Fire

CSN to replay Notre Dame's triple-OT win vs. Pitt this Wednesday at 8:00p

CSN to replay Notre Dame's triple-OT win vs. Pitt this Wednesday at 8:00p

COMCAST SPORTSNET TO REPLAY NOTRE DAMES TRIPLE-OT WIN vs. PITT WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT 8:00 PM

CSN to also carry additional ND Sports feature shows starting at 7pm on Wednesday;
plus a Notre Dame Classic from 98 vs. Michigan on Thursday

Chicago, IL (November 5, 2012) Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, will continue its in-depth college football coverage of the AP & BCS 4-ranked 9-0 Notre Dame Fighting Irish with a replay of this past Saturdays stellar comeback win in triple overtime no less against the visiting Pitt Panthers. CSN will replay this thrilling game on Wednesday, November 7 at 8:00 PM.

Plus the network will be carrying a pair of Notre Dame sports feature shows prior to the ND-Pitt replay on Wednesday with Irish United: The Story of Notre Dame Womens Soccer at 7:00 PM and Strong of Heart: Profiles of Notre Dame Athletics at 7:30 PM. On Thursday night, fans can also look forward to another airing of Notre Dame Classics featuring a standout match-up against rival Michigan from 1998. Complete details are below.

In addition, fans are also encouraged to visit CSNChicago.com for up-to-the-minute Fighting Irish news, game previewsrecaps, interviews and much more from Notre Dame Insider JJ Stankevitz (via Twitter @JJStankevitz), plus fans can also follow the newly-created @IrishTalkCSN Twitter handle for the latest Irish news and updates 247.

Note the following programming details for Comcast SportsNets Notre Dame sports primetime line-up for this Wednesday, November 7:

7:00 PM Irish United: The Story of Notre Dame Womens Soccer

As the 13-5-2 Notre Dame womens soccer team heads to the NCAA Tournament, Comcast SportsNet will air a behind-the-scenes look at the program and how head coach Randy Waldrum prepares his young team, which includes 12 freshmen, for success.

7:30 PM Strong of Heart: Profiles of Notre Dame Athletics

This unique feature story program takes an in-depth look at ND senior linebacker and potential Heisman Trophy candidate Manti Teo, chronicling his rise to fame on the field and the massive community impact he is making off the field. The other story in this half-hour special focuses on Steve Boda, a young man who used Notre Dame football broadcasts to escape the loneliness of an orphanage, who eventually channeled his love for the program to chart every play in ND football history.

8:00 PM Notre Dame vs. Pitt (from Nov. 3, 2012 Fighting Irish win 29-26 in triple-OT)

Down 20-6 heading into the fourth quarter, the Fighting Irish solidified their never-say-die attitude by staging two touchdowns in the fourth quarter thanks to stellar late-game heroics from QB Everett Golson on passes to TJ Jones & Theo Riddick. This wild game had to go into a third overtime session before Golson led the Irish deep into Pitt territory; his game-winning rushing TD kept the ND season perfect at 9-0.

Details for the Notre Dame Classics telecast on Comcast SportsNet airing Thursday, November 8:

7:00 PM September 5, 1998: Notre Dame vs. Michigan (ND wins 36-20)

It was the season opener for both the 24-ranked Fighting Irish and the favored 5-ranked Wolverines, but ND head coach Bob Davie was determined his team could come back in this game to topple defending co-national champion Michigan and their star QB Tom Brady in this classic upset.

Joao Meira spills the first news of the Fire's offseason

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USA TODAY

Joao Meira spills the first news of the Fire's offseason

The wait to find out which players have their options picked up or declined by the Fire might still be a couple weeks, but the first news of a player move in the Fire's offseason came via Twitter.

Defender Joao Meira announced he won't be returning to the club in 2018.

Meira signed with the Fire just before the start of the 2016 preseason after being out of contract in Europe. The Portuguese center back signed a one-year deal with a club option for the second year.

After he played 28 matches with 26 starts in 2016, the Fire picked up his option. He became even more of a fixture at center back in 2017, beating out Jonathan Campbell for the other starting spot alongside Johan Kappelhof. Meira played in 30 regular season matches and made 27 starts, finishing fourth on the team in minutes played (2,412).

That Meira won't be back isn't a major surprise for a few reasons. First, he was out of contract. He was one of two players, along with Bastian Schweinsteiger, on the Fire's roster that the team had no control over for 2018. On top of that, the 30-year-old had made it clear that he wanted to be closer to his home and family in Portugal.

Meira's departure leaves a gap at the center back position for the Fire. Kappelhof, who enters the third year of a three-year guaranteed deal in 2018, and Campbell, who will likely have his club option picked up, enter as the only healthy center backs in 2018. Christian Dean was added in August via trade, but is coming off a broken foot, an injury that has plagued him before. His status for the start of the 2018 season is unclear.

Grant Lillard, a potential homegrown signing and a senior at Indiana, could compete for time at center back next season. He is one of the top rated players in the country for the Hoosiers, which are the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. While Lillard could step in from a numbers perspective and would add size to the Fire's back line (Lillard is 6-foot-4), he wouldn't be able to replace Meira's ability on the ball. Meira wasn't as effective of a defender as Kappelhof, but was arguably the best passer among the Fire's center backs and helped alleviate pressure at times.

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Only three of John Fox’s 12 wins as Bears coach have been against NFC North opponents, while 12 of his 29 losses have come against divisional opponents. 

That’s a recipe for back-to-back-to-back last place finishes in the NFC North. And if the Bears can’t beat an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers team, why could it beat a Detroit Lions team that has a healthy franchise quarterback?

The positive end of that answer is the Bears do have wins over two playoff teams (Pittsburgh and Carolina) while six of their four losses have been by eight points or fewer. Sunday’s game will probably be close, again (if it’s not, and the Bears are on the losing end of it, it would raise some significant concerns about the state of Fox within the locker room). 

So if the game is decided by one possession or less, this could be the difference: Detroit has one of the best special teams units in the NFL, ranking second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, while the Bears are 28th by the same measure. 

Getting Sherrick McManis back this week should help solidify Jeff Rodgers’ special teams units, but Jamal Agnew has two punt return scores and is averaging 18.3 yards per return. 

“Tough guy — he’ll return inside and outside,” Rodgers said. “He’s got multiple longer returns against people this year. it’s not just, ‘I had a long return in Week 2 or Week 1,’ and kinda held onto that. he’s been productive in a lot of games. certainly a guy that we’ve gotta do a good job against.”

If the Bears don’t do a good job bottling up Agnew, though, he could be the reason why the game flips to Detroit — or, at least, why the Lions keep the Bears at arm’s length. 

Prediction: Lions 24, Bears 16