It seems like the dust may finally be settling on NCAA re-alignment. Armageddon didn’t arrive to the extent it could have, but there is still a different landscape for next year. Three conferences added teams and three lost teams in a widespread shuffle driven almost entirely by money. There may still be a move or two, but where we are at right now is a logical stopping point, so hopefully things will stop for at least a while.
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Cliff Lee became the latest big name pitcher to make his spring training debut with a new team yesterday. It was a mixed bag – mostly, but not entirely, positive. The good news is that he lasted the full three innings he was scheduled for, and he did it without obvious issues with the foot injury that he had been struggling with up to this point. It’s also pretty positive that he only allowed one run and one walk in those five innings. The problem is that he allowed five hits in the outing, and his control wasn’t exactly pinpoint throughout. It’s too early to panic, of course, and the Mariners just have to be relieved that their new toy isn’t broken, but we’ve been spoiled by so many good outings so far this spring that I guess I just hoped for more – especially considering how optimistic I am about the Mariners this year, and about their rotation in particular.
1. There’s an article today on ESPN that suggests that Notre Dame is going to go 11-1 and return to the BCS this year. Apparently they aren’t kidding, either. I’m not sure I have ever read anything more stupid. They are returning a bunch of players and all, but it’s not like they are returning BCS caliber players or anything. Experienced garbage is still garbage. Eight or nine wins is believable, but 11 is a joke – even against the puffball schedule they have given themselves this year.
There are few things I take more pleasure in than watching Notre Dame fail. As a Michigan fan I don’t particularly have any love for the Irish to begin with. The general hatred has elevated to a whole new level in the Charlie Weis regime, though. I think it was a bad joke that they got rid of Ty Willingham when and how they did, a bad joke that when they gave Weis, a guy with no head coaching experience, the reins, a really bad joke when they gave him a massive extension before he did anything to earn it, and a really, really bad joke when they kept him around for another year. With a nod to Marvin Lewis, Weis is the worst head coach in football. That makes the latest news from South Bend particularly ridiculous.
Wow, is this ever a terrible Monday night game. If someone paid me to come up with something nice to say about these teams or this game I would have to give the money back. With one exception – Steve Slaton has had a very good game, and that’s becoming a trend for him. The biggest problem is that we are getting exactly the same game that it looked like we would get. I just wish the league would do something about these terrible Monday night matchups – like cancel them.
1. Notre Dame is awful. I was pretty sure that the experts who were saying that Notre Dame was going to win nine or ten games this year were crazy. Now I know for sure. They rallied to beat San Diego State, but that’s not much of an accomplishment when you are playing one of the worst teams in division one and you are favored by 21.5 points. The Irish looked confused, lethargic, unprepared and very predictable. They were sloppy, and they got lucky. Charlie Weis is a terrible coach, and I have no faith in his ability to turn ths mess around.