Noontime’s Sunday Thoughts (Jan. 3, 2021)

By Matt Noonan

Happy New Year, everyone!

Yes, I know I am not the first to wish you, as well as your family and friends, a very happy and healthy new year, but hopefully this post – the first of many, of course! – will fill you with some much-needed joy and happiness on a rather gray and overcast day here in Boston, Massachusetts.

As promised in my year-end video, I am eager to produce some new (and old) content, including my first-ever ‘Noontime’s Sunday Thoughts’ column, which will be a mix of thoughts, ideas, and links from the sports world, along with some other topics, too.

I am excited for this column and hope you are, as well – I am sure it will look different each week, but that is the beauty of trying new things, right?

So, without further ado, here comes my first post of 2021 – I am excited and optimistic for a much better year for everyone!


Thought No. 1: 2021 will be much better than 2020: Yes, this is an understatement, but I believe better days are ahead – I am an optimist.

However, I don’t expect an immediate bounce back now that it is January 3, 2021. We still need to wear our masks, social distance, and wash our hands. And we need to “hold the line,” so we can finish strong.

We can do this – I believe in my fans and friends!

As we get closer to the spring and summer, I expect some sense of normalcy will return, but that feeling of gathering or watching a game safely won’t truly happen until late September or early October. Maybe early November?

This is an educated guess – I am not a scientist, so I could be wrong (fingers crossed!) – but once we are able to assemble safely at a future sporting event, I will breathe a sense of relief. I know that day will come and it will be an exciting occasion for everyone.

Thought No. 2: The NFL’s 2020 Season: To be honest, I did not expect the National Football League (NFL) would be able to play a full 17-week season during a pandemic. But somehow, they persevered.

Yep, I was wrong – sorry, everyone!

I was shocked that the league was able to play three weeks without an outbreak, but somehow, they overcame a hurdle of obstacles from the Tennessee Titans to Cam Newton to moving the Pittsburgh SteelersBaltimore Ravens game from Thursday to Sunday to Monday to Tuesday.

The NFL seemed unprepared for its 2020 season after successfully conducting their collegiate draft in April via Zoom, but somehow they proved me wrong, so let’s enjoy the final day of the regular season because who knows what happens next week once the postseason begins.

Thought No. 3: The 2020 College Football Season: I am not the biggest college football fan, but I did watch a few games this past fall, including a pair of must-see Boston College contests against Clemson University and Notre Dame.

But what I witnessed outside of the Boston College matchups I watched was poor play by numerous teams, including various student-athletes, as well as coaches acting as if they were invisible to the coronavirus – did anyone actually wear a mask on the sidelines this year? I give my buddy Howard Herman of the Berkshire Eagle credit for the mask comment.

In addition to the playing field being mediocre, I have also found some of these bowl games rather boring – to be honest, I would rather watch bull-riding than some of these games, but again, what do I know?

The 2020 season was a wild ride for the college sports world – remember, not many of us knew if and when games would begin last fall – but similar to the NFL, the college football world deserves some credit for finding a way to play games safely. Hopefully the championship game between Alabama and Ohio State will be a good finale for the 2020 season.

Thought No. 4: Podcasts will continue to grow in 2021: If there is one thing 2020 taught us, it is that podcasts will continue to be a go-to medium for many of us working from home until at least the summertime, maybe the fall?

And while podcasts under big-time brands like Barstool Sports and The Ringer will continue to flourish, I do expect some smaller to medium size shows to gain more listeners (and yes, followers, too).

Our podcast – the Noontime Sports Podcast – has grown immensely, thanks to our fans and friends, but also because of the amazing guests that have joined me over these past few months (thank you to everyone that has joined me – can’t wait to have you all back again soon!).

I am excited to produce more shows this month while continuing to listen to new shows (and podcasts) I discovered last year.

Here are a few shows I would recommend listening to (and yes, hitting the subscribe button, too!):

I’ll definitely be highlighting podcasts more in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned for future posts!

Final Thought: Could we see some new hyper-local blogs, websites or podcasts emerge this year, especially in New England?

My answer: Yes.

As many know, 2020 was not a good year for media, especially newspapers, that have shuttered or reduced their newsroom. There were also some big-time outlets that let-go of some well-established (and up-and-coming) writers, producers and on-air hosts, which leads me to think that many would be willing to take their following from social media to their own respective website, blog or podcast.

Here in Massachusetts, we have seen some smaller digital outlets grow over the past few weeks and months, including the New England Football Journal, which has done a good job with online shows to complements their high school and college football coverage. John Sarianides has hosted some video shows, including coaches chats that I have enjoyed and know my fans would, as well.

Pending high school football occurs (and is played) next month, the NEFJ will be a site to follow for coverage – make sure to follow the site’s co-owner Kevin Stone, who is very passionate about hyper-local sports coverage.

Speaking of college and high school football, make sure to follow Adam Kurkjian‘s coverage through MassVarsity – similar to John and Kevin, Adam has done a good job with providing Massachusetts football fans with content to consume with very few games being played – while Ryan Lanigan and Josh Perry have done a phenomenal job with their coverage through HockomockSports.com.

These are just three sites – yes, I know there are more – but these outlets have provided future content producers, writers, and editors with a blueprint of what they could create in certain pockets of the state of Massachusetts, along with the region for areas that have lost or need additional college and high school sports coverage.


Alright, that will do it for my first-ever ‘Noontime Sunday Thoughts’ column – hope you enjoyed it, and if you have any thoughts or ideas for next week’s post, please let me know. Send me a tweet message to @NoontimeSports or an email to MattNoonan@noontimesports.com.

No. 2 Notre Dame Remains Perfect, Tops BC, 45-31

Ian Book and the Notre Dame football team beat Boston College to improve to 8-0 overall. (PHOTO COURTESY: WNDU)

By NoontimeSports.com

Brian Kelly was worried about a potential letdown following his team’s thrilling win last week against fourth-ranked Clemson University. But instead, the Everett, Massachusetts native watched his second-ranked Notre Dame football team pick-up its eighth win of the season as the Fighting Irish beat Boston College, 45-31, in Chestnut Hill.

With the win, Notre Dame improves to 8-0, including 7-0 against Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) foes while Boston College dips to 5-4.

Notre Dame’s Ian Book completed 20 of 27 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for a game-high 85 yards on 10 carries and one score. All three of Book’s touchdown passes landed in the hands of Ben Skowronek, who caught fives passes for 63 yards. Boston College’s Jaelen Gill led all receivers with 105 receiving yards.

Despite a slow start, Notre Dame truly gained momentum, as well as the lead, in the second quarter by scoring three touchdowns to secure a 31-16 lead at the break.

The Fighting Irish’s lead would continue to grow as the second half progressed, but the Eagles were able to reduce the deficit with touchdowns by David Bailey and Hunter Long.

Notre Dame retained possession following Boston College’s final score and drained the clock with five rushing plays, along with a pair of kneel-downs following an unsportsmanlike penalty against Maximilian Roberts.

As a team, Notre Dame recorded 29 first downs while converting two fourth down attempts. They also produced 557 yards of total offense while Boston College finished the game with 357 total yards.

Tonight’s win was Brian Kelly’s 100th victory with the Fighting Irish. He joins Lou Holtz and Knute Rockne, who have also recorded 100 wins or more as the head coach of the Notre Dame football team.

Both teams are off next weekend, but will return to the gridiron on Friday, November 27. Boston College will host Louisville at 12 p.m. while Notre Dame will visit North Carolina for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff.

Daily Noontime (Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020)

By Matt Noonan

Good morning, everyone!

The sun is shining, the temperature is climbing, and I have a good feeling that today will be a great day for everyone.

And we know it will be a good day because we woke up to a New England Patriots victory last night. Yes, I know it was not the most impressive win as the Patriots needed Nick Folk to kick a game-winning field goal to beat the winless New York Jets, but perhaps this victory means the hometown team will not be “tanking” for Trevor Lawrence.

As for the Jets, they remain the favorite to land Trevor Lawrence in next year’s National Football League (NFL) Draft, but who knows if they will really select the best college football player in the country?

Later today, we’ll unveil our Noontime Sports Top 10 NFL teams heading into the tenth week of the season, so stay tuned to see who makes our list. But I can promise you that neither the Jets or Patriots will appear on the list.

Sticking with football, it appears as if the coronavirus is impacting a few college programs, including Louisiana State University (LSU), which is dealing with a “number of positive test results for COVID-19 this week.” The uptick in cases at LSU means their weekend meeting with the University of Alabama is up in the air, so stay tuned as I am sure we’ll learn more about this marquee matchup either later today or tomorrow.

The University of Notre Dame is another college in the spotlight with one journalist asking an important question: do we really need fans in the stands, especially during a pandemic? I don’t think we need fans – I am fine with watching games on my television or laptop, so my advice: stay home!

One last story to highlight: the National Basketball Association (NBA) and player union have reached an agreement “in principle on the start of the 2020-21 season.” Free agency will begin two days after the NBA Draft – that would be Friday, November 20 followed by training camp on Tuesday, December 1.

The 2020-21 NBA season is scheduled to tip-off Tuesday, December 22 with each team competing in 72 contests compared to the usual 82.

Have a great day, everyone, and remember to smile and think happy thoughts!

BC Football Is Headed In The Right Direction

By Matt Noonan

Let me begin by saying I tuned into yesterday’s Boston CollegeClemson University football game in the third quarter – yes, I know I missed an amazing first half by the Eagles. But the fact that BC, which is led by first-year coach Jeff Hafley, was able to dictate a majority of their conference clash with the top team in the land was impressive.

First-year coach Jeff Hafley and the Boston College football program are trending in the right direction. (PHOTO COURTESY: Boston Globe/NIC ANTAYA FOR THE GLOBE)

Yesterday’s outing was a moral victory. It was a step in the right direction. And it certainly was a contest that attracted more eyeballs than anticipated, especially when it appeared as if Boston College was going to shock the college football universe with a 28-13 lead at the break.

And oh, by the way, the Tigers were playing without their star-studded quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who missed the game due to testing positive for the coronavirus last Thursday.

Unfortunately, momentum would shift to the Tigers, who clawed their way back to beat the Eagles, 34-28.

With the win, Clemson improved to 7-0 while Boston College dipped to 4-3.

The six-point setback still hurts somewhat this morning. But this feeling will pass – I believe it.

Sure, it would have been amazing to see hour hometown Boston College Eagles celebrate a win in “Death Valley” on Halloween 2020, but that day will come eventually. And so will more victories, too, along with conference titles and bowl championships.

Hafley said he was “proud of our guys” shortly after his team’s seventh contest of the 2020 season. He also told members of the media during his post-game Zoom session that these Eagles entered Saturday’s tilt with some confidence – “they came out believing in each other (and) they came out believing in their coaching staff.”

Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec believes in the Eagles, too. In fact, he told the media that he his and teammates “already knew that” they could hang with the top teams in the land. And that statement was echoed by his teammate, CJ Lewis, who claims he and his teammates “always play with a chip on our shoulder.”

“We wanted to come out and show the world that we can play with the top dogs,” said Lewis during yesterday’s postgame session.

Lewis and the Eagles did prove to the world – well, more the college football universe, to be exact – that Boston College can compete with the nation’s top teams. And hopefully, yesterday’s defeat will prove that these Eagles should not be taken lightly over the next few weeks.

Boston College is scheduled to compete four more times this fall with a big matchup looming in the near future against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. A win over Notre Dame would certainly turn some heads, as well as provide the program with some momentum heading into their final two contests.

No matter what happens over the next few weeks, yesterday’s contest against top-ranked Clemson proved Boston College is on the rise and heading in the right direction. And these coaches and student-athletes should be proud about what they’re building in Chestnut Hill.

Daily Noontime (Monday, Oct. 19, 2020)

By NoontimeSports.com

Happy Monday, everyone!

We hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and ready for a great week. And by way, it is quite chilly outside – have you stepped out the door this morning?

Enough about the chilly temps – luckily, we live in New England so we should know that it will be a bit warmer later today – so let’s instead switch the subject from weather to sports and kick off the week with a brand new ‘Daily Noontime.’

Listen to today’s Noontime Sports Podcast featuring Ryan Irwin and Patrick Maddigan from Team IMPACT on Apple Podcast and Spotify!

And let’s begin today’s ‘Daily Noontime’ with … Tom Brady looking like Tom Brady yesterday – well, maybe not the old Tom Brady from 2002-2007? – as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rolled past the Green Bay Packers by a score of 38-10.

With the win, the Buccaneers improve to 4-2 while the Packers saw their four-game winning streak snapped – ouch!

The Buccaneers did not record a single penalty during yesterday’s matchup – seriously, no flags were throw against Bruce Arians‘ team! – while Ronald Jones rushed for 100 yards (again!).

Next week, the Buccaneers will visit the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday Night Football – that should be a good game, right? – while the Packers will host the Houston Texans.

In addition to the Buccaneers winning on Sunday, the Tennessee Titans looked great against the Houston Texans, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons snapped a five-game losing streak, and Philip Rivers and the Indianapolis Colts rallied to beat the Cincinnati Bengals.

Also, we saw a really good-looking Pittsburgh Steelers team trounce the Cleveland Browns while our hometown New England Patriots looked awful against the Denver Broncos.

Tonight – well, later today and yes, this evening – we’ll have some more football to watch with the Kansas City Chiefs visiting the Buffalo Bills while the Dallas Cowboys will entertain the Arizona Cardinals.

Let’s switch to baseball where the 2020 World Series is set to begin tomorrow evening between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays.

Both the Dodgers and Rays needed seven games to clinch the pennant. And this is a series we – yes, we! – are interested in watching and following.

Here are some things you need to know about this particular series, courtesy of ESPN.com.

Alright, here are some more links and news from the world wide web: