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Assorted notes: Big Ten Champs, game in Denver, and June visits

May 20, 2010, 7:30 AM EDT

A few interesting notes from the last day or two as we push toward the summer.

While school is out, football players will report back to campus on June 7th for summer school, less than three weeks until incoming freshman and the 2010 football team get started with their summer workouts. According to some message board rumbling, offseason workouts have started even earlier for quarterback Dayne Crist, who is working out with Kyle Rudolph, Braxston Cave and Shaq Evans. They’ll be joined by Duval Kamara and Michael Floyd in the coming weeks before reporting to South Bend in early June.

(I’ll be reporting to camp around the same time, but more on that later…)


Former Notre Dame defensive end Gene Smith has plenty to say about the Notre Dame to the Big Ten rumors. Smith is now the athletic director of Ohio State, where he’s openly pulling for Notre Dame to join the 11 teams already in the conference.

“For me, I just have to believe a Notre Dame football player winning a
conference championship and having that conference ring is a memorable
experience, and then chasing a national championship,” Smith said for the Big Ten meetings in Chicago earlier this week. “You
can do both. But when you only have one, I struggle.

“I would hope if they end up being one of the schools (invited), I hope they would consider what a conference championship means to a young person. I was blessed to be there when we were winning national championships. I won two — one as a coach, one as a player. The landscape has changed.” 

As much as I agree that the landscape in college football has changed, there’s little chance that playing for a conference championship ring would be the impetus for change. Especially in the Big Ten, which every year seems to have a distinct scheduling factor built into the formula. If the conference championship is so important, you’d think that Smith and the rest of the athletic directors would go the way of the Pac-10 and actually play for the championship.


The Brian Kelly barnstorming tour was in Denver Tuesday night, where he spoke to a group of 500 from the alumni club, including Denver Broncos Ryan Harris, Brady Quinn and David Bruton. While Kelly hit all the standard notes, here’s an interesting bit from the piece.

Kelly arrives at Notre Dame during a time
of transition in college football. While conferences jockey for
position in the probable realignment game, Kelly staunchly stands behind
Notre Dame’s independent status.

He’s looking forward to playing Army at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 20 and
Navy in Ireland in 2012. He talked of starting series with Texas and
Florida, and a 2012 game against Miami at Chicago’s Soldier Field is
nearly finalized. He mentioned the Irish playing a potential
neutral-site game in Denver at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Kelly is reaching out to alumni on this spring barnstorming trip.
Denver was his estimated 25th stop and he started the day visiting an
alumni group in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He will be in Fresno, Calif., today.

A neutral site game in Denver would be absolutely awesome, with Invesco Field at Mile High a perfect venue in a terrific football city. You’ve got to think a game against Colorado could be the perfect usage of those annual games and would be a great experience for all involved.

(Even more ridiculous, how about the fact that Kelly’s on stop 25 of his May tour? He’d make some political campaigns blush with his hard work.)


A final note from the Big Ten meetings, where coaches lobbied the NCAA for June official visits.

This from Dave Birkett at

The conference’s football coaches met Tuesday to discuss legislation they want to get
in front of the NCAA board of directors. One possibility? June official

“So many kids are taking unofficial visits right now and the cost
to families is astronomical trying to go see X amount of schools in
June,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “It only
makes sense. How many of these kids are making early decisions, making
verbal commitments, without ever taking an official visit that you can
pay for to be on campus for that 48-hour window? It makes a ton of sense
to us as a group.”

This would be a huge advantage for Notre Dame as well, allowing the Irish to get recruits on campus in a warm weather month before many elite prospects make final decisions before their senior season.

(Then again, Fitzgerald is likely pushing for it because there’s no difference in the Northwestern campus between the stoic summer months and football season, when dozens of crazed NU football fans flock to Ryan Stadium.)

I’d be surprised if this got approved, because there are plenty of schools in warm weather climates that don’t want the playing field leveled, but it’s a good suggestion that would show that the NCAA is adapting to the times as opposed to staying stuck in their ways.

  1. Avon Domer - May 20, 2010 at 9:36 AM

    Excuse me, but I do not recall hearing anyone from the University of Notre Dame athletic administration ever telling THE Ohio State University how to run its business, so is it too much to ask for the same courtesy? Apparently it is.

  2. terry - May 20, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    “football season, when dozens of crazed NU football fans flock to Ryan Stadium.”
    A tiny bit snarky, but funny.
    I also like the fact that Coach Kelly has a daughter named Grace. That’s nice.
    I remember when I was in the service (way back when) I listened to the 1966 ND-USC game on a shortwave radio, and after the game legend has it that John McKay, then coach at USC said “I’ll never lose to that Armenian b…..d again!” (He didn’!t)
    Anyone out there remember “Ara stop the snow!”?
    Given the fact that my dog needs to go outside to perform his ablutions, I now yield the floor to the serious commentators.

  3. E-Man - May 20, 2010 at 10:10 AM

    Stop #25 on his May tour??!! Heck, he’ll put some traveling salesmen to shame.
    Do you think he’s really beginning to dig this celeberty a little bit? I do, just hope he can back it up with winning.

  4. terry - May 20, 2010 at 10:13 AM

    (unasked-for) advice to ‘Avon Domer’:
    It’s only a game.
    Take three deep breaths, relax, close your eyes and CHANT the simple phrase ‘chicken fart’ three times in rapid succession.
    My work here is done
    (cue music as I ride off into the sunset astride a donkey who is CLEARLY not happy with the burden he is bearing)

  5. Ted - May 20, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    Why shouldn’t Brian Kelly be traveling to various ND Alumni Clubs? It is a far cry from the three who preceeded him as head coaches. The truth is Coach Kelly is indeed a very visible entity who does an outstanding job representing the University of Notre Dame.
    Time will tell about the winning aspect of his job, but as many others have pointed out, from his background we can expect success to follow in the playing field.

  6. terryfizz - May 20, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    I remember “Ara stop the rain”

  7. stan - May 20, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    I thought Ara beat McKay in 1973

  8. Drew - May 20, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    I also remember chanting, “Ara stop the rain”. More often than not, he did.
    McKay did vow, after the drubbing by ND of USC in 1966, to never again lose to Parseghian. He was nearly able to keep that vow, because 1973 (a Notre Dame National Championship year) was the only time the Irish beat McKay’s USC team after 1966. However, in 1968, ND played USC and O.J. Simpson to a 21-21 tie.

  9. smaster - May 20, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    “ND played USC and O.J. Simpson to a 21-21 tie.”
    That must have been a murderous game!

  10. jim masterson - May 20, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    Kell is the real McCoy. 13 & 0 baby. Bank it. I recall the lost to U$C in ’64. Listened to it on the AFN in SEAsia. I had a friend, Frank Raschi, who’s uncle was Vic Raschi, top of the line starter for the NY Yanks from ’49-53. Took his M-14 and shot the hell out of his telefunken(German) hi-fi, radio and tv. LMAO, at that, not at the result of the game. U$C was an outlaw program then, and still is.

  11. Ray - May 20, 2010 at 10:15 PM

    The common problem that Notre Dame and the Big Ten share is the lack of high-school football talent in the cold-weather states, or, more precisely, the disproportionate share of talent enjoyed by the warm-weather states, particularly Florida and the other SEC states. In February, 2010, 75 of the top 100 prospects were from 18 warm-weather states. Eighty-five of the top 100 prospects went to warm-weather schools. Only two of the top 77 prospects from warm-weather states went to cold-weather schools. One of the two was ND’s Louis Nix.
    With a 10-2 record in 2010 and a great recruiting class in February, 2011, Notre Dame solves its own problem. But the Big Ten badly needs a splash to attract the warm-weather kids. A big splash is the New York and Washington television markets. Adding Notre Dame to Pitt, Rutgers, Maryland, and UConn gives the Big Ten those markets. Otherwise, the Big Ten is increasingly irrelevant to the BCS national-championship picture.
    I address these topics at length on my Web site and blog at All are invited.

  12. Sgt. Moon - May 20, 2010 at 10:28 PM

    With the Ohio State Athletic Director (Gene Smith) pulling for ND to join the Big Ten only proves that the conference needs Notre Dame. Notre Dame does not need the Big Ten. I guarantee if Smith was the AD at ND, he wouldn’t be pushing this.
    I have said it a thousand times, If Notre Dame wins football games, it will stop all this nonsense talk about joining a conference.

  13. Greenman - May 21, 2010 at 12:00 AM

    ND and USC also tied 14-14 in 1969.

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