Saturday, August 31, 2013

2013 Notre Dame Football Preview: Maintaining Excellence

It's that time of year again. The start of any sports season is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts, but nowhere is this more true than college football. The return of college football sparks that memory for all of us whose glorious college years have come and gone of the feeling a new year of college brings. The possibilities are endless, and the sense of excitement and hope permeates throughout. This is especially true for Fighting Irish football fans, who've just been through an offseason none will soon forget.

Kicking off the offseason with a pummeling by Alabama in the National Championship game - and forgive me if I leave anything out - there was Brian Kelly's flirtation with the NFL, the loss of 5 star recruit Alex Anzalone to Florida on the eve of his early enrollment, the Manti Te'o ordeal, the transfer of 5 star freshman QB Gunner Kiel followed quickly by the transfers of Davonte Neal and Justin Ferguson, the loss of incumbent starting QB Everett Golson to academic suspension for the season, the loss of incoming 5 star recruit Eddie Vanderdoes as he reneged on his signed letter of intent to enroll at UCLA, and finally, the injury to Tony Springmann (expected to play serious minutes on the defensive line) and the retirement of starting DOG linebacker Danny Spond. And yet, even with all that drama, the compass is still pointing north for this program and I expect 2013 to be a great season.

2013 Illinois Football Preview: Nowhere to Go But Up?

I'd just as soon as forget last year. The winless Big Ten season, the coaching debacles, the weird obsession with lasagna, and the mindless sideline dipping. The awful product on the field, where it seemed like crossing the 50 yard line was worth a gold star. Sure, you could chalk it up to a vastly undermanned roster that was decimated towards the end of Ron Zook's tenure, but the inability of the coaching staff to work together and put a cohesive effort on the field, and the apparent incompetence of Tim Beckman in nearly every game, means that questions remain heading into a brand new season as to whether this program will improve. Given that it's pretty much bottomed out at this point, the hope is that the answer is yes.