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Notre Dame unveils special Shamrock Series uniforms

Notre Dame is different. How different? When the school finally puts the school logo on the side of its helmet, it treats it as big news.

The Irish released their Shamrock Series uniforms on Tuesday and, somehow the interlocking ND logo is on the side of those golden domes for the first time since Notre Dame put on helmets. This is the sixth Shamrock Series game, and easily the least exotic of the six. After playing Army at Yankee Stadium, Miami at Soldier Field, Arizona State at Jerry World, the Irish will meet.... Purdue at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. This is what happens your favorite band doesn't have any new material but the record label demands a new contract every two years, and all of a sudden there's a fourth greatest hits album on the shelves at Target.

Fittingly, Notre Dame's special Shamrock Series uniforms - the first since Under Armour gained control of the Notre Dame apparel contract this year - are the tamest of the bunch.

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The most interesting part of the uniform is, of course, the part you can't see. Whatever this is was apparently patterned after the mosaic on the floor of the Golden Dome.

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For Doug and the rest of our resident sneakerheads:

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(For those interested, Notre Dame also unveiled its regular home and road Under Armour uniforms on Tuesday.)

Notre Dame began wearing special uniform for its Shamrock Series game in 2010, one year after the tradition began.

There was the traditional designated "special uniform" green jerseys for Army in 2010:

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The green jerseys with extra gold helmets in for Maryland in 2011:

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Whatever this was against Miami in 2012:

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And then the white jerseys that were overshadowed by Arizona State's en feugo helmets in 2013:

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Which one is your favorite?

Reminder: Your superiors aren't interested in your excuses

Mike Sherman's tenure at Texas A&M followed a predictable path of successful coaches through his first three seasons in College Station. There was the 4-8 debut campaign of 2008 while emerging from the smoking wreckage left behind by the previous regime. The 2009 season was similarly frustrating, with blowout losses paired with close setbacks in winnable games, but signs of life appeared in a near upset of No. 3 Texas and a bowl appearance versus Georgia. Then there was the breakthrough season of 2010. Texas A&M closed the regular season with six straight victories, beating Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas Tech in the same season for the first time in school history. 

The 2011 seasons, Sherman's fourth, was supposed to be the season Texas A&M arrived as a true contender for both the Big 12 and the national championship. The Aggies started the season ranked eighth by the Associated Press and ninth in the Coaches Poll, blew out SMU and Idaho to open the season, and built a 20-3 halftime lead against No. 7 Oklahoma State in the biggest game Kyle Field had hosted in 36 years. And then the bottom fell out, as the Cowboys stormed back for a 30-29 win that would set the course for what would become Sherman's final campaign as the Aggies' head coach. The very next week, Texas A&M built a 35-17 halftime lead over No. 18 Arkansas, and lost 42-38. A month later, Texas A&M constructed a 28-17 halftime edge against Missouri, and lost 38-31 in overtime. The following Saturday, A&M traveled to Norman and played No. 7 Oklahoma to a 10-9 halftime lead, but got outscored 28-0 in the third quarter and lost 41-25. And then again the next week, the Aggies built a 21-14 lead over No. 17 Kansas State through three quarters, and ultimately fell 53-50 in four overtimes. 

The final straw came on Thanksgiving, when A&M, now out of the top 25, again built a halftime lead - 16-7 over archrival Texas - and again witnessed it crumble away into a 27-25 defeat. It was the Aggies' fourth loss in five games, and sixth time in 10 games that it had lost a game in which it held a lead in the second half. 

Sherman was fired eight days after the Texas game. New head coach Kevin Sumlin watched Texas A&M's Meineke Car Care Bowl victory over Northwestern - a game A&M led 30-7 through three quarters and hung on for a 33-22 victory - from a Reliant Stadium suite. 

R. Bowen Loftin, the man who made the decision to replace Sherman and ever the self-promoter, has written a book about his transformative tenure as Texas A&M's president. The book, summarized by Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle, focuses primarily on Loftin's charge to take Texas A&M out of the Big 12 and into the SEC, but he wrote about what finally drove him to the decision to make that coaching change. 

Outside of Sherman's resistance to his employer's impending conference relocation, Loftin chose to dismiss Sherman after this post-season conversation: "Sherman began raising some points that sounded more like excuses. He mentioned that recruiting was going really well, but he then said something that really struck me as odd: He basically attributed the 6-6 season to a lack of senior leadership. That stuck in my craw. … After four years on the job, he had not had enough time to develop senior leaders? Really? How long would it take - five, six, 10 years?

"Along with all the other strikes against him," Loftin writes, "that comment put me over the top."

The point of this piece is not to disparage Sherman. He is an accomplished, well-respected coach. His letter to Texas high school coaches written after his firing was a display of utmost class, and it remains one of the most-read pieces of our site.

It's that for all of us, university president, head coach, graduate assistant, undergraduate trainer, have a superior(s) we report to, and not one of them are interested in our excuses. 

Read more here.

Video: Rhode Island Little League coach reminds us all what sports are all about

After losing on an RBI single late in the game last night and being bounced from the Little League World Series contention, Rhode Island little league coach Dave Belisle gathered his team around for one last post game talk...and it set social media on fire, and for good reason.

If you have a youth program, I'd recommend bookmarking this one and sharing it with your youth coaches to show the type of person that you want leading those kind of programs.

This is one of the best moments in all of sports this season. Enjoy it.

(H/T ESPN)

The 6-minute motivational speech that your team needs to see

Considering it has 28 million views and counting, you've probably seen this motivational video before.

The man behind the voice you hear is Eric Thomas, and he claims he's the most successful motivational speaker in the world. N.C. State brought the self-proclaimed Hip Hop Preacher in to speak to the Wolfpack. I couldn't possibly do his impassioned words justice with a simple transcription, so I would advise you to watch the video. Here is a summary of the truth he drops on the Wolfpack:

- You talk about starting from the bottom. What's your bottom? You've been worshipped since middle school. 

- You have to take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime in the lifetime of the opportunity. You have an opportunity right now that you won't have five years from now. 

- The worst thing in the world? An athlete growing up in poverty, getting worshipped in college, and then returning back to poverty. 

- Being in love with the process of becoming a champion is more important than being in love with the prize of being a champion.

- "A real man in the dark, when nobody's watching he's putting in work." 

Watch how the sweat slowly advances on Thomas' shirt as he gets more and more into his message.

Hawaii AD Ben Jay clarifies statement about "football going away"

A few months back we had the sad and all-too-real story of Hawaii launching a crowd-funding effort to raise $10,000 for its enormous travel budget. Thanks to a system where Hawaii pays not only to travel to the mainland dozens of times a year, but also a portion of its competition's bill to visit them on the islands, the school spends an NCAA-leading $5.6 million a year on travel alone.

That's too much to spend for a program that very recently had trouble keeping the lights on. Unfortunately, that isn't a metaphor.

Projecting a budget shortfall ranging from $1.5 million to $3 million, athletics director Ben Jay told a Board of Regents gathering Monday that the possibility of dropping football may soon have to become a sad reality. "There's a very real possibility of football going away," Jay said. Hawaii has faced a budget deficit during 11 of the past 13 years, and even the surprising run to the Sugar Bowl following the 2007 season failed to make a permanent dent in the Warriors' finances. 

Later Monday, Jay clarified his statement.  

"My comments at the Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics' meeting were made in order to convey a sense of urgency regarding the need to address our current funding model," Jay said in a statement.

"In no way was I indicating that a decision on program reduction of any sport was under consideration. Rather, I was suggesting that the department's financial situation required that all possible scenarios be reviewed. Hopefully, going forward, there will be a priority placed on discussing the future financial needs of the UH Athletics Department. President David Lassner has expressed his support and we'll call upon our many loyal stakeholders to help us ensure that we remain competitive within the future landscape of intercollegiate athletics. We owe that to our student-athletes and passionate fans."

Here's hoping his second statement is a more accurate depiction of the situation than the first. Though Hawaii has struggled on the field of late, college football would not be the same without Hawaii. 

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