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Muda69

How realignment knocked Notre Dame off its pedestal

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How realignment knocked Notre Dame off its pedestal

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/20580851/conference-realignment-leveled-field-notre-dame

Quote

It has been 29 years since Notre Dame won a national championship. It has been 28 years since Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany held a conference call for his athletic directors and told them -- he didn't ask them, he told them -- that Penn State had been voted into the league by its school presidents.

The news stunned the ADs into silence. Finally, Michigan's Bo Schembechler sputtered, "You gotta be s----ing me!"

That reaction, which the legendary coach recounted years later to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, captures the impact that Penn State's move had on college football. Penn State's move ignited the era of realignment, a benign word that doesn't begin to explain the power shifts that followed.

In the nearly three decades since, the Big 12 has come, the Southwest Conference has gone and Big East football has come and gone. College football on television has wallpapered the American Saturday. Every game of every major power is on the air, if not on the phone.

And in that time, Notre Dame stopped winning national championships. The Irish won 11 from 1924 through 1988, one every six years or so. Yes, there have been other dry spells in Fighting Irish history. The 10 years between Frank Leahy and Ara Parseghian (1954-63) defined mediocrity (51 wins, 48 losses). The Irish once went 17 years between national championships (1949-66).

Here's a new 17-year stat for you: In the 17 seasons of this century, Notre Dame has beaten exactly one top-five team, No. 3 Michigan, 17-10 in 2005. That was the second game of the Charlie Weis era, and we know how that turned out.

This is a generation of fans who have not witnessed the greatness that college football once took for granted. This is a sport in which legends are quickly preserved in amber. Some of us may believe that Reggie Bush is a recent memory, but today's college freshman attended kindergarten the last time USC finished No. 1. That means Notre Dame's last national champion seems prehistoric.

Or, to put it another way, Tony Rice, the Irish quarterback on the most recent national champion, turned the big Five-Oh on Tuesday.

So it has been a long while.

....

Maybe the Irish never should have been treated as a conference equal. But they were, and they are no longer. The financial windfall produced by the conferences in the realignment era is head-turning. The Indianas and Purdues of the world will reap $51 million annually from the conference alone, before they sell the first ticket or license the first T-shirt.

"I think the conference power is at its zenith now and is very, very strong," Swarbrick said. "You get a conference that's distributing $51 million [per team] versus whatever that school is getting from the NCAA, that just shows you. It's a great measure of the shift."

And Swarbrick wouldn't change a thing. Notre Dame is proud of its independence in football; time and again the university looked at joining a conference and decided against it. Notre Dame's decades-long dalliance with the Big Ten ended in the late '90s, and the school's one-foot-in, one-foot-out arrangement with the Atlantic Coast Conference has made both sides happy.

....

The Irish are blessed with the curse of past success. It hangs over the House That Rockne Built even in its new iteration, the result of a $400 million renovation that added classroom space and a new student union to the shell of the stadium while restoring its concourses to their original Art Deco look.

No. 15 Georgia travels to Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday. The Bulldogs beat the Irish 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl to win the 1980 national championship. The fervor of Bulldog fans made this ticket the most expensive in the secondary market this season. The hold of history is powerful.

It is powerful indeed, especially in South Bend.    

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Yes, the Irish prize their independence. But sometimes I get the feeling that they are (these days) more interested in $$ than anything else -- and that includes winning a national championship. And that really disturbs me. The only way they will join a conference, IMO, is when it becomes clear that a conference affiliation is the only realistic path to the playoff. I think we are clearly moving in that direction. Personally, geographic restrictions don't exist anymore, so I would be ecstatic if the Irish would become a full partner in the ACC. Even with only a 4 team playoff, I think an ACC champ in a conference that includes ND, CLemson, Miami, Florida State, Va Tech, etc. is virtually guaranteed a spot. Trying to do it as an independent is too difficult these days.

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16 hours ago, bobref said:

Yes, the Irish prize their independence. But sometimes I get the feeling that they are (these days) more interested in $$ than anything else -- and that includes winning a national championship. And that really disturbs me. The only way they will join a conference, IMO, is when it becomes clear that a conference affiliation is the only realistic path to the playoff. I think we are clearly moving in that direction. Personally, geographic restrictions don't exist anymore, so I would be ecstatic if the Irish would become a full partner in the ACC. Even with only a 4 team playoff, I think an ACC champ in a conference that includes ND, CLemson, Miami, Florida State, Va Tech, etc. is virtually guaranteed a spot. Trying to do it as an independent is too difficult these days.

Agree wholeheartedly that the clearest path to the CFB playoffs is via conference champion. I think Notre Dame in the long run would suffer if they became a full pledged conference member and here's why. Notre Dame as an independent is still nationally relevant despite average results the last two decades. Reason why is they get to play a national schedule and that allows Notre Dame to recruit at the national level. I think that's eliminated if Notre Dame joins a conference, especially out on the east coast. It hurts their ties to the west coast and Texas which Notre Dame has pulled some top recruits from in recent years. 

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37 minutes ago, Footballking16 said:

Agree wholeheartedly that the clearest path to the CFB playoffs is via conference champion. I think Notre Dame in the long run would suffer if they became a full pledged conference member and here's why. Notre Dame as an independent is still nationally relevant despite average results the last two decades. Reason why is they get to play a national schedule and that allows Notre Dame to recruit at the national level. I think that's eliminated if Notre Dame joins a conference, especially out on the east coast. It hurts their ties to the west coast and Texas which Notre Dame has pulled some top recruits from in recent years. 

I'm going to have to disagree with you, and offer two reasons in support of my position:

  1. ACC teams normally play 8 conference opponents. That leaves 4 games (plus a bowl game) to hit other areas of the country. ND will always play Navy and will always play USC (which gives them a Western presence). So there's still a couple of games (plus a bowl game) every season they can play in the Southwest and/or Northeast ... to the extent that's even needed in this day and age.
  2. A conference affiliation with a relatively regional focus doesn't seem to have hurt Alabama, Florida State, Clemson, LSU, etc., in their recruiting efforts. What those teams have in common is that they recruit the talent heavy Southeast, e.g., Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and they are perennial winners. Nothing helps a recruiting effort like saying "we've been in the playoffs 4 out of the last 5 years," or something like that. If you win, they will come, regardless of your conference affiliation. 

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35 minutes ago, bobref said:

I'm going to have to disagree with you, and offer two reasons in support of my position:

  1. ACC teams normally play 8 conference opponents. That leaves 4 games (plus a bowl game) to hit other areas of the country. ND will always play Navy and will always play USC (which gives them a Western presence). So there's still a couple of games (plus a bowl game) every season they can play in the Southwest and/or Northeast ... to the extent that's even needed in this day and age.
  2. A conference affiliation with a relatively regional focus doesn't seem to have hurt Alabama, Florida State, Clemson, LSU, etc., in their recruiting efforts. What those teams have in common is that they recruit the talent heavy Southeast, e.g., Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and they are perennial winners. Nothing helps a recruiting effort like saying "we've been in the playoffs 4 out of the last 5 years," or something like that. If you win, they will come, regardless of your conference affiliation. 

1. 8 games makes it a little different I was thinking 9, any chance they'd go to 9 with the addition of ND as a full pledge member? Either way, add USC + the potential to play Clemson, FSU, Va Tech, Miami every year and there isn't much room for error in advancing to the playoffs. Their schedule becomes infinitely harder going to the ACC full time and Notre Dame just hasn't been that good recently. I think the path to go undefeated or one loss sets up better as an independent but SOS and/or quality wins may be at a premium without being in a conference and that could potentially hurt ND especially if they can't claim to be a conference champion. It's almost a pick your poison.

2. Notre Dame is different than the schools you list because those schools actually recruit kids in the region they are located/play the majority of their games. Notre Dame recruits nationally because as an independent they travel all over. That drastically changes moving solely to an East Coast based conference. Not going to be able to schedule a "neutral" home game in Houston or Dallas or wherever like they have in the past.

I guess I see Notre Dame's transition to the ACC similar to Nebraska's and their transition to the B10. Nebraska in their heyday was able to compete in a non-football rich state because they played in the B12. A lot of their roster was made up of guys from Texas because by playing in the B12 half their games were played in Texas. Financially the move to the B10 was sound but you've seen the results. What kid from Texas wants to play in the Midwest nearly every week with the potential to play out east if PSU/MD/Rutg show up on the schedule? Nebraska's move to the B10 has severely hurt recruiting.

Edited by Footballking16

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3 hours ago, Footballking16 said:

1. 8 games makes it a little different I was thinking 9, any chance they'd go to 9 with the addition of ND as a full pledge member? Either way, add USC + the potential to play Clemson, FSU, Va Tech, Miami every year and there isn't much room for error in advancing to the playoffs. Their schedule becomes infinitely harder going to the ACC full time and Notre Dame just hasn't been that good recently. I think the path to go undefeated or one loss sets up better as an independent but SOS and/or quality wins may be at a premium without being in a conference and that could potentially hurt ND especially if they can't claim to be a conference champion. It's almost a pick your poison.

2. Notre Dame is different than the schools you list because those schools actually recruit kids in the region they are located/play the majority of their games. Notre Dame recruits nationally because as an independent they travel all over. That drastically changes moving solely to an East Coast based conference. Not going to be able to schedule a "neutral" home game in Houston or Dallas or wherever like they have in the past.

I guess I see Notre Dame's transition to the ACC similar to Nebraska's and their transition to the B10. Nebraska in their heyday was able to compete in a non-football rich state because they played in the B12. A lot of their roster was made up of guys from Texas because by playing in the B12 half their games were played in Texas. Financially the move to the B10 was sound but you've seen the results. What kid from Texas wants to play in the Midwest nearly every week with the potential to play out east if PSU/MD/Rutg show up on the schedule? Nebraska's move to the B10 has severely hurt recruiting.

Sounds like you're an advocate of ND to the Big 10.

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18 minutes ago, bobref said:

Sounds like you're an advocate of ND to the Big 10.

Ha, maybe you're on to something....

No in all seriousness if Notre Dame were to move to a conference I think the B10 would make the most sense.

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9 hours ago, bobref said:

I'm going to have to disagree with you, and offer two reasons in support of my position:

  1. ACC teams normally play 8 conference opponents. That leaves 4 games (plus a bowl game) to hit other areas of the country. ND will always play Navy and will always play USC (which gives them a Western presence). So there's still a couple of games (plus a bowl game) every season they can play in the Southwest and/or Northeast ... to the extent that's even needed in this day and age.
  2. A conference affiliation with a relatively regional focus doesn't seem to have hurt Alabama, Florida State, Clemson, LSU, etc., in their recruiting efforts. What those teams have in common is that they recruit the talent heavy Southeast, e.g., Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and they are perennial winners. Nothing helps a recruiting effort like saying "we've been in the playoffs 4 out of the last 5 years," or something like that. If you win, they will come, regardless of your conference affiliation. 

Why will ND always play Navy?  Should Notre Dame continue to play Navy, if ND is looking for the BEST schedule?

interested to hear your thoughts. 

From the outside, I'd say no.  Find someone else, but as always, willing to listen. 

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14 hours ago, Coach Ellenwood said:

Why will ND always play Navy?  Should Notre Dame continue to play Navy, if ND is looking for the BEST schedule?

interested to hear your thoughts. 

From the outside, I'd say no.  Find someone else, but as always, willing to listen. 

That's an easy one. ND will play Navy as long as Navy wants to play ND. That's a guarantee. Here's why:

During World War II, Notre Dame saw its enrollment drop dramatically. Remember, it was an all male institution then. The University fell on hard times financially. It was on the verge of going under. Then the Navy decided to house a bunch of personnel there for training. They leased space from the University, and the payments kept ND afloat until the war ended and enrollment went back up. We owe the Navy a debt of honor that can never be fully repaid. So, there are 3 things in this life that are certain: death, taxes, and ND and Navy will play football as long as Navy wants that game.

if you've ever been to a Notre Dame - Navy football game, it's immediately apparent that there is a special relationship between the two schools. The way the players, coaches, and fans interact with one another is unique in my college football experience. It's very, very cool.

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2 hours ago, bobref said:

That's an easy one. ND will play Navy as long as Navy wants to play ND. That's a guarantee. Here's why:

During World War II, Norte Dame saw its enrollment drop dramatically. Remember, it was an all male institution then. The University fell on hard times financially. It was on the verge of going under. Then the Navy decided to house a bunch of personnel there for training. They leased space from the University, and the payments kept ND afloat until the war ended and enrollment went back up. We owe the Navy a debt of honor that can never be fully repaid. So, there are 3 things in this life that are certain: death, taxes, and ND and Navy will play football as long as Navy wants that game.

if you've ever been to a Norte Dame - Navy football game, it's immediately apparent that there is a special relationship between the two schools. The way the players, coaches, and fans interact with one another is unique in my college football experience. It's very, very cool.

I've never been to a Norte Dame- Navy game, but I would like to attend a Notre Dame-Navy game. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Coach Ellenwood said:

I've never been to a Norte Dame- Navy game, but I would like to attend a Notre Dame-Navy game. 

 

Fixed it.

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BTW, Notre Dame 38, Michigan State 10 with less than 5 minutes to play.

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7 hours ago, PHJIndy said:

BTW, Notre Dame 38, Michigan State 10 with less than 5 minutes to play.

Yeah, Sparty got another one during garbage time, but it was clearly a good win. Haters will point to the big turnovers, but the D made some big plays and the offense was steady, if not spectacular. Most importantly, no turnovers. 

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3 hours ago, bobref said:

Yeah, Sparty got another one during garbage time, but it was clearly a good win. Haters will point to the big turnovers, but the D made some big plays and the offense was steady, if not spectacular. Most importantly, no turnovers. 

A good road win for the Irish.  Yes, Sparty helped with the to's but the Irish took advantage of those to's and scored td's.

Also Georgia whipping up on Mississippi State makes the Irish one point loss look a little less terrible.

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25 minutes ago, PHJIndy said:

Also Georgia whipping up on Mississippi State makes the Irish one point loss look a little less terrible.

Even though it was ... SMH

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On 9/24/2017 at 11:01 AM, bobref said:

Even though it was ... SMH

All losses are terrible.

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7 minutes ago, PHJIndy said:

All losses are terrible.

But a 1 pt. Loss in a winnable game to what has turned out to be a pretty good team ...

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On 9/26/2017 at 7:10 PM, bobref said:

But a 1 pt. Loss in a winnable game to what has turned out to be a pretty good team ...

Oh, I agree,  but losing  is never really good.

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The Irish whipped up on USC 49-14 tonight.  The best a Notre Dame team has played in many years on both sides of the ball, imo!  I hope there's no letdown for NC State next week.

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I will never be mistaken for a ND fan by any means, but I watched them this past Saturday and that was very impressive football game.   Those two OL on the left are pretty special and QB making all the right decisions with the ball/feet.   Biggest takeaway,  how fast and physical their defense played under this new DC from Wake.   Win out I would support ND in final 4.   

EDIT:   By suport I mean would understand their inclusion, not necessary be rah rah for the home team ya know.   not to get confused here with my Domer friends here.  :13_v:

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Yes, there's a long way to go, but the Irish are rollin' and I'm enjoying it!  If they keep up the intensity the playoffs are in their sight!

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Their offensive line is playing just great. Some of those holes, well, I’m not saying I would have scored. But even I could at least get through some of those. They just imposed their will on NC State.

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My first game of the season I was able to attend. I really think this is the best team Kelly has had since arriving. The speed on the field is something to see. I think a couple changes made by Kelly is the difference. Hiring a legit OC and the new DC hire have worked well. I have hesitated saying it having been disappointed in the past, or just knowing they were not that good; this team is a good football team; a really good team.

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Tough to argue that ND isn't playing like a top team in the country right now but still believe they will be on the outside looking in come the playoffs unless things go their way.

Bama and Georgia will/should be undefeated come the SEC title game. The winner of that game will be the #1 seed. Assuming Georgia loses, I don't see how there is anyway humanly possible to put a 1 loss ND team over a 1 loss Georgia team (who won earlier at ND) unless Georgia gets throttled. I don't want to hear about $$$, fan base, ratings, etc, a 1 loss ND team does not deserve to be in over a 1 loss UGA team. Wisconsin should be undefeated when they play tOSU during the B10 championship and the winner of that game will get a bid. If Oklahoma wins out they will get a bid, given their win in Columbus earlier in the year. Their loss to Iowa State doesn't look near as bad as it did a couple weeks ago. Assuming ND wins out (no tall task with road games at Miam and Stanford), it should come down to Georgia, Notre Dame, a 1 loss Penn State team, and possibly a 1 loss Clemson team that is the ACC champion. 

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