The Marty Smith Podcast: Mike Golic Jr. Talks College Football, Including His Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Former Teammate Manti Te’o

by Chris Haney

The Marty Smith Podcast is back once again with more banter between the guys. And, of course, another special guest joined the show. This week, we’ve got Mike Golic Jr., a former Notre Dame football player turned ESPN analyst. He stopped by the podcast to talk all things college football.

Before talking to Golic Jr. though, the guys revisit their weekends. It was an eventful one, to say the least. Co-host Wes Blankenship injured his foot when a large can opener fell from his pantry about six feet down onto his toes. Following the bloody aftermath of the incident, which he described as a scene from Dexter, he took a trip to the hospital. Doctors fully expect for three of his smashed toes to lose their toenails, but the guys got some laughs out of his story. We’re pretty sure Wes has PTSD whenever he goes near his pantry now.

Additionally, Marty’s sister-in-law and a bunch of her friends had a wild bachelorette weekend. On Saturday, Marty took the bachelorette and her crew on a pontoon boat to a party spot on Lake Norman, just north of Charlotte, NC. In fact, Marty brought on both his sister-in-law and his TV producer who was at the lake to corrobrate his story and share their perspectives on the crazy weekend.

Former ESPN Analyst Mike Golic Jr. Joins the Party

Plus, we get a healthy dose of college football talk as former ESPN analyst Mike Golic Jr. joined the show. The 2022 NCAA football season just began. And the first full weekend of games is coming up in just a few days. Golic Jr. followed in his father Mike Golic Sr.’s footsteps and played his college ball at Notre Dame. Therefore you know the Fighting Irish is in the Golics blood and runs deep.

The former O-lineman shares his expectations for No.5-ranked ND’s huge Week 1 matchup against No. 2-ranked Ohio State. He also chimes in about his former ND teammate, Manti Te’o. Recently, the linebacker was the focus of a Netflix documentary. The doc followed his football career and an infamous catfishing incident when he was in college. We’ve got that and a lot more on the newest episode of The Marty Smith Podcast.

Mike Golic Jr. Discusses His Expectations for Notre Dame Against Ohio State in Week 1

There’s a couple different ways to look at an epic Week 1 matchup between two Top 5 teams. A) It’s a win for college football to have two premier teams face off so early. Or, B) Whoever loses might have their championship hopes ruined in the first week of the season.

“Ohio State hosting Notre Dame… what an amazing, amazing Week 1 matchup,” host Marty Smith said to Golic Jr. “So, what do you expect from both sides as they both try to get off quickly towards what might be a playoff run?”

Right off the bat, Golic Jr. admitted he expects the Buckeyes to win, especially since it’s a home game in Columbus. The football analyst pointed to the fact that OSU is returning most of its offensive starters and said they’re “basically an NFL offense.”

“I expect [Ohio State] to win because the firepower they have on the outside is there. But I expect Notre Dame to make it a bloody mess along the way,” Golic Jr. said on The Marty Smith Podcast. “Because this is a team that is thin at wide receiver right now [and] breaking in a new quarterback. But they can play some defense – that much has not changed in a year. They’ve still got a lot of good personnel back there.”

Golic Jr. is expecting the Fighting Irish to utilize a similar gameplan to the one they used against Alabama in 2021. He thinks they’ll make things interesting at the line of scrimmage. Golic Jr. thinks if the Fighting Irish can get the ball to their superstar tight end, and if the defense comes up with a couple huge plays, they at least have an opportunity of keeping it close with a chance at an upset.

“I just don’t know if [ND quarterback] Tyler Buchner who we saw some last year can air it out to keep up with the pace of this game. But I think it’s a good learning experience for Notre Dame in an incredible environment in Week 1,” he added.

Mike Golic Jr. Opens Up About His Former Fighting Irish Teammate Manti Te’o

During Mike Golic Jr.’s time in South Bend, Indiana, he played alongside one of the greatest linebackers in college football history – Manto Te’o. Unfortunately for Te’o, his historically great Notre Dame career was completely overshadowed by a controversial catfishing story. In recent weeks, Netflix released a documentary called Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist. The film shined a light on the wild story. Most importantly, it helped vindicate Te’o, who became a laughing stock across the world.

The guys had to speak to Mike Golic Jr. about the popular documentary who lived through that whole situation. He said it was a hectic year as Notre Dame produced an undefeated season. That year, Te’o was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. Yet he also said there was never anything “off” about the situation. So, no one had any clue about the whole ordeal with Te’o’s fake girlfriend.

“People were just so ready to get jokes off in this situation,” Golic Jr. said. “You forget that there’s a real person in the middle of this who for a while was accused of being in on this, which I never gave any sort of credence to. Being around Manti, the one thing I knew was this was 100% sincere, and that he was duped. He truly believed he was talking to someone on the other end of that that was a person he was interested in.”

Host Marty Smith went on to praise the Untold documentary. Not only for simply being well done, but for clearing the black cloud around Te’o who’s never had a chance to tell his whole side of the story. If you haven’t watched it yet, it’s well worth your time.

The guys talk to Mike Golic Jr. about that and much more on the newest episode of The Marty Smith Podcast. Make sure to check out the entire podcast in the link below, or listen to their full conversation on Spotify, Apple, or wherever else you listen to your favorite podcasts.