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Notre Dame will be the national champion
July 7, 2006

Brady Quinn is the best quarterback in the nation. Ö The schedule is friendly. Ö Charlie Weis is Einstein with a headset.

There, I said it. I'm on board.

Here's another Golden Dome-sized scoop of hype for your tailgate, Touchdown Jesus: ND will win the national title.

I can't believe I just typed that. But it's true.

NOTRE DAME: 2006 NATIONAL CHAMPION. You thought the bookstores in South Bend already sold a lot of T-shirts. Holy mother of God!

It has been a long time coming. ND's last title came in 1988. Oh, I remember. I saw that team in action vs. Purdue. The Irish clobbered the Boilermakers, sent 'em back to West Lafayette in a Hefty bag.

More previews
Bookstore: Big Ten Preview Magazine
Illinois: Not much fight in these Illini
Indiana: Facing a stacked deck
Iowa: All hail King Kirk
Michigan: No hails for Lloyd
Mich. State: Smith walks the line
Minnesota: Nontitle town
N'western: Wildcats must carry on
Ohio State: On the offensive
Penn State: More than a nice story
Purdue: A steamy offense
Wisconsin: Can't afford to slip

It looked like ND would start minting national titles in the early 1990s. Didn't happen. Came close in 1993 -- but didn't happen.

But look at the Irish now. All shiny, sparkly and bright. I just want to spurt some Pledge on 'em, polish 'em up and stick on my mantel next to my son's bronzed baby booties.

That's some kinda special in my house. But this is some kinda special team.

Let me begin with Quinn. But, c'mon, he's Brady to you and me. Not only is he college football's best quarterback, but he's also a college football heartthrob. Just buy our preseason magazine, rip out his picture and pin it up on your daughter's bedroom wall. You'll be her hero for eternity.

Chas Weis? Oh, he's no pin-up boy. But, boy, can he coach. Weis' answer to E = mc2? Quinn to Jeff Samardzija. Oh, Chas will diagram some runs for Darius Walker behind an underrated line. But it's his Quinn to Samardzija formula -- with all of its variations -- that will propel Notre Dame back to its rightful place atop the national rankings -- and right into your heart.

You don't have to know how to turn a coconut into a radio to figure out how to make a Notre Dame fan stutter. You say you've forgotten? Just cue the Fiesta Bowl tape! Ohhhh. Ugghhhh. The defense gets two thumbs down.

Still, there's material to work with. I don't think the line gets enough credit. Tackles Trevor Laws and Derek Landri are salty, and end Victor Abiamiri has star potential. It's the linebackers and cornerbacks that worry me. And the special teams need to develop.

But back to the positives: The schedule should perk you up. It is, in a word, "laughable." That's right. This is a one-game schedule -- at USC. That gives ND 11 "preseason" games to prep for its showdown in Los Angeles vs. USC.

Sure, the opener at Georgia Tech has "danger" stamped all over it. But, c'mon: It's Georgia-flipping-Tech. Next comes the Big Ten portion of the schedule. Big whoop. The two toughies, Penn State and Michigan, are in South Bend. Six more "snooze-fests" follow. Think of it as your chance to rake leaves, go pumpkin shopping and winterize the lawn mower. Then, finally, the grand finale in the L.A. Coliseum.

In December, Brady Quinn will win the Heisman and replace George Washington on the dollar bill. In January, the Irish will win the national title and Chas Weis will become the highest-paid man in America. And then, the world will end.

Not really. It'll just feel that way watching a story unfold that we've waited too long to hear.

Where's my "Play Like A Champion" towel? I think I'm gonna cry.

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Comments
straight jacket
Posted by -Aubie- on Fri Jul 07, 2006 11:16 am

Someone call the LOONEY bin....Tom Dienhart has gone completely Bonkers!!!
If his family can read this, you need to collect his toothbrush and some extra under wear for him. He will be staying awhile!!!!


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No Way
Posted by wrath6000 on Fri Jul 07, 2006 11:50 am

Ahh, it's great to see the press jump on the Notre Dame bandwagon, but this isn't the year to do it.

The defense just isn't that good. The D is still too slow and doesn't have enough play makers. The unit isn't devoid of talent, but they just don't have the horses to make it work.

Also, playing Michigan at home isn't exactly a gimme game. The Irish are more than capable of winning the game, but it's not a given. They didn't exactly spank the Wolverines last year and they escaped with a win after a couple of big plays in the fourth quarter. I don't think you can expect that to happen again.

I see ND dropping two games and finishing in the back half of the top 10.


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Posted by rsurich on Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:04 pm

You need two things to win a national championship: Defense and a strong running game. Until ND demonstrates these qualities, any discussion about a championship in South Bend is just more hype designed to sell more pre-season rags.

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Sidewalk fans in full force now
Posted by VinSCentVega on Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:16 pm

Subway fans, sidewalk fans, whatever you want to call them are now officially in full force.

No mention of the ND defense. Seems as though the bandwagon believes the defense won't have to hit the field.

Should be fun to watch.


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Posted by crasey23 on Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:27 pm

I love how the press jumps on the Notre Dame bandwagon so quickly. The best example of this was when ND went from unranked to #20 in the polls after their first victory last year over Pitt. Come on, no other team in the nation could have done that.

I think Charlie Weis will win a championship during his tenure at ND, but the defense is way too slow to do it this year. Plus the schedule is a lot of harder than Dienhart would lead you to believe. Does that guy even watch college football?

I can see a championship in three years for ND. Once Claussen is a sophomore and most of Weis' recruits are playing. Until then, just remember everyone thought Willingham was the savior too after his first season.


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Posted by godevils76 on Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:35 pm

crasey23 wrote:
I love how the press jumps on the Notre Dame bandwagon so quickly. The best example of this was when ND went from unranked to #20 in the polls after their first victory last year over Pitt. Come on, no other team in the nation could have done that.

I think Charlie Weis will win a championship during his tenure at ND, but the defense is way too slow to do it this year. Plus the schedule is a lot of harder than Dienhart would lead you to believe. Does that guy even watch college football?

I can see a championship in three years for ND. Once Claussen is a sophomore and most of Weis' recruits are playing. Until then, just remember everyone thought Willingham was the savior too after his first season.


I agree with you.

What a joke this column is, and not because he's picking ND to win it all. What kind of alleged college football expert would ever label games against Penn State and Michigan as "laughable?!" Oh yeah, those games are in South Bend. So could USC consider the game against ND laughable since it's in LA?

ND may win it all; I doubt it but it could happen. But I have never in my life heard an "expert" labels games against PSU and Michigan as laughable, preseason, whatever it is.


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Posted by PhillyNittanyBlog on Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:41 pm

I'll be the first one to admit I don't like Notre Dame, but I also think I'm pretty objective (I do have an L pencilled in for PSU when they go to ND on Sept 9th).

That being said, I think Dinehart is really underestimating how tough ND's first five games are gonna be.

ND is gonna be favored in all five, but GT, PSU, UM, MSU, and Purdue in five consecutive weeks, with no break is gonna be tough.

And, having looked at USC's schedule and with all the talent they have, that game at the end of the year is gonna mean something to USC too.


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its aboutttttt time!!!
Posted by vanguard1488 on Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:45 pm

This post is under review --TSN

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Posted by anonanon on Fri Jul 07, 2006 12:48 pm

LOL...didn't the Sporting News have Auburn #1 a couple of years ago and they went into Atlanta and lost to a Georgia-flipping-Tech team that is not even as good as this years team. I learned that if you go with the opposite of what SN says then you will be ok, so ND will lose 3 easy.

Now in a couple of years ND may be able to get to that level, but the media can't wait that long.


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One of those overlooked games will trip them up.
Posted by bjsechampsBlog on Fri Jul 07, 2006 01:14 pm

Ole Sparty sure gave them fits last year. They will not go undefeated against the Big Ten. I believe that they will finish 10-2 and go to a second consecutive BCS game, but undefeated and playing for a national championship is too much to ask with a weak defense and questionable special teams.

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Re: its aboutttttt time!!!
Posted by godevils76 on Fri Jul 07, 2006 01:26 pm

vanguard1488 wrote:
Notre dame is finally getting the attention they deserve. Charlie weis should be commended for giving white athletes a level playing field to compete for starting positions. I think its wonderfull that white skill position players like jeff smardzija are dispelling the myth of white athletic inferiority. The best 3 players on notre dame happen to be white (brady quinn, jeff samardzija & tom zbikowski) and i think this hopefully will awaken college recruiters, who in the past have resisted recruiting white athletes, to the fact that the white athlete is every bit as good as the black athlete in most cases (obviously there are some exceptions). so good luck to charlie and maybe the SEC will take notice that white players CAN play!


Wow, good to see racism is alive and well...


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Posted by jlfetterhoff56 on Fri Jul 07, 2006 01:30 pm

ND has a good team but you are not going to win all those games against the Big Ten. they might win some but not all. and until they beat USC I will still favor USC over them any day of the week

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Posted by proveout on Fri Jul 07, 2006 01:31 pm

these posts are laughable at best. For all you geniuses who say Notre Dame does not have a strong running game, HELLO Darius walker rushed for 1200 yards last year. weis proved that when teams stacked the line against the run he simply adjusted and Quinn destroyed them and vice verca the Stanford game when they played the pass walker rushed for almost 200 yards. Darius Walker is very underrated. Not only can the guy pass block as well as anyone and pickup blitzes he can catch the ball out of the backfield.

Now on to the defense. before you people tell me how bad they were, when push came to shove they played a lot of good offensive teams and gave up 23 points a game, roughly the same amount as the vaunted USC Pete Carrol defense. and they have most of their starters back. plus Charlie weis enlisted John Fox and the Carolina Panthers help in defensive schemes inthe off season and that cannot be anyhting but good. also, they have a very good freshmen class coming and and it is likley at least 2 or possibly 3 of these defensive recruits will play right away. In fact two of the top 10 defensive back recruits from tom Lemming are here. Also they will have a year under their belt.

there are also intangibales. I believe the loss to Ohio State will help them. Charlie Weis made one of the few mistakes he made all year when he underrated the Ohio State defense. It wasn't until the 2nd half that he adjusted they were able to move the ball. Also, their receivers played their worst game of the year dropping at least 7 balls. yet in spite of that quinn hit on 29-45 (should have been 37-45) and had the irish in the game in the 4th quarter when a bad call that overturned Zibikowski TD return was made.
the schedule is favorable. penn State lost alot of that defense and has a new Qb. Michigan has loyd carr. I believe Notre Dame will be 11-0 when they play USC and unless reggie Bush is coming back they have a shot as Weis has never lost a road game.

Notre Dame will play Ohio State again in a rematch of the Fiesta Bowl and without AJ Hawk I think they will win it this time.

As for Notre Dame's talent. weis put together a top 3 class in 2006 and is heaed for the number one class in 2007. the talent level on this team is going to be scary in 2008.

GO IRISH. 13-0

Lastly for the moron who whined about them going from unranked to 20th after the Pitt game. Umm doofus learn football. they beat an 18th ranked Pitt team that had all their starers back from a BCS bowl and beat them 42-21 (could have been 70-21 but weis doesn't belive in running up the scores. If you honestly think after that game Notre Dame was not worthy of a top 20 spot, well you're just STUPID.


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Posted by Corsair2 on Fri Jul 07, 2006 01:39 pm

Absolutely 100% correct... But, the schedule isn't all THAT easy... Michigan State & Michigan have pretty fair QB's and playing GA Tech in Georgia, they kill losers there....

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Gag, Choke, Puke
Posted by Uberbuckeye on Fri Jul 07, 2006 01:39 pm

Brainwashing isn't just for toddlers and Heaven's Gate cultists anymore. You're obviously off your rocker. You should resign.

Perhaps Notre Dame will have a chance to be in attendance at the National Championship game this year, but ONLY if Brady can successfully remove AJ Hawks foot from his rear end in time. There will be no trophy in South Bend(over) this year.


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LoL
Posted by DownSetHut on Fri Jul 07, 2006 01:49 pm

Does it get anymore transparent then Dienhart here? I mean the headline is so blatantly over the top. He chooses the lightning rod school that everyone loves or hates and picks them to win the national title. Wants to set a record for most responses to a blog entry probably. Well Tom, here's my contribution to your cause. Good luck with all that.

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Little Dieny's Article
Posted by Decaturmurphy on Fri Jul 07, 2006 01:52 pm

Good Gawd, Little Dieny, me thinks you have a man-crush on Quinn. I bet that photo of Brady is hanging in your bathroom...
Five-large says that The Irish lose one of the first five games. Most likely, it'll be against the Golden Tornado in Atlanta.
Gawd, I can see this article on bulletin boards of every upcoming ND opponent.
Maybe that is Little Dieny's plot, rile up the opposition and undermine The Irish.


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Posted by proveout on Fri Jul 07, 2006 02:11 pm

I think yopu may be referring to jeff Smarzgia. In 2004 he was clearly their best receiver but rarely got on the field becayse Ty Willingham chose to take Carlyle Holiday, the deposed QB and put him ahead of Smarzgia on the depth chart even though quite frankly he sucked. just another reason why Willingham never succeeded at Notre Dame, he played polticis only playing Holiday because hw anted to placte the seniors on the teasm. coaches like that are known as players coaches and rarely win

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Re: Little Dieny's Article
Posted by proveout on Fri Jul 07, 2006 02:12 pm

Decaturmurphy wrote:
Good Gawd, Little Dieny, me thinks you have a man-crush on Quinn. I bet that photo of Brady is hanging in your bathroom...
Five-large says that The Irish lose one of the first five games. Most likely, it'll be against the Golden Tornado in Atlanta.
Gawd, I can see this article on bulletin boards of every upcoming ND opponent.
Maybe that is Little Dieny's plot, rile up the opposition and undermine The Irish.


i don't think they lose to Ga tech beacuse Ga tech had one of the worst offenses in the country last year and Notre Dame played well on the road. even if they lose an early game 11-1 will get them to the title game i THINK,


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Over-rated.
Posted by crimsonfan1245 on Fri Jul 07, 2006 02:17 pm

Brady Quinn is getting his stats pimped out against the weaker teams on thier schedule.

5 TD's against Michigan State.

6 TD"s against BYU

4 TD's against Navy.

I guess he is trying to make up for the 0 TD performances against real defenses, like Ohio State.


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Posted by crasey23 on Fri Jul 07, 2006 02:22 pm

Quote:
Lastly for the moron who whined about them going from unranked to 20th after the Pitt game. Umm doofus learn football. they beat an 18th ranked Pitt team that had all their starers back from a BCS bowl and beat them 42-21 (could have been 70-21 but weis doesn't belive in running up the scores. If you honestly think after that game Notre Dame was not worthy of a top 20 spot, well you're just STUPID.


The question wasn't whether they deserved it (because obviously after a few games they did), it was whether any other team would have jumped that far had they won that game. And didn't Pitt then lose the very next game to Miami of Ohio? If Miami of Ohio would have beaten Pitt the first game of the season would they have moved to #20? Exactly.

I love when these Notre Dame fans begin to come out every time ND is good. The majority of them never have even stepped foot on the campus.


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hey gobear, ur the racist
Posted by vanguard1488 on Fri Jul 07, 2006 02:34 pm

This post is under review. --TSN

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Posted by voice of reason on Fri Jul 07, 2006 02:37 pm

Corsair2 wrote:
Absolutely 100% correct... But, the schedule isn't all THAT easy... Michigan State & Michigan have pretty fair QB's and playing GA Tech in Georgia, they kill losers there....


Ask the Miami Hurricane's about Georgia Tech. Tech upset the Canes last season in the vaunted Orange Bowl, and the Yellow Jackets have enough returning starters to pull-off a major upset against ND. This is a game that Weiss and company better not take too lightly or they'll be returning to South Bend with a BIG LOST. Of course the vast majority of Irish fandom will probably overlook this game since Deinhart has crown them the National Champions for 2006. But that's just Deinhart playing the 'hype' card. He!!, he has to have something to write about during the long dog days of summer.


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More Non-Sense
Posted by Blackballs2U2 on Fri Jul 07, 2006 02:41 pm

Mr. Dienhart,

Is it really that difficult for you to write an informative, well balanced, and entertaining piece of journalism? I've come to realization that SI, Sporting News, ESPN, CBS Sportsline, and others of that ilk are just complete waste of brain cells. You know darn well that the anti-ND elements out there will go ballistic at the mere mention of ND as a NC contender. Thus having thrown this into the water you are bound to get plenty of (pro/con) reaction. As a writer that is all you care about. Reaction. Right or wrong doesn't matter. All that counts is that people react to what you have written. Later on you will take the pro/con emails, letters, and faxes into your bossís office and show him what a wonderful job youíre doing with the column. In addition, it practically allows your mailbag to write itself. Assuming, of course, you have one.

Anyone who thinks that NDís schedule is laughable doesn't know college football. Notre Dame had a BRUTAL-looking schedule last year. However, it didn't turn out to be quite as tough as originally projected because some of those highly-touted teams didn't end up being much. However, that doesn't mean that this year's version won't be considerably tougher. You want to see a joke of a schedule, look no further than your Alma Mater. There are Indiana high schools with fewer home games against in-state opponents. Apparently, Goshen College was booked.

I am now dumber for having skimmed that POS column of yours.


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