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Nitt Picks is All About Commitment

Big news today as Penn State landed their second verbal commitment for the class of 2009, Maryland safety Malcolm Willis.

"Penn State was at my school yesterday and after they left I told my coach that I want to be a Nittany Lion," Willis said.

Willis stands 6 feet tall and weighs 210 pounds. Last year he recorded 95 tackles and 3 INT. He also played quarterback but is projected to play safety for Penn State.

Irish Arrogance

You may have heard a few days ago that Notre Dame and Rutgers were working on a deal to play in football. The deal fell through, and the the New York Times explains why.

How humble of Notre Dame to have visited Ronald Reagan in the Rose Garden at the White House on Jan. 18, 1989, resisting all temptation to call for a meeting at a neutral site more to its grandiose liking.

As you may already know, the university is a member in good standing of the Big East Conference for athletic competitions it does not consider to be part of the religious experience. For the divine game, football, league opponents were long ago brainwashed to bow and accept the Notre Dame credo: Too sainted to play in your conference, too special to step into your house if it does not meet our dimensional specifications. That is, until Rutgers stood up last week, walked away from a proposed six-game series, refused to move its home games an hour north to the Meadowlands just for the privilege of playing in a stadium that would be half-filled with Notre Dame fans.

This way to Piscataway, Rutgers said, or don't bother coming to Jersey at all.

"We feel Rutgers home games should be played on campus," the university's athletic director, Bob Mulcahy, said in a statement.

Mulcahy briefly expounded on this touchy subject on Monday, saying in a telephone interview, "Notre Dame has been very helpful to the conference, but we are in the position of undertaking a $100 million expansion on our stadium, and if we are going to play a major nonconference game, we feel it has to be played there."

Bravo to Rutgers. Notre Dame continues to play this game where they keep one foot in the Big East and out foot out the door. They'll take advantage of all the Big East has to offer for their other sports programs, but they insist on keeping their television deal for themselves. When they go to a BCS bowl game they won't share the revenue with the other Big East members, but when a bowl committee is looking at Big East teams Notre Dame gets lumped in.

I'm glad to see someone in the Big East telling the Irish to go shove it. It takes a lot of nerve to walk into a self respecting school like Rutgers and request a six year deal where half the games will be played in South Bend and the other half will be played at a neutral site. But it doesn't seem to bother the Irish too bad.

"We love Rutgers," White said. "We're really close to them. It doesn't make sense for them. It makes sense for others. So we just moved on. I think we had somebody else in 10 seconds. We had an instant verbal, as they say in the business, a euphoric verbal."

Ten bucks says it's Syracuse or Temple.