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There’s Alot Of Fight Left In The Irish.

Posted by fish19 on June 6, 2006

Last year was the rookie season for Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis, and to say the least it was a very impressive showing. The Fighting Irish made it to their first ever Bowl Championship Series game which they eventually ended up losing to a strong Ohio State Buckeye team. It was a disappointing end to the 2005-2006 season but could have been just what the Irish and Weis needed to start the 2006-2007 season. With that loss still fresh in the minds of the Notre Dame players it will be easier for Coach Weis to convince them to work harder inorder to achieve a shot at a National Championship.

While it would definitely be premature to say the the Irish are the team to look out for this season, it is not too big a leap to say that they have the potential to compete for that crystal football this year. The one major factor that must be considered is the return of quarterback Brady Quinn to the team. While he could have gone pro Quinn chose to stay another year at Notre Dame. This in my opinion was a wise choice because it will give him another year of experience operating a pro style offense under the tutelage of Charlie Weis, which will definitely increase Quinn's NFL potential. Further, having Brady back gives Weis the confidence in a proven leader who can take charge on the field during a game allowing the coach to open up the play book as they did last season.

The final thing to consider is the 2006 Fighting Irish schedule. While they play Penn State and Michigan early in the season (Septermber 9th and 16th respectively) both games are at home where the Irish are under the protection of "Touchdown Jesus" and the normal home field advantage. Michigan State could pose a threat but not critical enough for me to believe they will defeat the Irish. The two other worries are UCLA and USC. UCLA no longer has Drew Olsen and USC's depletion of players has been well documented (just look over the first two rounds of the NFL draft).

Overall, the Fighting Irish will be more comfortable with Charlie Weis's system this year with a year of experience under their belts and have a favorable schedule to make a run at the championship. Along with a strong recruiting class the Fighting Irish are poised to give teams like Penn State and Ohio State a challenge for the BCS Championship.

- Fish 

Posted in College Football | 1 Comment »

Penn State Blues.

Posted by fish19 on June 1, 2006

Well, the upcoming college football season is one that I await with great anticipation.  The only trouble I have with college football (other then the BCS) is that living in Pennsylvania I get a 24/7/365 dose of Penn State football.  It never fails, my local paper even runs a section called "The Penn St. Extra" on Sundays in the fall.  That would be fine except for the fact that I live no where near State College.

Even with all that said and my underlying hatred for all that is Penn State (Joe Pa especially) I am still a rational human being (probably because I'm male) and I understand that Penn St. is going to be a strong contender for the National Championship this year.  The one big question since Micheal Robinson 's departure is whether or not Anthony Morelli, the highly sought after quarterback from the Pittsburgh area, can fill Robinson's shoes and lead the Nittany Lions to a National Title?  He doesn't have much of a choice with expectations high all over Pennsylvania.  Fortunately he is not going to be thrown into the fire the very first game since Penn State opens on September 2nd at home against Akron.  This will be a warm up game for Morelli that will hopefully prepare him for what is to come.

What's to come are two major obstacles that have the chance of derailing a potential perfect Penn State season. The first of these obstacles is encountered when Penn State must travel to South Bend on September 9th to face Charlie Weis's Fighting Irish, in a game that will allow Joe Paterno to learn very quickly what his 2006 team is made of.  The Irish have their starting quarterback Brady Quinn returning to run Weis's offense and this team too seems to be a major contender for the 2007 National Championship.  With "Touchdown Jesus" on their side, I wouldn't bet against the Irish. The final challenge however is going to be when the Nittany Lions travel to the Horse Shoe on September 23rd to face last year's Fiesta Bowl Champion the Ohio State Buckeyes.  The Buckeyes are another team that has high expectations coming off of last years extremely successful season.  The two losses (to Penn State and Texas) last season were the only things that kept the Buckeyes from last year's Rose Bowl.  If Penn State can beat Jim Tressle's Buckeyes and can get through the month of September with an undefeated record intact, then their chances of appearing in the National Championship game increase exponentially.

While I hate to admit it, Penn State's defense will still be as shut down as it was last year and with a top ranked receiving core to lighten the anxiety for their new quarterback Penn State's 2006 team has great potential.  Plus, Michigan comes to Happy Valley this year and I doubt they will get a warm reception.  The sky is the limit for this year's Penn State team, however the road is treacherous and in the Big Ten anything can happen.  It's just June and that means until the games are played… anything can happen.

- Fish

Posted in College Football | 1 Comment »

 
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