Notre Dame – Spreading the Holiday Shaft

It looks like a strong possibility that the University of Notre Dame football team will score an invitation to one of the coveted BCS bowl games.  You’ll recall last year that their doors were blown off the hinges by a high-powered Ohio State team that is playing for the national championship.  Many national media types thought ND’s Brady Quinn would outperform OSU’s Troy Smith and lead his squad to victory.  It didn’t happen.  In fact, that debacle on national television set the stage for the most memorable games of Notre Dame’s 2006 season: blowout losses to Michigan and USC.

Narrow escapes against pathetic Michigan State and a too-tentative UCLA squad will be highlights for the team video.  Promotions aside, Notre Dame has a long way to go and is not quite among the elite.  So, why are they scoring this multi-million dollar invite to one of the bigger dances?  It seems that there is a rule which precludes 3 teams from the same conference from participating in the series.  Some funny things happened at the end of the season and ND finds itself in a prime position to benefit from their legacy and the oddities  that define college football.

The Big 10 conference will send two teams to the BCS series: Ohio State (conference chamption) and Michigan.   The SEC will send its champion (Florida) and LSU.  The Pac-10 champion USC will be joined by Louisville (Big East), Oklahoma (Big 12), and Wake Forest (ACC).  These conference champions earn automatic bids.  Boise State is undefeated at 12-0 and is likely to get in.  That’s the 9th spot.  There is one spot remaining.

That final spot cannot go to an 11-1 Wisconsin team because they play in the Big Ten with Ohio State and Michigan.  The final spot may not be awarded to a valiant 10-3 Arkansas team (which should really, really focus on ignoring punts inside the 10 yard line) or to a feisty 10-2 Auburn team which has defeated both of its conference’s BCS representatives (Florida and LSU).  Less worthy teams like West Virginia and Rutgers played themselves out of consideration with “bad losses” to South Florida and Cincinnati, respectively.  As it stands, Notre Dame is next in line to benefit from this charade.

I suspect that in addition to the 3 powerhouses in the Big 10 and SEC who will be watching the BCS at home, and the 2 squads from the Big East, there are several other teams (Tennessee, California, Virginia Tech, perhaps even Texas) capable of delivering serious damage to ND’s psyche in a bowl game.  As it stands now, that task will fall to with a nasty, nasty defense and a powerful, physical offense.  There are no more weak sisters.  There are no more places to run and hide.  There is only exposure and repitition.  Whether the opponent is Boise State (not likely), USC (impossible), Michigan (a true injustice), LSU (an absolute disaster for ND) or Oklahoma (by all accounts a 12-1 powerhouse) or even Florida (see Michigan above), the Fighting Irish are in for a long ride.

Besides, does anyone really want to play the weak sister with the pretty dress and the bloody nose?  You are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.  The real losers in all of this will be national audiences who are left to wonder how good that 11-1 Wisconsin team really is, or those who have not had a chance to see Arkansas against elite national competition because they were shopping while the Hogs tangled with Florida or were working while they battled the Bayou Bengals.  And what about Auburn?  Does anyone really think that ND could keep up with those other SEC Tigers?  These teams with a combined record of 31-6 and wins over elite competition will be on the outside looking in, while NBC’s favorite footballers go to the banquet.  Everyone and their mother has seen Notre Dame’s tired act (thanks to NBC).  Perhaps when the whistle blows to signal that BCS kickoff, the most important group of folks to see that tired act will be wearing maroon or purple or maize jerseys – and they will act mercifully, on our behalf, and put those pretenders out of their Rocknesia-induced misery.

Sadly, they are not what they were, nor what they need to be.  They are merely a shadow of whom they profess to be.  For those in the national media who would dare make them less a 7 to 10 point underdog in any matchup are only feeding a delusional Touchdown Jesus who hasn’t been redeemed on the field in almost 10 years.  Given the orientation of the school and the quality of their team, I’d much rather see them in the Holiday Bowl.

19 comments

  1. I agree with your comments on the ridiculousness of the BCS, but Notre Dame is as much a victim as a beneficiary. The way the rules are written, teams are eligible only if they are in the top 12, and guaranteed if they are in the top 8 — unless they are the third team to qualify in one conference. I don’t believe a team qualified and part of the contract (i.e., all major conferences and Notre Dame) can refuse if they are chosen. ND cannot possibly be looking forward to playing another fast team, but they are going to becasue they have no choice. The system needs revamping, but is it fair to belittle Notre Dame? I think they would love to play Boise State, who also qualifies under these rules even though they would have three or four losses in the PAC10, Big Ten, SEC, etc.

  2. Looks like ND drew the “absolute disaster” card in getting LSU in the Sugar Bowl. They’re already 8.5 point dogs to the Tigers. Ouch.

  3. This game will do for JaMarcus Russell what last year’s game did for Troy Smith. ND will find out that the safeties can never play too deep (70-yard game winner to Devery Henderson – two years ago) and the safeties can never be too close to help out in run support. Should be fun.

  4. Notre Dame should apologize to jerks like you for being Notre Dame. I don”t think so. I guess you would rather us all keep reading about all the academic and moral excellence being generated at the Florida schools (particularly Miami) and places like Tennessee and USC. Maybe ND will never again be able to compete with them but at least they have standards. I recently read that Jarrett from USC recently made good on his grudge against them for not admitting him with a 820 SAT score. The guy so stupid he didn’t even realize he was giving Nd a kudo.

  5. What does that mean – “being Notre Dame” – exactly? Does it mean reaping the multi-million benefits of a national television contract based on the exploits of Holtz-era teams that had questionable standards? Or does it mean deciding for the first time in the history of the institution to back track out of a contract prior to expiration (Willingham)? Or does it mean failing to do your due diligence before announcing the hiring of a fraud? Or does it mean pushing the panic button and granting an NFL assistant a 10-year contract? Or does it mean getting smoked in big games while standing on academics, but winning games against teams like MSU or PSU and then talking about great players with competitive spirits? Or does it simply mean being full of shit – like you? What does it really mean to be ND? Holla back scrub – ’cause your team sucks ass! And the prospects on the horizon are not too good. LSU is going to mop the floor with your entire squad on both sides of the ball – and then they’re alums will work for alums – is that how it works? Phukkin’ snob. Keep it real…Eat a dick up – and bounce!!

  6. Since those smart ND kids are not really good football players, they should play in the Mensa Bowl or the IQ.com Bowl against squads like Vanderbilt or Stanford or the Ivy Leaguers. If ND is truly a team in purgatory (too smart and too slow for the big boys and too big and strong for the kiddy table) then the answer is not inclusion in the BCS. It’s simply a joke. The answer has to something befitting their status as a dinosaur of the college football world. They should be relegated to playing other underachieving teams with cupcake schedules in really shitty locales. I’m thinking a titanic tilt against Florida State or a rematch of that epic with Michigan State or perhaps the Ivy League champ. They could play it in one of the Dakotas (no offense, it’s just damn cold).

  7. Way to take a Juco to fill a gap next year. Way to graduate 50% of your African-American players. Treating these kids like cattle is very commendable.

  8. Just a comment so you don’t have to keep writing to yourself. Unlike you, I’ll try to keep my language out of the gutter. I lost sight of the fact that you said you were a Michigan grad, so now I understand the language and the ND hatred. Sorry, someday maybe more than a few midweaterners will give a rat’s ass about Michigan football and then you also will have your own TV station. ND snob, hell I never went to college and run a farm. I just like what ND stands for and not just football. By the way, I ran out of video tape so I had to tape over the ND games with MSU and PSU in order to make room for the colossal Michigan battles with Vanderbilt, Central Michigan, Northwestern and that powerhouse Ball State. Michigan beat up ND pretty good this year so congrats. I hate to say it but GO TROJANS.

  9. once you go to “jerk,” i get to set the floor – just below that rat’s ass in the gutter.

    i think what you meant to say – instead of that meandering tinged with nonsensical regional bias – is that you know precisely zero about this game, about the history of ND, about how long it’s been since they competed at the upper echelons of the sport without violating their own standards (think Ara Parseghian, think 1970 – almost four decades).

    you should probably find another spot to defend busters like the Golden Domers. it’s cool that you respect what they stand for, but you’ve chosen to ignore the fine print. as a result, your ignorance (literally) is a choice – it’s not an accident – it’s an act of will.

    who are rooting for? what are you identifying with? what are you defending? mediocrity? compromised standards? get it together, joe. don’t believe the hype. SNAP OUT OF IT!!!!

  10. When was the last time UM beat an undefeated and/or #1 team in a bowl game? Never.

    When was the last time UM won an outright National Championship? 1947.

    “about how long it’s been since they competed at the upper echelons of the sport without violating their own standards” – Lou Holtz didn’t violate ND’s standards. He won big game after big game including 4 in a row over UM.

    Notre Dame is down for 10 years after 2 poor coaches and everyone tries to write them off. Funny thing is over that 10 year drought ND had an even record against UM.

    It’s really funny how many people hate and bash Notre Dame now that their football program is getting good again. Why do you care so much about us Temple?

    Why does UM only graduate 50% of it’s African-American players? I thought UM was a top university, but apparently the rules don’t apply to athletes. Why did Adrian Arrington not miss any playing time after assaulting his girlfriend and driving drunk as a minor? Schools like UM let the kids do what ever they want with little or no punishment. Yet fans continue to rag and rip on ND, and for what, because they are jealous.

  11. nice rant, but it qualifies as changing the subject. holtz clearly violated notre dame’s standards in admitting the players which were the cornerstones of his teams. the link’s already posted upthread…remember his dalliance with randy moss? i’m not actually even questioning his ethics. i believe that lou and many coaches also believe that if they just get these young men to college, they can make a difference and improve their life chances.
    as for the arrington case – i don’t have all the details – and i’ll say from here – it sounds like he’s got much more trouble headed his way. carr should’ve done a much better job there…but my contention has never been about the FACT that college football is a business. that’s the way institutions like UM do business – and don’t get it twisted, just because I’m bashing your squad does not mean I’m defending the integrity of UM…that would be an absurd leap of faith. don’t fall in the kierkegaarden.
    UM does dirt just like all of those SEC schools which have been on probation for years. they stockpile players they have no intention of using – and they deny financial aid to poorer students who do not compete on the football – they discourage smart players from taking challenging courses – they exacerbate isolation between athletes and the general student population – and they also use an inordinate amount of community resources and on and on…but none of that has a damn thing to do with ND and its present situation. if you wanna have that conversation, i’m all for it…
    it’s a business that masquerades as something much more. ND is a big part of that masquerade – and your questions about your Daddy (the school which brought the game to ND) doesn’t make ND any less of an SOB for waiving the white flag on academic integrity or any more deserving of a spot in this year’s BCS.
    also, michigan has been a national power for years…1 championship in 1997 (not outright), but that’s not as big a deal as you make it out to be…after all there’s alot of that going around right now. tell it to Auburn and USC and LSU and whomever else is willing to bend an ear.
    the point, simply, is that ND sucks ass and has done exactly that for nearly four decades – with only minor episodic excellence occasioned by blatant disregard for their own high standards. if you wanna make this about the goings on in Ann Arbor, knock yourself out, but it won’t change a damn thing in South Bend. ya dig.

  12. 4 decades, that would put us back to 1966 or the first of 2 National Championships for Parseghian. Does that mean the 1973 and 1977 NC’s mean nothing? And 1988 doesn’t count because a few players were let in due to relaxed academic standards, right? Winning 8-10 games in many seasons over the last 4 decades means nothing? So unless ND wins the NC every other year we suck ass huh?

    What exactly dictates a national power? Before this year UM had lost at least 3 games going back to 1999 including losing 6 or 7 road openers eliminating them form NC contention in Sept. In now Lloyd Carr’s 13th season this will only be his 3rd of 2 or fewer losses. Gary Moeller, lucky for you he got drunk and was fired. Then there’s your legendary coach Bo Schembechler. He was a great coach, but NEVER won a NC.

    Bo’s frustration undoubtedly stems in part from the fact that during his tenure at Michigan, three different Notre Dame coaches won national championships while Bo never got close. And throughout Lou Holtz’s tenure, Notre Dame won five major bowls and played in four others while Michigan was going 2-3 in the Rose Bowl and not making any other major bowl games. Bo, who had the worst record against top-ten teams of any coach who ever won over a hundred games, had some of his most galling and embarrassing defeats at the hands of the Irish, including three straight losses to Holtz to close his career, Harry Oliver’s 51-yard boot, Bob Crable’s blocked field goal, Ricky Watter’s punt return helping catapult Notre Dame to a national championship in 1988 and Rocket’s two kick returns in 1989. So Bo’s desire to avoid Notre Dame is understandable. His class and Michigan manner were recently displayed yet again when in true statesman of the game style he proclaimed “To hell with Notre Dame.”

    What iy all boils down to is Michigan = Mediocre.

    A few questions for you?

    Where is the college football Hall of Fame located?
    What school has the most National Championships?
    What school has the most Heisman trophy winners?
    What school has the most All-Americans?
    What school has the most players in the college football Hall of Fame?
    What school has sent the most players to the NFL?
    What school has the most players in the NFL Hall of Fame?
    What school is everyone jealous of?

    Notre Dame.

  13. If you get any more defensive about the wrong topic, we’re liable to be mistaken for people who never attended these schools.

    Another great rant, but more obfuscation…this is not about Notre Dame’s impeccable history. that’s not at issue. This is not about your laundry list of past accomplishments. It’s quite simply about the dichotomy of heart and mind that afflicts most Golden Domers and their apologists.

    (btw, upthread, I wrote nearly four decades…still – the essence of the point remains unhinged.)

    this dichotomy is reflected in your dance which allows “a few players” to get in without naming the players – and confronting the ugly truth. there were transgressions that bridged the gap from the 70’s to today. own it. claim it the same way you claim the national championship. to borrow from that famed U alum Michael Irvin: “The same intensity! I want to see the same intensity!”

    notre dame is clearly to college football what the yankees are to mlb and what the canadiens are to hockey and the celtics to the nba. granted…but the past is not the present – and ND’s inclusion in this BCS is a holdover from the past…

    Do you think NBC was thinking about Holtz’ shenanigans when they inked that contract with ND? Doubt it. They were thinking about those 8 minutes drives with 15 run plays to absolute crush opposing defenses. They were thinking about Watters and Ishmael and Brown and Bettis and Zorich and…They were thinking about ND-Miami and fights in the tunnel…They were thinking that waking up the echoes would be child’s play with another great coach and that no one would watch the classrooms. They were wrong. So, the BCS has a contract which is essentially an extension of the TV contract – and this deal is subsidizing ND’s mediocrity.

    Now, you can ignore that, but it doesn’t change the facts on the ground…regular blowouts against elite teams…long streak of bowl losses…fewer and fewer NFL players.

    As for UM mediocrity, the same could have been said of such powerhouses as OSU before Tressel (as it often was said), of Nebraska (before Osborn caught lightning in a bottle or Frazier in a bottle), of Florida (before Spurrier got his do-over against FSU), of Florida State (before Charlie Ward bailed out Bobby Bowden), and of countless other schools who routinely sit atop the polls. Michigan is one of those teams.

    NDs history is incomparable, but so is the double speak…and it’s bullshit from here to there. Instead of obfuscating around the fact that through no fault of the current regime, ND will benefit ahead of three superior teams – you’d be better off convincing your alums to adopt a few elementary schools in Florida and Texas to buy those kids some books and some highly-qualified teachers and some future recruits…’cause as it stands right now, all you’ll have for the next two or three decades is double speak.

    quite simply, it can’t only be about “doing the right thing” when you lose.

    the answers to most of those questions used to be michigan and before that – Princeton – and at this rate, ND will also become the answer to a trivia question. the winds of change are blowing. and the winds are stronger than you’d imagine – after all, you don’t consider yourself as defending a team and legacy that hasn’t won (by its own rules) since NINETEEN SEVENTY-SEVEN – do you?

  14. The NBC contract: Notre Dame is in a unique position having a national fan base much larger than any other school, by a wide margin. Having every home game broadcast nationally (and pretty much every road game) allows all their fans to watch them play. The majority of the money ND receives from the NBC contract goes towards scholarships for students less off financially. Shame on Notre Dame for doing what every other school would do in their position.

    ND didn’t create the BCS bro, don’t hate the player, hate the game.

    “Now, you can ignore that, but it doesn’t change the facts on the ground…regular blowouts against elite teams…long streak of bowl losses…fewer and fewer NFL players.”

    Is Notre Dame the only program that’s gone through a down period? Back to back 10 win seasons isn’t too shabby, especially when you consider the average of their last 4 recruiting classes is outside the top 25. Regular blowouts against elite teams, yes, under very bad coaching, and with much less talent. Fewer and fewer NFL players, well if you check with Mel Kiper Jr. there’s 5 ND players who could go in the 1st round of next year’s draft, including Brady Quinn who could go #1.

    As far as the future, I have a feeling that’s why you wrote this post in the first place. Under Charlie Weis Notre Dame is becoming a national power again. Last year a top 10 recruiting class followed up by a top 5, if not #1 class this year…and academic standards were/are not compromised. Like many non-nd fans around the country you can feel the Irish gaining momentum and can’t stand it.

    “the answers to most of those questions used to be Michigan and before that – Princeton” You are right, but that was about a century ago when touchdowns were only worth 5 points….

  15. about that fan base: you’ve hit it right on the head J Dub…

    1) fan base ignores holtz era transgressions and basks in glory of 80’s and 90’s (as well as previous era’s) – rather than assessing condition of team facing new landscape since 1970’s. it’s called looking the other way.

    2) difficult to tell if this is ND turning the corner because the only evidence we have are blowouts – but the recruiting is picking up…you’ve been down this road before. the jury is still out.

    3) this 2006 team is the beneficiary of an agreement that runs counter to the very principles for which you’d like to slap praise on the back of school. cut corners – get phat deal; live off phat deal till you don’t have to cut corners…deal with the devil anyone. “Damn Irish!”?

    now that would be fine without the moralizing, but you can’t seem to get a morality-free convo out of anyone regarding ND…why is that? admit your kinship to the florida’s and alabama’s of the world and we can all go back to business, and I mean bizniz.

    If it’s okay to kick a few thousand dollars to those poor kids at ND (both of them), then its gotta be ok to skip on those standards – because that’s where the TV money came from. And if its okay to get in the BCS because the entry card is signed by NBC, then its okay to be underqualified. As long as you have a “track record.” This should sound real familiar.

    I don’t hate the player or the game…they are what they are – and so is ND’s overly loud protestation that they know absolutely about “the game” and are solely committed to doing what’s best for folks. that’s one way to look at it, but it’s tough to square empirically.

    with that said, college football is better when ND is competitive – and you can add Alabama and Nebraska and Florida State to that list as well. CF needs that fight song and that stadium and that art work…but everyone can’t be good every season.

    btw, i don’t blame those losses on the coaches…there were some serious talent deficits at the most difficult positions to recruit for in a short period of time. it’s a question of talent, talent, talent…and while ND may have 5 first rounders, the bottom drops out pretty quickly after that…because if they really are that talented, then there really is no excuse.

    can’t have it both ways, so which way do ya want it?

  16. “holtz era transgressions” you’ve blown this way out of proportion. Hotlz had virtually unlimited talent, he would have won without a few relaxes by admissions.

    With our without the NBC contract Notre Dame would still be the top draw and selected by a major/BCS bowl just like they always have. This is not always such a great thing either because it usually means playing a very good team.

    As far as money goes, the BCS payout of 4.5 Mil or the NBC contract are a very small fraction of what the football program brings in.

    “difficult to tell if this is ND turning the corner because the only evidence we have are blowouts – but the recruiting is picking up…you’ve been down this road before.”

    When were we down this road before? We haven’t had anyone recruit like Weis since Holtz. Blowouts, you’re talking about 3 games, we played USC last year to the final play, a team with a 30+ game winning streak and loaded with talent.

    Remember, it’s never too late to convert to a Notre Dame fan.

  17. Probably wayyy out of proportion. You guys probably win without Rice, Watters, Rocket, Bettis and Bryant Young. I can’t call it. Holtz was brilliant…still is.

    NBC contract 1991 – follows those championships that you probably win without those guys. Probably right again.

    Money is irrelevant because it’s a small portion of overall budget…cool.

    Ty Will had a #5 recruiting class – couldn’t follow it up with another top 10, but then again, he wasn’t there too long. cup of coffee and C YA.

    As for the USC game last year, you’re not the only team that gave them trouble. SC won by the length of their short and curlies in the desert at ASU – and survived an epic battle with Fresno State. nice company.

    it’s too late, but thanks for the love. I feel you. And I’d prefer if you guys didn’t get blown out in big games – but since you are…ya ought to stay out of the BCS – especially when the dance card is stamped Prop 48.

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