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10/02/2018

A Milum Sports Video Special:
Notre Dame vs. Stanford - Ultimate Irish Highlights


Video Production by Parker Milum


                                  

10/02/2018

College Football Playoff Predictions & Analysis After Week 5
by Parker Milum

As we enter Week 6 of the College Football season, we have seen a significant sample of performances by top 10 teams -- both good and bad. With each passing week, we draw closer to being able to distinguish the playoff contenders from the playoff pretenders. At this point, we can assess the strengths and weaknesses of the top 10 teams, and to present our predictions as to who among them makes it to the championship semifinals (including what their records will be at that time).

1. Alabama (13-0)

No introductions needed, 'Bama will "roll" through even the toughest games on their schedule with few mistakes and reinforce why Nick Saban is simply the best. Furthermore, we predict Tua Tagovailoa will take home the Heisman trophy (barring the unforeseen).

2. Ohio State (13-0)

After surviving Penn State, Ohio State faces little adversity on the way to claiming the Big Ten Title and a 13-0 season. With that résumé, the Buckeyes will handily claim the #2 spot. Michigan and Michigan State are good (not great) teams, but will struggle to put up points against a Buckeye defense that held Penn State to just 26 points (less than HALF the average number of points the Nittany Lions put up in their first 4 games). Furthermore, Penn State may have been the best-equipped Big Ten defense to halt the freight train of an offense led by Dwayne Haskins as they did for three quarters.

3. Notre Dame (12-0)

After a STUNNING perfomance by Notre Dame on all fronts against #7 Stanford, the Fighting Irish have established themselves at the forefront of the College Football Playoff conversation. If Notre Dame can defeat the Virginia Tech Hokies in the hostile environment of Lane Stadium this Saturday, the Irish will have no excuse not to finish the season undefeated. We predict the inability of Ian Book to effectively audible early in the Virginia Tech game (due to a raucous Tech crowd) will make for the first unimpressive performance we've seen from him, but the Irish will survive and dominate the remainder of their season and claim the #3 spot with confidence.

4. Georgia (12-1)

Georgia is a great team, but they have not proven themselves a Top 5 team to our satisfaction -- thus far. Their coming performances against LSU, Florida, and Auburn could and should show us that they're the 2nd best team in College Football. Nonetheless, we predict they lose to Alabama in the SEC Title game. We believe Oklahoma and Clemson will both suffer upsets before the playoffs, however, so a Georgia team whose only loss is to #1 Alabama will have earned the #4 spot with but a few objections (from UCF fans, no doubt).

What-ifs:

(1) If Oklahoma OR Clemson finish 13-0, but not the other, then the undefeated team would replace Georgia by virtue of the Bulldogs' hypothetical loss to Alabama in the SEC Title Game.

(2) If Oklahoma AND Clemson BOTH finish 13-0, then Oklahoma will take the #4 spot and Clemson will be left out due to a lesser strength of schedule and a sloppy ACC this season.
                     

Comment on Clemson: Playing in front of a boisterous home crowd in Death Valley, Clemson miraculously survived a competitive Syracuse team (who previously upset the Tigers in the 2017 season at the Carrier Dome) because of an excellent 4th Quarter performance by Clemson's 3rd-string Quarterback, Chase Brice, and Running Back Travis Etienne. Even with a win, however, the Tigers' weaknesses have been exposed for the world to see. If their remaining opponents can effectively abuse Clemson's weak secondary, even an unranked ACC team has a shot at knocking Clemson out of contention for the playoffs.
                                  

10/01/2018

Kansas City Chiefs 27, Denver Broncos 23.

Down 10 points in the 4th Quarter, Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to a stunning victory on Monday in the Mile High Stadium of Denver. This brings Kansas City to a 4-0 record, tied with the Los Angeles Rams as the only undefeated teams in the NFL.

While the Chiefs defense has much to improve upon if they are to maintain the team's trajectory throughout the season, Kansas City currently leads the Western Division of the AFC by two games.
                                  

9/29/2018

#8 Notre Dame 38, #7 Stanford 17. (See Commentary below.)

Missouri (did not play)

Kansas 28, Oklahoma State 48.

Kansas State 14, #18 Texas 19.


Vince Milum on the Notre Dame Victory: As my sources indicated to me before the game --- and which I published in advance, Jafar Armstrong did not play due to an infected knee. I have subsequently been informed that he is scheduled to have surgery on that knee -- to address the issue -- and that he is likely to miss two more games. Now on to the core issues...

Let's start with an evaluation of me and two cornerstones of my pre-game analysis. I intelligently perceived that the last-minute pre-game loss of ND all-purpose back Jafar Armstrong would have an impact on the game. What I unintelligently FAILED to perceive (or anticipate) was how well his newly-activated replacement -- Dexter Williams -- would play. I will do a little breakdown of what I saw on Saturday in a moment but first some grades:

Vince Milum: I give myself a D+ as I was pretty much on the mark for most of the first half but the closing drive of the first half by Notre Dme and the entire second half prove to me that I vastly underestimated how well the Irish would play.

Coaching: But for some dangerously stupid timeouts by Coach Kelly near the end of the first half (when Stanford had the ball and the Irish were on defense), I would have given the coaching staff an A+. Because of the timeouts, I give them an A-. Both the offensive and defensive game plans were just what the doctor ordered and electing to place offensive standout Chase Claypool on Special Teams (as well as offense) is looking absolutely brilliant.

Offense: A look "inside the numbers" in a subsequent section will explain why the Irish offense earned themselves an A+. For now... While Jews "pray for the peace of Jerusalem," my advice to Irish Catholics who want continued success is to "Pray for the Health of Ian Book!" (How important is Ian to the revived Irish Empire? Let me put it to you this way... Should Ian stay healthy and ND "win out," I have him penciled in as my "dark-horse" Heisman winner.)

Defense: Remember that pre-game gibberish I wrote about the uber-talent Stanford had at running back and their tight-ends? Me neither! Just kidding, the Stanford players are that good -- they just had the misfortune of meeting multiple ND defenders who descended from Mount Olympus shortly before kickoff. Tillery was a pass-rush stud, Tranquill -- in one play -- demonstrated how to "form tackle" and how to breakup a pass. Coney made a beautiful interception (and nearly "took it the house"). In short, all 11+ starters and key reserves who played defensively are worthy of praise but I am space-limited in so doing. So, please forgive me, fellas. The best I can do is to give all of you an A+.

Special Teams: Justin Yoon made a 37-yard field goal and all of his extra points. His lone miscue was a narrow-miss of a 50-yard field goal attempt which was "absorbed" by a breeze which wasn't sure which way it wanted to blow. Again, Tyler Newsome punted well (though I can only recall him having to do so once or twice). Kickoff specialist Jonathan Doerer did well with most of his kicks either non-returnable or returned to no greater than the 25 yard line (which is where non-returned kicks are placed). As I eluded to before, Canadian Chase Claypool is a superman on special teams coverage. Overall, I am torn between a B+ and an A- for special teams. Because special teams helped enable a 21-point victory over a higher-ranked team that has beaten the Irish three games in a row, I am going with an A-.

Offensive Numbers: Ian Book was 24 of 33 for 278 yards and four touchdown passes against no interceptions or fumbles. Miles Boykin caught 11* passes for 144 yards (*the most since All-American Michael Floyd). And newly-activated Dexter Williams ran 21 times for 161 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown on his very first carry of the season. Notre Dame's total offensive yardage was an incredible 550 against a top ten opponent.

One Last Grade: This was a tough loss for Stanford. Do not let the score fool you -- Stanford is a very good team. Usually, however, when very good teams lose by a wide margin, they become menacing acts of undiscipline. Credit Stanford Coach David Shaw and the entire Stanford team for maintaining their sportsmanship throughout the game and even into the locker room and post-game press conference. For this, I am awarding Stanford and Shaw an A+ for class -- you are a credit to yourselves and those you represent.
                                  

9/27/2018

A Milum Sports Video Special:
Ian Book Takes The Fighting Irish PLUS ULTRA

Video Production by Parker Milum


                                  

9/27/2018

Ron Worley's Wondrous Predictions - Week 5
By Ron Worley

Last week 3 - 4 (My upset picks did not happen)
Season 29 - 10

Week #5, Big-12 Conference Games (Plus Mizzou) Only. I don't expect any upsets this week.

Oklahoma State (3-1) @ Kansas (2-2). OSU is not as good as I thought BUT KU is just not good, period. I think OSU by 17. But nice fall day for a game.

#18 Texas (3-1) @ Kansas State (2-2). Texas looks impressive in its last two wins. KSU has beaten ranked Texas teams in past years but, again would be happy to be wrong but I think this Texas team is 14 points better than KSU, even at home. Also a nice fall day game but not one KSU fans will enjoy.

#12 West Virginia (3-0) @ #25 Texas Tech (3-1). This looks like a high score close game. I think WV remains undefeated with a not impressive road win by 10.

Baylor (3-1) @ #6 Oklahoma (4-0). Baylor is not very good but OU needs to refocus after a near loss last week. I think OU wins by 21 to stay undefeated and in national discussion.

Iowa State (1-2) @ TCU (2-2). A must win game for TCU at home. I think the Frogs do win by more than the 10 point line. My guess is by 17-21.

MU (3-1) plays next on Oct. 6th.
                                  

9/28/2018

Addendum to ND - Stanford Review and Prediction: Late-Breaking News -- Notre Dame Running Back Jafar Armstrong will miss Saturday's game against Stanford due to a knee infection, per Tim Prister of Irish Illustrated. Milum: Jafar is arguably ND's best offensive weapon. Accordingly, I revise my prediction to a Stanford Victory 24-21.
                                  

9/27/2018

Vince Milum's Quick-Look at the upcoming Football Game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Stanford Indians / Cardinals (plural) / Cardinal (singular) / Trees (it takes too long to explain) / Milum : Oh, grow up with this mascot stuff, will you, Stanford?:

Irish Offense: In Christianity, the history of mankind is divided between BC (Before Christ) and AD (the term "anno Domini" is Medieval Latin and means "in the year of the Lord"). For the Fighting Irish, this season is (thus far) a 3-to-1 ratio of BW (Brandon Wimbush) and IB (Ian Book) with the Ian Book era (at quarterback) looking much more divine -- albeit only one game (thus far) in duration.

So, here is the obvious part of the Irish offensive equation: the more successful Ian is -- assuming he starts and is not injured in the game -- the more successful the Irish will be. This means up-tempo play, balanced passing and running (with all three major running backs -- including newly activated, Dexter Williams -- getting meaningful snaps) (and with at least five different receivers catching passes).

Irish Defense: Stanford has arguably the best running back in college football, two of the best tight ends in college football (who are tall / very tall), and one of the best quarterbacks in college football, as well as good receivers and a good offensive line. In other words, there are no defenders for the Irish who can afford to play anything but an outstanding game.

ND Special Teams: Last week, Tyler Newsome and Justin Yoon did their jobs but, because of ND finally scoring touchdowns, Tyler had little punting to do and Justin was relegated to only kicking extra points. What stood out most was the 50+ yard return by Chris Finke and an intelligent fair-catch by Chris. Steady special-teams play is especially necessary this week.

Prediction: The betting line opened with the Irish favored by 2.5 points (basically home field advantage). As I write this on Thursday, ND is favored by 5.5 points.

Because I foresee ND either playing very well (across the board) -or- struggling (across the board), I am offering a bifurcated prediction.

If Notre Dame plays very well, they will win 35-24. If the Irish struggle, they will lose 38-19. I see both outcomes as equally likely. So, I will resolve this dilemma by canceling out these two outcomes, call it a tie, and say...

Notre Dame wins by a field goal, 24-21 -- thanks to home field advantage -- but by a narrower margin than the current betting line.
                                  

9/23/2018

Kansas City Chiefs 38, San Francisco 49ers 27.

Patrick Mahomes throws five touchdowns passes for the Chiefs on Sunday and sets a New NFL Record for the most in the first three weeks of the season with thirteen.
                                  

9/22/2018

#8 Notre Dame 56, Wake Forest 27. (See Commentary below.)

Missouri 29, #2 Georgia 43.

Kansas 7, Baylor 26.

Kansas State 6, #12 West Virginia 35.

Army 21, #5 Oklahoma 28 in Overtime.


Vince Milum on the Notre Dame Victory: As my sources indicated to me before the game --- and which I published in advance, Ian Book did make the start for the Irish and he looked absolutely terrific throwing two touchdowns (against no interceptions) and running for three more scores.

The Irish were improved in all areas including special teams where Punt-Returner Chris Finke not only learned what a fair catch was, he also returned one for over 50 yards.

About the only thing the Irish FAILED to do this weekend (per my pre-game look) was for their Defense to play four quarters and that was because -- before the third quarter ended -- the Irish were playing nearly all reserves -- and that was as a matter of choice! Prior to the playing of its reserves, ND's first team defense held the up-tempo, high-octane Wake Forest offense to a mere 13 points.

As for the Irish offense, as I predicted Notre Dame did indeed achieve their highest point total of the season (though I underestimated it would be 35 points).

Rather than belabor the all-around excellent play of the Irish, let me just give some grades...

Offense AND Ian Book BOTH get A+.

Defense gets an A+.

Special Teams gets an A- with a small deduction for a "running into the kicker penalty" after a missed field goal by Wake Forest.

Coaching gets an A+ for (a) choosing to start Book, (b) having Book prepared, (c) spreading the ball around to ND's offensive playmakers thus forcing Wake Forest to constantly have to "pick its poison" when defending the Irish, (d) a superb game plan by the defensive coaching staff (matched by outstanding play by the Irish defensive personnel), and (e) the decision by Kelly and Company to not only match, but to exceed the up-tempo nature of Wake's offense by the Irish offense. This last one caught me off-guard and proved how well the strength and conditioning coaches have been doing their jobs -- particularly in the off-season.

In summary, I give an overall grade of A+ to the Irish -- in particular because ND finally got their reserves some important game experience before the tough game this Saturday against Stanford.
                                  

9/20/2018

Vince Milum's Quick-Look at the upcoming Football Game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons:

Irish Defense -- Can They Last for Four Quarters?: Wake Forest runs (possibly) the most up-tempo offense in college football. 100+ plays by the WF offense are possible this weekend. This will tire the ND defense (especially given the predicted heat and humidity) and will prevent the Irish from rotating personnel as much as they would like. Expect Coney and Tranquill to tire early.

The principle way to slow the WF offense is for the Irish defense to feign injuries. We'll see if Kelly decides to go this route. Another way to reduce the number of plays for the Irish defense, is for the Irish offense to maintain control of the football. In other words, (few or preferably) no "three-and-outs."

Irish Offense: Brandon and the fellas made great strides last week everywhere but where it counts most -- on the scoreboard. Because of this recurring pattern of failing to adequately score and complete games, there is a (possibly) significant late-breaking development...

Per Tim Prister of Irish Illustrated: "Some gamesmanship going on at Notre Dame as [in his Thursday press conference] Brian Kelly refuses to name a starting QB for Wake Forest. [He] would only say both (Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book) will play."

Per Irish beat-writer Pete Sampson: "Asked from the reps between Brandon Wimbush and Ian Book in practice, Brian Kelly says it's been closer to 50-50 than his usual 60-40."

If the offense -- irrespective of the starting quarterback -- can finish its drives consistently, they may be able to score 30 or more points.

ND Special Teams: Last week, Tyler Newsome delivered one of the greatest performances ever for an NCAA punter and was the best in Irish history. Even a close second of last week's performance would greatly enhance the Irish chances for victory as would another steady performance from placekicker Justin Yoon. Significant improvement was also made on the kick-off front for the Irish. Still lacking are the kickoff return and punt return teams. Improvement is needed this weekend from both.

Prediction: 35 to 31 Notre Dame beats Wake Forest (which is narrower than the opening eight-point betting-spread in favor of the Irish).
                                  

Milum Sports™ is proud to announce the newest member of the Milum Sports Team, Ron Worley. The following is Ron's initial article for us...

9/20/2018

Worley's World of Wondrous Predictions
By Ron Worley

Last Week 6 - 3
Season 26 - 6

Week #4

KSU (2-1) @ #12 West Virginia (2-0). Like to be wrong but this is a hard road win for anyone. Wildcat defense is not able to keep the score low enough for the offense to win it.

Kansas (2-1) @ Baylor (2-1). If KU wins a Big 12 game this season this may be it. Jayhawks get another road win in a mild upset. Baylor looked less than good in loss to Duke.

Akron (2-0) @ Iowa State (0-2). This will not be a walkover but ISU at last gets a win after a rainout and 2 defeats.

#17 TCU (2-1) @ Texas (2-1). Texas looked good in win over USC last week. This could be close but Frogs must win to stay in Conf. title chase and they do win by 10.

Army (2-1) @ #5 Oklahoma (3-0). Well, 60 years ago in 1958 this would have been the game of the season. Today it's just another 30 point win for the Sooners.

Texas Tech (2-1) @ #15 Oklahoma State (3-0). OSU defense "holds" T/T to 35 and Cowboys win by 10. P.S. The o/u is 80, you call it.

#2 Georgia (3-0) @ Missouri (3-0). BIG game for MU, not so much so for Georgia. Tigers win home game for the upset of the week!
                                  

9/16/2018

Chiefs 42, Pittsburgh Steelers 37
                                  

9/15/2018 Outstanding Day for Milum Sports Favorites...

Division I

Notre Dame 22, Vanderbilt 17 (See the following article for more info)

Kansas 55, Rutgers 14

Missouri 40, Purdue 37

Kansas State 41, UT San Antonio 17

Army 28, Hawaii 21

Navy 51, Lehigh 21

Air Force (Did Not Play)

Division II

Northwest Missouri State 63, Missouri Southern 0.
                                  

Vince Milum on ND: Despite the low margin of victory, my past criticisms, and the hand-wringing by unsophisticated pundits after the game, Notre Dame actually played pretty well and, in fact, very inspired at times -- particularly the rushing of Tony Jones, the punting of Tyler Newsome, and (to these eyes, the most inspiring) the play of the Notre Dame secondary.

So, what accounts for the close score?

From where I sat, the failure of the referees to call egregious holding of Notre Dame pass rushers by the Vanderbilt offensive line. Had the ND pass rush not been "illegally" impeded, the Irish victory would have been much more comfortable.

Milum's Key Takeaways: Although the score does not reflect it, I thought the ND offensive play-calling was much better against Vanderbilt (than last week against Ball State). I thought the offensive execution was improved -- both at the so-called "skill positions" as well as along the offensive line. The "positive plays" by the Notre Dame defensive backs were among the best I have ever witnessed as a college football fan. The linebackers (in particular Te'von Coney and Drue Tranquill) continue to impress and the defensive line gets a "pass" because they were cheated by the referees. Despite the quality play of the offense and defense, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Irish Punter Newsome got the Game Ball as I chose him as my "Player of the Game."
                                  

9/13/2018

Vince Milum's Quick-Look at the upcoming Football Game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Vanderbilt Commodores:

Fixing Last Week's Biggest Problem: Based on the pressure Ball State placed on ND's Offensive Line (all game) last week -- BOTH up the middle AND on the edges, one solution (that will likely escape the ND coaching staff) is to tighten the offensive line splits AND to bring in ("Big Men") Boykin and Claypool as pseudo-tight ends who can help "rub" outside pressure before beginning their pass patterns (thus giving the Irish Quarterback -- presumably Wimbush -- more time to drop back and survey the field).

Weather: Mostly Sunny with Temps in the Low (to possibly Mid) 80s with Wind playing little to no factor.

Irish Injury Report (UPDATED): As I write this, two players will be unavailable for the Irish...

(1): As was discussed in my post-game write-up last week, ND Starting Tight End Cole Kmet was Injured Late in the Ball State Game when he should have been on the bench enjoying a Big Victory. Per Angelo DiCarlo of 95.7 Redeemer Sports, "Brian Kelly says tight end Cole Kmet is out for Saturday's game vs Vandy with a high ankle sprain." (Though out for this game, that leaves open the possibility that he did NOT sustain a season-ending injury as previously believed and thus may be available later in the season.)

(2) Per Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune, "Brian Kelly [also] said Rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah suffered a broken foot this week and is out for the year."

Prediction: Despite Their Poor Performance Last Week against Ball State, Notre Dame opened up as a 14.5 Betting Favorite against Vanderbilt. As I write this, ND is currently (little-changed at) a 14 point favorite. In light of the incompetence ND displayed last week, I believe being a single-digit favorite is more appropriate. (In fact, ND won both its first two games by only one score.) Being optimistic, I'll say the Irish win by nine, thus marking their first victory of the year by more than one score (albeit by the smallest margin of victory to do so):

30 to 21 Notre Dame beats Vanderbilt
                                  

9/9/2018

Kansas City Chiefs 38, Los Angeles Chargers 28.
                                  


9/8/2018

Notre Dame 24, Ball State 16. (See below for Vince Milum commentary)

Missouri 40, Wyoming 13.

Kansas 31, Central Michigan 7.

Kansas State 10, Mississippi State 31.
                                  

9/8/2018

Notre Dame Performs Poorly in 24-16 victory over Ball State; Unless Radical Changes Occur for the Irish, the National Title is now a Moot Point

By Vince Milum

In my September 6th write-up BEFORE the Notre Dame versus Ball State football game, I listed five broad outcome potentials. By winning by only one score (8 points = touchdown + two-point conversion) Notre Dame "achieved" the dubious distinction of a "non-catastrophic failure." (See the original write-up below.) Further, because they almost lost this game, ND FAILED to get adequate playing time for their Reserves and it appears their starting tight end (Cole Kmet) is lost for the season due to an injury sustained late in the game when he should have been relaxing on the bench with his buddies.

While I am about to excoriate a number of individuals, it should be noted that Clark Lea, Notre Dame's Defensive Coordinator, did have his men ready to play, and overall, I would grade the Irish Defense a B+ for their effort. The score (of B+) could / would have been higher but -- thanks to an inept Irish offense -- the ND Defense was on the field for 97 plays and made some tired miscues.

Now for Excoriation Time...

Between Head Coach Brian Kelly, Offensive Coordinator Chip Long, and Starting Quarterback Brandon Wimbush, there was conceived a BAD Game Plan and a Purposeful / Bullheaded Intent to Stick With It Despite Its Not Working (in the case of the coaches) -OR- a GOOD Game Plan and a Purposeful / Bullheaded Intent to Ignore It by Wimbush Who Chose Instead to be a Reincarnation of Johnny Unitas (by playing drop-back passer instead of the master of the pass-run option) against a savage Ball State rush that would have none of his reinvention. (The Numbers: While Wimbush did throw for 297 yards, he also threw three interceptions which cost the Irish to lose points on drives that appeared to be headed for the end zone.)

As we publish this story (after having watched several post-game interviews)...

My guess -- and, at this moment, it is only a guess (albeit an educated one) -- is that the coaches came up with a BAD Game Plan and tried to change it (during the game) but that Wimbush was fixated on the original plan. In other words -- plenty of fault to go around.

Of course, it would have helped had the Irish had a quality backup who could have come into the game to replace Wimbush, but...

Oh, that's right. Ian Book, who rescued Wimbush and the Irish in January's Citrus Bowl, was ready, willing, and eager to do the same against Ball State -- but the Great Visionaries who don't recognize the obvious, refused to put him in. (So, how has Ian done this year? Although the coaches have not allowed him to pass, he has deftly handed off three times -- each handoff resulting in a touchdown!)

Grading the Offense: After the game, Wimbush gave himself a "D+." From what I saw, the Wimbush-led offense deserves a D- given the level of competition AND for how long they made the Irish defense be on the field.

Addendum to Grading the Offense: Although I have focused on Wimbush and the Coaching Staff, I cannot emphasize enough how poorly the ND offensive line play appears to me -- both against Ball State (this weekend) and last week against Michigan. For that reason alone, I think it is foolish for Irish fans to contemplate a national championship. If I was to assign a grade for this past week to the offensive line alone, it too would be a D- because, although they did set up a few decent runs, they made a below-average Ball State defense appear to be "gods" throughout most of the game. An offensive line that cannot dominate Ball State is an offensive line that may even prevent Notre Dame from having a winning season.

Summation on the Offensive Line: Either the current line needs to dramatically improve its play -OR- it is (near) time to try some new guys.

Next, let's review the so-called "Special Teams."

The ND kickoff man, Jonathan Doere, (who gave up a kickoff return for touchdown in week one) kicked another one out-of-bounds this week (like he did last week), place-kicker Justin Yoon was one for two, and Chris Finke not only appears to think that there is some rule that you must allow a punt to bounce at least once before fielding it, but then you MUST field it after it bounces so you can test the chances of you not fumbling it (which he appeared to do at least once though no call was made). Note to Chris: There is this provision in both college and pro football that allows one to "fair catch" a punt, thus preserving field position and protecting one's self from getting hit. As for a Special Teams Grade, I am giving them a C-. But, my grade would have been D+ had the officials ruled one of Finke's punt-fielding attempts a fumble.

Recipe(s) for going forward:

Except for their exhaustion due to how long they had to play and the inability to play a number of reserves -- all thanks to the Irish offense and coaching staff on Saturday -- the Irish defense appears ready for next week against Vanderbilt.

As for special teams, Justin Yoon will never be great but he is fairly reliable, Chris Finke needs to field balls while they are in the air, and Jonathan Doere needs more exposure before large crowds which will only come with time (but there may not be any unless the ND offense makes a miraculous turnaround).

The solution for the Irish offense seems to be obvious to everyone but Brian Kelly -- Give Ian a Chance! However, since logic has little hope of prevailing here, let me try one alternative that even Kelly might consider. "Tommy" Rees was a pretty good quarterback not long ago at Notre Dame. Even Kelly knows that -- so much so that Kelly's quarterbacks coach is "Tom" Rees (the same guy just a slight change in how he is addressed). Purportedly, Rees has a good working relationship with Wimbush (as well as Ian Book). But, up until now, Rees has been up in the coaches' box during games.

I propose that Kelly bring Rees down to the sideline for (at least) the first half of the Vanderbilt game where he (Rees) can perform the equivalent role of a "horse whisperer" to Wimbush by calming him (Wimbush) down, reassuring him, and talking over with him (Wimbush) any issues he might be having during the Vanderbilt game.

Again, my main offensive solution is to start Ian Book at quarterback but, given the unlikeliness of that happening (thanks to Kelly's stubbornness), my next-best option is to put Rees on the sideline to work with Wimbush during the game.

-END
                                  

9/6/2018

Vince Milum's Projections for the upcoming Football Game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Ball State Cardinals:

Here is my margin-of-victory analysis for this coming weekend.

Notre Dame opened as a 39.5 betting favorite and the line was soon bet down to 34.5 where it has remained for several days. But remember, this is a betting line -- not, necessarily, a prognosticator's projection of victory margin.

Now for my analytical prognostication with multiple contingencies...

(1) If Notre Dame loses to Ball State, this will be (near) catastrophic for the Irish (and, perhaps, for Kelly's job security).

(2) If the Irish win by 16 or less, it will be considered a non-catastrophic failure by the Irish.

(3) A win by the Irish by 17-23 points will be deemed acceptable.

(4) If the Irish win by 24-29 points AND* get in plenty of their Reserves, the game will be deemed a success.

(5) If the Irish win by 30 or more AND* get in plenty of their Reserves, the game will be deemed a great success.

*If the Irish FAIL to get in plenty of Reserves, this will signficantly limit the long-term strength of the Irish.

My Prediction (assuming decent weather and no significant Irish injuries): Notre Dame by 18 with some (but not enough) use of Reserves.
                                  

9/1/2018

The 2018 Football Season is upon us and Milum Sports is here to bring you the coverage.

We will be getting up to full speed soon but, for now, here are the scores of the games our fans are most interested in from Week 1 of the College Football Season...

Notre Dame 24, Michigan 17.

Missouri 51, Tennessee-Martin 14.

Kansas 23, Nicholls State 26.

Kansas State 27, South Dakota 24.


NOTE 1: MoKan Division 2 Coverage Begins About Midseason once contenders are identified.

NOTE 2: For season-ending coverage of the 2017-2018 College Basketball and Hockey Seasons, CLICK HERE.
     

     

 

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