BEHIND THE MIKE
Not that anybody cares, but Notre Dame is no longer relevant. As a matter of fact, the Irish haven’t been for some time now.
Many arguments can be made as to why, but there are those who actually feel that the main reasons are arrogance and pride, both of which have kept them from the one thing that could make them relevant again- conference affiliation.
The Irish were considered to be a favoring Big Ten affiliation back in the mid-nineties, but the so-called deal conceived in a backroom at a Big Ten meeting went south when the alumni overpowered the Administration, who was said to be favoring Big Ten affiliation.
Arrogance has a price tag. Now they are literally the “Little Sisters of the Poor” as quasi members of the ACC. That’s a real deal closer if you’re a five star athlete and you’re looking for the glitz and glamour of a major college platform.
Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine, and Lou Holtz are the people you may think about when you hear the term “Notre Dame Football.” Under the guidance of these men, Notre Dame transformed itself into a national powerhouse.
Notre Dame’s mystique runs deep through the campus. The Golden Dome, Touchdown Jesus, and Rudy Ruettiger have instilled pride and dare we say… arrogance in the Irish faithful.
Notre Dame Nation is convinced that anyone would love to coach there. Urban Myer, famed coach of Florida, was thought to be interested in taking the job when Charlie Weise was given the boot at the end of the 2009 season.
Let’s face it, Notre Dame is no longer a top-tier job, and that is exactly the problem with the current state of Irish football. With their NBC contract in hand, boosters and season ticket holders expect dominance in a day when 5-star football players would rather play in the sunny south in a real football conference, the SEC.
Since the Lou Holtz era ended in 1996, Notre Dame has hired and then fired, three different full-time replacements. None of them was given more than four years to get the program turned around. Charlie Weis led Notre Dame to the Fiesta, Sugar, and Hawaii bowl but got the axe one year later. Now comes Brian Kelly.
Over one stretch of time, Notre Dame had lost 11 consecutive games to ranked opponents, five of which were played in antiquated Notre Dame Stadium. Therein lay still another problem.
The facilities are so out of date that you have to wonder where the powers that be are spending all that NBC cash. It’s sure not on amenities. There are better high school stadiums in America than tradition-rich Notre Dame. Why does no one ever question the real cause of the Irish demise- the Administration?
They have not won a National Championship since 1988. For those of you scoring at home, that is over a quarter century without a title. Yet they still fancy themselves a powerhouse in college football?
And when they did make it to the BCS finals, they were lambasted 42-13 by Alabama for the National Championship.
The Irish have lost to teams like Navy. Navy has one major recruiting dilemma: all of their students have to go off to war! If the Irish can’t beat a team like that, then they are no better than any other small college in the country.
Notre Dame has made it the norm to lose to teams like Michigan State, Connecticut, Navy, North Carolina, and Boston College. These are not top ten powerhouse schools, but then again, neither is Notre Dame.
Since Lou Holtz left the program, nothing has been the same. Brian Kelly has the makings of a good coach. The university should not be quick to fire him after three or four years. He will need time to get his team, his players, and his mindset instilled into this program.
With recent academic questions being raised about a school that egotistically fancies itself one of the leading research universities in the world, even the glitz and glamour of that proud legacy is dwindling.
Perhaps it’s time for the Administration of hit a knee and say “Bless me Father, for we have sinned. We are guilty of arrogance and pride.”