ND and the SEC: Conference's dominance doesn't intimidate Irish

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ND and the SEC: Conference's dominance doesn't intimidate Irish

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame features big, physical players in the trenches, a dynamic defense and an offense built around a stable of athletic running backs. That combination has led plenty to draw the conclusion Notre Dame is built like a menacing SEC team -- just like the one they'll face in the BCS Championship.

Apt or not, it's a conclusion at which defensive end Stephon Tuitt bristled.

"I wouldnt say were kind of like an SEC team. Were ourselves," Tuitt said Friday. "We go to work every day like everybody else. We showed it in the production, and we proved that."

Tuitt knows all about the SEC, hailing from Monroe, Ga, which is about a half-hour drive from the University of Georgia. Rated by Rivals.com as a five-star defensive end out of high school, Tuitt fielded offers from seven SEC schools including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Auburn and LSU.

"Its tough, physical players," Tuitt said. "But at the same time, we have a tough, physical line as well, and our defense is tough and physical too."

Yahoo: At Notre Dame, campus life differs little for students and football stars

Notre Dame players recognize the challenges Alabama presents, but think they match up well against the Tide. Judging by the games early spread, though, few outside of Notre Dame nation agree with that premise. Alabama is favored by about 10 points by most Vegas outlets, and plenty of prognosticators don't give the Irish a chance on Jan. 7.

That's not necessarily a shot against Notre Dame, although some Irish players will use it to add fuel to the nobody-believes-in-us fire that's burned all year. To some extent, what those lines are the product of is the SEC winning six consecutive titles.

So has the SEC earned the right to be favored in every championship until the conference is dethroned?

"I dont think so, man," safety Zeke Motta said. "Football is football. It can go either way anytime."

If that doesnt sound like a ringing endorsement, Louis Nix offered up a different angle.

"The SEC didnt win it, the certain teams in the game won it. I dont care about the conference thing," the affable defensive tackle said. "The teams that won it the last six years so happened to be in the SEC. Those guys earned the title. I'm happy I'm facing one of those teams that won it twice already. I can't wait to play them, and cant wait for January 7."

LSU and Auburn have won single titles, while Alabama and Florida have garnered two championships over the last six years. The conference has tremendous recruiting pull, and the region produces loads of talent at the prep level every year. And look no further than Bret Bielema leaving a top-four job in the Big Ten for a top-seven (at best) gig at Arkansas last week as evidence of the conference's pull.

To be the best, you have to beat the SEC.

"They have dominated, they are the preeminent conference, they've proven it on the field," coach Brian Kelly said. "Alabama has been the benchmark for college football, in three out of the last four National Championship games. Were aware of the challenge in front of us. We welcome it. It's one that were putting ourselves in a position to go find out where we need to go from here."

Related: Practice not just about BCS Championship for Notre Dame

For all of the SEC's chest-beating, Alabama was in the same boat as Notre Dame a month ago. After losing to Texas A&M, the Tide needed two teams to lose to reach the BCS Championship, no matter how hard some tried to convince themselves a one-loss Alabama team would be ranked over an undefeated Notre Dame or Kansas State squad.

For Notre Dame, going undefeated meant they met the minimum requirement for BCS Championship consideration -- of course, they could've done more to strengthen their case earlier in the season with some style points, no matter how badly the team wanted to shun that notion. Despite the strength of the conference, a loss is a loss, and the prospect of not having an SEC team in the BCS Championship led to plenty of hand-wringing.

It really doesnt make any difference how many game-winning shots you made in the past, the only one you gotta focus on is the one you gotta shoot right now, Alabama coach Nick Saban said.

The stars aligned for Alabama when both K-State and Oregon lost on the same Saturday, and when Georgia botched a last-minute drive two weeks later. The defending champions actually get to defend their title, and could make it seven in a row from the nations best conference.

For Notre Dame, they get the opportunity to win the program's first title since 1988. But on a larger scale -- one the team probably doesn't care much about, but one that most everyone else around the sport does -- the Irish can stonewall the SEC's recent dominance atop college football, at least for one year.

Were very ecstatic about this challenge, running back Theo Riddick said. What else can I say, you want to beat the best. So we have that chance.

Cubs Talk Podcast: State of Cubs-Cardinals rivalry and what lies ahead

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: State of Cubs-Cardinals rivalry and what lies ahead

St. Louis Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold stops by to chat with CSN's Patrick Mooney about the landscape of the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry and preview the weekend series at Wrigley Field on the latest Cubs Talk Podcast.

Later, Double-A Tennessee broadcaster Mick Gillespie joins the podcast to chat with Mooney about what prospects the Cubs have left in the farm system.

Also, how pitcher Dillon Maples could make an impact on the big league club as soon as this year.

Check out the entire podcast here:

Cubs vs White Sox "Crosstown Cup" coverage returns to CSN next week

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Cubs vs White Sox "Crosstown Cup" coverage returns to CSN next week

CSN’s Crosstown coverage gets underway on Monday, July 24 LIVE from Wrigley Field starting at 12 NOON CT!

CSN to carry LIVE coverage of all four Crosstown battles (July 24-25 at Wrigley Field & July 26-27 at Guaranteed Rate Field); coverage team to include

Harrelson, Stone, Kasper, Deshaies, Melton, DeJesus, Kaplan, Garfien, Crull, Santos, Mooney & Hayes!

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER -- Live streaming coverage of EVERY Crosstown telecast – including all Pre/Postgame Shows –

to be made available to authenticated subscribers on CSNChicago.com and via the NBC Sports app

CSNChicago.com to also provide additional Crosstown content throughout the week, plus CSN’s social media portals will take fans live and up-close to all the festivities at both ballparks throughout the week

Cubs and White Sox fans can get interactive too by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #CrosstownCup

Chicago, IL (July 20, 2017) – CSN Chicago (CSN), the home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox, is ready jump start the annual northside-southside rivalry once again with expanded, LIVE coverage of ALL FOUR GAMES of the “Crosstown Cup” series beginning MONDAY, JULY 24.  Plus -- for the first time ever -- EVERY Crosstown telecast on CSN, including surrounding Pre/Postgame Live coverage, will be accessible live via CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports app to authenticated CSN Chicago subscribers.  The live stream of CSN’s White Sox & Cubs telecasts is presented by State Farm.  The live streaming service is currently available to customers of Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, Mediacom, RCN, WOW!, Time Warner Cable and Charter among numerous other carriers.  For a full list of carriers and more information about CSN Chicago’s live streaming service of White Sox games, viewers are urged to visit the following link: http://www.csnchicago.com/live-faq .  

CSN’s “Crosstown Cup” coverage gets underway on Monday, July 24 with a live, expanded Wrigley Field edition of White Sox Pregame Live presented by The Kowalis Family of Dealerships at 12 NOON CT (featuring host Chuck Garfien and analysts Bill Melton, David DeJesus, along with 2005 White Sox World Series hero Scott Podsednik) for a complete series preview, interviews with players and coaches and much more.  First pitch coverage of this “White Sox telecast” on CSN begins at 1:20 PM featuring Ken “Hawk” Harrelson & Steve Stone with the game call.  Immediately following the game, fans can look forward to a complete game recap/analysis, plus live post-game press conferences, player interviews and much more on Subaru White Sox Postgame Live.

Tuesday’s (July 25) game at Wrigley Field will be a “Cubs telecast” on CSN featuring the announcing tandem of Len Kasper & Jim Deshaies. An expanded, live Wrigley edition of Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group will take place at 12 NOON (hosted by David Kaplan and once again featuring DeJesus, Melton & Podsednik as analysts). First pitch coverage begins at 1:20 PM, which will be followed by Cubs Postgame Live presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois immediately after the game.

The “Crosstown Cup” then shifts to the southside for the final two games of the series with the Wednesday, July 26 game being a “White Sox telecast” on CSN (SportsTalk Live from Guaranteed Rate Field begins the coverage at 5:30 PM…White Sox Pregame Live presented by The Kowalis Family of Dealerships takes place at 6:00 PM featuring Garfien, Melton, DeJesus, and Podsednik…game coverage begins at 7:00 PM). The Thursday, July 27 finale will be a “Cubs telecast” with SportsTalk Live coverage from the ballpark once again starting up at 5:30 PM, followed by Cubs Pregame Live at 6:00 PM, and first pitch coverage beginning at 7:00 PM.

Kelly Crull (Cubs beat reporter) and Siera Santos (White Sox beat reporter) will also be on hand for every game providing detailed pre-game/in-game/post-game reports and player interviews throughout the Crosstown series.  Plus – CSNChicago.com Cubs “Insider” Patrick Mooney & White Sox “Insider” Dan Hayes and CSN’s expanded team of Cubs/Sox reporters & experts will provide additional reports all week long.

In addition, CSNChicago.com, will provide even more exclusive “Crosstown Cup” content including the following highlights:

  • Live stream of White Sox manager Rick Renteria and Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s “Crosstown Cup” post-game press conferences (sponsored by Xfinity) following every game.
  • #CrosstownCup – Fans from both sides of town can interact with their comments throughout the week on Twitter via the hashtag - #CrosstownCup - plus, select tweets will also be retweeted via the network’s @CSNCubs, @CSNWhiteSox, and @CSNChicago Twitter handles.
  • IPowWow – On every edition of “Pregame Live” this week, Cubs and White Sox can vote in real-time on a specific topical question that will offer up five choices…fans just need to log onto CSNChicago.com/vote to cast their vote as many times as they choose with the immediate percentages of each choice appearing on their desktop, laptop, or mobile device.
  • Complete coverage of the “Crosstown Cup” 24/7 from CSNChicago.com Cubs Insider Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney), White Sox Insider Dan Hayes (@DanHayesCSN), plus - additional coverage provided by CSN “Pre/Post Game Live” hosts Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) and David Kaplan (@thekapman), along with Siera Santos (@SieraSantos) and Kelly Crull (@Kelly_Crull).  CSNChicago.com digital baseball reporters Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) and JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) will also be providing game day reports, analysis and features. 
  • White Sox & Cubs PODCASTS (presented by Wintrust): Crosstown-specific “White Sox” & “Cubs” PODCASTs” featuring CSN’s roster of baseball experts, and additional special guests, will be available prior to and during Crosstown week.  All of CSN’s podcasts can be downloaded at CSNChicago.com/podcasts and by simply subscribing to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.

From a social media standpoint, fans can look forward to a number of Facebook Live (https://www.facebook.com/CSNChicago/ ) segments from both ballparks throughout the week.  In addition, a multitude of Crosstown “Sights & Sounds” moments will be provided via Snapchat (‘csnchicago’), along with additional photos/quick video offerings from ‘CSN Chicago’ through Instagram and Instagram Live

Note CSN’s full coverage breakdown for the upcoming White Sox vs. Cubs “Crosstown Cup” series (also available for viewing on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports app):

MONDAY, JULY 24

12 NOON – White Sox Pregame Live presented by The Kowalis Family of Dealerships – Special EXPANDED edition pre-game show LIVE from Wrigley Field with special features, player interviews, and surrounding ballpark festivities.

1:20 PM – WHITE SOX at CUBS (L) – “White Sox telecast” featuring Ken “Hawk” Harrelson & Steve Stone 

4:30 PM – Subaru White Sox Postgame Live (time approx.) – Complete game recap/analysis, plus live post-game press conferences and player interviews.

6:00 PM – SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado – Special post-game discussion & analysis with host David Kaplan and additional special guests.

6:30 PM – In the Loop Expanded “Crosstown” recap, along with the latest hot topics and can’t miss videos from the day in sports

7:00 PM – White Sox at Cubs (game replay)

10:00 PM/10:30 PM – In the Loop Prime (presented by GMC at 10pm & State Farm at 10:30pm) – Full Crosstown Cup Game 1 recap, along with the latest news/highlights/viral vids & more from the day in sports

TUESDAY, JULY 25

12 NOON – Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group – Special EXPANDED edition pre-game show LIVE from Wrigley Field with a recap of Game 1, special guest interviews, feature stories, and much more.

1:20 PM – WHITE SOX at CUBS (L) – “Cubs telecast” featuring Len Kasper & Jim Deshaies

4:30 PM – Cubs Postgame Live presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (time approx.) – Complete game recap/analysis, plus live post-game press conferences and player interviews

6:00 PM – SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado – Special post-game discussion & analysis with host David Kaplan and additional special guests.

6:30 PM – In the Loop Expanded “Crosstown” recap, along with the latest hot topics and can’t miss videos from the day in sports

7:00 PM – White Sox at Cubs (game replay)

10:00 PM/10:30 PM – In the Loop Prime (presented by GMC at 10pm & State Farm at 10:30pm) – Full Crosstown Cup Game 2 recap, along with the latest news/highlights/viral vids & more from the day in sports

WEDNESDAY, JULY 26

5:30 PM – SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado – Special edition pre-game discussion & analysis with host David Kaplan and special guests LIVE from Guaranteed Rate Field

6:00 PM – White Sox Pregame Live presented by The Kowalis Family of Dealerships – Special ONE-HOUR edition pre-game show LIVE from Guaranteed Rate Field with Wrigley game recaps, special guest interviews, surrounding ballpark festivity highlights…

  • In addition on White Sox Pregame Live – CSN will debut a special update feature story on Orland Park resident and die-hard White Sox fan TIM LALLA, who was biking to all 30 MLB stadiums this summer as part of an effort to raise $160,000 to put two underprivileged youth through college via bikingforbaseball.org. Lalla was hit by a truck in Alabama on his way to Atlanta on June 15th. Lalla broke his back, his neck, lost several teeth and needed emergency spinal fusion surgery. Paralysis was a concern. Somehow, a week later, Tim returned home. CSN has been with Tim every step of the way on his road to recovery.  From the moment he returned home, to his first trip to the dentist, oral surgeon and back specialist, CSN has documented Tim's determined journey to hopeful recovery. Though the trip ended abruptly, Lalla’s goal remains the same: to present a check to the two students in September at Wrigley Field (where the journey was supposed to end).

7:00 PM – CUBS at WHITE SOX (L) – “White Sox telecast” featuring Ken “Hawk” Harrelson & Steve Stone

9:45 PM – Subaru White Sox Postgame Live (time approx.) – Complete game recap/analysis, plus live post-game press conferences and player interviews

10:00 PM/10:30 PM – In the Loop Prime (presented by GMC at 10pm & State Farm at 10:30pm) – Full Crosstown Cup Game 3 recap, along with the latest news/highlights/viral vids & more from the day in sports

12:30 AM – Cubs at White Sox (game replay)

THURSDAY, JULY 27

5:30 PM – SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado – Special edition pre-game discussion & analysis with host David Kaplan and special guests LIVE from Guaranteed Field.

6:00 PM – Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group – Special ONE-HOUR edition pre-game show LIVE from Guaranteed Rate Field featuring special guest interviews, Games 1-3 recap, and much more.

7:00 PM – CUBS at WHITE SOX (L) – “Cubs telecast” featuring Len Kasper & Jim Deshaies

9:45 PM – Cubs Postgame Live presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (time approx.) – Complete game recap/analysis, plus live post-game press conferences and player interviews.

10:00 PM/10:30 PM – In the Loop Prime (presented by GMC at 10pm & State Farm at 10:30pm) – Full Crosstown Cup Game 4 & overall series recap, along with the latest news/highlights/viral vids & more from the day in sports.

12:30 AM – Cubs at White Sox (game replay)

ALL TIMES CENTRAL TIME

SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE