College Football Week 5: Notre Dame Beats Denard

Here are two postgame speeches delivered by high-profile college quarterbacks:

Speech 1: “To the fans and everybody in [insert mascot name] nation: You know what? I’m sorry…You have never seen any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. And you will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of this season. And you will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of this season.”

Speech 2: “I want to say sorry to everybody who watches [insert school name] football and whoever follows [insert school name] football. I want to say sorry and it won’t happen no more. I’m going to be accountable for the rest of the season, I’ll tell you that much.”

The first, as you probably know, is Tim Tebow addressing Gator nation after Florida lost to Ole Miss in 2008. The second is Michigan’s Denard Robinson after Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame. Robinson’s speech wasn’t as dramatic—I don’t think he said “God bless” before abruptly leaving the podium—but they are similar. And with the state of the Big Ten, perhaps Robinson could lead Michigan on a Florida-like run the rest of the way.

To do so, he’ll have to put Saturday’s game behind him. Robinson celebrated his 22nd birthday by having the worst game of his career. In the first half, five straight Michigan pass attempts were intercepted. One was thrown by a Michigan running back, but still: FIVE STRAIGHT PASSES WERE INTERCEPTED. At one point my friend Julez said, “I get scared when Denard is about to pass,” which was a feeling I hadn’t experienced since Robinson’s freshman year.

Two Irish defenders converge on what will be an interception for Manti Te’o (5). (Credit: MGoBlog)

Notre Dame, meanwhile, is 4-0 for the first time since 2002, Ty Willingham’s first season. The daunting schedule now looks less daunting—if the Irish can steal one from Stanford, Oklahoma, or USC and avoid a slip-up elsewhere, they are looking at a 10-2 record and a likely BCS bowl invite. As good as the defense has been, Brian Kelly might want to stop pretending he’s a baseball manager and settle on one quarterback to play the entire game.

Saturday’s game, by the way, was the highest-rated game of the evening despite competing with Florida State-Clemson, Oklahoma-Kansas State, LSU-Auburn, and Oregon-Arizona. It’s too bad that all the anticipated games were in primetime, but it appears that is the trend of college football.

Five most memorable coaching tenures that were too short to remember

In light of Wisconsin and Houston firing assistant coaches early into their first season with the program, as well as John L. Smith’s one-year deal at Arkansas, I decided to rank some of the more memorable short head coaching tenures.

1. George O’Leary, Notre Dame. On December 9, 2001, O’Leary was named the head coach at Notre Dame. On December 14, 2001, he resigned after a reporter discovered lies on O’Leary’s resume. (Gary Smith wrote a great profile on O’Leary for Sports Illustrated in 2002 in case you want to learn more.) I don’t condone what O’Leary did, but what led Notre Dame to hiring him—his success at Georgia Tech—was not fabricated and mattered a whole lot more than his resume. O’Leary is currently in his ninth season as head coach at Central Florida.

2. Mike Price, Alabama. Price was hired from Washington State following the 2002 season. Before he could coach a single practice, he was fired for inappropriate behavior at a strip club during a trip to Florida for a golf tournament. Price got his second chance the same time as O’Leary and is in his ninth season at UTEP. Neither of their bios on their schools’ websites mentions their brief stints at ND and Bama.

3. Mike Haywood, Pittsburgh. After leading Miami (Ohio) to a conference title in 2010, Haywood was named Pittsburgh’s head coach on December 16th. He was arrested on New Year’s Eve on domestic violence charges. The next day, he was fired. His replacement, Todd Graham, lasted just one season before going to Arizona State, meaning Pitt had five head coaches in the span of one year and two weeks: Dave Wannstedt resigned on December 7, 2010; defensive coordinator Phil Bennett coached the bowl game that season; Haywood was hired and fired; Graham coached last season; and Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst was hired on December 22, 2011.

4. Lane Kiffin, Tennessee. Mention Lane Kiffin in Knoxville and see what kind of reaction you get. I’ve never done this, but I imagine you’d get a very negative reaction. That’s because he bolted after just one season. Kiffin has always intrigued me because he’s the guy at your office who gets promoted for no apparent reason. Al Davis hired him as head coach of the Raiders at 31 years old. His 5-15 record with Oakland (he was fired four games into the 2008 season) somehow got him the head job at Tennessee. And his 7-6 record there got him one of the most coveted gigs in college football: head coach at Southern Cal. He hasn’t done poorly at USC, but I’ve never seen a coach whose job offers were so disproportionate to his on-field success.

5. John L. Smith, Weber State/Arkansas. “I am thrilled to come back to Weber State and I am grateful for this tremendous opportunity to coach the Wildcats,” Smith said at his introductory press conference last December. “There are so many strong things in place at Weber State; I just look forward to adding to them and building on the success of the Wildcat football program.” Four months later, he had left his alma mater for Arkansas. See below for more information on Smith.

Fun Factoid: I still have no idea why Bob Davie (who was replaced by the aforementioned O’Leary at Notre Dame) took the head coaching job at New Mexico after 10 years in the broadcast booth at ESPN. But with Saturday’s win over New Mexico State, Davie has the Lobos at 2-2, already the most wins for the program since 2008. That’s right, Davie inherited a team that had posted three consecutive one-win seasons. Notre Dame fans may not miss him, but Mark Jones certainly does.

The John L. Smith Interview of the Week: John L. Smith spoke to the Little Rock Touchdown Club after Arkansas lost to Rutgers to fall to 1-3. During his talk, he told Razorback fans not to give up on the team because “it’s a state of Alabama program,” before speculating that Bobby Petrino would be coaching Auburn next season. Arkansas is in Arkansas and Bobby Petrino will not be coaching Auburn next season. The better question is where will Smith be coaching next year? My friend Boyle had a great idea: Smith should coach a different team every season. I think it would make for a great reality TV show. I see Boston College or Cal as potential destinations next year.

Tweet of the Week: “So @CollegeGameDay is heading to East Lansing for the OSU v MSU game. I can barely contain my excitement.”
@DesmondHoward (Desmond Howard), ESPN College GameDay analyst

Sharing Is Caring Touchdown of the Week: Marcus Mariota and Colt Lyerla, Oregon. Neither Mariota, Oregon’s quarterback, nor Lyerla wanted to give up the ball on a zone-read play in the third quarter…so neither did. The teammates stumbled into the end zone together clutching the football. The official box score gave the touchdown to Lyerla.

Upset Pick: I like Washington to beat Stanford tonight, but my official pick is Ohio State over Michigan State (season record: 1-3)

2 thoughts on “College Football Week 5: Notre Dame Beats Denard”

  1. Desmond Howard is a jerk, and should be very excited that he has the privilege to be on College Gameday. David Pollack is much better, and will hopefully be taking his job soon (although I’m not sure why 4 people need to be involved on the main desk). At least they kick him out when it’s time for the professionals to make their picks. In other news, could not be happier for Bob Davie. I was too young to hate him as ND’s coach, so I know him as an absolute top caliber color commentator (who would reference recruiting kids to ND all the time, even if it was 2011, meaning he recruited them at age 6). I hope he can manage a respectable season. RIP Davie Jones’ Locker.

  2. I don’t think Desmond is a jerk, but he probably shouldn’t have tweeted that. As a Michigan alum, he’s certainly heading into hostile territory. He serves a purpose on the GameDay set because Corso needs some help. And I think he has improved as an analyst each year. I, too, like Bob Davie as an announcer.

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