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.

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.

UAB football players to wear names of child patients on uniforms

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UAB and North Texas collide today in a pivotal Conference USA matchup between the 6-1 Mean Green (2-1 in Conference USA) and the 5-1 Blazers (3-0 in Conference USA. The matchup alone is enough to carry plenty of importance moving forward as far as the conference championship race is concerned, but today UAB will be doing something that means something more beyond football by paying tribute to patients at Children’s Harbor, a medical center focusing on assisting children and their families dealing with serious illnesses.

Players for UAB will ditch their own names on the back of their jerseys and instead will wear the names of a young patient at Children’s Harbor. It has become a bit of a tradition for the Blazers and is a nice way to be a part of the community since the football program was resurrected.

“It shows the city how appreciative we were when the program shutdown,” UAB wide receiver Collin Lisa said, via Al.com. “It’s not just the university, it’s about the city, the medical center, and all the little kids. It’s way more than just the game of football here.”

A full list of the children each UAB player will be representing today can be found here.

Indiana confirms 2½-year suspension for Morgan Ellison, permanent dismissal from football team

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Morgan Ellison‘s time in Bloomington has officially come to an end.

Friday night, Indiana announced that the running back has been suspended for two and a half years from the university as well as permanently dismissed from the Hoosiers football team. On Oct. 3, an IU panel determined that Ellison had sexually assaulted a female student in mid-August of this year.

IU’s announcement yesterday came after Ellison had appealed the original ruling.

The unidentified victim had alleged at the hearing that she was sexually assaulted in her sleep by Ellison. “It hurt so much and when I woke up I was like stop stop and he wouldn’t stop,” the alleged victim claimed in a text to a friend shortly after the assault, the Indianapolis Star had previously reported.

During the hearing, Ellison had claimed that all sexual activity that night in August was consensual.

Ellison has not been charged criminally in connection to the alleged sexual assault, although it’s unclear if the university’s police department is investigating the allegations.

In late August, Indiana announced that Ellison had been indefinitely suspended from all football activities, including games and practice, by Tom Allen for unspecified violations of team rules. Oct. 2, one day before the panel found him guilty, the head coach revealed that the running back was permitted to practice with his teammates but would remain suspended from playing in games for the foreseeable future.

Last season, Ellison led the Hoosiers with 143 carries for 704 yards and six touchdowns. The true junior had not played in any of the Hoosiers’ games this season before or after the panel’s ruling.