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CFT preseason No. 18: Notre Dame

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2010 record: 8-5

2010 bowl: 33-17 win over Miami (Fla.) in the Sun Bowl

2010 final AP/coaches’ ranking: unranked/unranked

Coach: Brian Kelly, second year; 8-5 overall

Offensive coordinator: Charley Molnar, second year

2010 offensive rankings: 67th, scoring offense (26.3 ppg); 61st, total offense (379.7 ypg); 92nd, rushing offense (126.6 ypg); 34th, passing offense (253.1 ypg)

Defensive coordinator: Bob Diaco, second year

2010 defensive rankings: 23rd, scoring defense (20.2 ppg); 50th, total defense (357.2 ypg); 50th, rushing defense (142.2 ypg); 54th, passing defense (215.1 ypg)

Returning offensive starters: 9

Returning defensive starters: 8

Location: Notre Dame, Ind.

Stadium: Notre Dame Stadium (grass; 80,795)

2011 schedule: [view]

2011 roster: [view]

2010 statistics: [view]

Snapshot: There will be many a voter in the polls that “matter” who will place the Irish firmly inside the Top 10 based solely on the fact that they have 17 returning starters — 19 if you include kickers. I’m not of those individuals, even as my vote doesn’t mean squat as I don’t have one.

A four-game winning streak to end the season — with backup quarterback Tommy Rees under center — certainly lends an air of optimism for the Irish’s prospects for the 2011 season, and I’m really close to drinking the green Kool-Aid. The defense certainly isn’t a cause for not taking a sip, however, as Brian Kelly returns more than three-quarters of a defense that finished in the top 25 nationally in scoring — well, preventing it. Health is likely the only concern on that side of the ball as the Irish are somewhat thin at certain positions.

Speaking of health, and despite Rees’ heroics as a true freshman, the starter at the position will likely depend on Dayne Crist as he recovers from a season-ending knee injury that set the table for his young understudy to close out the year in winning fashion. There’s also the possibility sophomore Andrew Hendrix and/or freshman Everett Golson could work their way into the mix by being perhaps a better fit athletically for what Kelly would ultimately like to accomplish with his version of the spread.

Of course, there’s a lot of the optimism on the offensive side of the ball because of the return of Michael Floyd. The star wide receiver was fully reinstated to the program Aug. 3 following his third alcohol-related brush with the law since coming to South Bend. With Floyd, there’s a talented veteran target for whatever QB wins the job. No, Floyd’s presence won’t mean that much to the won-loss bottom line, but it surely couldn’t hurt as the Irish attempt to claw their way back into national prominence sooner rather than later.

Make-or-break game: Oct. 22 vs. USC

For the sake of argument, we’re going to assume the Irish will be able to get through their first six games of the season — including the first night game in the history of The Big House against Michigan — relatively unscathed, with “relatively unscathed” for our purposes being 5-1 or better. If that were to happen, their annual showdown with the Trojans looms very large. A home win over what will be a very good USC team (you’ll see how good in very short order) could potentially send the Irish shooting toward what could become a (gasp!) BcS berth. Could, mind you; a lot of other variables would be involved, mainly that six-game stretch to start the season that includes USF, road dates with Michigan and Pittsburgh and games with two teams in my Top 25 in Michigan State and Air Force. Of course, there’s also that regular-season finale against a team that’s in my Top 5, but the Irish will have to navigate a schedule full of potential potholes before chopping down that particular tree.

Heisman hopeful: Floyd

Floyd should be able to put up numbers — he’s already on the verge of shattering every major school receiving record that he doesn’t currently already own — that would garner some attention from Heisman types, particularly if the Irish are winning and especially because the Irish are winning as there is still a certain block of voters who hold a special place in their football hearts for South Bend and would love nothing more than a player from that school to be relevant again.

Postseason projection: Champs Sports Bowl

Special section: Notre Dame Central

Return to CFT’s preseason Top 25

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Report: Jim Delany to retire as B1G commish in 2020

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26:  Commissioner of The Big Ten Conference Jim Delany speaks at The Big Ten Network Kick Off Party at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 26, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Wink Public Relations)
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One of the most powerful men in collegiate athletics is nearing the end of his reign.

During his time at the podium during Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, commissioner Jim Delany hinted very strongly that he would not be around when the conference’s new media rights deal expires in 2022.  In fact, the 68-year-old commish sounded fairly positive that he’ll be somewhere other than the league’s headquarters in Rosemont, Ill., when that deal comes up for negotiations.

“I have a lot of energy and a lot of interest in what’s going on in the college space today,” Delany said. “I will be around for a bit. Whether I’m around here for six years is probably a little bit beyond how I see it.”

A short time later, Nicole Auerbach of USA Today, citing a person with direct knowledge of the situation, reported that Delany will step down in 2020.  Jut when in 2020 Delany would ceded control after more than three decades on the job isn’t clear.

Delany took over as commissioner of the conference in 1989.  Arguably his greatest accomplishment in that role was helping the league to develop the Big Ten Network, an in-house ATM that has helped the conference stay in step with the SEC financially.

During his tenure, he also helped shepherd the Big ten through the maze of expansion, first with Penn State in the early nineties and then with Nebraska in 2011 and Maryland and Rutgers three years later.

Marshall announces dismissal of LB Raheim Huskey

HUNTINGTON, WV - SEPTEMBER 6: Raheim Huskey #45 of the Marshall Thundering Herd celebrates in the first half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Joan C. Edwards Stadium on September 6, 2015 in Huntington, West Virginia. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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The up-and-down playing career of Raheim Huskey, at least in Huntington, has officially come to an end.

Marshall announced in a press release that Huskey has been dismissed from the Thundering Herd by head coach Doc Holliday. The only reason given was “a violation of team rules and policies.

The dismissal is the latest misstep/setback for the middle linebacker.

Projected as the starter heading into summer camp last year, Huskey was leapfrogged on the depth chart by Devontre’a Tyler. Then, in October, Huskey was indefinitely suspended for unspecified violations of team rules. He was reinstated and returned to the team in time to participate in spring practice earlier this year.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman in 2013, Huskey played in 20 games the past two seasons. He played in seven last season prior to his suspension.

In the 2014 Conference USA championship game, Huskey, starting place of the injured Jermaine Holmes, was credited with eight tackles and 2.5 sacks in the win over Louisiana Tech.

Ole Miss’ Charles Wiley arrested on domestic violence charge

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Head coach Hugh Freeze of the Mississippi Rebels and team enter the field before playing against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the first quarter of the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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As if Ole Miss didn’t have enough off-field issues with which to deal, now this situation pops up.

According to online jail records first obtained by HottyToddy.com, Charles Wiley was arrested Monday evening and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence.  A female was arrested on the same charge as well.

No details of what led to the arrests have been divulged.  The defensive lineman posted bond and was released from the Lafayette County Jail late this morning.  According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Wiley is scheduled to appear in court next month.

In a statement sent to the media, head coach Hugh Freeze indicated that Wiley “is being withheld from all team activities” as the program gathers more information.

“We are aware of the situation and recognize the proper authorities responsible for the matter,” the statement began. “Charles is being withheld from all team activities while the process moves forward. We take incidents like this very seriously and will make decisions once the course of actions is complete.”

A four-star member of Ole Miss’ 2016 recruiting class, Wiley was rated as the No. 20 weakside defensive end in the country.  He was an early enrollee who participated in spring practice earlier this year, and had been expected to be a part of the line rotation this season.

Texas transfer Ryan Newsome to choose between Ariz. St., Mich. St.

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 15:  A Michigan State Spartans helmet on the bench during a college football game against the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium on November 15, 2014 in College Park, Maryland.  The Spartans won 37-15.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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And then there were two.

A week ago, Ryan Newsome took to Twitter to announce his decision to transfer from Texas.  A couple of days later, the wide receiver revealed that he already has a Top Six list: Alabama, Arizona State, Michigan State, Tennessee, Texas A&M and USC.

Over the weekend, Newsome revealed he had whittled that list down to the Spartans and Sun Devils.

In an interview with the Lansing State Journal late last week, Newsome stated that MSU was “the first school to reach out to me” after his transfer decision was announced. Newsome is expected to visit both campuses before making a final decision.

Regardless of where he lands, Newsome will be forced to sit out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. He’d then have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Newsome was a four-star member of the Longhorns’ 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 27 receiver in the country and the No. 32 player at any position in the talent-rich state of Texas. As a true freshman last season, Newsome caught four passes for 23 yards.