For purely selfish reasons, I hope more people start asking the same thing Pete Fiutak did.
Category Archives: Notre Dame’s Faint Echoes
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.
Let’s open up the chafing dishes.
- Brian Kelly got a little pissy with a reporter in the post-game presser. Yeah, she was a bit obnoxious herself, but the man’s got a tight sphincter.
- If you’ve ever wondered how a team could wind up facing a third-and-93, here’s a nice breakdown. (By the way, is there any play to run in that scenario that would work, other than a pass and a hope for a pass interference penalty?)
- Sounds like everyone had a nice time at yesterday’s Ole Miss infractions hearing.
- Is cheating really that rampant?
- The reason you can’t avoid the curse of small sample size.
- Southern Cal wants to erase a little history.
- Statistically speaking, Georgia looks fairly mediocre right now, except for this.
- An Oklahoma defensive lineman has sued the NCAA over his lost eligibility.
- Central Florida has now been forced to cancel two of its regular season games.
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.
Shorter Brian Kelly: Blah, blah, blah, blah-blah.
So many nuggets, so little time.
- For Florida, it takes a village to raise a mediocre offense.
- Distraction time: Brian Kelly’s been sued by a former player.
- The Jarrett Stidham hype train didn’t exactly burst out of the station in Auburn’s opener. Eh, it’ll probably kick in against Clemson’s defense this week…
- Strong mid-majors performance in this year’s recently concluded Fulmer Cup standings.
- A few SEC Network insights on Georgia’s defense and Jake Fromm after the opener.
- It sounds like the 1980 Georgia squad is as frustrated about the title drought as the rest of us are.
- You know your program is a finely tuned machine when you first learn about your injury status on Twitter.
- Here’s a look at our fan base from a Chicago perspective.
- Trent Thompson is coming on like gangbusters. “Thompson also added two tackles for a loss and a sack. In his last two games (counting last season’s bowl game) he has had 14 tackles, 5 ½ tackles for loss and four sacks. He had just two sacks in the first 12 games last season, before three in the bowl game against TCU and one on Saturday.”