Well, it's almost noon, but I just had my first cup. That's what happens when you're out until 3am on a Tuesday. Four items of note to shake out the cobwebs and kick off the day.
• Pickin' cotton. BGI has some scoop on the Cotton Bowl wooing ND. Good to see the wheels are turning; ND goes with the Cotton Bowl like peas and carrots. We sort of figured that with the Big XII horning in, there had to be some quid pro quo going on behind the scenes. It's not a done deal yet, however.
"We have had some very serious discussions with Notre Dame," [Cotton Bowl prez Rick] Baker said. "There has been some progress but there are certainly a lot of details to work out before it becomes a reality.• The way it should be. Fabled Faust-era running back and current ND color man Allen Pinkett answered a few questions for the Rockford Register Star while playing in an alumni golf outing.
"We are very committed to trying to do everything we can to try and get Notre Dame back in the SBC Cotton Bowl. But it's a two-way street and that's where it is really going to be successful, or fail."
"Weis promises they are going to play nasty," Pinkett said. "Notre Dame needs to get back to being a little meaner."• Second prize is a set of steak knives. Per the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
Meaner on defense. Smarter on offense. And more efficient in close games.
"It's been a roller coaster ride," Pinkett said. "The thing that makes it so frustrating is the last two years they have been better than their record. They lost close games they should have won. With Coach Weis there, it will turn a little back to what folks are used to, at least winning games they are supposed to win... They'll have a better game plan on offense. Notre Dame has suffered from not having a bonafide plan of attack."
That's why even alumni, such as Pinkett, who liked Willingham think Notre Dame made the right, if messy, move. Because they think at last the Irish have the right man in Charlie Weis. "They need to win again soon," Pinkett said. "You win at Notre Dame, you are the king. If you don't, you are going to hear it from all corners. And that's the way it should be."
Folks are still buzzing over a recruiting visit new Notre Dame football head coach Charlie Weis made recently with a top area high-school lineman, who clearly expected to be wooed, flattered and praised by Weis. Instead, Weis slapped a copy of the recruit's grade transcripts down on the table, chastised him for being an obviously lazy student and told him that unless things changed, Notre Dame wouldn't waste another minute recruiting him. Word is the shocked lineman is now vowing to take his classes much more seriously this school year. Weis has already received commitments from two St. Ignatius High standouts, receiver Robby Parris and defensive end John Ryan, for 2006.• Diamonds in the rough. NDN's got a new feature called "Rock's Roundup", sort of a distillation of the daily insanity. Check it out for some good nuggets that sometimes get lost in the shuffle.