Sunday, November 25, 2012

Next Stop, South Beach

It really couldn't have happened any other way. Sure, Irish fans, and their collective nerves, hoped that the Irish could waltz into the Coliseum, blow away USC in a no contest victory, and finally put to rest the hate that the team has faced from the talking head pundits all year. But after watching this team all year, wouldn't the moment that a National Championship appearance was clinched have to come in something like a goal line stand? And not any ordinary goal line stand. No, this was one that withstood two defensive pass interference calls with potential National Championship hopes on the line. To me, it was a microcosm of the entire season, and the culmination of Brian Kelly's rebuilding project.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Irish One Win Away from National Championship Game

Beat SC. That refrain, which has been an annual tradition for the Fighting Irish for decades, now has a new meaning this year. After the crazy losses last night from Kansas State and Oregon, a win over USC is all that stands between presumptive #1 ND and an improbable berth in the national championship game. For a program that believed in itself from the start, this comes as no surprise and is merely the following through of a mantra that has been hammered home since Brian Kelly became coach. For the Irish faithful, one look at the toughest schedule in the country prior to the season had even the most ardent supporters wondering where the Irish would land. But you see, that's the best part of being a fan. We've endured two decades of Notre Dame futility, some of the worst years in the program's history. It's been a rough road, one that we all stuck to even as the clamoring of how Notre Dame will never succeed again, how they're irrelevant, and all other cries like that emerged. But that's what makes this so special. As a fan of the Fighting Irish, peering over the precipice to a potential national championship berth, realizing what we've been through as a program and a fanbase makes this all the more sweeter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Was the Bears' Loss an Aberration?

We've seen a lot from the Bears this season. There's been the turnovers, both on offense and defense. There's been the defensive touchdowns, which have practically given the Bears a second offense the entire season. There's also been the revelation of each position group on offense, from the brilliance of the secondary to the dominance of the defensive line. Included in this has been the emergence - at least to those outside Chicago - of Charles Tillman and the resurgence of Tim Jennings. Then there's been the offense. We've seen the Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall connection play out like we wanted to. We've seen spurts of excellence. But at the same time, we've seen woeful stretches of inadequacy and an underutilization of Matt Forte. All of this begs the question - will the offense's inconsistencies prevent a potential Bears' championship?

Friday, November 9, 2012

2012 Illinois Basketball: What to Watch For

Tonight, a new era of Illinois basketball begins. Hopefully gone are the seasons of underwhelming results with overrated teams. Now, in this new era, square talent isn't being forced into a round hole. Under John Groce, the Illini should transition to a basketball program that recruits, signs, and develops talented basketball players that fill whatever role Groce feels is most appropriate, rather than plugging them into a system that does not fit their style.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Irish Continue to Fight as they Stay Undefeated

Some call it a team of destiny. Others call it a distorted version of that ole Irish luck. Still others, those of a more pragmatic nature, claim that it's a result of discipline, hard work, and adherence to fundamentals. The ESPN talking heads, the rest of the pundits around college football, and all of the college football fans who chomp at the bit to claim that this 9-0 team isn't worthy of any praise, of any lofty rankings, or even a place in the National Championship conversation, can bark all they want. After all that is over, after the Irish toyed with their own fans emotions on a dreary Saturday in South Bend, the end result is the same. Because as Julius Campbell so eloquently put it, the team has won every single game they have played until now. This team is still perfect.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bulls Opening Win a Sign of Things to Come?

Flash back to April 28th, 2012. Bulls fans held their collective breath as Derrick Rose lay writhing on the ground holding his knee. Everyone feared the worst, hoped for the best, and probably figured somewhere in between. I mean, this was Derrick Rose after all. We've seen him crash hard in the lane only to be toppled over. His grimacing, slowly rising routine was one that had become familiar with Bulls fans. After news trickled in that Rose had torn his ACL, we watched as the Bulls tried to grind out a slow, defensive-minded series battle against a young upstart Philly team.