It’s a new season for college football.
More big games, more hype, and another year of Notre Dame hype gone down the tubes. Only this time, it took all of one week to do so.
Despite out-gaining South Florida 508 to 248 yards, the Fighting Irish lost to the Bulls 23-20 at home. It was a bad loss, and only Notre Dame could do so in the ugliest fashion.
Only things couldn’t have started better for them. The Irish drove down the field on its opening drive. On third and goal from the 5-yard line, the running back lost the ball on the way to the end zone, only to have the defense go 95 yards the other way for a touchdown. It seemed like the wind was taken out of the Irish’s sails after that.
And boy did they unravel, and it started at the top. I thought that coach Brian Kelly’s head was going to explode after witnessing all five of his team’s turnovers. His players played scared thanks to his sideline tantrums.
The worst part about this loss was that the Irish was supposed to use a win over the Bulls to get some momentum going into the rest of the season – particularly the Michigan game next Saturday night. Something tells me the Irish will fall to 0-2 after the Michigan game.
Then comes the next few games: home against #17 Michigan State, at Pitt, at Purdue, then home against Air Force and USC. If Notre Dame loses to the Wolverines next week, it could be looking at 0-4 because I do not see Notre Dame winning over Michigan State and Pitt.
The more I’ve been watching the Irish the last few seasons, the more I think that college football has passed Notre Dame by…
Categories: college football, sports story
Great post. I’m not a Notre Dame hater, but I picked them to lose to South Florida. I think Notre Dame would be OK if they humbled themselves and joined a conference. By staying independent they are stuck out there on an island, and seem to be drowning in an ocean of their own arrogance. They can’t seem to find an identity or style of play that suits them. I think Kelly is a good coach, but he doesn’t quite have the players to run his system yet, so the verdict is still out.
It is too bad for Kelly because he is a good coach (hell, he turned the University of Cincinnati into national title contenders!). I’m afraid he’s going to burst a few veins on the sidelines because he just does not have the personnel to compete.
By the way, I think Notre Dame will join a conference sooner rather than later (paging the Big 10)…
Ok. Let’s talk turkey.
Notre Dame’s decisions will not be made by the University President, the AD or even be determined by their play on the field. Their fate rests with NBC.
Notre Dame’s contract with NBC to broadcast all their home games runs through 2015 and pays ND about $15 million per year. There has been a little slippage but ND generally wins the ratings battles with ESPN and ABC unless two top teams are playing each other. Also, the ND fan base is the largest in the country. It’s suburban, affluent, wide ranging and coveted by advertisers.
As of now, ND’s independent status is desirable for NBC. Look at their schedule. They hit all regions of the country like a rock band on tour. Mich and Mich State in the Midwest, Stanford and USC out West, Boston College and Maryland in the East, Wake and South Florida down south. And don’t forget very popular games with the military institutions, Air Force and Navy. They wouldn’t have this flexibility if they were tied down to a conference schedule. ND is a national attraction, win or lose.
Yes, ND needs to win and get back to being ranked and eligible for BCS bowls for NBC to really rake in the dough. But, even when they’re down on the field, they’re still the most profitable college team in the country. People who don’t like ND and resent their past success and favored status will tune in to watch them lose. But they’re still tuning in!
Don’t look for them to join a conference before 2015. Now, if they lose for four more years and NBC cuts them loose or downgrades the deal, then something might happen.
Yeah, ND is in a tough situation.
With each loss, the pressure to “relax” academic standards for football players will rise. You can’t compete with the big boys if the best recruits keep getting rejected by the admissions office. Yes, I know Stanford’s admission requirements are also strict. But they’re not a consistent power. They catch lightning in a bottle with Elway, Luck and McMahon every once in a while. Besides, recruiting in California is a much more advantageous than South Bend, Indiana. They also don’t have the expectations that ND has to deal with.
ND is in a catch 22. If they relax standards, they may win more games but will lose some respect from alumni and admininstrators who still think college football is played by “student-athletes” and not by “athlete-students” who dream of playing on Sundays and cashing stupendous checks every 1st and 15th.
Call me cynical, but if ND keeps losing, Coach Kelly will have his way. More attention will be paid to 40 times and the bench press than GPA’s and ACT’s.
Good post. Once again, money talks.
If the Big Ten had to choose between admitting ND or Boise St., they would take ND without batting an eye. The conferences are at war to grab the biggest fish they can find so they can be attractive to the networks. Whether a team is any good or not is not much of a consideration.
I think Notre Dame has Big 10 written all over it. Not only from a geographical standpoint, but the Irish already play a few Big 10 schools every year!
Could you imagine the amount of money the Big 10 would command with ND in the fold? Whoo-wee!!!
Agreed. ND is so perfect a fit for the Big Ten, it’s ridiculous.
The Big Ten has approached ND a couple of times. However, that NBC contract is the dealbreaker. ND won’t share it to the Big Ten’s satisfaction. I guess I don’t blame them. Perhaps NBC has secretly indicated to ND that they would prefer independence so NBC can control programming. Wouldn’t suprise me.
As long as NBC is playing Godfather, and the Big East was willing to take all the other ND sports except football, Notre Dame is cool.
Asking Notre Dame football to join a conference is like expecting Hugh Hefner to be a faithful husband. It ain’t in the cards.
You may have just answered your own question. “The Irish already play a few Big 10 schools every year”.
So, if …
1 – they already have all the lucrative matchups with Big 10 schools that they want,
2 – can still travel all over the country to play teams in fertile recruiting areas,
3 – join the Big East for all other sports and
4 – keep all the NBC football money to themselves,
why in the world should they tie themselves down to a conference?
After the last time they turned us down, there was boycott talk of Big Ten schools not playing ND. But it’s a big money game for Purdue, Mich and Mich State so we’d be hurting ourselves. Anyway, other schools would fall all over themselves to fill the open dates so ND wouldn’t be hurt much at all.
As long as NBC is paying the freight, ND is invulnerable. The only thing that they should fear is a bunch of losing seasons which might cause NBC to pull the plug.