Archive for October 31, 2012

Inside the Man Room

The NBA season is tipping off so the Coach and I kick off this podcast with a Pacers season preview.  We look into Indiana’s prospects for this season and how the new additions can help the blue and gold.  We also look back at the Colts thrilling win at Tennessee in overtime.  We run through a few college football topics plus Coach’s Quick Hitters.  Follow us on Twitter @thadvandeventer, @C_K_42, and @IndySportsCrew.

Rise and Fire

Monday Night Reaction

The Colts got a huge come from behind road win in overtime Sunday beating Tennessee 19-13.  Check out my thoughts in this week’s video.  Let me know what you think on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

The Flying V

Mission Possible: Irish in Drivers Seat for National Title Shot

Is this a dream? Am I really seeing this incredible story unfold like it is? That is what I’ve been asking myself over the last few hours as my Victory hangover has subsided. No, this isn’t a dream and yes, I am really seeing the Irish write the script to their own BCS Title Movie. Over the last few weeks many College Football pundits have told us why Notre Dame isn’t title worthy. Why the once “toughest” schedule looks relatively easy. It would’ve been easy for all of them to be able to look into our TV sets this week and say to us “I knew Notre Dame was overrated” but unfortunately for them the Irish don’t care what you think!

Te’o introduces himself to Oklahoma QB Landry Jones

As we head down the back stretch of this college football season the blue and gold sit among the elite of the game. Both in the polls and the ever important BCS computer rankings. The Irish have continued to improve week after week. The defense last night used the bend but don’t break mentality. They did give up a lot of yards through the air, as Landry Jones tossed for 356 yards. But most of those yards came between the 20′s and once the Sooners were inside the red-zone that is where their drives went to die! An offense that was coming in averaging 45 points a game, close to 200 rushing yards a game, and striking fear into opposing defenses. Then you look at what ND did to Oklahoma on Saturday night and you should realize this is an elite defensive unit! Led by Heisman Trophy front runner Manti Te’o held Oklahoma to 1 touchdown and 2 FG’s, stifled the running game to just 15 yards on 24 carries. If you were wondering that breaks down to .6 yards per carry. I’m not a math genius but that’s pretty good. The Irish front seven didn’t dominate like they had before by living in the Sooner backfield, but the Irish front seven tackled everything that moved Saturday night. The Oklahoma receivers did have a nice day but they didn’t have any breath taking TD’s or long runs. The Irish defense is fantastic at tackling, they always seem to be in the right position, they break you down and fly to the ball and smack you right in the chest. It’s a beautiful sight to see if you’re a football fan. The Irish defensive unit is led in the booth by Bob Diaco and to be honest if he’s not a D1 head coach within the next 3 years I’ll be shocked. Just look at what he’s done in a short three years with the Domers.

The man who stole the show last night was Everett Golson, the kid was 13/25 for 177 yards. He didn’t throw for 400 and 4 TD’s but he didn’t turn it over and he looked every bit the guy Brian Kelly has said he is all season. The pass that sold me on EG was on 2nd and 2 after the Sooners had just tied the game. Golson unleashed a beauty of a deep ball to Chris Brown (not that Chris Brown). Brown is a kid the Irish have tried to get in the game plan for weeks and he showed up big time on that drive. Then to cap off his coming out party he ran in a TD to put the Irish up for good in Norman. All in all Everett Golson looks to have nailed down the starting job in South Bend, and the D dominates week after week.

So in the next 4 weeks the Irish have lesser teams in their way with battles with Pitt, Boston College (always scary, remember 1993!), Wake Forest, and then USC on Thanksgiving weekend. For the first time since that 1993 team beat Florida State the Irish are a legit title contender and if they run the table from here on out it’s going to be hard for anyone to keep them from Miami and the National Title Game. Alabama is amazing, Oregon is stupid athletic, Kansas State is solid and has Optimus Klein, and Notre Dame has something 2 of the 3 don’t have- HISTORY! Is it fair that if ND is there with Oregon or K State they get in because they are ND? No it’s not fair but…..I Don’t CARE!!!!! If ND is in the discussion for the title game they will get there. I’m not saying crazy things can’t happen but I’d be stunned if they don’t handle the next three teams and then battle USC for a shot at a title.

If I’m really dreaming and this season is a figment of my imagination, please do me a favor and don’t wake me up till Tuesday, January 8th. That is the day after the National Title game and if this is a dream, it’s going to be a happy one! National Championship Style!!

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Rise and Fire

Who? What? When? Where?

College Football Recap Week Nine

Who?

Once again this week it is Manti Te’o and the Notre Dame defense who we have to focus on.  The Fighting Irish strolled into Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday to a roaring crowd and the pressure of the national championship chase.  The ND defense used a bend but don’t break philosophy against the Sooners which resulted in another shut down effort.  They held one of the highest scoring offenses in the country to just 13 points.  Te’o set the tone in the first half with 11 tackles in the first thirty minutes.  Plus, Te’o made the key turnover that sealed the game for Notre Dame as he slid in to make a diving interception after the ball bounced off Oklahoma WR Jalen Saunders’ shoulder pads.  Some times great players just know how to be at the right place at the right time and Te’o knows just that.  Also at this point he is probably running second in the Heisman race behind Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein.

What?

The great football being played across the state of Indiana at all levels of college football.  I know this is a broad topic but the way some of these teams are playing right now they need some recognition.  We have already mentioned Notre Dame who is now at 8-0 and fully in the FBS national title mix.  The Indiana State Sycamores (yes those Sycamores!) have won five straight games after beating South Dakota yesterday 45-14.  The Trees are now 7-2 and in first place in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.  Still in Division I but in the Pioneer League, the Butler Bulldogs have five straight wins and are 7-2 overall.  The Bulldogs are 6-0 in the league and are well on their way to a title.

The University of Indianapolis has been hot as well.  After losing their first two games of the season, the Greyhounds have won seven straight games all within the Great Lakes Valley Conference.  UIndy is in their first season in the GLVC and have already clinched at least a share of the conference title coming off a 48-3 bludgeoning of William Jewell yesterday.  Plus they are in the Region rankings now which will put them in the playoffs at the end of the season.

There are several teams in Division III that are streaking in the right direction.  Lets start with the #11 Wabash Little Giants who have five straight wins and are tied for first in the NCAC.  (On a side note, the 119th Monon Bell game Wabash vs. Depauw is just two weeks away.)  Two teams in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference may be on a collision course for the championship.  The #21 Franklin Grizzlies have six straight victories all in HCAC play and are tied at the top of the league.  Hanover has been on a similar roll and are also 6-0 in the HCAC.  These two teams will meet in the final week of the season for the Victory Bell and maybe the conference title.

Lastly, at the NAIA level there are two state schools that are without a doubt championship caliber teams.  The Marian Knights are rated #1 in the country for the second straight year and our undefeated on the season.  St. Francis is ranked #7 in the country and their only loss this season was a one touchdown game at Marian.

When?

October 27, 2012 Indiana wins at Illinois for Coach Kevin Wilson’s first career Big Ten win.  The Hoosiers had not won a conference game since they beat Purdue at the end of the 2010 season.  IU has looked much better in the past few weeks but they finally get some quantifiable evidence of it by putting a mark in the win column.  The thing that stuck out the most in this game is something that IU has lacked recently and that is the ability to make the key play when they needed to.  With a lead late, they tacked on another touchdown when QB Nate Sudfeld connected with WR Shane Wynn for a 17 yard touchdown.  Then the defense stepped up and got a stop to close out the game.

Where?

TCF Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota is not where the Purdue football team showed up this weekend.  The Boilermakers took a beat down at the hands of the Golden Gophers yesterday 44-28.  It wasn’t even that close as the Gophers lead 44-7 before they called off the dogs.  Purdue has now lost four straight games all in the Big Ten.  Out of those four games only the contest against Ohio State was competitive.  Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota dominated the Boilers and a year that started with some big excitement and expectations has gone south.  This does leave in question the future of Coach Danny Hope and the Purdue football program as a whole.

Follow me on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

Inside the Man Room

After a short time off, the Coach and I are back in the Man Room with tons of stuff to talk about.  October is an exciting sports month with football, baseball, and basketball all at the forefront.  This week we talk Colts, college football, college basketball, and even some World Series chatter.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @thadvandeventer, @C_K_42, and @IndySportsCrew.  And subscribe to all Indy Sports Crew podcasts on iTunes.

The Flying V

Storming into Norman: Notre Dame – Oklahoma Preview

As I’m sure you already know the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are heading to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the Sooners. In this trip to Norman the Fighting Irish have something major to play for. That something is a shot at a National Title! I want to remind you that in the season preview for the Irish I had them 7-0 going into this game, don’t believe me check this link. I know a lot of that was love for the Irish but now I look like a modern day Nostradamus. This is without a doubt the stiffest test this Irish team will have faced. It’s not ND’s fault that the Big Ten as a whole has been a pretty major disappointment. The Irish have beaten over hyped Purdue, Michigan State, and Michigan. They’ve also beaten a bad Navy team, a rebuilding Miami, and had nail biters with Stanford and BYU. 

This is the measuring stick game for Brian Kelly, not just for his team but for him as a coach. The history of 3rd year coaches at ND and winning National Titles is a pretty nice list, and I’m 100% sure Coach Kelly would love to notch his name next to Rockne, Ara, and Lou.  Coach Kelly had explosive offenses at previous stops at Central Michigan and Cincinnati. This version of Coach Kelly’s offense is still searching for it’s QB and neither Tommy Rees or Everett Golson has shown the ability to grab the job and not let go. If Golson the Red-shirt Freshman is going to take a strangle hold on the job why not pick Saturday night under the bright lights of Norman to do so? I have wanted Golson to have a huge game since week 1 but he has seemed to be determined to take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. As well as he played at MSU is as poor as he played at home against Michigan. If Golson wants a chance to continue to start beyond this season he better start making plays and not turning it over. Lets not forget Gunner Kiel is on the bench and Top 100 dual threat recruit Malike Zaire is on his way.

OKLAHOMA

The Sooners are led by Landry Jones and his 26th ranked passing game and 5th in scoring offense. Jones is no doubt the best QB the Irish will have faced to this point and in turn the ND front 7 is the best Boomer Sooner will have faced. This is shaping up to being an old fashioned great offense vs great defense. Jones however isn’t going to make you pay with his legs if a play breaks down. Landry doesn’t have a positive rushing play all season! Jones who has been playing his position better then almost anybody in the country as of late is brimming with swagger. However as we’ve seen in the past if he is sacked/pressured early he can get happy feet and start forcing bad throws and turnovers usually follow. If the front 7 gets after Landry early and often it will bode well for the young Irish secondary. However, if Jones can sit back and survey the field like a young Bryson Raney he will pick the Irish secondary apart and we will be in for a long, long day!

The Sooner Defense has been playing lights out as of late too. If the Irish can’t run the ball and set up some play action it can be expected that the Irish D will be leaned on to try and win another one for Kelly and company.

Player to Watch:

Blake Bell: Backup QB on paper but really he is a distant love child of Jerome Bettis and William “Refrigerator” Perry. He is almost an ATM inside the 5 yard line. That’s an “automatic touchdown maker.” Oklahoma is the #2 ranked red zone offense, while ND is the #2 ranked red zone defense. So inside the scoring area you imagine the nastiness that will be going on among the fronts of both teams. This could be an old fashioned slug fest, especially inside the 20′s.

Prediction Time:

I’ve been right when picking the Irish games thus far and I know this is the toughest team to date. That being said I foresee the Irish rolling into Norman and playing another tough game. This game won’t be a beautifully written poem, it will be like a ROUGH draft. It will be rough because both teams are going to slam into each other time after time, after time.

With 1:24 to go in the ball game and Notre Dame trailing 17-12 after 4 Kyle Brindza FG’s and 2 Golson picks the embattled QB will take the Irish down the field and facing 4th down from the Oklahoma 13 yard line Golson will scramble and get outside of the Sooner containment. As the clock continues to tick down Golson will dive head first at the goal line and as the cloud of dust settles in Norman, Everett will be laying with the nose of the ball over the goal line and giving the Irish a 19-17 win in Norman and sending College Football’s Media into a full on frenzy and the bandwagon will continue to add new members!!! Get your seat early though, it’s starting to fill up!

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Rise and Fire

IUPUI Red-White Scrimmage

Tuesday night was the annual Red-White Scrimmage for the IUPUI Basketball team which is the first opportunity fans get a chance to see this season’s Jaguars in action.  The white squad came away with a 79-65 victory after jumping out to an early lead.  There were several things that Coach Todd Howard could be pleased with from the scrimmage and I got a chance to catch up with him afterward.

Coach Howard pointed out that he feels a strength for his team is its depth and versatility.  That was on display Tuesday night with several guys contributing.  Point guard Greg Rice led the white team with 19 points and 8 rebounds.  Purdue transfer John Hart had 16 points for the white team including four 3-pointers.  Big man Mitchell Patton chipped in with 14 points and 7 rebounds.  Guard Ian Chiles was the top scorer for the red side with 17 points and forward Donovan Gibbs had a solid outing with 14 points and 7 rebounds.

Follow me on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

Rise and Fire

Monday Night Reaction

On this week’s weekly edition, we look back at the ugly game that was Colts vs. Browns.  Indianapolis comes away with the victory 17-13 and get back to a .500 record.  Listen to my points of the game and let me know what you think on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

Rise and Fire

Who? What? When? Where?

College Football Recap Week Eight

Who?

The Notre Dame offensive line showed their strength again yesterday.  As is the case most of the time, the line does not get as much recognition as they probably should.  We cannot overlook the play though of Braxston Cave, Mike Golic Jr., Chris Watt, Zach Martin, and Nick Martin.  The Irish line has become one of the strengths of this team.  The identity of this team has been a throwback of running the football and great defense.  The offensive line proved its worth yesterday by opening holes that lead to 270 rushing yards and a Notre Dame win over BYU 17-14.  That may not seem overly impressive on the surface, but when you look closer to see that the Cougars had a rushing defense rated in the top five nationally in rushing yards given up and rushing average this Irish line had a great day yesterday.

What?

The Indiana State Sycamores won their fourth consecutive game yesterday beating Western Illinois 23-7.  There are a few reasons why this win sticks out.  The Trees have won three games during this streak on the road, they have taken down two of their biggest competitors in the conference race (North Dakota State and Southern Illinois), and most importantly all four victories came in conference games.  ISU now sits atop the Missouri Valley Conference standings at 4-1.  With three games remaining, Indiana State has the opportunity to come away with a conference championship and make it to the FCS playoffs.  Both of these ideas would have been dreams a few years ago, but with coach Trent Miles at the helm this program has turned the corner.  Keep your eye on the Sycamores and especially RB Shakir Bell as they push to reach their goals.

When?

Purdue was leading at Ohio State and looking for their third consecutive win against the Buckeyes until just :03 remaining in the 4th quarter.  That was when backup OSU quarterback Kenny Guiton threw a 2 yard touchdown pass to Chris Fields to cut the Boiler lead to 29-27.  The Buckeyes then converted the two-point conversion on another Guiton connection this time to TE Jeff Heuerman which sent this game to overtime.  Ohio State scored on their first possession of the extra session and followed that up by stopping Purdue on four straight pass attempts to escape with the victory.  This is a tough loss for Purdue for a few reasons.  It is their third straight loss which puts them at 0-3 in the conference.  It is also their fourth loss already this season which means they will now have to win at least three of their final five games just to become bowl eligible.

Where?

I know that this post is designed to be a recap, but I can’t help myself here in looking ahead to next week’s match up of Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma at Memorial Stadium in Norman, OK.  The Fighting Irish and Sooners worked out a home-and-home series which in this age of scheduling was great news to see.  This season ND has started 7-0 for the first time since 2002 and is very much in the national title hunt.  Oklahoma is 5-1 and cannot afford another loss if they want to have any chance of sliding back into the championship picture.  This game is also intriguing because it is the classic match up of offense versus defense.  Oklahoma’s offense is fifth in the country averaging 44.7 points per game including 115 points combined in their last two games both wins.  Notre Dame has hung their hat on defense so far this season and rank second nationally in giving up only 9.4 points per game.  Prime time Saturday night will be a huge game on the national stage for both teams.  Oklahoma trying to prove that they can win a big game and deserve to be one of the top programs in the country.  Notre Dame is trying to ride this recent wave of success and continue on with what they believe has the chance to be a magical season.

Follow me on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

Rise and Fire

Monday Night Reaction

The Colts got pounded by the New York Jets yesterday.  The Jets flew back to their old form of running the football and playing aggressive defense.  Indianapolis on the other hand had a very poor performance.  I discuss it all here and you can keep the discussion going by tweeting me @thadvandeventer or @IndySportsCrew.