Notre Dame Football: Frank Beamer

ND preps for ACC entrance

July, 1, 2013
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Notre Dame becomes an official ACC member today, even if the football team does not begin its five-games-per-year deal with the conference until the fall of 2014. Still, the school is wasting no time getting fully immersed in its new home.

Men's hoops coach Mike Brey will join commissioner John Swofford and five others in New York at the NASDAQ Stock Market closing bell ceremony later today, with a press conference at 2 p.m. ET and the closing bell ceremony at 3:45.

Joining Brey and Swofford will be Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer, Florida State football coach Jimbo Fisher, Syracuse men's hoops coach Jim Boeheim, North Carolina men's hoops coach Roy Williams and former Pitt All-America receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, has marked the occasion by displaying ACC billboards near campus, launching an ACC splash page, posting online content highlighting the school's ACC connections and looking back at Big East accomplishments on UND.com.

Football will have to settle for a Nov. 9 tilt at Pitt as its lone dalliance with the conference until next fall.
Another list, another debate — though this one should again have Notre Dame fans pleased following the Irish's 2012 campaign.

The Sporting News' Matt Hayes released his list of college football coach rankings this week, one week after AthlonSports delivered a list of its own. Athlon had Brian Kelly ranked fourth. Hayes has Kelly fifth.

His reasoning:
5. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: How impressive has Kelly been at ND? The weight of the program hasn’t crushed him like it did every other coach since Lou Holtz retired. The Alabama loss in last year’s BCS National Championship Game was brutal, but he somehow managed to get a team with significant flaws (freshman quarterback, tight-end-oriented passing game) all the way to the big game. He won championships at the NCAA lower divisions, won conference championships at the non-BCS and BCS levels, and will win a national title at Notre Dame.

The usual suspects top this list: Alabama's Nick Saban and Ohio State's Urban Meyer. After that? The debate really begins.

Boise State's Chris Petersen is No. 3, followed by Oklahoma's Bob Stoops.

Athlon's list, meanwhile, had Kansas State's Bill Snyder at No. 3.

There really are no right or wrong answers with any of these, depending on your view. Program-builder? Hard to argue with Snyder, Petersen or Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, who comes in at No. 8 on Hayes' list. Length of success? Few can doubt Stoops' mark in Norman, though consecutive BCS-bowl-less campaigns have not made him the most popular guy among the die-hards lately.

Then there are the real head-scratchers, guys like Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, who comes in at No. 34 on Hayes' list but is No. 9 on Athlon's. Les Miles is another one who seems to draw opposing reactions, as the LSU coach is ninth on Hayes' list but 24th on Athlon's.

Most can agree with Saban and Meyer at the top. After proving this past season that Notre Dame can succeed at the highest level, Kelly is making a case for himself to be right up there, too.

Former Notre Dame coaches Charlie Weis and Bob Davie check in at Nos. 57 and 87, respectively.

The ACC had its weekly coaches' conference call shortly after the Notre Dame news broke. Here is a sampling of what some of the league coaches had to say about the addition of Notre Dame, which will play five games annually against ACC teams.

Frank Spaziani, Boston College: “We have a mutual respect for each other, an appreciation for each other. We understand what a great institution it is. So I think it’s tremendous for our league and certainly for Boston College. We play them; now to be playing them in other sports, it’s valuable. It’s very valuable. … It’s a marquee brand. I think any time you add a marquee brand to your established tradition and the wonderful stuff that you have, it enhances it.”

Then a joke: "From our perspective, we play them every year. I thought they were in the ACC, to be honest with you."

Dabo Swinney, Clemson: "I’m sure they could have their pick of conferences, and for them to choose the ACC is, I think, a great thing. They’re making a commitment to play five conference football games. Even though they’re not going to be a football member right now, for them to make that commitment, I think that’s very strong, so it’s exciting. It further secures this conference’s strength of schedule and moving forward as we get into the playoff scenarios. I think it’s a real positive for the ACC."

Randy Edsall, Maryland: "Personally, yes I wish they were all in for football, but again, until I get all the information in terms of how those five games are going to be structured and is it going to be a home-and-home situation, or who are the five teams they are going to play. There’s still so much information, but for the overall good of the league, it is a quality institution and a quality program."

Jim Grobe, Wake Forest: "It brings a lot of respect to our conference to have Notre Dame affiliated. Our game last year with them was probably the most exciting environment and fun night that we’ve had playing football. The problem is they’re good and we had a chance late to tie it and go into overtime. We didn’t get the job done; that was tough in the locker room after the game. But the excitement and the experience having Notre Dame come to town was fantastic."

Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech: "I think it's great for the ACC and great for Notre Dame. Both of us benefit ... helps us with the bowls in every way."

Al Golden, Miami, on the hope that Notre Dame becomes a full-time football member: "I think I share the sentiment of everybody: We’d love to have them. They represent all the things we represent in the Atlantic Coast Conference. I would hope it would be that at some point. I just think it’s great, and I can’t say enough about the leadership in our conference for what we’ve gotten done in the last year."

Handicapping Notre Dame's title hopes

February, 15, 2012
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Our Will Harris Insider took a look at the odds for next season's BCS title contenders. He divided 17 teams into three categories: favorites, contenders and longshots.

With 20-to-1 odds, Notre Dame falls into the contender category, joining Arkansas, Clemson, Michigan, Texas and Virginia Tech. Among teams from that group, Harris likes the Hokies' chances to emerge from the pack as a darkhorse title contender in 2012:
The Clemson defense that was vaporized by West Virginia in the Orange Bowl is an unlikely candidate for a quick fix, and as mentioned earlier, we want proven coaching for title futures. We're optimistic about Mack Brown's total overhaul at Texas, but Year 2 is too soon and there's still a black hole at quarterback.

At a little better price the Razorbacks would have our attention. Arkansas is a strong program with a top-10 coach. Bobby Petrino's regime will overtake LSU this year, and the man who went 41-9 at Louisville will eventually bring at least one SEC title to Fayetteville. This could certainly be the year, as the schedule is favorable, but a trio of new coordinators and a rebuilt receiving corps are reasons for caution.

Like Arkansas, Michigan and Notre Dame are on the rise behind excellent coaching, but the best of this group for 2012 looks like Virginia Tech. With Bobby Bowden gone, this is Frank Beamer's ACC. A national title is the only hole in Beamer's résumé, and he is setting up for one more run behind quarterback Logan Thomas. This will not be an experienced offense, particularly along the line, but the skill position talent is outstanding and the bulk of the defense returns. Virginia Tech is a physical, disciplined team that knows its identity. This program is a constant threat to post an unbeaten season, and at 25 to 1, the Hokies are the most appealing play on the board.

Irish opponents USC and Oklahoma fall into the favorite category, with odds of 8-to-1 and 12-to-1, respectively.

Surprisingly enough, Michigan has worse odds than Notre Dame, at 25-to-1. The Wolverines have had a higher preseason ranking than the Irish in virtually every way-too-early 2012 poll.

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