Ten Reasons to Hate Notre Dame
This is by Mark Zais, a guest YBW contributor, enjoy.
Notre Dame is the devil. I know that it sounds harsh, but there are some of us who believe that Notre Dame signifies everything that is wrong about college football…big money, media bias, and the BCS system.
For years, football fans have been forced to hear about the rich tradition of Notre Dame and made to feel guilty for finding reasons not to like the Fighting Irish. From the constant barrage of praise and adoration given by the media and their fans, one almost feels blasphemous or sacrilegious in rooting against them. Listed below are some of the top reasons why I believe that Notre Dame football is undeserving of its sanctimonious status and should be exposed as what they really are….nothing more than an elitist football factory that is far from the image of football purity and righteousness they try to project. (These ten are in no particular order…bad is bad)
1. NBC. I am tired of hearing about the “obstacles” Notre Dame has with recruiting due to their high admissions and academic standards (I will specifically address those standards later as they are an issue unto themselves). If they hadn’t already, Notre Dame established itself as a full-fledged football factory when they signed the contract to air all their home games on NBC despite the opponent. By prostituting themselves to football and subjecting the public to perennial matchups against the likes of Navy and Stanford, Notre Dame secured its elitist image and largest recruiting base of any school. It’s not out of jealously that I find this disturbing but more because when hard times hit Notre Dame, they immediately point to their insurmountable recruiting obstacles. Give me a break. I don’t blame other schools for being jealous ,though; there is a distinct disadvantage when one school rakes in millions and millions of guaranteed dollars each year no matter how good or bad they are. For everyone else, gaining more money is performance based and means making it to a good bowl game. Plus, Notre Dame rakes in bowl money and doesn’t have to share it with other conference members…but that will be discussed later also. Probably the most glaring and insulting display of arrogance between NBC and Notre Dame is presented in the telecasts themselves. Should you by chance be forced to watch NBC because your favorite team is playing Notre Dame or you simply hate them enough to watch and hope for their defeat, NBC goes ahead and makes the assumption that we aren’t interested in any other games across the country. While every other telecast has frequent updates or a scoreboard streamer at the bottom of the screen, NBC entices viewers with one or two random score updates in a 3 hour period. Why would you care about what any other teams are doing when you are watching Notre Dame?
2. Lou Holtz. I have nothing against the man personally. In fact, I think he would be an interesting guy to sit and talk to at a bar. I also like his quotes, motivation techniques, and ability to always paint a dire scenario of impending defeat whether he is playing USC or Toledo. That doesn’t mean I would invite him to be a guest speaker at an ethics conference. The reason Lou Holtz is on my list is because his tenure at Notre Dame symbolizes the nationwide bias towards the success and sanctimony of Notre Dame. History shows us that throughout Lou Holtz’s career he has left a wake of scandal and probation, always managing to get out of dodge one step ahead of sanctions hitting his school. Every school that has had Lou Holtz as a head coach (NC State, Minnesota, Arkansas, Notre Dame, and South Carolina) has been hit with probation in sequence with his departure. A common theme in the probation verbage has been that his programs have a “lack of institutional control”. The poignant issue that I have with all these sanctions is that of all the Lou Holtz schools found to have violated NCAA rules only one was subsequently given an “informal probation”, hence giving them the right to address the issues internally. Which school was that?...that’s right, Notre Dame! How convenient. If anyone believes that Lou Holtz sandwiched a spell of integrity at Notre Dame with a career of cheating, they are either ignorant or a Notre Dame fan. A book, “Under the Tarnished Dome”, has even been written about this period of Notre Dame tradition, which includes one National Championship. In this book, the authors and ex-players make allegations of prevalent steroid use and illegal loans to players. Oh, how pure Notre dame is. There is no difference between Notre Dame and any other football factory, to include Florida State, Oklahoma, USC, or Texas. The only difference is that fraudulent Notre Dame portrays itself as being above the fray. Thank you Lou Holtz for showing us the light.
3. Touchdown Jesus. Nothing highlights the arrogance of Notre Dame football more than Touchdown Jesus. Relishing an image of Jesus overlooking the football stadium is synonymous to the whole football team kneeling in prayer in the end zone and thanking God for allowing them to score a touchdown. Only Notre Dame fans could think that with all the suffering and atrocities in the world, Jesus cares whether or not Notre Dame wins. It is because of this type of blasphemous arrogance that more Notre Dame fans pray for victory than any one else.
4. Academic Standards. I am tired of having Notre Dame’s academic standards shoved down my throat. Notre Dame’s academic standards are used as excuses for their poor performance and as an example of their “purity” in relation to other programs. I don’t buy it for one second. Notre Dame is like any other school….if you’re good enough to help the team, you’re good enough for Notre Dame. Let me rewind back to the days of my man Lou Holtz who said his biggest recruiting regret was not being able to land Randy Moss who chose Florida State instead of Notre Dame. Lou said Moss was the best high school player he has ever seen. Randy Moss was accepted to Notre Dame and it wasn’t due to his sparkling academic record or his admirable high school arrest record. I have no doubt that had he been hurdling defensive backs while wearing the gold helmet, he would have managed to pass his classes. Just as recently as three years ago, the battle for arguably the best high school player in the country, Lorenzo Booker, once again came down to Notre Dame and Florida State. (He chose Florida State). My point is that the Notre Dames and Florida States of the football world are fishing from the same pond and keeping any big fish they catch. As an exclamation point, the list of academic heavyweights that played for Notre Dame include the likes of Tony Rice, Chris Zorich, Ron Powlus, Demetrious DuBose, Ricky Waters, and Jerome Bettis. I don’t think any of these guys were on their high school brain bowl team.
5a. Media Bias. The outright media bias due to an NBC contract has already been described and isn't even needed to substantiate this issue. Luckily there are standards barring pornographic material on TV or we would be subjected to more than the metaphoric blow jobs by network hosts and commentators. This gross bias extends all the way to the BCS selection committee...but we'll address that later. All the TV networks, most notably ESPN (and excluding NBC), seem to have a reel of Notre Dame montages and cover stories within a button push away. Once they string together three wins in a row, we are forced to watch piece after piece describing the resurgence of this "rich and proud program". The media trips all over other programs that do well while rushing to praise Notre Dame. One example is Alabama which had the same record as Notre Dame this year despite being 5-6 last year and having one of the hardest strengths of schedule in the nation (Notre Dame only beat 3 teams with winning records). How come Mike Shula didn't get any of the praise that Charlie Weis received? I wonder. This is a good segway to my next reason.
5b. Charlie Weiss. Charlie Weis...you are fat. Actually you are morbidly obese. I liked Tyrone Willingham, but for anti-domers like myself, the silver lining in his firing is that we no longer have to caveat our Notre Dame hate rhetoric with the phrase "but I wish Tyrone Willingham well because he seems like a good guy." I guess Notre Dame found the white man for the job….oops, I meant right man.
6. 1947: Army vs. Notre Dame. These two undefeated teams met head to head and ended their game in a 0-0 tie. As a result, Notre Dame was declared by the media voters as sole national champions. I present this as evidence of Notre Dame's "rich and proud" tradition of receiving media bias.
7. 1966: Notre Dame 9-0-1. Once again, Notre Dame raises the championship banner with a little help from the media. After tying Michigan State and finishing with a 9-0-1 record, Notre Dame declines all bowl offers, thus ending their season. Undefeated Alabama goes on the paste Nebraska 34-7 in the Sugar Bowl and finishes 11-0. The AP poll subsequently awards the national championship to Notre Dame. The bias and shameless glory continues.
8. Subway Alumni. These are the biggest bandwagon jumpers of all time. It takes courage to pick a perennial powerhouse like Notre Dame as your favorite team. No team has more fans with absolutely no connection to the school other than watching them on TV. Not surprisingly, atleast 75% of the Notre Dame subway alumni are also Yankees fans. The Notre Dame fan is like the guy who pretends to be your best friend until you hit hard times, then he becomes best friends with your buddy who won the lottery. Beware of the Notre Dame subway alumni, they are social leeches. The biggest percentages of subway alumni can be found in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Hey Tony, what about Rutgers? Oh yeah, they suck. I'm sure you'll be wearing scarlet if they ever make it to a BCS bowl.
While I'm at it, let's talk about the fans who like Notre Dame because they are Catholic. They are another species of the subway alumni. Once again, they make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of their religion. If being Catholic is all it takes, how come you guys don't root for Boston College, Providence, or Xavier? Even if religion was an acceptable reason to root for a college football team, do you really think that even a quarter of the Notre Dame football players are Catholic? I'm sure Jerome Bettis envisioned blasting through a line of salivating Protestants as he nestled the cradled hopes of persecuted Catholics in his arm. Thank God (and Touchdown Jesus) for allowing our religion to win the national championship again!
9. Jeff Smardzija. Jeff, you need a haircut. If your hair extends beyond the base of your football helmet, it classifies as a mullet. The only exceptions to this rule are Samoans and dudes with dreadlocks.
10. BCS. I save the biggest injustice in college football for last. The BCS might as well publish a memo that states "We want Notre Dame to play in the BCS and will secure every means possible to make sure it happens." The current BCS contract essentially dictates that Notre Dame can play in a BCS game as long as they win 8 games. I thought the BCS was instituted in order to make a distinct and fair process for selecting the best teams for the best bowl games. This year Ohio State, Oregon, and Notre Dame finished fourth, fifth, and sixth respectively. Naturally, the BCS bypassed the fifth ranked team for the sixth ranked team because Notre Dame was "contractually guaranteed" a spot and would make the bowl more money. Thank goodness for favorable contracts. It doesn't matter though, because even if Notre Dame was ranked seventh or eighth they would have been in. To add insult to prejudice, Notre Dame gets to keep the $14 million BCS money for itself. Ohio State (and Oregon had they not been robbed) has to share the money with all the other teams in their conference. No wonder Charlie Weis doesn't push for a playoff system. Don't worry though, all will be fixed next year with the BCS changes. Next year when Notre Dame is handed an undeserved BCS game, they will only be able to keep $4.5 million for themselves, the same as other BCS participants. Sounds fair right? Oh, I forget to mention that they agreed to this because the new contract also states that if they don't get into a BCS game (most likely because they are ranked 20 or lower) they still get an automatic $1.5 million. Just to appease the masses...and I guess an offering to the Pope. Thank you Lord.
Regis Philbin. It's only natural that one of the most annoying men on the planet is a Notre Dame fan. I'm sure he roots for the Yankees too.
I’m Irish. Rooting for Notre Dame because you're Irish is like rooting for USC because you use Trojan brand condoms. It just doesn't make sense. None of the football players are Irish so it's a weak excuse. Just because your name is O'Neal or Sullivan doesn’t mean that you are Irish...have you ever even been to Ireland? I rest my case.
1996 Bowl Declination. Already having enough examples of Notre Dame arrogance, this one didn't make the cut but is still worth mentioning. At the end of a mediocre 8-3 season, this proud program was not eligible for one of the top 4 Alliance Bowls (major bowls prior to the BCS system). Notre Dame was invited to several other bowls but declined, implying that they don't stoop to the level of second-tier bowls. That same year, Wyoming finished with one of the best seasons ever, compiling a record of 10-2 and a national ranking of 22nd. They were not invited to any bowls. I'm sure that players from schools like Wyoming who dream of playing in any bowl game appreciated the conceit and self-importance of the Notre Dame team. Bravo.
MSNBC.COM. This NBC website has a major news section titled "Notre Dame Centra", once again assuming that the world cares.