Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Devil's Advocate on TCU and Tulsa

Popular complaint of the week around the ND world? The rumored scheduling of Tulsa and TCU to fill out the 2010 schedule. There are plenty of comments to be found on this topic, and I am going to say right out front that I would rather see the schedule filled with opponents typically considered to be of a higher caliber, for reasons that don’t need to be explained to someone who is checking out a random ND blog (so long as ND beats them. If not, I am on the record as pro-cupcake. I like wins, what can I say?). The idea of putting Alabama or Miami on the schedule - and then beating them - sends happy tingles up my spine that the scheduling of two rather unremarkable teams does not.

However, let me play devil’s advocate and give some reasons why putting Tulsa and TCU on the 2010 schedule could work out in Notre Dame’s favor. Come 2010, ND is going to be in one of two situations. Either:

(A) ND will have had a record ensuring a BCS bowl game (or close to) in 2009, and Charlie Weis will be coaching a team that will be considered a top team - if not the top team - going into the 2010 season*; or

(B) ND will have had a less-than-stellar 2009 season, meaning that we have a new coach in place, and all the attendant problems that come with this.

In that first situation, so long as ND is not playing a schedule consisting entirely of cupcakes (which, with USC and Michigan three years into the Rich Rod regime, is not going to be the case), ND will be better off playing a schedule that will put the team in the mix to play in the National Championship game. Even with some of the other weak teams on the 2010 schedule, putting Tulsa and TCU on the schedule gives ND a legitimate chance to win out, and thus put ND in the National Championship.** Frankly, I don’t care who ND beats if it means a National Championship.

Moreover, if it’s late in the season and ND has a chance to win out, getting a ticket to those game would be darn near impossible - and I, for one, would be attempting to get one of those tickets no matter what the cost, nor who the opponent.

As to the second situation, having a few easier games on the schedule for a new head coach is not necessarily a bad thing. It would make the adjustment for both coach and the team easier, and provide a chance for a couple wins for a team that might desperately need them for morale (but hopefully not). Do you run the risk of failing to sell out those games? Maybe. But you will also have the residual excitement of the new coach, which could very well make up for this. And if those games have a bunch of empty seats, it will be a very clear message that ND needs to get teams like Alabama and Miami back on the schedule.

Of course, these could all be rumors, and we could all be working ourselves up over nothing. And I sure hope so. Because I would really like to get back to posting crap about tailgating prep for Nevada. Being serious is just not much fun.

* Assuming Jimmy Clausen comes back for his senior season - which even someone playing devil’s advocate would probably have to say screws ND over royally.

** I’m not going to argue the point of whether ND makes it if there are 3 undefeated or one-loss teams. If ND can legitimately be put in the National Championship game, ND will be in that game. Higher ratings + More money = ND in the game, no matter who else those other two teams are.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Back, Boys & Girls!

Well, it has been a long time, but I am back!

Important item of note: fewer than 50 days until Notre Dame takes the field again - and, rest assured, I am already considering the tailgating menu for Nevada (because, really, what else can you do for a game like that?).

Anyway, here's an article completely unrelated to college football, but interesting nonetheless - how sports keep you going in Antarctica. For anyone who appreciates the smell of fresh cut grass from a few rows up and a cool beer in hand on a summer evening, it's a great read.

More to come soon, and Go Irish!!!