Canes experience ‘Turnover Pain’ against Pitt

Miami’s perfect season is over. The Hurricanes can only hope their shot at a spot in the College Football Playoff isn’t gone too.Freshman quarterback Kenny Pickett ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as Pittsburgh stunned the secon…

Follow this story

Will Manso: A Miami-Notre Dame classic awaits

The biggest game the Miami football program has seen in well over a decade is finally here.

Some would argue it’s the biggest regular-season home game since UM’s heyday in the 1980s and early ’90s.

Whatever you want to call it, this Miami-Notre Dame game has become one of the biggest of the 2017 college football season.

The Fighting Irish come in ranked third in the latest college football rankings, despite one loss, while the ‘Canes are just seventh, despite being undefeated.

The semantics of that can be argued all day, but like UM head coach Mark Richt said this week, it doesn’t matter.

If the ‘Canes win this game and close out the season undefeated with an Atlantic Coast Conference title, they’ll play for a national championship. The same can be said if Notre Dame wins out.

In many ways, this game is a late-season College Football Playoff semifinal. The loser likely has no chance to be in the final four.

How does Miami match up, and does the team have a shot at pulling off the upset? The answer, to me, is obviously yes.

I’m not sure I would have said that a couple of weeks ago, but UM’s impressive dismantling of Virginia Tech has made me a believer.

I think after years of hoping for it, “the U” really is back.

But that doesn’t mean this game will come easy for Miami. It’s quite the contrary. The ‘Canes haven’t faced an opponent like this Irish team in a long time — certainly not during their current 13-game winning streak.

Notre Dame has a dominant offensive line that can help their offense run right over you.

Miami’s defense is superb, but this offense can still move the ball on them if Miami doesn’t have that same physical attitude from the start.

Yet, my concerns in this matchup are more surrounding the UM offense.

Despite a dominant win over Virginia Tech, Malik Rosier threw three interceptions — and the offense had some very inconsistent drives. That simply can’t happen against Notre Dame.

The ‘Canes are built to have a good balance on offense and let the defense wear down opponents. If the Irish get out to a lead, I’m not sure the Miami offense is capable of getting too one-dimensional and just throwing to catch up.

Miami needs good drives to win the battle of field position. And most importantly, the ‘Canes must win the turnover battle.

The wild card in this game is the sold-out crowd expected to rock Hard Rock Stadium.

It was electric last Saturday, and it will be even more deafening and exciting this Saturday.

There seems to be a magic about this team right now. It hasn’t always been pretty, but Miami keeps finding ways to win.

At 8-0, I’m done questioning how good the ‘Canes are.

They’re in this spot because they belong. And now, against one of their historic rivals, it’s time to force the rest of the country to believe, too.

Expect some old-school action and drama, and another classic between these two schools.

Prediction: Miami 31, Notre Dame 30

Follow this story

Will Manso: A Miami-Notre Dame classic awaits

The biggest game the Miami football program has seen in well over a decade is finally here.

Some would argue it’s the biggest regular-season home game since UM’s heyday in the 1980s and early ’90s.

Whatever you want to call it, this Miami-Notre Dame game has become one of the biggest of the 2017 college football season.

The Fighting Irish come in ranked third in the latest college football rankings, despite one loss, while the ‘Canes are just seventh, despite being undefeated.

The semantics of that can be argued all day, but like UM head coach Mark Richt said this week, it doesn’t matter.

If the ‘Canes win this game and close out the season undefeated with an Atlantic Coast Conference title, they’ll play for a national championship. The same can be said if Notre Dame wins out.

In many ways, this game is a late-season College Football Playoff semifinal. The loser likely has no chance to be in the final four.

How does Miami match up, and does the team have a shot at pulling off the upset? The answer, to me, is obviously yes.

I’m not sure I would have said that a couple of weeks ago, but UM’s impressive dismantling of Virginia Tech has made me a believer.

I think after years of hoping for it, “the U” really is back.

But that doesn’t mean this game will come easy for Miami. It’s quite the contrary. The ‘Canes haven’t faced an opponent like this Irish team in a long time — certainly not during their current 13-game winning streak.

Notre Dame has a dominant offensive line that can help their offense run right over you.

Miami’s defense is superb, but this offense can still move the ball on them if Miami doesn’t have that same physical attitude from the start.

Yet, my concerns in this matchup are more surrounding the UM offense.

Despite a dominant win over Virginia Tech, Malik Rosier threw three interceptions — and the offense had some very inconsistent drives. That simply can’t happen against Notre Dame.

The ‘Canes are built to have a good balance on offense and let the defense wear down opponents. If the Irish get out to a lead, I’m not sure the Miami offense is capable of getting too one-dimensional and just throwing to catch up.

Miami needs good drives to win the battle of field position. And most importantly, the ‘Canes must win the turnover battle.

The wild card in this game is the sold-out crowd expected to rock Hard Rock Stadium.

It was electric last Saturday, and it will be even more deafening and exciting this Saturday.

There seems to be a magic about this team right now. It hasn’t always been pretty, but Miami keeps finding ways to win.

At 8-0, I’m done questioning how good the ‘Canes are.

They’re in this spot because they belong. And now, against one of their historic rivals, it’s time to force the rest of the country to believe, too.

Expect some old-school action and drama, and another classic between these two schools.

Prediction: Miami 31, Notre Dame 30

Follow this story

Will Manso: A Miami-Notre Dame classic awaits

The biggest game the Miami football program has seen in well over a decade is finally here.

Some would argue it’s the biggest regular-season home game since UM’s heyday in the ’80s and early ’90s.

Whatever you want to call it, this Miami-Notre Dame game has become one of the biggest of the 2017 college football season.

The Fighting Irish come in ranked third in the latest college football rankings, despite one loss, while the Canes are just seventh, despite being undefeated.

The semantics of that can be argued all day, but like UM head coach Mark Richt said this week, it doesn’t matter.

If the Canes win this game and close out the season undefeated with an ACC title, they’ll play for a national championship. The same can be said if Notre Dame wins out.

In many ways, this game is a late-season College Football Playoff semifinal. The loser likely has no chance to be in the final four.

How does Miami match up, and does the team have a shot at pulling off the upset? The answer, to me, is obviously yes.

I’m not sure I would have said that a couple of weeks ago, but UM’s impressive dismantling of Virginia Tech has made me a believer.

I think after years of hoping for it, the U really is back.

But that doesn’t mean this game will come easy for Miami. It’s quite the contrary. The Canes haven’t faced an opponent like this Irish team in a long time — certainly not during their current 13-game winning streak.

Notre Dame has a dominant offensive line that can help their offense run right over you.

The Canes’ defense is superb, but this offense can still move the ball on them if Miami doesn’t have that same physical attitude from the start.

Yet, my concerns in this matchup are more surrounding the UM offense.

Despite a dominant win over Virginia Tech, Malik Rosier threw three interceptions — and the offense had some very inconsistent drives. That simply can’t happen against Notre Dame.

The Canes are built to have a good balance on offense and let the defense wear down opponents. If the Irish get out to a lead, I’m not sure the Miami offense is capable of getting too one-dimensional and just throwing to catch up.

The Canes need good drives to win the battle of field position. And most importantly, they must win the turnover battle.

The wild card in this game is the sold-out crowd expected to rock Hard Rock Stadium.

It was electric last Saturday, and it will be even more deafening and exciting this Saturday.

There seems to be a magic about this team right now. It hasn’t always been pretty, but Miami keeps finding ways to win.

At 8-0, I’m done questioning how good the Canes are.

They’re in this spot because they belong. And now, against one of their historic rivals, it’s time to force the rest of the country to believe, too.

Expect some old-school action and drama, and another classic between these two schools.

Prediction: Miami 31, Notre Dame 30

Follow this story

Papa John’s says NFL protests hurting sales

Papa John’s is blaming the NFL for hitting its bottom line.

The pizza company, an official sponsor of the league, sliced its sales and profit forecasts on Tuesday. And Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter wasn’t shy about who he thinks is to blame: Commissioner Roger Goodell.

“Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” Schnatter said on a conference call with investors Wednesday. “The NFL has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”

NFL ratings, like the rest of network television, are in a slump. Through Week 7, NFL viewership is down 5% overall from the same point last year.

Though the ratings slump has many causes, some NFL fans may have tuned out because of the controversy over players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police violence.

President Donald Trump has called on fans to boycott the NFL if the league doesn’t crack down on protests. Last month, Vice President Mike Pence left an Indianapolis Colts game after San Francisco 49ers’ players took a knee during the anthem.

At a league meeting last month, Goodell and the NFL owners opted not to force players to stand during the anthem.

The NFL may be part of the problems Papa John’s faces, but it’s far from the only one. The stock is down 24% this year, while competitors including Domino’s have performed well (Domino’s stock is up 12% this year).

Still, Schnatter put the NFL squarely at fault. He specifically cited the protests during the national anthem as the root of the problem.

“The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country,” Schnatter said.

In response, Papa John’s pulled some of its planned commercials from NFL games this season. Schnatter said the NFL has promised to give the pizza company future spots in return.

“It indeed appears that National Football League strife may be weighing on same-store sales to some degree, with Papa John’s as the NFL’s Official Pizza Sponsor bearing some brunt of this issue,” Instinet analysts wrote in a research note Tuesday. “Sponsorship of NFL = No Free Lunch.”

Papa John’s still expects sales to increase by 1.5% in North America this year, but that’s down from its previous estimates.

Shares of Papa John’s fell 7% on the lowered estimates.

Follow this story

NFL suffering season of sluggish ratings

The NFL is still contending with sluggish ratings half way into the 2017 season.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” through week six of the regular season is down 4% in viewership compared to last year; and the averages of Sunday afternoon games on Fox and CBS are down 7% and 14% respectively, according to Nielsen data. The NFL is down 16% in viewership compared to two seasons ago.

There has been some bright spots for the league’s viewership so far this season, however. Ratings for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” is up 6% from last year and “Thursday Night Football” on CBS and NFL Network has also seen viewership go up 14%.

The league had no comment on this story.

Ratings last season were hampered by presidential campaign coverage, but viewership rebounded when the election ended and as the playoffs approached. This season got off to a bad start due to Hurricane Irma, which got around-the-clock coverage and prompted evacuations in Florida.

Down ratings don’t bode well for networks and advertisers, but the numbers are getting extra attention this season because President Donald Trump won’t stop tweeting about the NFL. His latest public feud with the league started last month at an Alabama rally where Trump slammed players who took a knee during the national anthem to protest police violence. Since then, he’s tweeted about the NFL nearly 20 times, perhaps to prove the point that anthem protests are hurting the league.

Trump was back on the offense Wednesday morning after day two of an NFL meeting in New York with team owners.

“The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem,” Trump tweeted after Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters on Wednesday that the league would like players to stand during the anthem, but do not require them to do so. “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Goodell said on Wednesday that players aren’t trying to be “disrespectful to the flag” when they kneel during the anthem.

It’s important to point out that even though the NFL’s numbers are down from last year and drastically down from two years ago, the league still brings in the biggest ratings on television. Yet, a 6% drop is nothing to ignore.

The root cause of the declining numbers could stem from a myriad of issues that range from bad games to bad press coming from Trump’s attacks against the league.

“Last year, it was easy to blame the decline on election coverage,” wrote Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “This year, it’s harder to pinpoint the precise reason.”

Follow this story