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« Under the Radar... Barely | Main | Gross Naivete »
Sunday
May212006

Red Flag

Cool: Notre Dame is considering a return to its "barnstorming" ways, playing in a lot of fun venues against unusual opponents across the country.

Not cool: It's also sending a nervous signal about its desire to create a beefy schedule (H/T BGS)

We need to schedule in a way to put us in position to win national championships. We could have a great football team and schedule ourselves out of a national championship. That last time I checked, the most important thing here is to win national championships

You know where I stand on this.

Unlike most critics, I've applauded Notre Dame's scheduling practices over the years.  They've left several national championships on the field over the years in losing to annual foe USC, for starters.  They've also beat up on the service academies and grabbed some midlevel fodder.  But that fodder's often turned out to be pretty good, such as mid-late 90's Purdue and Northwestern teams that Notre Dame didn't expect to be on the upswing.  They've also taken on Florida State, Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State and other powers.

But they need to continue to seek that schedule.  This weary signal is not a good one, especially because Notre Dame is college football's flagship franchise.

Notre Dame may or may not schedule itself out of championships, but they might also schedule themselves into a situation where their schedule is so strong that they cannot possibly face dispute in the face of something similar to say, the 2003 BCS fiasco.  Even better, if they get by a particularly rough schedule and win a national championship, there will be plenty of "best ever" type arguments for having survived a very strong schedule.

The big picture goal of any sports team is to win.  But the athletes themselves are playing to compete.  Why remove the competition when you have a choice of a more competitive path or a less competitive one?

I trust Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White will do the right thing.

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Reader Comments (6)

While I don't disagree with your point, I don't believe ND has scheduled themselves out of any national titles within the last decade. In the 80's? Sure. But, the last great, deserving ND squad was '93, and they lost the national title that year because of a bad performance against BC. The Fiesta Bowl squad that was throttled by Oregon State wasn't really even deserving to be in that game (and I think it showed).
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterIAR
IAR, I think CFR was talking about ND teams of the 70's and 80's. No one would argue that a Davie or Willingham team was antwhere near "championship caliber."
May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGK
This is one of the biggest problems in college football today. Teams unwillingness to play adequate competition. Nothing is more infuriating as an ND fan then to watch us play WAC, MAC, etc. I don't mind the Navy game due to the historic nature of the game, but why do we need to play Army as well? This problem exists everywhere. Georgia plays W. Kentucky and UAB in addition to their already nasty slate of conference foes, Vandy, Miss. State, etc. Texas picks up Rice, North Texas, and Sam Houston State. Wow!

Who decided that in order to win a NC you could play a max. of 3 good teams? When I look at ND's schedule, I want to see Penn State, Michigan, USC, Tenn., FSU, etc. Not because I am worried about the impact on an NC, but because it means each week I get to see my team play a great game. The NC will work itself out if we have the best team. I want to see Texas/OSU, OK/GA, Michigan/Tennessee. Of course I am probably just dreaming.

May 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMFH
Yes, I was talking mostly about 70's era Notre Dame teams.

93 Notre Dame is one of my most favorite recent CFB teams, still kind of laugh about Jeff Burris taking snabs at TB and running through Derrick Brooks (although to be fair the guy was on the ground) for a touchdown against Florida State.
May 22, 2006 | Registered CommenterCFR
About trusting others in positions of authority to do the right thing...Here is an applicable story:
In the 30's, a green reporter, assigned to cover the British Foreign Office, found that the press briefings were held at 6 PM, but the deadline for his copy was at 4. How was he supposed to keep his readers up-to-date? Easy, said the old hands. In any situation, just assume the Foreign Office would take the most cowardly/dishonorable path available, and write your story as if they had just announced that. You'll never go far wrong.
May 24, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteralex
I've got to give Notre Dame credit on this one. Being a BC alum and viewing my team's non-conference schedule (mostly against I-AA teams), I realize it is too easy for a school to schedule five cupcakes to get close to the six wins required for a bowl birth (that minimum should be moved to eight.)
June 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterB Moor

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