Notre Dame v Michigan

Brandon reiterates no Mich. St., Ohio St. for Big House night games


Michigan’s series with Notre Dame may be going on “hiatus” after next season, but the newly-minted night-game tradition at Michigan Stadium will continue.  Just don’t expect the Wolverines’ two biggest rivals to be playing under the Big House lights anytime soon.

As he has in the past, UM athletic director Dave Brandon reiterated that, while he wants to continue holding night games in Ann Arbor — the only two in the venerable stadium’s history have been against the Irish — they will not come against either Michigan State or Ohio State.  And Brandon is very succinct in his reasoning: fan behavior.

According to, here’s the off-field tally of incidents that occurred Saturday night during the game against the Irish: 11 arrests, 72 ejections and 133 individuals treated by medical personnel.  Speaking specifically about UM’s in-state rival, the AD said those numbers could possibly triple with a night game against the Spartans and stretch the university’s resources way too thin.

“I know how many people get arrested, I know how many people get ejected from the stadium, I know how many people get carted off to the hospital. I know what it is on a typical game and I know what it is on a Michigan State game. And if you took a Michigan State game and moved it to 8 o’clock, you could take what we experience now and maybe double or triple it and I don’t want to do that,” Brandon told the website. “To me that’s not fun. That’s not what college football should be about.”

With no Notre Dames on future UM non-conference slates, Brandon is not averse to turning to other Big Ten schools for a night game in Ann Arbor.  Specifically, Brandon mentioned Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern and Penn State as possibilities to continue what he’d like to see become an annual tradition.

“That may very well be a conference game. It certainly doesn’t have to be a non-conference game,” Brandon said. “When we start conference play and we’re going to bring a big brand conference team for a big showdown game, we may make that the night game and make that be special. That’s kind of our plan. …

“These schools see the importance of playing us at their place at night, so once in a while maybe we’ll show them what that’s like at Michigan Stadium.”

SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 all have 5 teams in coaches top 25 poll

Johnny Jefferson, Micah Awe
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With multiple teams in the coach spill top 10 losing this week, there was bound to be some shaking up the rankings this week. The coaches poll still has Ohio State on top, followed by TCU, Michigan State and Baylor. Florida had the biggest jump in the rankings while Georgia had the biggest drop The coaches poll also welcomes some new additions this week.

The Florida Gators, fresh off a stomping of previous No. 3 Ole Miss (down to No. 13) moved up 11 spots in this week’s coaches poll. Florida is one of five SEC teams in this week’s coaches poll. The Big Ten has five as well. So does the Pac-12.

No. 23 Iowa, No. 24 Boise State and No. 25 Memphis make their debuts in the coaches poll this week, giving us our first glimpse on the national perception in the Group of Five race. I may have Boise State down a few pegs, but the coaches, or those who actually submit the votes, have the Broncos on top of the Group of Five pack. Memphis is right there as well, but not Toledo.

Here is this week’s coaches poll:

  1. Ohio State ( first place votes)
  2. TCU
  3. Michigan State
  4. Baylor
  5. LSU
  6. Clemson
  7. Utah
  8. Florida State
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Alabama
  11. Texas A&M
  12. Florida
  13. Ole Miss
  14. Northwestern
  15. Notre Dame
  16. Georgia
  17. USC
  18. Stanford
  19. Oklahoma State
  20. UCLA
  21. Michigan
  22. California
  23. Iowa
  24. Boise State
  25. Memphis

Brian Kelly defends decisions on two-point conversion attempts

Brian Kelly

Notre Dame fell two points shy of tying a road game at Clemson Saturday night, partly because the decision to go for two-point conversion on one early fourth-quarter touchdown backfired on the Irish. Down 12 points early in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly chose to go for two-points to cut the Clemson lead to 10 points, meaning Notre Dame would need a touchdown, extra point and a field goal to tie. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and the Irish trailed by 12, 21-9.

Had the Irish gone for the easier and more likely extra point, Notre Dame would have been down 11 points. That is still a bit of an uphill battle that would require a two-point conversion later on anyway, but it also meant Notre Dame had to score two touchdowns instead of a touchdown and a field goal for a shot at tying the game. Making things worse, Notre Dame burned a timeout after the touchdown before deciding which two-point conversion play to run.

Notre Dame’s execution of a late two-point conversion with the game on the line with under 10 seconds to play also came into question as the Irish looked to give freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer the call on a run-pass option. This was stuffed by Clemson as Kizer held on to the football. Kelly, after the game, defended his quarterback’s decision to try and run for the two points.

“We had fair numbers,” Kelly said. “He’s reading it at the line of scrimmage, if the numbers were fair, they were in zone coverage. It was the right call. He made the right call.”

Sometimes a player can make the right decision and still come up short. Perhaps that is exactly what happened in the rain at Clemson Saturday night. Kizer made the best possible decision in the heat of the moment, but Clemson came out on top with solid work up front on the line of scrimmage. Of course, as it turned out late in the game, Notre Dame would have only needed an extra point to tie Clemson in the final seconds after the Tigers tacked on a field goal to set up a seven-point deficit with an Irish extra point earlier. The Irish were forced to go for two because they chased the points earlier in the quarter. Hindsight might be 20/20, but Kelly is not looking back on that decision.

Kelly is hardly the only coach to make some questionable decisions under pressure this season, or this weekend. He is, however, another example of a coach being paid millions to put his program in the best position making some questionable calls that have come back to bite him. Maybe Notre Dame would have won in overtime. The Irish certainly had the momentum in their hands. Or maybe Clemson wins anyway. Who knows?