With no Notre Dame game today, here's a smattering of stuff to keep you afloat.
• Tucked in at the bottom of the football section of UND.com is a list of 2006 Award Candidates. Ten players -- Quinn, Abiamiri, Zibby, Samardzija, McKnight, Carlson, Landri, Harris, Walker, and Price -- with links to each one's accolades. Even though the links are somewhat hidden, it's nice to see ND acknowledge some of the better players on the team who could & should be up for post-season honors (without going too overboard).
• NBCSports.com has really been ramping up the coverage of Notre Dame football this year with plenty of articles and multimedia. There's a great collection of videos ranging from the Dillon Pep Rally to Charlie Weis: The High School Years, a story on the local hype surrounding Jimmy Clausen, a status report on UCLA and other ND future foes.
• They also have a fun, 20-Questions style interview with two alums each week, one from ND and one from that week's opponent. ND guys include Phil Donahue, Jerome Bettis, Reggie Brooks, Aaron Heilman, George Wendt, Pat Garrity, and Bob Golic. Opponent alumni include poker player Phil Gordon, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy star Ted Allen, and former New York Jet linebacker Greg Buttle, among others. Here's the link to the Golic interview; the links to all the other interviews are on the sidebar. Don't miss this Golic quote about Charlie.
Q. You overlapped at Notre Dame with Charlie Weis. Did you know him at all?• ESPN college football writer/blogger Bruce Feldman put out his own Midseason Top 100 Players list. For my money, Feldman's got a better grasp on college football (and more specifically, the talent at each school) than just about any other national writer out there. Anyway, the full list is here (subscription).
A. I knew Charlie very well. We lived in the same dorm, Flanner, and he lived down the hall from me. At the time he basically had nothing to do with football other than he knew some of the players and he would help make sure we had beer after the game.
Here's the rankings of the ND players as well as ND opponents. It's pretty crazy that ND has already faced 15% of the nation's Top 100 players only half-way into the season and will face 20% over the course of the season. Plenty of Michigan names on the list.. Dwanye Jarrett was left off the list since he's missed a few games with an injury.
Notre Dame• UND.com has an excellent video, "Era of Ara", a documentary that spans the first 10 years of Ara Parseghian's time as head coach of the University of Notre Dame.
7. Brady Quinn
66. Victor Abiamiri
78. Rhema McKnight
90. Jeff Samardzija
96. Darius Walker
1. Calvin Johnson - WR, Georgia Tech
4. Alan Branch - DT, Michigan
13. Mario Manningham - WR, Michigan
14. Anthony Spencer - DE, Purdue
18. Phillip Wheeler - LB, Georgia Tech
19. Mike Hart - RB, Michigan
25. Lamarr Woodley - DE, Michigan
28. Dan Connor - LB, Penn State
31. Leon Hall - CB, Michigan
36. Paul Posluszny - LB, Penn State
40. David Harris - LB, Michigan
49. Chad Henne - QB, Michigan
60. Jake Long - OT, Michigan
63. Drew Stanton - QB, Michigan State
73. Steve Smith - WR, Southern Cal
74. Tony Hunt - RB, Penn State
76. John David Booty - QB, Southern Cal
79. Justin Hickman - DT, UCLA
80. Rey Maualuga - LB, Southern Cal
83. Sam Baker - OT, Southern Cal
• Another Senior-type bowl pops up this year for NFL hopefuls. The first ever Texas vs. The Nation Bowl will feature the best players with a Texas connection (either high school or college) versus the best of the rest. Sort of an odd way to set up a bowl game, but I guess they wanted a special angle to distinguish themselves. I have to figure a few seniors with Texas ties (Morton, Renkes, Leitko) might make this game, as well as some of the other seniors considered in the Top 15 at their position (the prereq for filling out The Nation's team).