Archive for January, 2013

It’s getting crowded here

January 5th, 2013

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. >> Will this be the most-watched college football game ever?
That’s what some are saying as Alabama and Notre Dame get set to tee it up Monday night in the BCS National Championship game.
Why wouldn’t it be? The teams are the two most magical names in the sport. And it’s Dynasty vs. Destiny, as Alabama tries to win the title for the third time in four years and Notre Dame tries to complete an undefeated season and its climb back to the top of college football.
I’ve been here since late Wednesday afternoon, and the media hotel has been getting more crowded each day, as have the press conferences and buses to practices. Media day today at Sun Life Stadium will likely be a zoo. More than 800 media credentials have been issued.
Honolulu attorney and Notre Dame super fan Paul Cunney said the demand for tickets from Fighting Irish fans has far outstripped the number available and many ticketless ND fans are flocking to South Florida anyway just to be on the scene. Some estimate the number of those requesting tickets just from the Notre Dame fans as 100,000 for the 72,230-seat Sun Life Stadium.
Among the fans arriving in the past couple of days are the family members of Notre Dame’s three players from Hawaii, Manti Te’o, Robby Toma and Kona Schwenke.
Honolulu businessman Peter Kim, the Kaiser grad who kicked the final points of Bear Bryant’s coaching career at Alabama, arrives today.

Toma references Hawaii

January 2nd, 2013

The consensus is that Robby Toma killed Wednesday in his stint as sole spokesman for the Notre Dame football players as they arrived here in Fort Lauderdale for Monday’s BCS national championship game against Alabama.

The FIghting Irish senior receiver from Laie and Punahou was poised, thoughtful and entertaining. His statement that Notre Dame vs. Alabama was like Rudy vs. Forrest Gump was funny and insightful.

He also referenced his home state of Hawaii a couple of times.

“It feels good to be back in this weather,” Toma said, referring to the high 70s temperature and pleasant breeze in South Florida today.

He talked about being home in Hawaii for Christmas. “Everyone was excited. They’re all excited to watch the game. That’s all they were talking about while I was at home.”

Later, someone asked if the warm weather here would be a problem for the Notre Dame players.

“Not for me,” he answered. “Maybe some of the other guys. I grew up playing in this weather. So I’m excited.”

On Thursday, Manti Te’o will be at a press conference here at the Harbor Marriott Hotel, where the media is based. Quarterback A.J. McCarron will be one of the Alabama players available for interviews. It could be a madhouse.

Headed to the BCS NC

January 2nd, 2013

I’m at the Phoenix airport on my way to South Florida to cover the Notre Dame-Alabama national championship college football game.

There is unprecedented interest in Hawaii in this game, especially for Notre Dame since the No. 1-ranked and undefeated Fighting Irish feature three local players: Heisman-Trophy-runner-up linebacker Manti Te’o, wide receiver Robby Toma and defensive lineman Kona Schwenke.

I’ll be writing daily, including coverage of Monday’s game. Later today I hope to be talking with Toma, who has been tabbed to represent the Fighting Irish players in addressing the media upon the team’s arrival in Ft. Lauderdale this afternoon.