What went wrong for Notre Dame in its loss to Alabama?

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The only questions Alabama players and coaches will answer following another BCS championship game victory will be 1) who will be going pro (see what we did there? That’s a Nick Saban joke.) and 2) how do they feel about the term “dynasty?”

The questions Notre Dame must answer are more difficult and unwelcome.

Though ranked No. 2 in the country entering tonight’s game, the Tide was a 10-point favorite over the Irish, so the general storylines were more closely geared toward what Brian Kelly‘s program needed to do to win its first national title in over 20 years.

It started up front along the offensive and defensive lines. The trenches. Alabama’s O-line is anchored by All-American center Barrett Jones and has paved the way for one of the best rushing attacks in the nation while keeping the jersey of its quarterback, A.J. McCarron, clean. McCarron had just three interceptions on the season, a compliment not only to his decision-making, but the time he was given to make those decisions.

Notre Dame’s front seven needed to be able to disrupt Alabama’s run-first game plan without the help of an additional body in the box. Instead, Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon ran for most of the Tide’s 265 yards on the ground. When Notre Dame was able to get penetration up front, missed tackles and bad angles allowed Lacy and Yeldon to use their athleticism to get past the initial rush. For McCarron? He went 20-of-28 for 264 yards and four touchdowns. It wasn’t exactly chaos in Alabama’s backfield.

With little pressure up front, Notre Dame’s linebacker unit and secondary got torched in one-on-one matchups with Alabama’s skill players. Linebacker Manti Te’0 wasn’t the only Irish defender getting embarrassed, but considering his postseason accolades and role on the team, he was getting the most negative attention. Tape from the 2012 season shows that Te’o had only two missed tackles all year. He might have had two in one quarter tonight.

It was undisciplined defense all around and Alabama was so balanced and multiple on offense that it didn’t seem fair.

And Notre Dame’s offense hasn’t shown the quick-strike ability consistently to mount a comeback even if the defense stiffened up. The Irish have been flighty on that side of the ball all season as Everett Golson kept developing at quarterback and there were times when Tommy Rees had to step in to keep things going. But when Notre Dame clicked on offense, namely against Oklahoma and Miami, it has the playmakers in Tyler Eifert, Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick and TJ Jones to put up a lot of points.

Notre Dame had to have an offensive performance similar to the one it had in October against the Sooners. That didn’t happen either. Alabama’s defense under coordinator Kirby Smart did a nice job of disrupting Golson all night. There was no tempo, no rhythm for Kelly’s team.

Plus, the Irish probably needed either a big mistake from Alabama or an exceptional special teams play — something to swing field position or momentum for a quick and easy score. Not only was Notre Dame not able to take advantage of any mistakes, but it didn’t benefit from early judgement calls from the officials either (the Eifert catch out-of-bounds and Christion Jones muffed punt come to mind). With injuries to Louis Nix and Kapron Lewis-Moore along the D-line, the Irish couldn’t even catch a break on the injury front. Meanwhile, Barrett Jones played the entire game with a Lisfranc injury and never left the field.

That kind of night. Nothing went right for the Irish. Yes, Alabama was clearly the better team, but the Tide was also far more prepared and executed its game plan perfectly.

Now, it’ll be a long eight months as Kelly and his coaching staff look for some answers.

Pac-12 gets primetime slot on FOX instead of NLCS Game 7

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The Pac-12 has struggled compared to other power conferences when it comes to getting the best national exposure possible on TV. That is what makes Saturday night quite a moral victory for commissioner Larry Scott and the Pac-12, as Oregon and Washington State are set for a nationally televised game between ranked Pac-12 teams.

There will be a Game 7 in the National League Championship Series after the Milwaukee Brewers held off elimination last night against the Los Angeles Dodgers. A Game 7 in a league championship series would figure to be an automatic choice to be placed on network television instead of a cable outlet that has a fraction of the possible viewership, but Major League Baseball will see the deciding game for a chance to play in the World Series air on FOX Sports 1 instead of FOX. FOX will be airing the Oregon-Washington State game.

FOX has battled a handful of scheduling issues when it comes to college football coverage, especially during the baseball postseason. Playoff baseball game s(and regular season baseball games) taking longer to play have led to delays in college football broadcasts, and vice versa at times as FOX and FOX Sports 1 have built up their rights packages. Last year’s regular season game between Penn State and Ohio State, for example, would have been a sure lock for primetime but was moved to a 3:30 p.m. time slot to make way for postseason baseball. That was a bit of a disappointment for the Big Ten considering the importance of the game, but that is the way this all works when conferences divvy up their broadcast rights.

But for the Pac-12 to be able to keep a marquee game in a primetime slot that will gain the maximum audience and not being shoved to a network with a fraction of the audience to make way for a Game 7 in the NLCS is a major victory for the conference. For this week, at least.

Rashan Gary to miss third straight game after not traveling with Michigan to Michigan State

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For the third straight week, Rashan Gary will not be suiting up for the Michigan Wolverines. This week, Gary did not even make the trip from Ann Arbor to East Lansing for a road game at Michigan State.

Gary was injured earlier this season in a game against Northwestern and has not been on the field since due to an AC joint injury. His status has been left as an open question since with few details if any about his status on a week-by-week basis out of Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan program. Gary was not seen in uniform last week at home against Wisconsin and will be left to watch this game from home. Harbaugh was unsure if Gary would be available this week, as he noted earlier in the week during a press conference.

With Gary not on the travel roster, his spot was filled in by Tarik Black, who has not been available for the Wolverines since early in the 2017 season. Whether he gets a chance to play or not remains unknown. Kwity Paye and Aidan Hutchinson have been filling the vacancy left by Gary on the defensive line.

Michigan’s Devin Bush stomps and kicks Michigan State logo in pregame warmups

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Remember a couple of years ago when a Michigan football player drove a tent spike into the turf at Michigan State as a rally call for the Wolverines, and then Michigan State got the last laugh with a win? Well, we could have the seeds of a similar incident already in East Lansing this morning.

Michigan’s Devin Bush decided to try and scuff up the Michigan State spartan logo on the field during the pregame warmups this morning at Spartan Stadium. The action was caught on camera by the Big Ten Network, quickly leading to comments about hos disrespectful the action is.

Michigan comes to Michigan State looking to remain undefeated in Big Ten play this season. The Wolverines are the favorites against Michigan State, but the Spartans have held the upper hand in this in-state rivalry over the course of the past decade. After a big win on the road last week at Penn State, you have to imagine this action by Bush will somehow be relayed to Michigan State before kickoff. Will that serve as similar motivation (as if any is needed against Michigan)?

It was Michigan linebacker Joe Bolden who was unapologetic for driving the tent stake into the turf prior to kickoff at Michigan State back in 2014. Former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke apologized for the action, which was called out by Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio.

Michigan and Michigan State square off at noon eastern.

UPDATE: Yeah, the pregame shenanigans are getting heated.

Son of Outkast star Big Boi commits to Oregon

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It seems things are beginning to turn around for Oregon under head coach Mario Cristobal. A week after knocking off rival Washington in a key Pac-12 matchup and on the eve of another big division game on the road against Washington State, the Ducks reeled in the verbal commitment of Georgia running back Cross Patton for the Class of 2019. Patton is the son of Outkast’s Big Boi.

Patton announced his decision in front of his teammates on Friday, with his proud father capturing the moment on Instagram.

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#ScoDucks 🦆 #18 @crosspatton #PattonClan

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Although Patton is not rated by the recruiting services, mostly due to his size (5′ 6″, 170 lb according to Rivals), there is value to having a celebrity dad on board with the program that Oregon could take advantage of, especially if Patton develops into a weapon for the Ducks moving forward either on offense or special teams. And for a program looking to continue to move back to the top of the Pac-12 with the kind of swag the Ducks had at the height of the Chip Kelly era, the potential appears to be there.

Patton chose Oregon over a handful of offers to form FCS program including Columbia and Butler. Rivals also listed Georgia Tech as a school Patton was interested in. Florida State, with former Oregon head coach Willie Taggart, also appeared to be making a sales pitch for Patton. Big Boi was invited to perform at Florida State’s home game against Wake Forest today.