Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Notre Dame Football Scheduling   Leave a comment

In this era of the College Football Playoff and the criteria used for selecting playoff teams, I’ve started to think that Notre Dame needs to change how they construct their football schedule.  After learning a couple hours ago that an 11-1 Alabama team, who did not even play for their conference championship and whose two best wins were over #17 LSU and #23 Mississippi State, was selected for the college football playoff, I’m fully convinced that a change needs to occur.

Since 1998, Notre Dame has had a very unusual scheduling arrangement with Southern Cal and Stanford.  In even-numbered years, ND plays Stanford at home in October and at Southern Cal Thanksgiving weekend.  In odd-numbered years, ND plays Southern Cal at home in October and at Stanford Thanksgiving weekend.  As a result, the Irish play in California on Thanksgiving weekend every year.  This arrangement is good for ND alumni, who get a California trip every November.  This arrangement is good for ND students, who don’t have to miss class to take their longest trip of the year.  This arrangement is good for Southern Cal and Stanford, who never have to worry about the weather in South Bend in late November.

This arrangement is not good for the playoff aspirations of the Notre Dame football team.  Every year, they play their last game of the season on the road, almost always against a ranked team and more often than not a highly-ranked one.  In the last ten years, the Irish have won their Thankgiving weekend game only twice, and both of those times were when Lane Kiffin was coaching the other team.

It’s a competitive disadvantage to play your last game of the season on the road against a ranked team.  It’s borderline insane to voluntarily do this every single year.  Now I understand the Southern Cal arrangement has been in place since 1960, so I’m not expecting that to change.  The Stanford arrangement is more recent, and if Notre Dame is serious about ever competing for championships, it has to end.  Either Stanford needs to agree to schedule the game earlier in the year both home and away, or the series needs to end.  A Shamrock Series game (a game played at a neutral site but where ND is the home team for TV purposes) would look good on Thanksgiving weekend in odd-numbered years in place of the trip to Palo Alto.  The game could still be in a warm location like Florida, Texas, or even California, but the game would be at a neutral site against a more manageable (but not pushover) opponent rather than in a hostile environment against what is at worst a Top 20 team and sometimes a Top 10 team.

Yet I would take this even a step further.  In any odd year in which BYU or Army would be willing, schedule the Shamrock Series game on the first Saturday in December instead of Thanksgiving weekend.  You may not even be aware that this is possible.  The first Saturday in December is not reserved just for conference championship games.  Any team not in a conference with a championship game is allowed to schedule a game just like any other Saturday during the season.  The Big 12 and their ten teams did this up until this year when they re-instituted their championship game.  Think about this, Notre Dame could simply schedule themselves to play on Championship Saturday while all the power 5 teams have to work all year to earn the right to play that day.  Guaranteed TV exposure on a day with a limited slate of games right before the playoff committee makes their selections.  Does this not make tons of sense?

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Posted December 3, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in College Football, Notre Dame, Sports

November 17, 2017: Full Circle   Leave a comment

“Back and better than ever”
-Mike Greenberg, thousands of mornings from 2000-2017

Note: I really wanted this post to be more timely, but it’s been a very hectic several weeks.  I hope to get one or two more posts out today after this one because I have a lot on my mind.

On September 27, 1999, when I started my career with the US Census Bureau at the Chicago Regional Office, ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning was still fourteen weeks away from debuting.  It would be another sixteen weeks before I discovered the show that got me through my morning commute to the Census Bureau in three different cities over the next 17½ years.

Friday, November 17, marked the end of one era and the beginning of another.  As ESPN goes through a series of reorganizations of on air talent and programming, that day was the last day that Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg hosted their iconic morning show together before moving on to new and separate shows.  It was also the same day that, due to my previous decision to transfer back to the Chicago Regional Office, our family moved into our new home in Munster, Indiana.

On both the first and last days I ever listened to Mike & Mike in the Morning, I commuted back and forth to the same office (though the office itself did move in the meantime).  While their show was a constant for all those years, my life sure did change quite a bit.  I went from being single and living alone to married with two kids, and too many ups and downs along the way to count.

While I have been very frequently been sternly reminded by a higher power, usually through messages delivered by others, that I am not in full control of my life, I do both hope and believe that I am now settled in a home that will see my kids graduate from high school and my eventual retirement.  While I have visited, semi-regularly attended, and regularly attended many churches over the years, for the first time I’m actually attending a church that I truly feel called to be a part of.  I very strongly believe that I am where I am for a very important purpose, though I don’t know exactly what that is yet.

I’m anxious to reach the point where I’m ‘settled in’ and can start getting more involved in my church and community.  If you live in the Munster/Hammond/Lansing area and happened upon this post I’d love to make some local connections via Facebook and/or LinkedIn.

Posted December 3, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in Family, Indiana, Sports

Holding Out for a Hero (or 25)   Leave a comment

“I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight” -Bonnie Tyler

About eleven months ago, our world entered an apocalyptic age.  Since the triggering event very early on the morning of November 3, 2016, the following things have happened:

  • Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States
  • A series of four earthquakes hit central Italy, killing thirty-four
  • A magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit China, killing twenty-five
  • Hurricane Harvey hit the Caribbean, Texas and Louisiana, killing seventy-five
  • A pair of earthquakes hit Mexico, killing 457.
  • Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean and Florida, killing 124
  • Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean, most notably Puerto Rico, killing at least sixty-eight
  • Tens of thousands of acres in the western U.S. have burned in wildfires
  • The United States is on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea

It might seem that humanity’s headlong rush toward the end times is irreversible, but alas, there is hope.  The number of men who can reverse humanity’s course is few, and their window of opportunity is short, but it is possible.  Between October 3 and November 1, there are 225 men, amassed in groups of twenty-five throughout nine major U.S. cities, who have a chance to accomplish the seemingly impossible task.  They are based in Los Angeles, Cleveland, Houston, Washington, Boston, Phoenix, New York, Denver and Minneapolis.

If you are from one of these cities, you may already be partial to one of these groups of men.  If not, then please adopt one of them as your own.  Cheer for them, pray for them, wear their colors to show your support.  If one of these groups is actually able to accomplish the task, they should be hailed worldwide as heroes, but if we all wake up on November 2 and none of them have been able to succeed, then God help us all.

2017mlbplayoffs.jpg

 

Posted October 1, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in Baseball, Sports

The Worst Play Call in the History of Football   Leave a comment

On October 31, 2010, when Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly had his backup quarterback throw a fade route while trailing Tulsa by one point at their 19-yard line with 45 seconds left and an excellent kicker waiting to kick the game-winning field goal, I thought I had seen the worst play call in the history of football.  The risk far, far outweighed the reward to the point that the call seemed incomprehensible.

In Super Bowl XLIX, Seattle’s Pete Carroll called for a pass play while trailing 28-24, facing 2nd and goal from the New England 1 with 26 seconds left and one timeout remaining.  From a purely risk/reward standpoint, this was not a worse play call than Brian Kelly’s, but given the context that this was a Super Bowl and not just a regular season college game, it was arguably a worse play call.

Last night, the Atlanta Falcons managed to top them both.  With 3:56 left, facing 2nd and 11 at the New England 23 yard line, holding a 28-20 lead, all Atlanta had to do was run the ball two more times, even if for no gain, force New England to burn two of their three timeouts, and then attempt a 40-yard field goal that their kicker is going to make about 90 percent of the time to give Atlanta a 31-20 lead, leaving New England needing two scores in roughly 3:45 and only one timeout.

Of course what Atlanta did was call a pass play, which resulted in a sack, followed by another pass play which resulted in a holding penalty which knocked Atlanta entirely out of field goal range.  You can say it’s easy to second-guess given the results, but it was pretty clear at the time that making sure to get at least 3 points on the board was the best option.

Any other horrible play calls I’m missing?

Posted February 6, 2017 by Andrew Cabiness in College Football, NFL, Sports

Beat the Blogger: 2016-17 Bowls   Leave a comment

I haven’t posted my bowl picks in a while, but I still make them every year, and I’m still not nearly as bad at them as I am at my basketball picks.  Here are my confidence picks for the 2016-17 bowls:

GRAMBLING STATE 42
TEMPLE 41
TULSA 40
MISSISSIPPI STATE 39
BOISE STATE 38
COLORADO STATE 37
NEW MEXICO 36
BRIGHAM YOUNG 35
WASHINGTON STATE 34
TROY 33
OLD DOMINION 32
NAVY 31
WESTERN KENTUCKY 30
MIDDLE TENNESSEE 29
NORTH TEXAS 28
APPALACHIAN STATE 27
MARYLAND 26
CENTRAL FLORIDA 25
HOUSTON 24
VANDERBILT 23
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 22
AIR FORCE 21
SOUTH FLORIDA 20
UTAH 19
PITTSBURGH 18
STANFORD 17
WISCONSIN 16
MICHIGAN 15
GEORGIA TECH 14
COLORADO 13
OKLAHOMA 12
SOUTHERN CAL 11
GEORGIA 10
TEXAS A&M 9
VIRGINIA TECH 8
WEST VIRGINIA 7
LOUISVILLE 6
NEBRASKA 5
IOWA 4
ALABAMA (SEMIFINAL) 3
OHIO STATE (SEMIFINAL) 2
OHIO STATE (FINAL) 1

Posted December 7, 2016 by Andrew Cabiness in College Football, Sports

You Are an Embarrassment to My Alma Mater   Leave a comment

Yes, Brian Kelly, you are an embarrassment to my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame.  I didn’t put myself about $100,000 into debt to go to a university with an excellent football program.  I didn’t put myself that far into debt to go to an university with a reputation for academic excellence and for integrity.  I put myself that far into debt to go to a very unique university that was both.

Brian Kelly has managed to turn a university that excels at football and operates with integrity to one that does neither.  However, this has gotten well beyond Brian Kelly, and that is why the title of this post starts with “You” instead of with “Brian Kelly.”

John B. “Jack” Swarbrick, you are also an embarrassment to my alma mater.  You continue to stand firmly behind a coach who has brought nothing but negative attention to the university both on and off the field.  Even if you decide to fire Brian Kelly within the next week, it has gone on too long.  You’ve allowed Notre Dame to become a place that just isn’t that special anymore.

Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, you are also an embarrassment to my alma mater.  Under your tenure, you have allowed an athletic director and a football coach to turn Notre Dame into a place that I’m no longer proud of.  I used to be very proud to tell people that I’m not just a Notre Dame fan, now I just brag that I’m married to an Ivy Tech grad.

There are a few more people who are an embarrassment to my alma mater:

  • John J. Brennan
  • John F. Affleck-Graves
  • Rev. José E. Ahumada F., C.S.C.
  • Carlos J. Betancourt
  • Stephen J. Brogan
  • Thomas G. Burish
  • Monique Y. Caron
  • Katie Washington Cole
  • Rev. Austin I. Collins, C.S.C.
  • Robert Costa
  • Scott S. Cowen
  • Robert J. Cronin, Jr.
  • Thomas J. Crotty, Jr.
  • Karen McCartan DeSantis
  • James J. Dunne III
  • James F. Flaherty III
  • Celeste Volz Ford
  • Stephanie A. Gallo
  • William M. Goodyear
  • Nancy M. Haegel
  • Enrique Hernandez, Jr.
  • Carol Hank Hoffmann
  • Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
  • Most Rev. Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C., D.D.
  • John W. Jordan II
  • Diana Lewis
  • Thomas G. Maheras
  • Andrew J. McKenna, Jr.
  • Fergal Naughton
  • Richard C. Notebaert
  • Richard A. Nussbaum II
  • Rev. Thomas J. O’Hara, C.S.C.
  • Rev. Gerard J. Olinger, C.S.C.
  • Cindy K. Parseghian
  • J. Christopher Reyes
  • Kenneth Ricci
  • Clare Stack Richer
  • Martin W. Rodgers
  • James E. Rohr
  • Shayla Keough Rumely
  • Rev. John J. Ryan, C.S.C.
  • Rev. Timothy R. Scully, C.S.C.
  • Byron O. Spruell
  • Phyllis W. Stone
  • Timothy F. Sutherland
  • Anne E. Thompson
  • Sara Martinez Tucker
  • Roderick K. West
  • Ann C. Williams

These are the members of the Board of Trustees.  Thanks to them, the Notre Dame I loved and paid dearly to attend is a thing of the past.  I feel robbed, both emotionally and financially.  I would ask for my money back, but if I gave them my phone number I’d just get dozens of calls from them asking me for money.  If you are one of the people on this list and do manage to read this, I’d be happy to hear why you don’t think you are an embarrassment to my alma mater, just so long as you don’t ask me for money in the process.

 

Posted November 26, 2016 by Andrew Cabiness in College Football, Sports

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How NOT to Fill Out Your Brackets   Leave a comment

Disclaimer: This is my 33rd year filling out brackets.  I’ve never won a pool of any kind, not even a free one that’s just for bragging rights.  So if your picks look anything like mine, it’s not too late to change yours.

andybrackets2015

Posted March 17, 2015 by Andrew Cabiness in College Basketball, Sports

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