ESPN's College GameDay is in Ann Arbor, Mich., for Notre Dame vs. Michigan.
- - -
Opinion Accurately Named College Teams
His name is Rudy Rutgower. He is 18-years old, 5-feet tall and he has a dream: to play college football. While he knows he’s too small to be a starter, the scrappy, never-say-die Rutgower just wants to run on the field for one play. And though he was born and raised in Vandalia, Indiana, the diminutive youngster would prefer to do it at the University of Florida because they’re not as sucky as Notre Dame.
“That’s my dream,” said Rutgower, staring wistfully off into the distance. “I want to run onto the field at the Swamp, get in the huddle, sprint to the line of scrimmage and make a play. I want to feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up as I hear my name announced. I want to be part of a winning tradition, if only for a brief moment in time. Pride, integrity, victory, respect: that’s what Florida football symbolizes to me.”
Rudy knows he resembles another famous Rudy, the one that was the subject of the hugely popular movie celebrating the allure and mystique of Notre Dame football. Having hailed from a small, unincorporated town near South Bend, he has his share of memories surrounding the Fighting Irish. But, like most youngsters of today, he’d rather have his inspirational, once-in-a-lifetime moment on a team that’s won something since he's been alive.
“Everybody tells me I’m just like the kid from the movie,” said Rutgower. “But the big difference is I’m not a Notre Dame fan. I love the Florida Gators. That’s why I dream of someday taking the field oh, sorry, I should gaze wistfully at the sunset while I say this of someday taking the field with the Florida Gators and making a play while 90,000 fans do the Gator chomp.”
The first part of Rutgower’s dream has already been realized: in August, he was accepted to Florida and is now taking classes toward a degree in business. In his spare time, however, he is maintaining his laser-like focus on the goal of making the Gators practice squad.
“It’s a long shot, but I believe in myself,” said Rutgower. “And when you believe in yourself, you can accomplish all of your dreams. That’s what this great black janitor told me anyway when we were standing in the tunnel under the stadium smoking a fattie. I’ll never forget that. That was some great stuff.”
Rutgower’s story is starting to get national attention. He was mentioned onGood Morning America, as well as ESPN’sFirst Takeand has performed numerous radio interviews to talk about his inspirational quest. Rutgower says he hopes the attention will help him achieve his goal.
“Hopefully Coach Meyer and the powers-that-be here in Gainesville will notice me, notice how much I love the program, notice how small and earnest I am, and be moved to give me a shot,” Rutgower said. “That’s all I want: a shot. My daddy was a coal miner. My momma was a homemaker. I just wanna make them proud. I mean, my daddy was actually an orthodontist, but for the purposes of this story, and the ensuing movie, let’s say he was a coal miner.”
Meanwhile, one program has gotten wind of Rutgower’s story and are willing to give him a shot to make the team: the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who will likely have an opening at starting quarterback next season. Rutgower, however, said he’s “not interested” in being the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish.
“Yeah, no thanks. I wouldn’t want that thankless job,” Rudy said. “Being part of this sinking ship, getting punched in public, and generally being the whipping boy for thousands of frustrated fans and boosters? No thanks. I’d much rather run on the field for one play at Florida then be the starting quarterback for Notre Dame.”
According to sources inside the Notre Dame football program, head coach Charlie Weis has been informed of his dismissal by athletic director Jack Swarbrick and will leave the job as soon as he can fit through the door frame of his office.
"I knew that if I waited until the end of the season, this was a risk because Charlie grows fatter by the day," said Swarbrick. "But I wanted to give him a chance to turn it around. As we know, that did not happen. And when I met with him this morning, he was enjoying an assortment of pastries and I knew it was too late."
Swarbrick has given strict orders to Notre Dame staff members to not bring Weis more food until he slims down enough to exit his office. The university has also looked into other options of extraditing the process, including removing the building's roof to extract Weis by crane, and cutting slabs of flesh off of the coach. But Weis has vowed he will respond with a malpractice suit to any surgical procedure, per his custom.
Notre Dame will begin its search for a replacement while they figure out what to do with Weis.
"Charlie has a lot of weight to lose before he fits through that door," says Swarbrick. "Chances are we have the new guy hired by the time that happens. If so, we'll put him up in temporary offices until Charlie is removed. Plus, the smell will take a while to dissipate. If you can believe it, Charlie's hygiene was actually worse than his coaching ability. Yeah, you can probably believe it, huh?"
Weis says he wants to leave his office as much as Notre Dame wants him to leave.
"I love Notre Dame and want to give them every opportunity to get a fresh start," he said. "Mmmm fresh tart. Must have fresh tart."
Scene: The office of Notre Dame director of athletics Jack Swarbrick. There is a knock at the door.
Swarbrick: Yes. Come in.
(Charlie Weis enters.)
Swarbrick: Come on in. Take a seat.
(Weis sits down.)
Swarbrick: Well, Charlie, I think you know why you're here.
Weis: I do.
Swarbrick: 6-5. It's just not good enough at Notre Dame.
Weis: No, it is not.
Swarbrick: But I'm willing to hear you out on why you should keep your job. You have helped the program in some ways. Recruiting, for example. Jimmy Clausen has developed nicely. So, let me hear your pitch. Why should you keep your job?
Weis: I've got nothing.
Swarbrick: Okay, then. Well, I guess you're fired.
Weis: I can't argue with that. I'll see myself out.
(Weis gets up to leave.)
Weis: Oh! One quick thing.
Swarbrick: You thought of a reason?
Weis: Ha! No. Where can I get that $15 million severance check?
Swarbrick: At the front desk on your way out.
Weis: Sweet. Also, even though I'm going to have all that money, as you've probably heard, I'm going to try to get back into the NFL as a coordinator. Any chance you can write me a letter of recommendation?
Swarbrick: Sure, why not. What should I write in it?
Weis: Umm I've got nothing.
Swarbrick: Okay, then. Have a good day.
Weis: You, too.
News Who is Brian Kelly?
Brian Kelly is the head coach of the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats, the No. 5 team in the country. He is rumored to be the frontrunner to replace Charlie Weis at Notre Dame. Who is this guy? Here are some facts about Brian Kelly.
Kelly's coaching career began at his alma mater, Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., as linebackers coach, defensive coordinator and women's softball coach from 1983-1986. Kelly coached many of the same players in overseeing linebackers and softball.
From 1991 to 2003, Kelly compiled a 118-35-2 record as head coach at Grand Valley State University. Grand Valley State University. That sounds made up. Like bad movie script made up. Let me guess their big rival was "State." You know, if you're going to create a fictional employer, Kelly, a 118-35-2 record isn't actually all that good. I would have said I was 700-0 with 94 national championships. And that I was the repeat winner of the prestigious Coolest, Most Handsomest, Most Awesomest Coach Ever Award.
Kelly's 2002 Grand Valley State squad went 14-0 and won the national championship, while his 2001 team set an all-time Division II scoring record by averaging 58.4 points per game. In 2003 he won another national championship.There. Much better. That sounds way over-the-top. And that's fine. Notre Dame doesn't really "check" "resumes." (See: O'Leary, George.)
During the 2006 regular season, Kelly then the head coach of Central Michigan beat Western Michigan. He then accepted the head job at Cincinnati before the Bearcats' bowl game and led them to a victory over Western Michigan in that game, too, becoming the first coach in NCAA history to beat the same team twice in one season while coaching two different teams. If you are interested in hiringKelly out to beat Western Michigan at parties, please contact the Cincinnati athletics office for rates and availability.
Kelly has a wife (Paqui) and three children (Patrick, Kenzel and Grace). If I was 70 years younger and if she was not dead I would so nail his daughter. Raawwwwrrrrrr. And not in the Bearcats raaaawwwwwrrrr way. In the Brian-Kelly's-daughter-Grace-Kelly-is-super-hot way.
According to Cincinnati's official biography, Kelly is successful because of a "philosophy of a defense that must play 60 minutes," "an imaginative offense," and "a strong special teams unit." Wait a minute this guy espouses a strong defense, offense and special teams??? All three? Why that's genius! You better snatch him up, Notre Dame!
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick tried to lure Charlie Weis into quitting following his latest loss to Navy by presenting the Fighting Irish coach with a tempting offer of a triple-chocolate layer cake baked into the shape of a resignation letter, with all appropriate legal verbiage painstakingly written on top in icing.
“Charlie, just take this decorating gun, full of delicious vanilla icing, and sign your name at the bottom of the cake,” Swarbrick told Weis. “And then, I promise, you can eat the entire thing and be on your way.”
Notre Dame desperately wants to part ways with Weis, but can’t fire him without picking up the tab on his massive contract buyout. That reality led Swarbrick to hatch a creative solution during the fourth quarter when he happened to see some cake mix in his luxury box pantry.
“Charlie is on record as saying that he won’t quit as head coach,” said Swarbrick. “But he is also on record as saying he will never, under any circumstances, turn down chocolate cake. From the looks of him, I think his love of cake and other sweets will take priority over anything else in his life.”
Weis has yet to emerge from Swarbrick’s office, so no one outside of that office knows the fate of the embattled coach.
“There are really only two possible outcomes,” said Rev. John Jenkins. “Charlie wrote his name in icing on the cake and then devoured it and we have to begin the search for a replacement. Or he refused the cake and we’re stuck with his fat ass. The former is both more probable and preferred.”
But Swarbrick’s secretary fears a third outcome.
“As soon as Charlie stepped into Jack’s office, I heard a sound like a lion attacking prey, quickly followed by a muffled shout,” said Mindy Connor. “I fear Charlie pounced as soon as he saw the cake, as he is prone to do, and Jack got caught in between. I don’t know whether I should call 9-1-1 or send in the duplicate cakes Jack baked for Charlie to sign.”
Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis added an additional storyline to his team's showdown with 6th ranked USC on Saturday, boldly vowing today that his team will only lose by a few points just as it did in his trademark game at Notre Dame, a 34-31 loss to the Trojans in 2005.
"That's just Charlie being Charlie. He's a brash, New Jersey guy," said Rev. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame. "That's what we like about him. And, boy, we sure would love to lose by just three to USC again. That game was easily the high point of our program in the past 15 years."
And while Jenkins wouldn't come right out and say it, he strongly suggested that Weis could be looking at another huge contract extension with another tight loss to USC, similar to the 10-year extension he received following the 2005 loss.
"Losing by a touchdown or fewer, I think we might have our coach here at Notre Dame locked up until the middle of the century," he said.
Weis made his gusty proclamation this afternoon at his weekly press conference.
"I am just that confident in my team," Weis smirked. "Laugh if you want. But you'll see on Saturday. The days of Notre Dame getting crushed by the top teams are over. They're over. I guarantee you we don't lose by more than 10 points. In fact, I think it will be a one score defeat. And it's all thanks to my players and the strategic advantage I bring."
Those lines drew applause from several Notre Dame staffers and boosters in the room, as well as NBC reporters.
But not everyone is as pleased with Weis' words.
"Oh, this is definitely bulletin board material," says USC head coach Pete Carroll. "My players don't work as hard as they do every day to barely beat Notre Dame. They're going to be ready on Saturday."
Yet Weis feels that no matter how well USC plays, his team can match them play for play. Almost, at least.
"When we walk off that field on Saturday, our heads are going to be held high," he said. "Because we'll be looking up at that scoreboard proudly and thinking: 'Huh, a six point loss to USC. That's not bad at all. We don't suck nearly as much as everyone says.'"