Nothing big has changed to affect my analysis below. There are a couple of notes I'd like to make though.
Pitt has embarrassed itself.
After the news story broke that their starting tight end has been charged with DUI and reckless endangerment of human life, and his father was charged with hindering prosecution, Pitt did nothing. As a matter of fact, they quickly named him as a team captain for the Notre Dame game.
I am all about seeing teams first-team players go against the other teams' first-team players, however I take very seriously the term student-athlete. What Erik Gill did would get him kicked out of Notre Dame. Period.
Don't believe me? Check out Du Lac, Notre Dame's Academic Honor Code. Even getting caught drinking can jeopardize your academic standing.
Do I feel that every campus should be a dry campus, banning all alcoholic consumption? No, quite the opposite. However, I do feel that when a player (allegedly) violates the law, they should not be able to continue on their merry way without consequence.
And don't give me that BS about innocent until proven guilty. He is innocent in the eyes of the law, but that does not mean that he should get off the hook until his trial date. It is common practice to hold prisoners pending trial in violent crimes, and many employers have completely legal policies suspending persons with pay until the truth is discerned in court. Pitt's failurre to discipline Erik Gill is yet another in a long line in the Sports World where criminals are given special treatment because they have some football skills.
If Erik Gill scores a touchdown on Saturday, I'll not argue the score. But, he shouldn't be playing, and if Pitt is waiting to suspend him for a week they play Directional U, I'll lose all respect for their program. They are no better than Miami or Florida or Florida State.
Notre Dame players are confident and ready
Never in the time I have closely followed ND football (I've been a fan since I was four, but didn't begin obsessing until around '90) have I heard so much confidence coming from the players going into the season. They actually believe they can win every game, and they don't sound like they'll back down from anything. Things can change quickly should the Irish suffer a couple of losses, but I expect the team to come out with swagger. A 6-6 team with swagger? What a difference a coach makes...
Wannestedt is making preliminary excuses
The best thing I like about this game is the way Pitt's head coach, Dave Wannestedt, is backing off of his swagger during the preseason. He's saying that his success will depend on his players being able to execute his schemes (a common Ty Willie whine), and that he doesn't know what to expect, because he isn't playing with Jason Taylor and the other stars he had in the NFL.
If you are a Pitt player, you hve to hear these comments and wonder about your coach's confidence in your abilities.
John Saunders is a Notre Dame hater that has no journalistic integrity.
I was watching Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith the other day, and I was struck by how incredibly biased John Saunders was. He is a shameless Notre Dame hater, and will jump oon the race bandwagon faster than you can say lickety-split. I don't feel this way about everyone who plays the race card, as people like Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon have talked about race in intelligent ways (even when I do disagree with them). Saunders, however, isn't afraid to use the strongest rhetoric he can think of when trashing Notre Dame, going so far as to interrupt other panelists who were complimenting Notre Dame to take potshots. If he is calling any Notre Dame away games this year, you can be sure that I will be listening to the radio broadcast on Westwood One rather than listen to his endless drivel.
I can take ND haters like Lee Corso. He's just a bandwagon jumping goofball. John Saunders is mean-spirited, and I can't abide that from a supposed journalist.