Initial Reads March 17: Notre Dame to Play Ball State


A happy St. Patrick’s Day to all the readers. Appropriately enough, Initial Reads for March 17 kicks off with some Notre Dame news.

Per, he Fighting Irish scheduled Indiana in-state counterpart Ball State in 2018, which completes Notre Dame’s slate for that season three-fourths of the way. Five of the Irish’s dates are filled courtesy of the program’s affiliation with the ACC, the annual affair with USC is on the docket, and historic rivals Navy and Stanford are also on the schedule.

Certainly this is a bigger deal for Ball State than it is for Notre Dame. Not only will Ball State likely receive a sizable paycheck, this is the program’s first matchup with Notre Dame despite the campuses being separated by just 140 miles.

The prospects of a Brian Kelly vs. Pete Lembo showdown are intriguing, but it’s highly unlikely both, if either, will still be head coach at their respective school by then. Moreover, there’s no guarantee that this date actually comes to fruition — just ask BYU, which is waiting on a return date with Notre Dame, brokered shortly after the Cougars went independent.

Speaking of BYU, if you’re a Cougars fan, this news has to make you salty. The on-again, off-again rivalry with Michigan is also off the books, and there’s no Michigan State on the Notre Dame schedule.

Given how much discussion has centered on strength of schedule early in the College Football Playoff era, this agreement is rather surprising.

That said: Good for Ball State. The program’s coaching staff even commemorated the announcement by breaking out their St. Patrick’s Day duds a day early.

Can Ohio State’s Urban Meyer Apply Lessons from Florida in 2015?; Andy Staples, Sports Illustrated

Urban Meyer won the third national championship of his coaching career in the 2014 season. He enters the 2015 campaign with his best returning lineup coming off a title run yet, and expectations are high for the Buckeyes. examines how Meyer’s unsuccessful quests for repeats at Florida will impact his decision-making at Ohio State.

Be forewarned, the above link is a great read, but the article comes with a loud auto-play video embedded.

Arizona State Linebacker Davon Durant Suspended After Arrest; Julia Shumway, The State Press

Five-star JUCO transfer linebacker Davon Durant, a contender to jump into Arizona State’s starting lineup immediately, was suspended Monday following an arrest for felony aggravated assault.

Arizona State head coach Todd Graham has been adamant about emphasizing personal conduct above all else since his arrival in 2012. This philosophical change has been evident on the field, where the Sun Devils are one of the least penalized teams in the nation despite playing in the flag-happy Pac-12, and in the classroom.

Pending the legal process and given Graham’s track record, I would not anticipate Durant returning to Arizona State’s lineup anytime soon.