Did You Guys Know Notre Dame Football Went 4-8 Last Year?

Because in case you didn’t, the amateur comedians at SB Nation are only too happy to remind you, in any possible way — even if it’s completely irrelevant to the sports topic du jour.
Yes, I’m wading into this territory yet again. I already wrote an article like this last year, targeting mostly the same people. I think it’s safe to say I have something of a vendetta against SB Nation and their acolytes.

Anyway, we all saw Notre Dame football go 4-8 last year. It was a complete disaster that resulted, at least publicly, in a complete reshuffling of how things had been getting done in the program. We shall see what, if anything, changes on the field. Personally, I’m skeptical, but then, I’ve been on-and-off wanting Brian Kelly to be replaced since late October of his first season, so my opinion probably isn’t valid.

But this latest hot take isn’t about my opinion of the Notre Dame football program. It’s little more than a rebuke of the SB Nation portion of sports Twitter and their repetitive and unfunny jokes about ND’s 4-8 record. There was a quick resurgence of them this weekend, given St. Patrick’s Day and especially the Irish basketball team’s loss to West Virginia in the NCAA tournament.

You don’t need to take my word for it. Just do a Twitter search for “Notre Dame went 4-8”, with quote marks. You’ll get results all over the place going back months — some of them might even have been sparked by an actual occurrence related to the subject. Amusingly enough, just about everyone you’ll see in the results column, if you click their timeline, has an SB Nation retweet pretty close to the top. Some of the Tweets even @ SBN writers themselves, as if they are clinging to hope that THIS 4-8 joke will be so good that they too will be able to score highly-paying jobs as professional trolls.

Look, I’m not completely humorless. Making fun of ND for having a bad season is…whatever. If you want to do it, that’s your prerogative. I’m on record thinking you’re a giant stinking hypocrite if you constantly insult ND for not being good at football while also (as so many of these people do) calling its fans delusional if they want to throw out the coach that’s putting out the product you’re using as so much fodder for jokes. But hypocrisy has never been much of an issue for this particular group of sports fans.

In any case, either way, I get why ND’s poor season would be an easy punchline for a month or so following its conclusion. I’m on the thin-skinned side (this article wouldn’t exist if I wasn’t), but I at least understood a brief period of getting poked on social media.

Beyond that time frame, it became very obvious very quickly that the constant 4-8 jokes — many of which, again, have been devoid of any connection to Notre Dame or even college football — were symptomatic of the fact that these people despise the program. Very few of these trolls (except Spencer Hall, who I guess should get points for honesty while being a hate-spewing asshole) actually own up to the fact that this is the case, continuing to cling to their self-appointed position as the irreverent class clown of college football Twitter.

Of course, I have many, many problems with SBN even beyond their ridiculous treatment of ND football. I worked for their ND sub-site, One Foot Down, for 18 months or so, which is to say I crapped out a couple dozen articles for them. That’s really all they want out of anything — posts, regardless of their quality. After all, while you pay your writers $3 per post, you have to pressure the hell out of them to have content rolling in 24/7. That way, you can churn out those clicks and afford to pay Spencer Hall and his cohort of jokesters to embarrass themselves with pathetic attempts at ‘journalism’. Heavily, heavily ironic, too, that this business model of theirs — labor force doing a spectacular amount of the heavy lifting for peanuts while the guys at the top rake in all the money — sounds an awful lot like…hmm…what does it sound like? Oh, that’s right! The very organization that runs college sports, whom you hate and trash at every opportunity!

They now have a low-rent moron making a fool of himself in an attempt to run that ND sub-site, which is serendipitous for them because I’m sure they enjoy having such a person representing ND fans, whom they unanimously hate. (It would be a wonder they even allow ND fans a place to congregate on their holy site given their opinion of them, but that would require having some semblance of conviction rather than churning every cent they can out of people.) I doubt it was intentional that it worked out that way, but certainly a nice side effect.

As I said in my previous article on the subject, too, I don’t have a problem with people disliking ND football per se. Even aside from their rivals, there are reasons to hate them if you want, some better than others. I just have a huge problem with the people who despise the people that prevent college athletes from being rich turning around and lambasting a school that actually puts forth an effort to provide a meaningful version of the compensation the rules currently permit — an education.

Meanwhile, guys like Hall slurp their SEC schools that win a lot and don’t bother to muse on why that league provides so many of the worst graduation rates in the country, thereby performing a far larger disservice to their athletes (my opinion, anyway) than not paying the tiny fraction of them that have major market value beyond their scholarships. The major football powers yank scholarships from people whenever they want, leaving them forced to make decisions they’re ill-equipped to make, but as long as they win, no one — even Hall, champion of the marginalized — gives a rip.

While SB Nation lobs grenades at ND for everything from playing “three true road games” (if I had a nickel for every time I saw/heard that phrase in 2014 and ’16) to, yes, going 4-8 in football, they’re posting Graduation Success Rates of 98/100 in the category of black student-athletes. (I know you’re all sick of the talk of ND ‘doing it the right way’, and I wouldn’t bring it up if the people lambasting the school weren’t also attacking the NCAA constantly for not, in their view, ‘doing it the right way’.)

You’d think the champion of paying players and the kings of arguing for the marginalized would care about something small like equipping young minority student-athletes for success in life, but nah. Notre Dame went 4-8 in football and it’s funny (despite the fact that we consider them an irrelevant program for whom going 4-8 shouldn’t be unexpected) so let’s make jokes about it for the next 8 months! And by all means, no one say a word about the schools that actually do chew up and spit out their black athletes without preparing them in any way for the real world! I guess SB Nation’s desire to carry the flag for the most vulnerable in our society doesn’t extend far enough to intrude on their desire to hate, and make silly non sequitur cracks about, an institution basically because it exists.

Well, congratulations, SB Nation. You got the rise out of me and sparked me to write this probably incoherent response to your trolling. I’m probably not the only one. I’m sure somewhere in your little pamphlet on “How to Be a Complete Joke of a Sports Site but Who Gives a Shit, We’ll Get Paid”, there’s some small subsection on openly being dicks to entire fan bases for no reason other than to score social media points. This article is proof you’ve hit that section right on the nose.

Did You Guys Know Notre Dame Football Went 4-8 Last Year?

The Junkies’ Massive Bowl Preview Is Back!

Last year, the Junkies previewed and picked every single bowl matchup. It was awesome. This year, the college football powers that be decided to challenge us to up the ante by adding more games! This year there are a whopping 41 bowls if you count the national title game. Three 5-7 teams even got in on the fun this year, which is an absolute joke, but whatever, it means more football, and I guess we’re all ok with that.

Bizzle and I again switch back and forth between games for this annual tradition, with me going first. Here we go again, boys and girls!

Gildan New Mexico Bowl
12/19, 2 pm, ESPN
Arizona (6-6) vs New Mexico (7-5)

The bowl season gets underway with this titanic clash of “DickRod U” vs. Bob Davie. Believe it or not, that bag of crap Davie actually had a pretty solid year with the Lobos and his team was in the running for a Mountain West championship until the final week of the season. He even went into Boise State and won on the blue turf, a feat once unthinkable. His reward is playing host to Arizona in a bowl game. Unfortunately for Coach Davie, I think “DickRod U” will be playing fired up after their coach rejected the advances of South Carolina. I smell a rout in this one.

Bizzle: Arizona A-Rob: Arizona

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
12/19, 3:30 pm, ABC
BYU (9-3) vs Utah (9-3)

Ladies and gentlemen, the Holy War is back, at least for one game. The Utah Utes take on the BYU Cougars. The former conference rivals at one point had played each other every year since ‘46. For Utah, they looked the part earlier on in the season as a serious playoff contender. They fell off in the second half of the season, and the loss of leading rusher Devontae Booker didn’t help the Utes as they finished 3-3 to end the season.

BYU started out the 2015 season with some magical performances. The Hail Mary week one agianst Nebraska with a backup quarterback, Tanner Mangum. Then a couple of last-minute scores shocked then No. 20 Boise St. BYU lost 3 of their 4 games against Power 5 schools, though (UCLA, Michigan, Mizzou), and factor that in with the surprise departure of head coach Bronco Mendenhall to Virginia. It looks like its the Utes who will be taking this latest installment of the Holy War.

Bizzle: Utah A-Rob: Utah

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
12/19, 5:30 pm, ESPN
Ohio (8-4) vs Appalachian State (10-2)

Look, guys, it’s our first non-Power 5 bowl! These are always a guilty pleasure of ours because you never really know what to expect. The non-Power 5 leagues don’t play each other a lot, or at least you don’t know if they do because let’s be honest, you don’t pay attention. So nothing that happens in these matchups can surprise you. That being said, an Ohio win in this matchup would surprise me. App State has had a great year this year to reach the 10-win mark, and 1 of their 2 losses came to top-ranked Clemson. The MAC generally doesn’t show up for bowl season, but I’d love to see my boys prove me wrong.

Bizzle: Ohio A-Rob: Appalachian State

AutoNation Cure Bowl

12/19, 7 pm, CBSSN
San Jose State (5-7) vs Georgia State (6-6)

Full disclosure, when I saw this was a bowl game I had to double take. Which led to a lot of questions like: Exactly why is this a bowl game? What is the Cure Bowl? Did the band The Cure sponsor this? Isn’t Georgia St. a D2 school? How is San Jose St. a D1 school? What teams passed playing in a bowl that these schools where called? What exactly are the bowl tie-ins for this game? (I’m not looking them up so feel free.) So, needless to say, I haven’t seen one split second of either one of these teams play and I flat out refuse to try and break down a matchup of a 6-6 Georgia St. team vs a 5-7 San Jose St. game. Why exactly do we need this game? To fill TV time during the holidays? If that’s the case, just slap on a marathon of 2 Broke Girls, something I’ve also never seen but I bet it’s night and day better than this game. Before I end this rant, I challenge anyone reading to explain to me how this bowl game is good for college football.

Bizzle: San Jose State, I guess A-Rob: Georgia State

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
12/19, 9 pm, ESPN
Arkansas State (9-3) vs Louisiana Tech (8-4)

The New Orleans Bowl was our first bowl last year and it took place at 11 am. Fortunately for fans of the teams in this game, ESPN saw sense for this year’s edition and has put it at 9 pm. Awwww yeah, it’s time to get drunk! Expect a rowdier crowd for this game. This is also what feels like the first time in about a decade that Louisiana-Lafayette isn’t in this bowl game, so we’ll have a new flavor for the contest this year. I’m sticking with the home-state team for the pick, though.

Bizzle: Louisiana Tech A-Rob: Louisiana Tech

Miami Beach Bowl
12/21, 2:30 pm, ESPN
Western Kentucky (11-2) vs South Florida (8-4)

Well, for the Hilltoppers and Bulls, it is going to take quite a game to top last year’s inaugural Miami Beach Bowl. Not only was the game a shootout, as Memphis prevailed 55-48 in a double overtime affair, but almost immediately after the game ended, the teams engaged in an all-out brawl.

Expect another shootout in the Beach Bowl as Western Kentucky can put up points with the best of them. After a slow start, the Bulls finished strong winning their last four games. This game could be one of those classic “Which team has the ball last” type of games. Sure, WKU has the flashy record and their first conference title under their belt, but who do they play? Watch for the Bulls to pull off the upset here as the Hilltoppers will have sand and beaches on the mind.

Bizzle: South Florida A-Rob: Western Kentucky

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
12/22, 3:30 pm, ESPN
Akron (7-5) vs Utah State (6-6)

This bowl always cracks me up because we never, ever see a team from ANYWHERE NEAR Boise playing in it. I also love to imagine the teams’ reactions when they find out they’re going to spend a week in freaking Idaho in late December. What a great way to end the season, right? Anyway, this matchup features Terry Bowden, who no one under 30 even knows anymore, and the team that once employed Chuckie Keeton as its quarterback…what’s that? Keeton is still there? Seriously? Well, that’s it, obviously he’s going to lead his team to victory.

Bizzle: Akron A-Rob: Utah State

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl
12/22, 7 pm, ESPN
Temple (10-3) vs Toledo (9-2)

All I heard when Temple played Notre Dame this season was things like, “They are only ranked to help Notre Dame” along with a lot of “it’s going to be so funny to see ND lose to Temple”. Well, haters, neither of those statements were accurate — close but not accurate at all. Temple is good, just ask Christian Hackenberg. They did almost knock off the Irish but came up just short. So don’t sleep on this Owls team. Speaking of sleeping, hopefully Bret Bielema still has nightmares over the Rockets upsetting his then-No. 18 ranked Razorbacks earlier this season. Toledo made sure to make sure Bielema paid for his comments about how other schools schedule. That’s enough for me to take the Rockets in this one.

Bizzle: Toledo A-Rob: Temple

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
12/23, 4:30 pm, ESPN
Boise State (8-4) vs Northern Illinois (8-5)

The two best non-Power 5 programs of the decade finally take the field together, ironically, when they’re each having mediocre seasons by their standards. Boise State in particular hasn’t been this far from good in a long time. They lost twice at home, which is completely unheard of. NIU also had their struggles, although they also played a tough game against Ohio State. I expect a fun game here despite the two teams’ somewhat disappointing seasons.

Bizzle: Boise State A-Rob: Northern Illinois

GoDaddy Bowl
12/23, 8 pm, ESPN
Georgia Southern (8-4) vs Bowling Green (10-3)

Would it be wrong of me to start off this preview by saying I’m strictly interested in this game because the GoDaddy.com commerial are some of the most artistic achievements on television? Raise your hand if you knew Georgia Southern existed before they took Georgia to the limit. Be honest, you didn’t, and neither did I. Outside of coming up short of pulling out the biggest win in school history, I had no clue they made the jump to D1. (side note: I refuse to use FCS. You are either D1 or not.) Bowling Green comes in as the number one team in D1 football in terms of passing yards, which always makes for an interesting clash going up against an option school. So I don’t know about you but primetime Wednesday I’ll vow to watch more than five minutes of this game.

Bizzle: Bowling Green A-Rob: Georgia Southern

Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl
12/24, 12 pm, ESPN
Middle Tennessee (7-5) vs Western Michigan (7-5)

The best bowl on the menu for my money. A year later and I still can’t believe they put a bowl in the damn Bahamas. And naturally it provided one of the most memorable plays of last bowl season when Central Michigan’s lateral-palooza resulted in a last-second touchdown. Other schools in the MAC and Sun Belt just have to be pissed when they find out they’re not the lucky ones to draw a trip to the Bahamas this year. I, A-Rob, even joke to my wife each year that Ball State in the Bahamas Bowl would mean we’d have to go, and even though money means we won’t, she doesn’t dismiss it out of hand. That’s how freaking awesome this bowl is.

Bizzle: Middle Tennessee A-Rob: Western Michigan

Hawaii Bowl
12/24, 8 pm, ESPN
San Diego State (10-3) vs Cincinnati (7-5)

There isn’t more proof that mediocrity can pay than earning a trip to Hawaii for Christmas after going 7-5. Well, Cincinnati did just that, (Lucky bastards.) While a good portion of the country will be freezing their asses off on Christmas Eve, the Bearcats well be in Hawaii. A bit of air has been deflated from this game as Gunner Kiel will not be making the trip due to personal reasons. Hey Irish fans, remember that guy? Yeah, me either. For the Aztecs, who are the class of the Mountain West Conference, a win in this game feels important as the MWC seems to want to be taken more seriously. So a big time showing in the Hawaii Bowl would be a step in the right direction.

Bizzle: San Diego State A-Rob: San Diego State

St. Petersburg Bowl
12/26, 11 am, ESPN
UConn (6-6) vs Marshall (9-3)

The Fighting Bob Diacos head to Tropicana Field! Diaco did a low-key nice job this year. He was left an absolute tire fire by Paul Pasqualoni and has swiftly built UConn back up to, at least, mediocrity. Heck, they’re the only team this year to beat Houston. Look for Diaco to get some major Power 5 love next off-season if the Huskies take another step forward. In the meantime I expect them to win this bowl game because Marshall’s been to this bowl recently and won’t give a rat’s ass about the game.

Bizzle: Marshall A-Rob: UConn

Hyundai Sun Bowl
12/26, 2 pm, CBS
Miami (8-4) vs Washington State (8-4)

So you have two 30 for 30’s, a laundry list of NFL draft picks and one of the most recognized names in college football and the best you can do is the Sun Bowl? Sorry Miami Hurricanes fans, but this isn’t your dad’s or even your slightly older brothers’ Hurricanes after an embarrassing run under Al Golden which culminated with a 58-0 dismantling at the hands of Clemson. Then, sneaking out a win over Duke in absolute garbage fashion. Here you are, the Sun Bowl. New coach Mark Richt, formerly of Georgia, has his work cut out for him. Washington St. will be ready to go and looking for a big win. Miami has its head in the clouds after landing Mark Richt and all the talk will be 2016. WSU rolls here.

Bizzle: Washington State A-Rob: Washington State

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
12/26, 2:20 pm, ESPN
Washington (6-6) vs Southern Miss (9-4)

I know nothing about either of these teams. Chris Petersen is getting some plaudits for taking this Washington team to 6-6, but even if Steve Sarkisian couldn’t lay off the sauce, did he really leave Petersen such a black hole? It remains to be seen how Petersen is going to do in Washington, but what’ss definitely not in debate is how crazy this Southern Miss thing is. The Golden Eagles were 0-12 just a couple of years ago and are now back in a bowl game. Good job, Todd Monken.

Bizzle: Washington A-Rob: Southern Miss

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
12/26, 3:30 pm, ESPN
Indiana (6-6) vs Duke (7-5)

This is the game we have all been looking forward to. Brandon Ingram vs Yogi Ferrell, two storied powerhouse teams going at it. (Oh wait — ARob just informed me this is a football game. Damn it.) Let’s hope it goes better then when these teams met on the hardwood a few weeks ago. For Duke, they have become a consistent participant in the bowl season the past few years.

For Indiana, they look like a team that could become Duke, they just need to continue to build off of this season. The Hooisers were actually watchable this season, putting up big time performances agianst OSU, Iowa and Michigan. Making a bowl game is big in Bloomington, but winning one would be massive, so for my boy Johnny D. (the only Hoosier football fan I know), I hope Nate Sudfeld gives you a Pinstripe Bowl win for Christmas.

Bizzle: Indiana A-Rob: Indiana

Camping World Independence Bowl
12/26, 5:45 pm, ESPN
Tulsa (6-6) vs Virginia Tech (6-6)

Frank Beamer’s final game, and the Independence people have to be happy with that because there’s really no other reason to watch this game. Tulsa is a nonentity and Virginia Tech sort of sucks. I’m going to suspend my usual ‘pick against the school with the departing coach’ rule because of the nature of Beamer’s departure. In the meantime, Hokies fans can look forward to the Justin Fuente era.

Bizzle: Virginia Tech A-Rob: Virginia Tech

Foster Farms Bowl
12/26, 9:15 pm, ESPN
UCLA (8-4) vs Nebraska (5-7)

Nebraska, I hope you are proud of yourself. not only is your god-awful 5-7 record a joke, but the fact is you shouldn’t even be 5-7, due to a botched call that gifted you the Michigan State game. Now I understand that with 836,352 bowl games, some crap teams will get a shot at low-tier glory. So setting aside any type of “traditional preview” I hope UCLA and the “Rosen one” stomp you into the ground. Sure, UCLA was a sexy pick for the college football playoffs but they should take this season as a plus. Rosen showed flashes of being a Heisman candidate. So keep that ball rolling and stomp on this pathetic excuse for a bowl team. Sorry not sorry.

Bizzle: UCLA A-Rob: UCLA

Military Bowl
12/28, 2:30 pm, ESPN
Pittsburgh (8-4) vs Navy (10-2)

One of my favorite bowls just because selfishly it’s cool to see two teams Notre Dame defeated playing each other. Actually, these are two of the best three teams ND defeated, at least by record (Temple the other), which is weird considering Texas, Georgia Tech and USC were also on the schedule. This is also a home game for Navy, which would strike me as unfair if this game meant anything. It’s a nice little perk for Keenan Reynolds as he finishes his career at home, but as usual I’m going against the triple option in a bowl since Pitt has an eternity to prepare for it.

Bizzle: Navy A-Rob: Pittsburgh

Quick Lane Bowl
12/28, 5 pm, ESPN2
Central Michigan (7-5) vs Minnesota (5-7)

Another 5-7 bowl team. I’m all for more football but I do hope they get rid of this idea for next year. Just kick out one of these bowls, preferably the stupid Arizona Bowl a couple of spots down, and make sure this doesn’t happen again. Central Michigan, which obviously doesn’t give a shit, sold out its allotment for this bowl game, so good for them. However, I’m going to pick against them anyway and make them my only 5-7 bowl team I predict to win their game.

Bizzle: Central Michigan A-Rob: Minnesota

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
12/29, 2 pm, ESPN
California (7-5) vs Air Force (8-5)

This is it for Jared Goff as he gets ready to become the next Aaron Rodgers (he hopes). I didn’t see Goff play hardly at all this year, so I have no concept of what to expect from him in the pros. However, he’ll be facing a scrappy Air Force team in this game and I don’t like his chances very much.

Bizzle: Air Force A-Rob: Air Force

Russell Athletic Bowl
12/29, 5:30 pm, ESPN
North Carolina (11-2) vs Baylor (9-3)

Well, well, well, Baylor, we meet again. If anyone is reading this and remembers last season’s bowl preview (shocking if so) but I wasn’t too nice to Art Briles and his Baylor Bears. Well, this season I’m changing my tune — but only slightly. I still think if you want respect, schedule harder non-conference games. I will give you a pass this season as injuries at the quarterback position really derailed a shot at the Final 4.

For North Carolina, just imagine where you would be had you beaten that awful South Carolina team week one  of the season. I’ll wait Tar Heels fans. After that loss, it seemed no one was giving you any type of respect. Even if you had beaten Clemson in the ACC title game you more than likely had no shot at the playoffs. Expecting a good game in this one. Corey Coleman should be the difference maker for me, lets just hope he wears a shirt to the post game interview.

Bizzle: Baylor A-Rob: Baylor

Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
12/29, 7:30 pm, check local listings
Nevada (6-6) vs Colorado State (7-5)

It’s come to this, folks. Not only is there a bowl that matches up two teams from the same conference (the Mountain West people called it ‘a travesty’ and said the bowl system is broken, which considering three 5-7 teams are playing in bowls is hard to argue), but it’s not even airing on TV in most markets. Several nothing channels are broadcasting the game regionally, but your best bet is to watch it on CampusInsiders.com. If it’s free, which I don’t even know. And if you’re a complete loser, because why else would you watch this game over the two ESPN games that will be going on during it? This game is stupid and I don’t like it. Put your game on TV!

Bizzle: Colorado State A-Rob: Colorado State

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
12/29, 9 pm, ESPN
LSU (8-3) vs Texas Tech (7-5)

Having high expectations is a wonderful thing in theory, but having those expectations without also being realistic about who you are and what you have can create problems. Ladies and gentlemen, that is where LSU is at currently. They expect to compete for a national title every year, but haven’t had consistent quarterback play, can’t seem to win the biggest games on their schedule or they are too young. This season’s LSU team was a year away in my opinion from being a legit threat for a playoff spot. That still didn’t stop LSU from flirting with the idea to fire Les Miles. Seriously who were you going to get that is better? Expect Les Miles to pull no punches in the game and make a statement that he is the man for the job.

Bizzle: LSU A-Rob: LSU

Birmingham Bowl
12/30, 12 pm, ESPN
Auburn (6-6) vs Memphis (9-3)

Gotta love the SEC West, where you can go from last place to the national title game and back again without really blinking an eye. We should really have expected this from Auburn, though, after they were lucky to escape with a win over Jacksonville State in the season opener. The Jeremy Johnson era turned out to be a sore one for Tiger fans. Now they have to draw a fired-up Memphis team that just had one of its best seasons of all time although it didn’t end in a conference title. Memphis got up to the top 15 in the rankings this year, which we’ll look back on in 6 years and wonder how the hell it happened.

Bizzle: Memphis A-Rob: Memphis

Belk Bowl
12/30, 3:30 pm, ESPN
NC State (7-5) vs Mississippi State (8-4)

This game for me is all about getting to watch Dak Prescott one last time in a college uniform. Prescott has a tendency to get overlooked on the college football scene. Partially that has to do with where he plays. Mississippi St. isn’t exactly a national powerhouse and that’s okay. It also may have to do with the fact that the Bulldogs play in the same division as Alabama, LSU and Auburn. It’s easy to get overlooked. So do yourself a favor, and check out one of the best dual threat QBs in the country, if you haven’t already. Sorry NC State fans its going to be a long afternoon.

Bizzle: Mississippi State A-Rob: NC State

Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl
12/30, 7 pm, ESPN
Texas A&M (8-4) vs Louisville (7-5)

I switched my pick in this game. Texas A&M is an outright disaster at the moment. First we hear that Kyle Allen is transferring. Fine, that happens. Make room for Kyler Murray. Oh, you say HE is transferring? The Aggies are going down the toilet at warp speed and I’m not sure Kevin Sumlin even knows what hit him. He’s probably angling to get back to Houston when Tom Herman inevitably leaves at this point. Louisville is garbage, but they have some concept of who’s playing QB for them, which gives them the edge.

Bizzle: Louisville A-Rob: Louisville

Holiday Bowl
12/30, 10:30 pm, ESPN
USC (8-5) vs Wisconsin (9-3)

USC was my hot pick to make the college football final 4. Well, that didn’t happen. Cody Kessler was supposed to make a trip to New York for the Heisman trophy ceremony, and that didn’t happen. USC was supposed to finally start to regain its spot as one of the top programs in the county but that didn’t happen as Steve Sarkisian was fired midseason due to a drinking problem. I bet if you asked anyone in the USC locker room, they are just happy this circus of a season is over. For Wisconsin, after making the Big Ten (14) title game a year ago, they took a step back this season and finished 9-3 finishing 3rd in the Big Ten West. Look for them to pull out a win against the Trojans to add another 10-win season to their resume.

Bizzle: Wisconsin A-Rob: USC

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
12/31, 12 pm, ESPN
Houston (12-1) vs Florida State (10-2)

Our first New Year’s Six bowl! I don’t know about you guys, but I always made a point to watch all the major bowl games, back when they were the BCS and now that they’re the New Year’s Six. It’s just fun to catch some of the best teams in the game go at it and let it all hang out. Some of them turn into the best games of all, like when MSU and Baylor played their barn burner of a Cotton Bowl last season. I think something similar will happen here. Houston and FSU are both very good, not great teams, and I have a feeling we will see a very fun game. At the end of the day I’ll take the Cougars to upset the Dalvin Cooks and make it 2-for-2 for the small-conference teams in bowl games.

Bizzle: Houston A-Rob: Houston

Outback Bowl
1/1, 12 pm, ESPN2
Northwestern (10-2) vs Tennessee (8-4)

It was one hell of a season for Northwestern as they finished the regular season with a 10-2 mark, matching their win total from the previous two seasons combined. Northwestern is currently ranked 13th in the country, with wins over Stanford and Wisconsin this season that were proof that this team is for real. The Wildcats will be going for their 11th win of the season which would set the mark for tops in school history. If they want to make history they will have to take down #23 Tennessee and dynamic quarterback Joshua Dobbs who leads the SEC in rushing yards per game by a quarterback. Northwestern fans have waited 125 years for an 11 win team and they are going to have one.

Bizzle: Northwestern A-Rob: Northwestern

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
1/1, 1 pm, ABC
Michigan (9-3) vs Florida (10-3)

So torn in this game. It’s a matchup between my all-time hated college program and the single most overrated team in the country in my opinion. Florida has no business in the top 25. They have one pretty good win, over Ole Miss. That came with a QB who’s no longer there because he got popped for PEDs, which is a real feat in college football. Since then the Gators have been horrible. I watched chunks of their humiliating ‘win’ over Vanderbilt, their even more humiliating ‘win’ over Florida Atlantic and of course most depressingly, their pathetic performance against Bama. This is a team that if they’d been in any other Power 5 division besides the rancid SEC East probably loses 3 league games or more. They are awful. I think Michigan smears them here, but Bizzle disagrees.

Bizzle: Florida A-Rob: Michigan

BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl
1/1, 1 pm, ESPN
Notre Dame (10-2) vs Ohio State (11-1)

The ND game! Bizzle gave me this one because, he says, he enjoys my take on ND. Appreciate it, sir, but this ND season required few takes. It was an impressive campaign that but for some red-zone stupidity could easily have been a 12-0 season. The Irish’s win over Virginia was their only close game in which they didn’t repeatedly leave points on the field through inability to get things done in the red zone on offense. It’s something I really hope Brian Kelly can fix because in almost every other respect, this year was a championship-level offense at ND. Need to fix that defense, though.

As for this game, Ohio State’s best two defensive tackles will be out because one is injured and the other looks up hookers on the Internet. The Irish have two terrific running backs in C.J. Prosise and Josh Adams. I think you know where we’re going with this.

Bizzle: Notre Dame A-Rob: Notre Dame

Rose Bowl
1/1, 5 pm, ESPN
Stanford (11-2) vs Iowa (12-1)

How do you get hyped up for a game that neither team wanted to be in? I don’t have the answer, so lets hope that Iowa and Stanford do. Heading into the Big 10 title game against Michigan State, an overachieving (and some would say undeserving) Iowa Hawkeye team was the three seed in the College Football Playoff and undefeated. Sure, they avoided OSU, Michigan and Michigan St. until the title game but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have their hearts broken. For Stanford, they were widely considered the pick for the playoff even after suffering what at the time looked like a horrendous loss to Northwestern. All that was left to do was win out and they would have been a lock for the playoffs. They were rolling until they slipped up against an awful Oregon team late in the season. Even with wins over USC twice and a top-10 Irish team, the Cardinal were never able to climb back up the ladder.

So after great but heartbreaking seasons, who shows up to play? Iowa will be out to prove that its season wasn’t a fluke and it’s not their fault the schedule fell how it fell. Stanford, led by Kevin Hogan and Heisman finalist Christian McCaffrey, will look to go out on top in their final bowl game together. A lot of intrigue and interest in this game should make it a fun one to watch.

Bizzle: Stanford A-Rob: Stanford

Allstate Sugar Bowl
1/1, 8:30 pm, ESPN
Oklahoma State (10-2) vs Ole Miss (9-3)

Thank you Oklahoma State, for making things a lot more interesting down the stretch by overachieving and staying undefeated for as long as you did. Watching Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Baylor and to some extent TCU battle week in and week out in a de facto playoff was a lot of fun to watch. Who says a title game is the best way to determine a league champion? Not this guy, as that was seriously some great theatre down the stretch. I would also like to thank Ole Miss for being the only school willing to not let Alabama just run all over them. Thank you Rebels for taking down the Evil Empire that has become Nick Saban (probably too harsh, but anyone his age with hair that good can’t be trusted). Seriously though the rest of the league wet the bed when it was their turn to take on the Crimson Tide, so sincerely, thank you for making people question how good Bama is, at least for a week. So for both schools since you did something wonderful for my fandom, I hope the swag bags are sick, the game ends in a tie and no one gets hurt. Hell of a season gentlemen.

Bizzle: Oklahoma State A-Rob: Ole Miss

TaxSlayer Bowl
1/2, 12 pm, ESPN
Penn State (7-5) vs Georgia (9-3)

Penn State sucks. I mean they really, really suck. But they still have a coach. Georgia doesn’t, and their current coach is working for another college team for another month. Is that really a good idea, Georgia? Quit kissing Saban’s ass and make Smart start now if he wants the job. It does you no good if he helps the Tide win another national title, no matter how many S-E-C chants it might inspire in the Glendale, Ariz. night on Jan. 11. Anyway, I’m defaulting to my ‘don’t pick a team without a coach’ rule.

Bizzle: Penn State A-Rob: Penn State

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
1/2, 3:20 pm, ESPN
Kansas State (6-6) vs Arkansas (7-5)

So you are worried about who the Big Ten schedules, Mr. Bielema? How did that work out for you? I take it not so well as you let Toledo beat you at your place and then proceeded to fall apart after that, sputtering to a 7-5 record. What did you learn here Mr. Bielema? Probably to mind your own business and worry about your own schedule. Not sure why he was worried about anyone else, if they win out or even lost just one, being the SEC they would have been a lock for the playoffs. That SEC bias is real folks.

For Kansas State, they limp into this game with injuries and a quarterback dilemma having two capable QBs, which usually means you have none. As the Bill Snyder era comes to a close I hope that the Wildcats give the legendary head coach a bowl victory. Also lets hope K-State does their job and sticks it to Bret Bielema for me.

Bizzle: Kansas State A-Rob: Arkansas

Valero Alamo Bowl
1/2, 6:45 pm, ESPN
Oregon (9-3) vs TCU (10-2)

I really like The Solid Verbal, a great college football podcast. I bring this up because one of the co-hosts is an Oregon fan. However, he’s grown just a little too uppity these days regarding his disdain for Notre Dame, so he’s started to get under my skin a bit. A combination of working for SB Nation, which strikes me more every day as an insular echo chamber where everyone thinks they are funnier than they are, and Oregon’s success the last few years, has seemingly combined to make him bordering on insufferable.

I say all this because I’ve grown accustomed to things I don’t want to happen happening in college football, so I’m going to assume Oregon will win this game in large part because I don’t want them to. The Ducks have been great the last 2 months, and I expect they will continue to be.

Bizzle: Oregon A-Rob: Oregon

Motel 6 Cactus Bowl
1/2, 10:15 pm, ESPN
West Virginia (7-5) vs Arizona State (6-6)

So at the point that the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl will be played, everyone and their mothers will know who’s in the national title game. All the wonderful New Year’s 6 games will have been played. So this game is like going hard drinking on a long holiday weekend and, come Sunday night, just not wanting to even think about alcohol. We could sit and talk about the seasons both schools had, both up and down (mostly down – the best win between the two schools came when ASU knocked off then No.7  UCLA). So unfortunately, like the day after a long night of drinking, the thought of watching the Cactus Bowl makes my stomach turn.

Bizzle: West Virginia A-Rob: Arizona State

And now…the playoff picks! (Hello? Are you still here? You are! Great!)
Capital One Orange Bowl
12/31, 4 pm, ESPN
#4 Oklahoma (11-1) vs #1 Clemson (13-0)

Everyone in the known universe thinks Clemson is going to lose this game. Well, I don’t. Clemson is not the dominant force Bama was in 2011 and 2012, or the team Florida State was in 2013. But they’re damn good. Quarterback Deshaun Watson’s biggest strength is throwing deep balls. Oklahoma’s defense has been less than impressive at times. I look for a few big plays out of the Tigers and for Clemson to pull out a close, exciting game. Sorry, Baker Mayfield, better luck next year.

Bizzle: Oklahoma A-Rob: Clemson

Goodyear Cotton Bowl
12/31, 8 pm, ESPN
#3 Michigan State (12-1) vs #2 Alabama (12-1)

Fun fact: Alabama has never been left out of the College Football Playoff. I bet that stings, rest of the nation. Another fun fact: no one outside of Alabama likes that they are there. Just one more fact before we get down to business: they deserve to be there. (That’s hard to say.) if not them then who? Ohio State, who lost to the team Alabama’s playing? Nah. Iowa, who people thought was a fraud? Please. Don’t even say Stanford, two losses is a given. Nick Saban has his team playing well on all sides of the ball and has arguably been playing its best football since its loss at Ole Miss.

So what can Michigan St. do to stop the Tide from rolling all over them? Its going to have to start on the defensive side of the ball, containing Heisman winner Derrick Henry (good luck) should be Head Coach Mark Dantonio’s main focus. (ARob interjects: Bizzle called the coach Mike D’Antoni originally. You’ve been drinkin’ again, Bizzle!) If MSU does that and forces Jake Coker to have to throw the ball, Sparty has a legit shot at pulling off the small upset. Connor Cook has the experience in big game situations to pull off the win. Whether he can do it or not is another story.  Expect a low scoring physical affair from both schools.

Bizzle: Michigan State A-Rob: Alabama

National Championship Pick
1/11, 8:30 pm, ESPN


In typical Junkies fashion I will be picking against my P.I.C. He took Alabama vs Clemson in the title game, I will be going with Oklahoma vs Michigan St. because it is so much fun to be right to spite ARob. I’m taking this approach. Oklahoma is going to be extra motivated to prove they are still the top dogs in the Big 12(Ten). This preseason everyone was talking about Baylor and TCU, widely considered OU’s little brothers in most Big 12(Ten) circles. Plus have you ever looked into Baker Mayfield’s eyes? I have, its like the first time I heard the Beatles. (Name the movie!) Sure, Clemson is the only time I picked correctly in our preseason College Football Playoff. They are undefeated and absolutely deserving of the top seed. I just can’t get past the fact that they are Clemson and have the tendency to let you down in a big spot like the one they will be in on New Years Eve….will be so awesome (Sorry, had to do it. Damn you Jimmy Kimmel.)

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I just want to see Alabama lose. I thoroughly enjoy that look on Nick Saban’s face as he is losing a game. It’s priceless. That being said the Michigan St. team is on one magical ride this season. If you don’t believe me, just ask the boys from Ann Arbor. Had Michigan remembered how to punt, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Still not enough proof? Just ask Urban Meyer and Ezekiel Elliott how their relationship has been since a quarterback whose name I’m sure they forgot handed the Buckeyes their first loss and knocked them out of the playoff. Even a fluky loss to that god-awful Nebraska team because of a terrible no-call couldn’t keep the Spartans out of the Playoff. So if for no other reason than this team is good as well as lucky, I’m just going to roll with them over Alabama who has all the pressure on them to win. For all the reasons I just explained I will be riding the magic carpet harder than Aladdin and taking MSU to win the whole thing.


Clemson vs. Alabama is the matchup we would have gotten if this were the BCS. Unlike last year I am predicting the hypothetical BCS matchup and the playoff title game will be the same. This game will be awesome. Deshaun Watson’s strength, as mentioned before, is throwing the deep ball. Alabama’s biggest weakness on defense is defending the deep ball. I think the Tigers again strike with big plays and hurt the Tide with chunks. Alabama’s got a great running back in Heisman winner Derrick Henry. But I think that’s about all they’ve got. So I’m taking Clemson to be your 2015 national champion.

The Junkies’ Massive Bowl Preview Is Back!

Bizzle’s Picks Week 2: College Edition

Week 1 is in the books with not much surprise outside of Texas A&M upsetting then number 15 Arizona St.(which I called) as well as Northwestern over 21 Stanford. There was also a few more closer games then I’m sure people expected (Notre Dame over Texas was not one of them, sorry haters) like TCU struggling with Minnesota(which dropped them to #3 this week). With week 1 in the Books and what a week 1 it was lets look ahead to week 2. There are a few more interesting matchups this week with the biggest one of the year(so far) with Oregon playing Michigan St. in East Lansing. So lets see if I can improve off my impressive 26-3 record, would have been 27 but LSU and McNeese St was cancelled. So here goes nothing.

Thursday September 10th

NR Western Kentucky over LA Tech

Friday September 11th(never forget)

#24 Utah over Utah St.

Saturday September 12th

#11 Florida St. over USF
#6 Auburn over Jacksonville St.
NR Oregon St. over Michigan
NR Purdue over Indiana St.
#12 Clemson over Appalachian St.
#1 Ohio St. over Hawaii
#3 TCU over SF Austin
#16 Georgia Tech over Tulane
#9 Notre Dame over Virginia
#10 Georgia over Vanderbilt
#2 Alabama over Mid Tennessee
#17 Ole Miss over Fresno St.
#15 Arkansas over Toledo
#23 Tennessee over #19 Oklahoma
#22 Arizona over Nevada
#16 Texas A&M over Ball St. (There you go Nick)
#21 Missouri over Arkansas St.
NR ECU over Florida
#4 Baylor over Lamar (by 70)
#8 USC over Idaho
#5 Michigan St. over #7 Oregon
NR Rice over Texas
#14 LSU over #25 Miss St.
#20 Boise St. over BYU (no hail mary this week)
#13 UCLA over UNLV

Well, there it is folks, as always feel free to agree/disagree with these picks. Also be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter for more.

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Bizzle’s Picks Week 2: College Edition

Bizzle’s Week 1 Picks: College Football Edition

College football is back, baby! So every week I’ll be picking all the top 25 (according to ESPN) games, as well as some intriguing non-top 25 games on the schedule. Week 1 doesn’t figure to much of a surprise as most teams are in full on cupcake mode, but who cares? College football is real, once again, and its spectacular!

Thursday September 3:

#16 Georgia Tech over Alcorn St.
#2 TCU over Minnesota
#22 Arizona over Texas San Antonio
NR Utah over Michigan
NR North Carolina over South Carolina
NR Western Kentucky over Vanderbilt

Friday September 4th (Happy B-Day Colin)

#5 Michigan St. over Western Michigan
#4 Baylor over SMU
#23 Boise St. over Washington
NR Kent St. over Illinois

Saturday September 5th

#21 Stanford over Northwestern
#9 Georgia over Louisiana Monroe
#17 Ole Miss over Tennessee-Martin
#12 Clemson over Wofford
#13 UCLA over Virginia
#18 Arkansas over UTEP
#6 Auburn over Louisville(in a close one)
#24 Missouri over Southeast Missouri. St.
#25 Tennessee over Bowling Green
#19 Oklahoma over Akron(sorry LBJ)
NR Texas A&M over #15 Arizona State
#14 LSU over McNeese St.
#11 Notre Dame over Texas
#7 Oregon over Eastern Washington
#3 Alabama over #20 Wisconsin(props to both schools for scheduling big early)
#10 Florida St. over Texas St.
#8 USC over Arkansas St (BYOB)

Sunday September 6th

NR Marshall over Purdue(sorry Baldness)

Monday September 7th

#1 Ohio St. over Virginia Tech.
I know everyone has the Buckeyes on Upset Alert but I do not. Ezekiel Elliott is a Bad man and will make all the difference come Labor Day!

So, there you have it folks all games are picked and in the books. Not a ton of shocks in week one but, hey I can’t help that schools don’t schedule harder games. Please feel free to comment or post any game I may have missed that you find interesting, or just to tell me all my picks suck. All that matters though is that College Football is back and I can’t wait!

Bizzle’s Week 1 Picks: College Football Edition

College Football Preseason Top 25

Bizzle’s College Football Top 25:

1. Ohio St.

2. TCU

3. Baylor

4. Alabama

5. Auburn

6. Michigan St.

7. USC

8. Oregon

9. Florida St.

10. Notre Dame

11. Clemson

12. Georgia

13. LSU

14. UCLA

15. Georgia Tech

16. Arizona St.

17. Ole Miss

18. Wisconsin

19. Oklahoma

20. Arkansas

21. Boise St.

22. Stanford

23. Arizona

24. Missouri

25. Mississippi St.

Outside looking in: Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Utah, Texas A&M, Oklahoma St.

College Football Preseason Top 25

Why ND-Kentucky Was Special

Notre Dame-Kentucky was special. Even in the annals of special games, I felt like it was truly special.

After all, it was the most-watched cable TV broadcast of college basketball of all time, no small feat given last year’s national semifinals both aired on cable.

But merely talking about how many watched it does that game a disservice. And yes, I’m biased. I’m a Notre Dame fan. That Kentucky game was as close as ND basketball has come in my lifetime to really, honestly being a power program. It still stings that the Irish lost.

That game had so many layers to it. The most obvious layer to the outside observer was the dichotomy between the two programs.

Kentucky is known as the mercenary program, shuffling one-and-done players in and out each year and making a mockery of college basketball. (This year’s team doesn’t fit that mold as easily as past teams do, but for the sake of the narrative, few pointed that out.)

Notre Dame, of course, is the school that refuses to play ball in the cesspool of college basketball recruiting. Some may dispute the ‘do it the right way’ reputation the school has, but again, for the sake of the narrative, that’s how ND was portrayed. Their best two players were seniors. Three of their five starters had missed games for academic reasons during their career, something you’d never expect to hear at Kentucky. The roles in the morality play were clear.

The roles in the basketball game were clear, too. Notre Dame was small. They had no depth. Against the powerful front line of Kentucky, their move was clear: Bombs away from the outside and hope to catch fire. Kentucky was going to lock down the paint defensively, dominate the paint offensively and would need both a poor performance themselves and a near-perfect performance by ND to lose.

But a funny thing happened on the way to that narrative: The opposite was true.

It was Notre Dame who controlled the paint offensively, in a manner of speaking. By staying in constant motion with the ball and not putting anyone in the paint, the Irish kept UK from gaining a foothold there either. Their ball movement created attacking opportunities at the rim, and ND delivered. Time and time again the Irish went in for layups. They scored 20 of their first 26 second-half points on dunks or layups.

ND led for much of the way, as it turned out. At one point they got up by six. They did this all while shooting 4/14 from three-point land. There were a couple in there that were probably attributable to poor shot selection or UK’s defense, but many of the misses were the same wide-open looks ND’s gotten for itself all year. So much for needing to catch fire.

It turned out — and this really should be being addressed more — that it was, in fact, Kentucky that needed to play perfectly, at least over the last 12 minutes, to win. UK did not miss a field goal in that span. They hit their last six free throws. They did everything well when it mattered most, as you’d expect a championship team to do. It was very impressive.

My heart broke just a little bit when Jackson committed a blocking foul with six seconds left that allowed UK to hit the winning free throws, somewhat anticlimactically. It broke a little bit more when Jerian Grant’s desperation trey from the corner — a shot that if you watch it, it’s a freakin’ miracle he even got it off at all — went long. It didn’t break because Notre Dame missed out on what would have been the greatest win in its basketball history, and its greatest men’s sports win, period, in probably 20 years. It broke because I wanted to watch these guys play again.

Notre Dame was an absolute treat to anyone who loves basketball this year. While the ongoing media gripe this year was that college hoops is unwatchable these days, ND played a beautiful brand of basketball, one that I, for one, feel incredibly fortunate to have seen.

There was a sequence against UNC in the ACC title game that summed it up better than I ever could. ND was in the midst of rallying from down 64-56 with 8 minutes left when Bonzie Colson came up with a loose ball and batted it over to Jerian Grant in the left corner. Grant whipped it to Pat Connaughton at the top of the key, who whipped it to Demetrius Jackson at the elbow, who whipped it to Steve Vasturia in the right corner for a wide open three-pointer that tied it.

That whole sequence took 2 seconds. ND never looked back. It was dream basketball, beatiful hoops that would be seen again when the Irish eviscerated Wichita State in the Sweet 16 with the greatest 15-minute stretch of play I’ve ever seen from any team in my entire life.

ND really and truly reached a different level with me over the last few weeks. I loved those guys, and loved watching them play, so much that it honestly bummed me out just as much that I wouldn’t get to see them anymore as it did that they fell short of the Final Four.

These are guys that deserved every bit of love they got, and probably more. The best tribute I can pay them is that I couldn’t pick a favorite player for most of the year. At times, each of the five starters save Auguste had claims to the title (and, naturally, Auguste would start climbing that chart himself with incredible play in the second weekend of the tournament). Connaughton and Grant were the kinds of leaders college sports fans hardly ever get to see. And we got two in the same class? What had we done to deserve that?

More importantly, all were great kids. Outside of the academic missteps, none of the ND players have been involved in anything to suggest they’re anything less than great kids. It’s a tribute to Mike Brey that he has consistently attracted kids of high character to his program the last 15 years. Grant and Connaughton go in the books as probably two of my favorite four ND athletes of all time for everything they brought to us. And there’s plenty of time for Jackson, Auguste and Vasturia, along with Colson, VJ Beachem, and the next crop of Irish, to start building their own legacy.

The last thing that made that game such a treat was Kentucky, believe it or not. Make no mistake about it: John Calipari is a sleazebag. To his credit, he does appear to have his athletes’ best interests at heart, but he’s still a sleazebag. However, his players aren’t. I was struck after the game with how little ill will I held towards the guys wearing blue and white. Normally I find excuses to hate everyone on the other team after such a game. Maybe I’m growing, but more likely it’s that the UK players impressed me. I don’t remember one time seeing anything that approached what you might call dirty or cheap play. I don’t remember one time seeing a player whine for a call from the refs. Even Calipari, by his standards, seemed to be on good behavior. It was a good, clean, classic game played by two excellent teams. It was, between the lines anyway, everything college sports wants to be about.

That’s what made that game so special to me, and why, once the nagging pain from the loss subsides — eventually it will, I think — I will feel very lucky to have witnessed it and to have had a rooting interest.

Why ND-Kentucky Was Special