Welcome to the 4th of July Gold Rush, delivered on the 5th. If you want a chance to appear in next weeks Q/A, get at me on Twitter @Einsane or in comments.
I think there are two important questions there Brian. The first being whether Brian Kelly is a good enough coach to return Notre Dame to national prominence, and yes, I think he is good enough. Notre Dame might not be what it once was, but it still has inherent advantages to recruiting and exposure. Kelly walked into a bigger rebuilding job than he originally imagined when he moved from Cincinnati to Notre Dame. It wasn’t a matter of talent, because recruiting wise they’ve always done a great job using NBC and catholic advantages. But, Notre Dame had fostered a “soft” mentality since they fell from prominence, and the Tyrone and Charlie years further propagated that culture. When you take a look at the best teams of the past decade, (and part of this is the ability to stop the spread offense) domination starts along the offensive and defensive fronts. Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Florida, USC – yes, those teams had great skill, but they won championships on the line. Notre Dame was recruiting and developing players backwards, from the skill positions down into the line. Kelly has done a better job addressing a culture of toughness and bringing in defensive and offensive line help – now he just needs to continue to build depth, and then piece together a program that can compete with the best in the country.
The second question is about the new playoff system, and I think that hurts Notre Dame. Notre Dame wants to keep their NBC deal, enjoys the prospect of non profit sharing in football, and likes the ability to make its own schedule. The downside is that requires independence. While most conferences are gobbling up schools to own more territory and viewers, they also have secured conference championship games. Not belonging to a conference while in a playoff system is going to hurt Notre Dame because they’ll never have the chance to play their way into the playoff by impressing against a Top 10 quality team in a conference championship. If they run the table, then there isn’t an issue and they’ll be awaiting the conference champs. But if they are a 1-loss team on the bubble, say the 3 or 4 seed, they could get knocked out by a team that was slated a 5, 6, or 7 seed and impressed in their final game.
At the current rate it’s embarrassing to both the NCAA and higher education. And I don’t blame the “student athletes” as much as the reactive status quo of the NCAA. There is a terrible problem of kids committing to a school, eventually finding out the harsh reality that they aren’t that special a player, and then leaving because their AAU coach/high school coach/parents/handlers tell them it’s the coach’s fault. The NCAA needs to take a closer look at their transfer rules to make sure nobody is gaining a competitive advantage, but more importantly they needed to review the prep climate years ago. When a kid is overrated and attends a school they don’t “star” at as a freshman, they get pressured into moving. When a kid is underrated and attends a school they can “star” at they are pressured into moving. The NCAA needs to start at the source and take a look at how they govern contact between coaches and recruits. They need to increase possible scouting times for High School and AAU events, and take a look at increasing the amount of contact coaches and recruits are allowed to have. The more texts, emails, letters, calls, and visits will increase the familiarity both athletically and personally. The more contact a recruit and coach have the more comfortable (and realistic) that relationship will be and they’ll be fewer transfers in general. For the most part, transfers still have to sit out a year, and they won’t make transferring more stringent than that.
Another question that allows me to throw darts at the NCAA! Sweet. I’m not a UCONN fan, but I think banning them for poor academics is a joke. If the NCAA spent time investigating UCONN they’d probably find something to throw stones at, but, the NCAA has about as much consistency as a roulette table. The way they pick and choose their battles reminds me of a classic South Park episode. In order to select what to do with bankrupt companies the government cuts the head off a chicken and allows it to run around a wheel until it falls down on “buyout”. Probably something similar going on over there at NCAA central; “UCONN basketball has a low GPA?”, cut to the chicken being beheaded and let loose… “Tournament Ban”. I’ve said for years that the NCAA should create a private sector with agents that do nothing but secretly travel the country from program to program trying to uncover sanctions. Instead they’ll passively turn the other cheek until they are forced to vacate John Calipari’s third Final Four – but UCONN has bad grades, time to attack!
I’m not sure they put all their effort into the appeal. While looking through UCONN’s 2012-2013 roster, I’m not sure they field a starting 5.
How far can we be from an “Heir Jordan” reality show on ESPN2? They have better resumes and more money than the Kardashian’s, so why not have some cameras follow Marcus and Jeff? The pilot episode will feature Marcus running around Vegas with an American Express Black Card, spending more money than most families make in a year while bragging about it on Twitter. Eventually America will celebrate when someone has the distinct pleasure of reminding Marcus Jordan and he wasn’t even in Space Jam. Then the final shot will be a montage of what father Michael was doing during his son’s irresponsible outburst. Father of the year – because if I had a pompous son with a drinking problem, I’d buy him a Bentley.