Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 30, 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 4 of 55 OCT. 30, 2017 5 FAN FORUM SKEWED STATS I found your column (Oct. 2, The Fifth Quarter) about records very interesting. It pointed out clear discrepancies in how such things are tabulated. This reminded me of an issue and another question: When statis- tics are tabulated for Football Bowl Subdivision teams, do they include stats accumulated versus Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams? If yes, that seems unfair to teams that play all their games against FBS opponents. If an FBS team scores 60 points (as an example) versus an FCS team, that will skew the statistics. It be- comes a situation where one is par- tially comparing apples and oranges. If such statistics are not included, then my concern is moot. If it is the case, what are your thoughts? Dennis Auger Uxbridge, Mass. Mr. Auger, the stats are included, indi- vidually and as a team. We agree with you that it does seem unfair on the surface, but looking at it more closely there have been many occasions when FCS teams have given as good, if not better, battles than "Group of Five" members such as the Mid-American Conference, Sun Belt or Mountain West, all in the FBS. The Citadel in 2015 stunned Steve Spurrier's South Carolina squad, and Georgia Southern (now in the FBS) did the same to Florida in 2013. Portland State upset Washington State in 2015, and North Dakota State won at Iowa in 2016. The same Pitt team that was an overtime chip shot field goal away from beating the 12-0 Irish team in 2012 lost 31-17 to Youngstown State of the FCS. There is an extensive list of such up- sets, with of course Appalachian State's conquest of Michigan in 2007 the mother of them all. But in many other cases they also provided stiff competition, such as 5-6 Nicholls State losing only 26-24 at Georgia in 2016. Yes, we recognize that the FCS schools are scheduled to be breather games, but many would argue Notre Dame is do- ing the same with MAC foes such as UMass in 2015, Miami (Ohio) this year, and then Ball State in 2018 or Bowling Green and New Mexico in 2019. Just be- cause the FCS teams are in a lower divi- sion, though, doesn't mean they can't be or aren't as competitive as many Group of Five teams. TAKE A KNEE … AND A BOW As a Notre Dame graduate and fan for almost 70 years, I have been proud of the Fighting Irish many times for many reasons. But the proudest moments may be when Notre Dame defers from rub- bing it in when beating an outclassed opponent. When Brian Kelly had his quarterback kneel on the 4-yard line against North Carolina with time left to score, he reaffirmed that tradition. Notre Dame wants to win, but need not humiliate an opponent, despite what "the rankings" may ask. We are ND and do it our way. Brian Kelly is a class act in a long tradition of classy Notre Dame coaches. Thanks, Brian. Tim O'Reilly ('61) Via the Internet 'BIG' LOSSES I love your weekly magazine, but find it very lacking in information re- garding women's basketball recruit- ing. I get more info on ND women's recruiting from Connecticut's "The Boneyard" than the Notre Dame magazine. Why do we recruit so many guards? We need some 6-4 and taller ladies if we want to win a national champion- ship. We have a great coach, a great school and a great program. Why do all these "bigs" drop us? It is frustrating. They seem to go to Baylor, Texas, Maryland or Con- necticut. Nick DeCillis Via the Internet Mr. DeCillis, "The Boneyard" is tailored specifically to covering women's basketball recruiting. Our publication is devoted to Notre Dame football and football recruiting, which is our bread and butter. However, the success and popularity of both Irish basketball programs has led us to ex- pand our coverage in both sports, and we will continue to do so, including recruiting. Regarding the landing of "bigs," we can't deny this has been a problem in the more recent cycles. There are not many premier 6-4 or taller pros- pects out there in women's basketball, though, and the margin of error is thin. For example, in ESPN HoopGurlz's top 100 in 2016 only eight were 6-4 or taller, and sometimes such projec- tions are based more on potential than production. Over the last decade, there are only two or maybe three programs that have signed better quality in the low post than the Irish, starting with No. 3 WNBA pick Devereaux Peters (2007-12), No. 9 WNBA selection Natalie Achonwa (and that was after tearing her ACL) and two- time All-American and former Gatorade Player of Year Brianna Turner, who will miss this season with a torn ACL. (Se- nior forward Kathryn Westbeld is listed only at 6-2, but also was a McDonald's All-American). That's not including the 2013 class that featured 6-4 and top-five recruit Taya Reimer (now at Michigan State), 6-4 and No. 39-ranked Kristina Nelson (now a fifth-year senior) and 6-5 Dia- mond Thompson. As you know, this summer Notre Dame also picked up 6-4 Nebraska transfer Jessica Shepard, a two-time All- Big Ten pick who was ranked the No. 3 player in her class. As of Oct. 20, the NCAA still had not returned word on whether she can be eligible this season. We doubt many schools can match the one-two forward punch of Turner and Shepard in 2018-19. BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters Blue & Gold Illustrated P. O. Box 1007, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or e-mail to: Notre Dame rolled to an easy 52-17 victory versus Miami (Ohio) of the Mid-American Conference Sept. 30. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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