The Confidential

An A.C.C. Blog With a Christian, Socially Conservative Perspective

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Notre Dame Season Preview: Wide Receivers

This year the Notre Dame wide receiving corps will have to step it up due to the loss of their best player last season. Wide receiver Will Fuller left Notre Dame for the NFL after an outstanding junior season in which he recorded 62 receptions, 1,258 yards, and 14 touchdowns in 13 games. Over his three-year career with the Fighting Irish, Fuller was good for 144 receptions, 2,512 yards, and 30 touchdowns over 32 career games. Fuller left Notre Dame with the receiver with the second most career touchdowns (Michael Floyd 37), 5th all-time in receptions, and 4th all-time in receiving yards. The Houston Texans drafted Fuller with the 21st overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.

So who will fill in Fuller’s huge shoes? The first man up will be redshirt-junior Torii Hunter Jr. Hunter is a two-sport athlete (baseball, obviously), who caught 28 balls last year for 363 yards and two touchdowns. Hunter was recently named one of the four captains for the Fighting Irish for the 2016 season.

Hunter witnessed leadership as a college athlete from players like Nick Martin, Sheldon Day, and Jaylon Smith, but also from his father. Hunter has said

“I take a lot of the stuff that he done with a lot of ball clubs, and him being an older guy in a lot of younger clubhouses. That’s one of the biggest things I try to stress is keep it fun, joke around but also go out there and get work done. I think that’s one of the biggest things my dad does well is keep it chill, keep it lose and make guys go out there and play.”

Head coach Brian Kelly is counting on Hunter saying,

“He is a veteran on our team, hasn’t played maybe as much but he’s played big roles for us. He’s a guy that I think this year will be counted on to do quite a bit. But again, again, a guy that walks the walk and talks the talk and back it up both on and off the field will be a great mentor to a lot of young receivers.”

Hunter will be leading a young, inexperienced receiving corps that will be highlighted by Miles Boykin. Boykin is a former four-star recruit who redshirted last season. He comes in at 6’3”, 225 pounds with good hands, but according to wide receiver coach Mike Denbrock, Boykin needs be more aggressive.

Another young wide receiver who will make his debut this season is Equanimeous St. Brown, also known ESB. ESB will be the deep threat in the Irish offense given his height (6’5”) and ability to track the ball in the air. Cj Sanders, who has kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns last season, but rarely saw the field in any offensive sets will also likely make an impact this season. Sanders has the speed and playmaking ability to play slot, especially with Hunter and ESB on the outside.

The Notre Dame offense has high expectations. With Hunter returning in a leadership position, Mike McGlinchey holding down the offensive line, and Tearean Folston returning in the backfield, this offense is ready to go, regardless of whom the quarterback is. Hunter is obviously the player to watch in his senior year, but players like Boykin, St. Brown, and Sanders will have the opportunity to be playmakers this season as well.

Around the A.C.C.: August 23, 2016

As we all patiently and not-so-patiently await the start of the college football season, there is not much actual news to report.  Every blog and newspaper covering every A.C.C. school is knee-deep in their articles about why each and every player is going to surprise everyone this year, giving hope (and often false hope) to fans.  So be it.  That is what makes college sports so fun.  The hope is legitimate.  Anyway, here is what is happening at several schools:

So there it is… August 23, 2016.  Football is coming, folks.  Hang in there.


The Confidential’s 2016 Football Over-Under: Notre Dame

Last year, the Confidential unveiled over-unders for each ACC school.  For Notre Dame, the over-under was set at 9.5 regular season wins.  Ultimately, the Fighting Irish ended up with 10 regular season wins, with losses at Clemson and Stanford being the only regular season blemishes.  But now it is on to 2016.  The Confidential sets the over-under for Notre Dame at 10.5 regular season wins.

Here is the schedule for 2016:

  • 9/4/16: @ Texas
  • 9/10/16: Nevada
  • 9/17/16: Michigan State
  • 9/24/16: Duke
  • 10/1/16: Syracuse (neutral site)
  • 10/8/16: @ NC State
  • 10/15/16: Stanford
  • 10/29/16: Miami
  • 11/5/16: Army
  • 11/12/16: Navy
  • 11/19/16: Virginia Tech
  • 11/26/16: @ USC

Very likely wins: Nevada, Syracuse, @ NC State, Army, Navy

Very likely losses: Texas or USC

Verdict: Wow… pretty rare to see a football schedule with only three road games.  The neutral site game against Syracuse will likely be a de facto home game.  How can Notre Dame not have a great season?   Well, do not sleep on Michigan State, Duke, Miami, and Va Tech.  And Stanford is always a potential loss.  Meanwhile, one of Texas or USC–elite programs struggling recently–can pull off a home win over Notre Dame.  Still, this is a very favorable schedule.  The over/under, therefore, is set at 10.5 wins.

What do you think?  Will Notre Dame go over or under 10.5 regular season wins?

ACC Rumor Mill–FWIW

Social media gives every moron–including the moron writing this post–an opportunity to have a public voice.  It is up to everyone else to sift the wheat from the chaff and figure out what to believe or not believe.  At the same time, even a broken clock is right twice a day, while that blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn.  Long story short… when a rumor is spotted, it can be passed along under the “FWIW” tagline.  So here it goes.

From Twitter:

Could have some big news coming from ACC country soon. Should also put to rest any defectors from ACC

ND could be going all in(rumor) and ACCN is going to be announced(rumor but leaning towards fact)

Also ACC could be targeting a school that B12 is talking to for expansion. In hearing Uconn but have heard Cincy from others.

I hate swofford but give him his respect.

16h16 hours ago

ACC leadership is what B12 leadership should be. Quick to act and unified

  16h16 hours ago


Looking like ESPN is going to invest their B10 $$ into ACC and B12 to keep those brands strong.

If you are an ACC fan, the trinity of accomplishments would be (a) Notre Dame; (b) an ACC Network; and (c) 16-team stability.  So… it is hard NOT to WANT these rumors to have a bit of truth to them.  Are they true?  Who knows?  Time will tell…


Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Standings: ACC Dominating

The latest Division 1 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Standings have been released and the ACC continues to dominate, with Syracuse #1 and four schools in the top 10.

Here is a look at the top 10:

  1. Syracuse
  2. Stanford
  3. Virginia
  4. North Carolina
  5. UCLA
  6. Notre Dame
  7. Georgetown (actually, tied for 6th… but screw Georgetown)
  8. Michigan
  9. UConn
  10. Princeton

The other ACC schools with points so far are as follows:

  • Boston College #11
  • Duke #14
  • Florida State #19
  • Clemson #24
  • NC State #29
  • Wake Forest #40
  • Louisville #42
  • Virginia Tech #42

Miami, Pittsburgh, and Georgia Tech are not ranked due to not having points yet.

Congratulations to the ACC schools, especially those in the top 10, for making the ACC look good across a variety of sports so far this year!

ACC Expansion Options

With 14 teams, there is still room to add 2 teams… the right “2 teams” into the Atlantic Coast Conference.  This, of course, does not mean that expansion will be happening, much less any time soon.  This post will merely explore the teams that are out there and inquire, of you, what you would prefer to see.

The elephant in the room is Notre Dame.  The Fighting Irish do not want to join a conference.  We discussed yesterday that adding Navy/Notre Dame might be more palatable, as it would convert an OOC opponent into a conference opponent.  But the reality is that Notre Dame simply does not want to join a conference until it absolutely has to.  And many fans do not even deem being excluded from the playoffs such a circumstance.

Navy.  While Navy has a good location, it is not a needle-mover revenue-wise outside of luring Notre Dame. Therefore, adding Navy only happens if Notre Dame comes with them.  And who is to say that Navy even WANTS to be in a P5 conference?

West Virginia.  The Mountaineers are sitting happily in the Big XII.  That being said, adding West Virginia to the ACC would restore several rivalries, as well as some geographic common sense.  The Big XII has a grant-of-rights, so this is not likely to happen anytime soon.

UConn.  The Huskies are a basketball near-elite, even without Jim Calhoun and notwithstanding some tough years.  They are eager to join.  The problem is that they add little or nothing in football–the true revenue sport.  They also add little or nothing on the TV revenue side of things, as Boston College/Syracuse cover the Northeast areas already.  Unlike the above, they are certainly eager to join.

Cincinnati.  Like UConn, Cincinnati is eager to join.  The football has had more historical success and opens up a new market–even if a hugely distant second to Ohio State.  Ohio is also a fertile recruiting ground.  The hoops are not horrible.  They have an NFL stadium nearby to use for the big games.  Don’t rule it out.

Temple.  With historically good hoops, and historically poor football, this seems unlikely.  However, Philadelphia is a potential market to tap–even if Penn State and Pittsburgh generally dominate the state.  Like Cincinnati, Temple would have access to an NFL stadium for big games.  While the football team is perhaps most notable for being in the movie Unbreakable, they have had success with Golden and Ruhle.  Never say never.

Texas.  Ha ha ha.  Just kidding.  Although one might be able to convince Texas to accept a Notre Dame-esque 5-game schedule, it is difficult to envision Texas abandoning Texas Tech for such a membership.  Unless the Big XII is going to die, which is unlikely at this point, Texas need not make a move.

East Carolina.  The fifth North Carolina school finds itself in a similar boat as South Florida and Central Florida.  Just not enough “market” addition to justify adding in a good football school regardless of on-field performance.

Memphis.  The work done by the football team recently is notable, but the hoops has declined to offset any such gains.  There is just not enough here to justify an addition.

And then, of course, there is the “do nothing” option.  Why add any school and water down what is already there?  If ND or Texas are available as permanent members…listen.  But otherwise there is no need to make ANY move.

So here are the options… what do you think?

Imagine the ACC with Notre Dame and Navy

Once upon a time, the Confidential tossed around the idea of Navy as a suitable replacement for Maryland location-wise and as a partner with Notre Dame as the 15th and 16th teams.  Obviously, Notre Dame is not ready for a conference, but they might start inching closer if they are 11-1 and outside the playoffs.  The loss of a 13th game hurt the Big XII last year and could hurt Notre Dame this year–even with a win over Stanford.  While everyone thinks UConn as team #16, and the Confidential has always thought West Virginia made even better sense than UConn, Navy has its merits too.

Read more…

The Football Over-Unders for 2015: Notre Dame

This article is another in a series of articles in which the Confidential opines regarding the over/under for football wins in 2015.  We’ll take a cursory look at the schedule and determine what we think is the point where folks will struggle to select “over” or “under.”  We hope people will share their comments as to “why” they are going over/under.  If you disagree with our over/under choice, of course, feel free to let us know too.  The next team up: Notre Dame.  We are going with an over/under of 9.5 regular season wins.

  1. September 5 vs Texas
  2. September 12 @ Virginia
  3. September 19 vs Georgia Tech
  4. September 26 vs UMass
  5. October 3 @ Clemson
  6. October 10 vs Navy
  7. October 17 vs. Southern Cal
  8. October 31 @ Temple
  9. November 7 @ Pittsburgh
  10. November 14 vs Wake Forest
  11. November 21 @ Boston College (Fenway)
  12. November 28 @ Stanford

Likely losses: @ Clemson, @ Stanford

Likely wins: Texas, @ Virginia, UMass, Navy, @ Temple, Wake Forest

Summary:  Notre Dame’s schedule is not TOO awful this year from a difficulty standpoint.  Unlike the full-time ACC schools, Notre Dame has several winnable games OOC–UMass, Navy, Temple.  Then, games against Wake Forest and @ Virginia look interesting.  The opener against Texas should go the Irish’s way too.  So that’s 6 wins.  Can the Irish win 4 of the remaining 6? Probably.  But note how the second half gets much tougher, with road trips to Temple, Pitt, BC, and Stanford.  We see loses to Clemson, Stanford, and at least one other team… with one more game being the swing.  The Confidential goes with an over-under of 9.5 wins.

What do you think?  Over or under?  Let us know.

Prior discussions: Florida State Georgia Tech Wake Forest Pitt Virginia Virginia Tech Louisville Miami Notre Dame

ACC Baseball Tournament: Day 5

One of the downfalls of pool play is that it can often lead to pointless games later in the week. While Saturday’s early game was essentially a semi-final, the other two meant nothing. Still, teams can use these games to build momentum for the NCAA tournament.

Game 12: Florida State grabs their spot in the Championship

Louisville – 0

Florida State – 6

The two teams were in a 0-0 deadlock for most of the game. Florida State finally broke the tie in the top of the sixth inning when they scored three runs which would have been enough to beat the Cardinals.

But the Seminoles added two more runs in the seventh and another in the eighth to seal their victory. Both teams posted similar stats including 8 runners left on base. The only difference between the two was the way Florida State capitalized on their opportunities later in the game.

Game 13: A reversal of fates gives Miami a win over the Irish

Notre Dame – 5

Miami – 6

Not even 24 hours after a tough loss in extras to NC State, the Hurricanes took the field looking to regain some confidence for the NCAA tournament. Notre Dame scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth and hoped that was enough. Trailing by one, Christopher Barr wasted no time tying the game. He homered on just the 5th pitch of the inning.

Miami would go on to load the bases with one out and Brandon Lopez at the plate. Lopez singled to right-center field to drive in the winning run. This time, it was Miami walking off with the win.

Game 14: Even with some key players out, NC State cruises past UVA

NC State – 10

Virginia – 2

Coming off their big win the night before, NC State got a chance to rest some of their stars. Even with those guys out, the Wolfpack scored an even ten runs on the way past Virginia. The Cavaliers took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but NC State quickly responded with two runs of their own to take the lead.

Virginia tied up the game in the sixth, but NC State responded with eight runs which all but ended the Cavs chances at picking up a win. The Wolfpack improve to a surprising 3-0 on the tournament, which no one expected. Equally surprising is Virginia’s 1-3 performance. After their 11-0 rout of Georgia Tech, they almost topped Miami early in the week. They just never found a way to finish off these close games.

ACC Baseball Tournament: Day 4

Another day of the ACC baseball tournament is in the books and it was a wild one. Notre Dame won their first tournament game, UNC improved their tournament resumé, and NC State punched their ticket to the championship game with an extra innings thriller.

Game 9: Irish notch their first tournament victory

Notre Dame – 8

Virginia – 2

Cavan Biggio made up for his quiet Thursday with a couple of RBI’s that played a big roll in his team’s 8 runs. That ended up being more than enough as Notre Dame cruised to pick up their first ACC baseball tournament win.

Virginia had a tough time doing anything on offense against Ryan Smoyer, who only gave up four hits through his six innings of work. They started out down early and never really had a chance to get back. UVA scored two runs in the third which cut the lead to just 1, but allowed the small innings to add up.

Notre Dame gets Miami at 3pm and Virginia faces NC State in the night game.

Game 10: UNC makes strong case for NCAA with win

Clemson – 3

North Carolina – 6

Though it was a meaningless game in terms of ACC tournament, both Clemson and UNC came into the tournament needing some resumé boosts to get in the NCAA tournament. Clemson might have got theirs yesterday with their win over Louisville. UNC on the other hand, only had a win over Virginia Tech in the play-in.

The Heels were able to run away the game early after taking a 5-0 lead after the fourth inning. Skye Bolt drove in four runs in part due to his 3-run home run. Though the score tells a different story, Carolina always seemed to have the game under control.

Both teams will have completed their games in the tournament and await their NCAA selections.

Game 11: NC State advances to the ACC Championship game with a wild win

Miami – 4

NC State – 5

As the 6 seed, even the most loyal NC State fans probably didn’t believe their team would be the first in Sunday’s title game. As a matter of fact, the Wolfpack didn’t lead in this game until Preston Palmeiro’s walk-off double.

After Andrew Knizner tied the game up in the ninth inning, Palmeiro stepped in as the first batter in the bottom of the twelfth.

He drove the second pitch of the inning off the blue monster in left. Carl Chester fielded it, but threw it past the second baseman. Palmeiro rounded third and looked to have been thrown out at the plate, but Zack Collins couldn’t handle the throw and the Wolfpack mobbed Palmeiro.

Miami finishes their tournament Saturday against Notre Dame. NC State plays a meaningless game against Virginia, and I wouldn’t expect to see too many regulars playing. They will play the winner of Saturday’s FSU/Louisville game on Sunday.

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