Notre Dame manages to stay perfect on the season

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Following Notre Dame’s road win at Oklahoma last week, we opined that “until this team shows they shouldn’t be taken seriously, they’ve earned the right to be.”

That still holds true. As long as Notre Dame keeps winning, they’ll be given respect — or, at least they should. The Irish almost blew it in a big way today against Pitt, but found a way to win once again. For three quarters, it looked like the Panthers were going to play BCS spoilers again — 2007 in Morgantown, anyone? — and derail Notre Dame’s undefeated season. Instead, Paul Chryst‘s team got inexplicably conservative and Notre Dame found some offensive rhythm. The result was 13 straight unanswered points and Notre Dame took Pitt into overtime tied at 20.

After some a pair of field goals in the first overtime, Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood fumbled in the end zone and Pitt missed its second field goal attempt. Irish QB Everett Golson then snuck in for a 1-yard touchdown to give No. 4 Notre Dame a 29-26 win. For another week, the Irish are still perfect despite playing anything but.

Now, Notre Dame can sit back and watch the other three undefeated BCS championship contenders play tonight in hopes that one or more of them will fall. Oregon is currently leading USC 34-17 in the second quarter and the Trojans haven’t been able to slow down the Ducks so far. USC, obviously, is a common opponent for both Oregon and Notre Dame (the Irish come to L.A. later this month), so how each game plays out will be interesting to watch.

But it ultimately comes down to the bodies of work, and Oregon has the strongest schedule in the final month of the season. The BCS computer averages currently like Notre Dame and Kansas State, but if Oregon keeps winning, its computer average should rise to match the love the Ducks are feeling from the voters.

K-State also has a common opponent with Notre Dame in Oklahoma. The Wildcats and the Irish were impressive in their respective wins in Norman this year.

Realistically, Notre Dame needs two undefeated teams to lose between now and the beginning of December. While a BCS championship between, say, Alabama and Notre Dame would get the highest TV ratings and be a dream match-up, the Irish just aren’t going to Miami without some help along the way.

Longtime UCLA staffer Angus McClure’s hire one of two announced by Nevada

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The departure of a longtime UCLA staffer has officially been confirmed.

Late last week, reports surfaced that Angus McClure was leaving UCLA for a position at Nevada.  Tuesday, the Mountain West Conference football program confirmed that McClure has been hired as Jay Norvell‘s new offensive line coach.

McClure had been with the Bruins since 2007, serving at various times as position coach for both sides of UCLA’s lines as well as special teams.  Most recently, McClure had served as recruiting coordinator for the Pac-12 school.

McClure and Norvell have a prior working relationship as they were both on the same staffs at Nebraska and UCLA.

In addition to McClure, David Lockwood was announced as Nevada’s new safeties coach.  Lockwood was on the UNLV staff last season after spending the previous three years as the cornerbacks coach at Arizona.

“I think we made our staff stronger with these two veteran hires,” Norvell said in a statement. “I’m excited about the experience and expertise that we have added to the Wolf Pack coaching staff.”

Former Kansas State head coach Jim Dickey dies at 84

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Former Kansas State head coach Jim Dickey died on Saturday night at the age of 84.

A Texas native, Dickey played quarterback at Houston in the 1950’s and started his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater. From there he took assistant jobs at Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas and North Carolina before landing the K-State job ahead of the 1978 season. He went 25-53-2 in seven-plus seasons on the job, which doesn’t look like much at first blush until one takes stock of where the Wildcat football program was at the time.

Dickey took Kansas State to the Independence Bowl in 1982, a 14-3 loss to Wisconsin, which was the first bowl appearance in program history. He was named the Big 8’s Coach of the Year for that season.

After back-to-back 3-win seasons in 1983 and ’84, he was let go after an 0-2 start to the 1985 campaign. The program would remain historically down until future College Football Hall of Famer Bill Snyder built the program up in the 1990’s.

Dickey finished out his career as an assistant on the pre-Steve Spurrier Florida teams before retiring in 1989. He lived at a rest home in Houston at the time of his passing, according to the Manhattan Mercury. Dickey’s son, Darrell Dickey, is the former head coach at North Texas and currently the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M.

Mario Cristobal reportedly reuniting with former assistant in Eugene

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The Oregon coaching staff is going to have a specific South Florida flavor to it. Head coach Mario Cristobal is a Miami native, a former Hurricanes player and assistant, and the former head coach at Florida International. On Tuesday, Cristobal moved to bring a fellow South Floridian with him to the Pacific Northwest.

According to Grant Traylor of the Huntington (W. Va.) Herald-Dispatch, Marshall offensive line coach Alex Mirabal is leaving the staff to reunite with Cristobal in Eugene.

Sports Illustrated‘s Bruce Feldman added Mirabal will work under Cristobal, who will handle the offensive line.

Mirabal is also a native of Miami and a Florida International graduate. He spent the first decade-plus of his career working in Miami’s high school ranks before joining Cristobal’s FIU staff as tight ends and later offensive line coach from 2007-12. He landed at Marshall in 2013 after Cristobal was forced out at FIU, where he remained until Tuesday.

Under Mirabal’s guidance, Marshall finished fourth nationally in sacks allowed at just 0.85 per game. Oregon finished 54th nationally in that same metric.

Trio of players transferring from Missouri

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As we trudge deeper into the college football offseason, roster attrition across the sport has shown no signs of slowing down.

It was confirmed Tuesday that three players have decided to take their leave of the Missouri football program.  Two of the departees are defensive backs (redshirt freshman Jerod Alton, redshirt sophomore TJ Warren) while the other is a wide receiver (redshirt junior Ray Wingo).

All three of the transferring players were three-star recruits coming out of high school.  Wingo, who moved to receiver after his redshirt season in 2014, was the highest-rated of the group, with 247Sports.com pegging him as the No. 24 cornerback in the country and the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Missouri.

After catching five passes for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns in 2016, Wingo didn’t record a reception at all in 2017.  He’ll finish the Mizzou portion of his playing career with 167 yards and those two touchdowns on his nine receptions.

Warren played in 18 games the past two seasons, including six last year.  He started one of those games, with that coming during the 2016 season.

Alton took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.