notre Dame single-season record.

Pos: Nice-sized, strong-armed pocket passer with a great amount of upside. Patient, calm under pressure and buys time for receivers. Gets outside the pocket to give himself a better view of the field, has a quick, over-the-top delivery and immediately gets the ball out of his hand. Zips the outs, Pos:sesses a good deep arm and drives passes into the tight spots. Flashes the ability to beautifully place throws where only his target can make the reception. Consistently challenges the vertical game. Puts touch on throws when necessary.

Neg: At times stares the primary target down from the get-go. Not adverse to forcing the throw into coverage. Makes some head-scratching decisions at times. Not an elusive quarterback who escapes the rush. Marginally accurate throwing on the move and downfield. Leadership abilities are in question.


It looked like Cleveland general manager Phil Savage would have to decide between Joe Thomas, Brady Quinn and Adrian Peterson when he woke up this morning. Now the Browns get two out of three and we’re sure he had to give up a lot to get Quinn but teams have had to give up similar value in similar trades. Though most teams would rather not start a rookie quarterback, Quinn has the poise to step in right away and enough confidence to learn from his mistakes along the way. It also helps that the Browns have done an excellent job of improving the offensive line during the offseason since Quinn shouldn’t get harassed as much as Charlie Frye did last year.


Brady Quinn a Safe Pick

NFL draft guru Rick Gosselin thinks people are selling Brady Quinn short.

Brady Quinn Notre Dame Photo  Quarterback Brady Quinn was a four-year starter at Notre Dame. There hasn’t been a college quarterback more prepared to enter than NFL since Peyton Manning in 1998. There is no bust factor in Quinn.

History tells us that. In the last 10 years, the NFL has used 10 first-round picks on quarterbacks who were four-year starters in college. Only one washed out – Cade McNown, who was the fifth quarterback selected in that Class of 1999.

Of those 10 four-year starters, five have become Pro Bowlers: Culpepper, McNabb, Manning , Carson Palmer (drafted in 2003) and Philip Rivers (2004). Two have won NFL passing titles, Manning and Chad Pennington (drafted in 2000), and two have been to Super Bowls, Manning and McNabb.

Seven are currently starting: Manning, McNabb, Pennington, Palmer, Rivers, Jason Campbell (drafted in 2005) and Jay Cutler (2006).

Kyle Boller (drafted in 2003) lost his starting job in 2006 when the Baltimore Ravens signed former NFL MVP Steve McNair in free agency. Boller left the lineup with a winning NFL record (18-16) and more TD passes (36) than interceptions (34). He remains in Baltimore as a backup. Culpepper lost his starting position at Miami in 2006 because of a knee injury.

There’s a school of thought that one of every two quarterbacks selected in the first-round of NFL drafts is a bust. But the deck is stacked in favor of those four-year starters for NFL survival.

It’s a great point. Almost all the big name busts–Ryan Leaf and Tim Couch come readily to mind–skipped their senior seasons. I don’t know that Quinn is going to be a great NFL quarterback. And, thankfully, there’s zero chance that the Dallas Cowboys will draft him, so I don’t have to lose any sleep over it. But he’ll almost certainly be a decent quarterback for years to come.

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