WBEZ | college football http://www.wbez.org/tags/college-football Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Northwestern University football union hearings begin http://www.wbez.org/news/northwestern-university-football-union-hearings-begin-109693 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/nu.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>The National Labor Relations Board in Chicago held the first in a series of hearings Wednesday to consider whether college football players qualify as employees. Players from Northwestern University filed a union election petition with the board last month. If approved--and later elected to represent the interests of the team&rsquo;s scholarship players--the College Athletes Players Association would be the first labor union of its kind.</p><p>Unlike their professional counterparts, college athletes don&rsquo;t have contracts--they can&rsquo;t negotiate the terms of their tenure. And athletic scholarships are regulated by the NCAA. Studies show that athletes often spend up to 40 hours a week on their sport; they travel for their sport. Oftentimes, players are told when and where to be and what to eat. But Northwestern says it&rsquo;s all part of the overall academic experience.</p><p>University officials contend that students who participate in NCAA Division I sports, including those who receive athletic scholarships, are students, first and foremost.</p><p>Bob, Rowley, director of media relations for the university, spoke to reporters after Wednesday&rsquo;s brief preliminary hearing. He said scholarships are intended to provide for a student&rsquo;s educational experience, even if they&rsquo;re athletic. CAPA attorneys saw things differently.</p><p>Revenue generated by Division I FBS and men&rsquo;s basketball is estimated to be in the billions. CAPA said it is focused on those players because they believe they can make the case that the scholarships are, in essence, compensation.</p><p>&rdquo;If they don&rsquo;t play football, they don&rsquo;t receive the aid...the idea that somehow this is a gift to them, is untrue...if you don&rsquo;t play football, you don&rsquo;t get the scholarship,&rdquo; CAPA attorney John Adam explained.</p><p>Northwestern maintained that the university does not regard, and has never regarded, its football program as a commercial enterprise.</p><p>The key question went unanswered--but it will no doubt be taken up, picked apart and rehashed over three days of testimony before the board next week.</p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/katieobez"> @katieobez</a></em></p></p> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 18:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/northwestern-university-football-union-hearings-begin-109693 Morning Shift: The strange and silly Midwest on the big screen http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-04/morning-shift-strange-and-silly-midwest-big-screen <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Weird Midwest Flickr Joana Roja - work and migraines - coming back.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We unearth some Midwestern weirdness with Found Footage Festival creators Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett. Housing reporter Dennis Rodkin shares a new strategy for home buyers with bad credit. And, John U. Bacon tackles the question: should college athletes be paid?</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-strange-and-silly-midwest/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-strange-and-silly-midwest.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-strange-and-silly-midwest" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The strange and silly Midwest on the big screen" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 04 Oct 2013 08:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-04/morning-shift-strange-and-silly-midwest-big-screen College football bowl games more than a game http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/college-football-bowl-games-more-game-104681 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_1ap3Outback%20Bowl%20Chris%20O%27Meara_0.jpg" style="width: 300px; float: right; height: 416px" title="Outback Bowl was one of 35 bowl games. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)" />Most people - like me - have had the view that there are way too many college football bowl games.</div><p>There are 35 in all starting on Dec. 15 and finishing on Monday with the Championship game in Miami between Notre Dame and Alabama.</p><p>I was used to only four games on New Year&#39;s Day: Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl. You spent only&nbsp;a day planted in front of a television and when the final second ticked off the game clock that was it. Over until next year.</p><p>My personal experience for a bowl game was zero. Having gone to a college without an athletic program there was never a vested interest in&nbsp; &quot;my&quot; team. However, there were many programs that caught my interest and were enjoyable to watch, but still no personal interest.&nbsp; Face it - the football programs nearest to Chicago have not set the world on fire until recently (except Notre Dame). That is a major reason why the Irish have such a huge connection to Chicago.&nbsp;</p><p>This year it was different for me and not because of a team, but because of an opportunity that my son Jaxon&#39;s high school, Fremd of Palatine, gave to their marching band program. This is where my&nbsp; personal experience changed my thoughts on bowl games.&nbsp;</p><p>A year ago, the band students voted on going to Florida to play at Disney and the halftime of the Outback Bowl on New Year&#39;s Day. Over a hundred-twenty students and chaperones with their band director Matthew Moore took the six-day excursion. They marched down Main Street at Magic Kingdom, worked with a Disney musical director at Epcot and traveled on to Tampa to be part of the Outback Bowl.</p><p>This is where my eyes were open to the college bowl happenings and the atmosphere surrounding the game. For a city like Tampa, this is an important endeavor and a boost for their economy. The city rolls out the red carpet for the fans, (in this case Michigan and South Carolina). It is also extended to the students and families, like ours, that had traveled a distance to be a part of this event.&nbsp;</p><p>The Outback Bowl had three major events for the students to perform, a competitive music festival (they did great), the Outback Bowl Parade on Dec. 31 with a trip to Busch Gardens to celebrate the New Year, and then the big event: being part of eighteen bands with over 2,200 musicians playing as part of the halftime show at Raymond James Field home of the Tampa Bay Bucs. They had two long practices to prepare for the halftime show with all 2,200 kids.</p><p>The day of the game, it was entertaining to sample the crowd and the media gathered for the game. The Michigan fans were dressed in their maize and blue and the South Carolina in their burgundy and gray. Old and young alumni filled the stadium and partied in the parking lots. All the souvenirs stands had lines and the food and drink flowed like any game. It hit me that this was more than a game for most of the fans: it was an extension of something they hold near and dear to them. It was flat out fun.</p><p>The game was actually the best of the college bowl games for the day. Michigan had nice solid drives and South Carolina had big plays and finished the game with a last second touchdown for the win. &nbsp;</p><p>The halftime show was the culmination of a year of planning and practicing for the students that participated. They followed the Michigan and South Carolina bands.</p><p>And from the stands, a mom could see her son play the saxophone and realize there is much more to a bowl game. They can have a hundred bowl games, it is all right by me.</p><p>&nbsp;Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank"><font color="#006896">@CRayeStout</font></a> and Facebook <a href="http://facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank"><font color="#006896">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</font></a></p></p> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/college-football-bowl-games-more-game-104681 Bowl games in Florida had mix results for Illinois teams http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/bowl-games-florida-had-mix-results-illinois-teams-104639 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_pat_fitzgerald_gator.jpg" style="width: 350px; float: right; height: 526px" title="NU coach Pat Fitzgerald finally wins a bowl game. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)" />They are still dancing in the streets of Evanston after #20 Northwestern started the New Year with a bang, and in DeKalb it was a tough cold night as Northern Illinois University succumbed 31-10 to the bigger and more talented Florida State University.</p><p><strong>Ending a long drought:</strong></p><p>You can now count on two fingers how many college football bowl games Northwestern University has won in school history. The last one was the 1949 Rose Bowl and yesterday it was a 34-20 win over Mississippi State to take the Gator Bowl crown.</p><p>Coach Pat Fitzgerald&#39;s defense was the stars of the game played in Tallahassee, Florida. They nabbed four interceptions, Quentin Williams pick was the third play of the game. Williams returned it for a 29 yard touchdown. Several milestones were reached by Wildcat coach Pat Fitzgerald, this team posted its third ten win season finishing 10-3, and Fitzgerald&rsquo;s 50-39 record, gives him the honor of the most wins for a NU head coach.</p><p>They were the only Big Ten to post a bowl win on New Year&rsquo;s Day. This year Northwestern knocked off two SEC schools this season -- besides Mississippi State, they beat Vanderbilt.</p><p><strong>Playing with the &ldquo;big boys&rdquo;:</strong></p><p>Northern Illinois heard it for weeks; they were too small and not as athletic as their Orange Bowl opponent Florida State University.</p><p>Huskie quarterback Jordan Lynch had a tough time with the Seminole defense, he was held in check most of the game with only 44 rushing yards and only one touchdown when he connected with Martel Moore in the 3rd quarter. Even with the lopsided yardage the Seminoles amassed through the first three quarters, NIU was only down 17-10 when coach</p><p>NIU coach Rod Carey went for an onside kick, which the Huskies recovered. There was a sense that they had some momentum, however, Lynch threw a crucial interception and from that point the Seminoles seized control of the game.</p><p>In the trenches, on both offense and defense, Florida State dominated the tenacious Huskies. FSU flexed its muscles behind their quarterback EJ Manuel, guiding them to two easy touchdowns. Once the Seminoles built their 21 point cushion, their defense just overpowered Lynch and the Huskie offense.</p><p>It is a tough loss for Northern Illinois in this BCS match-up, but they can come away with some positives: The Huskies are a young team and the spotlight of this game will help in future recruiting.</p><p>But there will be many critics still crowing that the Huskies didn&rsquo;t belong in this contest.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_jordan_lynch_orange.jpg" style="width: 350px; float: left; height: 528px" title="NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch was limited in the Orange Bowl. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)" /><strong>Next Monday:</strong></p><p>The Midwest has one more story to complete the college football bowl season---the National Championship in Miami between #1 Notre Dame and #2 Alabama. This could be a really dandy.</p><p><strong>One more Bowl:</strong></p><p>There was one more bowl game that that I saw up close and personal on New Year&rsquo;s Day: the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida. It was a wild game with big plays as South Carolina outlasted Michigan 33-28.</p><p>You may be wondering why this is even mentioned&mdash;there was a personal interest for me. My son&rsquo;s school, Fremd High School of Palatine, had their marching band participate in the halftime show with seventeen other schools from around the country.</p><p>On Friday, I will blog about the experience and how my views on bowl games have a newer perspective. It was my first time covering a bowl game and it was quite the experience, coupled with one of the more exciting games this season.&nbsp;</p><p>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank"><font color="#006896">@CRayeStout</font></a> and Facebook <a href="http://facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank"><font color="#006896">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</font></a></p></p> Wed, 02 Jan 2013 00:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-01/bowl-games-florida-had-mix-results-illinois-teams-104639 Why all the fuss about NIU squeezing into the Orange Bowl? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-12/why-all-fuss-about-niu-squeezing-orange-bowl-104174 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_jordan_lynch_running.jpg" title="NIU QB Jordan Lynch set the NCAA rushing yards in a season by a quarterback.(NIU Media Services)" /></div><p>What did Northern Illinois University do to deserve such negativity about gaining a berth to a bowl championship game?&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/gameon/2012/12/02/herbstreit-espn-northern-illinois-bcs/1741751/">Talking heads have lambasted the Huskies for getting the nod to play Florida State in the Orange Bowl </a>in Miami on New Year&rsquo;s Day, and stats nerds and big time football schools have scoffed at this BCS selection.</p><p>It&#39;s not the National Championship game &mdash; that will really see the big revenues. But money is the reason for such displeasure &mdash; and the fact that a smaller school in a smaller conference (the Mid-American Conference) gets to share in the wealth. The MAC gets $8 million&nbsp;for having a team in a BCS bowl game, and this is the first time this conference has had&nbsp;a&nbsp;representative.</p><p>But NIU earned their spot fair and square: They have an exciting quarterback in Jordan Lynch, and the school has gone to five straight bowl games. NIU sent six players to NFL rosters and two more to the league&#39;s practice squads, and the program has succeeded&nbsp;despite a coaching carousel:&nbsp;Head coach Dave Doeren barely got the confetti out of his hair after Friday&rsquo;s win before leaving to become the head coach at North Carolina State; his predecessor, Jerry Kill, made a leap to Minnesota. Rod Carey now leads the team, in Miami and beyond. Carey had been the team&rsquo;s offensive line coach, but illness forced offensive coordinator Mike Dunbar to resign. Now Carey will diagram the Xs and Os in perhaps the biggest game of NIU&rsquo;s history.&nbsp;Plus, a town like DeKalb deserves to enjoy a great experience this this.&nbsp;The school&#39;s players, students, staff and surrounding community are aving the time of their lives. It&#39;s a shame outsiders want to diminish what the 12-1 football program has accomplished.&nbsp;</p><p>There are several players on the&nbsp;NIU&nbsp;team roster from Florida. Imagine: They get to go home and play in their home state with Huskies across their uniform. Maybe they wanted to play for Florida State, Florida or Miami --&nbsp;NIU&nbsp;chose them and they chose Northern Illinois University. There&#39;s excitement from&nbsp;NIU staff, too, like assistant athletic director Donna Turner. She&#39;s a Florida State alum, but make no mistake about where Turner&rsquo;s allegations are right now. Despite where she came from, the Gainesville, Fla., native is walking around with an ear-to-ear grin, loving that her team&nbsp;has a unique opportunity on a big stage.</p><p>Frankly, isn&rsquo;t that is what it is all about?&nbsp;A school little-known outside of Illinois now takes center stage. They can and should enjoy every bit of it. They deserve it.</p><p>* * *</p><p>The game may be weeks away but there&#39;s plenty happening in the meantime:</p><ul><li>NIU is offering free tickets to all its students &mdash; that&rsquo;s right &mdash; free! The school had this policy in past bowl games and even though it&rsquo;s a BCS game, the school decided to continue the tradition. Joe Summins,&nbsp;NIU&#39;s associate director of media services, explained the decision this way: &ldquo;We just want our students to be part of the excitement.&rdquo; Eager students have waited in line to get their hands on a coveted ticket.<br />&nbsp;</li><li>Wednesday at 7 p.m. NIU will stage a rally for the football team at the Huskie-SIU-Edwardsville basketball game halftime. The MAC championship trophy will be on display.&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</li><li>This week the team will do some unwinding &mdash; next week is finals. That could be more intimidating then facing the Seminoles. . . .&nbsp;</li></ul><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter </em><a href="http://%3chttps//twitter.com/Crayestout%3E"><font color="#006896"><em>@CRayeStout</em></font></a><em> and Facebook </em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame"><font color="#006896"><em>Cheryl Raye-Stout #AtTheGame</em></font></a><em>.</em></p></p> Wed, 05 Dec 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-12/why-all-fuss-about-niu-squeezing-orange-bowl-104174 No NHL? No problem! Lots of other sports news & notes http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/no-nhl-no-problem-lots-other-sports-news-notes-104096 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_nu.jpg" style="height: 462px; width: 620px;" title="Northwestern waits for their Bowl game destination. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)" /></div><p>Another month is off the calendar for the Blackhawks and the NHL: The lockout continues with no end in sight.</p><p>But at this point does anyone care? Are there fans talking around the office water cooler, lamenting the absence of the game?&nbsp;NHL owners and players may not like that question, but the reality is this league is in trouble when (or if) the season is restored.&nbsp;U.S. federal mediation was brought in last Monday, as it was during the lock-out in the 2004-2005 season, but there is no guarantee that will change this labor dispute &mdash; or that fans will fill the seats if the dispute is resolved. How many times can sports leagues go to the well with labor disputes and expect no repercussions from the ticket-buying public?</p><p><strong>Let&rsquo;s go bowling&nbsp;</strong><strong>&mdash;</strong><strong>&nbsp;college football bowling</strong></p><p>The final weekend of the regular season has plenty of good story-lines. Northern Illinois is in Detroit tonight meeting Kent State for the MAC title. The Huskies are ranked 18th in the AP poll and 19th in the <em>USA Today </em>coaches&rsquo; poll. Head coach Dave Doeren is stumping hard to get his junior quarterback Jordan Lynch some Heisman Trophy recognition. The young man has put up some incredible numbers, but it is hard to compete against the bigger conferences and the publicity their players get week in and week out. Of course, for Doeren the more he seeks attention for his player, the brighter the spotlight on him and a future coaching job.</p><p>Northwestern has to wait to see the outcome of the Big Ten Championship game between Nebraska and Wisconsin. The Wildcats could end up at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla. For a certain WBEZ blogger, that bowl game would be a perfect scenario, since her son&#39;s school, Fremd, will be performing during the halftime show! NU head coach Pat Fitzgerald probably doesn&#39;t care which bowl &mdash; he just to wants to get that elusive bowl win.</p><p>And who will Notre Dame play for the National Championship? It will likely be the winner of the SEC title game: Alabama or the University of Georgia.</p><p><strong>Bears shuffling the O-line because of injuries</strong></p><p>You can snicker all you want about the Bears offense line situation &mdash;&nbsp;they have stunk most of the season. When you didn&rsquo;t think it could get worse, it did, with Lance Louis&#39; ACL injury sidelining him the rest of the year. Last week, Gabe Carimi and Edwin Williams were forced into action replacing Louis and injured Chris Spencer. Now Jay Cutler will probably do a bit more scrambling against Seattle on Sunday. He&#39;ll unload the ball quicker to help the line&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;and try to stay in one piece. This is where a running game would be nice to help out&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;if Matt Forte is still bothered by his injury, Michael Bush has to step up.</p><p>A reminder to Bears fans going to the game, <a href="http://www.payton34.com/">the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation </a>will be collecting toys for their toy drive outside Soldier Field before the game.</p><p><strong>Start warming up the stove for baseball news</strong></p><p>Baseball winter meetings will be in Nashville next week, where trades, free agent signings and rumors will flow. The Cubs picked up another starting pitcher this week when they inked a one-year deal with former Texas Ranger Scott Feldman. His 6-11 record and a 5.09 ERA last year wasn&#39;t impressive; he was a starter and reliever. In Nashville, the Cubs will be looking for some help at third base and more pitching.</p><p>The White Sox have their pitching rotation is intact; they may deal for a third baseman and some bench help. They were worn out last year down the stretch and need some stronger reserves.</p><p>Some former Sox players are coming back as coaches, Daryl Boston will coach at first base and Bobby Thigpen will be the bullpen coach. They have been working in the minor leagues for a while. Harold Baines will become a hitting assistant.</p><p>The first Baseball Hall of Fame ballot with large numbers of suspected and known steroid users came out on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see how the voters deal with this issue. Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa is on the ballot, don&rsquo;t expect him or Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro to gain entry to Cooperstown. The anger by the voters will evident when the balloting is revealed January 9th.</p><p>Maybe there is hope for another former Cub, Lee Smith; he has been on the ballot 11 years. He deserves it.</p><p>And finally, if you are in the mood for some holiday cheer, the Cubs will be lighting their Christmas tree at Wrigley tonight at 5 p.m. Cub fans are hoping there will be some 2013 All-Star players under the tree. That&#39;s a tall order for Santa Claus.</p><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="http://%3chttps//twitter.com/Crayestout%3E"><font color="#006896">@CRayeStout</font></a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame"><font color="#006896">Cheryl Raye-Stout #AtTheGame</font></a>.</em></p></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 30 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/no-nhl-no-problem-lots-other-sports-news-notes-104096 Notre Dame football is on top - like it or not http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/notre-dame-football-top-it-or-not-104030 <p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_kelly_bath.jpg" style="height: 204px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="Irish Coach Brian Kelly gets a shower after cliniching a trip to the Championship game.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)" />If you want to spark a heated discussion in college sports there is one team that seems to top most other schools &mdash; Notre Dame.</div><p>Last weekend the Fighting Irish finished an unbelievable regular season beating USC on the road and finishing with a 12-0 record and one more game to play. That game will be for the BCS title on January 7 in Miami. Their challenger for the National Championship will be determined in a few days.&nbsp; For now, it is the team from South Bend, Ind., that is making the headlines and stirring the conversation.</p><p>There seems to be no middle ground. Fans love the program and the years of glory (not many the past several years) or they can&#39;t stand the team, the program or the history. (It is hard to use the word hate, talking about a religious-based school.)</p><p>Years ago, two words seemed to get under the skin of many people about Notre Dame: Irish and Catholic. For some reason it made the school seem very segmented and is a &quot;turn-off&quot; to a significant number of individuals.</p><p>It seems that was the genesis of the distain that has evolved&nbsp;into just viewing Notre Dame as pompous and very arrogant. They have for a long time had their own lucrative national television agreement. In the crazy collegiate world of big NCAA conferences expanding, Notre Dame&#39;s football program refuses to budge in joining them and still remains independent. (The rest of their sports programs are in conferences).</p><p>Right now, that decision looks pretty good. They don&#39;t have to share their football revenues and money will flow in South Bend as they march on to the big title game.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" ap="" be="" can="" class="image-original_image" darron="" from="" mural="" nd="" photo="" seen="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_1td_jesus.jpg" stadium.="" style="float: right; height: 463px; width: 280px;" title="'Touchdown Jesus' mural can be seen from ND stadium. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)" touchdown="" /></div><p>Chicago has always laid claim to Notre Dame as being part of its realm. It is a short drive from downtown and there are a multitude of alumni that live and work here. Full disclosure, the only vacations I ever took as a kid were to South Bend to stay with my godparents. In fact, we were just there on Saturday, hours before the game in California. It was the first time my son got to see the famous campus and field &mdash; and of course &quot;Touchdown Jesus.&quot; For those that don&#39;t know what that means, there is a huge mural of Jesus with his arms extended like a referee signaling a score visible at the stadium.</p><p>When we were there this weekend, strangers had no trouble walking up to me asking what I thought about the &quot;big&quot; game that day. In this small town, Notre Dame is everything and to the rest of the country it is a big deal, too.</p><p>The next several weeks, the stories about this tradition-rich school will fill sports pages and airwaves. Love them or not &mdash; the ascension to the top of the college football world has been fascinating. Before the season began the AP pre-season poll (voted by sportswriters) did not have the Irish in their top 25 rankings. The coaches voted them 24th in the USA Today pre-season poll. How dumb they must all feel now?</p><p>The start for a perfect season began overseas, at where else &mdash; Ireland &mdash; against Navy. They followed by beating three Big Ten schools in consecutive week: Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue. The ride to the national championship had two exciting overtime wins: one against Stanford and a triple overtime win against Pittsburgh. The lovers of Notre Dame will say they are a team of destiny, the ones that don&rsquo;t care for them will say it was just luck.</p><p>Either way, you can&rsquo;t deny head coach Brian Kelly (in only his third year) has pushed all the right buttons, even though his seniors were recruited by predecessor Charlie Weis. The team&#39;s biggest star isn&rsquo;t Irish, isn&rsquo;t Catholic, but a Mormon from Hawaii &mdash; Manti Te&rsquo;o. Last year the senior linebacker could have opted for the NFL but he stayed and has dominated. Te&#39;o is being considered for the Heisman Trophy and is a finalist for the Maxwell Award. Next spring the Notre Dame defender will likely be a high first round pick in the NFL.</p><p>If this team from South Bend is going to win the title, it will be a red-shirt freshman Everett Colson guiding the team at quarterback.&nbsp;There are bountiful stories to tell leading up to the big game on January 7. And if the Irish win, there will be lots of stories forever. After all it is Notre Dame, like it or not.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="http://%3chttps//twitter.com/Crayestout%3E"><font color="#006896">@CRayeStout</font></a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame"><font color="#006896">Cheryl Raye-Stout #AtTheGame</font></a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/notre-dame-football-top-it-or-not-104030 Big Ten may reconsider division names http://www.wbez.org/story/big-ten/big-ten-may-reconsider-division-names <p><p>The Chicago-based Big Ten conference may be reconsidering the names of its new divisions.<br /><br />Earlier this week the Big Ten announced the creation of two divisions, Legends and Leaders. The divisions were necessary after the conference added a twelfth school, Nebraska, which will join the Big Ten in time for the football season next fall. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney said the names were meant to highlight the conference's rich athletic history.<br /><br />But fans and critics alike have mocked the division names. And now Delaney says the conference may reconsider Legends and Leaders.<br /><br />Delaney made his comments in a radio interview, saying the Big Ten offices have been flooded with letters asking the conference to change the names.<br /><br />He said new division names could come after the first of the year.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 17 Dec 2010 20:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/big-ten/big-ten-may-reconsider-division-names