Category Archives: Notre Dame’s Faint Echoes

Right place, wrong time

One of the minor puzzlements of the Notre Dame game was how pedestrian Irish left tackle Mike McGlinchey, who’s considered by many to be a surefire first-round NFL draft pick, looked.  Well, this might explain things a little.

That being said, blocking Bellamy and Carter didn’t help his case.

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It’s a wonderful line.

Every time Brian Kelly says, “We know what we did against Georgia and what we needed to improve on”, an angel gets his wings.

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Asking the right question

For purely selfish reasons, I hope more people start asking the same thing Pete Fiutak did.

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Give the people what they want.

In explaining that there’s no good reason to blame Notre Dame fans for accommodating the desire of our fan base to show up in South Bend, Michael Elkon makes an excellent point that college football’s decision makers ignore at their own risk.

Additionally, the reaction of Dawg fans to the chance to travel to South Bend is a reminder that there is huge, untapped demand among big college football fan bases to see their teams play other elite programs on the road and not at NFL stadiums.

One way to illustrate this point is to look at how the most popular programs have never visited one another. Here are the top 10 in attendance from 2016: Michigan, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Penn State, Texas, Georgia, and Nebraska. There are 90 potential home-and-home combinations among those teams. In over a century of football, 33 of these matchups have never happened. That’s a bevy of road trips that big fan bases have never gotten to take.  [Emphasis added.]

Put Saturday’s game in some sterile environment like Jerry World and I guarantee you never would have heard stories about Georgia fans taking over Dallas.  Sure, there would have been plenty of folks from around here to make the trip, but the cachet of seeing one of college football’s storied environments would have been missing.

As the highlighted portion of Michael’s piece indicates, college football has this treasure trove of matchups it could mine.  What happened last weekend should be an indication that it should make a concerted effort to do so.  If even Greg McGarity could make something like that happen, any program should be able to do it.

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Tuesday morning buffet

Let’s open up the chafing dishes.

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“You saw Notre Dame every weekend.”

Ivan Maisel makes an intriguing argument:  that as the focus of college football shifts from regional to national appeal, Notre Dame’s uniquely national status is in the process of being eclipsed.

Once upon a time, Notre Dame served as the gold standard in college football. It was a national program in a regional sport.

“If you lived in this part of the country, you were interested in the SEC, period,” said Roy Kramer, who retired in 2002 after 12 years as Southeastern Conference commissioner and moved to Tennessee. “The only other entity with name recognition was Notre Dame.”

In the 1960s and ’70s, when the NCAA controlled its members’ TV rights and allowed no team to be televised more than two or three times a year, only one school had a nationally syndicated highlights show that ran on Sundays.

“You saw Notre Dame every weekend,” former Fighting Irish coach Tyrone Willingham said. “If they weren’t on the Saturday broadcast, I know, like a lot of kids, I ran home from church at noon to catch Notre Dame highlights.”

In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA could not demand control of a program’s TV rights as a condition of membership. Those rights belong to the schools. Seven years later, in 1991, Notre Dame sold its TV rights to NBC. A school with its own network … that, as it turned out, became just one more game in a sea of Saturday football.

The Supreme Court decision triggered the rise of power among the conferences, which packaged their members’ rights to sell to the TV networks. These days, every team is shown to someone pretty much every week.

Add to that what a college football playoff is doing to shape the arc of the regular season, and it’s hard to avoid a perception of erosion.  Or, as Maisel puts it, “Notre Dame no longer stands above the rest. It stands above most.”

That’s reflected in the postseason pot of money.

In the original iteration of the BCS, when the conferences needed Notre Dame to participate to legitimize the format, Notre Dame received a conference-sized payout for making a BCS bowl. For instance, in 2005, the Irish received $14.5 million for playing in the Fiesta Bowl, the same as the Big Ten received and shared among its members for Ohio State being on the other sideline.

But beginning the following year, the Irish received only $4.5 million per BCS gig, along with a guarantee of $1.3 million annually whether they reached a BCS bowl or not. In the College Football Playoff era, Notre Dame received $2.83 million last season. The Power Five conferences split $55 million among their 65 members.

Makes you wonder if the pride of independence is worth the money the school is letting slide.

 

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”We’re not a read and react defense. We’re going to create a new line of scrimmage.”

Shorter Brian Kelly:  Blah, blah, blah, blah-blah.

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